Saturday, 25 November 2006

Technology Controls My Life

In case any of you have wondered what happened to me, below is a polite chronicling of recent past events, all surrounding wire, metal and bizarre circuitry. But I am back, and struggling mightily to find the water's surface again.

My computer had the nerve to go all ‘Six-Feet-Under’ on me. My husband informed me that not even his super-powers could revive the traitor, and I’d have to take it to a professional. Gulp. This means huge chunks of time spent without the aid of my own personal assistant, my willing slave, my computer. I won't even think of how much money this could possibly cost.

And before you ask, YES, I had back ups. But you can't do squat with a back up until you have a machine to put them on.

After I drop off my baby at the local computer hospital for surgery, I wander back to my car, empty handed. The technician couldn’t magically flip a switch and say everything was fine. It wasn't going to be like when you go to the mechanic and your car stops making that noise.

This was going to take time, something none of us seem to have. The snap of the cold wind slapping my cheeks shakes me from my near panic, but now it’s official. I am helpless. Knowing that I can't go back home and continue on my work-day has me feeling a little bit lost.

When I should be busily answering emails, planning my day, getting work done, instead I am driving home wondering what to do. Even knowing I have a laptop that I can use doesn’t comfort me. I am so having an Eeyore moment.

Eventually I decide to be bigger than the problem and drive home with a thankful attitude that the laptop is waiting for me, ready to go into battle.

Well, ready for battle after I update the antivirus subscription, run the full system scan, scan for security updates, antivirus updates and program updates. Five hours later, the laptop is ready to use. And I'm too stressed and irritated to put it to work.

My PDA has some contacts, my cell phone has others. Not one perky little device has all of the answers for me, no matter what buttons I push. Not even all the perky little devices put together can help me get the work done that I need. I want my computer back. I need the mother ship. Sigh.

It seems that somehow, the convenience of all of these nifty gadgets has got a crazy hold on me. I know I’m not the only one who has become an unwitting victim of this technology war.

The laptop had me at its mercy as I tried to get it up to date and ready to use. My cell phone only holds the contacts that I call regularly, and my PDA doesn’t include the business contacts that are currently held prisoner on my computer. It’s enough to make a girl go even crazier.

Our world has become dependent on machines to get us through our days. Whether it’s at work or at home, we are held captive by our electronic gadgets. You’ll realize it the next time you punch in two minutes to microwave dinner, scream at your child to turn off the X-Box and come to the table, yank your daughter’s keyboard out of her room for inappropriate on-line behaviour, or when your cell phone rings with a really important emergency call from a girlfriend, right in the middle of said meal.

Me? While I wait for my computer to come home, I’m going to go download a couple of cool ring tones for my cell phone, and then maybe change the wallpaper on my PDA.

I know the minute my PC comes home I'll be all over it like a wolf on fresh kill. Until then, I'll just have to keep myself busy doing regular stuff, like laundry and vacuuming. Eek.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Staying Young Has Nothing To Do With Miracle Creams

To be published in the Mississippi Weekender Friday, 11/17/06

I think I’ve found the secret to staying young. And I don’t think it has much to do with lotions, potions, make up or plastic surgery.

Not long ago, I was in Toys n Treasures on Bridge Street. I was going in just to look, really, and possibly to pick up a gift for my nephew and niece in California. However, about thirty seconds after I walked through the door, I forgot all about Jordan and Emily and what child-like delight they would show at whatever gift I picked for them.

My eyes were drawn in all directions at once, which, let me tell you, causes a ridiculous eye strain. The colours were so bright, inviting you to touch, to want. The glitter and shine of the pinks and purples of the ‘girlie’ toys, the masculine blacks, reds and blues of the ‘boy’ toys all made me realize one thing. It stinks to be a grown up.

I’d like to know who made the rules that say we’re not allowed to play with toys, not allowed to pretend after a certain age. Are you thinking “Nobody told me I couldn’t play with toys anymore…”?

Exactly. Somehow, we let an interest in the opposite sex take away our desire for the very things that made us laugh, stretched our imaginations, allowed incredible fantasies and made us forget about anything that made us sad as children.

Why don’t we do that now? For some reason, we adults change from toys to dates, to bars, to marriage, children, jobs, careers, other people…whatever. Simply said, we grow up.

Who makes the rules on when it’s time to grow up, anyway? Who says you can’t be an adult and still enjoy total reality abandonment like a child does? Like your children do?

Put down your cell phone, PDA, laptop, wallet, glass, newspaper and dinner preparations. Put them all down. Go to your child’s room, the attic or a toy store. Find a toy you used to love when you were a child. Smile at it and remember.

Remember what it was like to pick up your Barbies and immediately fall into their world. Find Ken and make it happen, ladies. Men, go find a Hot Wheels track, or build a fort under the dining room table. Make a tent out of your bed sheets and play doctor with your wife. Grab the pots and pans from the bottom drawers. Raise that wooden spoon and bring back the Racket Band that you used to love when you were in diapers.

Life is meant to be fun, to be enjoyed. Sure, there are responsibilities to be handled on a daily basis. But if we handle them, and then forget them for awhile while we play with the Easy Bake Oven or the Erector Sets….what’s the harm? Find a refrigerator box and climb in. It’s your world. Have fun with it.

Watch children for examples. They’ve got it down to an effortless science.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

What If Monday!

What If....

You were to think of a couple you know about whom you would say "What on earth is he doing with her, or she doing with him?" - - who would it be?

Get deeper....why?

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

The Power of my Purse, the Glory of my Handbag

Peter and I went out of town this past weekend. We had a couple of stressful moments when I gave our last twenty dollars (cash) to our neighbor for pet-sitting while we were gone. Peter doesn’t like to travel without cash, and if-he’d-only-known-he-would’ve-got-cash-before…my counter was what’s-the-big-deal-we-have-an-ATM-card-right?

It turns out there was enough spare change to fuel Peter’s brain for driving in the form of a Timmy’s Iced Cap. Problem solved.

When we arrive at the hotel, it’s dark. I’m pretty sure I’ve just dropped my dark brown leather glove on the pitch black parking lot.

“Anyone got a flashlight?” I ask this of my husband and the concierge. No flashlight. What do they do in emergencies, light a candle? Maybe they’ll let me set a bottle of shampoo on fire for light out there. I really liked those gloves, too.

In the hotel room, I set about organizing my things. I begin to clean out my gen-u-ine counterfeit Chloe Betty handbag. I pull out trash, receipts, anything that I don’t want cluttering my perfectly organized purse.

But wait? What’s this? Change? Of course! What woman doesn’t have change at the bottom of her purse? I pull out $8.57….imagine that. $8.57 that could’ve landed me an Iced Cap about 300 kilometers ago. I proudly put the change in front of Peter. “Here you go, honey. Take my money and buy yourself something pretty.” I’m such a good martyr.

As I root around in the vast caverns of my bag, my hand slides around something cool and smooth. I pull it out. Well I’ll be….it’s a flashlight! I laugh myself silly over this one. This has been in my bag since early October when we went on a night zoo safari. Excellent. Now I can go look for my glove like a professional!

And that’s when it hits me. A properly packed handbag can help a woman out in many situations. Here’s what I found in mine, and how I will classify each item for future MacGyver or Mission Impossible purposes…

Antibacterial hand gel: Combats bird flu, mad cow disease, malaria, West Nile virus and general smarminess in icky people.

Cell Phone & PDA: To keep up to date on important missions

Halloween jewelry: To go into deep disguise at a moment’s notice

Breath Spray: Sweet breath when gossiping…er….networking is crucial

Business cards: To secure future missions

Memo pad & pens: Used to leave notes, hints, clues, and to throw the bad guys off the hunt.

Make up, dental floss, gum, hand cream: Come on, a girl on a mission has to look her best

Tide Pen: NEVER leave home without it. Especially if you're me. You can white up an entire soccer team at a moment's notice.

Atomic Fireballs: A seriously hot cinnamon candy that can act as a flame thrower at a moment’s notice.

My handbag is full of mysterious powers that delight and amaze. Ladies, if you plan correctly, you could have an all-magical handbag yourself. And you’ll never have to ask a man for a flashlight again.

Monday, 6 November 2006

What If Monday!

What If...

you could dedicate a song to the keeper of your heart, what song would you pick and why?

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Winter is Coming - Gather Your Nuts!

To be published in The Mississippi Weekender 11/3/06:

The first day of winter is set for December 22 this year. So why does it feel like Old Man Winter has decided to come crash the party early this year?

Let’s face it, besides the green grass, there’s not much left that’s glamorous or beautiful about fall anymore. Now it’s time to wait for the white to come and monochrome our slice of the world for a few months.

It seems that we’re going from tank tops to turtle necks without so much as a three quarter sleeve sweater set in between. Fall fashions will quickly become hidden under uncomely layers of wool, cotton, fleece and thermal. There will be no disguising a smart outfit underneath all the layers. This is about survival, friends.

When I moved here in 2002 I was so charmed by the thought of an actual white winter that I couldn’t wait for those first fluffy flakes to fall. The irony of that year was that we had zero snow on Christmas. My first white Christmas in Canada was no such thing.

When the snow came at last, I played, I snow angel-ed, I slid down the hill outside our house. I reveled in the fresh, crisp snow and how alive the cold snap of the air made me feel. My first white winter in Canada was so magical for me, even if my husband did shake his head and tell me often… “Just wait. The charm will wear off.”

“Never!” I’d cry with glee and pelt him with a snowball for trying to Grinchify my winter fun.

That year, my party ended when I slid on my saucer down a hill, across an ice patch and into the barbed wire fence at the end of the pasture. Icy barbed wire in the bum does not define winter charm, but it does make for a cool scar.

The following year as I played with my dog, I slipped on an snow-covered ice hill and went down on my left knee cap, cracking it. My dog, in all his excitement, managed to pee on me. Winter fun SO over.

The following year I slid the car off the road a couple of times while learning to maneuver the treacherous paths we call roads during frozen rain storms, blizzards or a combination of both at the same time. The only fun I found in that was using very creative words when begging my car to stay on the road.

So now my knee hurts every winter, and I work from home out of pure fright and need

for life preservation.

If you see me out during the months of the white-out – I’ll be the one in a helmet, elbow and knee protection, spiked shoes for grip and a big long coat to cover my skin so it won’t burn in the wind. Basically, I’ll be the freaky Sasquatch-looking thing until March. See you then, people. Start gathering your nuts.

I live for comments. Send yours to