Ghosts

March 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Driving up to the condo, I had flashbacks of one of the last times I was in this area. Slamming my car door shut, huffing, puffing and stomping through the snow, gearing up to run my mouth with multiple opinions that were barely contained by my pursed lips. Back to the present, we parked the car. I looked out to see the mirror of the place that held many of my memories, fond and not so. I was weirded out, but amused. Two and a half years had passed over those memories after all. No biggie.

I opened the door and was struck by how identical it was to that old place. Literally. The only differences were the items inside, and the mirrored layout. I walked in, and another memory came rushing forward. Bittersweet, this time. I remembered that diagonal wall. I remembered the door I had trouble opening. I remembered the ceiling with its curious stucco patterns. Identical, just mirrored.

I remembered the first room, which in that old place was to your right, but this being the mirror of that place, it was to your left. I peered in and was struck by a bizzaro element. There was my bed, staring me in the face. My bed, that I have owned for the last 10 years. In this condo, identical to the old one, just mirrored. Were it a bed from IKEA, I wouldn’t be surprised, but it wasn’t. I had bought it from a store in Montreal, 500km away, 10 years ago. Though I guess most people wouldn’t be shocked at that, my bed isn’t the most unique thing in the world, but I had certainly never seen anything like it anywhere else when I was shopping for beds all those years ago. But anyway.

Where I remembered light blue walls, I was greeted with bright red. Where I remembered a black leather couch, I saw one printed with leopard spots. Where I remembered an extensive cd collection, rockabilly dolls had found their place. But you know, it was identical, just mirrored.

I didn’t want the unit, it was a tad too small for my taste, in front of train tracks and hydro lines. But it was funny taking that bizzaro walk through time. Damn condo developers.

Running away with the circus

February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Winter in Canada is quite the brutal affair, and even though Toronto isn’t as bad as others, it’s still worse than a human can sustain without resorting to specialized 700$ arctic winter gear. Back in the elementary school days, I used to make snow angels, have snowball fights, and generally traipse around the white stuff with the best of them, but as I grew older, and less prone to frolic around in the cold, I couldn’t handle the freezing temperature. The worst, least logical thing to do in such conditions, at least in my opinion, was running. I used to look at those crazy people running around in the slippery, icy, snowy conditions, armed with nothing other than running shoes, tight pants, a windbreaker, and a tuque and wonder what could possibly compel a  human being to get out there and, not only battle the freezing temperatures, but also exert themselves while they’re at it! Clearly these people were insane.

You know how the saying goes right? Never say never. Well, I said never, and fast forward to today, never has arrived. Today, I ran away with the circus.

It started in November. I hadn’t jogged in over a month, and I was surprisingly craving it. The unfortunate reality was that I was facing a good 6 months of winter ahead of me, and I didn’t want to hit the treadmill anymore. My craving was bad enough that I started trolling the Sporting Life and Lululemon websites for the gear necessary to go hardcore on winter running. Nothing like a boost of pretty things to get you motivated! Acquiring these pretty things took a little longer than I would have liked but the winter is so definitely not over yet.

Having acquired all the gear I needed, I got home today, and set off before I had enough time to reconsider my venture into crazyville. I hit the pavement, tunes pumping, sun setting. Halfway down my block I felt a chill over my back and remembered the breathability of my base layer. Yeesh. I shook myself out of the reaction and continued. Turning the corner onto a bigger street, I suddenly felt self-conscious. I used to roll my eyes at runners in the winter, and here I was, bundled up with nothing but a thin layer of nylon-spandex guarding my bum from the elements, wondering what people were thinking of me. That’s the funny thing about growing up, you remember how you used to react to “older” people doing “crazy” things like run outside in the winter, or tell dirty jokes, or offer advice about dating, and though you’re on the other side, wiser and rolling your eyes right back at those teenagers who have much to learn, you suddenly gain consciousness of the shift. But let’s ignore that for now, that’s my crazy “30th birthday looming” self talking.

Warm up over, I started jogging. My expectation was that I would jog for a block and then my lungs would start to rip into shreds because of the lack of two things: oxygen, and practice. I kept those expectations at bay by checking the pavement ahead, expecting ice patches everywhere and a wipeout by yours truly to entertain the evening commuters. Surprisingly, my expectations were not met. I didn’t slip and fall, and managed to run much further than I was able to in the summer, prior to the familiar lungs-being-ripped-to-shreds feeling kicked in. And even then, it wasn’t that bad. Was it all that moksha yoga I had been doing since I stopped running? Was it the colder temperature? I don’t know WHAT it was, but I just had an awesome run.

Of course, around the end, I felt like there were icicles hanging off my butt, and that I could “cut glass” if you know what I’m saying. I’m still thawing as I write this but winter running, you have just been acquired as a hobby!

The way I am

February 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve noted a few things about myself over time. I’d like to think that makes me quite in tune with who I am.

I dislike pretension, and close mindedness. I love trying new things. I adore dancing. I steadfastly hate the idea of eggplant (though I’ve also noted that I’ve had eggplant when I was unaware of what it was I was eating, and quite enjoyed it). I love the color green, the number 13 (and 313), sweating it out in yoga class or hitting the pavement with my runners. And one glaring thing I’ve realized, that has come up in various major decisions I’ve made in my life, is that I rely intensely on my gut.

Both apartments I’ve lived in just “felt” right the second I stepped into them. I parked behind an Impreza one day and decided that it would be the next car I leased. I turned down two jobs based on my gut feeling that the best was yet to come at my company. All based on gut feelings.

It’s proven pretty useful in the above-mentioned examples, yet annoying in other areas (love life, snagging deals on clothes/shoes). At times where I’ve ignored my gut and went ahead where I felt I shouldn’t, I’ve been burned. However it’s always a learning experience I welcome. Sometimes the lesson is a big one (dating the wrong guy), other times, not so pivotal (eating the last few bites of Eggs Benny after your stomach has had its fill).

The scariest decisions are ones where my gut and brain/heart are at odds. The gut, at this point in my life, is an inexplicable inclination to do something that neither your heart nor your brain condone. At the moment, I’m faced with such a decision, and it’s a big one with financial implications to boot. However, my gut’s just telling me to go with it. Do it. Don’t back down. You won’t regret it. I doubt I’ll regret it, but the pre-decision jitters are just an integral part of life. It’s all about change, and how hard it can be, even if it’s for the better. Even if it’s something you’ve wanted to accomplish for a long time. I feel like I’m looking down that rabbit hole and I’d love to see what’s down there before taking the leap, but it looks like I’ll have to let myself fall to find out.

You say potato, I say grilled shrimp with mustard and goat cheese drizzle

February 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here I am, in the land of association again. First, it was a bag of Miss Vicki’s Jalapeno flavored chips reminding me of a college friend. Now, it’s online “window” shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond reminding me of Saturday morning catnaps in the sunbeam on my parents’ living room floor.

It took me back to the time I transitioned from kid to preteen, when my Charlie Brown bedsheets just didn’t make me happy any more, when they were no longer enough. I remember once picking the sheets at the top of the pile to make my bed, and they happened to be the yellow set. The set that I didn’t typically use, but since I was in the midst of the onerous task of making my bed, I just went with it. That night, I remember turning down my sheets, and suddenly the vast yellowness in front of my eyes made me think of sunshine.

From that moment on, I relished the idea of sleeping in those sheets. Of course, associative memory being what it is, it’s only now that I realize the correlation between those yellow sheets and my catnaps in the sunbeam. Those catnaps were the bookends to my Saturday morning cartoon viewing. Whenever there was a sunbeam to be basking under, I’d plop down on the floor and luxuriate under the radiating heat. I still get giddy when a patch of sunbeam streams across my desk at work, like it did this morning. Best way to start the day.

All this to say, no matter how trendy a color scheme, no matter how often I wear it, I will never buy gray sheets. I’m sleepin in sunshine, whoahoa!

P.S. The title is in reference to an appetizer I had at a Latin restaurant just yesterday. Delish!

Gettin nerdy with it

December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

I used to be one of those tragic cases of human being who believed that to participate and get into whatever the social committees were up to wasn’t cool. I thought by not participating and not getting into anything requiring “spirit”, I kept my cool cred intact. I was wrong, as I’ve realized quite often lately.

That would be me at the bottom

You know what’s cool? Letting go of all that BS about being cool by being anti, putting the inhibitions aside, and saying “I had a freaking blast decorating my department for the office Christmas decoration contest.” I can’t remember having had that much fun at work, with my coworkers, ever. That’s why I love nerds. I love when someone can unabashedly throw themselves into something, be it stamp collecting, Star Wars, knitting, math jokes (my own personal brand of nerd-dom) whatever! Anyone who can fully immerse themselves in an activity or hobby, inform themselves of all the minutiae of their chosen interest, learn the lingo, and cite fun facts has become a card-carrying (sometimes literally) nerd, and they should celebrate the fact that they lead a passionate life that disconnected, anti-everything people do not. Life is too short to pretend you’re above letting loose and having fun. Screw the aloof act and get nerdy with it!

You say you want a resolution

December 4, 2010 § 1 Comment

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions often. The last one I made was to run a 5K in 2006. I fulfilled the ability to run 5K in 2009, and have yet to run a 5K race. I don’t believe in the whole “I want to lose 10 pounds after having stuffed my face over the holidays” thing … it just doesn’t work, and brings on a lot of guilt. Screw that. However, sometimes, your life needs a thesis statement. Something like a marker to keep you on track or change any bad habits you’ve adopted. I’ve made some resolutions throughout the year in the past, and stuck to them better than I would any made in a post-New-Year’s-celebration hangover. I think it has a lot to do with the date itself, and how society has adopted the idea of change beginning on January 1st. I myself have bought into this, so while I dislike it, I understand it as well. It’s like a cleaning of the slate. Back to square 1. That kind of thing. But who says you can’t do that on any arbitrarily picked date on the calendar?

Basing myself on this argument, here are a few of my resolutions pertaining to life in general.

1. When you say you will do something, go through with it.
2. Have faith.
3. Be less sarcastic.
4. Be less cynical.
5. Be patient.
6. Seek the positive in life.

Starting right… NOW!

In honour of American Thanksgiving…

November 19, 2010 § 2 Comments

I am thankful for many things. My family and friends. My health. My ability to provide myself with the basic needs (food, shelter, clothing) and then some (travel). But on a day like today, at the tail end of a week filled with work issues with contractors, I have to stop and say thanks to the people I see most in my life: my coworkers and boss.

When I graduated from university 6 and a half years ago, I thought I’d get a cushy job in Dubai, learning the ropes in my field, and making a mint to bring home at the end of my 1-2 year-contract. I thought I’d move back home, buy myself a nice condo, have zero debt, and travel anywhere my heart desired. Of course I’d have another cushy job supporting myself so the money flow would be endless. Very little of my expectations had to do with the work I’d be doing to obtain all these goals.

Things didn’t turn out as I thought they would. Life lesson #1: nothing will turn out as you thought it would. Quote Conan O’Brien. My lavish expectations were swept under the rug as I had to deal with work. Life lesson #2: you will never get something without nothing. I started working in my field, learning the ropes, almost painfully slowly. Life lesson #3: you have to learn to walk before you learn to run. I tried not to make mistakes, but collided with them head on regardless. Life lesson #4: don’t try not to make mistakes, because you will make them anyway. Oh and let’s not forget Life lesson #5: if you thought you were the shit because you graduated from university, come back down to earth and have yourself a helping of humble pie, cause, my friend, you ain’t seen NOTHING yet.

That’s what I’ve learned in a nutshell. Post-graduation has been one learning experience after another. One glaring fact is that I’ve been extremely lucky where workplace is concerned. While learning the ropes, I could have fallen under the hands of a cruel boss (and from the stories I hear my friends tell, there are many), I could have dealt with competitive and backstabbing coworkers, in an environment that screams “every man/woman for him/herself!” But I didn’t. They have been there for me every step of the way, answering all my questions without rolling their eyes, offering me support when I needed it and even when I didn’t, and most importantly, allowing and encouraging me to grow. To each and every one of them, I say thank you. Thank you for checking my work. Thank you for being my cheerleaders. Thank you for calming my meltdowns. Incidentally, the last two apply to my family above all else. So what does that say about my 2nd family? Pretty awesome stuff.

Thank you for making my workplace a place of envy.

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