Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Ups and Downs of Fall: Part 2

I apologize, this isn’t going to be an “Ups” of Fall post. Not yet, at least.

We’ve been unseasonably warm. There’s no crisp air, no chilly breezes, no need for fall jackets.
There’s still plenty of customers commenting on how hot the store is.

“How do you guys work in here?” they ask while fanning their faces.

We always have to laugh and shrug it off, while thinking to ourselves,
“We don’t have a goddamn choice.”

The vegetable garden is on its last legs. We’ve already ripped out most of the tomatos and cucumbers, leaving a sad empty box left.

We’ve still got some jalapenos to harvest! Although on this particular plant (there are 4), it looks like the peppers are getting scorched by the sun or something. Oh well. When you yield 500 peppers, losing a few is no big deal.

The  herbs! My occasional foodie tendencies cannot be satisfied without the use of fresh herbs. This year I had basil, chives, and curled parsley. I moved some of them inside and either dried or left the rest to self-seed. Hopefully I won’t have to replace the basil yet again this year. That stuff dies too often (totally my fault.)

Why I love old houses: Windowsills like these.

The curled parsley didn’t taste very good fresh, and of course this was the crop that grew the most. I’ve got about 12 bundles of it hanging to dry in the shed. Hopefully no one needs to use the ladder over the next few months (or they’ll have fun untying these all).

I pulled these guys up and they were huge. I didn’t touch them all summer. Nothing got dead headed, cleaned out, or picked. But still I had enough to sell at the farmer’s market, if I wanted to.

Now why couldn’t the basil be that way?

Sigh

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Quote

Cashier

“I know they say people with sedentary jobs die sooner, but really, do you want to live longer if you have to spend it standing all day?”

Thoughts of a cashier.

Matilda: Remember This?

I caught the old adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda on TV the other night.
Do you remember it?

Photoshop in 1996 just wasn't the same.

Yep, this was the movie.

If you aren’t familiar with the book or movie, Matilda’s a young girl with horrible, straight-from-the-middle-class-trailer-park parents. They hate books and spend most of their time eating TV dinners and watching Wrestlemania.

When she gets to elementary school, there is this principal who is even more horrible than her parents, “The Trunchbull”

Perfect name, I always thought.

Basically, Matilda somehow (It’s been a while since I’ve seen it) learns she can move shit just by looking at it. So she fucks shit up for both her parents and the Trunchbull (in family-friendly ways) and eventually Ms. Honey, the sweet teacher, adopts her, which her parents are totally cool with.

Aw, just look at them.

Oh, shit, I didn’t mention the chokey, did I?

Suddenly, our elementary school principals didn't seem so bad.

This was the thing kids would get thrown in, for hours on end, if they misbehaved. Nineteen ninety six was apparently a dark year for the public school systems.

I watched this movie every single day as a kid, and spent the rest of my time trying to move things with my eyes.
Ah, childhood.

I wish I was still at that age where the movie seemed perfectly logical. Dammit.

The Perils of Being 19

Oh, 19. It’s the age where half the older people you meet say, “I wish I was 19 again,” and the other half scoff and walk away, brushing off any attempt you’ve made at making a mature comment or suggestion.

First things first, I can drink in all of Canada. (Well, I could drink in Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta since I was 18.) This isn’t really that awesome considering most European countries are more relaxed about their ages, but at least I’m not living in America!

Sucks for you guys.

I mean, just look at our classy booze stores.

But, then again, you guys can buy whiskey at your local Wal-Mart. I do envy that. Occasionally, fancy grocery stores will have those little wine booths on your way out, completely separate from the store, but that’s it. Apparently the government thinks people don’t drink and drive on wine. (That is the main reason we can’t sell it in gas stations and big box stores, right?)

Enough about the alcohol. (I’m 19, cut me some slack!)

It’s just such an awkward age. You can’t call yourself a “20-something,” yet referring to yourself as a “teenager” just seems weird. Teenagers, in my books, usually don’t have massive debt, to start. (Student loans are crazy, although not as crazy as the states. Sorry, guys. We win this one, too.) Teenagers usually don’t live by themselves with roommates…
It just seems like being in college as a “teenager” is the wrong choice of words.

People just assume you’re a student, too. Customers always make that awkward small talk:

“So, you go to school, right?”
“Uh…yeah…I just have the day off class….”

I lie to save face. These are people who are obviously asking that first question because, to them, working retail is the absolute worst fate any young adult could ever succumb to. They must be trying to work their way out of it, right?
I also lie because “Well, I did a year at this university but it wasn’t really at this university and I really did not like the school or the program so now I’m taking a year off to save up money I lost on that first year and figure out where I want to go next” is a lot to spit out.

In the second decade of your life, ages 10-19, it’s pretty straightforward. If you live in a Western country (probably similar to most countries, but I’d rather not assume what I don’t know), it can be expected you’ll finish elementary school, then high school, and then go to some sort of college or university. Aside from dropping out of high school, or choosing the wrong major the first year and screwing everything up *cough*, it’s hard to veer off course. That’s really all you have to do to be successful at that age.

Between the ages of 20 and 29, however, you can really fuck it all up or make it work. You can drop out of school and work at Pizza Pizza forever. You can get married and have kids. You can get hired at a giant company and start climbing the corporate ladder. You can move out and buy a house or you can still live with your parents.
There’s just so much uncertainty, and what seems like so many ways to fail, in the next decade.

I’m sure I’ll come to terms with it.

Every year, when I turn a new age, I think “Holy shit on my next birthday I’ll be 17/18/19/20. Shit, that’s old. My god.”
But, by the time my next birthday rolls around, I’m ready to move on. It’s weird how that works.

The Ups and Downs of Fall: Part 1

Bittersweet. Summer is over. The days of Birkenstocks, short shorts, and freedom from snow, sleet, and ice are gone.
Fall brings dark evenings and ugly Christmas decorations way too early. (I’m not lying when I say that where I work
has had old Christmas decorations for sale since the end of August)

To sum up my summer as quickly as possible:

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Took the ferry to Toronto Island

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Fed some goats in Waterloo

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Saw the falls for the first time in a few years. Super-tourist mode!

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Tried to be artsy waiting for my super-delayed flight at the Montreal airport.

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And then, PEI!

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Drove home from PEI. This is on the Confederation Bridge looking towards New Brunswick.

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The Blink 182 Concert at Molson. Amazing fun.

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Gluttony at the CNE

…and now, it’s Fall. And it’s raining.

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I don’t think I can bring myself to write an “Up” part to Fall just yet, hence the “Part 1” of this post.

But, I promise, the next crisp, beautiful Fall day, “Part 2” will appear.

RIP Summer 2011. You were awesome.

7 Behaviours That Annoy Us All: Has Everyone Left Their Manners at Home?

Now, I’m not a violent person. Sure, I used to do kickboxing. Sure, I’ve kicked a hole in the wall out of anger. Sure, I like to yell and rant when I get frustrated…but I’ve never injured a person because of it.

Although, let me make this clear, this is not because I haven’t thought about it.

[You would not believe how hard it is to find a good picture of someone getting punched in the face. So this will have to do. And bro, you have a monkey on a chain. You deserve to get slapped.]

I do my best to be nice to everyone, but there’s always those few who make you want to hit things. Tip: Just remind yourself that they’ll die soon (if they’re old) or they’ll die alone (if they’re young) to make you feel better. Then, laugh to yourself and forget all your anger.*

*Satire. I’m not evil. And if I was, I wouldn’t admit it on a blog.

Now, if you think you’re one of those horrible people, here are 10 helpful tips to help you avoid probably bodily harm!
Your mothers should have taught you this. Picture them crying in disappointment. Do you feel good, now?

1. If a stranger smiles at you after you make eye contact, smile back. It’s not like he’s asking you to give him a back rub. Just contract some muscles in your face and return the sentiment.
Have some old people just forgotten how? Or have they decided to follow the ways of that idiot woman on the wrinkle cream commercial? “Oh, no! Laugh lines! Guess I better stop smiling!”*

*Actual, completely serious commercial.

2. When a store employee asks how you are, respond. Don’t just walk away. It’s a nicety, but it’s still a question. You don’t even have to say “and you?” at the end, promise.

I had so many issues with this when working as a grocery store cashier.
Me: “Hi, how are you?”
Customer: *blank stare* “THESE APPLES LOOK WEIRD, CAN I HAVE THEM FOR FREE?”
Me: …

3. Prompt your little smart-mouthed kid to say please and thank you, and don’t let them touch shit on the cashier’s counter…or play with the conveyor belt if it’s a grocery store. Little fingers can easily be hurt, and I’m sure the cashier doesn’t want to deal with an even louder, crying, smart-mouthed kid. No one thinks it’s cute, except you. And you should probably get out of the house more, alone.

4. If you’re working as a cashier, for the love of god, don’t let me be the one to awkwardly say “Hello” first after 30 seconds of you scanning my items in silence. Come on. I know your job sucks, I’ve done it.  You know what makes it slightly better? Meeting some customers that actually have a few nice things to say, or ones that you can have a bit of a nice conversation with. Trust me. Ignoring them all doesn’t make anyone any happier.

5. Wait you turn. Do not, I repeat, do not interrupt someone when they are talking to someone else. You are no more important.

6.  If you’ve opened up a door for yourself to walk through, take a quick glance behind you. If there is someone a few feet behind you who is going to follow you through the door, for the love of god, do not just slip through the opening and let the door drop.

7. Practice this. Raise your right arm like you’re taking an oath, but just a little bit higher, and spread your fingers out a bit. (Keep all of your fingers raised!) This is what you do when someone lets you into traffic. Not hard, now, was it?
It can even be your left arm *gasp* if you’ve got your window open! Amazing!

Wait! You’re doing it wrong! No! What did I just say?!

There, of course, are so many other little pet peeves that people can list. I think these 7 are the most important, although a few I’m biased on, having worked as a slave person in a grocery store.
Let me know if you can think of anything else!

Hiding From Reality: University Edition

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to go to U of T.

I mean, just look at it, and this is in the heart of downtown Toronto!
It’s gigantic. Huge. With every club for every interest you could possibly ever dream up on your wildest nights.

Then, a week before applying for post-secondary school, I got this brilliant idea in my head that I should go be a nurse. I can’t even remember what it was, I had never even considered the career option before the middle of grade 12. Actually, I think it was all the stories I kept hearing of graduates with degrees in humanities winding up working at Pizza Pizza. Or, even worse, Rogers.

Nursing, infinitely harder to get into than humanities, had me wind up at a school I absolutely hated in a place I hated. (East Scarborough? Ew, it’s like almost Pickering.)

Now I have a choice. Technically, I am still a student of another university that’s pretty cool…I think. A school that doesn’t carry the name of U of T, but also has no snootiness or competitiveness like U of T.
Most of the buildings were built mid-century and not beautiful and ivy-covered (I’m not even kidding when I listed that to my guidance counsellor as a main reason to pick a school.) But…it’s got this thing!

Now I somehow have to force myself to call to see if I can transfer into another program. What if they say no? U of T is, on average, harder to get into than this school. Shit.

…and then there’s uOttawa…5 and a half hours away…


…where I will have an infinitely better chance of being successful at my dream to become fluent in French.

I’ll give it until October 15 before I start phoning universities to get info.
October 15th. Just 24 more days of hiding from reality.

Oh god…and then I will have to start applying…again.

(Please refer to the cartoon girl at the head of this page to illustrate the feelings that follow.)