The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here!
Well…almost here. It’s in the vicinity.
That’s right. I’M GONNA BE AN ASTRONAUT!!!
But first – I need your help. ALL of you. Go here and vote for me :
The Last Drop in the Bucket (List)
via Race for Space.
And tell your friends. Tweet about it. Share it on Facebook. Get me in that spaceship!!!
Dearest Sneaky MacSneakerPants :
In all the years that I have known you and worked with you, you have always been the quintessential keeper of secrets – a master spy if ever there was one…a veritable vault. And now it has been brought to my attention that you might perhaps, maybe, just possibly know the identity of my Secret Santa. Though I know you will be a hard nut to crack, I feel ready for the challenge.
My source (who is very sneaky indeed, but not quite sneaky enough) has also let slip several hints about the alleged Secret Santa’s purchasing history (I know that someone as super-sneaky as you would never be so reckless with such sensitive information!) But the hints are as follows:
A) the gift is wearable;
B) the gift is actually two of something;
C) the gift is neither gloves nor socks.
Although I am known to be a profoundly patient person *ahem*, I cannot help but ponder this great mystery.
I have a feeling that if I should guess correctly and my Secret Santa was made aware, however sneaky and secretive he (or SHE) may be, he (or SHE) might crack under the pressure and come clean.
So, although I have NO IDEA who that Secret Santa is, you do work in the same office, so I was thinking you might have connections. Therefore I am sending my list of guesses to you in the hopes that you can do me a solid and pass it on (secretly and sneakily, of course). My guesses are as follows:
Drea M.’s Top Ten Potential Secret Santa Gifts
- False eyelashes [already own some, but can always use an extra pair]
- Breast implants [don't need these, thanks - trust me]
- Moon boots [REALLY REALLY like these!]
- Knee pads [might need these while using the moon boots]
- Wrist casts [might need these after using the moon boots]
- Nipple rings [I enjoy a good exotic piercing, but might be kinda weird to show off at the office party]
- Shoulder pads [the 80s are coming back]
- Ear muffs [can never have too many]
- Dentures [....]
- Pasties [there is a surprising amount of wearable things that involve boobs - ever notice that?]
Please tell my Secret Santa that I shall have no problem at all in waiting until Christmas, but I would hate for him (or HER) to have to suffer beneath the burden of keeping such important information to him (or HER) self, so he (or SHE) should know that I would be willing to share the load.
I know I can trust you with this message.
Thank you, and Happy (Early) Holidays.
Your friend, co-worker, and confidante,
Yes, it’s been awhile. Yes, I’m still alive. No, I don’t really have a blog post for you to read. Just this:
WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING READING THIS??? IT’S SUMMER!! GO OUTSIDE!!
I promise to return at a more hibernate-y time to tell you all about all the fun I‘ve been having this summer. Now GO!
Here’s to the True North, Strong and
Fried, er, Free.
I love my country.
It was late at night as the Girl drove through town. The lights were red at the intersection, but as she pulled up to the line, the light quickly turned to green. The same thing happened at the next stop, and the next.
Though she had a vague recollection of some nonsense told to her by a member of the public works commission about the lights being controlled by sensors, she knew the real reason for her good luck.
As each light transformed its hue from angry crimson to welcoming emerald, the Girl saw, in the periphery of her vision, the flashing of dozens of cameras as an unseen doorman consulted a V.I.P. list before lifting a red velvet rope and waving her through. Liveried guards raised their spears and bowed their heads as she passed. Fans cheered and threw flowers.
The Girl blew a kiss into her rear-view mirror. It felt good to have connections.
Just another night in the head of Drea M.
*DISCLAIMER: I am not, nor do I claim to be, anything even remotely close to an expert on the subjects broached in this post (with the possible exception of the bit about spit puddles). I am a total amateur in every single possible sense of the word, so take your snobbery elsewhere.
Most people, if asked what kind of music I listen to, wouldn’t hesitate – I make no secret of my obsession with, er…loyalty to certain musical brands. (The Killers and The Cure, for instance…and not just because I enjoy the wordplay. Which I do.) Yeah, alternative/indie/goth/rock, mostly – I’ll even admit to the occasional momentary lapse into the Carpenters (usually in the shower, when I am still half-asleep and being primarily controlled by some lower part of my reptile brain).
But what people don’t know is that I’m a closet classical music freak. (If you are one of the many, many members of the population who find classical music like nails on slate, you might want to bow out now. You will not be judged.) In fact, being judged is why I don’t usually tell many people about this. People who rhapsodize about their love of classical music sound like assholes. And many are lying. Many are probably also basing this claim on their familiarity with samples from Carmina Burana in the soundtrack for [insert random movie title here], which is not necessarily a bad thing.
But I – I currently have Mozart’s early symphonies on auto-repeat in my car. And as I write this, I am listening to a compilation CD of some of my favourites (and oh, yes, there are many clichés there, too – sometimes things become overrated because they are Awesome. It’s just how things are.) I was surprised at work the other day by my boss, who caught me listening to Wagner as I worked on my reports (she looked at me funny.)
And music truly does soothe the savage breast. I can be in full-tilt moonphase demon mode, and three seconds of Vivaldi and I’m all better! (And if anyone posts a comment giggling about me misspelling ‘beast’, there’s going to be a whole new post tomorrow about classical theatre.) An ordinary day, full of ordinary dullness and the chores of everyday life…can be elevated to fine art by the simple addition of some really beautiful classical music. It’s like getting a brain massage while doing the dishes.
And there is music for every mood! Dreamy? Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Need empowerment? Peer Gynt by Grieg. Tense and need to sort out the chaos in your mind? Pretty much anything by Mozart (except…) Miserable and want to wallow? Mozart’s Requiem. Jaunty and feeling like doing a silly walk? Ravel’s Bolero. Daydreamy or in love? Bach’s Suite No. 3 (also very nice for setting the mood during an afternoon nap in the sun). Bipolar? Much of Beethoven’s body of work will suffice.
I don’t know if you can ‘acquire’ a taste for classical music, though. Most people either love it or hate it, I think, and for me it truly was love at first listen. I loved a lot of music as a kid, which was kind of weird, because there was never really much music in my house. My parents had a small collection of eight-tracks (er, should I be admitting that? If you don’t know what 8-tracks are…well, piss off) from their teen years, and I would commandeer the machine for whole afternoons of listening to Pink Floyd and Cat Stevens…but I also had this tiny little glass music box with brass cogs inside that played ‘Für Elise’ and I would wind that sucker up over and over, pressing my ear to it to listen to its tiny tinkly sounds.
Even so, I was never exposed, really, to classical music until I was around 10 years old. I was in sixth grade and because we would be in junior high the following year, the junior high band came to perform a concert for us in an attempt to recruit future band nerds.
Now, of course, looking back, it seems quite laughable. I can only imagine what the junior high band must have sounded like. Trust me, I know. But because I’d never been in a room of any size with a live orchestra, I had no idea what to expect. As I sat cross-legged on my coat on the gym floor that day, I fell in love. Watching those kids – those ordinary kids – looking all dignified and serious with their dainty little flutes and impressive-looking brasses and the timpani (just like in The Catcher in the Rye!), I felt myself lifting out of my body and floating up and up, out the open skylights and into the atmosphere. I’d never felt anything like it.
I begged my parents to let me join band the following year. But I was already heavily into skating and they really didn’t think I should spread myself so thin, plus the added expense of an instrument…so I entered seventh grade without joining band. But don’t worry – by eighth grade, they were sick of me whining, so I was fitting myself out for a clarinet a bit late, but there I was. In my grey skirt, white blouse and burgundy crested blazer, my shiny silver and black woodwind in hand.
Oh, I loved it. Yes, I hated the feel of the reed on my lip. I wasn’t crazy about the mutually-accepted nonchalance of musicians regarding spit puddles. Being too keen moved me up to first chair before I was really ready for the responsibility of having to put in extra practice time for solos, which led to the occasional ‘Oops, I just split my last reed, sorry!’ moment. But I loved the comradery, I loved the special occasion feeling of backstage before a concert, I loved being surrounded by and a part of the music during a performance, I loved getting out of class for rehearsals.
However, I still sort of sucked, and I eventually learned I preferred listening to performing.
The best was yet to come. In university, I was enrolled in the core acting program and since we acting students were always around anyway and usually hungry, the performance hall that shared the theatre school space gave us first choice of ushering jobs. That’s right – I ended up getting paid to sit in the back of a darkened theatre for symphony performances, operas, music recitals, ballets, letting the music wash over me…oh, my god, it was HEAVEN.
It was in those years that the music crept into my soul and I’m still as smitten as I ever was. But I can’t help but wonder if my neighbors love it as much as me, ’cause I’m playing it kind of loud today.
My last name at birth was Hepburn.
My grandfather used to tell me, when I was too little to be suspicious or question what he meant by it, that I was “a true Hepburn.”
I also really, really like books.
How do these facts relate to one another, you ask?
Well, I was re-reading ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Brönte the other day (because the last time I read it, I was seven…and funnily enough, a lot of it didn’t really stick with me). And guess what???
One of my ancestors is mentioned in it!!! (My Great-Uncle Firth keeps track of the family tree, and this dude is on it – and up until now I was marginally ashamed to be related to what seemed to be a long line of witches, murderers and horse thieves…BUT NOW I THINK IT’S AWESOME!)
Here it is (and if you don’t believe me, click here to go to the actual text):“I like black Bothwell better: to my mind a man is nothing without a spice of the devil in him; and history may say what it will of James Hepburn, but I have a notion, he was just the sort of wild, fierce, bandit hero whom I could have consented to gift with my hand.”
So it’s hereditary.
I had a skating dream last night.
Skating dreams are frustrating, because unlike most of my dreams, my skating dreams do not stray far from reality. (My skydiving dreams, for instance, are nothing short of epic – skydiving in real life is pretty freakin’ awesome, but in dreams I am like a superhero.)
In my skating dreams, I am usually in the same dingy small town rink that I spent most of my youth in. It’s still cold, and I still can’t land a triple anything. But for some reason, I wake up feeling nostalgic – which is interesting, because I sort of hated skating.
You see, I was forced to start skating against my will. I was (yeah, I know) pathologically shy as a kid. My parents thought it would be healthy for me to have some extracurricular social contact, and since we lived in a small town with limited choices, it was either girl scouts, a church group of some sort, or figure skating. Figure skating it was.
Okay, so maybe I didn’t totally hate it at first. I may have even been kind of happy after my first lesson, even though I was confused because I couldn’t tell if my instructor was a boy or a girl. (She had a bowl cut and was wearing pants. Gimme a break, I was seven. I figured it out…eventually.)
And then I moved through the badges really fast and made some friends – one of whom would turn out to be my best friend when we both wound up at the same school for junior high. Then it was suggested to my parents that I continue on to the group mysteriously known as ‘Juniors’.
I had no idea what ‘Juniors’ was. But I became one. And made a total ‘tard of myself on the first day.
In addition to being really shy (and therefore unlikely to initiate conversation even to ask a question which really should be asked, like, say, “So this Juniors thing…what’s that all about?”), I was also a pretty easy-going kid. I was happy to live my life on a need-to-know basis. I mean, I trusted my parents not to subject me to anything that would be bad for me (boy, did I grow out of that!), and so I figured ‘Juniors’ was where I was supposed to be and that was that.
The first day of Juniors was a Saturday. Instead of just an hour in the evening once a week like the badge program, I would now be skating all day on Saturdays and would have private coaches. When I came out of the dressing room, the other juniors were out on the ice. There were only a handful, and they were scattered all over the ice. I spotted my friend and made a beeline for her…and immediately got smacked-down.
Apparently there was this thing called ‘patch’, where each skater gets a patch of ice to work on their figures (yes, that means figure-8s, and…well, fancy figure-8s). Patches are sacred. You don’t skate across another skater’s patch. I’m just lucky Tonya Harding didn’t skate out of my club.
Well, I caught on.
Yeah, I went on to ‘Seniors’ eventually and even got my coach’s certification – though I hope none of the little brats I taught ever wondered if I was a boy. And the great thing about these hierarchical activities is that you eventually have others below you that you can act all high-and-mighty around and pretend you always knew not to skate over someone else’s patch.
I spent the next 10 years in rinks. All sorts of rinks. Nice ones, heated ones, big ones, ones with mysterious drips coming from the ceiling that formed icky yellow slush puddles on the ice. I remember my dad picking me up in the Jeep on dark winter nights, so exhausted I couldn’t even speak, stretching my throbbing feet in front of me and dozing off on the drive home, where I would eat the supper my mom had kept warm for me before crashing hard.
It’s not just the dreams that make me sentimental now – it’s other things, too. Like music. Even now, hearing “Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry” takes me right back to freestyle practice – that tinny, cheap 80s rink music. Or “The Stray Cat Strut” – from the year my precision line group dressed in cat suits for the year-end carnival. Any kind of waltz, and I’m right back in Tommy’s arms (Tommy was only boy in the club and had the burden of partnering everybody for their dance exams – poor Tommy), or worse, if Tommy wasn’t around, the arms of one of the two very-very tall girls in the club who had to stand in for him in a pinch. I remember very clearly protesting to my freestyle coach when she assigned me the song for my first solo choreography – “Tea For Two” and a bunch of cutesy footwork was waaaaay too baby-ish for a nearly-nine-year-old.
I remember other sounds, too.
Like the sound of Mrs. Gilmour – she was a sort of house mother that babysat all of us, sitting in the dressing room sewing our costumes and knitting us Lopi sweaters. “Get off that telephone, young lady! Do you know how much your parents are paying for your ice time??” The ooohs and aaaaaahs when our new dresses were finished – particularly my first dress with double ruffled skirts that flew out and looked like a tutu during a spin (custom-made by Mrs. G., of course).
The sound of skate blades scraping sideways to produce snow to pack on a fellow skater’s injury after a bad fall. If you think skating is a dainty sport, think again. I once put the end of my blade right through my shin-bone during a jump…not pretty.
Then there was the clack of hockey sticks on the hollow seats of the stands as the players filed in for practice after our session, and the hockey players bitching about us skaters leaving divots in the ice with our picks that even the zamboni couldn’t repair. (Blah blah blah.)
Oh, the hockey players. For some of us, that was about the only exposure we got to boys, other than school. We only saw them at a distance, from our lonely isolated patches of ice, though. I, of course, developed a long-standing crush on one, a boy with dark hair, dark eyes and a big smile. We actually became friends later on, and in fact, he may or may not have been my first date. Never did figure it out for sure. He started asking me to dance for all the slow songs at the high school dances, but I figured it was just because I was short and so was he. He used to joke around and eat popsicles over my shoulder while we danced, so I never took it seriously, even though I was mad for him. Then one night he asked me if I wanted to (what else) go skating with him (I figured he wanted the practice). He picked me up in his mom’s car and invited himself up to my room afterward. But I was a 14-year-old four-eyed dork whose entire social life so far consisted of hanging out in a cold rink with a bunch of other girls and I’d never had a boy in my room ever …so when he came and sat next to me on the bed, I figured he needed more room, so to be polite, I went and sat in the chair. He’s happily married with kids now, I hear. Still cute, though. Wonder if he still plays hockey?
And then there are the smells. Freon. Oh, the smell of freon, that cold ozone-y taste of the air in a rink. I will never forget it. (Or maybe I will – have there been any long-term studies on what those fumes to your brain?) Boiled canteen hot dogs. Vending machine hot chocolate and Lime Crush. White shoe polish for your boots before a show or competition. Band-aids (yes, they have a smell).
But it’s only now that I have these fond reminiscences. When I turned 17, I rebelled. I discovered booze and boys (yes, finally) and threw a tantrum and declared that I hated skating, hated the cold, and never wanted to skate again. I got rid of all of my equipment except for one pair of skates (my best ones). And then I didn’t hit the ice again for many years.
The funny thing about it, though, it’s like riding a bike, I guess. Some years back, I went skating and I had been a bit nervous that I would fall on my ass. It came back instantly – along with all the memories of alllll those hours. It was awesome, despite how sore my feet were afterward from squishing them into my teenager-sized skates (which sadly, I hadn’t cleaned properly when I stored them in my fit of angst and it took the guy at the shop forever to get all the rust off the blades, amidst much ‘tsk’-ing over my treatment of such expensive gear, blah blah blah).
But as many hours as I spent there, I never did land anything great, like a triple-anything. So wouldn’t you think the least my subconscious could do would be to give me that in my dreams? But no. In my dreams, I even have to coach the wee ones and make them learn basic choreography to impress the parents (which, if you’ve ever seen a bunch of 4-year-olds in snowsuits on a slippery surface, well, you can imagine the challenge). I have not once done a back-flip combination á la Scotty Hamilton. And the music is still canned.
It’s so unfair. I really expect better of my imagination, you know.
1. I do not have to drink every shot that is placed before me.
2. I am, in fact, capable of keeping a secret without having my head explode.
3. Three weeks of planning a surprise birthday party = near-stroke from trying to keep a secret. *AH! I can BREATHE again!*
4. Vegan ‘cheese’ dip is a-ma-zing (trips to the ‘smoking area’ notwithstanding).
5. Watching my normally shy best friend perform Eminem at karaoke = EPIC.
6. There is way more food and booze left in my flat than even I can fathom. And we were wasted.
7. Porn star shooters are sour. Wash them down with champagne.
8. There are way more cigarettes left in that cigarette pack over there than my non-smoking lungs say there should be.
9. Some girls were just born to wear a tinsel tiara.
10. There is NOT enough room for 40 mylar helium balloons in a Honda Accord.
11. The very person who says ‘try not to let the cats out’ is the very person who is going to accidentally lock one of them in the foyer for several hours.
12. That 24-year-old you drunkenly hooked up with three years ago and who refused to accept your breaking up with him until your friend called him and threatened to sic the cops on him? He’s still going to be hanging out at that bar waiting to see if you ever show up there again.
13. Chocolate-covered pretzels may in fact be the ideal hangover food – salt (electrolyte balance), carbs (blood sugar regulation) and chocolate (need it be said?)
14. Though a room may contain omnivores, vegetarians, hard-core vegans, lactose-intolerants and gluten-free people, one thing will always unite them. [see #17]
15. Not everyone driving a cop car is a cop. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)
16. It’s probably not a good idea to wave to every cop car you see based on your having learned #15.
17. Fun drinking game: Every time the birthday girl throws her arms in the air and hollers “WOOO HOOO! Let’s do another shot!”, you have to drink a shot.
18. Remembering to stir fondue as it’s heating up is too much responsibility for intoxicated people. Stick with something easier, like the pre-made vegan ‘cheese’ dip.
19. A surprise party is a group effort that, planned by the right ensemble cast, can be a pure work of art.
20. I think I’m still drunk.