Sunday, December 23, 2007

Student Living

It's a well accepted fact that students are poor. It's well accepted that generally, students have no money ever. Several business's have even been obliging enough to set up discounts for these stress freaks that make no money.
I am the luckiest kind of student because I still live with my parents. I make hardly any money, spend ridiculous amounts on textbooks and the like, yet I still remain solvent because I don't have to buy groceries.
That however, doesn't keep me from cooking. I enjoy cooking, so when I have the time, I make dinner. This very Friday, my friend Kylie and I were going to Sobey's to gather ingredients for such an occasion. It was while we were picking out apples and arguing over the best type of dinner rolls that we noticed the curious little tables set up with various delicacies.
Yes, my friends. Grocery store samples. On the surface they are meant to be a marketing ploy to get people eating new products, but really they are meant to fill the empty bellies of hungry students.
And that's exactly what we did. It was a good day for samples. We had salmon, cereal, a whole slice of pizza each, ice cream, fancy chees and crackers, the works! We ate an entire meal for free from the good will and/or marketing ploys of Sobey's.
So my dear fellow students, if you're hungry, and your cupboards are bare, try walking around the grocery store. You'd be surprised how filling it can be.
NOTE: When Sobey's is hoarding, I recommend Costco.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I AM LEGEND

After perusing several people's facebooks and blogs I keep getting the same message over and over again. "Jessica Melnychuck is finished exams!" "Karen Dick is finished University!" And the endless blogs of "I'm just ging to hang out in my pajamas for the next three weeks because I am done," are starting to get to me. I've come to the conclusion that I am the last student left standing.
It all began on Saturday, at 9 am (when normal people are asleep) and the majority of the people in my program finished the semester off with our comm theory exam. The usual festivities and celebrations took place, which I attended in spite of the fact I have nothing to celebrate yet, and then I looked around and went, "Hey, I'm the only one still buried in a textbook."
Okay that's an exaggeration. I know a few people who are still writing today. But EVERYONE I know finishes before me. I FEEL SO ALONE IN THE WORLD.
So to all my fellow students, I hope you're happy. And know that while you are sleeping/ partying/ hanging out in pajamas and being awesome, I am still trying to keep all the medieval popes straight.
I'M ALL ALONE, THERE'S NO ONE HERE..... BESIDE ME!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Dorky Girl in the Corner

I'm at school right now. Where else am I ever? Anyway, I'm supposed to be studying for my Children's Lit. final which is at 7 tonight. Yes, my exam schedule is just that lame.
So here I am, on the couch in the Comm Centre (which is basically where I live), and along comes a guy pushing a cart full of cakes. Strange. And to say that anything is strange in the Comm Centre is saying something, cause all kinds of crazy things happen.
But, I mind my own business and get back to Dr. Seuss. It's just Bridge Brand cake anyway. Than people start arriving. Not unusual for the Comm Centre, but instead of pulling out their textbooks, or falling asleep on the couch, or crying in despair at the overwhelming amount of assignments they have (as people often do in the Comm Centre), they're completely relaxed. Walking around, chatting, introducing their boyfriends to people. OUTSIDERS IN THE COMM CENTRE? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?
It's when one of the instructors starts hooking up a giant set of speakers that I figure out what's going on: the E-Pubs are having a party. Apparently they're starting a magazine. Or something.
By the time the music starts, and the cake is being circulated, I am feeling increasingly dorky. All around me, people are visiting, and being at a party, and I'm reviewing my notes for English. Choosing my only escape. I flee to the Resource and Archive Room.
The only problem with the archive room is it's got glass doors. So it's not a very good hideout. So while I continue to study, E-pubs walk by with their cake and stare at me like a peculiar kind of monkey in the zoo. The nerdiest of monkies: the kind that studies during a party.
You know how at parties there's always that girl sitting in the corner reading a book or flipping through and old magazine because she feels awkward and wants to look occupied, but secretly wishing she was out of sight so people would stop staring at her? Today, that's me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Communication "Professionals"

I have this mock press conference thingy coming up on Monday. We're meeting with the second year PR students and doing a pretend press meeting.
So anyways, our prof told us that each group would meet with their PR group at various times through the week. My group was told 8:30 AM on Thursday. That was annoying enough in itself because I have no classes on Thursday, but it was made even more annoying by the fact that the PR people didn't show. I'd driven all the way to school on the early side, on a day I ususally hang out in my pajamas all day, for nothing.
It was okay though, I ended up getting a lot done at school as I stayed to make the trip worth my while.
But it gets better. Thursday night, one of our PR's sends us an e-mail asking if we can meet the next day. Only two fo us checked our e-mail in time, so only two of us showed up. What we discovered is that the PR students had not heard about our planned meeting until later that day in class.
Such admirable work by Mount Royal College's Communications Department. Don't you think?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Why is it Always Leo?

I have my history midterm this afternoon, and I'm tryiing to study. It's a lot of remembering names, and events that all have really silly names. My main worry is that I will spell them wrong. I generally know what happens, it's just the stupid names. I know that Henry the III (?) organized a big meeting during the investiture controversy to get rid of the whole 3 popes thing, and he appointed his cousin to be the pope, but I can't remember the things like, the meeting was called the Synod of Sutri, and his cousin's name was Bruno of Toul, but he changed it to Pope Leo IX.
And that's another thing, why do they all have to have the same name? It is hard enough trying to remember which pope did what without worrying about if you got the number right. Everyone is named either Leo, or Henry, or Charles, or William. What was wrong with medeival mothers? Obviously they lacked imagination when naming their kids. Did they not realize how hard they were making it for future students trying not to get the Leo who reformed the church with his own ecclesiaticals mixed up with the one who threw himself at Charlesmagne's feet 200 years earlier mixed up? Geez.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Arrivederci TV Links

I have no channels. And by that I don't mean I have peasant vision. I mean no channels. Period.
We are not just peasants. We are homeless vagebonds in the world of TV.
You see, to have peasant vision, you have to have an antenae, and we don't. So to get one measly, fuzzy channel, you have to do a dance with a piece of tin foil on a chord. And even then , the picture isn't that good. Plus, your likely standing behind the TV with your hands in the air, or in the middle of the room on one foot cause that tin foil thing is so picky about where it has to be to get reception. And it always chooses the oddest places.
So we don't watch TV. Call me crazy but the whole enjoyment is taken away when you have to watch while standing on your tiptoes.
For the longest time, I didn't watch TV shows unless I was at friends houses, and then I didn't really like it cause I was behind the times. So I avoided even that.
Then I discovered shows on DVD. Introduced to me by my sister Jaima with Lost, I began watching previous seasons of shows, and feeling slightly in the TV loop. Plus I figured DVD was the way to watch shows, cause I could watch as mush or as little whenever I wanted.
But I was still behind the times. I'd watch an entire season in a few days, and then be waiting with baited breath for a year until the next season was released on DVD.
Then my sister Janine introduced me to TV Links. FYI- TV Links is a website that has shows available online to watch. I was hooked! How awesome was it that I could watch shows without going to rent them? Or waiting for them to come out on DVD? For the first time in my life, I was regularly following shows every week. I had three that I loved; Heroes, the Office, and How I Met Your Mother.
Then, a trajedy occurred; TV Links was shut down. Apparently something they did was illegal, and they vanished.
Okay, so maybe it was an illegal website, but I was still devastated. My world of TV shows, gone.
So this blog is dedicated in loving memory of TV Links. Yeah, you were illegal, but you were a friend to me in the world of TV.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Millena the Pizza Bomb

Once upon a time there was a frozen pizza named Millena. So named because, well, that was the company that had made her. Mild mannered Millena was one day sitting in her normal place on the top shelf of the deep freeze in the Redd's place of residence when to her astonishment, the freezer opened, and a hand reached toward her, taking her out of her comfortable home and into the discomfort of the room temperature kitchen.
Now Millena was a shy pizza, she rarely associated with the bags of peas and cans of lemonade concentrate that lived next door to her in the deep freeze. But what the Redd's didn't know was that though Millena was quiet and shy, she had a temper like a gas range.
Millena was not impressed at being taken out of her comfortably cold home. She was even less impressed when she was taken out of her pretty cardboard box with her name written on it in red block letters.
But the Redd's did not care for the suffering they caused poor Millena. They wanted lunch, and hungry people are notorious for listening to nothing but their own stomachs. So they did not hear Millena's disgruntled protests. They paid no mind when she wailed as her plastic cover was taken off. They did not care that the pizza pan was too small for her, and she was uncomfrtable on that ugly dish. They just wanted their lunch.
You can imagine Millena's horror and displeasure when she was placed in the oven at 425 degrees to bake for 25 minutes. This was the final straw. She would not stand for this mistreatment.
Her temper got the better of her. In her rage, Millena swelled to an enormous size. Her cheesy goodness turned to brittle black, her lovely thin crusts curved over the edge of the pan and burned. Her delectable pepperoni retained the flavour and texture of cardboard. And while all this was happening. Millena grew. She grew until she was no longer a pizza, but instead, a gaint, dougy bubble ready to explode.
It was a good thing the cook opened the oven at that precise moment. Had she waited a second more, Millena would be decorating the inside of the stove. Once out of the oven, Millena's temper simmered down. She shrunk to almost the correct size and shape again, but her grudge remained. She would never forgive these people for taking her from her home in the deep freeze.
So she remained burnt and bland tasting, and was therefore, not the tastiest of lunches.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Intersted?

I have always considered myself to be a good speller, and I'm a fairly good typist as well. But sometimes, I get too excited, or typing too fast, and I make the dumbest mistakes, that were I writing, I would never make. Skipping words, spelling them horribly wrong, or just spelling them wrong so instead of the, we have teh.
You probably noticed such mistakes in earlier blogs that I was too lazy to proofread, or if you've talked to me on msn or facebook, you know what a klutz of the keyboard I am.
Take the word interested. I know how to spell this word. It's an easy word. Yet every time I type it, I write intersted. I don't know what it is, but for some reason I can never get that word. Silly keyboard.
NOTE: 15 such mistakes were made and discovered in this blog alone. Make that 17.

Friday, October 12, 2007

All I Want to do is Sit and Write English Papers

The thing about journalism is that they ignore all the rules. Paragraphs must be kept to one or two sentences so readers don't see a really long paragraph and flip to the next page. And you have to be way more direct, and weird analogies and/or wordiness is frowned upon.
I got into journalism because I love to write. I was the dream English student in high school because I wrote assignments for fun. Even now in my Children's Lit. class (which is my favourite) I cannot wait to do my assignments because I think they're all so fun.
I'm not saying I want to switch majors. I like journalism, but if I could do anything I wanted for my career, anything at all, I would sit in a hole and write English papers. All day.

The Smokey Pie

Last weekend on Thanksgiving, I was given the task of making the pies. Actually I appointed myself, because I love pies and I wanted to make them, so I designated myself the dessert lady.
Anyways, I made four pies. Two pumpkin, one apple, and one blueberry. Neen made the blueberry actually, but I made the dough for it.
So here we have four lovely pies to wash down our turkey feast on Sunday evening. All we had to do was bake them, and I would be the ultimate dessert lady of the evening.
We didn't eat the pies until a while after dinner. They were sitting on the stove top, looking so alluring and delicious in their golden fruity goodness. In attendance were the Fixsens, my family who live at home, and Adrianna; who came for Thanksgiving because her family went away without her.
Everyone there (and most people I know actually) knew how passionate I am about pie. Also, my sisters Jaima and Janine are both award winning pie makers, so this was a tense situation. At last we tucked into my delicious pies.
They were not so delicious.
They had been put in the oven after the turkey was cooked, and smelled up the oven with it's turkey fumes. They tasted like ash.
At first everyone took polite bites and hid their grimaces behind smiles. Then Neen pointed out that the blueberries tasted funny. Then Jaima did like wise with the pumpkin. My beautiful pies, ruined!
Oh well, I guess every cook has to have a few mishaps.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Earthquake Mode

I just recently inherited my sister's cell phone. I am still learning the rules and practices of cell phones, and today a rather funny incident occurred.
I was sitting in my history class, my phone in my pocket on vibrate. I usually have my phone on vibrate just cause I don't like ringtones. Anyway, it was in my pocket, and I was completely absorbed in my class. We were talking about Charlesmagne and I was engrossed, as well as madly taking notes. When, quite out of the blue, someone called me. Now what you have to understand is that I am
a)Still getting used to having something shake in my pocket
b) Actually in a different century, picturing Charlesmagne murdering his brother
I was so surprised by this sudden quaking, I gasped, jumped a few feet and collided with the table, and threw my pencil in the air all in one seamless motion.
Everyone turned to look at me. I mean everyone. My prof stopped speaking and asked me if I was okay. Red-faced, I nodded and dug out my phone to see who had called me; pretending that jumping up in the air and throwing pencils was a perfectly ordinary thing to do.
What can I say? Vibrate mode hurts.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

You'd Think They'd Make It Easier

So, Calgary Municipal Election coming up. The radio, city website, and flyer in the mail are all very informative as to who can vote, and what to bring to the polls, and where the polls are, yet they tell you nothing about the different candidates.
Oh yes, there is a list of names. Everyone who is running was listed in the flyer. Yet there was nothing about where they stood on certain issues and their promises and all that. Not only is it not in the information packet, it's impossible to find online. I've tried google, facebook, the government website; nothing. The least they could do is provide me with their individual websites.
For a democracy, and one that is trying to increase voter turnout, you'd think they's make it a little easier to find such info.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Thing About History Textbooks

So, I'm doing my readings for history. Well not really. I should be doing my history readings but instead I am blogging about it, but you get the idea.
I am a history nerd. Not as bad as my brother, but I have always loved history. It's all like a story folding out in front of you. It is astonishing, however, how easy it is to make bloody battles and assassination attempts sound as boring as the stock market statistics. (If you think the stock market is interesting, please substitute in something you find extremely boring)
Whenever I am reading my history textbook, my eyes start to glaze over and I nod off, and I'm reading about murder, and scandal, and death. How is it that historians can make it sound so boring? No wonder so many people find history boring.
I think, that history should be written, like a novel. Way more people would read it, and those of us who have to do our required readings would not die of boredom.
But then, the world would work quite differently, if I were in charge. For starters:
1. People would burst into song and random passersby would do choreographed dances; like in musicals.
2.Teenie boppers would be cool.
3. March 14 would be an international holiday.
4. You would be able to eat as many mozzarella sticks and/or brownies as you like, and not gain a pound.
5. Knowledge could be acquired through osmosis.
And that's just a start........

Monday, September 24, 2007

Eventually, They Will Learn

Tonight, I got home after leaving my little brother on his own for most of the evening. Now, something you have to understand is that my brother Peter has five older sisters, and therefore has seen every good chick flick that has come out in the past few years. With such an overwhelming majority to the girls, Peter has little say in what we watch, and he also has six mothers. Each sister in turn (and especially Janine and I) has taken it upon ourselves to try and make Peter into a nice boy someday, if only for the sake of his future wife. The poor kid has had so many lectures ending or beginning with; "When you are older, girls will love it when..."
So back to today. I came home, and no surprise, the tv was on downstairs. A fourteen year old boy on his own, what else would he do? I came downstairs, expecting to see something like Lord of the Rings or Ocean's Eleven, and stopped. Peter was watching Pride and Prejudice. By himself. Of his own free will. And then the really interesting thing is when I stared at him in surprise, and Peter turned to me and said enthusiastically; "I love this movie. Care to join me?" So I sat and watched Pride and Prejudice with my little brother.
The best part of it was how into it he was. Through the entire movie, we were discussing. The old version vs. the new, the historical accuracy, he even knew which parts are totally romantic, and, when Mr. Darcy is walking through the mist toward Lizzie, he exclaimed; "Quiet! I love this part!"
Petey, you are going to make an awesome husband.

I'd Rather be Doing....

1. Making supper, with cheese.
2. Working on my storytelling assignment for Wednesday.
3. Picking up my holds at the library so I can read them.
4. Finishing cleaning the office for tomorrow.
5. Planning the food for GBJ/HEBE.
6. Wasting time watching trailers on Apple.com
7.Talking to people instead of sitting by myself.
8. Figuring out how to check the voicemail on my cell phone.
9. Eating something yummy, like pie. All I've got is water.
10. Driving home listening to Michael Buble.
11. Discussing the Belgariad with my little brother.
12. Sleeping!
13.Watching how i met your mother, or Heroes.
14. Going to institute and listening to Bro. Mandin be witty.
15. Spending my days outside in the sunshine instead of a number of windowless classrooms.
16. Actually having sunshine to sit in.
17. Working on one of my novels, and having them pan out.
18. Playing with my camera.
19. Baking. I have the sudden urge to make cookies. or muffins.
20. Having something intersting to blog about.
21. Playing with my ibbi inn Edmonton.
22. Knitting, and finishing a project.
23. Yoga.
24. Watching my little brother play football. Inspite of the fact that a) I do not understand the game of football, and b) It's always freezing at football games.
25.Watching teenie boppers!
26. Discussing various intersting life moments with Janine.
27. A sudoku puzzle.
28. Being in History, instead of just sitting waiting for it to start. Stupid long breaks.
29. Having an assignment to work on instead of sitting here, blogging.
30. ANYTHING!
Why, oh why did they have to let us out of computer Science an hour early?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Born Sense of Direction

Anyone who has ever driven with me, or who's house I've driven to, knows that I do not have the best sense of direction in the world. The incident of Karaoke World comes to mind. And then there are the countless times I have driven through Ranchlands or Edgemont, or even, my own Tuscany, and gotten hopelessly lost. Those silly communities with their streets all sounding the same, and the identical houses so you never have any idea where you are.
In the past few months, I have gotten better at finding my way to certain people's houses. One friend in particular, who lives in Edgemont, has been especially difficult to find. Whenever I go to his house, I take some kinda wrong turn and end up hopelessly lost. Last week, I drove to Trever's house and to my astonishment, did not get lost once. I was so excited I ran into his house to announce my accomplishment. I was quite proud of myself. Then, this weekend, I drove to Trever's again, and sadly, it appears that last week was an abnormal event.
My excuse is that this week I was driving from a completely different direction. I'd picked up another friend in Ranchlands, and therefore had to take a different route. Now, when going to friends houses, I generally don't know street names. I just know that I take the road by Churchill and then turn at the 7 Eleven and then go down the hill and turn at the familiar looking road, and then Trever's street is the one with the playground and mailboxes at the entrance. Not the best directions, I know, but when coming from my own house, I can find it; piece of cake. Coming from Ranchlands, it's an entirely different matter.
Perhaps it wouldn't of been quite so bad if I had taken John Laurie; I can find my usual route from John Laurie. But it just so happens that the turn off to John Laurie comes up much sooner when you're coming from Ranchlands, and I didn't even realize I'd missed it until I was Country Hills (a good ways away). At any rate, we ended up going down Country Hills, and, in a moment of sheer idiocy, I took the closest turn off that said Edgemont.
This is when it would be really handy if I knew street names.
We drove up and down many streets, looking for something we recognized, or maybe the 7 Eleven. We were hopelessly lost, we couldn't even find the way we'd come. Stupid Edgemont.
Then, something miraculous happened. In desperation to find our way, I turned onto another random street. A street with a playground and mailboxes at the entrance. I gasped, scarcely believing my luck. I drove down the street, looking for Trever's house number. When I saw the correct number, I could scarcely believe it, I didn't believe it. This was simply too good to be true. So I called Trever and asked him to come stand on his driveway to prove myself right. It was the correct house!
What can I say? I must have a born sense of direction.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Who Wants to be Guilty?

We all have our little guilty pleasures; things we secretly love that we don't want other people to know we like. But why do they have to be "guilty" pleasures? Why can't they just be pleasures? Here's mine;
I love teenie boppers. I know they are always lame and poor quality, but I absolutely love teenie boppers. Tonight, I went to a movie with my mom. She's someone I can always watch teenie boppers with because she likes them, and I feel comfortable admitting I want to see them around her. Tonight we went to "Sydney White," a modern version of Snow White. It was cheesy, totally predictable, the love interest was good looking and unwholesomely good, and the protagonist was your typical "real girl" who can catch a football and eats a lot yet is still a toothpick. Yet, I LOVED IT! It was so cute, and the nice guys got the girls, and it was just so cheesily good. Life should be more like teenie boppers.
I would love to live in a world where the nice girls always win and the dorky guys always get the pretty girls. Where school is all about the current drama and your grades just drift along in the background, and studying is just what you do to ignore the cute boy when he's expressing his undying love for you. And wouldn't it be awesome to have those "Cliques are bad, accept peoples differences" big moments in real life. I think it would be.
So there you have it; my guilty pleasure. I love teenie boppers. In the words of Sydney White; "My name is Elena, I watch teenie boppers. I am a dork!"
NOTE: Please also acknowledge that British pop is among my favourite music, I still read books for ages 9-12, I love mozzarella sticks and have always had a crush on Brian from the Backstreet Boys.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Theories are for Weirdos

So here I am sitting at home doing my readings for my Communication Theory class, thinking whoever wrote this book should be shot. WHO CARES ABOUT THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION? ARE PEOPLE HONESTLY GOING TO, IN THE MDDLE OF A CONVERSATION SAY; "Hmmmmm, yes this is and example of objective communication, and it is semiotic something something because of this and this pointless idea." WHAT PURPOSE DOES THE STUDY OF COMMUNICATING SERVE? WHEN WILL I EVER NEED TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIO-CULTURAL AND SOCIO-PSYCHOLOGICAL COMMUNICATION? ARGGGHHHHHH! I thought the end of useless classes came with the end of high school. Oh how naive I am, this is just the beginning. Stupid class.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My New Toys

I am writing this blog from school, on my brand new macBook! Or, at least, it's new to me. I bought it off Janine, or I will be, when I go to the bank and she deletes all her stuff on it, it will be completely mine. But still, hahaha! I am excited for to be lugging this very expensive piece of equipment around in my backpack.
I am not the most techno savvy person. I am not one of my father's children who gets excited whenever Apple comes out with some new software. I don't get excited my electonic equipment. Or at least I didn't until now.
In addition to my laptop, I also went out and bought another hugely expensive toy for the pourpose of my post secondary education; my camera.
Lots of people get digital cameras, in fact plenty of people find it odd that I did not possess one until now. I'll tell you what though, my camera is better than yours. (NOTE: The pror claim only applies to all my friends and relations except for Melissa, who probably has a pretty awesome camera, and anyone who has gotten a professional camera and NOT told me. Even, then, my camera might outrank yours) The camera I had to buy for my journalism program, and my future career, is the Canon Rebel TXi. For those of you who have no idea what that means, and your eyes merely just glazed over when you read my camera's name, it's one of those camera that has a huge on it like Jimmy in Lois and Clark. (Except, it's probably more advanced than his.) I've hardly used it yet, but I love just taking it out and playing with it. Holding it up and adjusting the lens, it makes me feel powerful.
I got my camera two and a half weeks ago. I would of blogged about it closer to the actual purchase but, I didn't. So, I will now rehash the entire adventure of buying a very expensive, cool looking camera.
I got home from school on Friday, at the end of my first week filled with adrenaliine. Classes were fun, I didn't have much work yet, I was happy. Then my dad; who had been watching the sales of my camera since I'd got in to my program- announced that my camera was on sale at Future Shop. I was enthralled, I wanted to run out and my camera IMMEDIATELY. But, my mom made me clean my room first. After a hasty clean up, I was ready to go and make the biggest purchase I had ever made. My mom asked to come, and though my dad really wanted to go along as well, he decided not to because he was doing smart things on his computer. Then my mom called my sister and told her to meet us there. The simple purchase was turning into a family event. But then, it was a farily important camera.
As we entered the camera section of Future Shop, we told the sales associate what we wanted and we shown from the side of the counter with the cute little silver cameras that normal people buy to the opposite end; which was covered with large, complicated looking cameras instead. I felt special already. They handed me my camera in a box, I examined every corner of the cardboard box in my excitement. Janine arrived while we were selecting the memory card and case, and she was equally impressed with the cardboard box.
After purchasing and wiping out my life savings, we headed home and I got to set my camera up! It was so exciting, i just walked around with my camera around my neck for most of the evening. Or at least until I went to the dance, I figured it wasn't fashionable enough for me to wear it there. Even so, I just keep on taking it out and looking at it. My dad keeps laughing. He's quite amused that his techno inept daughter is so in love with a camera.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Totally Pointless Venture

We all already know that I live in the middle of no where. Or, if you've read my previous blogs, I'm sure I've griped about it enough. My stuck-in-the-boonie-ness is made even worse by the fact that I go to school on the far other side of the city. On a good day, when I get caught in no traffic, I can make it there in half an hour.
With this in mind, you can imagine my despair when I realized I'd forgotten an assignment while driving to school this morning. I most certainly did not have time to drive home then, I was cutting it close as it was, so instead I decided that I would drive home in the hour and a half break I had between classes.
I headed out of my first class in a hurry, even with an extra half hour, I didn't want to take any chances; things have a habit of going horribly wrong when you're in a hurry. Fortunetely, I made home and back in plenty of time, it cost me a quarter of a tank of gas, but what can you do?
Then, I got back to school, flushed and ready for Computer Science with my assignment in hand. Upon arriving in class, my prof benevolently announced that we would discuss the assignment, (which was an opinion piece) and then he asked us to post our thoughts on the discussion he was opening on blackboard for next class. WHAT???????????????????????? HE WASN'T TAKING IT IN? I almost wanted to insist that he take it, but begrudgingly I left class with my precious assignment still in my bag. Profs don't know what they want! One hour of driving, a quarter tank, all for nothing. ARGGGHHHHHHHHH!

Friday, September 14, 2007

We're Strange Folk

As I complete my second week of classes, I am realizing some peculiar habits that pop up in journalists. Here are just a few.
1. When a hurricane, or a man with a gun appears and starts wrecking havoc, normal people think; "Good heavens, danger run away." While journalists think; "Awesome! An exclusive, this will make my career." (That is, if I survive)
3. When normal people meet a nice old lady while meandering down an unknown street, they generally forget it. Journalists, write down her name, address and phone number in case something cool or newsworthy ever happens on that unknown street. Or, if they are ever craving fresh baked apple pie.
4. It is considered perfectly ordinary for a journalist to go to work, parties, and the grocery store carrying a pen and paper, camera, and recording device. With other people that's just creepy.
5. When you are a journalist and you do not read 3 newspapers a day, the Times and The New Yorker, you are an oddity.
6. If you are a journalist who reads the Lifestyle section instead of the Business, you are the equivalent of a little girl with pigtails who plays jump rope and hopscotch all day.
7. You look on cute, furry, little animals as the best marketing ploy ever to get people to read your magazine.
8. To a journalist, blogging is the spawn of Satan. (whoops.)
9. To a journalist, natural disasters, political upheavals, and mass death and destruction are the greatest things since sliced bread.
10. When normal people fear rejection and being rude, journalists feel nothing. The title; "reporter" is basically just an excuse to be obnoxious.
The road of a journalist is a very diverse, winding road, and even then you get off it regularly to get whatever scoop you can. Fun, fun.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Good Old Fashioned E-mails

Every time I check my e-mail, (which is usually everyday), I have about 10 or 12 new e-mails. This would all be very exciting, if they were actual e-mails. But no, they are all messages from facebook saying things like, "Trever Walton sent you yet another message," "Peter Redd wants you to get another totally pointless application," etc.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like facebook. I do, after all have one, and I enjoy it most of the time, but sometimes I miss the good old days when people used to send me actual e-mails. When my inbox was full of messages from people I actually knew and liked, and not just links to facebook. How wrong is it that e-mail is the good old days?
You can imagine my surprise and delight when today I received an actual e-mail from my friend Brittni, summarizing her summer travelling around Canada. A group e-mail? That is so last year. I love it!
A few weeks ago, I was on the phone to my cousin Mikyla and we were discussing how nice it is to get letters in the mail. So unexpected and cool. You feel special to think that someone would actually take the time to write you by snail mail. The same is coming true for e-mails. Instead of sending everyone a message on facebook as usual, Brittni took the time to send out a good old fashioned e-mail. Ah the good old days.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In Loving Memory of Muffin

Muffin the beta fish, died suddenly on the evening of Thursday, September 6 of natural causes. Muffin was a most beloved pet, and had a sparkling personality. He is survived by his owner, Elena Redd, who walked in to her room late on Thursday night to find her beloved Muffin floating belly up in murky water. His death, though sudden, was not unexpected, as Muffin was a rather old fish.
The service held was small and simple, taking place in Elena's bathroom. With a set face she saw her Muffin off and back to his natural habitat through the drain. Or at least, the Bow River; which is close enough.
Muffin came into the world of his loving owner just a year ago. After the tragic loss of her beloved Bjorn; with whom she shared joint custody with Kylie Attfield, and who also resided in the pairs high school locker- Elena and Kylie went their separate ways and bought new fish apart. As Elena walked up and down the Petland aisle, she recalls Muffin immediately catching her eye. Not only because of his bright red exterior, but also because of his liveliness as he swam around his tiny cup. After taking him home, he was named; Muffin because people name their cats Muffin so why not a fish?
Muffin lived a very adventurous life. It kickstarted when he was taken with his owner to Bowness High School as an English project for the film, "Big Fish." He and Elena received a perfect grade, and after an excursion to Mr. Ricard's math class (where he was naturally the life of the party) and a wild ride home in the clutches of Emily Wilmot, Muffin was returned to his regular routine of sitting on Elena's desk and eating fish food.
Muffin was a very loving, patient fish. He was very understanding of the numerous times Elena forgot to feed him, and he always co-operated when he was scooped out of his home and into a measuring cup for cleaning (at least, after a fight). He was also very good with children. Every time Elena's ibbi would come to Calgary they would watch him with delight and awe as he flitted around his bowl. Muffin brought joy to all who knew him.
Muffin, you will always be missed love Elena, Emily, Ivy, Blake, and Ben

Thursday, September 6, 2007

It's a Start

Today was the orientation for my degree program. I know, I know, no sense having it after we've already been in classes for two days, but what can I say? That's what they decided, and as a student, I just went along with it.
The exciting, or at least interesting thing is, that Ralph Klein was at my orientation. Yes, our former Premier was in attendance at my college orientation. He did have a reason though. You see, Ralph Klein is the chair of my program, or some money organization he's started. I don't understand the details yet, all I know is he's got an important title, and he's a teacher at my school. How awesome is that?
So, with King Ralph in attendance, naturally the media showed up to our student orientation. That was interesting in itself, seeing as we were all gawking at them thinking, "That's going to be us one day." Then, for me, it got even more interesting when I was walking past the CTV camera at break and the called out;
"We need a female!" Suddenly I found myself planted in front of the camera and being asked what I thought of this whole Ralph business. I gave some intelligent sounding answer, I don't remember exactly what but I was proud of it, and then I skipped off; enthralled.
All right, I know lots of people appear on TV all the time, and anyone can be picked for something little like that, but I never have before, and I was really excited. See, being interviewed by the media is entirely different when you yourself want to BE the media.
My orientation for journalism school and I'm already on the news. Not a bad way to start.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What's In a Name?

My whole life, I have had identity issues. Not in the way you'd think, but simply in the fact that no one can pronounce my name properly.
NOTE: The correct pronunciation is Eh-Len-Ah
But I get everything but my actual name. Every time I've started a new class, or met someone new, or had my name read out for sporting events, It's a different variation of my name. The most common are; Ah-Lan-Ah, El-Ain-Ah, and El-Enn-Ah. Then there are the ghastly such as El-Lean-Ah, Mel-Enn-Ah, and Elijah which really make me question the literacy of my fellow human beings. It's a pain, teaching people to say my name, but it must be done. In most cases, in the instances of the teachers who say my name a different way each time they call me, I generally give up and teach them one of the common, acceptable pronunciations. Apparently they're easier to say.
Of all the difficulties with my name, I consider myself to be accustomed to the butchering of my name. To be honest, it's mostly other people who do the correcting for me. However accustomed I may consider myself though, I was not prepared for college.
You see, my identity issues do not end at my un-pronouncable name, oh no. To make things a little more exciting, I happen to go by my middle name.
My real name is Nedra. Not Ned-raw, but Knee-dra. My parents gave me such a confusing name because they wanted to name me after both my grandmas, but call my Elena; which is my Grannie Young's Ukrainian name. However, they were torn, as Elena Nedra doesn't sound very nice. Determined to have a namesake for both their mothers, my parents simply switched the names around. And as pretty as Nedra Elena may sound, it is nothing short of a headache.
Until now, I have had minor, some may say amusing, encounters with this alternate identity. Whenever I go to the Alberta registry, they call me Ned-raw. ( and it sets my teeth on edge) either that or I sit there, oblivious, as they call me name over and over again until I remember, "Oh, that is my name isn't it?" And then there's my favourite game from Jr. High. As people go around a circle, saying their middle names, I would always say;
"Elena is my middle name."
"Oh, so you don't have one?"
"Yes I do. It's Elena."
"I don't get it."
"What's not to get?"
"How can Elena be your middle name?"
"Easy. My parents were holding me as a baby and they decided that Elena was a good middle name."
"But, but....." (Flounders for a few minutes before I take mercy on them)
Amusing, to be sure. Unfortunetely, people get smarter in high school, and my fun is spoiled. Then, I went to college.
There is the whole question of legal names in college. My legal name is, after all, Nedra. So, on every letter I got from any university, was addressed to Nedra Redd. Which is my Grandma, not me. I shrugged it off, anything I get from the government is always Nedra. Then, I went to my interview at Mount Royal, and of course, they called my Nedra. Already in a stressful situation, I shrugged it off. I can be Nedra for a day.
And then of course,I got accepted! So much for Nedra for a day. Now it is very confusing, because my teachers call me Nedra, and my classmates are calling me Nedra, and I am thinking to myself; "Who is this Nedra girl? What happened to Elena" She was so awesome."
They say when you start something new, you can be whoever you want to be, even a different person. I am. Even on paper.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Speed Limit?

You would think that the word- limit would imply that the stated speed is the MAXIMUM you can go, rather than the minimum.
I generally don't speed. That is not to say that I am a perfect driver, or even that I'm a good driver, but I don't speed. I can't afford to speed. I occurred to me one day as I was going along about 20 over that if I got pulled over, I would be in serious trouble. Not because of demerits or anything, but simply because I would not have sufficient funds to pay off the ghastly sum they charge for tickets these days. So I don't speed; I go exactly the speed limit.
You would be surprised at the cold reaction I receive from other drivers as drive along. Through my rear view mirror, I see driver after driver throw their hands up in despair, or stare as they swerve around me, expecting me to be an old grannie, and not a normal 18 year old.
So what is wrong with driving the speed limit? I may not get places as fast, and other drivers despise me, but in the end I'm the one with more money in my pocket.
Or at least, we would hope.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Calgary's "Unique" Radio Landscape

Living in such a suburban place as Tuscany, one can be expected to drive most places. Not only are the bus connections horrible, but there really isn't anything interesting to do within walking distance. So as I drive to work, or school, or wherever, I get to listen to the radio a lot. Sometimes I listen to my iPod or a CD, but most often I forget my iPod and my car is a snob who only plays store bought CD's. So, most often, Calgary radio is my only alternative to listening to the sound of my engine. I don't really like the radio, but today my dislike of radio is hitting me full force, so I will blog about it.
1. I really don't like radio DJ's. The all have the same whiny, full of themselves voices, and the jokes they tell, or their arguments always sound so staged. It's like cheap theatre, and you can't even make yourself feel better by looking at their colourful outfits.
2. Radio commercials are always ridiculously corny. Most likely this is because there is only so much you can do without visual, but seriously, they're all ridiculous.
3. All radio stations, no matter what type of music they play, has a little peppy recording of their name to powertales music. Every time I hear that singalong chorus going; "Lite 96!" Or "Today's best music.......Vibe! 98! 5!" I can see the jazz hands going and I want to retch.
4. I have this theory that all radio stations are in a conspiracy to all suck at the same time. It always seems that I'm flipping stations, looking for something mildly good, and finding nothing. Or, I'm flipping stations and hearing half a good song, half a good song, etc. So I get angry at myself for missing the whole song. They're either all good or all lame at the same time.
5. The main reason I hate the radio is because all the stations are exactly the same. Once, I was stuck in my car waiting for someone for two hours.(long story, maybe some other time) While I was waiting, listening to the radio, I heard the same song 5 times, on 5 different stations. And when Gwen Stefani was coming to Calgary, quess who was playing on every station? All these stations that claim to be so unique. Why, yes. They were all playing Sweet Escape. Over, and over again. Silliness.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Home Alone 4 (Or Wherever Hollywood Left Off)

As a kid the idea of being home alone was so appealing. A bit scary perhaps, but the unending freedom for however many hours is a luxury. In a big family, there is rarely any time when I am completely alone in the house, so the novelty lasted till this summer.
Last week, my parents had a condo in Kananaskis. My mom and my little brother were there all week, and my dad was going back and forth; coming to work in Calgary and then driving out to Canmore for the night. My older sister and I were on our own most nights, having fun cranking music and baking. The evenings with just the two of us included late nights, and talking endlessly into the early morning.
Then, last Thursday, my sister went to spend the night at another sister's, as she didn't have work the next day, and dad went out to Canmore again; I would be spending the evening alone. As horrible as it sounds, I was thrilled. Being home alone always makes one feel such an extraordinary freedom. You can dance around the kitchen with no sense of self-restraint, you can stay in your bath robe for hours, the possibilities are endless. In my enthusiasm, I ordered a small pizza, (and got the flavour I wanted without arguing with anyone) I gave myself a facial and a pedicure, (without my brother laughing at the peachy goo on my face) I mixed fancy drinks in our best goblets, and I rented a movie and two discs of "How I Met Your Mother." I didn't even have to agree with anyone on what I rented. Then I stayed up till 2 pampering myself in front of the TV. It was AWESOME.
On Friday, Neen went to Canmore, and I stayed cause I had plans with a friend. Those plans fell through. Looking around me, I tried to get enthused about another night alone. The only problem was, I'd done all the exciting things I wanted to the night before. And, my sister had taken the car, so I was trapped in my suburbia neighbourhood. I ate leftovers and went to bed really early.
Saturday I woke up early with a groan. My family was not due back until late afternoon. With nothing better to do, I spent the greater part of the day cleaning my room. I was so relieved when they came home, and that night, Kylie came over because I was in such desperate need of human interaction.
So, here I am a week later. Home alone AGAIN. My entertainment has been reduced to whining on my blog.
Being home alone is all well and good, but one mus take it in small doses. The fun wears off after the first day or so.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Adventure of Reese the Sandwich

Once upon a time there was a sandwich. His name was Reese, because he was made up of creamy peanut butter, and nutella. The children all loved Reese, to the point that everyday at lunch time, the children would beg their nanny if they could eat him. Oh how those children loved that sandwich. With his 60% whole wheat bread, and his overly sweet mixture of peanut butter and nutella. The inside of Reese was the greatest, and the children would sometimes scrape out his insides and eat it alone when the nanny wasn't looking. Or at least, when they thought she wasn't.
Reese loved the children, and he wished that they would eat him everyday. Every afternoon he would wave his nutella-ness temptingly in the nanny's face, willing her to spread him all over 60% whole wheat bread. But the nanny was an adult, and therefore a cruel soul. She believed that poor Reese was unhealthy for the children, and instead of letting the children eat Reese everyday, she would make them eat the mean foods such as Carrot, Spaghetti, and Grilled Cheese. Reese wept as he watched his dear friends suffer through lunch with his arch nemesis, the Carrot. He cringed in horror while the nanny insisted that the boys finish all of Chicken Noodle Soup, but when the nanny made Whole Wheat Pasta, Reese knew that something must be done. It was too much. Reese could not allow his poor friends to suffer in silence. One lone night as he sat in his dark cupboard, he began to formulate a plan.
The next morning, when the nanny opened the cupboards in search of more nasty, healthy foods, the nutella sprung out at her, falling with a thud on the counter. The 60% whole wheat bread was placed strategically on the counter, and the creamy peanut butter was in plain sight. All the nanny had to do was put the three together, and Reese could be with his friends again. To add to his plan, he even had one of his friends ask in their most adorable voice,
"Can we have Reese for lunch today?"
But try as Reese and his friends might, the nanny was a coldhearted adult, and ignoring the ingredients in front of her, she closed the cupboard.
"No, we cannot have Reese for lunch today. We will have Grilled Cheese."
As the children and the nanny ate Grilled Cheese, Reese watched in despair. It was obvious that the nanny was an evil woman, and so long as she was around, Reese would never play with his friends again. Bitterly, he curled up in his cupboard and wept.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Novel a Day Keeps the Fidgets Away

I'm a nanny. I get paid to play. Play, break up fights and force stubborn children to eat their vegetables. Like any job, mine has it's trying moments. I scrub away explosions of fingerpaint, I ward off vicious cats, I deal with tantrums, I monitor computer time, and create an endless list of activities to fill the day, but the truly interesting thing about kids is how easily entertained they can be. Yesterday I took the boys to Bowness Park, and they threw rocks in the river for hours. Give the boys a ball and a bat and they will invent their own version of two-man baseball, which usually involves getting very dirty. I have discovered that in light of these kids creativity and ability to be so easily entertained, there are typically several hours in my work day when I have nothing to do.
After my first day of suppressed boredom, I concluded that it would be best to bring a book to work. I am a self-proclaimed bookworm, and I usually have book going. I would say that I'm a regular reader. This summer, my intake of books has skyrocketed. In the endless hours I spend sitting by the river, with nothing to do but keep a watchful eye on my charges, I am usually going through a book in about a day and a half. For lack of anything better to say, here is a list of just some of the books I've consumed in the past weeks:
Boy; Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl- I first brought this book with the possibility of reading it to the boys, but I think their attention spans are a little short. In the end, I read it myself to kickstart my reading frenzy. For anyone who is interested or cares, I strongly recommend it.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis- For lack of anything better o read at the time, I reread my all-time favourites. C.S. Lewis is a genius. I'll never tire of these books.
The Giver by Lois Lowry- I read this in about half a day. We were at Bowness Park. I first read it in grade 5, and I still cry every time.
NOTE: For anyone who's read it, Jonas does NOT find another community at the end, he definitely dies. (Sorry, Spoilers)
Eragon by Christopher Paolini- I confess, I read this one AFTER I saw the movie, but I definitely like the book better. An impressive book for a 17 year old.
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella- also, Can You Keep a Secret? and Shopaholic ties the Knot. I read these when it was really hot and I was easily annoyed. They're a good brainless read.
Emma by Jane Austen- Not such a brainless book, but nonetheless enjoyable. Not my favourite Jane Austen though.
World War I in Cartoon- I found this one in the library. It was interesting to read. Cool to see all that history and propaganda.
The Belgariad by David Eddings- This is five books. Another favourite. I first read them in grade 8, and it's amazing how good a book can be when you haven't read it in years. Especially if you were pretty naive and didn't get half of it the first time you read it. Oh, and I also read Guardians of the West by the same author.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke- my current project. I've never read it before, so it's quite exciting. So far, I like it. It's an interesting idea.
See? Isn't my job just full of intrigue?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Dessert Monarchy

Some of you may be wondering about my username. Why on earth would I name myself the Queen of the Pie Realm? Granted, I have already declared myself to be a lover of pie, but what really makes me the queen? I crowned myself, or at least, me and my friend Kylie. When my unhealthy infatuation with pie reached it's pinnacle, (about grade 11) Kylie and I proclaimed ourselves the queens of our favourite desserts. She is Queen of the Ice Cream Realm, and I am of course, Queen of the Pie Realm.
The monarchy of desserts spread after a debate between my sister I over the merits of cake vs. pie. The argument was unresolved, but the one conclusion we did reach was that Janine, will hereby be known as the Queen of the Cake Realm.
Tonight my friend Becky had myself, Kylie, and Janine over for dessert. She had made the most amazing fudge sauce I had ever tasted, and the plan was that we would eat it with vanilla ice cream and various other sweet delicacies. Upon our arrival however, Becky tempted me with a piece of pumpkin pie. Her aunt had given her two pieces, one for her and one for her husband, and Becky does not like pie, so she offered it to me. Then she led us all to her dessert bar. Our jaws dropped and a spot of drool may have landed on the kitchen floor.
To accompany our ice cream, or pie, Becky had provided us with everything you could ever want to decorate your dessert. The famous fudge sauce, carmel sauce, smarties, rees's pieces (which surprisingly taste quite good on pumpkin pie) cool whip, coconut, pineapples, little crunched up bits of toffee, EVERYTHING.
Quite by accident, I gushed; "Becky, you are the queen of desserts."
I caught Kylie's eye, and we both squealed in excitement. Right then and there we crowned Becky the Empress over all Desserts. So there it stands; the Dessert Monarchy.
NOTE: Please notice that the Dessert Monarchy is entirely made up of women.

Monday, August 6, 2007

So What IS Heritage Day?

Today I received an unexpected day off. When my nanny mom gave me my schedule for the month, she marked off this day, Monday August 6, as a holiday. "A holiday?" I thought to myself. "What holiday can this be?" I racked my brains and could think of no significant national or religious events occurring, so I finally consulted the master of all holidays; my calendar. "Heritage Day?" I thought to myself, when I saw the name emblazoned in the little square. "What on earth is that?" I am told by those who know, (or at least claim to) that Heritage Day is a day to reflect on your personal history, and celebrate where you come from. Now that I hear it, it does sound like a good idea for a holiday, but let me ask you this, does anyone care? I'm guessing most people, like me instantly jumped for joy at the thought of a day off, and then looked around and said, "Wait a minute, what is it for?" So really, the purpose of Heritage Day is to give us a day off. The personal history stuff is just an excuse so we can all sleep in, or go golfing.
I recently reread the book, "The Giver," by Lois Lowry. For those who haven't read it, it's a book abut the future, where everything has gone to "Sameness." There are no different races, no religions, no war, and people are brought up in a strict community where they don't choose their own jobs, their own spouses, or really, anything. It's a good book, I recommend it to everyone, but my point is, at one part of the book there is an announcement given to the community that today is a holiday. There is no reason for the holiday, everyone in the community just gets a day off. No one questions it, no one wonders, "Hey, why don't we have to go to work today?" They just, accept. Actually they do that with everything in the book, but anyways, this spontaneous hloiday in "The Giver," is about the same as Heritage Day; there's no real point then to give us all a break. With that in mind; "Happy Heritage Day to all and to all a good golf game."

Sunday, August 5, 2007

You Learn Something New Everyday

My nanny children are obsessed. Dinosaurs are their livlihood. Everyday, immediately after they wake up, the very first thing they do is run to their toy bins and dig out their endless supply of plastic dinosaurs. When I finally get them dressed in their dinosaur t-shirts, they return immediately to the living room, where they engage in their daily routine of setting up a prehistoric park on the couches and the dining room table. After lunch, when I manage to drag them outside, they don their dinosaur hats and go on a dinosaur safari in the backyard or park. A fine madness, to be sure, dinosaurs are a very interesting subject, but the thing that startles me the most is how much a six and three year old can know about dinosaurs.
Before I began this job, my experience with dinosaurs was limited to a childhood viewing of The Land Before Time, and a few odd adventures in the prehistoric park at the Calgary Zoo- where we are usually more interested in climbing on the rocks and dinosaur statues. My only other encounter into the realm of dinosaurs is the dinosaur part of Fantasia, which I actually find depressing, cause I feel sorry for the Stegosaurus. Yet even with this limited experience, I considered myself to know a fair amount about dinosaurs. I mean, I could identify the type of dinosaur that was placed on my ankle in the form of a stick on tatoo at a Stampede breakfast. And I can spell the word, Pterodactyl. So when my nanny children first asked me if they could give me a "tour" of their dinosaur zoo, I had a rough idea of what I was in for. Or, so I thought.
"This is a Maiasauras, he is a plant eater, the average Maiasasuras was about twice as tall as a grown up." My nanny children prattle on. "How interesting," I think to myself. "I always called that kind of dinosaur - Ducky. I believe I had the jello mould of her."
"This is the raptor section." Announces my nanny child, " We have a Utahraptor, Velociraptor....." "There's more than one kind of raptor?!" I think in astonishment. Then again, the only type I know of are the Toronto variety.
"This is the Brachiosaurus, he eats plants, and his neck is as long as a person." "Land Before Time just called that variety 'long necks,' and I've called them that ever since. You mean there's an actual scientific name for them? Land Before Time LIED to me!"
Aha! A type of dinosaur I know. "This is a Triceratops." I say knowledgeably. (Again, my memories of Land Before Time kick in) To my astonishment, my nanny children burst into peals of laughter. "No, no silly." my nanny children sound as if this is the most ridiculous thing ever said. "This is a Styracosaurus. It has spikes around it's head instead of a circle." It's apparrent that this is the most obvious thing in the world to these two little boys.
They say you learn something new everyday. Most of the time what I learn is obvious, as I am in school. This summer I was expecting to learn such things as the importance of a balanced diet and discpline. Instead, I'm learning the difference between a Parasaurolophus and a Pachycephalosaurus.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prime Sliding Time

Bannister Sliding- a fine past time of many a young child, including myself until about the age of twelve. When I was younger, it just seemed to make sense that you never walk down the stairs if you can help it. Whenever possible, you slide down the bannister. Almost every morning, when my parents woke me up at some insanely early hour to read scriptures before my sisters went to seminary, I would slide down the bannister, even in my groggy state. I remember always being a trifle disappointed around Christmas time, when my Mom would always put bows on the bannister and thus prohibit me from sliding. That disapointment was short lived, but I was always excted to return to sliding when the boughs were removed in January. I also learned at a young age that there are some bannisters which cannot be slid down. Namely, bannisters attached to walls. When I was about 6 or 7, I was at a friends house when I decided to slide down her bannister. This was indeed a bannister very close to the wall. But I was young and naive, and I truly believed that I would be able to slide through this narrow gap. Afterall, I did have fairly skinny legs back then. As to be expected, I didn't make it very far. I'd barely began to slide whe I got stuck, and my friend's parents had to unwedge a tearful little girl from their wall.
Of course along with the bad bannisters, there is always the good ones. The truly amazing ones are the kind that are log and curve around a huge atrium. This was the kind of bannister at my cousins house. As little kids, my cousin Rachel and I would slide down that bannister again and again. We were devastated when that house came into the possesssion of another aunt and uncle who did not allow us to slide down that magnificent bannister.
So anyway, my point about bannister sliding (cause you're probably wondering what is even the point to this blog) is this; today at work my nanny children were showing off a few "tricks" they could do using the bannister and the wall. They have one of those infuriating bannisters that turns, so it's so short that even if you do try to slide down it, your torso is as long as the bannister. As I watched my young charges show off, I thought to myself, "How sad. These boys will never be able to slide down their own bannister." Which really is quite a sad thing. Sliding down their own bannister is a rite of passage in a child's life. Then I got to thinking about bannisters, and sliding when I was a kid. I realized that the bannister at my old house-the one I moved out of just last week ago, is actually pretty ideal for sliding. It's no Schneiders sweeping staircase, but it's pretty awesome. I also thought of the new, turning bannister at our new house-not so good for sliding. As I drove home, my mind was fully focused on the opportunites I was missing, and bannisters in general. Feeling spontaneous, I took a turn and ended up at my old house. I let myself in, climbed up the stairs, slide down the bannister, locked the door, and drove home. I hadn't slid down a bannister in years. It's not quite the same, but the fact is, I didn't waste a perfectly good bannister.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monsters Unleashed

The family I work for are pet people, to say the least. The interesting thing though about these so called pets, is that they are both the most unlikely animals you would expect a family with small children to have. First off, there is Bear. Bear is the Smith's dog.They could not have picked a better name for this dog, as Bear is exactly what this dog looks like. I am not sure if Bear is a girl or a boy, as I have heard Bear called both him and her. So I call Bear "it." It is a big dog, taller than the younger boy, and the same height as the older. Like I said before, Bear is not a dog, it is a bear pretending to be a dog. Bear is huge and black and hairy, and it always comes barrelling down the hallway at such a terrific speed that I have to yank my nanny children out of harms way before they're trampled. I like to keep Bear outside, if only for my personnal safety, but with this heat, there is only so long one can keep a giant, long haired black dog in the yard.
This morning, I arrived at work to be greeted with bad news from my employers: Bear was missing. Somehow, during the night, Bear had wandered off and was nowhere to be found. My guess is that it just charged down the gate. Anyway, my employers told me to maybe make missing posters with the boys and post them around the neighbourhood. Before the boys could even finish their breakfast, I got a call from the Smith's neighbours, saying that they had Bear, and we could come and pick it up. I was astonished by the complete amiable tone taken on by this neighbour. The way he was describing Bear, you'd think we was talking about a newborn puppy, not a, bear. I went to this neighbours house wondering if we were in fact, talking about the same dog, and sure enough, this "lovable, docile" dog was Bear. My employers were overjoyed to find Bear, but baffled as to how thier neighbours, who, incidently, they've never met, had recognized Bear as theirs. Again, I had my own explanation in my head. I mean, if you saw someone periodically walking down your street with a bear, wouldn't you take notice?
And then, as if that isn't enough, there is the issue of their cat. Where the name Bear fits the dog to a tea, the cat's name couldn't be more ironic. Snugglepuss, is the most vicious, violent, meanest cat I have ever met. You would expect him to be one of those barn cats that roams around an acreage eating mice and hissing at people. Yet, Snugglepuss is the cat of a family in Hawkwood with little kids. I mean, having a giant bear as a pet is interesting enough, but add Snugglepuss, and you've got a children-eating zoo. Snugglepuss's favoutite past time is leaping on the kids and either scratching or biting them. And it's not just that, I swear that cat's goal in life is to be as irritating as possible. Whenever the boys are playing cars, or setting up something elaborate on the floor, Snugglepuss oh so conveniently decides to take a nap right in the middle of the game. And when I try to move him, cause the kids don't dare touch him, he writhes and claws away until I drop him out of fear. As if that weren't enough, Snugglepuss has really creepy eyes. I know all cats have slightly slanted, mysterious eyes, but seriously, Snugglepuss looks at me and I duck away to avoid his gaze. If you haven't got my point about Snugglepuss yet, let me just say this. Today the boys and I went on a Dinosaur Safari in the backyard. The boys were using all kinds of creatures (mostly bugs) to represent various kinds of dinosaurs. Guess which creature played the role of the T Rex, which they practiced running away from? Why, yes. Snugglepuss.
My sister likes to complain about our fromer next door neighbours cat- Jack. Jack is also an interesting cat, he just casually wanders around the neighbourhood, knowing no boundaries, including our house, which he visits regularly. We all loved Jack, except Janine, who thought he was a vicious, scary cat. Let me tell you, Jack, and any other "scary" pet, is no match for the pet bear and Mr. Not-So-Snuggly-Puss.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

DECLARATION TO ALL: Elena is NOT going to read Harry Potter

Most people who know me, understand how I feel about the Harry Potter books. And in case you care, or are just bored enough to take the time, my rant on how stupid it the books are is explained, in full, on my facebook. So I shan't rant about that now. For the information of those who would try to make me think otherwise, or for those who actually care, I AM NOT READING THE SEVENTH BOOK! And I'm not seeing the movie either. On the 21st of July I will be venturing beyond my couch, and I will not pull an all nighter the day before to find out how many people have died. My only relation to that book will be bugging my HP fan friends just to distrupt them. (Well, actually, on the 21st I'll probably be moving boxes. What else do I do right now?) But back to the point, Elena will never, ever read Harry Potter again, and so stop trying to dissuade her.
As for my primary opponent in the fight against the accursed books, Mr. Trever Walton. (looks mischievious and drums together fingers evily) I look forward to when YOU finish the book, which will probably be at 3 in the morning. Then we can again discuss the "merits" and atrocities of this series in full force.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Grouting Myself Into a Corner

In light of the fact that we are moving in less then a week, our days have become full of odd little fix it jobs and minute details to finish off our new house. You would not believe all the details and decisions that go into building a house. Sheesh. But anyways, to save themselves from paying the home building company another ghastly sum, my parents hired me to paint sealer on all the grouting in our house. FYI- grouting is the cementlike stuff between tiles. This means that I must take a tiny paint brush and paint delicate lines between each and every tile found in our house. I am now in a love-hate relationship with tile. Here is what I have discovered in today's galavantings as a grout painter:
1. The saying "Don't paint yourself into a corner" actually has some merit. Especially when it is a small enclosed space like your parents shower where you have to curl up in a smaller and smaller ball until you're so compact you could be slipped in a handbag.
2. Tile on the ceiling, is never a good idea.
3. The fancy kind of tile, that is neither symetrical or lines up, is hazardous to your health.
4. The sides of the bath tub are not a good place to stand when you are reaching up to the tiles beyond your reach behind said tub.
5. A full wall of tile behind a stove is inefficient for a weak grout painter such as myself.
6. Leaving an open bottle of sticky, smelly grout sealer near your wandering feet is bad hygeine.
7. Fancy cupboards that have details on the bottom and yet still have tiles underneath is not a wise use of space and/or labour.
8. 793 songs is not sufficient entertainment for seven hours of tile painting.
9. If at all possible, when building a house, use a minimal amount of tile, because-
10. Afer a full day of craning my neck and painting diminutive surfaces, I still have to go back tomorrow and do it all again as a second coat.
Fun, fun in the world of grouting!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

There's Hope for Me Yet

"The more I know, the better a wife I"ll be."
These words of wisdom from my Grannie were ringing through my head all this week while my mom was in Edmonton with my new nephew. In her absence, and bearing in mind that my more able-bodied sister Janine was working, I was given the assignment of supper-cooker during her absence. I think my mom has been waiting for this moment here whole life. Make Elena the chef so she can learn to make more than spagetti. First night of my temporary culinary duties, guess what I made? That's right, spagetti. Next night, imagine what this culinary genius pulled out of the freezer. Why yes, frozen pizza it was. You see, when you compare Neen and I's substitute chef stints, they are drastically different. Neen will pull out her archives of Martha Stuarts and concuct an original dish we've never had before, one that you'd rather take pictures of than eat. When I cook, it's more of a, rummage through the deep freeze and make something easy we eat all the time. Even so, last night, my last night to prove my chef-like abilites, after fruitless rummaging (I'd already used everything intersting in the freezer) I gingerly picked up Neen's copy of Martha Stuart Everyday Foods and nervously began skimming recipes. At fist glance I was overcome with despair. Grilled Vegetable Tostadas? What is that? Cream of Asparagus Soup? How could you make that in less than 48 hours? I put the cookbook down and looked at our peanut butter and jelly supplies. Yet, knowing that my dad would never eat just a sandwich for dinner, I gave Martha Stuart a skeptical second glance. At last I came across a recipe where I knew what all the ingredients were, and sounded feasible-pasta with pesto, potatoes, and green beans. We had pesto in the fridge, and how easy is it to boil a bunch of stuff in a pot. I felt so proud of myself. I only wish someone could of seen me, running around the kitchen chopping, stirring, and wishing things would boil a lot faster. The end results were, alright. Not fantastic, and it looked nothing like the picture, or even, asthetically pleasing in any way, shape or form, but it was food, it would suffice for supper. I did learn however, that one should measure the pasta, and not just toss in a handful. I ended with copius amounts of spagetti, which the small jar of pesto I had would not cover. It ended up tasting mostly like the potatoes, which got a little mushed by my meagre attempts to mix up the whole monstrousity.
Still, there is hope for me yet. My mother is deteremined that I must learn how to roast a chicken, and I can always bake. I actually enjoy baking. (Especially pie.) However, my stint is up, Mom's home, the master chef has returned. There will be no potato spagetti tonight.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Cheapest Time of Year

I'm not normally a big Stampede goer, it's too expensive and you always roast alive there. One thing I will always love about the Stampede season though, is the breakfasts. I just love being able to drive around and get a free pancake breakfast at various parking lots. Honestly, if you really wanted to, you could not pay for a single meal all through Stampede. All you have to do is find a breakfast every morning, and stuff yourself to the point that you do not want to eat anymore for the rest of the day. Granted, you'll probably never want to look at pancakes again, but it is a possibility. This morning we went to the breakfast at my dad's office area. Neen and I enjoyed stuffing ourselves full of sausage patties, getting dinosaur tatoos, and stickers and suckers from kid's help phone. I mean, between the breakfast and all the free stuff, why wouldn't you go to as many Stampede breakfasts as you possibly could? For someone as cheap as me, it's the greatest thing since sliced bread; free breakfast and dinosaur tatoos.

Running with a Frisbee

In the early evening I was sitting at this very computer, minding my own business, when who should swoop down but my darling older sister, Janine. "Dearest sister," she entreats me, "Come for a run with me." I refuse. I am not a runner. Though I have nothing against the exercise in general, I am no a go-out-for-a-run type person. Yet the persistence and persuasive attitude of my sister convinces me again, and before I know it, I'm running down the "ravine" by our house. Trying to maintain a civilized conversation becomes possible, and Janine's long legs constantly remain one pace ahead of me. Finally, I state in frustration, (state, not shout, I kept my red head temper in check) "Janine, I am not a runner!" My super athletic, runner-type sister then suggests that I speed walk, and she runs back and forth to not get ahead of me. This is even stranger, as I start to feel like a Mommy with an anxious toddler. A toddler who is 6'1" and surpasses me in intelligance and physical ability. Finally we reach a neighbourhood playground, where my anxious toddler insists on playing. Only her idea of play is pushups, suspended crunchies, and chinups. This is more my kind of thing, so I am content. Minus the chinups, where I get so excited I conk my head on the monkey bar playing the role of our chin up bar. At this point, we head home, walking briskly. Upon reaching home, we set up yoga camp in the basement and Neen spends her time teaching Peter how to stretch properly, and I, completely in my element, experiment with various methods of standing on my head.
It's strange, that running is such an, unfun activity for me. I consider myself to be a moderately athletic person. Give me a frisbee and a field and I'll run for over an hour, but just plain, running down the sidewalk with no objective, nothing to focus on, and no one but a single running partner, drives my crazy. How strange, that the same activity can be so enjoyable, and so maddening in two different circumstances.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Aunt Times 5

This morning at 8:15, (or close to that time) I became an aunt, again. My sister Katey had her second baby boy, Brigham David Thompson. I'm very excited, and slightly disappointed at the same time. Disappointed that she didn't have her baby while I was in Edmonton this week, I just left yesterday. Sheesh. I guess I'll have to go back. Anyway, it's quite exciting, I now have 4 nephews and 1 neice, who thankfully is the oldest so she commands the troops of younger boy cousins. Although, we are in desperate need of another girl in this generation of the family. Even my cousins, are all having boys. I guess we maxed out our limit on girls in the previous generation, especially my family. Poor Ivy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Quilting Frenzies

As a right of passage in the Young family, all granddaughters must learn to quilt. Because, as grannie herself says, "Thr more you know how to do, the better a homemaker you'll be." So two summers ago, Mikyla and I went to Grannie's house and recieved the lesson, Quilting 101. Every week that whole summer we'd go over, making quilt blocks out of fabric that has been used in everything Grannie's ever made, and listening to CBC. Two years later I have 39 blocks, and am so close to being done it's exhilarating. And yes, and took me two years to get this far, when Grannie can make a quilt in a few weeks. My only excuse is she had to move to Edmonton so I wasn't able to quilt as often. And hey, I'm only learning my homemaking skills. I may be allowed in relief Society yet.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Safe Haven

Okay so, I'm here, I got a blog, I hope you're all happy. Facebook just wasn't cutting it, obviously. So, I'm at my grandparents right now. Visiting, quilting, and enjoying the comforts that only Grannie's house can provide. I find that the homes of both my grandparents are two of my favourite places in the world. I think it's just the sense of continuity you get when here. It's like, in a world that's so fast paced, and always constantly changing, grandparents homes are the safe haven. Grannie and grandpa Young's is always full of homemade quilts to curl up in, and rhubarb anything. Grandma and Grandpa Redd's is always the same old house with grandma sitting in the front room. And you always eat Grandpa's chicken sandwiches with grapes, and cooked carrots. And then you have peach milkshakes. I just love the the continuity. In a world that's always a big confusing mess, grandparents homes are a secure, constant shelter. When I need to get away from the world, I run away to grandma's or grannie's house.