Friday, May 29, 2009

Vampire Culture Craze - True Blood Review

It seems since the release of the series "Twilight", the world has gone Vampire crazy. In the past we've seen vampire horror flicks, from the cheezy "Blade" series, (which I happen to love), to the artful, "Interview with the vamipre" from the 90's. There are several new movies out, and a new HBO series which I recently discovered, (now that I FINALLY have cable again and the hockey playoffs are almost over). It's called True Blood. You have to be really interested in the whole vamipre thing, (which I am), to really enjoy it... otherwise it comes off as a cheezy, sleezy show with mediocre acting. However, I am super interested in the story line.

The entire premise of the show is based on the idea that synthetic blood can be manufactured, so vampires can live out in the open without threat to human life, ( I know, I know... very sci-fi... but come on, it IS about vampires after all). The vampires struggle to have the same civil rights as humans, and to fit in with human society without fear of persecution. Some vampires are "good", and some are not happy with the change in status and are still killing whom they please. There is also a whole sub-culture of sex-crazed vampire groupies who get paid to let vampires bite them.

However, with the good must also come the bad... there is just TOO much sex in this show. I didn't really need to see so much of the lovely Anna Paquin. I expected as much with an HBO series, as sex is what sells these days, but it borders on pornography. I've been reading reviews of season 2 and it appears that viewers are in for even more graphic sex scenes than were present in season 1. I wish they would tone it down a little, but who am I to judge?

Each episode ends with an incredible teaser that adds drama and keeps me watching. It's not nearly as addictive as Twilight, but it will keep me going until the next movie comes out in November.

Have you seen the show?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dear Mom:

Today is your birthday. You are 50! I can hardly believe it. I know you are self-conscious and think you're getting old, but I think you're a magnificent, beautiful, and strong woman.

I am so grateful that you are my mother. I remember visiting friends as a child and was confused about why they didn't want to spend every second of the day with their mothers. They would go to extensive lengths to avoid them, and had none of the closeness that we have shared through-out the years. Looking back, I think they were envious of me, because I had the most amazing mother anyone could ever ask for! I know they all thought you were "cool", but that wasn't why they all loved you so. They would watch us and the love and affection that we so easily shared and wish for a piece of that for themselves. Most of my childhood friends ask about you every time I see them, not to be polite, but because they are genuinely concerned and care about your welfare.

For the last few years you have been struggling with an illness that I don't understand. It makes you tired, weak, and unable to do the things that give you joy. I know you feel isolated from the rest of the world. I wish I could take this burden off of your shoulders and make you smile again. I can only imagine the amount of pain you must be feeling, especially when you admit to it because you were never someone who complained to others about your hardships.

You are, undoubtedly, the hardest worker I have ever met. You never did anything half-way, but attacked every task with determination. We never lived in a mansion on the hill, but what we had was clean and well taken care of. You took pride in a clean house, and it showed. Frequently, when someone compliments me on a job well done, I tell them I owe it all to you. Because of you, I know the value of hard work and the pride I can take in what I accomplish.

When we were small, you did whatever you had to do to make sure we had what we needed, as well as your love and support. I know sometimes you have doubts about your parenting, as I'm sure every parent does, but you were always there when we needed it most. Whether it was to laugh with us, hug us when we were sad, or give us "tough love" to point us in the right direction. You gave us all the tools that we would ever need to grow up and be successful adults as well as shaping us into the people we've become. Not only did we learn right from wrong, but also compassion, strength, confidence, love, and trust.

I was not the easiest teenager to live with, I know that now. You always said, "you'll understand when you grow up,"and I do. Through all the mistakes I made, and some of them were pretty big mistakes, you supported me and helped me through all of it. You always threatened to lock me in a closet till I was thirty, but you let me go my own way and live my own life even though sometimes it was against your better judgement. Despite all the freedom I had to become my own person, people still say I turned out like you. Nothing could make me prouder.

So today, I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate you more then you could ever know. I will carry all you've taught me, and the love you've shown me all the days of my life.

Thank-you for being my mother,

Love Julie

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A bowl of soup.

It's 12pm. I am at work, and the whole world has gone INSANE. Not only am I moving tomorrow, so my entire life is disorganized and crazy, but I seem to be having a streak of bad luck professionally as well. Feeling unorganized, I decided to make a To Do list, but after developing writers cramp and misplacing Pg2 of 7, I decided that was an inefficient way to tackle my tasks.

I am typing this while eating my lunch because I need some measure of sanity. Today's lunch is soup. MMM . I am a soup addict. It is the ultimate comfort food. Why am I eating my lunch at my desk you ask? If I took my lunch to the cafeteria, I would undoubtedly be bombarded by questions and "emergencies", which, of course, cannot wait until I eat my cream of broccoli. I have tomorrow off, and I'm trying to prep so my boss can take over.. but that hasn't really seemed to happen yet. I'm still buried in morning craziness.

Hubby has been calling me with questions of "do you know where", "what if we put the couch this way," and "I found a microwave stand in the paper, can you go pick it up?" My concentration is totally frazzled, (not so different from any other day really), and the stress is beginning to make me giggle at inappropriate moments. For example, right now one of the engineers is trying to peek through my blinds to see if I am in my office. He has tried repeatedly to call me on my cell, and my desk phone with no success. I can hear him in the hall asking for me. I KNOW he can hear me laughing. Perhaps he thinks I'm doing something naughty. HA! That made me laugh harder. I'm turning the light switch off now in hopes that he will go away. My soup is not done yet.

Each mouthful is heaven. I am getting full. Better slow down to prolong the procrastination. My phone is ringing again. Someone is paging me over the loud-speaker.

I have just flicked some soup onto my lovely pink sweater with the flimsy plastic spoon. Who invented plastic cutlery anyway? Does it have to be so flexible? Thank-god for Tide Pens. Now there's someone who has a lot of money. Tide Pens are miracle cure-alls for the klutzy and grace-fully challenged such as I. I once spilled an entire coffee on my nice white t-shirt (while driving), and managed to have the whole thing clean by the time I reached Hamilton. It really is amazing stuff.

Sigh. The soup is gone. Said Engineer is now knocking impatiently on my door. So. Back to the real world. So much for the 1hr unpaid lunch. I can do this. I can make this day a success. Somehow.

Friday, May 15, 2009

To Joke, Or Not To Joke.

I make jokes at the most inappropriate times possible. I think it's because as a small child, I learned that laughter is a great tension reliever... especially when your parents are fighting, or your mother is depressed, or your brother is behaving badly to get attention. Unfortunately, this is a behavioural trait that has carried on into my adult life. Believe it or not, there IS a time to laugh and a time to cry... however, the majority of the time I choose to laugh and almost everyone I know disapproves.

Inevitably, as soon as there is tension in the air, my not-so-funny bone kicks in, my mouth opens, and words come out. In normal circumstances, these words would be hilarious... but not so much at my grandmothers funeral, or at work in the middle of a crisis, or on layoff day when I said... "Look on the bright side... now you'll have more time for origami and knitting!" Insensitive right? I mean.. most of those people were worried about how they were going to feed their children, and here I was making jokes.

I wanted to get up and say something at my grandmothers funeral... but I couldn't. I was afraid. I was afraid I would open my mouth and out would come some smart-assed comment which would be delivered with good intentions... but would sound like I was up there doing stand-up instead of talking about my feelings and what a special lady my grandmother really was. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Some people like to look on the bright side of life... I like to look on the funny side. I can make a joke out of pretty much anything, and usually they are at my own expense. I try not to hurt others, but sometimes the inappropriateness of my timing is horrifying. Those who know me well will stomp on my foot, or kick my shin to let me know when I am behaving badly.

Once at a wedding with co-workers, I made a comment about one of the ladies lovely hair cuts. She was a co-worker that I hadn't seen in quite sometime. I remember shouting something to the effect of: "Why'd you cut off all of you lovely hair... I mean, you're hair cut is really wonderful, but you had the nicest long wavy hair I'd ever seen!" Doesn't sound bad at all right? As soon as I said it the entire table went silent. It was at that precise moment that I remembered that that particular co-worker had been off for quite sometime do to cancer treatment, chemo, and radiation. She hadn't cut off her lovely hair at all... it had fallen out. I wanted to die. But that wonderful women just looked at me, smiled, and said: "Sometimes your hair falls out from chemo, mine did, so I got a wig! Isn't it pretty?" At this point, I was wishing God would strike me down with a lightning bolt. There she was trying to ease MY humiliation when she could have gotten angry, (and rightly so), and tore a strip off of me. So then, I did what any self-respecting, humiliated person would do. I got very, very drunk and focused all my energy on making her laugh for the rest of the evening. She passed away a few months later, but I often think about her and her quiet, forgiving demeanor. She was probably the most patient soul I have ever met, and one of the sweetest women to walk the face of the earth.

I try to think before I speak... but it doesn't always happen. I still put my foot in my mouth far too often, but not nearly as much as I used to. I think the times when I can use my humor to cheer people up far out-weighs the times when I accidentally hurt others. I was thinking of making a t-shirt that says "CAUTION: I TALK BEFORE I THINK" But I thought that the only person who would find that funny would be me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cordova Mines

I grew up in a small hamlet in South-Eastern Ontario, called Cordova Mines. It currently supports a population of approximately 100 people, quietly nestled in the pines. When I was small, it was the ultimate place to grow up. We fished, we hiked, we climbed enormous rock shelves, and played cowboys and Indians among the hay bales. When we first moved there from the city of Hamilton, we lived in a old, lumbering duplex on the edge of town. Behind the house, the old mining property began. Cordova used to have a gold mine you see. We would wander back there and play miner. Many of the old buildings, train tracks, and enormous piles of ore are left like worn souvenirs of the past. We would scoop up pieces of shiny iron pyrite and gloat about how rich we were going to be when we found the gold that the miners left behind. There are still open shafts that were never filled in on the site. Looking back, I'm surprised my mother let us play there as I'm sure she was quite nervous about us slipping to our doom. It was a great place for adventure!

My great-uncle used to own the original Cordova General Store. After he sold it, the owners converted it into a home for them and their 8 children.

I used to play with their kids and I remember much of the old stock was still there for years. Old dress patterns, yarn, and other supplies. A house next door to the original was converted into a general store after the sale, but has since been closed. A brand new log-home store was built a few years ago and now serves the remaining population.

In years gone by it was a booming town with post-office, bakery, butcher, and craftsmen. Now mostly deserted and overgrown it's hard to believe it was ever such a bustling place. Two churches still stand, and the local fire hall, but it is a shell of it's former glory. Forgotten in time like many other mining communities in the same area. The spirit and pride of the town is still going strong though. The residents come together to help one another in times of need, times of sorrow, and times of celebration.

Every time I go back, I am surrounded by friends and family in a town where everybody knows your name. It is a simple life, but a good life.

photo General Store borrowed from

Thanks to David for the inspiration!

Couch Critters - real or fake?

I received this email today and it reminded me so much of our dughallmor beagle friends I just had to post it!

WATCH THAT DOGGY DOOR Could you imagine coming home from work to find this tiny creature napping on your couch with your dog? Guess who came home for dinner? It followed this beagle home, right through the doggy door. This happened in Maryland recently. The owner came home to find the visitor had made himself right at home. This hit the 6 o'clock news big time

I'm not sure if I beleive it or not, but it sure is cute! What do you think... real, or fake?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How NOT to do laundry

With the move coming up next week, we've been extremely busy. I'm am getting less, and less organized everyday. Yesterday while rushing to get my chores done, I threw in a load of laundry while I was waiting for dinner to cook. I didn't check pockets. This is unfortunate. Have you ever washed an entire package of cigarettes? It looks like someone ate a bowl of bran flakes and then threw-up on my dress pants.

Edit: I also washed Halls cough candies once... the cherry kind. Really amazing things happen when you put them in the drier. They melt onto your clothes and your socks stick to the drier. On the other hand... my laundry smelled great!

What do you consider a necessity?

I was reading an article on MSN news this morning, about what qualifies as a neccesity and what we consider a luxury. Like most of you, I am seeking ways to save money and decrease monthly expenses.

I was shocked to find that most people considered cable tv a necessity. TV, really? Come on. If you can't survive without 50 channels, maybe you should consider getting a hobby. Besides... if you have an internet connection, you can watch most shows online anyway. Why pay for it twice? It is one of the first things I have considered cutting should we lose any more income.

Faster downloading was also considered a necessity. Lite Internet vs unlimited downloading is a difference of about $50 a month for cable Internet. I would consider downloading excess amounts of data a luxury, unless you need it for work. Most libraries offer free Internet services, plus there are numerous Internet cafes if you need your online fix. Inconvenient yes, but not impossible.

Most people consider having a car a luxury. Where I live, I have to have a car. There is no public transportation from one town to another here, but if I lived in a big city I'd be taking the train. Or carpooling. Not only is it healthier for the earth, it's better for your pocketbook.

Luxuries we have that I could live without if I had too...
  • Clothes Dryer - I could hang to dry, but it's inconvenient.
  • Microwave - I could heat it up in the oven, but again... inconvenient
  • Cable tv/internet
  • Cell phone (we all know how I feel about THAT)
  • Take-out food

What would you give up if you had too?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bathroom Rockstar

Since the start of Season 8 of American Idol, I have been secretly practicing my imaginary audition to be on the show. Mostly I sing in the car where nobody is around to hear me, but occassionally I sing in the shower or at work when the office is mostly empty. Well, the gig is up. Hubby has caught me singing into my hairbrush in-front of the bathroom mirror. And not just singing, but dancing and the whole bit. The best part? I was completely stark naked....

Hubby: Um.... what are you doing? (I freeze... I'm not a good liar, so I decide to fess up)

Me: Me? Well um.. I'm auditioning!

Hubby: To be a stripper?

Me: NO! To be on American Idol!

Hubby: I think you should hire a wardrobe consultant before you go. (Hubby laughs)

I am now red-faced and decide that the best option is to slam the door in his face and hide my humiliation in private. I am unsure why I feel so humiliated, and I have to admit it WAS really funny, but for some reason, hubby's hysterical laughter from the other side of the door made me want to throw something at him. I opened the door and threw my hairbrush "microphone". Hubby just laughed harder.

Don't get me wrong... I have no illusions to actually auditioning for the show. I can sing ok, but as soon as people are watching, I choke. Maybe everyone ELSE should be naked, and then I would not feel so humiliated, but there it is.

Now everytime I have a shower, hubby sneaks into the bathroom to see if there is going to be a "show" after. I am never going to live this down.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Zombie Chicken?

Carolina has given me an award! I am very flattered, because she is such a smart cookie, and ridiculously funny. I will cherish it always.

Now apparently, I get to nominate 6 others, but I think that's a bit much. So, instead I'm just going to nominate one.....

Jerry from Fun With Chickens! Duh... who else would I give it too? Jerry is crazy funny! Give him a visit if you have a minute!

Edit: I forgot the instructions!! Must be the Zombie Chickens.
The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Adventures in Landlording Part II

Here's an update:

Mystery Substance on bedroom wall looks suspiciously like vomit, but cam off with much scrubbing.

Marker on carpet came off with some serious heavy duty steam cleaning.

Hockey Stickers are unfortunately still there.

Fridge and stove still need to be cleaned

Bathroom - bleach has brought the science experiment to an unfortunate end. However, now that the science experiment has been allowed to continue for so long, the bathroom walls, floor and ceiling are now rotted and need to be replaced. This will happen as soon as I win the lottery.

We've changed the locks and done some other minor repairs. My lovely neighbour has been cutting the grass for us. See? Chivalry is not dead!

I forgot to mention that the entire front and side porches smell strongly of cat urine. Yum. Does anyone know how to get rid of that? Apparently soap and water are not enough. I have lovely hedges that I would rather not cut down.. but I will if it gets rid of that god-awful stench!

Sigh. Back to work!
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