Monday, May 31, 2010

I might be a racist

Yesterday a really nice family came into the store who also happened to be black.  We chit chatted a bit at the front about some of our summer furniture before I asked them what brought them to the store.  The woman mentioned she was just looking for some candles, so I pointed out the fragrance of the month (25% off), and then sent her to the wall of candles with the rest of the scents.  As we parted, I happened to walk past our display of watermelon candles.  Of course, the first thing I thought was “Oh, I should let her know that these are on 20% off as well,” so I picked up one of them to walk over and tell her.  But then I froze with panic and indecision: going out of my way to offer watermelon candles to the black family?  Is that questionable?  I felt like I was being honestly helpful, showing her the newest candles, but then I worried it would be misconstrued as racism by them.  Ultimately, I put the candle down and went to hide in the dishes section.  Then I thought about the whole situation later: by NOT showing them the candles to avoid looking like a racist, I was totally racist. 

Why is everyone so sensitive?  I didn’t think of that family any differently until I started to OVER think the situation.  Given the evidence, I would recommend that the way to solve the race problem is not to think too much about it.  But I still don’t think there are many people (in Saskatoon, at least) that wouldn’t notice race right off the bat.  If we suggested to the older generations to just go with their gut when dealing with minorities, I think that would cause a lot of problems.  In my case though, I need to think LESS about how I am interacting with people, since I don’t get concerned about what I say or do until I really start to analyze the situation.  And when you’re trying to sell people candles and pillows for 8 hours straight, there’s not much else to do BUT think and analyze situations. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hi, my name is Jacquie, and I watch The Hills…

That’s right.  I’ll admit it.  Just last month, I adopted a strange and embarrassing addiction: watching The Hills.  It all started innocently enough.  One afternoon I was watching MTV Cribs and realizing how lame and questionable daytime television is.  One by one, Meez and all 5 kittens piled on top of me on the couch.  22 minutes later, it was happening: an episode of The Hills.  Covered in kittens, I couldn’t reach the remote to change back to the Food Network.  I considered sitting up and reaching for the remote, but with six cats asleep like angels on my torso, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  (Similar situations lead to me watching an episode or two of Dr. Phil this past winter as well.)  So I resigned to watching the entire Hills episode… and the one that followed.  I later found out that these episodes I had seen were from Season 5, and that the entire season was available to watch on MTV.ca.  So I watched them.  And I liked it.  Now every Tuesday night, I watch the newest episode and gush to my coworker Jamie about just how effing crazy Spencer and Heidi are.  Then I found out that Terri is a fan of the show, and she convinced me to watch the spin-off show about Whitney Port, The City.  So now I watch that too. 

I find both shows so fascinating, on several levels.  The first being the sheer bitchiness of the characters (both men AND women), and Terri described the phenomenon very well in her post "On Being a Bitch”.  I am also fascinated by their lifestyles.  Where do they get all their money?  What do they DO?  It’s all so empty and meaningless.  The show is terrible, I know that.  And probably mostly scripted and produced, like a higher budget version of The OC with less of Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows.  It’s pointless drama and super annoying, but it’s like a car wreck.  I just can’t look away.  Whether it’s Spencer and Heidi pushing everyone out of their life and buying up all the crystals in the land, or Stephanie getting DUI’s, or Brody being a giant D-bag, I can’t get enough of it.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I can get enough: 30 minutes every week is enough. 

Another selling point of The Hills is The After Show that follows it every week.  I just LOVE the hosts, and I often feel that I would make an excellent addition to their show.  All they do is point out Spencer_Pratt_arrives_8d20 (1) copyridiculous things in the show (super easy) and then judge everybody harshly.  I am excellent at both of these things.  I constantly see hilarious shit in the background of shows and I am SO GOOD at judging people harshly.  But this show makes it so easy: Just look at Spencer and Heidi and then try to NOT judge them harshly.  You can’t. They are so clearly crazy.  Look at his eyes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


As I mentioned, I also watch The City.  This show is less relationship drama and more just plain frustrating.  Whitney annoys me constantly.  She has a weird “I’m so innocent” attitude about her, and is always ignoring the advice of her mentor/boss/my hero Kelly Cutrone.  I think she’s making some effort to show that she can make her own decisions, but it always ends up that Kelly was right and she should’ve listened.  Whitney brings her friend Roxy somewhere she doesn’t belong, and ends up looking really unprofessional and stupid.  Additionally, the bitchy backstabbing between Olivia and Erin at ELLE magazine is always entertaining, and as I mentioned before, Kelly Cutrone is fucking awesome.  Case and point:

Nice one, Kelly.  If that’s a book, I’m going to buy the shit out of it. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Classic Jacquie

Lately I’ve had 8 hour shifts at work.  Normally I can hide how sarcastic/hateful/weird I am from my coworkers and customers, because my shifts are usually only 4 or 5 hours long.  After about the 4 hour mark, it becomes increasingly difficult for me to bite my tongue or keep my facial expressions friendly or even neutral.  One of my bosses realized this quite soon after I started, so she never leaves me idle for more than a few hours, I almost always end up with a task, or working in the stock room (if I’m especially hostile).  So after having a few long shifts, my coworkers are really starting to get a sense of the “real Jacquie” that my closest friends and family know (and love/hate).  Of course, everyone is quick to point out my sarcastic and twisted sense of humour, but lately people have been noticing the part I try to hide.  My hatefulness.  The stock room coordinator was first to pick up on it, saying I was “full of hate”.  But quickly he realized, despite being full of hate, I am excellent at what I do there.  This quickly lead to my receipt of one of the all-time best compliments I have ever gotten: a comparison to Dr. House.  Well, I compared myself, but everyone quickly agreed with me.  Yes, I am a hateful jackass, but I am awesome, competent, entertaining and smart.  He questioned my ability to love anything or anyone and then informed me that Spencer and Heidi Pratt’s marriage is ending.  (That’s right, I have been secretly watching The Hills.  Just Season 5 and all the new episodes.  But that’s another post for another time, besides, this aside is more to out Dave for watching The Hills than it is to confess my own guilty pleasure.) 

A lot of this comes back to apathy, which I’ve addressed before.  I just don’t care about anything.  I guess it’s normal to get to a point where you can cope with what life throws at you, without making it all seem dramatic and devastating, but a big part of it: I just don’t give a shit.  About anything.  But that’s not news; I’ve long since been aware of the fact that I don’t care and I hate a lot of things.  Today I had another important realization about it, though.  I do hate a lot of things, but I am consistently nice and helpful to people I like. When it comes to strangers and acquaintances, what niceness I have in reserve for them, comes in little bursts, and then lies dormant for a while.  For example, I had to pack some dishes to ship to another city today.  I spent 30 minutes wrapping, gathering the perfect sized boxes, bubble wrap, tape and styrofoam to pack the SHIT out of those dishes.  I did an excellent job, so that a stranger wouldn’t receive 15 smashed plates.  Also, I intend to keep my day off with the new job as Thursday, so that with this job, I can come in on Thursday mornings to help when we receive our stock truck.  Look how nice I am!  So that was my burst for strangers/acquaintances.  Don’t expect another one for a while (unless I really really like you).

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Minnie likes to hang around with her tongue out sometimes

Quick thought: Matt’s car has no tint on the back windows.  Today I realized how much of a bonus that is.  Some asshole was tailgating me (really bad, I couldn’t even see his headlights and it was raining today, so it made me nervous).  So I tapped the breaks a couple of times, hoping to send the message.  When he didn’t back off, I gave him the finger.  Put it up, plain as day, right up there in the back window.  It was awesome.  He quickly fell back and even changed lanes.  Awesome.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Road Trip to Alberta

First of all, I’m going to start this post by apologizing to my friend, Lojo.  We were in Calgary this past weekend for my cousin’s wedding and did not call you.  It was a lightning trip, as we drove out Friday and came back Sunday, and the weekend was full of family events.  And it’s worth noting that I feel extra bad about it, after realizing that it is your birthday this week.  :(  However, we did think of you every time we passed a sign for Red Deer or saw a rig worker.  We do plan to return, as despite all the family events, we didn’t actually get to spend very much time with any one family member.  We are going to try for before the winter, as we want to get out to Canmore and see some mountains.

Anyway, Alberta is a confusing place.  Because Calgary is such a large city, I often (mistakenly) assume it to have a certain amount of class and culture, like cities are supposed to.  Not so.  We found this beautiful machine parked in a lot which contained about 80% pick-up trucks:

p_00231Fuck their life.

I hadn’t been to Calgary since about 2007, and that was for a wedding as well, so I didn’t do much.  I’ve *never* driven myself around Calgary before, only ever on family trips where I sat in the back and gawked at the mountains the entire time they were visible.  I really don’t understand the allure of this city.  Many people in Saskatoon “aspire” to live in Calgary, or have some jealousy for those that have already “moved on up” to the city.  Sure, it’s bigger than Saskatoon, but what is the real attraction?  The only thing I can really see as being better than Saskatoon is its proximity to the mountains.  In terms of the city itself, I see very few qualities that would convince me to move there.  Although, their downtown skyline is much more impressive than Saskatoon, but the city still seems to opting to grow out, rather than up.  But even compared to Saskatoon, Calgary is very poorly planned and sprawling.  Everywhere we tried to go was at least a 30 minute drive and involved several different freeways.  There is a lot of open/unused space and their signs are all screwed up.  I still cannot figure out what is with all the directions on the street signs.  The sign for Stoney Trail had two branches, South and North, but the road itself was running east and west?  Then, add the fact that we were navigating with GPS on Matt’s phone, which was telling us what DIRECTION to head on Stoney Trail, it was all very frustrating.  An instruction like “Head Southwest on Stoney Trail North” was written “Stoney Tr N SW” at the top of the screen.  Wow, good thing I am an excellent navigator.  We managed to get lost only once, and that was when the phone battery died and I was winging it.  Not too bad.

That being said, before leaving Calgary, we did manage to get to the science center to see the Body Worlds exhibit.  It was fascinating and surprisingly artistic and beautiful.  I am considering filling out the donation paperwork, as I think it’s a wonderful and respectful celebration of the human form.  Although, there was one method of the plastination that I was most excited by.  There was a chicken, a lamb and a few body parts where the only part that remained were the arteries, blood vessels and capillaries.  It’s amazing to see all these little blood rivers stand alone. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s some controversy about where the bodies come from.  I think it’s mostly because members of religious groups have a hard time understanding that there are plenty of people who would gladly donate their bodies to science and education, and don’t view the human form with the same shame and disgust that the church would.

I quite enjoyed the exhibit, and if ever I have the chance to view any of the other versions (This one was Body Worlds 2 & The Brain – Our Three Pound Gem), I would gladly see them.  And I would highly recommend it to everyone.  There were even a lot of people with small children there, and I think that’s great.  It’s important to expose your children to things at a young age.  Respect to those people.  Respect.

Monday, May 17, 2010

No one else’s mom…

…could be this awesome.  She bought me a planter for the yard at a garage sale last month.  “Can you believe nobody bought this, Jacquie?”  I cannot.

And those aren’t wings, they’re handles.

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Love it.

Update: I sent my mom these photos this morning to her work email, and thanked her again for the planter.  Here is her adorable reply:

Thanks for the cat basket pictures.  It made me smile.  (Can you believe nobody bought that!!)It has been a little stressful here this a.m. .. trucks being delivered here without warning and paper work that doesn't make sense......  It's good to laugh.

Love Mom

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Photos

So I’ve had these photos since yesterday, but my computer started being a total fucking asshole for seemingly no reason.  Anyway, it’s all working now so here are the preliminary photos of the yard.  Unfortunately I didn’t get photos from BEFORE the place was cleaned by the landlord or even before we planted the garden, because that would’ve shown the true ghetto nature of what I’m working with, but I’m sure great improvement will be seen nonetheless.

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The view from the deck.  Note the very patchy looking grass.  It is deceiving, most of it is actually very patchy dandelions.  And it is worth noting that the tiki torches won’t be staying there.  They’re temporary row markers for the garden.  Once everything sprouts, they’ll go somewhere else.  Also, the back fence will be painted and a fire pit will be added. 

 

 

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View from the deck to the right.  Note the adorable (matchy matching) garden shed.  Also, the lounger will get a cushion and a new home once the lawn has been reseeded.  The pots in the lower right are all our fresh herbs.  They didn’t go directly into the garden plot for reasons which are two-fold:

1) limited garden space
2) We will be bringing them in to the kitchen in the fall so that we can have fresh herbs for cooking all winter long.

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The view from the alley.  Our house is so narrow.  From the deck stairs I am hoping to build a little path to where the fire pit will be with rather large random rocks I’ve found around the yard.

 

 

 

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A closer shot of our miniature deck, our Value Village $5.99 lime green/white bowl chair, the bird bath which has been acting as a watering hole for the cats and various planters and hanging baskets.  Seriously, how narrow is that house??

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My rescued over-sized milk jug-turned planter.  It’s very Little House on the Prarie of me, so I took a close-up just for Lojo.  I don’t have enough dirt currently to fill it and use it properly, so I’ve just set my terra cotta bowl full of succulents inside it.  I think I might leave it that way.  I’m not even going to paint it solid red like I originally planned.

 

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Mama Minnie enjoying the “new” dirt in the garden. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There’s a lot to say about this photo.  First thing is that the lawn in the front is in much better condition than the back lawn, while it is desperate need of a mow, it won’t need reseeding.  However, the front flower bed needs to be planted [though, I added a few little solar lanterns($1.89 at Home Depot)] and the red door needs a serious repainting (don’t worry, I’ll be keeping it red).  I am on the fence as to whether or not I’ll paint the screen frame.  The winter window is red, so when we switch the screen out, it will be full red.  To be honest though, I am kind of digging the yellow.  Opinions and input would be appreciated on this topic. 

To the left of the house is a big patch of dirt.  I bought a wildflower mix and am going to seed it there.   I have another hanging basket for the front as well.  The vines on the side of the house, despite all my hoping and wishing, did not come back to life.  I want to pull them down, but Minnie and Meez use them to climb up to the roof and come in our bedroom window.  So now I don’t know.  I think dead shit hanging off the side of my house is shitty looking, but what about the kitties?  Again, opinions and input would be greatly appreciated.

 

Just so everyone knows.  Blogger is the WORST for dealing with pictures.  This looks reasonably well presented on my computer right now, so if it looks like chopped-up shit on yours right now, my apologies.  Blame Blogger.  Well, I’m also to blame.  I could’ve spent a lot of time fiddling with it and messing with the HTML, but I can’t be bothered.  It’s readable, I hope.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Getting Dirty

The weather seems to finally be smartening up, so I took my day off to start in on some yard work.  The first item on my agenda is to KILL EVERYTHING.  Our backyard is overrun with dandelions, and I’m not responsible for their existence, so I’m not hand pulling every one.  I’m no hippie: I bought chemicals (the brand name is “Green Earth” so I’m not totally heartless).  I spent the afternoon spraying about 1/3 of the yard, and hopefully in a couple of days everything will be dead.  Then I can rake everything up, add new dirt to the garden box and get on with my life.  Since my responsibilities include the flower beds and planters, Matt is in charge of planting the garden with vegetables.  So today I filled a couple of planters with flowers and a hanging basket as well.  I bought a “wildflower mix” for the side of the house, because it’s very shady next to the hedges and I have no idea what to do with the area.  I’m charging the camera battery now so I can take some photos and we can all witness the progression.  Things are looking pretty bare right now, and the grass is a bit too tall, but I have plans to paint the fence and the garden box, as well as reseed most of the back lawn.  Also, I’m going to bring up some rocks from one of our pieces of land (to put a path in the backyard) and an old tractor rim from the farm (for a fire pit) and paint it, too.   And I guess I should get a lawn mower one day soon.  I bought some cheapy solar lanterns from Home Depot to class it up a bit, and I have to go to WalMart because they have solar-powered string lights that I can hang in the tree near where the fire pit will be.  Cute!

I remember as a child, being forced to weed the garden and work in the tree rows.  I never would have expected myself to develop a love for outdoor work, after years of what I perceived to be a terrible way to spend my summer.  I don’t even mind mowing the lawn.  In fact, I’m looking forward to landscaping a bit and spending time outdoors.  It’s all so relaxing.  Until the neighbour's yappy little dogs see me and start barking at the fence.  Those little fuckers totally harsh my summer mellow.

Friday, May 7, 2010

K…WTF

This is just one example from Neatorama’s article on Preposterous Pet Pampering Products and Services.  I can’t even talk anymore about how cat owners have gotten a bad rep, especially when compared to the fanatical dog people.  This article makes my point for me over and over again.  Props to Dew-bacca for bringing it to my attention.

Monday, May 3, 2010

It’s good to have goals

Since returning from Thailand and becoming a student again, I’ll be honest, I’ve fattened up.  Maybe it was the winter hibernation, maybe it was moving to a less physical job, maybe it’s because Matt enjoys cooking so much, or maybe it’s just because I’m not 20 years old anymore.  Doesn’t matter what it was, I’ve gained weight and am now past the body size and physical condition I’m comfortable with.  But, I have a problem with going to the gym.  I’ve never been good at exercise that I deem as “non-productive”.  For years I took Tae Kwon Do and Muai Thai kickboxing, and to me, that’s a form of productive exercise; I’m developing skills I can use in real life.  It’s for this reason that I’ve dabbled in yoga from time to time, but it’s never stuck.  What the fuck do I use stork stances for in my day to day life?  It’s the same reason I can’t go to the gym and run on the treadmill or elliptical machine for an hour straight: I’m just too practical.   But I’ve recently acquired a full-time job at a greenhouse on the edge of town, about 9 km from our house.  My plan is to bike there and back as much as I can physically handle.  I figure 18 km of biking every day, plus 8 hours of working outdoors with trees and shrubberies should take care of my nasty winter weight.  If the first few days don’t kill me, I am going to feel awesome by the end of this summer.