Category Archives: funny

would i have benefited from being in 4H?


hey anderson,

happy st. paddy’s day! i’m a quarter irish and wearing green today, but with it being monday tomorrow i’m staying home and staying sober.  what fun i am! also, i am pretty exhausted from the day i had yesterday.

the company i work for is a supporter of 4H. are you familiar?  i kinda doubt it, as it is primarily a rural organization and, i believe primarily canadian.  not many people i meet in the city have ever heard of it.  in fact, i’d only read about it books before getting a job that sent me into rural communities.

the first time i went to 4H event, i was blown away.  it was an awards night and kids were getting awards for best raised cow and crazy farm stuff like that.  what really resonated with me was how poised all of the kids were when getting on stage.  then i learned that a strong element of the clubs is public speaking.  at that time i was a terrible public speaker who would throw up, cry and talk at a mile a minute.  when i saw those kids though, i figured i could probably be a bit better.  if only i’d had activities like that when i was a kid!

a little more about raising cows; a lot of the 4H clubs are beef clubs.  one crazy element of being in the clubs is each kid will raise a calf.  they spend a year tracking its growth and activities.  they put together fun reports on all they learned.  and then they send their cow to slaughter.  literally.  i went to one auction and i was traumatized.  the kids parade around their giant cows and the local community and businesses buy the cows. the kids take one last picture with their animal and then they get led onto a truck.  to their deaths.  before i went to the auction i was given strict not to get emotional and freak out because the kids would think i was crazy.  i silently assumed that was an exaggeration and that at least some of the younger girls would be upset.  the only tears were the ones i held back when posing with the cow we bought.  i’m so glad i don’t have a copy of that picture, how macabre.

but i have to ask myself, would i have been tougher, more prepared for death and loss had i bee in 4H?  i’d have to say yes, having known a few adults who were in 4H beef clubs.  years later they were still nonchalant about the whole thing.  where i am still clearly traumatized by the part i played.

so back to yesterday.  our company sent out an email saying judges were needed at a 4H district public speaking competition.  it was being held in a town that i’d visited frequently during my last job so i jumped at the chance to return.  of course, as the date approached i quickly regretted being such a gracious volunteer.  i started to worry mostly about the weather.  i’d been in that area in the snow before, but it had been awhile and i was quickly building mountains out of molehills.  huge, ice covered treacherous mountains.  but, yesterday i woke up at 6 am and got on the road.  mostly because i could not get up the courage to cancel.  not quite perseverance, but it will do in a pinch.

the roads were fine, not great in places, but overall the drive there was uneventful.  when i got to the school where the competition was being held i was getting progressively more anxious.  somehow in my worrying about the drive i had forgotten to worry about having to make small talk.  better late than never i guess.

everyone else there seemed totally prepared for the judging, where i had just skimmed the handbook.  it seemed pretty straightforward.  though when i sat down i realized i had no idea what to do.  luckily the nice man sitting beside me helped me out.  he touched my arm once, but i hope to forgive him any minute.

i was a judge for junior impromptu speeches.  can you imagine?  seriously, that is how several of my nightmares get started.  but these ten kids just marched up, got their topics and and stood in front of us.  now, these weren’t high school debate topics, they were more like my favourite movie or why kids shouldn’t have to go to school on their birthdays.  for the most part the kids were great, one girl froze but still she seemed pretty pulled together. i’m surprised my maniacal grin of support didn’t send her over the edge.  i’m pretty sure i was more freaked out than she was.

with the event done and my rankings submitted we were then told one of us would need to speak to everyone to tell them how the speeches went.  that is when my fight or flight response really kicked in.  before that it was really just on standby.  i told one of the other judges that i had a 2 hour drive home and needed to get going in case the weather got worse.  i pretty much ran out the door after that.  i felt like maybe i should tell someone i was leaving so they didn’t wonder if i was hiding in a locker or something.  so i told the lady who’d greeted me when i arrived.  she told me i could stay for snacks and whatnot but i brushed that craziness aside and left in a flurry of awkward panic.

when i finally got home i still was high on adrenaline but also still glad i went.  as much as i truly hate interacting with the outside world, i know it’s a fact of life so i may as well get used to it and do things i actually enjoy doing.

so yes, i am pretty sure i would have benefited from being in 4H.  every kid i saw yesterday was calm and collected.  they were engaging when they spoke in the hallways just as much as when they were giving their speeches.  and i really do envy that.  the 4H motto is ‘learn by doing’ and i have to admit that’s a pretty great one.




weekly photo challenge: foreign


dear anderson,
another prompt from wordpress has led to another note from me. this time it’s a photo challenge, which is fun. the theme is “foreign”. i’m sure if you were participating you would have some amazing photos to share. i have some great photos from my travels, i’ve been to lots of countries that would be considered by a canadian to be “foreign” but i don’t think any of my pictures really captured the essence of the word. maybe some photos i have an open air market in the desert in isreal, but still i feel those don’t tell enough of my story in them.

and then i remembered i took this picture in the british virgin islands last year.

this is my teddy bear charlotte. my boyfriend bought her for me about 3 christmases ago. at the time, he worked at the department store, the bay. charlotte is a canadian polar bear with a hand warmer in the classic hudson’s bay colours. when we travel, we like to bring her with us because, as a polar bear, she doesn’t know about much beyond snow and seal meat. so far, she has been to las vegas, jamaica, the bvi and mexico. i do treat her as a member of the family, and i love taking pictures of her. especially in tropical settings because she is so out of her element. at least when she was in the bvi, they are also part of the commonwealth, so she at least had one thing in common with everyone!

for me, the word ‘foreign’ has an element of outsiderness to it, and this picture captures it perfectly!


some (frivolous) life goals


dear anderson,

as you are probably aware, having goals in life is important. the search for achievements, success and happiness is a lifelong process. i think that sometimes the goals people have in life are lofty and, frankly, kind of boring. people in the developed world want a house with a white picket fence, a family that loves them, world peace, money to retire comfortably, the boring list goes on. i totally want that stuff too, and want it for others as well. but when i day dream i’m rarely thinking about my investments or what adjectives i should use to describe myself in my next interview. i dream of awesome things.

here is a list of some of these things.

1.) some day i want to stay in a hotel with my own private infinity pool.

i really like to browse hotel and travel websites.  i love to travel, and i love hotels.  and, i love nice hotels.  i haven’t stayed in many, but the nicest ones live on in my memory.  when i need an escape from stress or humdrum days, i think about sunshine, ocean breezes, fancy drinks and swimming.  i want one time in my life to be able to get out of bed, put on my bathing suit and hop into my own pool.  what a feeling of luxury that must be.  this feeling would also be accomplished if i owned a home with my own pool.  i also dream of this.

2.) be friends with a beluga whale.

really, this whole list could be about how i often imagine a world in which i have a pet tiger, bear and whale.  but not in a sketchy zoo kind of way.  in this imaginary world these creatures totally want to cuddle with me and let me sing to them.  i just really want to sit down to watch a movie and lean up against a big warm fuzzy animal.  and then, go for a swim in my infinity pool with my beluga.  i would just float and stare at his hilarious face for hours.

3.) i want to invent something.

when i picture this, it is maybe a little too similar to the plot of romy and michelle’s high school reunion than i might like, but i do love that movie so i’m not going to worry too much.  but yeah, those girls wanted to feel like they accomplished something so they pretend they invented post-it notes.  so, that idea is taken.  but i really do want to have a big idea.  i don’t need to become a millionaire, i just want to be able to take credit for something that is awesome.  i still think my fancy adult bib idea is  a really good one.  as is my bathtub spa.

4.) if didn’t have to work, i would love to be a ‘lady who lunches’

in my mind, these ladies are the epitome of class.  they are well read, well dressed and well connected.  i want to be able to wake up at a reasonable hour, get dressed in a nice suit and maybe a pill box hat and go out for lunch.  we would talk of michelangelo, politics and popular culture (because ladies who lunch are also well rounded).  after lunch i would go to museums, volunteer and explore the world.  the big thing with this dream life is that i also get to be a really big philanthropist.  i envision i would be someone like the grandmother from the gilmore girls – she was a bit more high strung than i would be, but she was always organizing things and i think that would be fun.  obviously i would raise money for really cool things like girl effect.

5.) i think i would make a really great addition to a board of directors.

it seems like a pretty cool gig. you get to meet a couple times a year and make decisions.  ideally i would be on the board of something really interesting like an orchestra or department store.  but i would be up for anything.

6.) once, just once, i would like to meet a genie and have some wishes granted.

a lot of people wish they could win the lottery, but that is boring.  i want 3 wishes.  i’ve seen enough movies and read enough fables to know that i would have to be really clever in how i word my wishes.  obviously i’m not going to give away my secrets, but i have some good wishes in mind.  it will depend quite a bit on what time in my life i meet the genie, as i can imagine if i were an 80 year old i may have very different wishes than i do today.  this is a great way to daydream, i highly recommend it.

7.) it would be a real treat for me to be able to walk into a shoe store and buy any pair of shoes i want.

i have wide feet.  like hobbit wide.  i have had salespeople stare up at me in horror after they measure my feet.  i have been told so many times that the shoes i like don’t come in my width.  for a very long time i was forced to wear hideous shoes while all my friends wore super cute and fun shoes.  when i was a teenager i discovered doc martens, and they suited my rebellious sensibility and actually fit.  that was awesome.  then came my love affair with birkenstocks.  i wear them all the time.  but now that i am an adult, i need to wear adult shoes.  there is nowhere in my city that i can find a wide range (get it?) of shoes that will fit me.  i have to make a special trip to a great store in vancouver to get new shoes.  the shoes i get are really cute and i finally feel somewhat trendy, but i want more.  i want to see shoes in a window and make them mine without a care in the world!!

8.) and last but not least, i want you, anderson cooper, to be my bff.

we would hang out, giggle and talk for hours.  i think we would have a lot of fun together.  you can teach me about the real housewives, and i will tell you all about real estate reality tv.  then, when things get real we can talk about politics and the world at large.  because we are so close, you will tell me what you really think and i will feel special.  when you film your talk show, i will often sit in the audience and you will refer to me, and the camera will pan to me and i will wave, bashfully of course, because i don’t want to flaunt what we have.

admittedly, some of my goals are frivolous.  but i really like being able to turn to these things and let my mind wander.  i feel better about my future when i do.

have a great day,


fail to plan, plan to fail


dear anderson,

i hope this letter finds you well this lovely sunday evening.  i am stuck in a nondescript hotel room in a town about an hour and a half away from home.  oh the joys of my job!  i was here all last week, and will probably be back for a couple more weeks.  it isn’t great, and i forgot my ipad charger at home, but i’m making the most of it.  and by that i mean, watching the tv channels i don’t get at home. 

next weekend is canada day, so i will be home for a few extra days.  i am quite excited about this and in celebration i want to do something.  you know, as opposed to every other weekend when i do nothing.  i don’t want to set my sights too high, just in case things don’t pan out.  being disappointed is zero fun, and usually leads to beating myself up.  so that isn’t what i want.  but i do want to hold myself to something, so that i can feel proud and fulfilled.

i’ve been browsing the internet a lot in my downtime, looking at everything from crafts to recipes to photography.  i see what other people are capable of doing, and i know i am too.  i figure i will follow someone else’s lead and do something.  easy right?

too bad i can’t even decide what i want to do.  i’m leaning towards baking cookies, but then, i will eat them.  so maybe healthy cookies?  those exist right?  or maybe i should just make a really nice dinner. like one with sauces and courses.  i’ve been watching cooking shows a lot lately, i am totally intrigued by mincing garlic and simmering something. so maybe this is the way to go.

at the same time, i remind myself of all of the photography paraphernalia that i own.  i have several cameras, piles of film and cool accessories.  except for when i go on big trips, it just sits in a corner gathering dust.  so maybe i should find an event like a canada day parade or something and go take some pictures.  could be fun!

so anderson, what should i do?  i don’t want to overcommit, but i do want to hold myself to actually doing something this weekend.  so, here’s what i’m thinking.  by wednesday of this week, i’m going to write you back with a plan.  that’s the best way to hold me accountable!!

stay tuned 🙂



confessions of a brat


hey anderson!

i’m a brat.  i know we normally associate that word with children, but i guess i never really grew out of that phase.  a more grown-up version of a brat would be a ‘shit-disturber’ but i think that implies malice and i really don’t think my brattiness is malicious.  i just really love being challenging.  i think people need to be challenged and i am completely willing to fill that requirement.

i like to keep my co-workers on their toes.  sometimes this can get me into hot water as what i say is often misinterpreted.  i like to say crazy things and i think hyperbole is one of the greatest gifts to self-expression.  i used to work with a woman who said one of her best memories was when i slumped into a meeting room and declared “this is the worst day of my life”.  she thought this was hilarious and apt because it was a really shitty day.  but honestly, i declare something like that at least 5 times a day.

i often wonder if the fact that i find myself to be hilarious does, in fact, make me hilarious.  i think in my case it does, but i wouldn’t say the same is true for everyone.  people do tell me i’m funny.  but it’s often with a look of shock on their face.  i’m no howard stern, but for most people i guess i’m pretty out there.   i don’t necessarily plan on being funny, i just exaggerate and hilarity ensues.

my boyfriend does not find me funny.  there was a long period of time during which every time i said anything even remotely hyperbolic he said “let’s not get carried away.”  he tried to stifle my creativity but i wasn’t having any of it.  in fact, i think i say crazier things when he is around just to see the steam come out of his ears.  proof that i am a brat!!  the other night he was putting on a dvd and i had the remote.  i proceeded to open and close the cd tray while he tried in vain to insert the movie.  it took him a few tries before he realized it wasn’t the machine automatically closing, it was me.  oh how i laughed!!  and for once, i even got a chuckle out of him!!  i reveled in my success.

one thing i’ve done that never ceases to make me laugh when i tell the story, or even think about it for that matter, is when i scared my sister.  we were both home for christmas and our rooms are in the basement.  i went downstairs and she was in the bathroom brushing her teeth so i decided to hide behind her door.  despite the fact that one whole wall in her room is mirrors she didn’t notice me.  so she closed the door, turned around and there i was!!  she screamed.  it was both terrible and amazing.  even now i’m trying not to laugh.  a few weeks ago we were both at our parent’s house again.  and again, i saw my chance.  this time i was sure she would be on to me and would check or i wouldn’t be able to contain myself and that she would hear me giggling and catch me. but no, she came into her room, singing to herself and closed the door again.  this time she screamed so loud and i felt terrible.  and i find the best way to show remorse is to laugh so hard you cry.  and maybe pee just a little.  i really hope she never learns her lesson because hiding and scaring her is a real rush for me!

my family definitely bears the brunt of my brattiness.  though they are pretty understanding, which i appreciate.  i just find so much amusement in being difficult.  it’s something i never grew out of.  when i was about 5 my mom made some ridiculous ’80s recipe of spinach linguine and corn.  i told her it looked disgusting, but she told me to eat it.  i did.  and then i threw up all over the dinner table.  i know she learned a valuable lesson that day.  she definitely never served green pasta again. 

one last story, which may be my crowning glory as a brat.  a few years ago we were having a mild family disagreement.  my stepdad said something that annoyed me so i got up and grabbed his glasses.  i stormed into the bathroom and flushed the toilet.  he really thought i’d flushed them down the toilet!!  one of the funniest things ever.  i can’t remember if he actually said this, or if family lore has evolved over time but i am pretty sure he yelled “muh glasses” in this panicked voice.  this is now a favourite catchphrase of ours, because in our family, we never forget.  our best jokes are reminding each other of when we did stupid things.

so anderson, i hope this insight into my bratty brain was useful.  and a word of advice, if you or anyone else asks me to do something and i respond with an emphatic “no” please be assured i am just being a brat, and that i will probably still do it 🙂

happy friday,