How to Make 2009 Kick Ass

fireworks

Okay, so…yeah.  I know.  We aaaaallll wanna get skinny, organized and rich in the New Year.   Whatever.  *snore*

I would like to suggest that this year you try it MY way.

Drea M.’s Suggestions for Things to Do in 2009:

  • Dance on a different continent.
  • Dye your hair a colour it’s never been.
  • Learn a new language.  Don’t choose which language to learn based on what you think would be practical or easy.  Base your decision solely on which language has the silliest accent when speaking English with it.
  • Go on a road trip completely guided by the eyes-shut-and-point method of map reading.  Take lots of pictures and notes so you can tell funny stories about your adventures when you return.
  • Make something prettier.  (Your home, your yard, yourself, your community, your toilet brush, something…)
  • Hike as far into the wilderness as possible and spend the night sleeping under the stars (no tent).  Hope to see bears.  (DISCLAIMER:  All encounters with bears are solely the responsibility of the reader.  Drea M. cannot be held liable for any readers eaten by bears.)
  • Write funny things on Post-Its and leave them in weird places for strangers to find (Ideas:  “You look FABULOUS today!”, “Don’t look behind you!”, “What are you forgetting to do?”, “Burn after reading”)
  • Be part of a flash mob.  Start one if necessary.
  • Give blood (voluntarily, that is).
  • Give to charity.  (You can SO afford it, asshole.)
  • See the Northern Lights.
  • Hold a spider (Okay, this one is on my list every year.  But this year I’m really gonna do it.  And I’m going to smile.  And make sure there is photographic evidence.)
  • Fall in love (with anything.  Another human, a pet, a book, a song…hell, yourself.  Whatever.  It doesn’t have to be forever.  Just do it for the fun of it.)

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  • Spend an entire day with a close friend doing nothing but drinking beer and watching an entire movie series (Monty Python, Lord of the Rings, The Godfather, Star Wars, etc.)  Have lots of snacks.  Even more fun if you are playing hooky from something more serious in order to do this.
  • Paint flowers on your car (I’ve already done this, but decided to pass it on because it’s very liberating and you cannot help but smile every single time you approach your car when it is covered with flowers.  This serves to improve your quality of life.)
  • Define your biggest fear.  Then overcome it.
  • Decide what you need to live an absolutely fabulous life.  Then get it.

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See?  You’re having more fun already, aren’t you?

Voice Mail-ophobia

I have a little problem.  I’m afraid of my voice mail.

You see, I have one of those systems that won’t let you retrieve your new messages until you deal with the old ones.  Every time I decide, “Okay, today I’m really going to do it – I’m going to go through all these messages and I’m going to have a pen and paper handy, and I’m going to write everyone’s phone numbers in my date book, and I’m going to call everyone back” ~

I log in and there’s that voice, saying, “The following messages will be deleted from your mailbox:…”

I mean, who needs threats from their answering machine?  Who?  Seriously.  I hate that voice.  I hate her.  With the heat of a thousand suns.  I want to find her and throw a pie at her face.  Don’t judge – she hates me, too, or she wouldn’t keep harassing me like this.

And then the spiralling anxiety kicks in, because I know that messages only get deleted from my mailbox after 15 days.  And so I realize that not only will I have to deal with all the messages from the past 15 days, but also all of the ones from the 15 days before that, which I fast-forwarded through and re-saved 15 days ago because I couldn’t muster it up to deal with them then, either.  So I speed through every single one, skipping them and just re-saving them all so that I can go through them at my leisure at a more convenient time.  And so the cycle continues…

It’s not that I don’t care.  I do.  I really do.  I actually get very sad when there aren’t any messages.  I love it when people call (well, except telemarketers…and stalkers…and my mom when she wants to know why I told my dad something before I told her…)

I mean, I do have call display (on the cordless phone which I tend to lose most frequently, naturally), but it is no help whatsoever, because almost everyone I know lives outside of my local calling area and we’re all using special long-distance services or pre-paid calling cards.  Which look a lot like telemarketing phone numbers on call display.  To which I perform a brief-but-scathing fuck-you ritual when I see them.

The worst part of it all is that I may actually know I owe someone a phone call…but when I try to call, I can’t remember their number, or it’s been disconnected.  And then I get vague stirrings in my memory of a voice mail they left for me and I realize that in order to get their number, I am going to have to venture into the wildlands of my voice mailbox.  It’s like that moment in the movies where you know the chick is going to go into the basement and you just know she shouldn’t.  I hear ominous sharky music in my head.  I acquire tunnel vision with a fiendishly glowing aura at the end, centred on my telephone.

I’m not trying to boast that I’m so popular I can’t keep up with my voice mail.  Oh, no – in fact, I believe it is quite the opposite.  The last few times I actually braced myself and listened through them, it was interesting to note how many of the messages began with “Hey, asshole…”  – which always leads to one of those “BAHAHAHAAAhaha – hey!” moments.  But I’m trying to learn to think of it as a term of endearment (which, actually, in my family, it kind of is). 

The only time I voluntarily listen to my voice mail, really, is when I’m feeling blue.  I act all cynical and sarcastic most of the time, but (don’t tell anyone) I’m such a sentimental loser.  I really am.  If you sing me a song or tell me that you love me in a voice mail message, odds are good it will be saved forever.  My best friend phones me every year on my birthday at the crack of dawn and sings ‘Happy Birthday’ in a silly voice (Betty Boop, Marilyn Monroe, etc.).  I have at least three years’ worth of these calls still on record.  When I feel funky, I go listen to these messages and I feel better.  It’s a cheap, quick fix and it is not below me to use it.

Anyway, how about we just say that this post is an open letter to all those I’ve been neglecting and we start fresh?  Or keep calling.  I promise to stop being an asshole.

It’s not easy being afraid of your voice mail.

Published in: on November 16, 2008 at 2:38 am  Comments (1)  
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Good-Bye Lizard

When I was little, I had a habit of bringing home critters. 

Most little girls probably bring home puppies, kittens, lost baby birds.  I brought home reptiles. 

I had seen a show on television about snake wranglers, and listened carefully as they explained how to properly catch a snake (behind the jaw, so it can’t twist around to bite you.)  You have to be quick.  I was.  And happily, the field behind our house was swarming with my little slithery friends.  Unhappily, my mother had a severe snake phobia and was not thrilled about my newfound hobby, especially because  even at that young age, I had a seriously sadistic sense of humour and found it unendingly hilarious to sneak snakes into the house to freak my mother out.  (Holding the head in your hand and twining its body around your arm, then pulling your sleeve down to hide it was a pretty effective Trojan horse tactic.  Which led to my mother locking me out of the house on several occasions while demanding I strip on the doorstep as she watched through the window before allowing me admittance.  *not sure who needs therapy more right now*)

Well, I got sick of this game eventually and one day while digging around under the house (don’t ask me why I was doing this – kids are weird), I found something that even my mother didn’t mind too much.  A lizard – a salamander, I suppose, since they are native to Nova Scotia.  I don’t really remember too much about his appearance…just that it was love at first sight.

“Lizard” (c’mon, I was five) was my new best friend.  I kept him in my room, I carried him with me wherever I went.  We were soul mates.  For about 3 days. 

Someone should have told me that lizards can grow back their tails.

You see, lizards like Lizard can lose segments of their tails when stressed (not that I see anything at all stressful about being mauled by a five-year-old all day and night).  But they can regenerate their tails.  Not always, but most of the time.  And it most certainly doesn’t mean they are dead. 

Someone should have told me this.

A sleeping, tailless lizard looks a lot like a dead lizard.

Well, drama queen that I am, the funeral was a rather involved affair.  The entire neighbourhood was summoned.  A grave was dug.  Words were said.  Lizard was interred – dust to dust, etc.  A ‘headstone’ was erected (a piece of pink construction paper stuck on a twig that read, “Goodbye Lizard”). 

Imagine my dismay as a grown-up when I discovered Lizard may have just been snoozin’.  But considering my concept of ‘six-feet-under’ back then (about 2 or 3 centimeters), I have hope that Lizard was just faking his death in order to dig out and make his getaway.  He is probably, to this day, lounging on a beach in Florida somewhere.

And, well, sometimes the Universe gives you a second chance, man. 

A couple of months ago, my boss announced that her parents had discovered a lizard crawling up their drapes, likely imported in a potted plant from some faraway tropical region (don’t get too excited – it wasn’t Lizard – this isn’t that kind of story).  But still…pretty cool. 

Now, I work in a small office with only six staff members, and it can get lonely here at times.  We had been tossing around the idea of an office pet for several years, actually.  This was Fate.

So my boss set ‘Lizzie’ (yeah, I know…and this comes not long after busting a gut making fun of an aquaintance for having a pet dove named ‘Dovey’…whatever) up with a lovely little terrarium.  Lizzie was determined to be a brown anole.  Efforts were made to make Lizzie as comfy and well-fed as an Office Lizard could be.

However, knowing the heartbreak that can come of such things, I said what I said whenever anyone I co-habitate with (I work a lot – my co-workers are like roommates) brings home an animal.  I said, “Fine, but I’m not looking after it.  I’m not getting attached to it.  I want nothing to do with it.”  Yeah, ’cause that’s always worked so well for me.  *said while mentally counting the number of times I’ve been stuck with animals my boyfriends have gotten tired of – too embarassingly high a number to confess until I know you a little better*

This attitude lasted all of about two seconds.  By the second night, I was greeting the little fucker as I walked by to refill my water bottle.  By the third night, I was googling ‘lizard care’ during my downtime.  By the fourth, I was changing her water and tidying her tank.  By the fifth, I was marveling over Lizzie’s adorable dragon-like appearance as she stood at attention when I spoke.  After that it was a downward spiral into baby talk and tension-fraught confirmations of breathing.  I would uncover Lizzie’s cage, and my good-mornings would be met with a single cracked eye, Lizzie’s way of saying, “Morning.  I love you.”  (The sky is beautiful colours in my world.) 

Until today.  I logged into Facebook and saw my boss’ status.  “Hopes Lizzie is found safe and sound.”

My little friend has pulled a Houdini.  She is nowhere to be found. 

But I refuse to be distraught.  In my mind, she is halfway to Mexico with her boyfriend, who traveled all the way here on a banana just to free her.  She may already be basking in the sun, making new little baby anoles and enjoying exotic bugs that help erase the taste of the nasty Canadian crickets she was briefly forced to subsist on.

And you know what?  At least she wasn’t buried.

Good-bye lizard.

 

Published in: on October 18, 2008 at 1:18 am  Comments (1)  
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