Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I feel like I've abandoned my blog, and in a way I guess I have. Time spent getting ready for Christmas meant very little "me" time. Since Christmas, I have been feeling more than a little down and decided not to blog.

I just wanted to post something though about the horrific Tsunami in South Asia. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered from this terrible event and I hope that the needed assistance is received as quickly as possible.

In the aftermath, our celebration of Christmas seems quite trite and anything that I was going to possibly blog about seems so insignificant.

Anyway, I wish everyone a Happy New Year and I look forward to returning to a regular blogging routine soon.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas Blues

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, it's been crazy. That is if anyone noticed that I have been negligent. The following is a repost of a piece I wrote the year after I lost my father.

Sunday, December 05, 1999

The morning greeted me bright and early that day, it seemed funny to be up and on the computer at 5:30am on a Saturday, a day I usually sleep late. This will be good though I told myself, I will have more time to do all the things that I want to accomplish today.

A productive day was just a notion, never realized on that Saturday. By 11:00 am I was back in bed trying to rid myself of a terrible tension headache. One that had grabbed the back of my head with a vice like hold growing stronger and stronger with no hint of stopping. Sleep dulled the pain but when I awoke four hours later it returned regenerated and more powerful than before.

I walked down the hall and looked at the transformed living room. Mom and Melissa had worked hard all afternoon, while I slept and our living room was now full of Christmas. Melissa was sitting in front of the computer, downloading some music and when I asked where Nana was, she pulled herself out of her concentration just long enough to tell me that they had gone for a walk.

Suddenly I felt a strong desire to catch up to Mom and Sammy and get some fresh air. I quickly changed into some comfortable clothes before I could change my mind and told Melissa that I would be back shortly.

I stepped through the front door and stopped amazed at the display of lights from all the houses across the street. It seemed as if everyone agreed that they would turn their lights on tonight. I walked a few steps down the sidewalk so I could see the whole street and stood for quite awhile taking it all in.

Turning back to look at our house I realized that it looked just as beautiful as the others. My Mom had worked very hard the past the past week or so on decorating the outside. While looking at the front window I drifted back to my youth. Excitement and awe of wonderful, magical things pulsing through me as I pushed through the crowd standing in front of Simpson's and Eaton's. I would work my way through the crowd, to the front so that I could stand and stare at the wonderful displays that they did each year in celebration of Christmas.

Continuing on, to the end of the driveway, I stopped once again to search the road for two figures. One of adult size and one with a leash clicked on his neck.


‘I need a walk.’ I spoke to myself harshly before I turned and walked back inside. Fresh air WAS needed in the worst way, either in the company of Mom and Sammy or alone. I decided to turn to my left and walk around the block, past my grandparent's house, knowing that this is the way Mom and Sammy had gone. This is the way they always go. ‘They walk slowly. I should be able to catch up to them. I need to tell Mom how I am feeling right now, so that she understands that I am not trying to be miserable because it’s Christmas.’

Walking slowly around the corner, drinking in the beauty of the lovely decorating of my neighbours, I almost forgot that I was feeling sad and lonely. A smile had pulled my lips up at the corners without me noticing.
At least not right away! Slowly I floated along the street; unaware of anyone or anything. The Christmas lights mesmerizing me, casting their spell to dull my brain and stop almost all thoughts. Almost!

Someone was approaching me from the far end of the block. They were walking a large dog and it appeared from the outline of the shape that it was a man. He crossed to the other side of the street as we grew closer and the black dog pulled eagerly towards me, mouth open, tongue lagging out the side in a silly little grin. I could feel that he was a friendly dog. Before I knew what I was doing, I was calling a greeting across the road to them.

"Beautiful, isn’t it? Gorgeous night, beautiful lights, aren’t we lucky?"
He was about 65 years old, maybe a year or two younger but I was pretty sure that this gentleman was around retirement age.

"It sure is, now if we could just get a little bit of snow it would look even more beautiful!" His voice was full of warmth and laughter and it was very comforting.

I giggled in agreement with him as we passed; our solitary walks interrupted for a brief moment with neighbourly pleasantries, now to continue alone and quiet once again.

The moment he and his dog passed, I was hit with a terrible longing for my father. This time I couldn’t push it away. My mind filled with the vision of his smiling face and my heart suddenly felt very empty. I miss him very, very much and I cannot understand why he is not with us anymore.

As I walked alone, the Christmas lights became a colourful blur as I finally surrendered to my sadness and let the tears fall freely from my eyes. It was a relief to let it go. I wondered if anyone was watching me, if they could see me walking down the middle of the road, alone and crying at Christmas time. What was my Dad thinking as he looked down on me? I know that he would be very frustrated with me, not wanting me to miss him so much, only wanting me to be happy. I could almost hear his exasperated voice telling me to smarten up! Be strong! What’s wrong with you, Shelly? Why do you do this to yourself?

Shrugging I said ‘I don’t know’, not out loud but to myself, where I knew he could hear me. The sound of his voice, frustrated as all hell made me smile just like it always did. Dad and I could banter back and forth with the best of them. To outsiders we were arguing, to us we were having some fun. A battle of stubbornness; who could be stronger; who would be the one to ultimately wear the other one down, but it was full of love. We knew it and it always ended up with the two of us killing ourselves laughing at each other as we would both give in at the same time. Both winners and losers in our battle!

My tears started to slow and the street-scape was becoming clearer as I rounded the last corner and found myself on my own block. The prettiest one in the whole subdivision, I told myself. Just like I do every night when I drive home from work and turn the corner to see Brouwer Crescent, lit from one end to the other with Christmas lights.

I concentrated on the efforts that my neighbours went to while decorating for the season, instead of sad thoughts and it was working. My spirit was lifting again and then at that moment I finally saw the outline of Mom and Sammy down the street, walking slowly. My Mother’s laughter floated down to where I was and I realized that she was not alone, she was talking to someone else, a neighbour perhaps. I quickened my pace so that I could catch up to them before they went inside. I wanted to stand with my Mother out on the street, talk with the neighbours and feel alive.

It is Christmas after all, a time for us to be happy and thankful for the sacrifices that the Lord Jesus made for us. Instead of feeling sad for the people I miss, I should be happy for the love I have shared and felt. That is the greatest gift of all and no one can ever take that away.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Brown Betty

Have you ever wanted something in particular so bad that you couldn't stop thinking about it and ended up looking for it in every store you entered? I think we all get obsessive about some things during our lives.

My obsession lately was for a Brown Betty Teapot. Not just a brown teapot that I decided to call Betty, but a REAL Brown Betty Teapot from Britain.

I became acquainted with Betty as a young bride when my mother-in-law introduced me and explained all of Betty's virtues. I must admit that when she first went on and on, I probably half listened and rolled my eyes, but I did go out and buy one from our local china shop.

This china shop was an old family run business in town and it had everything that you could ever want. If you needed to buy someone a gift, you would be sure to find it there and the prices were always more than reasonable.

After buying my own Betty, I had to admit that perhaps my mother-in-law was not exaggerating about her ability to make the best cup of tea. Betty was amazing. I fell in love with her and as usual in most love relationships, I soon started to take her for granted. Clunking her quickly into the cupboard with hardly a care. It was total disregard for the precious commodity that I had.

My lapse of appreciation changed when I inadvertently broke my Betty. After years of service I had to say goodbye as I threw her pieces into the garbage pail.

No worries, I thought. I have several other, prettier teapots. In fact, I've hardly used some of them. It will be nice to see something in pink flowers for a change rather than my old brown faithful.

The tea was crap in those flighty models though. They couldn't make a cup of tea if their lives, or rather non-lives depended on it. Not only was the tea crap, but they all dribbled half of it down their spouts onto the counter, or worse on the floor.

Again the old saying "no worries" ran through my head. I will just go buy a replacement. I went to the mall the next day Christmas shopping with my mother. I kept reminding myself to pick up a Brown Betty while we were out.

Store number one - What's a Brown Betty?

Store number two - There's some brown teapots over there. (They may be brown but they were not Betty.)

Store number three - No sorry, never heard of them.

Store number four - Yes we have them. Walk over to aisle with sales clerk only to find Betty's spot empty. "Oh we usually have them. We must be sold out. Sorry."

When I returned home I decided to search for Brown Betty Teapots in Canada. To see who handles them and then I could just go to that store and pick one up. No problem, I still thought.

After an hour of searching and not coming up with anything, I found this website A Bit of Britain. They had my Brown Betty Teapot that I wanted and in three different sizes. I debated on buying them over the internet because of the exchange rate (American) and the shipping etc, but I decided to do it when I realized she wasn't as easy to get in Canada.

I made my order on Dec 2nd and received a confirmation email the next day. I received a further email on the 6th advising that they were shipped by UPS and that I should have them (I ordered two, one for me and one for a gift) in approx 10 days. They arrived today, all packaged in bubble wrap and styrofoam pieces and they were in perfect condition. I love them! I'm so happy, I can hardly wait to give it to my friend.

Tonight my new Betty made me the perfect cup of tea after work. She will not be taken for granted. I promise.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Bad Hair Day

Originally written on March 20, 2003

The end of a perfect day. This is my story. Read at your own risk. You may feel sympathetic or angry at the end…not sure which!

My day starts out optimistically. I jump out of bed at the first wail of the radio. That hasn’t happened in awhile, so I’m pretty impressed with this going to bed early thing. I have my shower and notice how much time I have to spare as I’m drying off. That lead time lengthens when I remember that I am buying my lunch out today so there will be no time needed to prepare it.

The bed looks so inviting as I continue to towel dry my hair. Another glance at the clock convinces me that I do have time for one more snuggle in the warm blankets while I listen to the news. Ahhhhhh, I love my bed.

The even, steady breathing, in and out, in and out, is what brought my little dream time to an abrupt end. Or was it snoring (although I don’t admit to doing that). Regardless, my eyes flew open and I realized that a couple of minutes listening to the news had quickly turned into 45 minutes of sleep.

I jumped out of bed again and looked at myself in the mirror. Hmmm, those bed wrinkles should disappear before I get to work. But my hair. What in the hell…my naturally wavy hair that holds a really good curl had formed a really huge wave right on top of my forehead. One half of my bangs was heading up and the other half was heading straight down. No problem, my hair drying expertise would take care of that. After drying, and brushing, and pulling and brushing and drying some more, my hair was one huge, frizzy, fuzzy mop.

Next the hair spray and gel. First the gel to slick it all down, then the spray to mold and hold where you want it. Usually works. Today was different. In the end, when I looked at the clock and realized my body should be in a seat behind my wheel driving to work rather than still in my bedroom in front of my mirror, I surrendered. I stormed out of the apartment with half my bangs doing a straight angle thing to the left and the other half nicely swooping to the right. I was sure I would have to fight people from trying to straighten my bangs as someone would try to straighten a picture that they see askew.

I felt like pigpen running down the hall with a cloud of dust swirling in my wake. Yes I ran to the elevator so that I could shuffle and shift from one foot to the other and stare at the lit button, willing the damn elevator to arrive on my floor, this year. I couldn’t look at my watch. That would only aggravate my already sensitive mood.

I had to look though, as I turned the key in the ignition of my car and the clock turned on. Damn…how was I going to turn this half hour trip into a fifteen minute one in morning rush hour? Maybe I’ll be lucky and the traffic will be light. That was as stupid as thinking I bet when I get to work I’ll find out that we won the lottery and I’m rich now.

Traffic was light on my little back street, but big friggin deal, it’s two blocks long and the light turned red just as I got to the corner. Next one will be green I thought. Nope. Red. I’ll make it through the next one. Nope, caught again. My exhilaration started to rise when I saw a light turning green in the distance, now surely I’ll get that one I thought as I sped up. Nope, some fucking asshole made sure of that by changing lanes and poking so slow I wanted to drive all over him.

I quickly got into the other lane to get away from him. Now I was driving behind Brakey. You know those drivers that hit the brake every other second. Gives you a bit of a shock when you are apparently too close on the slippery, wet roads. What is it with these fucking Sunday drivers on a Thursday morning? I stare at them intently as I whiz by them, after weaving in and out between the two lanes, trying to see if there was a commonality that would explain this nightmare. Just to make my point, I rev my Toyota to the max as I shift from first to second, third to fourth, wheels squealing ever so slightly in the damp, gray morn. They don’t care. Not even a look my way as they continue to saunter along, singing a cowboy song….’just a strollin, under the big gray clouds, howdy doody, I’m an asshole today…just taking my time, going soooooo slow, I love to piss Shelly off cause it makes my day, I’m a BIG asshole, with NOWHERE to go, I’m a slooooooow driving, idiot in Canadaland… ‘

Well, maybe they weren’t singing that song but they should have been. It didn’t matter what I told myself, I could not stop the adrenaline rush and the urge to drive over everything that got in my way. It’s because I haven’t had my coffee yet. Yeah that’s it. Soon I’ll be at Tim Horton’s and the sun will shine, the birds will sing and Shelly will smile once again.

After sitting at that red light, I finally did arrive at Tim Horton’s. Ready to kill, I walked into the coffee shop, watching the expressions on everyone’s face that looked my way, just to make sure that they weren’t looking at my hair and laughing to themselves. That would be the final straw. They were lucky…I didn’t see any smirks. Hmmm, I don’t think anyone smiled at me either, hey that’s not the way it normally is.

After grabbing my coffee, I managed to make it to work without incident. As I was walking to my cell (cubicle) I stole a look at the clock and I was impressed! Only 5 minutes late!

I pretty much stuck to myself for the balance of the morning. Not trusting my foul mood to interact with anyone, but by lunch time I was laughing and enjoying myself as per usual and that was because I made an appointment to get my hair done tomorrow night! Yippppeeee!!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Update on Yesterday's Snowstorm

This article appeared in today's star about yesterday's snowstorm. It's quite humourous so I thought I would post.

Dec. 7, 2004. 06:43 AM

This just in: It's December, and it's snowing


Quick, somebody call the army: It's snowing!

In a city that loves to complain about the weather, there was plenty to whine about yesterday morning as the steel-grey skies hurled tiny snowflakes at frightened citizens.

The Weather Network was on the case, offering round-the-clock updates and helpful suggestions. Driving is treacherous. Don't go outside unless you have to. Be patient. Be careful. For God's sakes, people, be careful out there!

Just before 9 a.m., snapshots of messy road conditions were relayed to viewers from highway cameras. Traffic was snarled. Accident reports flooded hotlines.

About an hour later, the Weather Network's Nadine Blayney ventured into The Storm for a live report.

"It's pretty windy, pretty cold, pretty snowy," she said, smiling with reassuring perkiness. "We'll head it back into the studio where, Helena, I think that you're much warmer than I am,"

"I think so, too," agreed colleague Helena DeVries. "I've got to tell you, though, you certainly look gorgeous with all those snowflakes surrounding you."

And so the first snowfall was met with the sort of jangled, breaking-news excitement usually reserved for pre-emptive wars, political assassinations and J.Lo sightings.

Setting up the national forecasts, DeVries threw it back to Blayney who — in 1 minute and 11 seconds — magically reappeared inside the station's Mississauga studio.

"Let's send it over to Nadine now, who made her way very quickly indoors," said DeVries, as conspiracy-minded viewers wondered if the Weather Network had cloned Nadine.

"I know Helena," Blayney replied, her breathing suspiciously normal. "I don't know if the cameras are picking this up, but my face is soaking wet."

Blayney pivoted toward a national map that offered some perspective. It was minus 18C in Calgary, minus 21C in Edmonton. No matter. This is Toronto, Centre of the Universe.

After some confusing talk about jet streams and Arctic moisture, viewers learned about conditions at Pearson airport.

The circa 1983 graphic detailed wind chill (minus 13C), dewpoint (minus 7C), ceiling (1,300 feet) and visibility (3.2 kilometres), as a gratingly upbeat elevator-track — think Gheorghe Zamfir on crystal meth — accompanied the data.

Then it was time for more breaking news.

"If you live in the Toronto area and you booked the day off work, congratulations," said DeVries. "You missed a traffic nightmare."

Cut to the nightmare footage, as hundreds of blurry headlights peered into the frigid haze like grounded owls.

Yesterday also marked the start of "Severe Winter Weather Awareness Week in Atlantic Canada." The designation set up a special report on the importance of wearing hats.

"Approximately, 30 per cent of the heat can be lost on your head," said Louis Dupuis, who works for the Moncton Fire Department. "So you should cover yourself properly when it's cold outside."

Thanks, Mr. Dupuis. Also, remember not to touch hot stoves or provoke sleeping grizzly bears.

Blayney must have caught the special report while throwing on her stylish overcoat. Minutes later, she was back outside wearing a black toque with spaghetti chin straps.

"I must say that being outside in the snow in sub-zero temperatures is much more fun when you have your hat and your mitts on," she enthused, before crouching down to test snowball-making conditions.

I suppose you could blame the Commonwealth. Like the British and Australians, Canadians are obsessed with their weather. In Toronto, the weather has become a cultural shorthand, a great unifier providing fodder for impromptu conversations as strangers politely interact and go about their business.

Talking about the weather means not having to talk about anything else.

The sweet woman who runs my neighbourhood convenience store uses meteorological observations, in broken English, to start every conversation. I could run in wearing a ski mask and brandishing a sawed-off shotgun and she would still say, "Today nice weather we have!"

The irony, of course, is that here in Toronto, where most of us work indoors in climate-controlled environments, the weather is almost entirely inconsequential.

Can you imagine if we lived in a region prone to hurricanes, tornadoes or floods? Forget the national army, which former mayor Mel Lastman famously summoned during a 1999 snowstorm, we'd need help from an international coalition of the (inclemently) willing.

Yesterday, the Weather Network issued a "Winter Outlook" news release. So what can Canadians expect in 2005?

"A pretty average winter for the most part, but a few areas of the country will deviate from normal, experiencing warmer, colder, drier or wetter than normal conditions."

Well, that narrows it down. But I guess the specifics don't matter when we're heading toward another winter of discontent.


Happy in Bed

I was very happy that I was in bed this morning (Monday), while hundreds of people were attempting to drive on snowy, ice covered roads. The storm descended on the city during morning rush hour and it took some people hours to get to work.

It was a much nicer view from where I was lying.

The Toronto Star had this to say:

Afternoon commute threatened by weather
Warmer air to turn snow to rain tonight as temperatures rise


After this morning’s horrendous drive in the season’s first blustery snowfall, motorists won’t have it any easier on the way home.
Blame the ice pellets.

Just after 3 p.m. today, a serious collision on the eastbound ramp at Highway 401 and Dixie Rd. forced the closing of all southbound and northbound lanes on Dixie Rd. A transport truck was involved.

There have been so many accidents that insurance companies, police and tow-truck drivers have been going at a break-neck pace taking in all the calls. As of noon today, the OPP reported there were more than 260 accidents in and around the GTA on the major highways.

The weather in the southwestern part of the province also created traffic chaos throughout the region.

Most Toronto motorists, however, appeared to be taking their time this afternoon and the number of accidents appeared to be slowing.

Most of the major routes are slow-going, according to police.

A line of snow ploughs made the driving slow on the eastbound collector and express lanes on Highway 401 from Port Union Rd. to Brock Rd.

The westbound Gardiner Expressway seems to be in better shape this afternoon because the temperature was up to zero. But the westbound lanes were filling in west of the SkyDome area.

Ice pellets were falling north of the city on Highway 401 and conditions there caused havoc with motorists in both the eastbound and westbound lanes.

The sanders and snow ploughs are trying to keep the roads as clear as possible but they’re also slowing traffic around them.

Earlier today, the only people who woke up smiling were tow-truck drivers. As the first taste of winter descended on the GTA, the Ontario Provincial Police reported 130 accidents on major area highways by 10 a.m. Virtually all were fender benders.

"We're getting about a crash every two minutes," OPP Sergeant Cam Woolley said during the morning rush hour. "Virtually on any highway, we have had crashes — not life-threatening crashes. It was quiet from midnight to 6 a.m., but then it was like in the cartoons when the factory whistle blows, they just started crashing. We had sort of a flash freeze and it's been crash after crash ever since."

Driving on city roads was just as wild.
Icy conditions forced Traffic Services to close the southbound lanes of Avenue Rd. from St. Clair Ave. to MacPherson Ave.

As the morning went on, the driving became even more nasty. In a serious collision at Yonge St. just south of Highway 404, several vehicles were involved in a host of collisions, including a York Region bus, GO Transit bus and several cars.

Buses were having trouble getting up the hill on that stretch of road, York Region police say.

None of the injuries were reported as serious.

Woolley said winter still seems to take motorists by surprise, adding that people are still in summer driving mode. Despite the conditions, Woolley said he saw cars, trucks and tractor-trailers, driving at more than 30 km/h above the speed limit.

The snowfall shouldn't add up to more than 3 cm downtown. Later, swirling winds will make it rather unpleasant, especially near the lake where the winds often gust higher.

The TTC also reported that Wheel Trans service was running about 45 minutes late this morning. Riders are asked to phone and cancel your ride if it is non-essential, the TTC spokesperson Marilyn Bolton said.
The weather pattern gets marginally much better tomorrow with no snow in the forecast. But it will be damp. Tuesday will see a 60 per cent chance of showers, but it will be milder. The temperature will climb to a high of 6C as a warm air mass moves into the area.

That's little solace to the hundreds of people who were caught in fender benders this morning.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Just Another Trip to Work

I was on my way to work Friday afternoon. Traffic was busier than the other days this week. Unbelievably so, but then it's Friday. It's to be expected I guess. People going away for the weekend, and other's arriving to spend the weekend in our city.

My trip to work is my time to myself. A little bit of space in my day where I have only myself to worry about. Nobody else in the car to distract my thoughts. I enjoy this time. Often I think of people that I haven't spoken to for some time and will make a call or two while I'm driving. I know, it's inadvisable to talk on your cell phone while driving, but I can multi-task, after all I'm a woman.

I glance down at the display to make sure that I am selecting the right party from my phone book and start to press the send button. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a silver BMW in the lane beside me with his signal light on, starting to move into my lane. He's not in front of me, but beside me. He was travelling behind me when I decided to make my call. All the lanes were full of cars and I was travelling at the same speed as the rest of traffic, following the pickup truck in front of me as close as safely possible. Let's just say that there was not enough room for this silver car in between me and the truck. So either one of two things had to happen. I would have to slam on my brakes at 120 km, and risk being rear ended by the vehicle on my ass, or hold my territory, lay on my horn and pray that the insane maniac would back off.

I chose the latter. He did back off. Backed off right in behind me, driving so close that I could not see his headlights. I was a little nervous. We are still driving at a high speed. As fast as possible with the heavy concentration of cars. I kept an eye on him in my rear-view mirror. For some reason, I half suspected that he was going to ram right into me.

Soon enough, I spotted an escape. There was just enough of a gap to zip into the lane beside me and get back in front of the truck ahead. That would at least put one vehicle in between us. Right after I got in front of the truck, there was another gap to allow me to move in front of the car ahead of me. Now there were two vehicles in between.

I let out a sigh of relief and just as the breath was passing my lips, I saw him zooming in the lane next to me and jump right in behind my vehicle again.

I couldn't believe it. This guy was really pissed at me. But what was he going to do. Not only that, but why was he so angry at me. He was in the wrong for trying to push me out of the way to begin with.

I decided to just get out of his way. Let him have that fucking lane. What do I care. So when it was safe to do so, I changed lanes. He was right behind me. I changed lanes again. So did he. I drove faster. He drove faster. Vehicles moved out of my way as if on cue and I increased my speed up to 150 km per hour and he was right on me like a cop in hot pursuit.

Bear in mind, that I'm driving a Toyota Corolla 5 speed, he's driving a BMW or some other expensive type car and was capable of out running me without problem. But I might be smarter. That was what I thought anyway.

I was in the slow lane of the express lanes and my exit into the collector lanes was coming up. In this lane you can exit or drive straight. I held a straight line until the last possible second and without signalling I took the exit. So did he.

I sped up to 130 on the ramp, which is 80 km, attempting to pass a truck and another car before my lane ran out. If I just push it a little more, I should be able to zip in front of them, but he will have to fall in behind. I'll lose him for sure.

I made it. Just in the nic of time, I was able to slide in front of the truck as my lane ended. I watched in my mirror and was shocked to see him continue to drive on the shoulder to get past the truck as well, and he was right back behind me.

Now I was really nervous. This guy had been chasing me for about 20 km. Not only that but all three lanes were a solid line of brake lights as the traffic ground to a halt. I shifted down to third, then second gear, wondering what would happen if I had to stop. Will he get out of his car and come up and shoot me? Hit me? Ram my car? Yell? What? What did he want from me? What does he want to prove? That he's a fucking moron? He's already proven that.

Thank god the traffic started to move faster, and I shifted into third, then fourth. The whole time I was watching. Watching him, watching for a gap where I could slip out of his way. I looked at my phone laying on the seat and decided I should try and scare him by pretending to call the police. I exagerated my movements so that he would be sure to see it and held it to my ear while I continued looking for an escape. There it was. A space just big enough for me, in between two trucks and I took it. He stayed in his lane and passed by without looking at me. I tried to calm my heart as I headed for my exit and safety.

Once at work in the parking lot, I took a minute to be thankful that I was sitting in my parking lot and not in an ambulance somewhere either because of a traffic accident or for some other reason.

Next time, I'll risk slamming on my brakes to let the bastard in. It just isn't worth it.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I have started...

my Christmas Shopping! Woo hooo! The first gift was actually purchased in November, a feat not seen since my baby was little. It's just not the same for me now that she is 20 and I'm trying very hard not to be a scrooge, but I really do miss going to the toy store and fighting for the latest and greatest whatever-in-the-hell-it-happened-to-be-that-year.

Any suggestions on how to get excited when you don't have small children in the house at Christmas?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Upside Down or Right Side Up?

I reach for my new, cool, toothpaste, Crest Whitening Expressions Liquid Gel in Extreme Herbal Mint flavour and stop to admire the cute, compact packaging. It's small enough for a purse or pocket for those moments when you really, really want to brush but aren't at home.

Who thinks of this stuff? Not only is it small, but it's clear. I can see exactly how much toothpaste is left without getting a surprise when I am clearly not in the mood for such surprises, like when I first get up in the morning.

The piece de resistance however, is the fact that it's an upside down container. It's not a tube of toothpaste anymore. It's a small, clear, plastic bottle with green sparkly goo inside and it stands on it's head, so that the toothpaste runs happily out onto your toothbrush. No more squeezing and squeezing to force the stuff out. This toothpaste is anxious to get to work so it wants easy exit from it's holder.

Toothpaste isn't the only product that has turned from "lazy ass", to "keener". Check out your Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonaise, hell even the plum sauce is now standing upside down to make the transition from container to food quicker and easier.

It's catching on. Soon all of our liquid type, gooey products will be sporting new upside down containers. Say goodbye to the old, outdated, upright, keep-some-in-the-bottom-never-to-release bottles.

Surely we have just passed into a new era of packaging history.