Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Orchids and Mr. Darcy's New Place in My Life

So I'm feeling like pictures today. Everyone likes pictures, right?

In May 2012 when I had That Magical Day, my dear friend Carmen brought me a congratulatory present: a miniature Phalaenopsis orchid, with blooms already in place. I thought for sure I'd kill it within a month's time.


It lived.

Here's proof:

Multiple new blooms!

Closer in.

These frames are taken with a macro lens -- to give you a perspective, these blossoms aren't much larger than your standard Oreo cookie. So sweet and tiny!

And here she is just the other day. Now TWO blossoms! I feel so green thumbish!

Now on to my latest obsession.

THIS is Mr. Darcy, known to his real-life family as Matthew Macfadyen, in director Joe Wright's 2005 cinematic presentation of Jane Austen's much-loved novel, Pride and Prejudice.

I loves him.

I have watched this film more times than is healthy in the last two months. Don't tell my therapist -- she might worry that I am developing an unhealthy attachment to individuals who do not exist in real life.


Well, helloooooo, there, man of mist ...

"Your hands are cold."

KISS HER ALREADY, DAMMIT! (Keira Knightley has a great nose.)

Greetings, Mr. Darcy. My name is Jenn. You're pretty.

YESTERDAY (January 28) was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, so my daughter Yaunna and I decided to do what ALL self-respecting P & P fans should have done.


Oh, yes we did. And I even decorated it with frosting squeezed into a medicine syringe because we lost the tips to our frosting tube. Resourceful, I am -- especially when cake is on the line. (Save your comments about how the red dye in the frosting will likely kill me. So will the radiation from Fukushima and the chemicals in my Diet Coke or the fact that I live in an area where 95 percent of the population only have drivers' licenses because they paid off the examiners.)

So, I think this should be my next tattoo. It will go so nicely with the Shakespeare autograph on the right arm, and the Joan of Arc signature on the left. Yes?

If you don't follow me on Facebook, then you probably don't know that I have the Most Awesome Group of Friends ever in the whole of the world. My belated Christmas present (thanks to a glitch in shipping and by no means a reflection on my most well-meaning gifters), sent by darlings Angeline Kace and Heather Hildenbrand, included a box stuffed with ALL OF THESE GOODIES. And my hair has looked remarkably awesome as of late, thanks to that delightful flat iron. I feel like a real girl.

If you need a reminder: Yes, we have Oreos in Canada. However, they are DIFFERENT, and as an American, there are some things I cannot accept about my Great Northern lifestyle. Like Canadian Oreos. Oh, and Smarties. Canadian Smarties = American M&Ms. Only harder. And with a different type of chocolate inside. American Smarties? Those are called Rockets in Canader. I KNOW I'M CONFUSED TOO LET'S JUST EAT IT ALL AND SMILE INSTEAD.

(I do, however, think I shall switch from telling people of my Oreo obsession and instead tell them I like money just as much. Maybe I shall begin receiving boxes filled with cash instead. Better for my arteries, me thinks.)

And because I want you to know that living here is not all moose poop and beaver pelts, this was the view out of my living room a few sunsets ago. Too bad you cannot see how PINK this mountain range was at this very moment. This is called Golden Ears. No, I have not hiked its summit. That would require putting on pants and leaving the house, all in one day. Sheesh, what am I, Superman?

I am glad to be here behaving in an irreverent manner. The pneumonia did not get me. I LIVED. I know many of you are battling your own bugs out there -- this year's flu is TERRIBLE -- I have a kid home right now with some weird hybrid flu/stomach cramp thing. (He's only barfed twice since Saturday. THANK HEAVENS. Granted, the first barf was in the car on the way back from an out-of-town soccer game, and that was nasty as hell.)

OH! And speaking of out of town, Chilliwack, BC (small town many kilometers east of here) is home to a splendid used bookseller called The Book Man. I WENT THERE (pre-barfing episode, of course -- I'm not that mean of a mommy. "Here, kid, suck on these soda crackers and puke in this bag. Don't unlock the van doors no matter what."). I walked out with -- you guessed it -- five Jane Austen novels. Emma, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, and Sense and Sensibility. I am currently 60 percent through P & P as I did have that one on my shelf, and am finding it fun to discern the differences between the book and the film mentioned above. Further, I do recognize that I am woefully late to this Austen game, and for that, I am ashamed. *hangs head* I do hope that finally righting this wrong will enrich my own future writing efforts, however. 

Fine. I'm reading it because it's romantic. STOP MAKING ME CONFESS STUFF. *crosses arms* Besides, romance is for sissies.  

One more before I go:

I might need an intervention.

Xs and Os ...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mother Nature Calls Me Ma'am

Disclaimer: This tale will not be true for everyone. Either you will understand its sentiments, or you can treat it as a cautionary tale for what happens after you turn 40. For the record, I am not obsessed with my weight. I love Oreo cookies too much for that. No need to send me links to "age gracefully" or "love your body no matter what" memes. /end disclaimer


Mother Nature -- she's a fickle cow.

Picture this: You're 25. You're the hottest you're ever going to be in your whole life, legs strong, arms chiseled, pants fit right, no blubber roll around your middle to remind you that you've had two babies too young. When you want to lose weight, you stop eating. You decide you're a vegetarian, only you hate vegetables so your diet consists largely of Red Vines, bread, and Diet Coke. Losing weight is easy, thanks to a genetic gift and years of athleticism in childhood, but also because you're young. You're very busy chasing toddlers, doing theatre, working several jobs, fighting with ex's. There is never a dull moment, and your metabolism rewards you for your industry. 

Breakfast of Champions.
Mother Nature's ploy is to make us the most desirable when we're the perfect breeding age, from, say, 17 to 28 or 29. Some can stretch this into their 30s, and some reach their prime at 45, but not all. Not everyone's that dedicated. Not everyone's so gifted to have skin like my friend Carmen and an ass/legs like my friend Danielle. I had gray hair and the first signs of crow's-feet in my 30s, despite the fact that I was still not done breeding. But I also wasn't out on the market trying to find a partner with whom to continue breeding. I found him at 29, so the slide began. Slowly, slowly. (However, I did not acquire my first yoga pants until age 40. No, my yoga pants have never seen the inside of a yoga studio.)

When you're young and everything is in the right place, gravitationally speaking, you go to the gas station or the market and upon handing you your receipt for something you likely paid way too much for, the helpful clerk says, "Have a nice day, Miss." You smile, say, "Thanks, you too." You climb into the car for the drive home, crack open the sweating can of Diet Coke and the yellow wrapper of the peanut-buttery Butterfinger, and you know that if you skip dinner, these calories will not land in the foundation of the wee fat condos blossoming on the exterior of your thighs. It's early days. You can get ahead of those condos before they become a full-fledged, size 12 housing development with pools and pleasant tree-lined walkways and grassy knolls where you can read your tabloid magazines. A few laps around the block a few times a week? Finally breaking the seal on the Wii Fit disc? You can handle that. (You won't. But you will tell yourself you will.)

When you're young, you get sick and you drop two pants sizes. Pneumonia? Bring it on! You'll be able to wear that red dress! Stomach flu? Yes, please! Emily Blunt's character said it best in The Devil Wears Prada: "I'm one stomach flu away from reaching my goal weight." When you get sick, Mother Nature rewards you with a flatter stomach, thinner thighs. Some say that a single drink of water will reset you to the prior weight, but still -- it FEELS like there is a consolation prize. And when you drag your coughing butt to the pharmacy for codeine cough syrup, the pharmacist says, "Here you go, Miss Sommersby. Feel better soon."

The world is still calling you "miss." Mother Nature is still offering consolation prizes so you will be hearty and good-looking enough to go forth and multiply.

And then ... one day ... September 21, two days after your 40th birthday, you're sitting at the gas station, waiting for the attendant with the overstretched gauges in his ears and the scary, might-be-infected lip piercing. What is taking him so long? You look into the rearview mirror -- OMIGOD IS THAT A GRAY HAIR?! No. It's TEN gray hairs. And a singular white one that grows STRAIGHT out of your head like it's reaching for the International Space Station. You swear you will pluck it the moment you get home. Your Diet Coke is warm, and it's making you nervous to drink it after reading an article about all the chemicals they use to replace the sugar (thus making it diet), that it can make your bones hollow and the aspartame/phenylalanine causes cancer in lab rats. Maybe I should stop drinking this stuff ...

This rat had too much Diet Coke.
But you're young. The world still calls you "miss." There is time left. You can remedy the err of your ways.

The attendant, finally finished staring at the boobs of the younger girl in The Car That Is Not a Minivan, comes and takes your money. He smiles, that lip piercing very worrisome up close, so much so that you resist the motherly urge to say, "You might want to get that looked at." He hands you the receipt and says, "Have a nice day, ma'am."


The end is nigh.

Once you've become "ma'am" instead of "miss," the gray hairs multiply like bacteria in blood-red agar. Those Red Vines aren't sitting so well, and you find yourself reading nutritional value labels and standing, wide-eyed, in the vitamin aisle, wondering if you should supplement with Ensure, recalling the Geritol commercials of your childhood.

And Mother Nature gets stingy. Remember those consolation prizes mentioned above? Yeah. When you reach "ma'am" status, the consolation prizes are rescinded. No more. Nada. Gonzo. Not for you, babe. 

When you get the flu, which might turn into bronchitis and pneumonia, you don't lose 10 lb., despite the thunderous coughing that scares the neighbors so much, they seal their windows in plastic film; despite the megadoses of antibiotics that are clearing your lungs but ravaging your intestines; in between begging for death and praying to live, you're hoping that this drowning sensation goes away soon so that you don't die because your kids are still really little and PLEASE GOD/BABY JESUS/BUDDHA/UNIVERSE DON'T LET ME DIE I PROMISE TO STOP EATING SO MANY RED VINES.

Mother Nature -- she's a fickle cow. You get pneumonia, but you don't get the consolation prize. And the much-younger pharmacist with the great hair, Crest Whitestrips teeth, and the very large, sparkly engagement ring says, "Here you go, ma'am. Feel better soon."

Ma'am? Really? You don't punch her. She has a pretty nose. Instead you cough in her direction, and smugly stroll from the store.

This. Is. My. Future.
Xs and Os, lovelies ...

P.S. If you're not yet 40, go do some sit-ups post haste. You will thank me later.