Sunday, December 11, 2011

Feet - Why do you have to be different sizes?

Dear Right Foot,

I actually own a pair of these exact shoes.
Yes you.  The one with the toes at the bottom of my ankle.

Yeah you!

We have a bit of a problem.  See, you're always bitching because you get blisters and you're uncomfortable in some of my shoes.

Well here's the issue.  You're just a tad bigger.

I like pretty shoes.  I can't always wear slippers or comfy flats so you're just going to have to suck it up and deal.  

Cheers,

Ash

A Night Out Featuring Martinis, Disco, Cougars and Creeps

Ever had a night out that was just worthy of telling people about?  Either because it was EPIC or in my case, totally ridiculous?

As of last night, I've officially started to embrace two distinct facts.  

1. That weird shit just happens to me.
2. That if there's a psycho in a bar, he will find me, ask for my number and grab my ass.

OK so for a quick summary.  Last night I went out with a girlfriend of mine for a nice dressed up evening of martinis and dancing at a funky little lounge in downtown Toronto where we both live.

The place we went to was super cute and had the best music ever.  It was a combo of Top 40 hits, Disco and random things like Springsteen and Randy Travis.  Everyone was just laughing and singing along to the random songs coming out of the speakers.  But honestly, it's probably the most fun I've had out dancing in a LONG TIME. 

It was a swanky dressed up crowd of 30-somethings who were all really friendly and just having a fun time.  It's also a small lounge that only accommodates about 100 people so everyone gets to know each other pretty quickly and random group impressions of The Hustle were not that uncommon.

Yet even a night where I was taught how to Two-Step buy a guy in Three Piece Suit, things can go horribly wrong quite quickly.

I was introduced to a guy that my friend knew casually from going to this lounge in the past.  He seemed nice, if a bit cheesy with his practiced charm and hand kissing, but overall pretty normal.  As the night progressed he found a way to walk by me multiple times and would touch me every time he did.  Brushing my arm or putting his hand on my waist.  In general harmless but I was not interested in him so declined his offer to buy me a drink or to dance claiming that I was just out with a girlfriend and wanted to have fun.

So basically, "Thanks.  I'm flattered, but no thanks."

But still, as the night progressed and I'm guessing he had more to drink, he started to get annoyed that I would pull away from him and didn't seem interested.  At it's worst he kept cornering me against the wall and trying to talk me into giving him my number, going home with him, dancing with him, admitting I was interested in him and when I told him I thought he was nice but call me old fashioned, I didn't know him well enough to allow him to hold onto my ass for the evening.


Now I bet you're thinking "Hey she was with a friend, what was this friend doing while this was going on?" 

My friend was enjoying the attention of a guy who she actually WANTED to grab her ass.  Lucky for her, if not very smart, she ended up going home with the guy.

So this brings up a valid question.

Am I old fashioned for not thinking it's cool that my friend went home with a guy she met 15 minutes before?  I was worried about her and made her text me when she got there and when she went home.  But don't most women know this is unsafe? 

Also, when your friend is being harassed by a guy that you know and she asks for your help, that's when you pull up your socks and ditch the guy for 15 minutes and help your girlfriend.

And in general, it's not cool to abandon a friend who's been drinking without knowing if they can get home safely. 

It's two of the cardinal rules of girlfriendship.  Don't let a drunk friend go home with a stranger.  And if your friend is in trouble, ditch the guy and help her out.  End of story.
 
Thankfully she's OK, and despite me having to do quite a bit of walking in the cold I made it home in one safe, if a bit frozen, piece

But seriously. 

Am I a prude for not wanting some random guy to grab my ass repeatedly? 

Am I old fashioned for thinking my friend is an idiot for going home with a guy she's know for no longer than 15 minutes?

Am I over reacting when I started to panic a bit that some guy I had told I wasn't interested in, literally pinned me against a wall and got in my face about not handing over my phone number?

Girls, I think we should all have a bit more respect for ourselves than to sleep with a guy you've known for 15 minutes. 

Friends, it's not nice to abandon a friend alone without making sure they have a way to get home.

And Guys, it's never cool to try and physically intimidate a girl who has politely said she's not interested.
  
Am I right? 

Thoughts.

Cheers,

Ash

p.s.  Thank-you to my other friend, who at 3am responded to my text and stayed on the line the entire time I was walking home and keep me feeling safe and making me laugh.  You're the kind of gentleman that all other guys should learn from.  xoxoxox

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Food Cravings aka. Dear Stomach, WTF?

You're sitting at home and all of a sudden it hits you.

OMG I would kill for a <insert random food here>.

Why is it that at the most random times, you will have cravings for the most random things?

Mmmm Kiwi

Case in point.  I was walking home from the subway last night and had a hardcore craving for Kiwi.

Yup the fuzzy little green fruit. 

I keep walking and the craving persists to the point where I actually backtracked to the grocery store and bought, not only 4 fresh Kiwis but a package of dried Kiwi slices. 

This was all I purchased, 'cause God forbid you ever actually crave something you already have at home.

Am I the only person this happens to?  I can't be.  I actually read another blog on the subject a while back that discussed why we crave things and mentioned that if we're craving something specific like salt, could mean our bodies are lacking in something specific. Now, I had heard this before but cannot imagine in a million years, what my body could be lacking to drive my insane need for fuzzy green fruit.

When it comes to food cravings, there are tons of theories on why we crave the things we do.  It could be hormones, habit, influence from advertising, proximity to something yummy smelling. It's like going to the grocery store on an empty stomach and walking by the bakery as they put out fresh warm bread.  You may not have intended to buy bread but I bet you're going to now.

Of course any time a woman makes a comment about craving something bizarre there are always the obligatory pregnancy jokes.  "Are you sure you're not pregnant?" Tee hee.   Yeah those jokes.  We all get them.  My response this time around was, "No, I'm not pregnant."  "Yes I'm sure." "If I am pregnant, than I'm either giving birth to a baby with an accent or one that is green with brown fuzzy hair."  Cause yeah.  The 4 Kiwis I bought?  I ate 3 of them for dinner. 

I still don't know why I was craving Kiwi but I guess in the grand scheme of things, there are worse things to crave.

What's the most random thing you've ever craved?

And what extent did you go to fulfil it?

Cheers,

Ash

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Escape (The Pina Colada Song) aka. The Supidest Song EVER

I've already mentioned that I'm a bit of a music junkie.  Keeping that in mind, understand that the contents of my iPod can be a frightening thing.  I'm more than aware of this, and find no shame in having a disco playlist.

As I walked home from the office the other night, I was caught by the sheer stupidity of  Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)". 

We all know it, we all sing along to it.  But have you ever actually LISTENED to the lyrics?  I had, but it never truly dawned on me how epically ridiculous this song is.

Let me break it down for you:

"I was tired of my lady, we'd been together too long. Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song."
What a way to start a song.  Some guy is bored in a relationship.  At least he's honest right?

"So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed. And in the personals column, there was this letter I read:"
OK does anyone else find it incredibly disrespectful that he's IN BED WITH HER while he essentially looks for another woman?

"If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain."
Do men actually like Pina Coladas?  And when are we getting caught in the rain?  On the way to work?  Coming home from a night out drinking? Not really my idea of fun but to each his own.

"If you're not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain."
Remember that this is the ad placed by a woman.  Again, how many men are into yoga?  And only half-a-brain?  You're not setting your standards too high there sweetheart.

"If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape. I'm the lady you've looked for, write to me, and escape."
Ok you got me with the whole making love at midnight thing.  I'll give the girl that one.

"I didn't think about my lady, I know that sounds kind of mean. But me and my old lady, had fallen into the same old dull routine."
You THINK that sounds kinda mean?  This guy is a real winner.

"So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad. And though I'm nobody's poet, I thought it wasn't half-bad."
Actually dude it's not poetry....it's basically plagiarism.  You just agreed to liking everything she put in her ad.

"Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne."
So he's into Pina Coladas AND Champagne?  Is he sure he's straight?  I mean not to play into stereotypes but, that sounds a little gay. I know, I know, it was 1979.  Whatever.

"I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape."
Does he remember that he's written a LETTER to the newspaper for this ad?  By the time they get the letter, add it to the list of ads, get it published and she actually reads it you think it's really going to happen tomorrow at noon?  I mean really, you're sitting in bed AT NIGHT.  What an idiot.

"At a bar called O'Malley's, where we'll plan our escape."
I don't know about you but I doubt a bar called O'Malley's serves Pina Coladas and Champagne.  Just putting it out there.

"So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place. I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face."
Awww how sweet.  He's cheating on her but he's sweet about it.

"It was my own lovely lady, and she said, Oh, it's you."
Holy Shit.  Really?  You are both cheating on each other and all you have to say is "Oh, it's you"?  Yeah right.

"And we laughed for a moment, and I said, "I never knew"
I don't think most of us would find this a laughing matter.  She was looking to "escape" from your relationship and put out an add to meet another man. And he answered an ad that a woman placed in a newspaper WHILE LYING IN BED NEXT TO HER.  How unrealistic is this?  In real life this would be a badly shot episode of Cheaters where everyone is wearing polyester.

"That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne."
Again with the Pina Coladas and Champagne.  Do neither of them have any standards that involve, oh I don't know, virtues like HONESTY, RESPECT, LOYALTY. 

"If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape. You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape."
Um you're not really escaping if you're leaving with the person you're already in a relationship with.

I mean seriously.  How unrealistic can you get?  They're both trying to covertly find another partner and happen to stumble upon each other through a want ad and they're both fine with this?  No arguing, no sense of betrayal.  All they say is "Oh, it's you?"  Doubtful.  Very doubtful.   

Despite that overall the premise of the song is kinda skeezy, it's stupid.  Possibly the stupidest song ever written.  And when you think of songs like, Wang Chung's "Everybody have fun tonight, T-Rex's, "Bang a Gong (Get it on) and "Woolly Bully" by Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs, that's saying A LOT.

Cheers,

Ash

P.s. For anyone who's never heard the song.  Here you go.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tattoos and Piercings: Oh my!

More than one person I know can attest to the fact that body art can be addictive.

Why do you think so many people have MULTIPLE Tattoos or Piercings?

They're like Lays Chips......you can't have just one.

More proof of this for me was the fact that I got my tongue pierced last night.  Which for me is a little shocking.

I have 6 tattoos and plan on more in my lifetime but I've never been a fan of piercings.  I mean I have 3 holes in my ears and on an insane whim I got my nipples pierced a few years ago, but I've never been a fan of piercings and especially facial piercings.

Tongue piercings aren't strictly facial because they're not openly visible unless you flaunt them. But still, it was a big step for me.

The funny thing is that the first person who ever pierced me said, "You'll be back." Because as many in the industry can tell you, they really are addictive.  Why?  I'm not sure.  I guess some people may be drawn to the pain, and there's always going to be the people that do it for the attention, or to be "different" or to express themselves through what I consider to be a legitimate art form.

For me, I don't really fit into either of those categories. I mean I got my first tattoo at 16 as a minor rebellion against my parents but my mother knew I was going to do it.  Something inside me knew it probably from a young age.

I was one of those kids who was CONSTANTLY drawing or writing on my skin.  I used to come home from school with patterns and pictures drawn onto my arms and the tops of my legs.  My jeans and sneakers weren't safe either.  So does that mean I was attracted to body art before I even really understood what it was?

Maybe.

But that doesn't explain why every few months I start to get "itchy" for one.  I start to look at pictures and think of what would make a good tattoo.  Where on my body I could put it.  How it would look with the other tattoos I already have.

And I'm not the only person who experiences this.  Friends of mine have claimed the same thing happens to them.

In thinking about it, I remembered what a tattoo artist once told me.  He said, "One becomes two, and two becomes twenty."

And it's true.  People that only have one tattoo, and really only have the desire for that one, typically are content.  But once you cross over into multiples its so easy for the whole thing to escalate.  For me I had only the one tattoo for almost 4 years.  After that I averaged a tattoo every 8-12 months.  Now I have 6 with plans for a 7th.

I think something happens in your brain when you become a person who has MULTIPLE tattoos.  Having  one tattoo is OK, a lot of people do and generally society is accustomed to it.  But when you have MULTIPLE tattoos you enter a different category.  You become one of those "people with tattoos."  And honestly you're perceived a little differently.  No to say that everyone will jump to conclusions but I think I'd be safe to say that when you have multiple tattoos, especially highly visible one's, you may be looked upon differently by people you encounter.  Especially people of the older generations.

I mean there's all kinds of issues with visible tattoos in the workplace.  Some companies don't even allow it.  Other companies it may hurt your chances of advancement.  And other places couldn't care in the least.

Thankfully I work for the latter.  My company could care less that I have tattoos.  Albeit only 2 of them are visible and fairly inconspicuous (one on my left ankle and another on the inside of my forearm). And in all honesty if my company did have an issue with it, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable working there.  'Cause in the grand scheme of things my tattoos are a part of who I am.  They're ingrained in my body chemistry.  If my employer wanted me to cover up something that is so much a part of who I am, I would question my desire to work closely with those individuals.

I also tend to go against what people imagine when they think of a person with multiple tattoos, and now piercings.  Hell I've been told I look like a librarian.  With my clothes on ;)  And honestly I kind of enjoy knowing that most people would NEVER guess what I have going on under my clothes.  It's like wearing sexy lingerie under a frumpy outfit.  Nobody has to know, but YOU do.

Thoughts?  Do you find tattoos or piercings addictive?  If you have them do you ever need to hide them?  Are you OK with doing that?  And will I ever be able to eat anything other than crushed ice with my new tongue piercing?

Cheers,

Ash

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mothers: Why they will always make you feel like a 13 year old girl

I spent this past weekend staying with my parents.  Since I moved out on my own, I try to make the effort to see them at least once a month and spend the weekend with them when I can.  What I realized during this specific weekend is that no matter how old I get, my mother will always be able to make me feel like a bratty 13 year old girl.

I'd say it is safe to assume that every daughter has had at least one good argument with their mother at some point in their lives. 

When you're 13, it's because your mum won't let you go out late on a school night.

When you're16, it's because your mum thinks the boy you're dating is inappropriate.

When you're 19, it's because your mum doesn't like your attitude.

Well when I was 13, I was a brat.  When I was 16, I was a brat with her first tattoo.  By the time I was 19, I was pretty much the kind of nightmare daughter that every mother wishes their daughter never becomes.

My mum and I argued every single day for what was probably close to 5 years. 

I drank, I smoked, I did drugs, I listened to heavy metal, I dated older guys, I skipped school, I got tattoos and on top of it all I was pretty much a smartass that didn't know when to keep her mouth shut. 

My father used to get so frustrated because he'd come home every day to hear me and my mother arguing. 

Honestly, I just wanted to go to school, go to my job, hang out with my friends and boyfriend and generally be left the hell alone. 

But noooooooooo.  My mother had to butt her nose into everything I did, and generally find something wrong with it.

Now, nobody can criticize you quite like your mother can.  And the same works in reverse.  You know better than anyone else one the planet exactly how to push your mothers buttons and get her pissed off at you in the blink of an eye. 

While home this weekend my mother mentioned to me that because I've been working extra hours recently, I should take a multi-vitamin because I'm probably not eating as well as I could.

My simple response was, "Mom, I already take a multi-vitamin."

To which she replied, "You probably just tell me that so I don't nag you."

Now smartass as I am, I of course shot back, "Well if I didn't take a multi-vitamin I probably would tell you I did just to get you off my case, but as it so happens, I DO take one."

This somehow resulted in my mother coming to the conclusion that I don't listen to her, I lie to her just to get her to leave me alone and that in general I am ruining my life.

WTF happened? 

I'm 27 years old. I don't need my mother to essentially remind me to eat my vegetables.

I eat my vegetables dammit!  And I happen to take a vitamin supplement already. 

See, she did it again.  In a matter of seconds I went from a perfectly rational adult to a bratty 13 year old stomping her foot and saying that she doesn't need her mum to tell her what to do.

Sheesh. 

It's like, have you ever bought something and then told your mother about it only to have her say.  "You didn't really NEED to spend that money did you?"

Ahhhhhhh. 

"No mother, I didn't but I wanted to and considering it's my ass that is stuck in the office 60 hours a week I'm going to damn well buy whatever I want."

"But if you don't save now, you're never going to be able to put your children through University."

What planet is my mother on and how exactly did we go from her kitchen table to the Twilight Zone where I have a husband and children I must support.

On a side note:  What did I buy you may ask?  It was a frickin' pair of shoes. Not $500 designer shoes but $70 shoes.  Not quite the kind of purchase that will bankrupt me and my future mythical offspring.

But I've deviated from the point of this blog.  Actually I've illustrated my point quite well.  My point being that mothers somehow have the ability to turn even the most astute responsible adult into a sniveling 13 year old brat. 

Despite everything, I love my mother to death.  Which is why I think we argue so well.

Cheers,

Ash

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sunburn: The perils of being pale

I've been told on more than one occasion that I'm so white I'm clear. 

I mean honestly it's not my fault.  I'm half German.  Blame my pale mother and her genetics.

For the record this means I have two official colours. 

White.

And Red.

There is no such thing as tan in my vocabulary. 

Being pasty as I am means that the importance of sun protection was drilled into me at a very young age.  I don't think I've ever left the house after April without at least an SPF 30 on. 

Heck, I wear SPF 15 in my facial moisturizer in the middle of January.  IN CANADA.

It's simply ingrained in my psyche. 

Sun - Sun Screen = Wrinkles, Pain and future Skin Cancer.

For us fair skinned people, Skin Cancer is a legitimate concern.  They say that a person's chance of developing skin cancer DOUBLES if they've had 5 or more sunburns in their lifetime. 

That's pretty scary considering most people (including me) average at least 1 sunburn a year.

I'm dealing with that sunburn as we speak.

Despite wearing SPF 60 this weekend, I spent too many hours in the sun without access to the shade.  My shoulders were the worst impacted but wearing clothes at this point pretty much sucks.

You'd think I would know better by now. 

I've always been a little jealous of people who are able to tan.  I grew up around a lot of people of Italian, Greek and Portuguese descent who tan brilliantly. 

I was always the pale one in the group. 

I've tried it all but even self tanners make me look like an Oompa-Loompa. 

Even exposing myself to small amounts of sun regularly over a long period of time does little more than make me pink.

I've never had an actual TAN in my life.

But as I've gotten older, I've realized this is not a bad thing.

I've got dark hair, blue eyes and skin that requires me to buy make-up in shades called "Porcelain" and "Alabaster".

So being pale works for me. 

Insert a little history lesson:

Since Ancient Egypt, aristocratic women have been going to great lengths to lighten their skin.  Being pale indicated that you were affluent enough to not have to labour outdoors so women used everything from buttermilk baths to lead laced cosmetics to give themselves a ghostly hue. 

They essentially went to great lengths to achieve a look that I come by naturally.

The trend towards pale skin came to an end eventually and slowly went in the opposite direction as tanning beds and UV lamps became very popular.

But people went overboard, and skin cancer started cropping up in teenagers as young as 14 and 15 years old. 

But now being pale is popular again!!!  Even for people who aren't Goth ;)

So if you're pale like me EMBRACE it.  Don't be jealous of people with a golden tan.  Just remember that you'll have less wrinkles when your older and Cheers,

Ash

For additional info on Skin Cancer and Sun Protection check out THIS LINK.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dating In Your Late 20s SUCKS - Part 2

So we've already established that meeting new people in your late 20s isn't always the easiest thing in the world.

But low and behold.  You've actually met someone and you're going on the ever-stressful first date.

<Insert Dramatic Music>

Dun-dun-dun!!!

Where are you going, is he picking you up, what are you going to wear, what if he doesn't like you, what if you don't like him?

Then there's the next day questions.

"Sooooooooo how was your date?"

Ug.  Shoot me now.

Honestly I've gone on so many bad first dates that I've stopped telling my friends that I even HAVE a date just do I don't have to deal with deconstructing it with them afterwards.

So for your entertainment purposes I will now summarize some of the funnier moments of my dating history over the last 18 months or so. 

K: Amateur politician.  Asshole.

J:  Smart, worked for a publishing house.  Condescending SNOB.

L:  Cute, mechanic, perv who wasn't looking for a girlfriend but another name to add to the long list of women he'd screwed.

B:  World traveller, worked in media.  Slobbery kisser, just got out of a serious relationship and was not looking for anything other than a casual date.

S: Professional student.  No desire to grow up and get a real job.  Drank WAY too much.

G:  Smart history buff who worked for the Government.  Had never had a "real" girlfriend and lived with his divorced mother and financially supported her.

D:  Artist.  Worked a corporate job he didn't like just to pay the bills.  Pretty much continued to live the frat boy life despite being 31 years old.

J:  Techie.  Asked slightly creepy questions like if I had ever made a guy cry before.

M:  Ex-boyfriend.  Convinced me to have a friendly coffee with him.  He proceeded to tell me that he had just broken up with his current girlfriend and thought we should sleep together because we were already "comfortable" with each other.

G:  Musician and recently graduated student.  Told me that he thought I'd get along really well with his GIRLFRIEND.

Now add this to the list of guys I've had serious relationships with and you'll see why I'm not necessarily chomping at the bit to go out on dates.  I haven't had the greatest success with men.  Hell I was told by an old boss of mine that I was an asshole magnet.  He said I should get a t-shirt that said "Assholes need not apply."  He was serious.  I can't blame him.  I tend to be a magnet for either jerks or incredibly inappropriate men.

So the sad reality is that in my experience, a lot of single men in their late 20s or early 30s have some issues.  Not to say that single women at this age don't but they tend to be different issues.

In the past 2 years I've learned that many (not all) single men at this age fall into one of the following categories.

1) They want to be single.
2) They have baggage or presume that you do.
3) They're living the party life while they cling desperately to their beer drinking youth.
4) They're jerks, dicks, douche bags, pricks or psychos.
5) They've got mom issues, ex-girlfriend issues, ex-wife issues and/or women issues in general.
6) They're workaholics.
7) They're gay.
8) They're already your ex-boyfriend.
9) They're the mythical "nice guy" who you hear exists but you never actually meet because he never attempts to talk to you.

All in all, the whole thing sucks and is kinda depressing.  Especially during a time in your life when many of your friends are pairing up, getting engaged, getting married or having babies.

But hope springs eternal.

Cheers,

Ash

Dating In Your Late 20s SUCKS - Part 1

Going on a first date is always a little awkward.  But dating in your late 20s or early 30s is a whole different animal.

For the record, I'm 27 and single.  I work quite a bit, I'm a book nerd and a music junkie who lives alone in the city with her cat.

Don't judge me.

When you're in High School and College/University dating is fairly simple.  You meet someone in one of your classes, at your part time job or through your ever expanding circle of friends.  There's really no pressure because you're young and even the most serious relationship isn't all that serious when you really think about it.  Your biggest concern is if he thinks your best friend is prettier than you or if you'll appear slutty if you sleep with him too early on.

Dating Post-Grad is a little different.  You're an ADULT now and are more comfortable with yourself, your wants and needs and what you're looking for in a partner.  You're probably figured out what your "type" is by now and are a little bit more conscious of who you date now that you're over the thrill of a cute boy asking you out.

As I mentioned earlier, dating in your late 20s or early 30s is an entirely different animal. 

You've probably had at least one serious or fairly serious relationship by now, which means you've got some baggage.  You've dated enough to know without a doubt what you want and what you refuse to accept in a relationship.  You're probably not looking for something casual and are starting to seriously consider who you're going to spend the rest of your life with.

Dating at this age is a little more political.  You start to think things like "What do I want to get out of this relationship?"  "Do I see myself with this person long-term?"  "Do we want the same things in life?"

What makes things the most difficult about dating at this age is the stereotypes and stigma associated with being single at this age.  Especially for a woman.

If you're almost 30 and single, many people will feel a tinge of pity presuming that if you haven't been able to snag a man by now it's all over for you.  Despite the fact that they may know nothing about you or your life there's that little twinge people get when they hear that you're solo.  And no matter how adamantly you may claim to be comfortable or even happy with that fact, you know deep down inside that they presume you're just kidding yourself and trying to save face.

Cause how could ANYONE be single and be happy about it.

Ok, so I know I'm generalising.  But I'm honestly sick of the look of pity on people's faces when they find out that I'm single.  You know what I mean.  That sad look that says, "Oh you poor dear, can't find a man.  You know you're not getting any younger."  And the sad thing is that many men you meet at this age are going to occasionally jump to the same conclusion.  That you're single for a reason.  And the older you get, the harder it gets. 

I know a few single women in their 30s and many of them have told me that dating at their age means meeting guys that presume they're automatically looking for a husband and God loving those commitment phobic men (kidding) they just run screaming from a bridezilla in the making who's biological clock is ticking.

I remember the first time someone jokingly asked me when I was going to get married.  I was about 22 at the time and currently in a fairly serious relationship.  I was mildly embarrassed but if anything it made me realize that I had no intention of marrying the guy I was dating.  The thing that bothered me so much about it was that I was ONLY 22.  Why were people pressuring me to get married?  I had barely graduated from University.  I was working at my first real job and was still living with my parents.  Does that sound like a person ready to get married?

Now I've had 4 major relationships in my life that each spanned more than a year each.  A few shorter relationships that fell into the less than 1 year category and what seems like a billion first dates.  So it's not like I DON'T date.  I'm just not obsessed with always having a boyfriend.  I'm comfortable with my own company and confident enough about myself and my circumstances to say that I don't NEED a boyfriend.  Not that I'm morally opposed to it or anything.  Not by a long shot.  But I'm not one of those women who defines herself by who she is or in my case isn't dating. 

What I've realized since the end of my last serious relationship is that meeting men at this age isn't as easy as it used to be.  Between work and my friends I don't honestly meet new people all that often.  That goes for men and women.  When I go out, typically I'm with a few friends and that doesn't make for the most approachable situation.  In the corporate world any new people you'd meet are either co-workers or clients and that's generally a big no-no. 

That leaves the grocery store, the gym, online dating and public streets.

I've had a guy pick me up at the grocery store.  He saw me reading a book standing in the cash line and struck up a conversation.  We went on 2 dates.  We had absolutely NOTHING in common and no chemistry at all.

I'm always a little weirded out by people who try to talk to me at the gym.  I guess there's always the theory that you have something in common already if you're both trying to be healthy.  And I guess if he's seen me sweaty, with no make-up on and in my yoga pants and he STILL felt inspired to talk to me that must be a good sign.  But honestly, does this actually happen?  Do people actually meet potential dates at the gym?  Is that why the chick on the elliptical behind me is barely sweating an wearing mascara?

Online dating.  Oh dear God.  Now, I'm not going to completely knock it.  We've all heard the success stories and for busy people it is a logical option.  But I've always found something a little creepy about it.  I tried it once and found it a little awkward and there's always safety/privacy concerns so I'm not inclined to try it again at the moment.

That leaves public streets.  Would you actually go out with a random guy that walked up to you on the street?  Doubtful.

I guess there's always the blind date option but I LOATHE the concept of being a charity case for my happily paired friends.

But if one never meets any new men, how can one possibly find Mr.Right?

Cheers,

Ash

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Don't judge a book by it's cover. Or title. Or genre for that matter.

I'm a book nerd. 

There I've said it. 

To all of my friends, this is not a newsflash.  I've been a book nerd my entire life.

I blame my mother.

She's a book nerd too.

When I was a University student, I got the most awesome job ever.  I started working part-time in a large format bookstore.  After almost 6 years, I had worked in every section of that store including kids, magazines, shipping/receiving, cash and entry level management.  It was awesome.  


Originally I got the job purely for the staff discount so I could actually afford the amount of books I purchased on a monthly basis.  I figured if I needed to work to pay for school, I may as well be dealing with something I enjoyed. 

Now, being a true book nerd, I am not a book snob.  I read everything.  When you work in a bookstore it behoves you to learn about the product you're selling.  You hear about all the popular books and authors all the time and are required to be familiar with them at a minimum.  If you've actually read them and have a first hand opinion, even better because many customers will listen to your recommendations and trust your judgement.

 As I mentioned, I'm not a book snob.  I really will read anything.  Although if anything it's more out of necessity.  That is because on average I read 2-3 books a week.  If I limited myself to a specific genre or topic I would have run out of books by now.  So there really isn't a genre that I haven't tackled at some point or another. 

What I noticed over the years of being an avid reader as well as working in a bookstore is that there are some deeply entrenched stereotypes about the readers of certain types of books.  It's sad because honestly anything that gets anybody reading could never be a bad thing.  And yes, there are some authors/topic/genres that are more interesting than others, but this is all a matter of opinion.  There is no such thing as a silly genre or a bad author.  You may think it's a bad book or a silly topic but somewhere out there, someone enjoyed it. 

Yet people judge you every day if you're seen reading certain types of books in public.

For example.  What do you think when you saw a 20-something woman on the train reading a romance novel? 

Self help book?

Philosophy book? 

Teen fiction?

Sci-fi/Fantasy?

Hard core business book?

The Bible?

All of these types of books have stereotypes that many people subscribe too.

Romance novel?  She obviously has no sex life.

Self help book? Oprah loving nutcase.

Philosophy?  Hippie university student.

Teen fiction?  Must be obsessed with Twilight.

Sci-fi/Fantasy?  No life, no friends, must play D&D in her spare time. 

Business book?  Corporate go-getter.

Don't even get me going on what we presume about people reading the bible or other religious books.

We jump to these conclusions and yet we know nothing about these people.

Personally I have read books in all these categories and more.  But nobody would think anything of it if they saw me reading historical fiction, a mystery novel or a biography.  Pretty narrow minded if you think about it.

So next time you see someone in public reading or browsing a section in your local library or bookstore, don't jump to conclusions.  Better yet, ask them how the book is.  You may surprise yourself.  'Cause the sad thing is?  Most people who read books in these genres are aware of the stereotypes and can guess what you're thinking.  Some even go so far as to be ashamed of it to a certain extent. 

So don't be a snob.  Read something that's outside of your comfort zone.  Ask someone about a book that they are reading that you would never read on your own.  You may surprise yourself. 

Read boldly my fellow book nerds. 

Cheers,

Ash

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Earworm: Or, Dear God why am I singing that song!

Last week I randomly caught myself humming Jingle Bells.

It's April.

I don't even really like Christmas.

It's called Earworm.

You know what I'm talking about.  That silly commercial jingle, the annoying pop song or even the last song you heard on the radio before getting out of your car. It gets stuck in your head and all of a sudden it's like a skipping record.  You find youself singing it over and over again.  Sometimes for a day, worst case scenario you're dealing with it for a week or more.

I'm so glad that there is an official term for this and that I'm not the only person this happens to.  'Cause it happens to me A LOT.

I'm a huge music fan.  My iPod has so many different varietieso music on it that most people are stunned.  Were talking Rock, Metal, Pop, Classic Country, Jazz, Classical, 60's Motown, 70's Rock, 80's Hair Bands, 90's Grunge, Broadway Showtunes and Disco.  Yes Disco.

I also work for a Marketing Consulting frim, so I tend to be very aware of commercials and advertisemens.

What makes it even worse is that I took music lessons for about 15 years and can play the paino by ear, which means that more often than not, I will remember a piece of music or lyics after having heard them once or twice.

Great skill to have as a musician, horrible for the person afflicted with earworm.

According to the theories, 98% of people have experienced earworm.  Women tend to experience it more often than men, and women tend to become more frustrated with it.

It also tends to be more common amongst people who have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), which basically means I'm doomed to suffer from earworm for the rest of my life.  I have musical training, my gender and OCD all working against me. 

I've had 2 brutal experiences with Earworm that I will never forget.  These two experiences rise above all the others for the sheer length of the affliction as well as the annoyingness of the song.

1) In 2007 Kellogg's released a commercial for their new product "Vanilla Mini Wheats".  I sang that jingle every day for WEEKS.  It is the most annoying, cutsey tune in the world and by the end of it I was ready to write to Kellogg's just to tell them to go eff themselves. 

Now because I'm a sharing type of person here's the ad.



To this day, everytime I hear it I can't help but sing along.  Annoying isn't it?

2) In late 2008, The Discovery Channel released a promo with their new advertising campaign "I love the world."  It was a great ad, it incorporated many of the stars of the Discovery Channel's popular shows and wasn't annoying like the Mini-Wheats jingle but after over a month of singing it, I was about ready to loose my mind.  Luckily in this instance I was not alone, my mother and one of the girls I worked with ALSO had it stuck in their heads.  So although I wasn't suffering alone there were other people that just contributed to my agony.  It was a vicious circle.  I'd think it was finally out of my head, and the girl at work would walk by my desk humming it and the process would start all over again.



Whart are some songs you've had stuck in your head?

Cheers,

Ash

Boom-de-ya-da, Boom-de-yada, Boom-de-ya-da, Boom-de-ya-da!!

Real Life: Sometimes it needs an UNFRIEND button

Thanks to the wonders of social media, many of us can now claim to have hundreds of "friends". 

Facebook has united us with ex-coworkers, the chick from High School who didn't really know you to begin with, the guy you dated back in the day, the girl you sat next to in some random University course, the friend of a friend, your ex-boyfriends sister and the guy you had a crush on in 4th grade.  All of these people are now considered our "friends" but are by no means usually part of our active social circle.  And that's the difference.  There's real friends, and virtual friends.  I can guarantee that most of the people I just mentioned don't really know me at all.  And yet I've never felt the need to "unfriend" them. 



There's a little bit of guilt and stigma surrounding the concept of rejecting a persons freind request or unfriending them on Facebook.  And don't we all scan our friends list when we see our friend count has gone down to figure out who could have unfriended us??

But here's my question.  Social media aside, when do we unfriend in real life? And how do we do it?

Some time around the beginning of University, my social group changed dramatically.  I met hundreds of new people at University and my new job and slowly lost touch with most of the people I had grown up with.  Mostly this wasn't a bad thing.  Clinging to mediocre friendships just because you've known them since childhood isn't necessary.  We're not evaluated as human beings based on how many friends we have. 

During this time, I walked away from my best friend since the age of 4.  Why?  I realized that despite her being the closest person to me in the world, our friendship was toxic. 

I'm guessing that every one knows what I mean by toxic relationship.  This is the friend that doesn't put as much effort into the relationship as you, the one that is never really there when you need them or is only around when they need you. 

Now bear with me people, I'm about to get nerdy on you.

Back in the 20's  a British Anthropologist figured out that human beings can maintain somewhere between 100 and 230 stable social relationships.  He settled on the number 150 and it's been dubbed Dunbar's Number ever since.  So in theory, we should be able to maintain 150 relationships.  That actually seems a little high to me.  I totally agree that a person can only maintain a certain number of CLOSE friendships.  Now by close friendships, I mean people you talk to regularly and spend time with.  People who know you well and who you know in return.  And especially, people who are there for you during the good, the bad and the ugly.  These are close friendships.  The people who you would do everything from shop with to cry with, to get in trouble with all while laughing about it afterwards. 

How many of these true friends do we really have?  5? 10? or only 1?

How many of us truly appreciate what it means to have these kinds of friends?

And what happens when one of these friendships starts to turn toxic?  When do you unfriend in real life?

Let me lay down some scenarios for you.

You've know each other for years and have always been really close but the last few years you notice that  you're the one making all the effort to keep the relationship afloat.  You make sure to go to all her parties and gatherings, but she is always busy on the night of yours.  You are always there to help her move but when you get your own apartment she's not feeling well.  You are always friendly and polite around her other friends but she doesn't even want to be there when your other friends may be included.  She says she'd rather just spend time with the two of you, but always makes you come to her.  When she fights with her boyfriend or gets dumped she's more than willing to come crying to good 'ole you but when you end a serious relationship she gives you a pat on the shoulder and says you're being dramatic?  The one who only spends time with you when they're bored, need something or are currently between boyfriends.  I think we've all had this kind of friend at least once in our lives.  The one who simply takes from the friendship but never puts anything back in.

Know the friend I'm talking about?

When do we say enough is enough?

And how do you un-friend in real life? 

I think that if you're not getting what you need out of any relationship and it can't be fixed you should walk away.  Now depending on the history of the friendship and the level of toxicity, trying to talk to the person can't hurt.  I wouldn't want to think back on the end of a long friendship and never be comfortable with the fact that I didn't really try to do anything to fix it.  But then deep down, a lot of the time we know that these friendships can't be fixed.

So stop contacting them, unfriend them on facebook or level with them and explain why you don't want them to be part of your life anymore.  Whatever you're comfortable with.  But I say, don't try to stop the Titanic from sinking.  Make sure the lifeboats make it to shore ;)  Take the energy you've been putting into toxic relationships and let the people that really matter know how much you mean to them.
So to all my friends who I love with all my heart, you know where I am if you need me.  And better yet, I know where you are too.

Thank you for being my unbiological sisters.

xoxoxoxo

Love,

Ash

Some entertaining friendship quotes for your enjoyment.

"Best Friends:  They know how crazy you are and still choose to be see in public with you."

"My friends are the kind of friends that if my house was burning down, they'd be roasting marshmallows and hitting on the firemen."

"A friend will help you move your couch, a best friend will help you hide a body."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You vs. Your Pet: The Battle For Bathroom Privacy

Warning:  While not getting into biological specifics, I'm talking about the bathroom.  Deal with it.

Anyone who has children or pets knows that there is NO SUCH THING as privacy.  Now I knew this in a very general sense long before I ever got my cat, yet it never fails to surprise me exactly how much of my privacy I have given up.

For those of you who can't relate, let me outline a typical scenario.

You've just spent the last 45 minutes on public transit and stumble into your apartment with one thought on your mind.

OH MY GOD I HAVE TO PEE!!!!!


You practically kill yourself ripping off your coat and shoes while almost tripping over your pet who is thrilled that you are home but unsympathetic to your plight.  You dash into the bathroom and sit down.

*sigh*

Now everything is fine until you realize that your pet has followed you into the bathroom, and in the case of my cat, currently trying to climb into my lap.  Or better yet, has curled up in my pants.
 
Really dude?  I know you're happy to see me and have been alone all day but I'm not really in a position to cuddle you or provide chin scritches. 

Now this is a universal pet thing.  I've had friends tell me that their dog follows them to the bathroom all the time.  I've even been at a friends house and had their dog attempt to bond with me while I peed.  And God knows that cats don't care what you're doing....if they want attention, it is guaranteed to be at the most inopportune time EVER. 

I've been told the same thing about children.  There is no such thing as privacy or a closed door when it comes to children or pets.  Someone I know was complaining that she misses taking a nice relaxing bath.  That since she had kids, she just never gets the opportunity anymore.  Now me, being the single person that I am was like, "just run the bath while you're putting them in bed and by the time you're done the bath will be ready."  She honestly looked at me as if I was delusional and said that it was obvious I didn't have children under the age of 5. 

But children and pets aren't that different in respect to privacy.
Cat vs. Bathtub - The Aftermath

The fun thing about pets?  My cat doesn't care what I'm doing in the bathroom.  If I'm trying to pee, he's sitting in my pants.  If I'm brushing my teeth, he's sitting on top of my toilet tank watching me.  Taking a shower?  He's trying to launch himself through the shower curtain to attack what he doesn't realize is me on  the other side.  And bath time?  Well he used to sit on the ledge of the tub and play with the bubbles.  Key words, used to.  That was before the dumbass fell into the tub with me.  

Why is it that we put up with so much from our pets and children?  God knows if an adult tried to sit on my lap while I went pee we'd have a problem.  But kids and pets seem to be immune to all of our regular boundaries.  Although we may be temporarily caught off guard by what they're doing, I'm sure there's not a pet owner out there that wouldn't give their cat a good scratch behind the ear before removing them from their lap.  How can you be mad when all they want is some attention from their favourite person? 

Side Note:  Being the dork that I am, I actually googled this popular pet behavior and here are some of my favourite reasons why your pets may like to follow you into the bathroom:

1) It's a great opportunity for attention because you are pretty much a captive audience at that point.
2) They're trying to figure out why you're not using a litter box
3) You're their pack alpha and they are therefore interested in everything you do
4) Because you try to close the door behind you, they presume you MUST be doing something interesting

Honestly I think all of them are possible but the most likely, at least for cats, is that they want attention when you aren't necessarily in a position to give it to them, contrary little buggers that they are.

Cheers,

Ash

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Orleans: Land of Gators, Gumbo and Tourists

So I recently got home from a week in New Orleans with my girlfriends.  Since long before Hurricane Katrina, I've always wanted to take a trip down and experience the sights and sounds of the French Quarter.  New Orleans is so much more than what most people experience.  On the surface it's a party town filled with drunken frat boys trying to get you to flash your boobs.  But if you make the effort, there is so much more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street.  Not that there's anything wrong with a good pub crawl along Bourbon Street ;)


Gator
The Swamps

If you ever go down to New Orleans, do me a favour and take an afternoon to head out to the swamps.  It's honestly something you can't experience anywhere else.  We did a boat tour and honestly at first I was a little concerned that it would be a let down.  When I arrived in Louisiana, my airport shuttle driver told me I was wasting my money going out there because all the animals were in hibernation and I wouldn't see anything.  Bulls&$@! buddy!! We saw DOZENS of gators.  Itty bitty baby gators and big ass 10 foot gators.  We saw turtles and cranes as well as bizarre hopping fish things that would jump out of the water.  Besides that, the swamps are surprisingly peaceful and beautiful with the calm waters and Spanish Moss covered trees.


Lafayette Cemetery 2 - New Orleans
City of the Dead

For anyone who doesn't already know, New Orleans has such a high water content in the soil that back when early settlers moved in they soon realized that they couldn't bury their dead without the coffins popping back up to the surface.  To solve this, they started building above ground tombs.  The cemeteries then, have become entire cities of these tombs, hence them commonly being referred to as Cities of the Dead.  Now I knew about these interesting cemeteries and at first I was hesitant to visit because I thought it was disrespectful to wander around someones grave and take pictures.  Once I got there I was amazed by the beauty of some of these old tombs and this history they outline.  Now some people even take guided nighttime tours of these cemeteries and listen to various vampire, ghost and voodoo legends.  Not this girl. Now despite these tombs being beautiful, they are incredibly creepy so the thought of being in one at night is a bit more than I could handle.  Honestly, I wouldn't even want to live near one or walk by one at night by myself.


Steamboat Natchez
Steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi River

If you've got the time, wander over to the riverfront and go on a lunch cruise up the Mississippi River on the Steamboat Natchez.  With lunch and a live Jazz Band, it's a neat way to see the Mississippi, learn some history and spend a relaxing afternoon.  The ride even takes you down to the 9th Ward where the destruction from Hurricane Katrina can still be seen.  Just do me a favour and don't forget your sunblock.  OH MY GOD did I get a sunburn.  And if you're super pale like me, save yourself the pain and go down to the French Market and buy yourself a big floppy hat.  You'll thank me later.  I promise.


Mansion in the Garden District
The Garden District

I swear I was a Southern Belle in a past life.  One of my favourite movies of all time is still Gone With the Wind.  For a $1.25 get your butt on the St.Charles Ave. Trolley and head out to the Garden District.  We spent a while just walking up and down residential streets filled with beautiful colonial homes that I could only dream of living in.  Street after street was filled with beautiful estates and stunning architecture.  Just be careful you don't get stranded out there ;)  We got stuck out in the middle of nowhere because they had shut the trolley down over an hour earlier than posted for an early St.Patrick's Day Parade.  After much grumbling, walking and limping we were finally able to catch a shuttle back to the French Quarter.



 Drinking, and Eating and Shopping OH MY!!

Entrance to The Dungeon
You can't go to New Orleans and not eat some Gumbo, have a drink on Bourbon Street or wander around the French Market.  Food is not cheap in New Orleans but the portions and quality make up for it.  If you ever go down there, check out the Court of Two Sisters on Bourbon Street.  They have an awesome brunch in a beautiful courtyard with a live jazz band.  Head to the Dungeon if you're adventurous and not frightened by loud rock music and heavily tattooed clientele.  Sit at the bar and try one of their house drinks like the Midnight Potion.  I don't know what's in it but it's purple and will knock you on your ass.  The good thing about the Dungeon is that it's surprisingly quiet.  Because of the goth/metal atmosphere a lot of the party girls and frat boys steer clear.  We got a good laugh out of the 30+ people we saw walk in, take a look at the place and do a 360 to get their asses back onto Bourbon Street. Wimps.

One of my funnier culinary stories from the entire trip is from my first day in New Orleans.  After getting up at 5am, spending hours at the airport and more hours on a plane and shuttle bus, I had finally checked myself into our hotel and had a shower.  Awake and clean I started wandering the French Quarter in search of a late lunch.  Not feeling very adventurous on my first jaunt out I grabbed some simple chicken fingers.  Everything was going well when the girl at the counter asked me if I wanted regular or spicy.  Spicy? I could totally go for spicy! Now I love spicy food.  Always have.  So I was a little insulted when the girl stared at me for a bit and said "Are you sure hun?"  which translated to "Please white girl,  this is Louisiana."  Now I have to admit.  Their version of spicy and our version of spicy are two different things.  After all this is the home Tabasco Sauce.  But I braved the spicy chicken fingers and only had to down one glass of water ;)

On another note, for $1 you can get a daiquiri at Cafe Maspero on Decatur Street.  Just be careful when they ask you if you want to upgrade to the large for only $3.  What they will hand you is a daiquiri that's about the size of a 7/11 Big Gulp.  All I have to say is BRAIN FREEZE.

For souvenirs head down to the French Market.  Everything from Voodoo dolls, Mardi Gras beads, masks, gator claws, handmade jewelry and shirts can be found at this daily flea market. 


Bignets
Cafe Du Monde

I had to break this out on it's own because it deserves a place of honor.  Open 24/7.  Bignets.  Cafe Au Lait.  Best Hot Chocolate ever.  Don't question it.  Just go.  Just don't go during the day because you'll stand in line FOREVER.  Midnight, after a day of walking around and a night of drinking there's no better place to be.




Ubercreepy St.Germain House
 Haunted Tours

Between vampires, ghosts, voodoo, pirates and murderers New Orleans has a legend about pretty much everything.  The most haunted city in the US, there are tons of legends and stories that will keep you up at night.  One of the fun but touristy things to do is go for one of the guided tours that take you through the city and tell you all the grisly stories of the past.  Once dark hits, you will see dozens of these tours on every street corner  They're fun and the guides are great.  Just be prepared that even if you don't believe in any of it, there's a certain air about the place that can easily play with your imagination.  Buildings that during the day were beautiful will now be creepy and ominous and you'll never quite be able to look at them the same again.  Walk by the Ursuline Convent, St. Germain House or LaLaurie Mansion during the day and you'll just think they're pretty buildings.  Spend an evening being told about the murders that took place there and various haunting's and even the most hardened cynic will get chills when walking by them alone at night.  There's a reason why most of the locals won't go near these places at night.  Hell, apparently a lot of people won't go near these places during the day and go to great lengths to avoid them.

Bourbon St. at night
All in all I really loved New Orleans but I honestly wouldn't go back.  It's one of those places that once you've experienced it you're kinda done.  I saw everything I wanted to see and did everything I wanted to do.  I'm not a huge drinker and even if I was, I can  bar hop just as easily in Toronto.  The people were nice but the place is crawling with tourists, most of whom are drunk.  The city is beautiful but the sidewalks are falling apart and difficult to navigate sober let alone when drinking.  It wasn't uncommon for us to yell "HOLE!" to warn the people behind us of a massive pothole in the sidewalk that could break your ankle if you were caught unaware.  Bourbon Street is fun but in the light of day, the strip clubs are cheesy and despite the awesome job the city clean-up crews do, areas of the French Quarter in the heat can smell like a combination of murky water from the Mississippi, rotting garbage, horse manure from the carriage tours, spilled alcohol and various bodily fluids that I don't even want to think about mixing together in the gutters.  Trust me when I say that if you see a puddle.....under no circumstance should you step in it.  You don't know what's in there and honestly you don't want to know.

Cheers,

Ash

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just Because You Can DO, Doesn't Mean You Can Teach

Today I was reminded of why I decided to not become a teacher.  Oh yes, I thought about it at one point.  But early on in my academic career I learned that just because I'm good at a subject didn't mean I could effectively teach it.


When I was in University I studied History.  More specifically I studied British History focusing on the time period from around the Reformation up till the Restoration.  Confused yet?  We're talking roughly 1485 to 1689.  Still confused?  Dont' worry about it.


As the token nerd of my social circle it's not uncommon for me to be asked for help when it comes to all things academic.  So when a friend of mine asked me to proofread an essay of hers I didn't think twice about it. 


Now I understand that writing doesn't come easily to everyone.  God knows I'm not obsessed with grammar by any means, but generally I find things like sentence structure and flow to be somewhat second nature and I guess I've never really understood exactly how difficult it is for people who truly struggle with writing. 

I certainly got a crash course in it though.

How do you tell your friend that based on their writing you would presume that English was NOT their first language?

There is really no easy way to say that.

Now rather than sentencing myself to editing this person's essays for the next 4 years, we got together and I tried to teach her "Essay Writing 101".

Let's just say that afterwards I was really tired, had a massive headache and needed a drink.

After 4 hours or re-writing her essay together I came to a very simple tip that will help everyone.

If you're writing an essay for University.  NEVER ask one of your friends who has already graduated to proofread it for you. 

1) You're putting the person proofreading in a very awkward position if your writing SUCKS
2) No that's pretty much it.  You're putting your friend in a very awkward position if your writing SUCKS.

Tutors exist.  People that do not tutor or teach, usually don't do so for a reason. 

Cheers,

Ash

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Kitten: Cute but Evil

I am the proud mom of a 1 year old kitten named Jasper, and I adore him.  I mean what's not to love?  He's cute, fluffy, affectionate and highly entertaining.  He's my fur baby.

Jasper - 10 Weeks Old
He's also EVIL.

No I'm not talking soul stealing evil, I'm talking chewed my strappy high heels evil.

Now don't get me wrong.  I love my kitten.  He brings me great joy and is a wonderful companion.  I just wish every once and a while he would be a typical independent standoffish cat. 

I'm pretty convinced that my cat is in fact a dog.  He doesn't have typical cat habits and generally follows me around like a puppy.  He also likes to play fetch, which is a dead giveaway. 

In general he's a great behaved little furball.  He doesn't destroy the furniture, uses a scratching post and has never done anything gross outside of his litter box.  He does find very interesting ways to misbehave though. 

Example1:  He likes to chew my hair.

I'm not one of those people who thinks pets need to be kept off the furniture.  My cat is more than welcome to curl up on the couch with me or on the foot of my bed.  And he does.  Pretty much every night, he falls asleep curled up at the foot of my bed after a rousing game of "let's attack mom's feet every time they move under the blankets."  Too bad that's not where he is when I wake up.  It's not uncommon for me to wake up in the morning with a kitten sitting on my head, his ass in my face, tail smacking me while he chews on my ponytail.

Yep.  My cat has a hair fetish.

He's also one of those cats that's just always in your face.  No matter what I'm doing he's trying to climb onto my lap or rub up against me.  Case in point he's currently sitting on the corner of my desk trying to attack my fingers as I type and has been known to plant his butt on top of my homework when he wants attention. 

When I cook he likes to sit on top of my fridge and watch.  When I take a bath he likes to sit on the ledge of the bathtub, which entertainingly enough once resulted in him falling in with me.  He's just one of those curious and affectionate cats.

But as I mentioned.  He's EVIL.  I mean I'm not superstitious about black cats or anything but I'm pretty convinced that my cat has the soul of a trickster.  There's no other explanation for it.

Here's  a list of all the things he's managed to destroy:

- 3 Blackberry chargers
- 4 sets of iPod headphones
- the shoe laces of my running shoes
- the fringe on my cute red scarf
- a pair of strappy high heeled sandals
- the drawstrings on every single hoodie I own
- the cord of my mouse
- the pull cord for the blinds on my window

Pretty much anything that has something long and skinny dangling from it.  Hell he tries to chew on the drawstring of my pj pants while I'm still wearing them.  It's crazy.  In the grand scheme of things he's never destroyed anything irreplaceable.  And it's become somewhat of a game for me to find creative places/ways to hide the things that attract him.  I'm not so good at it though.  My last set of headphones was in my purse and the little furball managed to undo the snap on my purse and pull them out to get to them.

Like all cats he has a box fetish. 












An obsession with sleeping in places he doesn't belong.






And a love of pots and pans?














All in all, shoe eating aside, he's a great companion and as every pet owner already knows, an essential part of my life despite the fact that he commonly jumps on me in the middle of the night or hides cat toys in my purse for me to find when I'm at work. 

Cheers,

Ash