August 20, 2014
You know all those ridiculously sentimental quotes about sisters that they write in birthday cards, engrave on wall plaques, and cross-stitch on pillows?
Sometimes people feel inclined to make grand declarations about their sisters, and post messages like these on social media with the directive “Share if you have the best sister in the world”.
First of all, there can only be one “best sister in the world”, officially.
You can have a good sister, or even a great sister (or, a terrible sister), but is she really, honestly, absolutely, with certainty - the “best sister in the world”?
If only there was a way of knowing whether your sister is the really “best sister in the world”… (if only there were a set of questions or a quiz, which could definitively answer this)…
Oh, here’s one:
How to know if your sister is the “best sister in the world”?
- Has she given you an organ (I don’t mean the kind of keyboard instrument, I mean the part of your anatomy that keeps you alive… like, a kidney or pancreas)?
- Has she recently come into a windfall and bought you a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, as a token of her love?
- Has she won any sort of award that is recognised by an accredited international agency or society, acknowledging her work as a “sister” and received a medal, trophy or plaque at a ceremony, attended by at least one diplomat?
If the answer to all of the above is “no”, then you really shouldn’t go around making those kinds of sweeping statements or claims.
Also: I have the best sister in the world.
I really do.
Sorry if you thought that you did… But, you don’t (because I do).
My sister is the best sister in the world (I’ve been told that she’s also a pretty good daughter, mother, wife, etc.).
I’m very fortunate to have “the best sister in the world”… I know this!
I didn’t always know this…
Like, when I was a teenager… I didn’t know this.
When I was a teenager I thought my sister was pretty cool, but I didn’t like her (and I don’t think she liked me). I was jealous of her freedom, car privileges, boyfriend with an earring, and her huge bangs.
We just didn’t appreciate each other.
She didn’t appreciate me harassing her or following her around, or stealing her clothes, or playing pranks on her.
I didn’t appreciate her avoiding me.
This seems accurate:
Now, as a fully grown, mature (might be pushing it?) adult woman… I really, fully and truly appreciate having “the best sister in the world”.
My sister and I share the same two kooky parents, we share the same childhood memories, we share the same sense of humour, we share the same cultural references, and we both lived through having spiral perms for the better part of the 1980s.
I know who I can turn to… for advice, for good company, for a hug, for a laugh, for encouragement, for support, and for no reason at all.
Also, she’s a fabulous cook… Proof: MINT GREEN APRON.
When I want to laugh, I know that I just have to play one round of “Heads Up” and tears will be streaming down my cheeks. Good, joyful tears. They don’t call her “No Points Michelle” for nothing.
Love you sis.
August 13, 2014
No, not the one with the Vampire, or the one where Barbara Walters made Ringo Starr cry when she brought up the death of John Lennon (Note to self: If you ever meet Ringo Starr – ixnay on the ohnjay ennonlay)…
I’m taking about a particular interview that I had several years ago… An interview that will go down as the worst interview… of all time.
And saying that it was the worst interview of all time is really saying something… because I’ve had a lot of bad interviews… (it’s also saying something because I’m making a statement).
There was the one where I wore my “lucky blouse” which had a button issue… in that the buttons refused to stay shut, and I may have (I did) flashed my “brassiere” to the Receptionist and the Human Resources Manager… which is super awkward when you’re interviewing for a job at a church…
Saying that, somehow I’ve managed to get all the jobs that I’ve interviewed for… including the one at the church (Luckily, I was wearing a conservative “brassiere” that day).
I’ve also been accepted into most* programs that I’ve interviewed for…
(And yes, I really do like ellipsis… those series of dots that indicate a leading statement… those ones… just there.)
Now the reason for the * back there… I’ve been accepted into most* programs, but not all programs…
There is one program at one school that did not think I would make an ideal candidate…
The program? A Master’s degree in Creative Writing.
The school? You may have heard of it… it’s the oldest and most prestigious educational institution in the English-speaking world? It’s called Oxford. Ring any bells?
So I applied to Oxford… and after they carefully considered my application, I was invited to have a telephone interview. The date and time were set weeks in advance.
I started to get excited… I started visualising how I would traipse** around Oxford with a heaving book bag and self-satisfied smile… and how proud my mom and dad would be, and how they would finally have a chance to brag about me (because to be honest I’ve not done much to merit much bragging).
Anyway, long story short… three days before the telephone interview I had to have emergency surgery because they thought that I had a tumor behind my eye (I didn’t).
They sent me home with 11 stitches across my eyelid, and several prescriptions… Vikes, Oxy, Blues, French Fries, Tranqs, Beans, Kicker, Percs… And while I’m definitely not condoning the recreational use of these prescription drugs, I will say that if you do have a surgery and use them responsibly, they are pretty f*%$ing awesome.
I spent the next few days as high as a kite.
Then, on Monday morning… the phone rang.
You know, the one with Oxford University with regard to your application.
Yeah… that one.
I took the phone receiver, and I tried my best to ignore the large purple dinosaur that was flipping pancakes in my kitchen (mmmm… pancakes!) and I carried on with the interview…
I have no idea what was said, how it was said, or the language in which it was said.
I do know that a very*** short time later I received an email from Oxford University stating that my application had been “unsuccessful”.
Sure, I was initially disappointed… Oxford University has a fairly decent reputation as far as post-secondary learning institutions go, and I had really hoped to traipse…
But then I thought about what a stuffy old institution Oxford was, and how I’m really the opposite of stuffy (I’m extremely breezy and informal), and then I was okay with it…
Oh, I also swallowed another Kicker, which may have helped.
EPILOGUE: I ended up moving to England, and took a Screenwriting program through the University of Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education, which looks good on a resume, but is really not the “Oxford” Oxford.
A few weeks later I had an interview with the University of London that went much better… and guess what? I ended up with a Master’s degree (with distinction!) in Creative Writing.
So suck it Oxford.
* Not all, but most
** Because one does not “walk” when one attends Oxford
*** Like, very… Like, within an hour
July 23, 2014
This is embarrassing.
A lot of my blogs are embarrassing (usually for me, sometimes for others) but this one gives you a real glimpse into the little weirdo pervert that I was as a teenager (obviously not now… as I’m definitely a mature, fully grown, adult woman).
I love Pearl Jam. That’s no secret. In fact, it’s the furthest thing from a secret. I have all their albums, I have seen them in concert at least a dozen times, I have an assortment of Pearl Jam t-shirts that I wear regularly, my radio is tuned to Pearl Jam radio almost exclusively, and there’s a stipulation in my marriage contract that says if I ever meet Eddie Vedder and we happen to start making-out, the husband can’t get mad.
My love of Pearl Jam goes back to 1992, when my sister was playing “Ten” and I was like, “what?”
I had never heard anything like it… (in fact, all I had heard up to that point was contemporary Christian pop music. It was a very sad life – made sadder by the fact that I thought contemporary Christian pop music was all there was.)
I heard “Ten” and I was very taken by the music… the energy, the guitar-heavy rock, the mellifluousness, and of course – that voice… Eddie’s voice. Sigh.
For those of you who don’t know Pearl Jam, Eddie is very “impassioned”. Very impassioned. Very.
Really, very impassioned. Unusually. Wonderfully. Profoundly.
He’s also fairly easy on the eyes:
When Eddie Vedder sings, something happens in my body… Something slightly inappropriate.
When I was about 12 or 13, I took the “Ten” album (on cassette) and I recorded all of the particularly passionate parts of “Ten”… the growly, passionate howls, roars, wails and bellows… onto another cassette.
What can I say? I really (really, really) enjoyed his growls, howls, roars, wails and bellows. Plus, he looked like this:
And he was very impassioned. Very.
Oh, and (obviously) it was also because of all of his charitable work.
On a recent road trip we were listening to Pearl Jam radio and I was singing along, and I started laughing… as I was reminded of my “special tape”. I told my husband about the tape and (strangely) he was not at all surprised.
It was probably sold at a garage sale many moons ago. Someone probably bought the tape, took it home, had a little listen… and obviously, fell in love with Eddie Vedder.
July 14, 2014
I went on vacation for a fortnight (hence – not posting a blog for a fortnight).
I know what you’re thinking… “Kim’s whole life is one big vacation because she lives in California, and doesn’t have a real paying job, and also she probably just sits around watching The Golden Girls all day.”
To that I would say, “Rude.”
First of all, my life is not one big vacation. Yes, California is a very popular vacation destination and has gorgeous, sandy beaches and averages 257 sunny days a year… And yes, we all wear flip flops everyday and say “dude”… And yes, we always drink our cocktails with little umbrellas… it doesn’t mean we’re not working (unless we’re not working).
Secondly, I may not have a “real paying job” but I treat my writing practice like an actual job… which means that I sit at a desk and drink coffee and write stuff and occasionally take breaks to check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Thirdly, The Golden Girls is only on from 8 – 10am on The Hallmark channel.
Anyway… I went on vacation for a fortnight.
For those of you who don’t know (and to you I’d say – read a book)… “fortnight” is a British term for a period of two weeks (seriously, there’s no excuse). The word derives from the Olde English “fourteen nights” (may I suggest going to Barnes & Noble or a visit to your local library) and is a commonly used term in England (unless of course you can’t read… and if that’s the case, I apologize), where wages and salary are paid on a bi-weekly basis (I was hasty in my reaction, and now I feel bad).
Anyway, I went on vacation for a “fortnight”… two weeks, 14 days (I’d be happy to teach you to read. Text me).
I went to Canada (what am I thinking? If you can’t read, then you definitely can’t text me. Call me instead).
Canada is always fun. I know, because I’m from Canada and P.S. I’m also very fun.
Canada is very “Canada” and the people are very “Canadian”.
That’s so Canada.
So Canadian, right? With the bear and the wide eyes and the photo being taken in some sort of log structure. Totally Canada.
I spent most of the fortnight drinking Tim Horton’s coffee, watching hockey, eating poutine, hunting for moose, shovelling snow, curling, wearing plaid, saying “eh”, tapping for maple syrup, and apologizing.
It was really great, but I’m really glad to be home in California. Back to flip flops, umbrella drinks and hard work.
(Okay, just realised that if you can’t read… you can’t text me, and you probably can’t read that bit about calling me instead, and you definitely can’t read any of this blog post… I’m sure you get the “Is” and “thes” sprinkled throughout, but I don’t want to assume… I’ll call you instead, ok?).
June 18, 2014
Note: I just wanted to note that when I wrote this blog post I had a terrible headache. I’m not making excuses, and yet I am… because the headache made it almost* impossible to be funny.
*almost, not quite.
I was 12 when I discovered The Beatles.
It was an accident really. A happy one, which involved stumbling upon some LPs at a garage sale and purchasing them without my parents consent.
Until that time the only music I was “allowed” to listen to was Contemporary Christian Pop (Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patty). My parents (God bless them!) tried to keep our “worldliness” to a minimum, which in theory is a great idea… but in practice, it makes the “world” very intriguing indeed!
My mother grew up in an ultra-religious home, with even stricter rules about music. If music wasn’t explicitly “Christian”, it was a no-go. In those days (60s), it was really black and white… (literally, the TV shows were in black and white). You were either a “Christian” or “not”… If you were a “Christian”, you were a follower of Christ and you did “Christian” things like: donate to charity, love thy neighbor, read the bible and pray. If you were “not”, you did things like: take the Lord’s name in vain, commit adultery, bear false witness against thy neighbor, kill, steal, worship satan, etc.
In the 80s it became a little more gray. You could be a “Christian” and still enjoy parts of the “world” (like, Washington State, for instance), and if you were “not” you could still enjoy a sunset (also known as: God’s paintbrush).
I was vaguely aware of The Beatles. I knew that they were of the “world” (England, specifically), so when I went to that garage sale and saw several Beatles albums for 25¢ each, I bought the lot of them. I didn’t tell my parents. I covered them with an afghan and played them when my parents weren’t home.
I don’t think I knew what I was in for. It metaphorically blew my mind.
Every album was more beautiful and magical and melodic than the next. Every song was a masterpiece… a tour de force, a chef d’oeuvre, a gem.
The Long and Winding Road.
The Fool on the Hill.
Across the Universe.
A Day in the Life.
The Beatles spoke to my soul and my brain and my heart…
I became a tiny bit obsessed. I would go to the library and scour the Encyclopedia Britannicas for more Beatles info. I learned that George Harrison was a follower of Hinduism, I learned that Ringo Starr was born Richard Starkey, I learned that Paul McCartney was married (to Linda McCartney), and I also learned that John Lennon was dead… which was disappointing to say the least.
My parents found the albums (they were just under an afghan, so it wasn’t a huge surprise) and surprisingly (this was a huge surprise) they were okay with it… Sort of. They thought it was better for me to be into old-fashioned music than new-fashioned music, which was (obviously) evil.
I remember being angry that I only found out about The Beatles when I was 12. Why had no one told me about The Beatles? I had wasted 12 years of my life not knowing about The Beatles… and not having The Beatles in my life! I equated it to finding out you’ve been adopted and that your biological parents have been open to having a relationship the whole time and they didn’t really give you up, it was actually just a misunderstanding, and also: they own a chocolate factory! So, basically – you could have been having unlimited chocolate all this time?! Seriously.
June 12, 2014
I don’t believe in “love at first sight”.
You might think I’m not a romantic. I am. Big time. I like champagne and roses and tonsil hockey and being whisked away to Santa Babs for a long weekend. Of course I do… WHO WOULDN’T?
I believe in LOVE. Big time! I just don’t believe that it can happen at first sight.
I believe that you can be attracted to someone at first sight… You can think that person is really good-looking at first sight… You might want to grab their bum or stick your tongue down their throat, or even get to know them better… at first sight. But trust me, it’s not “love” (if anything, it’s probably high quality lust*).
Love does not enter into the equation at first sight.
Love is much bigger than “like” or “affection” or “fondness” or “I’d do anything to bone them” (including get married)…
Love is kissing them goodnight when they are sick and their nose is running, even though you know that it means that you will definitely get sick… Love is folding all the laundry the way they like it to be folded, even though it’s not your preferred method… Love is cooking a steak for them, even when you’re a vegetarian and you hate handling meat… Love is listening intently when they’re reading an excerpt aloud from the New Yorker, again… Love is building the IKEA furniture as soon as you get it home from IKEA because you know that they can’t wait until tomorrow… Love is watching The Real Housewives of Orange County even though the Stanley Cup playoffs are on… Love is not getting upset when you were supposed to be somewhere at 7pm and it’s 7:15pm and they are still deciding on an appropriate outfit… Love is brushing their disgusting mouthguard when they’ve cut their thumb on a serrated knife and don’t have the dexterity or wherewithal… Love is letting them have the rest of the sweet potato tots…
It takes a very long time for love like that to develop.
Love like that only happens after ten years.
The first ten years are more of a “getting to know you” phase… You like the person, you feel high quality lust* for the person, you want to be with the person, you are with the person more frequently, they don’t annoy you, they slightly annoy you, you get over it, you like them anyway, you commit to the person, you become more intimate with the person, you start to say “we” instead of “me”, you become more vulnerable with the person, you tell them your secrets, you spend every waking moment with the person and you still like them (a lot), you miss them when they’re not around, you realize that their happiness means more to you than your own…
And then, after all that… it’s love.
Happy 10-year Anniversary Lloydster.
*There’s lust and then there is high quality lust. Which would you rather have?
June 4, 2014
I am stressed, apparently.
Apparently, I’m having a physiological response to an environmental condition or stimulus.
A few weeks ago I was eating breakfast and looking (lovingly) at my super duper husband when his face started to look funny. To be clear, he wasn’t making a funny face. That would have been funny. This wasn’t funny… When I looked at his face there were zig-zag lines across it. Then everything had zig-zag lines, then everything went hazy and then everything went very bright and spotty. I didn’t know what was going on… so yeah, I had a “physiological response”… I freaked out a little bit.
(Freaking out is a perfectly normal “physiological response” to stress, and it’s one that I personally enjoy.)
My husband drove me to the emergency room and after several hours, the doctor assessed me. She said that it could be a tumor pressing on my ocular nerve… but more likely, an ocular migraine brought on by stress.
She told me to avoid stress.
The weird thing is, I don’t feel very stressed.
I don’t have a lot to be stressed out about. I have a happy life. I have wonderful friends and family, and a super duper husband. I’m doing what I love to do… (writing) and I certainly have a lot to be thankful for.
I mean, yes… there are things and situations that cause me to have a “physiological response”… such as LA traffic, the Real Housewives of Orange County, stupid people, large medical bills (for said emergency visit), spraying olive oil in my eye (last night), and cutting off my thumb tip and part of my thumb nail with a serrated knife (also last night).
And yes, sometimes I “freak out”… and not in the Chic, “Le Freak” old school kind of way.
Some people deal with stress the old-fashioned (and fun) way: pills, alcohol, smoking, sleeping, eating… I just get a little worked up occasionally.
My doctor suggested that when I have a “physiological response” brought on by an environmental condition or stimulus, I should practice deep breathing, mindfulness, and watch comedic television programs. She specifically said, “like Modern Family”.
She also said that I should tend to a zen garden… I don’t really have a green thumb. And, since the serrated knife incident… I don’t really have much of a thumb at all.