Picture this (and then pin it).

First, just picture it.

No seriously you guys, you’re really gonna need to actually use your imagination, because I haven’t figured out yet how to add tabs on my blog. I mean, yeah, I have a couple of pages, but I haven’t sorted out the logistics, so anything I post is just added onto the existing post, thus creating The Longest Post in History. But you don’t care about all these details, do you? Nope. You don’t. I don’t blame you. I almost don’t, or at least I don’t care quite enough to do anything about it.

Yet. Just wait. No really, you’re probably gonna have to wait.

See, what I want to do is have this be all awesome and my website. I want a page dedicated to clothes and style and, of course, shoes. I very much enjoy these things (especially shoes) and would like to pull together some style notes. I have many Instagram photos of my lower outfits. It’s hard to take a full-body selfie that captures my outfit, so generally, it’s a photo from my middle down. Hey, you do what you can, right?

On another note, do you know how much I love Pinterest? I do. Hint: It’s a lot. 7,198 pins a lot. Oh, wait—7,199. See? See what happens? What a great site. I love that I can be a hoarder of beautiful things without actually hoarding them. This site has literally changed my life. Or at least my style. I will happily admit that between Pinterest and my trip to France last year, my style has evolved into something that is definitely Bay (and whoever else has pinned my gazillion same pins).

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I sort of feel like anyone who has gotten engaged, gotten married, decorated a home or ever done pretty much anything ever, prior to the dawn of Pinterest, should get a redo. Not because I would change my wedding—it was perfect!—but I would do other extra crafty things and it would be amazing. I would paint chevrons on my office walls and add glitter to my bathroom paint. I would bake cake pops and decorate them like miniature pumpkins and I would finally know what to do with my hair.

I love it. Though, one thing I don’t love is the misguided, but probably well-intentioned weight-loss motivation. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” is lame. Come on. There are lots of good ones, but I wish my Pinterest peeps would just can it with the weight-loss pins and all the “amazing” before and afters.

Now I’m going to go look at my Creatures board. You might want to, too. If you like The Cutest Animals in the World. Or not. Your choice (what’s wrong with you? Look at the cute animals I have pinned!).

 

Aaaand we’re back.

Where’d you go? It’s been all silence for at least a month!

Just kidding. It’s not you, it’s me: I was busy doing busy things [read: procrastinating on studying]. So really I have no excuse for not blogging. You’d think I’d have been posting twice a day. You know, in all the time I should’ve been studying, but was clearly just examining air molecules. Did you miss me?

In other news, I just received word yesterday that I passed my written final, so that’s good news. I was on the fence about how I’d done. I wasn’t too worried, being that I’ve only ever failed one other test in my life, and it was finance and so I don’t care, because I passed the course. So there, Finance.

And now you have get to read about that exam. Finance was my nemesis during my MBA days. It didn’t make sense, it involved math and therefore was The Worst. Accounting also involved numbers, but at least it made sense: Debits and credits, people. Cash in, cash out. Just for the record, accounting totally made me cry, too (okay, I made me cry about accounting), but it made waaaaaay more sense than finance.

math

On the last day of class before the finance final, we did what one does in every penultimate class and reviewed the concepts we’d covered over the previous months. Oh, wait—nope, no she didn’t. My finance prof did NOT review anything, but instead taught one last concept: Weighted Average Cost of Capital, or WACC (and yes, I did call it “whack” in my head, feeling like I was winning by name calling).

She thought this was okay. I did not. “But Rachelle,” she said condescendingly, or what others would’ve described as encouragingly, “it’s the same as what you’ve already learned. We’re just putting it together.”

No, I thought, it is most definitely NOT the same.

“You need to understand,” she snipered (or said kindly. Whatever).

No, I do not. I do not need to understand. I need to pass. Scrape by (“scraping by” in the MBA program meant anything above a B, which was some ridiculously high percentage, like 90%. Anything less was a fail.).

I wanted to complete finance and never use it again.

algebra

I go home and study effectively freak out because I can’t. Get. This. Thing. It makes no sense. It’s not going to be on the formula sheet, because it’s supposed to be so frigging “understandable”.

This is when Adam reminded me that I knew how to study and it didn’t include hurling myself on the sword of the thing I understood the least, but rather reviewing my strongest areas. Excel where you can and take the hit on the things you don’t get, instead of trying to ace the stuff you don’t know and then missing the stuff you would’ve known if you hadn’t wasted all your study time on the financial equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle.

This guy. He is smart. So that’s what I did. It was common sense. After all, how much could a few questions on one topic be worth? We had a whole course to be test on our knowledge.

This was good thinking. Until I got to the exam and turned over my paper. The exam was out of 35. This is never a good sign. There are a lot of points on each question. You mess up a few answers and those heavily weighted percents really start to add up. Or down, I suppose, more accurately describes what happens.

Like any good student, I flipped through so as to see the beast I was facing. And this is when I saw the one question on WACC. Yup. Just one measly little question, which is good news, right?

Wrong.

That one question was worth 14 marks. HOLY CRAP IF I DON’T GET THIS THEN I PRETTY MUCH HAVE TO ACE THE REST OF THE ENTIRE EXAM. PANIC. PANIC.

I wrote the rest of the exam. I was pretty sure I did okay, but I knew I hadn’t aced 21 questions. Then I stared at the WACC question. I stared at the wall. I had more than 1.5 hours left of the exam and nothing to do but cry (which I did), pray (looking upward for divine intervention/inspiration) and worry. Oh, and write a passive aggressive note about why I couldn’t answer the stupid question.

Then I went out into the hallway and burst into [more] tears. I’d failed. If I failed finance, I didn’t get to rewrite: It was one of the few classes in which a fail meant a mandatory retaking of the whole bloody course. Extra time, extra tuition and, let me be honest, I could take the course about 30 times and still not get the bloody concepts.

It was the end of the world. Seriously, I think purgatory for me would involve a never-ending finance class. It’d be a special kind of hell.

Anyway, long story made short: I failed the exam. But, let the record show that I got 17/35. Yup. One-half a percent more and I’d have ridden the pass line. So, I was pretty impressed with myself.

Oh, and I’d busted my rear on all the course work all term, so when all was said and done, my class work grade carried my failed exam score and I passed the course.

Hallelujah.

 

 

What I’m thankful for right now.

Every day for over two years, I’ve journaled three things for which I’m grateful. Okay, so I have occasionally missed a day here and there. Some days, I can find it hard to be grateful. Those days, I’m lucky if I can think of three things, but I struggle with it because I feel like those days, it’s probably more important than ever. Those days, things like ice cream, new socks and hair products make up my top three.

grateful

I do try to remember to be grateful. I hate it when it’s reflected to me that I’m not and I’m sorry to admit that the most recent time I received that reflection was about two weeks ago. The quick fire of defence I felt in reaction to the comment told me it was well deserved. And it was: The arrow hit the mark, because it was true. In my constant striving to get somewhere, I often forget to be thankful for things like my job, my condo, my car or, really, just about anything that I have that makes me incredibly fortunate and a part of an awfully slim segment of humanity that doesn’t have to struggle much for my basic needs.

gratitudeWith that in mind, and because it’s Thanksgiving Weekend (my favourite holiday after Christmas!), here are a list of things for which I’ve recently felt grateful:

  • Hot showers: Seriously? I cannot even imagine life before modern plumbing. Imagine living one hundred years ago. Five hundred years ago. People would NOT have smelled good.
    Also, how fortunate am I to live in a country where clean hot water is plentiful and readily available. Very, very fortunate.
  • Our car: It may not be splashy and it may be, ahem, streamlined on the passenger side panel (fun fact: when it comes down to a Chevrolet Cavalier and a concrete parkade pillar, the car will lose), but our car gives us mobility and freedom. We can go wherever we need, whenever we need to, and we can take whatever we need to transport with us when we hit the road.
  • Shoes: Come on. You’re not even surprised.
  • Pets: We have enough resources to take care of ourselves and can take care of animals too. Even Maui, who I caught in the act of pooping on the floor today and had to think of something about her to be grateful for: I came up with “she’s very pretty.”
  • Baking: Obviously, I enjoy cookies. And pie. But seriously, do you realize how many resources we have available to us that enable us to make food we don’t actually require? Food that we make just to enjoy? We just have these ingredients readily available (imagine life before sugar or baking powder—cake would’ve been pretty bland. You’d have been blowing the candles out on bread.). And don’t get me started on yeast again…
  • Electricity: I don’t know much about how things work, but I do know that a lot of what I’m grateful for requires power to work.

There are about a zillion other things I’m grateful for right now, but that’s a start.

What are you grateful for right now?

 

Double Jeopardy

Happy Monday!

I’m sitting on the ferry and I can’t help but remember a fateful ferry trip I took, gawd, like 13 or 14 years ago. The following story sounds made up. It is not.

firstlove

I was about 19 or 20 and way back then, my boyfriend was my first true love. And, just in case you think I’m getting all maudlin here, I’m a big fan of this approach to the idea of my first true love >>

Pardon the profanity, but I think it’s a pretty good reminder. I’m grateful for all my experiences, regardless of the outcome, because if I changed any of them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m also very grateful for Adam, because he’s the guy who taught me what forever looks like.

Anyway, back to the story of the hour.

So, there we were, bored on the ferry, which was about 98 percent filled with passengers under the age of six (read: there was a lot of whining and high-pitched crying and no, it [mostly] wasn’t coming from me).

We grabbed some magazines and went to sit in the car on the vehicle deck. I quickly tired of my magazines (read: looking at the pictures) and started looking for other things to which I could turn my attention. This is when I found the handcuffs in the cup holder (what? Where do you keep your restraints?). I’m sure you’re wondering what the handcuffs were doing there, but remember, this is a good ten or eleven years before Fifty Shades of Grey were published (get your mind out of the gutter!). My ex-boyfriend was a mall cop security guard and the cuffs were from his work uniform.

He told me not to play with them, because he wasn’t sure he had the key. When he checked and found them, though, it was open season. I wanted to see if I could get out of them—I have really small wrists—I didn’t realize that they spin all the way around, so it’s literally impossible if they’re on tightly.

Just because we’d recently seen Double Jeopardy, he thought it’d be funny to handcuff me to the steering wheel (and having just rewatched the movie, I’d like to point out that Tommy Lee Jones cuffs Ashley Judd to the door handle, not the steering wheel, so clearly, this whole experience was unnecessary. Because a lack of accuracy in reenactment is obviously the main issue here.).

The novelty quickly wore off. Handcuffs are really uncomfortable (I suppose one isn’t really looking to the comfort of the wearer when trying to restrain them from illegal activities) and my arm was stretched across the stick shift. Yes, I’m hoping that you are realizing that there was, in fact, no hanky panky going on. Because, scouts’ honour, there really wasn’t.

Here’s where it all went wrong. Actually, I just reread that sentence and I suppose, if I’m being totally honest, this all started to go wrong long before this point. Possibly when the thought of playing with handcuffs crossed my mind, it all started to go downhill. Regardless, though, when it got worse is when, while trying to unlock the cuffs, my ex swore and looked at me awkwardly. This is because the key broke in the locking mechanism of the cuffs. For reals. If you don’t believe me, then you have a pretty good idea of how I felt in that moment, too.

houdini

We were, oh, maybe twenty minutes away from docking at Swartz Bay and I’m locked tightly to a steering wheel on the car deck. In case you haven’t sorted out the logistics, it is not possible to drive with you passenger’s arm cuffed to the steering wheel. We were definitely in a bind (har har). He didn’t know what to do about it and my options were somewhat limited. So, off he goes to find a ferry employee: I’m thinking for sure they must have handcuff keys, right? Because surely they might need to restrain an unruly passenger, right? I can’t be the first person to be in this situation, right?

Well, you guys: Wrong. Turns out they don’t carry handcuff keys. Know how I know? Because the employee who came and checked out what became known as our “predicament” asked his supervisor, who said it hadn’t occurred previously. I know this for sure, because there was a veritable parade of employees that came down to see the girl locked to the steering wheel situation. Even the captain dropped by. I was honoured. And still, I was really surprised that they didn’t carry cuffs, and—more importantly for me—the keys with which to unlock them. They were surprised that I was surprised. I guess we all learned something that day. I wonder if they carry cuffs/keys now…

They brought up some of the engineers, who tried to use bolt cutters, but while they could snip the cuffs in half (so I was free of the steering wheel), they couldn’t cut the cuff off my wrist. It was too tight to my skin and seriously, it was beginning to really hurt.

The cool part is that I got to visit the belly of the ship. Yup, I was escorted down to  engineering, where they put my wrist in a vise and were able to cut away the cuff.

By the time we drove off the ferry, every employee was waving at us with a massive knowing grin. Mortifying. At least that ridiculous car had tinted windows.

What made it better was that after I told my mom (who, thank heavens, has a pretty solid sense of humour), she got a call from a dear friend of the family, who worked for BC Ferries. He started to tell my mom that she’d never guess what happened on a sailing from the mainland to the island. Imagine his surprise when mom finished the sentence? It didn’t take long for him to realize just who had been the twit who’d had to be cut free from the steering wheel on the vehicle deck.

This really happened. I’m not making it up. Just for the record. In case you were starting to doubt me.

Anchorman_well_that_escalated_quickly_966

 

October.

I freaking love October. LOVE it. It’s getting brisk in the mornings and evenings and when I’m out in the briskness, it smells like the ocean and chimney smoke and fall. I don’t totally know how to describe it, but the autumn edge in the air smells like, well, for lack of a better descriptor, like autumn.

The trees are turning and Grimby is starting to wear sweaters. He is a very well-dressed dog and he looks great in cable knit. I know what you’re thinking: “Come on, Bay: Who doesn’t look great in cable knit?” But seriously, people. Look:

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Now, before you accuse Adam and I of being “those” people—you know, those people who dress their dogs up—you should know that Grimby gets cold. Boston Terriers are notoriously poor at moderating their body heat (they don’t have an undercoat). Grimby has taken to shivering like no dog’s business. If I don’t have the heat on high in the car, with all the vents pointing at him, he pretty much looks like the most pathetic thing ever.

Also, watching him in the rain is hilarious. We’ve had some rain (read: insane quantities of water pouring from the heavens. I’m impressed, Mother Nature—I kept thinking you didn’t have it in you to keep going. Clearly, you did. Way to show the doubters.). Grimby hates getting wet and won’t put all his feet down at the same time, so he stands there, shivering like he’s got hypothermia and lifting his back feet up one at a time, like a kid who needs to pee (and he does need to pee, so it’s twice as funny). I wonder if the fact that I think my dog’s discomfort is amusing makes me a bad person…

I just lost twelve minutes gazing at photos of Grimby from puppyhood until now, while finding those two pictures above. He is SO cute. I don’t care what anyone says. He’s the cutest best dog in the entire world. Even despite the fact that he is physically not able to relieve himself without peeing all over his front legs (every day, every pee). Hey, we all need something to keep up humble, don’t we?

Also, I’m in Seattle for training weekend 10. I bought some pumpkin beer last night and pumpkin pie yogourt. After all, I like pumpkin-spiced ANYTHING. Except, it turns out, pumpkin pie yogourt. It is NOT good. I was shocked. Adam wasn’t, but didn’t tell me when I bought it that it was going to be gross. Not that I would’ve listened, really, if I’m being honest (and apparently I am).

So here I am, with three thingies of gross-flavoured yogourt. It’s a conundrum.

I just reread this post. It’s very random. I think I need more sleep than I got last night… Read yesterday’s post if you’re looking for something more coherent.

Toilet paper and other unnecessary drama.

Okay, I’ve been away for a while. It’s been STUPID busy. Fall is crazy time for people who work in health promotion. Two words: Cold & Flu. Yeah, baby, I’m working on getting people to wash their hands.

Last weekend, Adam was away in San Diego and I went to refill the toilet paper in both bathrooms. I thought we had a package in the closet, but alas! We did not. We had nary a square to spare (actually, that’s not true: It turned out that we had 3 rolls, but the panic was probably a good motivator to actually buy some TP before we hit an emergency situation).

I remembered to stop and pick up some toilet paper on my way home from my big sister’s birthday party on Sunday night and this is when I discovered something about myself: I’m embarrassed to buy toilet paper. It doesn’t matter what you call it, if you try to pretty up the name with “hygienic” or whether it’s called “bathroom tissue”. Or, as Adam so eloquently just put it, bum paper. No matter the name, I’m mortified when I have to carry it.

Why you ask? Well, my friends, because then people will know I—wait for it—go to the bathroom. HORROR OF HORRORS! I don’t really know what exactly it is that makes me want to grab the paper and run.

The Wall of Shame.

The Wall of Shame.

Also, why is toilet paper sold in impossibly large and awkward packages, WITH NARY A CONVENIENT HANDLE, MIGHT I ADD, which you will drop when the hole you poked through so as to carry the effing behemoth of humiliation tears, and then when you bend to pick it up, you drop everything else you’re carrying, thus drawing the attention of EVERYONE IN THE WORLD STORE? Why is the only effective way of carrying an unwieldy parcel of plastic-wrapped sheepishness, roughly the size of André the Giant, to hug it to yourself like it’s your saviour, or at least the way you wished you could’ve hung onto your first slow-dance with your crush in high school?

Honestly. This is stupid. It reminds me of when I was a teenager and the thought of buying feminine products was enough to make me seriously contemplate the benefits of running away and living in the woods like a savage. Because that would be less embarrassing than buying stuff that every female human needs, obviously.

This seems like a great place to live. No judgment from

This seems like a great place to live. No judgment from

 

Come on, Bay. Everybody poops. There is literally a book on the matter. People are not looking at me, thinking, she needs toilet paper because she’s disgusting. What an animal. I mean, seriously, the guy in front of me was buying stool softener, which is at least a 12 on the 10-point scale of embarrassing gastrointestinal purchases, right?

I need to get over myself.

For now, though, I can rest assured that I bought two massive packages, so I can at least postpone the next embarrassing purchase until I can pawn the chore off on Adam. Of course, carrying both packages made it really look like I had a problem…

Scary things and a solution to spiders.

I don’t like spiders.

Arachnids inspire a terror in me that is unparalleled by anything other than my fear of sharks (well, if this isn’t completely unsettling, I don’t know what is) and dark places I need to traverse after my brain decides that it’s been far too long since I last contemplated the possibility of ghosts and other potentially malevolent spirits and/or demons (not to mention psycho killers and maniacs). Clearly, I’m not alone—see below:

monsters

Whenever I mention that I dislike spiders (also known as eight-legged minions of Satan), or, upon seeing one in the vicinity of my person and innocently screaming at the top of my lungs: “KILL IT! KILL IT TWICE! AND THEN KILL IT AGAIN!”, however, I’m often subjected to reproachful looks and unnecessary lectures on the importance of all God’s creatures (bullshit—if we were so fond of all God’s creatures, then why are we letting some of them go extinct every. Single. Day? Huh? Huh?).

“But Bay,” someone mentions helpfully, with a spoonful of reproach and holier-than-thou-ness, “We need spiders. They eat other harmful bugs, like the mosquitoes you detest.”

Yeah, right.

Now, it is true: I do detest mosquitoes. That is because they always bite me and I’m allergic to them and erupt into massive reactions that radiate heat, discomfort and whiny-ness. And, since I’m clearly the choice option on their unknowing buffet, I am worried that I’m going to contract some hideous disease. I mean, when I am getting bit 114 percent more than the people around me, I feel like my odds are good for getting something bad from the buzzing bastards.

Mosquitoes, as far as I can tell, serve no purpose or benefit to the planet. Certainly, they pose no benefit to me, which is all I need to know. They’re a net expense. They don’t pollenate flowers, look pretty or eat other malicious creatures. They’re like the trigonometry of the insect world. We just don’t need them. So, if spiders are so philanthropic, then they need to pick up their A-game and eat more mosquitoes. Like all of them.

Hmm, this is not technically a solution to spiders. It’s more just an expression of my weenie-ness. But still, you guys. I hate them. I’m genuinely terrified of them. My heart races, my palms sweat and I’d probably knock children down to save myself from spidery situations.

True story: One night, when we were in Avignon, we were getting ready for bed (we shared hotel rooms wherever possible to save our scrilla) and Jen and I were chatting about who knows what, perched on the edges of our bed. Suddenly, I noticed Jen’s gaze slide downwards and to the right, widening at something she saw.

This is when we discovered that when it comes to arachnids, I actually have a spidey sense. I didn’t see that it was a spider, but I knew it was. I leapt off the bed (I may have flown. It’s hard to say.), emitting a sound that Jen later recounted as inhuman, the likes of which she’d never heard before.

The boys “took care” of the spider, but since I didn’t see its carcass, I couldn’t take any chances and proceeded to mummify myself tightly in my bed sheet, willing to risk suffocation while I slept, if it meant the creepy monster couldn’t touch me.

So that’s my post. Lately, all the spiders are either trying to get inside or stringing up law-of-physics-defying trip lines directly across all the paths I need to traverse (probably the same paths that are laden with ghosts, monsters and psychopaths). I have seen some shockingly large specimens of wolf spider, the hefty hairy brutes. Here’s an example of one I recently saw:

wolf spider

Just kidding. That’s a werewolf. But the similarity is [literally] frightening and my reaction to either would be pretty much the same level of freak out (the werewolf might scare me less). Is it a mere coincidence that they both have “wolf” in their name? I think not.

But seriously, they’re all putting webs up EVERYWHERE. I mean it—I don’t even understand the mechanics of how they get their webs from point A to point B. If I wasn’t repulsed, I’d be fascinated and I’d read up online to learn more. But I can’t do that, because even looking at pictures of spiders raises my blood pressure and makes me all twitchy. In the mornings, I’m all Raoul in the Phantom of the Opera, going for a jog while keeping my hand at the level of my eye. And then going all ninja-pants when I run through a web.

spiderninja