If you want my advice…

Do you know who in the world wants your advice? Not to worry. I bet even less people want mine. Not even my great advice (as it usually is). What if I tell you I have advice that will forever change your life for the better? Would you be interested in hearing it then?

A good friend recently lamented their (numerous) problems to me. Hearing their issues, I proceeded to give them some good, sound, quality advice.

I haven’t heard from them since.

C'mon, take my advice!


The problem is, we all know better. If I disagree with your advice it’s because I know you’re right.
The angrier you get when I suggest you do something, the more it means you know I’m right.

I hate excuses:

You don’t get it.

You just don’t understand.

It’s not that easy.

My 2010 motto (again, I don’t do resolutions) was “no excuses”. I then used that and “no sympathy” as my 2011 mantras (resolutions are for losers!).  Since then I’ve seen the world anew. People are whiners. Whiners full of excuses. Packed to the brim with reasons why they can’t do this and won’t do that and overall full of ‘poor me’ delusions.

Do you want to know the real truth? Here it is: You can do it. You should do it. And in most cases, you’re the only person holding you back. Yet people just don’t want to hear it.  Instead you want me to agree that the world is working against you, everyone has it in for you and there’s just no way out of your sorry situation.  But there’s no way I can agree to that.

However, the next time your fickle friend prattles on about their sad, cursed, black hole of a life and you know exactly what they should do to get out of it; if you want my advice on this one…

Just keep it to yourself.

Remembering Y.O.U.

Michael Jackson

Love him or hate him, this polarizing icon has monopolized mainstream media for many years. Even more so after his untimely death last June 25th, 2009. However, a common thread I’m hearing in casual conversations is not a continuation of the initial shock at his passing but the surprise that it has already been a year since he passed.

365 days since three children unfortunately lost their father. 12 months since millions of fans said goodbye to a music legend and 1 year since Bubbles the Chimp lost … well whatever you’d call that relationship (no judging!). While Michael Jackson’s death is significant (you can personally determine the level of significance), my attention has been captured by the  ‘a year has gone by’ part.

Sure, there are many occasions and tools out there to acknowledge and mark the passing of a year – birthdays, holidays, calendars,  etc. Heck there’s even this monumental event that takes place every December 31st in the evening time. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Nonetheless, Michael Jackson’s sudden passing is different. While we anticipate those other events and plan for and expect them to happen and take place each year, his passing was a surprise to all.  Now that the anniversary of his death has rolled around, the universal feeling is “What? A year already?”

Time flies and the end is nigh.

As I write this entry, I’m flying through the air and we suddenly hit a patch of turbulence causing the plane to drop suddenly, taking my stomach with it. The toddler two rows up starts screaming and crying (and will continue to do so non-stop until we land…) and I quickly realize all this writing could be for nought.

Hey! Why doesn't ur care-antee include "Getting me there alive!" 😮

All these words could go to waste and never get read as we lurch to our deaths 25,000 feet below. Of course, the turbulence only lasts mere moments and we continue on course to land safely as planned (yawn, boring!).  The point though is this: It could all end at ANY TIME.

Now I’m not one to focus on the negative but to recognize that it exists to allow us to make our way to the positive good stuff.

The Positive Good Stuff:

Box of Crayons

Last week I was stumbling online and came across this really cool site called Box of Crayons. It features a cool video titled  Eight Principles of Having Fun that asks the question:  Are you having fun yet?

I really liked their 8 principles of having fun (example principles – #1. Be Creative: Stop following the rules and #7. Take Action: Stop being busy) and after viewing it, I signed up for the newsletter too. Although I’m not nearly as impressed with the newsletter as I was with the initial video that caught my eye, I do like the author’s positive attitude and his creativity is very inspiring so I will allow him to continue sending me occasional newsletters.

Things She’s Done/Places She’s Been

Then I was searching thru random profiles online and came across these notes on someone’s profile that made me green with envy:

I love to travel, visit and see other parts of the world:

  • I have walked the hills of Athens, Greece

A Dubai Gold Souk shop

  • Indulged in cappuccinos in Rome, Italy
  • Tasted exotic crepes in Paris, France
  • Partied at Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain
  • Watched amazing sunrises in San Sebastian, Spain
  • Walked through the Gold Souks in Dubai
  • Ate the most delicious mangoes in Ghana…

I wanna do that too! (she cried out immaturely). Now while everyone’s list will be different, I still feel twinges of envy at ‘Partied @ Las Ramblas in Spain’. I don’t even know what this is but I can’t help but think “How amazing would that be?”

100 things to do before you die: The Buried Life

So I sort of started this list in my about me section but these punks outgoing guys are actually doing it on their own MTV show. As taken from their website:

Relying on goodwill, guts and gumption [Canadians] Duncan, Ben, Dave and Jonnie travel the globe in a purple transit bus to complete a list of ‘100 things to do before you die’ and to help and encourage others to go after their own lists.

I’ve watched a few episodes and love it. The episodes show the four dudes planning and plotting their list item and when it comes time to do it, the actual events  in these episodes were shown in hilarious fashion via handheld hidden camera.  Because you can’t crash a stranger’s wedding or Hugh Hefner’s pad with a camera crew in tow.

Sample list items:

  • #6. Attend a party at the playboy mansion
  • #41. Make a toast at a strangers’ wedding
  • #27. Give a stranger a $100 bill

So what’s my point? (Weren’t you paying attention???)

My point is this: that thing you’ve always wanted to do/try; that place you’ve always wanted to visit/see; that person you’ve always wanted to meet/reconnect with; why haven’t we done it yet? What’s holding us back?

You might also note that I’m not mentioning so called ‘rational’ issues like jobs and money and all the other rather ‘irrational’ issues that we use as excuses to hold us back. Everyone has that friend who dropped everything and moved across the world or we know a person working towards their dream job and earning very little income (right now) but is the happiest person you know.  We also might try to rationalize why they could do it but why we can’t do it too (Cuz that bitch is crazy!?).

No more excuses.

Oh and for the record I’m not suggesting selling or donating all your possessions and sailing around the world, however I’m also not not suggesting that either… (The rules are this: You can thank me but you can’t blame me).

C’mon now, whatever you’ve always wanted to do and whatever you’ve always wanted to see, go and do it! Go live it! Go see it!

I know I will…

.

.

.

Photo credit: Dubai Gold Souk

I used to live here… I think

I love the Nintendo Wii. More specifically, I love Super Mario Kart. Less specifically and more honestly, I love any game where I get to kick my fellow competitor’s ass.

Growing up, I never really played any gaming systems (they bored me) but happily watched my brothers play sports games, action games, fighter games and anything else they could get their hands on or convince our parents to buy for them. Every few years a new system was required too as each grew progressively better in special effects and game selection and unfortunately for my parents-exponentially in price.

All that video game voyeurism changed for me later in life when a good friend of mine purchased the Wii and several games – most notably Super Mario Kart – for her and her good friends to play. This blessed friend introduced me to a world of video games I didn’t know existed. Did you know video games are twice as fun when you get to  play them yourself? Who knew! This newfound love also led me to discover I’m a poor sport when I lose (You cheated you cheater!) and an even poorer sport when I win (Oh man you suck! You should really consider cheating).

Regrettably, this good friend soon moved away and with her went our weekly Super Mario Kart sessions. Sigh.

Sharing this profound loss with an ex-flame (i.e. whining loudly and repeatedly), he finally went out and bought the system along with the one game I truly loved, just so we could play it together. Sweet.

Walking into his apartment to begin the appointed ass whooping (my whoop, his ass) I was immediately struck by how different his home now was. Not better decorated, not better laid out and certainly not cleaner (heaven forbid). No, it was different in the sense that it had the unmistakable look of ‘new girlfriend’ all over it. 

The amount of property that she had laying about his place was horrendous. There were so many stilettos, sandals and various runners lying in the front hallway I had to wonder if she was out there somewhere in her bare feet.

I had been to his apartment quite recently prior to this so I had to question whether she now lived there with him. He laughed and adamantly replied “Of course not!” They had merely gone out the night before to a casual dinner so I had to assume the mess before us was the resulting aftermath of a meal at Boston Pizza.

I had never met her but I knew we were purposely being kept apart. I assumed she must have seen the framed pictures of us he still kept in his apartment and after further questioning, I learned that he had also mentioned to her that I’d be ‘coming over sometime that week’. Aha! That would explain it then. I’m sure it wasn’t just her stuff I was seeing but her insecurities being laid bare before me.

Is there a bathroom under there?

Truthfully, obscene is perhaps a better word for the gregarious display of her personal belongings around his apartment.  I glanced in the bathroom and quickly compared it to my own, which I share with a second Diva, and noted that even combined we had fewer items in it than the numerous perfumes, potions, hair products, hair contraptions and lotions that his new flame had lying about. So much stuff in fact, the next time we meet I’ll have to recommend he check her for an Adam’s apple as she must be hiding something under all that makeup. Heh heh heh.

Just to use the washroom I had to shift half the items off her makeshift boudoir from the edge of the counter.  Of course this move accidentally forced some of her items to fall into the garbage – whoops.  Luckily she seemed to have extra of each so I doubt she’d notice anything missing. I just hope the items that fell into the abyss weren’t too expensive. They certainly looked it. Tee hee.

Sitting down to set up the system and get this tournament going, I was confronted by even more ‘girlfriend lives here’ possessions. Apparently the bathroom just couldn’t contain it all. Here lay bracelets and earnings and random other girly things in disarray. Flicking them each to the floor, I looked over at my friend, surprised at his oblivion to her obvious attempt at apartment omnipresence. You couldn’t go anywhere in here without feeling her there.                                                                                              

However, as much as I hated to admit it, she was definitely giving me something to think about.  As I glanced over into his bedroom and saw a ton of decidedly feminine blouses and tops hanging out of his dirty clothes hamper, I realized this poor, silly girl, probably out there somewhere without a top on, was making a very good point.

Looking around, I remember when I used to spend my time here and the small bag in the corner I kept with a few necessities I would need should we spend the entire weekend together. There were no traces of me left and  except for the photos hidden away somewhere, you’d never know I was there. I was like that with all my exes. I was always conscious of being polite and not taking up too much of their personal space. I never wanted to impose and I never stayed too long.

So is that my personal issue in relationships?  Was I treating their places like hotel rooms; just putting enough of my stuff in there to get by but not enough to live ? I was happy to give my Nintendo buddy his space and loved that we both had our own apartments to escape to and live our separate lives. Or maybe the fact that I used the word ‘escape’ above is another sign of why we weren’t meant to be. Hmmm.

More importantly, is this indicative of my approach to life– dipping my feet in the pool but never getting fully immersed? Constantly playing the role of spectator to avoid being a real participant. My life is rolling along before my eyes and I need to get on this ride and take its highs and its lows while I can. No longer can I sit on the outskirts while girls like his new flame were fully throwing themselves in – one cheap tank top at a time.

We're gonna get wet!

So that’s my new plan. Make it your plan too: Get involved, get immersed and get wet! It’s definitely a little scary but I’m betting it’ll be worth it in the end.  And if that’s the case then my next boyfriend had better watch out. I plan to put so much of myself and my stuff into his place that he’ll have to take a second look to see who’s name is actually listed on the mortgage (he gets the mortgage, I’ll take the deed).

Full immersion. No safety net. Yikes.

Argh. Sometimes I hate slaps in the face (aka life lessons) that I should have seen  for myself. Especially when they come from insecure girls who cake on overpriced makeup and wear 4-inch heels.

As for the Super Mario Kart tournament with my ex, it turns out that while I only watched my brothers have fun with their gaming systems for many years, HE actually played the game and kicked my ass 4 games to 1.  Dammit.

 I say REMATCH!

Photo credits: Messy bathroom photo credit , Cannonball into Water credit, Super Mario photo credit

For the Love of Food

April 2010 from NelleyTimes: Want a chance to win free money for a few minutes of your time? Go here and let me know what you think. Thanks friend!

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He said: Hey, do you wanna go for a walk sometime?? chickenwings
Me said: Yeah sure…I guess so…

He said: Ok, what about a movie instead?
Me said: Hmmm okay, we could maybe do that…

He said: Alright, what about for dinner. Do you like chicken wings? We could go out for some beer and some wings?
Me said: Should we go now? I can drive if you don’t have a car. What did you say your name was again? No time now to answer, you can tell it to me on the way! Hop in, let’s go!

I. Love. Guys. Not for their strength, not for their character, not for the way their broad shoulders fill out sports jerseys, not even for the way they fill out a great pair of jeans. Nope. What I love most about guys is what they eat. And the way they eat. And especially how much they eat. Even now my heart flutters just thinking about all the foods I can nibble off their plates: mounds of nachos with melted cheese, gravy covered french fries, greasy meatball subs and baby back ribs covered in a sweet, sweet BBQ sauce. Mmmmmm.

Guys are never on diets. Well at least not the ones I date. Mine stay relatively fit either at the gym, staying active with friends or more commonly by some cruel cosmic joke in which they can eat what they want and not gain weight. They have guy’s bodies and they love ‘em and I love ‘em for it. I also admire their inherent confidence and their ability to wear loose clothing all year round as per the wardrobe society has allotted to them which, when worn properly, is never skin tight. You can hide a lot of extra meat under a guy’s wardrobe.

Of course I love my girlfriends as well but all too often what and where we eat is determined by who’s currently on which fad diet and how much they ate the previous day/week/month or in seventh grade (baby fat has no expiry date). I also recognize that I’m especially guilty of this. For example, save for a special occasion, there’s no way I’d go out for a big meal within the week after Thanksgiving dinner. That’s a Dieting 101 no-no. Plus it’s just plain crazy! However, I do love my girls because I can eat a large salad for dinner with them  and they’d understand why I’m not also having a Porterhouse steak on the side.

This gender separation is even more evident when you look at products marketed to each. Men’s magazine Maxim routinely features articles such as Best Stadium Food, posts recipes on how to make such ‘light’ fare as Macaroni, Cheese and Mini–Hot Dog Tiramisu and then there’s their annual Food Awards, which also had an award for the ‘Best use of duck fat’. Conversely, over at Cosmopolitan, a decidedly women focused magazine, I can easily learn how to Drop 5 Pounds in a Week, and about The 10 Best Weight-Loss Tips Ever. I’ve yet to read the Cosmo articles but I’ll bet anything that neither includes ‘duck fat’ and how best to use it.

Oftentimes, going out for dinner with a guy is a whole new experience in cuisine: You want to put Italian sausage, ham, salami, bacon, ground beef and pepperoni on ONE pizza? Can they even do that? Cheddar cheese on a thick slice of deep-dish apple pie? Never heard of it but I’m happy to try it off your plate. A cream sauce on the steak with a fully loaded baked potato on the side?? Well if you’re going to have it then I’ll definitely have to try it!

My meal predilection is not limited to dates either. My good friends know (and probably hate) this one trait of mine. Whenever I’m invited over for dinner, the first question I’ll ask is: What’s on the menu? Sure I want your company and yes I’d like to catch up with you and of course I can’t wait to see you too but still…can you run that menu by me again?

So yes, I date mainly for the food and see nothing wrong with this. The way to my heart is definitely through his stomach. Young or old, rich or not as rich – I’m an equal opportunity dater and whoever brings forth the tastiest dish will undoubtedly deserve all my love and affection. And should my next date order a plate of deep fried macaroni and cheese, he may just be my soul mate.

I think I’m in love!

Deep Fried Mac & Cheese

God Save the (Drama) Queen!

We all like to think we’re the stars in the 24-7 show we call our daily lives. On occasion however, there are secondary and supporting actors on set who seem to take up more of our screen time than we do. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to the Drama Queen:

dra·ma queen [ drámmə kween]
Noun // Definition:

1. The term “drama queen,” or less frequently, “drama king” is usually applied to someone […] who tends to overreact to seemingly minor incidents. A drama queen often views the world in absolutes, and only has two settings on [their] emotional control button; zero and ten. (Source: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-drama-queen.htm)

In the NelleyTimes definition, please also add charismatic. These ‘starlets’ possess a certain charm that can draw even the most brilliant minds into their clutches to unwittingly dedicate themselves to soothing their emotional aches and bruises. Don’t forget, to the innocent bug, the Venus Fly Trap looks like a beautiful plant. That is, until it gets too close.

Most are trapped until such a time they can break free of their grasps. This typically involves gnawing off a leg, breaking free of the bear trap and happily hopping to freedom. In extreme cases, some would use said leg to beat said Drama Queen but in most cases we victims are simply happy enough to get back to our lives and regain our sanity.

Drama Queens in my life certainly bring the crazy but they also bring the fun. As someone who loves everything random, over the top and spontaneous, Drama Queens are unfortunately right up my alley.

What intrigues me most about them is how they can easily rationalize and relate any given situation back to their sad/sorry/victimized life. Whether or not they are sad/sorry or a victim is simply beside the point.

Even the minutia of their daily lives is fodder for their alleged pain and suffering. Events can range from getting coffee in the morning in a horribly long line up with horrible service; to getting bumped into at a club by some ‘crazy bitch’ who has it out for them. Anything and everything is enormously complex and somehow designed to systematically ruin their lives. In the coffee example above, the experience made his morning horrible, which led to a horrible afternoon and thus, in his words: “Typical of my horrible life”. Even though I had started this discussion by mentioning a work function that I was attending later on– the story still somehow got turned around into his coffee buying experience earlier that day.

Or, perhaps I like them because I find the minute details of their lives so fascinating- or at least I find their fascination in the minute details of their lives fascinating. In either case I have happily played the role of ‘studio audience of one’ on numerous occasions before coming to my senses and breaking free.

Which brings us to our challenge for the next week – let’s all be Drama Queens. Not literally of course. A week as Drama Queen is certainly enough time to lose all our friends and alienate our co-workers. Let’s simply take back the spotlight in our own lives and live every moment – no matter how insignificant. I realize this may be hard for some, myself included but we must be strong and we’ll get through it. Even though I really have had no dramatic moments lately. Hmmmm…but I did have sushi the other day and the sweet old Japanese woman who sold it to me didn’t ask me if I wanted any tea while I waited for my order – that bitch! She must be totally out to get me and wants to ruin my life.

Hey! Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

I am reminded of all this by a recent meeting with a friend I haven’t seen in quite some time. Out of sight, I miss them terribly and reminisce on the good times we shared. In person though, as they start in on a new personal slight that has befallen them, I quickly flash back to the many tantrums, outbursts and pity parties I had to attend in their honour. As they continue to prattle on about their most recent injustice, I wonder who has since taken on this thankless role. Almost immediately I realize I don’t really care and am just thankful to the heavens that it’s no longer me.

Free at last!

The Three-Way Conundrum

Meeting up with an ex recently, I quickly learned two things: #1 – He’s either not over me or he really, Really, REALLY wants to show me how ‘over me’ he is and #2 – He’s having three-ways with his new girlfriend.

I think I was supposed to be jealous and embittered by his revelation but my natural curiosity simply had me questioning how they went about making it happen in the first place. Perched on the edge of my seat, I berated him with question after question: Male or female? How do you find them? What are the rules? Are there any rules? Your house or a hotel? Why stop at a 3-way when a 4-way or 5-way is more original? Most importantly – what’s the appropriate level of alcoholism required to carry it all out?

My ex, genuinely taken aback and surprised by my interest, stammered out answers to all my questions. It turns out that the third person in their ménage-a-trois typically belongs to an exclusive group that I like to categorize as ‘anyone’. Any female tipsy enough at an after hours club and willing to ‘try something new’ at least.

What actually surprised me was that he’d only been dating the girl for two months before they started bringing in a ringer. So either he’s not enough for her or she’s not enough for him, HA! (Ok, definitely a vengeful ex comment on my part, sorry!)

Previously, he and I had joked about it, talked about it and even laughed aloud about possible third parties. I would veto choosing amongst my friends (several of whom he would have liked to include) and he did the same amongst his (and trust me, he had some cuties in his posse, woo!). He even went so far as to try to find a suitable third in the ever-discriminating online world (I heavily vetoed). The discussions were always fun, always ended in giggles and always stayed far, far away from reality in the safe realm of fantasy. Also, all of these discussions took place 2+ years into our relationship and after our 500th date, not after barely a month of getting to know each other.

So is this new school? Old school? Is everyone doing it and I’m simply out of fashion? And to think that I thought I was cool when I bought my new designer purse (my first!). Apparently if I was really cool I would have asked the cashier and her male colleague over to my place to celebrate my new purchase with lots of free pouring champagne.

As the ex-girlfriend, I’m not sure what a suitable reaction is in this situation. I would assume it should range anywhere from “Ewwww gross!” to “Hey, if you ever need a third…” Instead, I am genuinely happy for them and am pleased they’ve found a shared interest in perfect strangers and hope they grow closer over their decisions regarding random hook-up spots. After all, according to experts, making decisions together and sharing common interests are the pillars to any lasting relationship.

All the best!