The Date of Birth

holdyourhorse:

This came up again this week… The husband insists that he’s a spritely 40, but his gait and gray temples suggest otherwise… I’ve checked his documentation and it all seems to checks, but sometimes I do wonder who he had to trick/bribe/kill to get his records “fixed”.

Originally posted on Hold Your Horse:

He and I had known each other for two years. His birth date was exactly six years and eleven months before me, but I could accept that. Our relationship had blossomed from one of lust and like, into full on love. I had met his parents, and he had met mine. Everyone got along, and pronounced it grand.

We were engaged to be married in the spring, a time of awakening, a time of refresh. He bent down on one knee and asked me to be his Misses. How could I refuse? We set the date for summer, with only three months to prepare. The decorations, the flowers, the food… it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was him and I, and the life we would share. He wanted to give me everything I wanted: the house, the car, and the ring. I was less inclined to…

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The Niceness

I’m in Canada right now (this very second), and I must say… Everyone is really nice here. 

It started at the border… I approached the border security officer with my passport and I was greeted with a smile and a verbal declaration, “welcome to Canada”. 

This contrasts strongly to my arrivals at LAX, where border security officers greet you with a head tilt and a cavity search…

So, needless to say (and yet here I am saying it anyway), I was taken aback by his niceness.

But then I remembered: Canadians are nice!

Really nice. 

Not the fake nice – where you smile with your mouth, but your eyes give you (and your hate) away.

The real nice – where you go out of your way for others, help others, give things to others, greet others with genuine smiles, etc.

Having lived abroad for five years, I have become slightly less nice. 

It’s not my fault. (And how dare you imply that it might be.) It’s hard to be nice when you’re around people who aren’t as nice (Brits, Americans)… I’m not saying that all Brits and all Americans aren’t nice! I am saying that they aren’t as nice. Because they’re not (it’s not even close). On a scale of 1 to 10, Canadians would be 9.5 (to account for the a-holes), the Brits would earn a loose 5, and the Americans would come in at 6. (It goes without saying the French hardly managed a 3.)

(If I had a bar graph it would go right here.)

When you’re around 6s or 7s, you start to behave like a 6 or a 7… Sadly, the niceness wears off. 

That’s what happened to me.   I’m like an 8 now.

The Blouse

holdyourhorse:

You guys, I had another job interview and guess what? I got the job. Of course I wore my lucky blouse to the interview…

Originally posted on Hold Your Horse:

My lucky blouse My lucky blouse

“Blouse” is such a gross word to me. It conjures up images of ill-fitting, non-breathable, printed polyester. It’s up there with “brassiere”, “panties”, “moist” and “Voldemort” as the top five words that should never be said.

I own one “blouse”, and it’s currently hanging in my closet. It’s a black, cotton-polyester blend (50%/50%, I checked), with dime-sized pink circles and black buttons. It looks dressy, but not too dressy. I think it says, “I made an effort, without making too much effort”. I keep it around for events where I want to look less like a thirty-something ragamuffin and more like a real adult.

I wore it to the last job interview I attended, in March 2011.

I selected my outfit the night before. I laid my “blouse”, black trousers, black cardigan, black socks, black “panties” and a black “brassiere” out on the bed. I put my…

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The Whole Getting Older Thing

It’s my birthday this week (specifically, tomorrow – if you feel so inclined to send a card or a gift or an Edible Arrangement), but to be honest – I’m not at all excited about it.

I don’t like the idea of getting older… No one does*.

And birthday parties… Don’t get me started! (Okay, now that I’ve started, I really do have to finish.)

When you are a kid, birthday parties are the best. A party just for you, with all of your friends and loads of presents and games and Beetlejuice and a cake with a filling and frosting of your choosing.

When you are an adult, birthday parties are lame. An awkward social gathering at the Olive Garden where the focus is sort of on you but not really, with some of your co-workers and their weird, quiet spouses that you’ve never met previously and were obviously forced to be there, with no presents and one piece of dry-ass cake brought to your table with ten forks “courtesy of the restaurant”, and you’re sure that Cassandra had a cold sore last week so you’re not going anywhere near it. Lame.

I’m not having a birthday party this year. I refuse to celebrate getting older, which includes (but is not limited to): being called ma’am, the need for facial serums, and getting a hangover after a single glass of wine.

Getting older also means that you are getting closer to death, and the last time I checked, death is not a good thing… Sadly, life is not a Benjamin Button type situation where you get younger and shorter.

Okay, yes… As you get older, you get wiser, and stronger, and sexier, and more confident, and more courageous, and more focused, and more passionate, and you have a deeper sense of purpose and a wealth of life experiences… You know what’s what, and what’s real and who’s real, and what’s going on, and where you want to be, and who you want to be there with…

So yes, there’s all of that.

Maybe getting older isn’t so bad.

Maybe people should just live their best lives (thanks Oprah)…

Maybe we all should reject society’s obsession with age and value an individual based on their kindness, goodness, and overall character…

Maybe we all should forget about serums and focus on being awesome…

Maybe I should buy a cake with a filling and frosting of my choosing…

Yes.

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Speaking of older, wiser, sexier… it’s Paul McCartney rocking a mullet.

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* Except for kids that are 5 years old and want to get older and subsequently taller so they can go on specific rides with height restrictions.

The Bill Withers Song

A few weeks ago there was a week (I do know that there are weeks almost every week, but I’m speaking about one particular week, a few weeks ago) whether I heard the song, “Lean on Me” everywhere… At the grocery store, on the radio, in TJ Maxx. Everywhere… (okay, not everywhere but in lots of places)…

It’s a pretty great song to hear everywhere (in lots of places). The song is pretty encouraging and it’s got a funky beat that just won’t quit. It was one of my favorite songs growing up.

You might be thinking, “It’s weird that your favorite song as a 8 year-old child in Northern British Columbia was a piano ballad by Bill Withers.”

Well, to you I would say that even as a child, I was wise beyond my years, and mature enough to appreciate the depth and beauty of those heartfelt lyrics, and that 8 year-old Kim Manky felt those heartfelt lyrics deep in that heart of hers (mine – I don’t know when I switched to third person)…

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain (true)

We all have sorrow (also true)

But if we are wise 
(if)

We know that there’s always tomorrow (unless there’s an Armageddon-type situation)

Lean on me, when you’re not strong (I could possibly help)

And I’ll be your friend (sure, unless you’re crazy)

I’ll help you carry on (will do)

For it won’t be long
 ’til I’m gonna need
 somebody to lean on (I might)

You just call on me brother when you need a hand (or help with something)

We all need somebody to lean on
 (sometimes)

I just might have a problem that you’ll understand 
(I’m good at math, calculus, etc)

We all need somebody to lean on (sometimes)

If there is a load you have to bear 
that you can’t carry
 (like boxes or bags of things)

I’m right up the road (I live in Glendale)

I’ll share your load (I can carry a box or bag)

If you just call me (818-649-1084)

Call me if you need a friend… (or if you just want to go to the movies or something)

See? I totally get it.

Because it’s true. We all need someone to lean on sometimes… For instance, when you’re crazy drunk, or you’ve broken your leg, or you were born with one of your legs longer than the other one, or you’re changing your shoes and you don’t want to get your sock dirty, or you’re dizzy from spinning, or you’re just really tired… There are a lot of reasons that you might need someone to lean on.

If you don’t have someone to lean on, you’ll fall over… and if you’re standing near a lake or the edge of a cliff, it could get really dangerous.

So, just call me.

The One-Way Street

They say friendship is a two-way street. Meaning, it runs both directions.

Like friendships, not all streets run both ways. Sometimes you don’t see the signs, and then you accidentally turn down a street that runs only one-way and you’re like, $@#*, and you try to get out of there, but it’s almost impossible.

In friendship, when you come across a one-way street – in this case, a person – you should do the same thing… Look for the signs! If you don’t see the signs (were you even looking for the signs?!), and you accidentally turn down a one way street, check your mirrors, and get the h-e-double hockey sticks out of there… Before you get in a real jam (revealing personal information, etc.). You’re either going to hit a dead end, or get hit in your rear. Either way, it’s a pain in the @$$.

Sometimes you have a “friend” that is much worse than a one-way street… He (or she) is like a freeway. It’s all me, me, me and they only get off the freeway to get more gas. You give them a little gas, and you expect something (like, friendship) in return, but then they just get back on the freeway without so much as a wave. These people often drive BMWs. (In this scenario you were the gas attendant.)

(When there is an emergency, I totally get people behaving like a freeway, and I will happily give them gas, snacks, or a Big Gulp for the road.)

Streets – and friendships – that run both ways are easier to navigate, and much less confusing. You know where you’re going and what to expect. You don’t have to check your mirrors as much, or  make any illegal U-turns. You can always find what you’re looking for, and parking is never an issue.

It’s no coincidence that Los Angeles was recently ranked number 4 in the Worst Cities for Car Drivers. There are sooooooooooooo many one-way streets, freeways, and BMWs!

My advice?

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The Cottage

We had just moved to England.

We had travelled 7,573 kilometres from Vancouver, British Columbia to London Heathrow. We were tired, we were jet-lagged, and we were experiencing the “Oh S#@* Moment” I wrote about a few weeks ago.

We can’t be held responsible for the decisions we made.

We were staying at a friend’s house, but we needed to find a permanent residence ASAP (as soon as possible), so that we could get on with the whole “living in England” thing.

We were out strolling in the English countryside (as you do) when we came across a lovely little (wee) village called Bray.

Bray is literally one of the most charming villages you’ll ever set eyes on. In fact, it was once named the most charming village in England, which is 100% accurate, because it is extremely charming.

Bray is also home to celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant The Fat Duck, which was voted the best restaurant in the world in 2005, which is saying something because there are quite a few restaurants in this extremely large world of ours.

So, we’re strolling through Bray and we see The Fat Duck (the famous restaurant, not an overweight aquatic bird), and then we see this adorable little cottage two doors down with a “To Let” sign in the window.

(Note: “To Let” means pretty much the same thing as “To Rent”, except it’s different, because it’s British.)

The adorable little cottage was really too adorable, with frilly little curtains, and brick walls, and a tiny little front door. It was almost sickening how adorable it was…

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From left: The cottage, some other cottage, The Fat Duck

As we were peeking into the front window to have a better look, Heston Blumenthal strolled by and said “hello”. So then I said, “hello”. He asked us if we were going to “let” the cottage, and I said, “yes,” we were going to let the cottage. And then he said we’d be neighbours and then I said, “yes” again. And then I took a picture with my soon-to-be-neighbor Heston Blumenthal.

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Me n’ Heston

We immediately called the estate agent, and “let” the cottage.

We were going to live the fairytale life, in a fairytale little cottage, in a fairytale little village, next to one of the best restaurants in the world… because that’s what you do when you move to England.

Sometimes it seems like a really great idea to live in a 500 year old cottage in a tiny little village in Berkshire, England.

Sometimes the reality of living in a 500 year old cottage is much, much different than what you anticipated…

For instance:

The draughts (the British spelling of “draft”). In every room, at all times.

The moist. Everything, all the time, always.

The damp. Not quite the same as “moist”, but equally terrible, and cold, and miserable.

The mould (British spelling of “mold”). Black, smelly, toxic to all creatures.

The slugs. Because the house was 500 freaking years old, the doors and windows didn’t seal, and those suckers can slip through the tiniest of cracks. The first morning living in the “fairytale little cottage”, I came downstairs to find approximately ten slugs crawling around the front room. As I started chucking them back outside, the mailman came by and offered to help, so the two of us chucked all the slugs out (but of course, they returned the next morning).

The very, very low ceilings and doorways. Apparently people were much shorter in the 1500s.

The kitchen. It was outside, in another building, a short walk from the cottage (I have no idea why anyone thought this was a good idea). Because when I cook, I want to have to put on a raincoat, boots, hat and gloves on and then walk a short distance, and then cook something, and then bring it back inside the house to eat it, and take off my raincoat, boots, hat and gloves, and then eat the meal that I made, and then put back on my raincoat, boots, hat and gloves and walk the short distance back to the kitchen to do the washing up.

The lack of hot water. Because nothing works in a house that old.

We lived the “fairytale” life, in a “fairytale” little cottage, in a “fairytale” little village, next to one of the best restaurants in the world… for approximately three weeks.

We came away from the experience a little bit older (three weeks older), and a little bit wiser (three weeks wiser).

Fairytales are a f#@*ing lie.

The Y2K

Y2K.

Remember how scared we were?

Remember how we all stocked our cupboards with canned goods and bottled water, and bought a generator, and withdrew all of our money from the bank and buried it in a jar in the back yard, and then built an elaborate underground bunker system to survive the imminent nuclear holocaust, and spent the eve of December 31, 1999 down in the “hole” eating cheese (for what we thought might be the last time) and hugging our loved ones (for what we thought might be the last time)?

No? Just my family then?

(Note to self: Remember where jar of money is buried. Dig up jar of money. Pay off credit card.)

For months before January 1, we were all told that once the clock struck 2000, we were screwed (to put it mildly). The computers were going to crash and/or spontaneously combust, causing power outages, financial ruin, prison breaks and nuclear disasters.

Prince (or the artist formerly known as Prince) was warning us way back in 1982: “two thousand zero zero, party over, oops, out of time. So tonight I’m going to party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine.” When you hear the song 1999, you just hear a timeless dance party anthem by one of the most innovative and eclectic artists of our time – but pay attention to those haunting lyrics: “War is all around us, my mind says prepare to fight. So if I gotta die I’m going to listen to my body tonight.”

(I’m not sure what Prince meant by “I’m going to listen to my body tonight” but I appreciate his enthusiasm.)

We prepared for the worst… And then the clock stuck midnight. And we  dusted the crackers off our shirts, lived in the bunker for another six weeks, and then opened the bullet-proof vault door to find that humanity was alive and well.

And here we are… Fifteen years later. Older, wiser… And with more faith in computers.

I think we all learned a lesson that day.

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The Oh S#@* Moment

Nearly five years ago (on March 28, 2010), the husband and I decided to move to England.

We sold most of our things, quit our jobs, bought one-way tickets and then got on a plane and travelled the 7,573 kilometers from Vancouver, British Columbia to London, England.

We arrived to London Heathrow jet-lagged, irritable, and slightly buzzed from the free wine (thank you British Airways). My wonderful friend Erin picked us up from the airport and delivered us to our temporary accommodations in Windsor, Berkshire. We immediately collapsed in a heap and slept for 12 hours.

The next morning, the husband and I decided we needed some fresh air, so we took a walk into town.

I remember the specific moment…

We were walking along Thames Street in Windsor when we spotted a store called TK Maxx (not to be confused with TJ Maxx, which is pretty much the same, except different). We were both in need of some socks and underwear (we packed light), so we decided to go have a tickety boo. The men’s department was downstairs so the husband said he’d go have a look around and find me in a few minutes.

As I looked through the assortment of ladies “knickers”, it hit me…

I was like, “Oh S#@*!”

We had just moved to England… We had left our friends, and family, and friends that are just like family, and our favorite pizza place, and our favorite pannekoek house, and our favorite place to watch birds, and our jobs, and our home behind. I nearly fainted. I had to grab onto a nearby rack to support me. When my legs stopped shaking, I went and found the husband, who told me that he had had a similar response. We immediately went and had a cocktail.

We lived in England for three years, and had the time of our lives. We made new friends, we travelled to amazing European destinations, we took walks in the country, we drank ale in quaint little pubs, and we learned a lot about ourselves, and each other.

Three years later, a work opportunity arose in Los Angeles and we decided to go.

We sold most of our things, quit our jobs, bought one-way tickets and then got on a plane and travelled the 8,766 kilometers from London, England to Los Angeles, California.

We arrived to LAX jet-lagged, irritable, and slightly buzzed from the free wine (thank you Alaska Air). We picked up our rental car, drove to our temporary accommodations, and promptly fell asleep.

The next morning, I turned on our TV and watched as a local weatherman pointed to a map of California, and presented the forecast…

I was like, “Oh S#@*!”

We had moved to Los Angeles… We had left our friends, and friends that are just like family, and our favorite Indian takeaway, and our favorite pub, and our favorite place to watch birds, and our jobs, and our home behind.

We have lived in LA for two years, and we are enjoying it immensely. We’ve made new friends, we’ve travelled to amazing American destinations, we’ve taken walks on the beach, and we’ve learned a lot about ourselves, and each other.

There are defining moments in your life… Moments when you decide to take a BIG risk…

Like when you tell someone you love them.

Or quit your job to start your own business.

Or go back to school.

Or get married.

Or have a baby.

Or buy a house.

Or buy a trampoline!

Or move to the other side of the world.

You cross your fingers, and you pray a little pray, and you hope a little hope… and then you jump in feet first.

And yes, you might say, “Oh S#@*!” but Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all (Helen Keller).

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The Reciprocation

I don’t know if you believe in God… But I do.

God has repeatedly saved me from getting what I wanted, or thought that I wanted – more specifically, guys that I thought I wanted to marry (see last week’s post about almost getting married at 18).

In my teens and early twenties, I met a lot of men (as you do), and I developed very strong feelings for many of them (as you do), and sometimes it was reciprocated, and sometimes it wasn’t.

When it was not reciprocated, I’d be really, really sad… I’d sit in my room listening to sad music, and I’d wonder what was wrong with me, and I’d tell myself this was definitely the guy and I’d never forget him, and most of the time (within a week or so) I’d forget him.

And: I feel happy about that now (thankful even) because I did not get what I wanted, or what I thought I wanted.

Imagine if I had gotten what I wanted when I was 15…

I’d be living in a trailer down by the river with way too many kids and my boyfriend of twenty years (he has a “fear of commitment”) would be too busy working on trucks and smoking cigarettes in his “man cave” to notice that I’m high on prescription drugs most of the time. I’d spend my days staring at the stippled ceiling, wishing that I went off to college, and travelled the world, and met new people, and learned another language, and wasn’t stuck making chilli on a tiny, trailer-sized hot plate every night.

I think I dodged a bullet there.

Sometimes it’s much, much better to not get what you want (or what you thought you wanted).

So, thanks God (and also: thanks to my Mom and Dad, whose combined genetic code meant that I was definitely not the most popular/attractive/fashionable girl in the world, or in the immediate vicinity*, and was therefore not subject to a lot of reciprocated strong feelings).

(Sorry Eddie Vedder, I’m sure you’re a really great guy, but what with all the touring and practicing and late nights and being a rock star, and me being fifteen years younger than you and enjoying quiet nights at home, I’m not sure that it would have ever worked out for us…)

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* If you know my parents, you know that they are both incredibly good-looking, but their combined genetic code did not produce similar results.

I’m of the opinion that when two really good-looking people reproduce, they often achieve disappointing results (ie. a plain or homely child). Whereas, when two hideously ugly people (or: one hideous beast and one average-looking person) reproduce it often results in a good-looking child.