Monday, August 30, 2010

Git 'Er Done

August 30th.
Yes that's right, it's August 30th.
Two more sleeps and it's September 1st.

I always find it amazing that despite the fact that I graduated University a full 10 years ago, September remains an important milestone within the year.

There are several such milestones, most of which are somewhat individual for most of us. For me, there are the following ones:

#1 - my Birthday. This is a very important date for me (if you know me at all, you know this is almost an understatement). But it's also often a "take stock of your life, and what you have accomplished" time for me, which I often feel I fall short in, and leads to me being a little sad around this time. Ironically never because I am aging, but just because I feel inappropriately accomplished for my age.

#2 - Christmas. This is the holiday in which the fantasy me always imagines a Normal Rockwell-esque visa vie Martha Stewart gathering of a large group of people who are near and dear to my heart enjoying great food and drink. Accompanied by the allure of a gaggle of gifts beautifully wrapped under a lavishly decorated tree. The reality of which doesn't come close to comparing - or bear mention. But nevertheless, I do love the joviality of Christmas, I enjoy buying gifts for others, receiving gifts from others, and the meal my family of 4 shares every year. Not to mention the religious significance of the time of year.

#3 - September. Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a stationary junkie, and I love back to school shopping for this reason. Maybe it's the new crispness in the air, after weeks of sometimes stifling heat (if we're lucky). There is something about this time of year that makes me feel the need to plan, to keep an agenda, to set forth some new year's resolutions.

And so in that spirit, there are two key things (maybe 3) that I would love to accomplish maybe before my birthday, and most definitely before the new year. So I am marking them here, for some witnesses. Hold me to this, I know it's doable!

First - I would like to replace the stereo in my car. I would like one with an aux port, so I can plug my iPod straight in. I would like to not send it to a shop to have it done, but learn to do it myself (with some very needed, and very capable help of a few car guys). I am easily motivated for this one as my stereo just started skipping while playing CDs on my trip to Maine with my Dad a few weeks ago.

Second - I want to get my motorcycle licence. I have been wanting this for a reasonable amount of time now. To tell the truth, I have only been on a motorcycle once, it was in 1997, and it was AWESOME! I am not sure what the kernel of fear is that has kept me from taking action, but I think enough is enough - I have wanted this long enough, the desire is not going away, I need to just do it. I have no idea how to start, so tips and advice are welcome :) but I need to start looking into this.

Third - It would be great if I could buy a small chandelier for my dining area. This shouldn't be to hard, I just need to buy one I like (I already have an idea around that), and then get some help to install it.

Those are my cards out on the table. Hopefully making them public will help to hold me to them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting Caught in the Rain

I was in Montreal for most of last week on business. Montreal is reputed to be an amazing city, with shopping, dining and sights that are from another time and place. Sadly while I know this to be true, this was not my experience last week.

My office, and hence my hotel is in a suburb called ST.Laurent. It's close to the airport, and not much else.
So I was only there for 2 nights...and there were a few restaurants and such within walking distance of my hotel.

The first night, it was raining when I went to walk out, and so I wisely borrowed a hotel umbrella from the concierge. But the second night it was sunny, without a cloud in the sky when I left the hotel and I did not consider the possibility of rain later on.

So I was bored, and had done a lot of perusing of the sparse offerings the night before - I needed something that I could do that would use up a good chunk of my evening. Enter - the movie theater I walked by. I figured I could get something to eat in there, and watching a movie would take me to around 9pm, at which time I could go back to my hotel, get ready for bed, and manage to have passed the evening away.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a SUPER SOCIAL person, and going to the movies alone is pretty low on my list of fun things to do. But I figured I needed to just suck it up, and go for it.
So I buy my ticket, and dinner (can you believe I got chicken fingers and fries from the concession stand?!?) and head into the theater.

I am the only person in the theater. Ok, it is a Thursday night, and the movie doesn't star for another 20 minutes, but seriously - the ONLY ONE! This is getting creepy.

About 5 minutes before the movie starts a couple walks in, I can't tell you the relief I feel. They come in, and sit directly behind me. I make a funny comment about how glad I am they came in, and didn't leave me alone. We strike up a conversation, and chit-chat until the lights dim and the movie begins.

Approximately halfway through the movie, I start hearing some noises from behind me. Now, naive as I am, it took me a minute to realize that my new friends, were being exceptionally friendly with each other. Ok, no problem, just ignore them, and make sure to not even hint at turning around.
Once the movie was over they went darting out before the house lights came on, but the guy did pause for a second to wish me an enjoyable rest of my trip in Montreal.

I step out of the theater, and it's thunder storming. I take a deep breath, pull my incredibly flimsy shrug closer in around my neck, clamp my hand on my purse, and step out into the action. It's cold, and the rain drops are heavy, they actually hurt as they land on me. I get about halfway to the hotel when this car stops, the passenger window rolls down, and the lone male driver offers me a lift. Now I'm from Toronto, and I have an ethnic mother (who's a catastrophizer) I have already identified the 17 ways this man could capture, molest, torture and kill me before he finished rolling the window down. So I kind of frown at him, and he figures I don;t understand his French, so he repeats his offer in English. I frown even more deeply (if that's possible) and say "Non, ├ža va" I didn't even say thank you. He shrugs, rolls up his window and drives on.
Now it occurs to me that not every stranger who stops to help has to have evil intentions. I would never actually get into a car with a single strange man - but I could have been a little nicer in my declining his offer.

I get back to the hotel, soaked through, and my adventures seem to be over for the evening.

The next morning, I am leaving my hotel room, the door shuts behind me, and I hear some unusual noises from the room directly across mine. Now it's 7:45am, and all's quiet on the eastern front - except for the strange noises. Again, I'm a little slow when it comes to these things, and it is pretty early in the morning - it took me a minute to register what I was hearing.

What is up with Montreal?! That's twice in less than twenty-four hours. Although hopefully the folks in the movie theater were not quite as engaged as the folks in the hotel room. At this point it's conjecture - but I'd like to believe that it's true.

That's what happens when I get caught in the rain.