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September 2013

Three Hundred Forty Nine.

I was reminded of this story while I was driving with Caitlin to the Edmonton Expo on the weekend. Why did it come up? I can’t exactly remember. Was I maybe air-punching to a song in her car? Oh, probably. That is something I do often…

So, flashback to…2007, I believe. I was driving home super late from a date (?) with the guy I was sort of dating (?)* at the time. It was between 2 and 3am. My route home cut through a bit of a sketchy area in the city centre.

SIDENOTE: Of course it did, otherwise why would I be telling this story?

So I pulled up to a corner, waiting to turn right at a red light. I was just sitting in my car, totally calm and focused on driving. Normal normal.

And out of nowhere, I started to hear this CRAZY LOUD BANGING like the sky was falling down.

Naturally, I freaked out and started screaming, “WHAT THE FUCK?! WHAT THE FUCK?!” and covering my head and also looking everywhere and trying to figure out what the fuck.

My car was being attacked.

By a homeless man.

For no good reason.

SIDENOTE: It’s possible he thought he had a good reason, but this is my blog from my perspective, so fuck that guy.

City_Street_Slow_Shutter_(Night)

He was standing right next to my car, screaming at the top of his lungs and pounding on the roof with angry, balled up fists.

Now, of course I wanted to get the hell out of there, but somehow, despite my intense fear and the fact that I had started crying, I had the level-headed-ness to recognize that the guy had stepped off the curb and was standing on the street. So what if when I drove away, I drove over his feet or hurt him?

I could only hold onto that thought for so long, because the traffic light turned green and the man kept screaming and attacking my car and I was totally freaked out so eventually (see: 45-60 seconds later) I hit the gas and turned the corner.

And then my imagination went wild.

What if I did drive over his feet?

What if he was like, collapsed on the street, unable to walk away?

What if I killed the guy?

Would someone somehow find me and arrest me?

My life was surely over.

I was definitely going to prison.

I would not finish my degree.

I would not become a normal adult.

I would not pass go. Or collect $200.

So instead of just going home and escaping the crazy ass situation that had just come into my life out of nowhere, I made another right turn at the next intersection I got to so that I could go back around, back to the sketchy street, back to where my car had been attacked, to make sure I had not killed my car attacker.

He was gone.

No dead guy on the street.

If I had broken any toes, I guess it wasn’t enough to stop him leaving the scene.

Phew.

So that was the night I learned to always check around my vehicle at red lights.

Maybe it’s just the night that turned me paranoid.**

xA

*Fuck relationships. (Did I say that out loud?)

**Then again, there was also this guy, so there you go. RED LIGHTS = DANGER.

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Three Hundred Forty Eight.

This weekend I did something I’ve been so curious and interested in doing for years. I went to a comic con!

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The biggest thing keeping me from ever going before is my social anxiety.

I know, it’s weird that I’m a fitness instructor and I have social anxiety, but I do. And it’s major. Like, if you invite me to an event and I say I’m going and then I bail last minute? That’s most likely because I had every intention of going and then while I was getting ready to go, I had an anxiety attack about all of the people who were going to be there (eek, crowds) or having to arrive by myself and find familiar faces (I have this weird thing about having to arrive at events by myself – I can rarely bring myself to do it).

This year I guess I just found the balls to finally go for it. Also, I invited my friend Caitlin to go with me and she’s one of the most extroverted, bubbly, outspoken people I know, so I knew she’d make a good partner to hold my hand and also just have fun with. Maybe even moreso because she’s not familiar with a lot of the nerdy stuff, so she was super open to going to see whatever I wanted. (Caitlin, you’re the best.)

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SIDENOTE: Ironically, when we took that photo, we were totally hiding out from the crowds. But here we are having an adventure!

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I have to say, it was a pretty crazy cool experience. I mean, I got to dress up a bit (I was too chicken to go all out – maybe next year):

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I got to people watch to my heart’s content (and then some). I got to see actors like Jon Heder and Ron Pearlman speak (among many others):

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I got to support friends who got their own panel on fan filmmaking (so cool):

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And I got to run into friends dressed up in adorable costumes!

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What it all boiled down to was a lot passion. People passionate about creating art, people passionate about acting, people passionate about their love for certain artists or comics or TV shows or movies or whatever it may be.

And also, like, no judgement. Everyone was really embracing the nerdiness. It didn’t matter whether you were wearing a Batman t-shirt or a full suit of armour, everyone was there for the same reasons.

Anyway, this may sound generalized and possibly scattered because I just got home from 48 hours of comic con and I’m completely exhausted and battling a horrendous cold, but the biggest lessons I learned this weekend were:

(A) I definitely need to find better coping mechanisms for social anxiety than hiding, holding hands with my friends, and hyperventilating.

(B) Passion is both inspiring and infectious.

(C) I HEART NERDS AND BEING A NERD.

(D) I need to push myself out of my comfort zones more often, because even when it’s stressful, I always take something away from it.

(E) I feel like I had an ‘E’ and then I forgot it because I’m flustered and also I feel really weird because my cold has left me with plugged ears and it’s distracting me to not be able to hear myself type or think.

Uhhhhh…woo!

xA

P.S. I remember one thing I was going to say and it was that after this weekend, I feel like I need to go to a deserted island for approximately one week to recover. Holy people overload, Batman!

Three Hundred Forty Seven.

A couple weeks ago, I went out to the movies with a friend of mine and then we grabbed a bite to eat.

Oh, actually, now that I think of it, it was this night, AKA the night I ATE ALL THE FOOD.

Anyway, when I got home at the end of the night, I went to wash my face and noticed I had a bunch of black pepper in my teeth. My first thought was, “Why the fuck didn’t he say something?!”

SIDENOTE: It’s possible he didn’t notice. I would have had to smile pretty darn big for it to be visible. But still.

You see, I’m a person who will ALWAYS tell you if you’ve got “something” going on – if you have food in your teeth, if you have a strand of hair sticking out the wrong way, if your hanger strap or clothing tag is hanging out. I’m your girl. It’s not because I’m critical or anything. I’m not. I’m like, the least judgemental person. It’s because I would want to know if any of that were going on with me.

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But as I was thinking about that, I was reminded of one of many hilarious moments I had as a teen.

In case you’ve forgotten, I was a goth when I was a teenager. A Marilyn Manson-obsessed, eyeliner-loving, eyebrow-shaving goth. So I wore a lot of makeup. I didn’t do anything too crazy – I didn’t like, wear black eyeliner tears dripping down my face or anything (no offense or judgement to anyone who did/does – you do your thing). But I was…creative?

There was one day that I was going out to run some errands with my mom and I was sporting some particularly interesting mascara and eyeliner. I had applied both as usual, but then I decided that I wanted like, eyeliner dots coming out from the corner of my eye toward the side of my face.

I really wish I had a photo to illustrate this. But I don’t. But imagine some cat eye eyeliner:

cat+eye

Only imagine it much messier and comprised of dots.

SIDENOTE: I don’t know what I was thinking. I was 13. Who cares? I was “finding myself.”*

So anyway, I was out with my mom and I remember specifically that we were at Future Shop and we couldn’t find what we were looking for, so we found a sales associate to ask for help.

We had been chatting with him about our needs for a few minutes when a natural silence fell upon the conversation. It was at that point that the sales associate turned to me, and very quietly said, “Uh…I think you have a little something…” and pointed to his eye/eyebrow region.

Being the super self-conscious, nerdy kid that I was, I tried to laugh it off.

“Ha ha!” I giggled nervously, “No, it’s supposed to be there.”

“Oh, okay.” The sales guy cleared his throat anxiously.

And then we all felt awkward.

People wear a lot of crazy shit these days. Like, how many times a day are you walking behind a girl in leggings or yoga pants when you realize you can clearly see her bum/underwear/thong?

SIDENOTE: I work both on campus and as a fitness instructor, so maybe my percentages are higher. Okay, they definitely are. But like, a MILLION TIMES A DAY it happens.

Hell, just last night I was out and saw a dude wearing gold spandex pants and it was like, junk-central. He might as well have been pantsless. It was all out there.

SIDNEOTE: Pretty sure it’s the look he was going for, because shortly after I spotted him, he started doing lunges, so good on him.

Um. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I understand why some people would hesitate to point out if “something” is going on, but:

(A) If the person is your friend, POINT IT OUT ANYWAY. Be tactful. But just in case. Do it.

(B) If it’s something in someone’s teeth, no exceptions. TELL THEM.**

xA

*I’m nearly 27 and I feel like only NOW am I actually finding myself.

**Unless you hate the person. Then I guess do whatever.

Three Hundred Forty Six.

There are very few women in my workplace. In my specific research group, there are two researchers, plus me. Out of about 15 people. So we’re pretty darn outnumbered.

Now, in the last year, I’ve definitely learned that scientists are quiet people. Maybe it’s just chemists? (I hear physicists have quite the personalities.) But I have to say, the female scientists are the quietest of the bunch.

When I started my job last November, I thought I might get along with the ladies the best. Maybe because I am a lady,* or just because I’m used to working with ladies.

I was off to a really good start with one of the girls in particular. She and I would always stop in the hallway and say hi, have a little chat, all the usual stuff. She was quiet, but really nice, and I thought we might become work friends.

But then I did something stupid.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Andrea, you never do anything stupid at your job. (Not like I’ve ever locked myself in the stairwell or parked my car on the sidewalk or anything…) But this was a total accident – something I could have never seen coming.

I walked in on the lady scientist in the bathroom.

They’re private bathrooms – as in, a single room, not a room with multiple stalls or anything – and she hadn’t locked the door.

Here’s the thing: it could have been way worse. I didn’t see anything. She could have been buck naked or something,** but she wasn’t. She could have been having sex with someone. But she wasn’t! She was just sitting there, and as soon as I noticed, I apologized and shut the door.

That was at least six months ago. The girl still will not make eye contact with me. When we’re walking toward one another in the hallways, she keeps her eyes on the floor. She never says hi. She never talks to me. I’m fairly certain she actively avoids me. Hell, in the last six or whatever months, I think I’ve only seen her like, six or seven times. It’s insane.

Yesterday she needed something from me and she used as few words as possible to ask for it, again without making eye contact. I tried to start a friendly conversation and she basically ran away. And that was that.

Well, guys, lesson learned: I’ve always thought of myself as somewhat easy to embarrass, but BOY WAS I WRONG.

Will we ever rekindle our work friendship?

xA

*Arguable, depending on how you define “lady.”

**One time, a lady walked in on me in a fitting room while I was pantsless and bending over to try on jeans. So there you go. An eyeful of Andrea’s underwear-ed bum, bent over, close-up. That’s much worse, but still not as bad as it could be, right?!

Three Hundred Forty Five.

Yesterday at work, I had to phone Air Canada for my boss.

They have this dumb rule where if you cancel a flight, you can only use your credit if you book over the phone. What? Yeah. It’s one of a number of bizarre rules and exceptions they place on this particular situation.

Anyway.

Phoning an airline. Great.

I was on hold for approximately 20 minutes. I stopped counting because I was on hold so long that I passed through the “Oh, I’ll just wait and listen carefully for when somebody picks up” phase and well into the “Fuck it, I’m working, I’m talking to other people, I’m busy, and when they pick up, they’d better say ‘HELLO’ very clearly because ain’t nobody got time for this shit” phase.

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Also, I stopped counting because the phone was hurting my ear. Like, within minutes. And because of the position of the phone on my desk, I couldn’t really switch ears. So I tried to keep myself distracted.

So I finally got through, and of course the conversation wasn’t a quick one. I’m not going to bore you to death with all of the details. What you need to know is that all in, I was on the phone for about 45 minutes yesterday.

45 minutes!!

Let me tell you about today.

Today, it feels like I got punched in the ear. Yes, that’s right, my left ear is so sore from the stupid phone that it kind of hurts when I adjust my hair.

And when I woke up this morning, I noticed that my neck and shoulder felt really weird. It only occurred to me much, much later that that’s the result of my craned-neck multitasking – holding the phone onto my shoulder with my chin while I continued to work.

WHAT THE HELL?

When I was in my pre-teens and teens, I used to talk on the phone for hours at a time.

Is this evolution?

Guys, this is it.

It’s the future.

Talking on the phone isn’t glamorous like this anymore:

VintageWomanOnPhone

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend  the day with my head tilted the other way to try to even this shit out.

xA

Three Hundred Forty Four.

I don’t know, this is just random thought I had this morning, but when I was a kid, I ate some weird shit.

Here are three things I distinctly remember. I’m sure my mom could chime in with like, 87 more.

HerroFloFries1

French Fries and Ice Cream

Any time we went to McDonald’s as kids, my brother and I (maybe he didn’t participate in this, but I could swear he did) would get an ice cream cone and an order of fries and we would dip our fries into the ice cream and eat them. It was the whole salty sweet thing. But of course, I would rotate between dipping my fries in ice cream and dipping them in ketchup. Ugh.

Ketchup Chips

Speaking of ketchup, one day, I was so desperate for ketchup chips that I decided that dipping regular old potato chips into actual ketchup would be just as delicious.

It wasn’t.

But I still ate a lot of them. I remember it being very…greasy and tomato-y and overwhelming.

Dill Dip

When I was in grade five, one of my friends was like, “Oh, I know the best homemade dip!” All it consisted of was a TON of mayonnaise (which I was never a fan of to begin with) with a TON of dried dill mixed into it. So when she came over, we made this dip and ate probably half a cup of it each. With carrots. And chips, I think. And then my stomach hurt for like a week.

Despite the pain, I would go on to make that dip a few more times before it made me feel barfy enough that I stopped. Just thinking about it now makes my stomach twitch.

Lesson learned: I swear kids are born with iron stomachs. Some people keep those iron stomachs until they die. Good for them, I say.

I mixed a lot of crazy foods in my belly when I was little that would make me barf as an adult. How about you?

xA

Three Hundred Forty Three.

Last week, Andrea was out looking for new jeans when she came across a really cute, really simple dress. It had a nice, flattering scoop neck, an empire waist, and it was dark teal, AKA it was perfect for her. Oh, and it was also on sale for $10, so how the hell could she say no?

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This morning, Andrea was feeling beyond exhausted. Her dogs had kept her up for a good portion of the night, and her hectic schedule had left her drained. She decided that one way to battle feeling so down in the dumps was to dress up a bit. She immediately thought of her new teal dress. It would definitely do the trick.

Being that teal is one of Andrea’s favourite colours, she was able to put together a stylishly matching ensemble, complete with a light teal bra and underwear set (even though no one would see it). Who does that, right? Andrea does.

What a gal.

Andrea was feeling sassy and confident in her outfit. She had been right: dressing up had made her feel a little more lively.

Then, at approximately 11:52am, Andrea went to the bathroom to, well, pee and wash her hands before lunch, if you really want to know. But as she went to leave the bathroom, something caught her eye.

What was that sparkle? Where was it coming from?

She lost it.

Hmm. Maybe it was nothing.

She moved again, and again a sparkle caught her eye.

Okay, seriously, she thought to herself, where is that coming from?

Then Andrea took a long, hard look at herself in the mirror.

That was when Andrea realized that the top half of her new teal dress was see-through. Not just a little. Almost entirely.

And the sparkle?

That was the charm* on her Victoria’s Secret bra, catching the light. Her dress was so see-through that the charm was plainly visible and capable of catching light.

photo

Oh, shit.

Andrea did up the buttons of her cardigan and got on with her day, but from that point on, Andrea learned to ALWAYS CHECK TRANSPARENCY BEFORE WORK.

Oops.

xA

P.S. Still a totally cute dress. Just definitely not work appropriate.

*Why do they put those on there, anyway? I mean, I guess they’re sort of cute, but really.

Three Hundred Forty Two.

As you may have gleaned by now, I worked at a live theatre for a number of years. I met lots of characters and ghosts while I was there.

The characters who always perplexed me the most were the people who would come to see live theatre and not seem to understand that they were watching live theatre. They would sit in the front row and talk during the performance. Or answer their phones. Or they would come out of the auditorium halfway through the play and say things to me like, “I don’t understand what’s going on in the movie!”

SIDENOTE: Yes. That happened. Like, a lot.

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CONNECT THAT TO:

Lately, I’ve been having some strange experiences in my Zumba classes. Like, okay, I totally understand that sometimes, people are tired and they don’t want to give 100% in class. That’s completely fine. If I’m honest, a lot of the time, I don’t want to give 100% either because I teach 6+ classes a week and I’m tired. I don’t have the option, but I understand.

But there’s a difference – a HUGE difference – between not giving 100% and literally STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CLASS STARING AT ME.

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If you didn’t come to move, why are you in my Zumba class? Why do you look angry? Do you realize that I’m a real person standing in front of you trying to do my job – which I love – to the best of my ability? Do you not understand how standing and staring at me when the rest of the room is dancing and smiling might make me feel weird or uncomfortable or self-conscious?

No? Okay. Just checking.

SIDENOTE: if Christina Hendricks came to my Zumba class, I would DIE. She could stare at me all she wants.

BUT:

This weekend I went to a play. It’s been a long time. Like, a long time. For me, anyway. I think the last play I saw was some time in the spring. Maybe March.

SIDENOTE: It was Midsummer by David Greig, playing at Theatre Network, and you should check it out.

The play was great, but here’s what happened. I found myself a little disconnected. Like, it was jarring to me that real people were on stage, performing in the moment. It took me a while to adjust to that, and at one point – and trust me, I am ASHAMED to admit this – I almost reached for my phone just because I was curious what time it was.

WHAT THE FUCK, ANDREA?!

Shameful. I know.

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But after the play, as my friend-date Caitlin and I walked back to my car and talked about it, I realized yeah, we don’t disconnect much anymore, do we? It’s almost like we’ve gotten so used to the digital being “real” that REAL-real doesn’t seem real anymore. Like, I talk to my friends on Facebook and that’s real, but what would be more real is talking to them in person.

I don’t have any big answers or anything. All I’m saying is on the weekend, I felt the disconnect and I wasn’t happy with it. So the lesson I’ve learned is it’s time to reconnect with the human experience a little more and just be aware of being present.

xA

P.S. At least my phone didn’t ring during the show or something. (I’m just trying to make myself feel better. Don’t mind me.)

Three Hundred Forty One.

“But is it going to be like, OVER over? Like, completely over?!”

The number of times I have heard this in the last week has been both shocking and overwhelming (in a good way).

People read my blog.

I mean, I knew that people were reading my blog, because I’ve even blogged about it (whoa meta!), but the fact that people are reading my blog on a regular basis kind of blows me away.

Like, to everyone who reads my blog daily? I am in awe of you. I don’t know that I would read my blog every day if not for the fact that I have to write it every day. I am humbled and honoured to be included in your day. Even if you’re not reading every single day, I sincerely thank you for taking the time.

…But please don’t take me so seriously.

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It’s fascinating how once you put something down into words, some people will take it as the be all, end all, the absolute truth about you. It’s been pretty interesting to be able to actually see and hear people’s reactions to my blog, and how they vary depending on how well they know me. My friends who read my blog laugh off a lot of my dryness and sarcasm (and craziness), while others take it a little more to heart, I think.

Let’s just say that none of my closest friends have called me to say, “Don’t worry about your forehead wrinkles! They’re barely even there!” They’ve either been like, “Yeah, that’s shitty, hey? I have them, too.” or they’ve read the post, laughed at me, and moved on.

A lot happens in a year. A LOT. A lot happens in a week. Your feelings toward something may change daily. I love bananas, but that doesn’t mean I want to eat them all day every day. I had to do that while I was starving in Ireland and then I hated bananas and thought I didn’t want to eat them ever again. If I had been writing this blog at the time, there would be a post about how I hate bananas and never want to eat them again.

SIDENOTE: I wrote that very thing in my travel blog at the time, I am certain. Cashews, too. And just look at me now. I had a banana with my breakfast about 15 minutes ago.

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: Right now, I’m on a break from beets. Because….well…that was just too much for me.

Just a small selection of other “things”:

– I actually don’t have a mega-crush on Adam Levine. Like, sure, he’s attractive, of course, but if you asked me to name five celebrity crushes (I don’t know why you would do that, since you’re not the latest issue of Tiger Beat, but you never know), he would not come up.

– I don’t actually hate cats. I love cats. I needed something to write about that day, and I was shocked by a cat bite story. I have bonded with many a cat, despite my allergies. (Shout outs to Nala, Fred, and Flora (RIP), just to name a few of my fave felines.) Sometimes you just think of a joke/story and run with it.

– I’m not panicking about my breasts. I was perplexed by them shrinking for about a week. Then I got used to it. Then I realized I love it. So to everyone who has been either making fun of me for it (yes, that happened), or trying to reassure me that it’s gonna be okay, my boobs and I are doing just fine.

– I would get into the ocean or a swimming pool. In fact, I’m trying to find a day to go try out Aqua Zumba. Yes, I’m terrified of the water. But what would life be if you never challenged yourself? Also, while I don’t swim, I LOVE being near the ocean. It’s peaceful and beautiful and wonderful.

– I don’t ALWAYS sing in my car. It’s a mood thing. So I apologize if you drove by me and I wasn’t wailing at the top of my lungs. I know I’m a huge disappointment. I apologize.

SIDENOTE: There’s some typical Andrea sarcasm.

Now, all of that being said, if you’ve ever read my blog and expressed concern for me, I think you are wonderful. (If you’ve made fun of me, you are less wonderful.) And I mean that genuinely and seriously. I so appreciate your concern. It feels really warm and fuzzy to know that you’ve read something here and it’s moved you – no matter in what direction – to want to say something. I think that’s super cool. In fact, sometimes your concern makes me feel like an asshole because I think, “Over exaggerated again, Beça.” But also, a lot of what I write is serious and it feels pretty incredible to know that other people feel the same way, share the same fears, love the same things, etc. I have lost count of the number of relationships that have either started or grown closer because of this blog. And that is pretty fucking cool.

Here’s another thing about me: sometimes I think I know where a blog post is going, and then I start to write it and it grows and grows until I feel like I am completely unable to properly encapsulate how I feel about something.

This is one of those moments.

What have I learned from this particular thing?

Um…

(A) I am humbled by everyone who reads this blog.

(B) Being a writer is a hilarious thing because everything you write is a little piece of you, but when you write that crazy-ass twisted disturbing horror story or a play about siblings who are in love, it’s awkward because everyone thinks you need therapy.

(C) I thought I had a “C,” but I got distracted and forgot it.

xA

P.S. Yes, this 365-day blog will be over on October 17. But I’ve got other projects in the works. You won’t get rid of me that easily.

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