Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ouch, Facebook!

So, yesterday was my birthday. Though I sometimes would like to make a big deal about it and have a party, I never do, because I live with the fat kid's fear of NO ONE SHOWING UP, PROVING EVERYONE HATES YOU ON YOUR BIRTHDAY, THE MOST HUMILIATING OF ALL DAYS TO BE HATED! Maybe that's not a very grown-up sentiment, but the whole being-left-out-of-everything-because-no-one-cares-about-you elementary school thing is, even all these years later, a huge emotional panic trigger for me. I suspect it may be a permanent background anxiety that I can usually ignore.

Speaking of, did anyone ever feel like they fit in? It seems like most people I talked to were always picked last for things, always lived in fear of other children. Do I just hang with a crowd of bully victims? What happened to all the popular kids? Do they go away to some island of beautiful people when they turn 21 (which would be disappointing, because I always imagined they would grow up to serve fries all day and be covered in unsightly boils).

ANYWAY, I must confess that I was looking forward to a little facebook birthday love. Yes, lame, I know, but it's kind of nice to have people wishing you a happy birthday. Of course, if I examined it more closely, I might wonder why none of these people talk to me at any other time, but why add more insecurity to my already-crowded plate? So yesterday, I opened up Facebook, expecting that warm-glowy feeling, and was thrilled that one of my bestest buds had wished me a happy birthday, (and didn't need facebook to tell her it was my birthday), and then...

nada. Nothing! The whole day, not one single person wished me good tidings of great joy. And it's immature and stupid and facebook, for God's sake, but it's hard not to feel a little burnt by that. And I'm trying to be a good girl and not fall into the clutches of fat kid fears. But seriously, out of 400 friends? Not even my sister wished me well! Ouch!

Fortunately, I got some birthday love in real life, which is way better. J set up the Christmas tree in the living room while I was at work Thursday night, which is a bit of an inside joke: I heart Christmas a lot, and when I was a kid, I always used to proclaim I had the best birthday, because it was exactly six months from Christmas. So the year was perfectly symetrical in terms of presents I would receive.

But I confess, I do wish that my birthday was a little closer to winter so I didn't have to wait to use this awesome gift:

Yes, that is a Snuggie. Not just any Snuggie, but a Snuggie Wild Side! I guess they were worried that their regular solid colours just wouldn't appeal to today's youth. So I've got a fab leopard print blanket with arms! With the official Snuggie Brand label on the sleeve!

I'm actually a little too excited about this.
Anyway, you now have a little less than 6 shopping months till Christmas.
Happy Saturday, everyone!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

An Open Letter To The Last Three Movies I've Seen, Which, Coincidentally, Were All Pretty Disappointing

Dear Shutter Island, The Book of Eli, and Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland,

The first thing I want you to know is that I really, really like movies. Really. Anything from film noir, to cheesy 80's capers, to musicals, to disease-of-the-week movies on tv. Psychological thrillers, documentaries, zombie movies, foreign film. I just like movies. Which is why the last couple of weeks have been so distressing to me.

Shutter Island,I confess that I wasn't totally excited to see you. I didn't really understand what you were supposed to be about going in, only that the phrase I associate with you is "THE TWIST YOU'LL NEVER SEE COMING!" And you know what, Shutter Island? I guessed it. I guessed the twist I'd never see coming, literally about 90 seconds in. Leo hadn't even arrived on the stupid island yet. And it's not like you were bad, though I could have done without the overwrought, CGI'd Twin Peaks-style dream sequences. You just weren't terribly exciting. And maybe it's my fault for guessing. But what was I supposed to do? You dared me to.

And you, The Book of Eli, you were J's idea, not mine. He'd been looking forward to seeing you for weeks. And so you show up in our living room the very day you're released with what looks like something visually interesting, something taut and tense, post-apocalyptic exciting, and you turn out to be... well, you turn out to be The Book of Eli? Seriously? I mean, I passed the time speculating on how this could be turned into a sequel to The Preacher's Wife, or wondering aloud why everyone post-apocalypse wear such uncomfortable looking clothes (if there is some kind of solar flare, or nuclear volcano, or sudden evaporation of 90% of the earth's water supply, you had best believe I won't be getting myself a bustier top, a corset, or fur leg warmers. Nor will I be wrapping my limbs in various ribbons/audio tape/whatever they use to do that.). But what pissed me off the most was that you had a great plot twist, something that could have been a lot more effective. But it was so not worth it. So. Not. Worth. It.

And finally, Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, I was pretty disappointed in you, as well. A whole lot of style, with very little substance. Frankly, I'd rather see Peter Jackson direct Alice in Wonderland, because I think he'd do a pretty kickass job of it. Maybe Tim Burton could direct Animal Farm, make it a new Watership Down to traumatize the kids of this generation. Either way, I bet Elijah Wood was probably pretty pissed off when he saw Johnny Depp in this movie. Because Elijah could probably have saved them a whole lot of money in animation fees:

And what the hell was wrong with Crispin Glover? All stretched out and weird-looking? Is he supposed to be a playing card, like those other red guys? Because it looks weird, but not so weird that you'd immediately assume it was done on purpose. And not so consistent that you can immediately figure out what exactly it is that's weird.

If anything, the more CGI and animation I see, the more I wonder if it's really been good for movies. I mean, yes, obviously there are some movies that use it amazingly well, and it helps tell the story without becoming the story itself. But I wonder if better and better technology is making people less creative in some way. Not neccessarily with reference to TBAIW, but overall.

Anyway, you guys, you've really left me disappointed. In fact my regret about writing this is that's a public acknowledgement that I actually sat through all three of you. I think the best thing for all of us is that we all try to forget that I arrived on your island, or apoca'd into your lypse, or fell down your rabbit hole.

You get the picture.


Friday, June 18, 2010

On Shopping and Sizes, or What Is This, A Cathy Cartoon?

So the other day we were out shopping, and my husband wanted to get a pair of pants. He walked into a store, found some pants he liked, checked the tags, picked up the pants and said "Let's go."
"Don't you want to try those on?"
"But how do you know they'll fit?"
"Ummm..." he said, pausing to figure out how not to imply that I was dumb "because they're my size?"
And then he went to pay for his pants. Which, ps, totally fit perfectly.

At the risk of sounding like a certain cartoon, AAAAAAACCCKKKK!

(Confession: my sister has pretty much the entire collection of Cathy comics at my parents' house, which I totally binge on (irony!) when I'm there at Christmas. Oh, Irving!)

I mean, seriously. I can't imagine the day when I would just believe that a marked size would correctly match the proportions of my body. Maybe if I already owned the same exact thing and was buying a second one in a different colour. But having had the experience of being 3 different sizes of jeans in the same store (I'm looking at you, Old Navy!), I'm always prepared for pants shopping to be an epic event.

At the moment, I wear a 14. Which is better than the 20 I've previously worn, but kind of a weird size generally. Even though we're constantly hearing "That's the average American woman's size!", 14 is a strange fit. It's on the cusp of plus size, so you have a good chance of finding it in a "regular" store (I know I'm not alone in my weight goals including being able to shop in regular stores). Plus size stores generally start at a 14, though that 14 will be cut differently than a 14 in a "regular" store. Not that the numbers mean anything, really.

I remember the legend of The Gap, where at one point if you wore, say, an 8 everywhere else, you would fit a 6 in Gap clothes. Which was kind of a nice little ego boost. But then everyone started doing it. So while you wear a size 8 at one store, you might take a 10 at another, or a 6 somewhere else. And so on, until we fast forward to Old Navy and me trying on sizes 12 through 16 in jeans, all variously too big or too small, depending on the style. And my husband picking out his usual size without trying on, waiting by the cash for me.

I mean, I'm sure people of all sizes have these fit/size problems. It's probably more emotionally charged for someone who, say, couldn't find trendy clothes as a kid, and for whom clothes shopping would be marked by comments on my weight and why I couldn't fit into regular sizes. In reality, I know it's the pants that suck, not my body. And yet...

Well, enough complaining and ackkking for one day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Strange Dreams

Last night I had a dream that Disneyland had opened a park in Red Deer, Alberta. Now Red Deer, for those of you not familiar is a city pretty much exactly halfway between Edmonton and Calgary. Currently its main attraction for me is the Donut Mill (pictured), which is just off the highway in a quaint gathering of restaurants and service stations called Gasoline Alley. The Donut Mill is exciting because it is (a) shapped like a windmill, and (b)is full of doughnuts. So you can bet I was pretty excited to have a Disneyland open up within an hour and a half's drive of me. So I hopped on a tour bus, which, disappointingly made numerous stops where we had to get off and listen to inspirational speeches made by a variety of disabled people.

At one point, a friend of mine was offering granola bars to tide us over until we reached the happiest place on earth, but when I requested one without marshmallows in it, he gave me a terribly patronizing smile, left, and never returned. Towards the end of the dream, I think I made some kind of social faux pas (I seem to recall doing tricks in someone's wheelchair), and everyone was mad at me, and we never made it to Disneyland.

I have no idea what this means.

I have a day off tomorrow, which I am greatly looking forward to. Unfortunately, working Saturdays means that I rarely have two days off in a row. So days off tend to be times when I can accomplish all the other stuff I don't get to do during the week, like pay bills, go grocery shopping, submit my taxes.

Taxes. Yes, the deadline was April 30. Yes, I still haven't submitted them. But I'm getting money back, so I doubt Revenue Canada will be chasing me down for that. But tomorrow is a day to get a lot of grown-up stuff done. And consider getting some submissions out.

Momentum is a fragile creature. While I was away from here, I feel like I had a lot of perspective on what this city is, and what it isn't. And that to further my career, I really need to look elsewhere. But it's hard to keep that momentum going when you're sucked back into the drama of this community, and the everyday grind. And another grown-up thing I have to do tomorrow is try to kick-start that momentum again, force myself to send some stuff out before the little voice in my head wakes up and starts nagging me.

Oh, and relax. Perhaps with some lemonade.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In Which I Endeavor To Do the Opposite of Letting Myself Go

I suppose the opposite of letting yourself go might be "getting yourself together", but this title uses more words. Also, I like to create obstacles for myself by trying to do a negative action as opposed to a positive action. Don't try this in rehearsal, actor kids! Always with the positive action!

Anyway. I don't think I've really "let myself go". I think that's a phrased designed to make women feel insecure and for publishing houses to continue to sell magazines after the women who buy them have already achieved their major life goals of getting hitched and having babies. But I have always yearned to be a little more put together.

Let me explain. My mother doesn't wear makeup. Well, she does if you count that she pencils in her eyebrows, because my mother is eyebrow-bald. Or extremely eyebrow-receding. Being a little gifted (one might go so far as to say overachieving) in the eyebrow department, eyebrow pencils weren't really high on my list of priorities. But the point being that I think a lot of ladies learn about make-up from their moms, and we had nothing in the house. Ditto with hair-- my mother wears her hair short, wash-and-wear. I get the sense that she thinks that primping is impractical and not for the smart girls.

But I want to primp! And though I have lived with many roommates who spent hours in front of the mirror, or wouldn't go out to get the mail without lipstick, I never really learned anything about putting on makeup. I remember envying my cousin's turquoise eyeliner! The Cover Girl ads in Seventeen that showed people whose eyes were lined in four different colours. On one eye!

Same goes for clothes. Now, I have always been a bit of a fat, insecure kid. Even when I was skinnier, I still felt like the fat kid. And so clothes shopping became a little bit of an anxiety trigger for me. Sure, I went through a brief faux-goth phase (well, probably more artsy than goth), loving that it stood out at my Catholic high school. By the time I moved on to the artsy-fartsy school, I embraced grunge, which was super comfortable, but not exactly body conscious. And now I find I love vintage clothes, bold prints, quirky stuff, classic stuff. And although I could probably put an outfit together for someone else, I never feel confident in what I wear.

In fact, I think I probably dress a little bit... frumpy... at the moment.

So it's time for an intervention.
And I'm not saying that figuring out how to pick out lipstick will change my whole life, but I have a feeling it could sure improve my confidence to feel like I look kind of good. That I put some effort into getting up and facing the world every day.

I have a pretty strict budget, but I'd like to do some stuff like:
*get my eyebrows done professionally
*figure out what lipstick looks good on me
*get some cute shoes
*start remaking my wardrobe, whether I'm skinnier or not
*get a pedicure
*try out a couple of vintage-y, pin-up-y hairstyles

And so on.
Where do you guys go for style tips? Whose style do you admire? Whose style do you hate? Any girly stuff I should absolutely try at least once? Any girly stuff I should absolutely avoid?


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Back In The Saddle

Hello, friends and neighbours,
It's been a little while since I bothered to blog (I wonder what percentage of my blog posts begin with an apology for not blogging?), and in that time, I've returned from my fancy playwrights' retreat, gone back to work, and filled my social calendar with things like fundraisers, attending the theatre, going to physio for my $%# shoulder, and making appointments for life's pesky neccessities, like getting my roots done.

In short, I suppose I've gone back to a normal life. Although it's the first time in at least a year that I haven't had to plan some major event, write a play, produce a show, or work more than one job. So life seems a little... dull? Maybe dull isn't quite the right word. Ordinary. I have an ordinary life at the moment.
I've never wanted to have an ordinary life. I mean, I suppose very few people say "When I grow up, I want to be ORDINARY!" But I think a lot of people settle into that. Heck, when I worked my government job, I met a lot of people who were thrilled with being ordinary, routine, predictable, and safe.

So feeling ordinary gives me that itch... write another play, do a one-woman show, sign myself up for some weird class, plan a vacation to Costa Rica, eat strange foods. Stuff like that. Which can be dangerous, because then I find myself planning major events, producing shows, working more than one job, all at the same time.

Once I get all that ordinary life stuff out of the way (bills, finally filing my taxes, etc.), I really do want to spend the summer doing stuff I want to do-- sewing is pretty high on the list. Music is pretty high on the list. Surprisingly, writing is pretty high on the list. And I didn't altogether like writing anymore, so I thought. Of course, The Unpleasantness with a certain AD didn't really help much.

I suppose I'm at that rare crossroad where all the crap I HAD to do is currently behind me, and all I have to do (besides working to pay my rent and bills) is stuff I want to do. Picnics! Garage sales! Goofy hairstyles! Aprons!