Archive for the 'the boyfriend' Category

It sneaks up on you

I have a problem.

Actually, I have many problems, but today we’ll just discuss the one. No need to overwhelm you with my inability to maintain a filing system or my ADD when it comes to my desktop wallpaper.

Nope, today, let’s tackle my inability to draw the line between ironic* love and real love.

As someone who enjoys humourous things (are there people out there who don’t?), I especially enjoy loving things ironically. It usually starts small with me jokingly using a funny word or me jokingly confessing my undying love for something weird. But, then it builds. And it builds. And it build some more until BAM! one day I full on actually love something totally embarrassing/inappropriate/lame/ridiculous/all of the above.

So here are some examples:

I used to HATE when people called each other baby. I made this hatred well known and I scoffed at anyone that used that word when not referring to an ACTUAL infant. In fact, I often used to tell people that “the only person that I would ever allow call me baby is Patrick Swayze because ‘no one puts Baby in a corner.'”

This hatred of the word made it all the more funny when I would jokingly call Matt baby. I knew it bugged him and I thought it was funny and it wasn’t a big deal until 2 years went by and now it’s a THING. As in, I actually use that word as a term of endearment. It’s not a joke anymore, it’s something that naturally comes out of my mouth when I talk to Matt (albeit, never in public because I still have some standards).

In a similar example, I started saying OMG as a joke because I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that people would actually say that. Now, it’s a THING that I say, often. I can no longer claim that I’m using it as a joke, we’re past that.

Or, how about the time when I ironically started liking Ke$ha. I thought she was the most ridiculous artist out there and I was dead certain she wouldn’t be any more than a one hit wonder. This certainty allowed me to drop my guard and embrace her insanely catchy single while still maintaining my integrity by laughing at the fact that THERE IS A DOLLAR SIGN IN HER NAME!

But, then she wasn’t a one hit wonder and she released ANOTHER catchy track. I had no problem bopping along in my car and getting my dance on to that second single. I still made fun of her $ and I saw past the glitter facade to recognize that she mostly clothed herself in garbage.

By the third single, I recognized that I should probably be ashamed of my poor taste in music and I tempered my listening enjoyment of her music by quickly switching over to something more acceptable like Arcade Fire or Mumford & Sons.

But now, there is no going back. I am a FULL ON Ke$ha fan and I can’t hide it anymore. It started as a joke and it happened by accident, but it is now the truth and I must embrace it. I LOVE the glitter, I LOVE the unicorns, I eagerly read all the latest gossip about her and once I even watched a YouTube video of a concert of hers (she has cannons that shoot glitter!). I still recognize that she’s probably not the most talented artist out there, but I can no longer deny that talent isn’t all that important when you’re covered in glitter and pumping out an awesome beat.

I won’t blame you if you judge me for these indiscretions. Just beware that this sort of thing can happen to anyone. Don’t let what has happened to me happen to you. Or, do let it happen because honestly, that music video with James VanDerBeek in it is AMAZING!

*I fully realize I am probably misusing the word ironic. Ever since Alanis messed with my head I’ve lost my grasp of the appropriate use of that word and I’m too lazy to look it up right now and confirm its proper use.

Planning for vacation is *almost* as much fun as the vacation itself

The days are booked off and the flights are paid for. It’s official, Matt and I are finally getting a chance to travel together.

Matt and I both love to travel and we’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of opportunities to do so. But, we’ve never had an opportunity to travel overseas together.

In fact, for the first year of our relationship, we were both so good at traveling on our own that we spent 6 of those 12 months apart. I spent 4 months in India and he spent 2 months gallivanting around Europe.

But, it seems after 6 years together, our time has come to upgrade our road trips and camping adventures to a vacation involving an airplane! We’re off to the UK in June and I couldn’t be more excited. We haven’t solidified our plans beyond the flights, but we are tentatively planning some time in London and then we are probably going to head to the Scottish highlands.

London is Matt’s favourite city of all time. He has visited a number of time with his family and on his own and he is super excited to be going back. I’ve never been to London and I’m really looking forward to him showing me around.

As for the Scottish Highlands, we kind-of, sort-of arbitrarily chose this area of the UK because of this:

{via}

Why, yes. That is indeed the Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter. It’s a real steam train ride you can take through the Scottish highlands and it is supposed to be breathtaking.

We haven’t totally settled on the plan to go to the Highlands to take this train, but it’s pretty high on the list of things to do. This itinerary would also give us an opportunity to hike Ben Nevis, the highest point in the UK. That hike would be totally reasonable and not exhausting or terrifying at all.

{via}

Whether we stick to the Scottish Highland plans or head off to Wales or Ireland, I don’t think it really matters. Whatever we decide to do will be awesome. But, if you have any suggestions of places to go in the UK, send ’em my way!

Music meltdown

We’ve been driving a lot this summer. Matt’s family and my family live about 2.5 hours away and between pre-wedding events for my brother’s upcoming nuptials and Matt’s family get togethers, we’re on the road home many weekends.

It’s not a great drive; it’s not a bad drive, but it is a lot of hours in the car. With a lot of hours in the car comes a lot of hours of music. Although Matt and I don’t have the exact same taste in music we do enjoy each others favourites and there are rarely arguments over what to listen to. We have a pretty solid system where the passenger is in charge of the ipod but the driver has veto  on song choice.

[via]

But, it’s not all hunky-dory (why does no one use this word anymore, it’s amazing!). See, Matt is particularly particular about what type of music he feels like right this second.

For me, I choose my music based on my mood. If I’m pumped up and excited about the weekend, then my ipod play list features the likes of Gaga, the Ting Tings and the Black Eyed Peas. If I’m more mellow and relaxed, I’ll move to the Avett Brothers, Counting Crows or Dave Matthews. If I’m in between moods or undecided about my mood, I’ll go for something with a bit of an out of the box sound like Modest Mouse.

All of these choices seem pretty basic and self-explanatory to me. If you break it down, I pretty much find songs that fit the beat of my mood.

But, Matt is infinitely more complex in his music choices. What mood he’s in is important, but it is certainly not the only ingredient when he mixes his cocktail of “music I’ll listen to right this second“.

Nope, he has to make it all complicated and therefore he has to make my life complicated because inevitably I’ll pick the wrong music and be forced to find an acceptable alternative.

From what I can gather, Matt’s music falls into many categories and in order to get the right music you must have taken courses in advanced library sciences in order to figure out the appropriate cross-references that will lead to the perfect song or artist right this second.

First of all, the music must suit the season. There are summer songs and winter songs. Now, you’d think this is simply his aversion to listening to Katy Perry’s California Gurls* in November or his hatred of Here Comes Santa Claus in July. But no, the seasonal categories are deep and scientifically cataloged. Unfortunately, I can’t even find my way through the Dewy Decimal system let alone Matt’s catalog of seasonally appropriate music. He has entire albums and favourite songs that he only listens to for 4 months of the year.

So far, I’ve discovered that Weezer is most certainly summer appropriate. After that, I’m lost.

But, it doesn’t end there. Once you’ve nailed down the summer/winter schism then you have to cross-reference with the weather. Is it raining? Is it sunny? Is it humid? Are we about to get a thunderstorm? Are we in the middle of a thunderstorm? Yes, I bet the music for pre-thunderstorm weather is different from the music for mid-thunderstorm weather.

Finally, you have the time of day to fit into the shakedown. Is it early? Too early for raucous rock music? Or is it just the right time for some loud wake-me-up jams? Is it mid-afternoon? Dusk? Midnight? Do you want the music that will keep you awake while driving or are you awake enough but it’s just that right amount of dark outside that it’s time for some relaxing Simon & Garfunkle?

Gah! How’s a girl to navigate such a minefield of no that’s not quite right? Does anyone else pick their music like this? I know one of Matt’s brothers is the same way but the other brother picks his music more like I do – based only on what he feels like listening to.

How do you pick what to listen to? Is it half as complicated as this?

*Why do people do this! Why do they spell things incorrectly on purpose. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s certainly not witty. In fact, it makes you look like a schmuck. I think Katy and the owner of the Krazy Karpets down the street from me need to review their word lists more carefully.

Putting an end to The Wallow

These past few weeks have been a little tough for me. Despite the amazing-ness of this sunshiny weather, I’ve been feeling less than awesome about the upcoming summer.

This warm, humid, sunshiny weather reminds me of the years I spent working at a summer camp. Summers past found me with a standard uniform of cargo shorts and tank tops. I would wake to a ringing bell and not worry about brushing my hair before stumbling into the sun to find 100 smiling children and a day full of crafts, running, swimming and face paint ahead of me.

I love my job, but it’s primarily an office job (although I do get to go tour farms every once in a while. Farm days are my favourite days). It’s hard not to fall into a bit of a seasonal slump when you trudge into a climate controlled, weather-neutral workspace which features tauntingly large but unopening windows giving you a perfect visual to the outdoors but no way to actually enjoy them.

I’ve been longing for the summer where I used to wear my watch tan line with pride; the summer where I used to muscle children out of the 2 feet of clay they got stuck in; the summer where I would invent games to entertain children for hours with simple props like Popsicle sticks and milk crates (I worked at a POOR camp); the summer where I would marvel at my ‘tan’ only to see it wash off in the hose and realize that it was just a nice layer of dirt.

I haven’t worked at camp in years, but I still miss it. I miss being outside and wearing french braids.

But, the time for wallowing has come to an end. I need to get out of this slump, pull up my big girl panties and start enjoying this summer.

To help me with this plan to end The Wallow, I have created a(n incomplete) list of fun things I will do this summer:

  • Become a girl who wears nail polish – I have nice nails, I should colour them.
  • Fall in love with all of my old jewelry again and find ways to wear it – I have a lot of chunky, ethnic-looking jewelry from when I was a pseudo-hippie in University. It was all delegated to weekend wear when I got a big-girl job and then it went from weekend wear to being forgotten. I think it’s about time I reclaim those hippie days and match that rockin’ bejeweled faux-silver cuff with some dress capris and a stylish, yet office appropriate top. And yes, I will be sporting that obnoxiously chunky ring in the board meeting. Deal with it.
  • Run a 5 km race.
  • Grow a vegetable – I only have a small balcony but, by golly, I will grow some cherry tomatoes!
  • Train and complete a mini-triathlon.
  • Get outside more – I want to explore the trails around my city and I want to find some activities that let me re-live my glory camp days. Anyone up for some Capture the Flag? (seriously, who wants to play?)
  • Find a friend with a pool – If you follow me on twitter, you will already be aware that I am currently accepting applications for this position.
  • Spend more time drinking on patios at local pubs with friends and host auditions for “Claire’s favourite summer beer.”
  • Party with my family at my brother’s wedding and all the events leading up to it.
  • Plan an awesome vacation with Matt for the end of the summer before he starts school again – we’re currently considering Washington, DC but Boston is also an option. Please advise.
  • Spend at least one weekend at a cottage – do you have a cottage? Can I come visit?
  • Wear summer dresses as much as possible.
  • Continue to expand my music library – I am slowly breaking out of my pop-radio-only slump and I’d like to keep on that.
  • Expand my sandal and summer shoe options.
  • Get dirty – whether it’s from gardening, hiking or an awesome game of Capture the Flag (seriously, please let me know if you want to play), summer isn’t summer without getting a little messy.

That’s all of I’ve got for now, but I’m sure there will be more to add to it. This should be enough to hold the wallow at bay for at least a little while.

What are your summer plans?

A convoluted and round-about story about taking on a challenge

Last week, I had the following conversation with Matt over the phone before I left work:

Matt: Can you pick something up for dinner on your way home, I’m going to be a bit late.

Me: Of course, what do you want?

Matt: Ummm…Ughhh….Hmmm…

Me: Well you have to give me something to go on.

Matt: I dunno.

Me: Do you want some pork chops?

Matt: No, not pork. I don’t want chicken either we had that a few days ago.

Me: Okay. What about some beef? Maybe some ground beef for hamburgers or some steak?

Matt: Nah, I’m not in the mood for beef.

Me: Pasta?

Matt: No, I don’t think so.

Me: Soooo, no pork, no chicken, no beef and no pasta. What the eff do you want?

Matt: I dunno.

Now, I realize that there is more to eat out there than pork, chicken, beef and pasta. But, it was a Wednesday night, I was tired, Matt was working late and I didn’t really want to be fussing with a new dish. Plus, I come from a real ‘meat and potatoes’ family, I am afraid of trying new things and I am no gourmet cook.

But, this post is not about food or cooking. This post is about the fact that I have tomorrow off (woo hoo!). Not only do I have a nice long weekend, but my mom is coming to visit and we are going shopping!

My brother is getting married this summer and my mom needs a dress. Being the mother of the groom is a big deal and the occasion calls for a fancy dress.

But, I’m concerned. I am suspicious that my mother is going to be just as picky as Matt was about dinner last week. In fact, I had my suspicions confirmed when she informed me that she doesn’t want taffeta, silk/satin or chiffon. Now, aside from going into the realm of cotton, polyester or wool, I don’t think there are that many options left! But, I think she did the whole polyester thing in the 70s and I don’t think she’s over a distressing experience she had with a wool dress and a rain storm.

Alas, tomorrow is going to be a challenge.

But, I’m excited. We have enlisted the help of my fashion-savvy cousin and aunt to point us in the direction of good shops that will hopefully hold a plethora of age-appropriate-but-not-boring-and-frumpy dresses because if there is one thing that my mother is not it is boring and frumpy.

I’m hoping that much like dinner that night last week*, everything will turn out perfectly. My mom is a fashionable woman and I’m certain we will find her something awesome tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

*In case you’re interested, we had breakfast-for-dinner that night. Simple, easy and delicious!

“No more vampires until you finish your Dickens”

The title quote is direct from the mouth of my loving live-in boyfriend, Matt.

He’s concerned about my well-being.

He thinks I have book issues. I’ve talked about my guilty complex over not finishing books in the past, but this issue is something different.

The book that brought on the aforementioned outburst from Matt is also the book that started my issues with guilt. This book was my ‘mistress’ as I dumped an uninspiring read for its ample pages. Unfortunately, Matt is convinced this book has set me on a path that will lead to dysfunctional relationships, questionable morality and a complete retraction from the world of social interaction.

The book at fault for all of these things is a bad book. It’s bad in more ways than the fact that it will result in my hermitism. It’s bad in the way that you’re ashamed to read it in public because the cover art is scandelous. It’s bad in the way that it doesn’t delve deep into real-world problems and it doesn’t get to the base of human emotions. It’s bad in the way that it is filled with gratuitous violence and morally questionable decision-making by the lead character. It’s bad in the way that it’s the first in a series that seemingly never ends forcing you to give up whatever semblance of a life you once had in favour of sitting, unwashed, on your couch for days at a time only breaking for KD and graham crackers.

The book in question is this one:

You can't actually Click to Look Inside (thanks for the photo Amazon). Also, see what I mean about shameful covers!

It’s the first of a series about a Vampire Hunter named Anita Blake. I have read the first 7 books of the series in a matter of weeks. I have inhaled these books.

But, Matt thinks I should take a break and I think for this one time, I will heed his advice. To be honest, the books had me a little on edge. Reading them would make my heart pound and when I wasn’t reading them, I would agonize over what might be happening next (in my head, the story continues when you’re not reading, the characters are still living and the action is still happening. When I read a book, I fully engage).

But, for the time being, I will not read any more vampire books until I have “finished my Dickens”.

I’m not actually reading Dickens. Instead I picked up a literary award winning book that was featured on Canada Reads last year. My whole family has read it and it’s been on my “to read” list for a long time.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill is just as much a page turner as my shameful vampire series but it is much more fulfilling. I’m only a third of the way through and it is completely heart-wrenching.

I definitely haven’t abandoned Anita (don’t worry Erin) but I think I need a healthy mix of mindless & entertaining and thought-provoking. Sometimes I just need a gentle reminder that this mix is important to my well-being.

An adventure featuring sweat, dirt and blood (but not really)

I used to be an outdoorsy woman.

I once tackled a portage going up and down hills carrying the heavy food pack and the canoe while it was hailing and raining and I still shouted about how I was loving it. I once thought it was a good idea to wrap up a bunch of kids’ sleeping gear in a tarp and throw it off a cliff because it was the easiest way to get our stuff down to the beach for a camp out. I once lived in a cabin the size of my cubicle with a large, pregnant fox snake living underneath it for four months. I once survived a canoe trip with more portaging than paddling in June during black fly season in the swampy part of Algonquin. I once slogged through a ravine while hip deep in clay for no other reason than it looked like fun.

I used to do a lot of outdoorsy stuff. I was always up for camping, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, or slogging through the underbrush.

Sadly, I think I’ve lost some of my woodland spirit (yeah, I just said that). I think I can blame my new career. It’s hard to rush off to a game of Capture the Flag in the mud pit when you are wearing dress ‘slacks’ and peep-toe wedges and that cute knock-off purse in faux patent leather is just not a practical substitute for a backpack full of bandaids and extra socks. Lately, I’m more apt to complain about my shoulder being sore from using my mouse (no really, it’s sore) than my knee being sore from that sweet-ass wipe-out I took on the fallen tree while pelting through the forest chasing the other team. LAME.

Some days I think I should have pursued a career as a summer camp director where I could replace my ‘slacks’ with cargo shorts and my cute patent leather bag with a backpack. And then I remember that I love my job and my slacks (although I hate the word ‘slacks’) and my cute handbag. I also remember that the aforementioned wipe-out, although spectacular, hurt so bad that I almost forgot my well-trained camp language skills and spewed forth a whole mouthful of foulness in front of some 9-year olds.

Don’t get me wrong, I still go out and do things. As you probably know if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, Matt and I like to cross-country ski and hike and visit nearby conservation areas. But, recently, all my activities have been missing something. They’ve all been a little too clean for my taste. There has been a significant lack of sweat, dirt and blood in my latest outdoor adventures.

I took a step to change that this weekend.

This weekend Matt and our good friend N went to a local conservation area on the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment. Matt and I have been there before but with decidedly less adventure. This time we went loaded with a picnic of pb&j, carrot sticks and cookies (shockingly we are all above the age of 5) and with a goal in mind.

N and I on the Escarpment

This conservation area has caves! Now, you can’t go in most of the caves because there is concern about a virus being spread to the local bat population. But there are a few less scary, less dark and less bat infested caves that are fairly accessible.

Friendly Caves

So we went spelunking.

At the mouth of the caves with Matt emerging from the depths.

We didn’t have any gear with us (like helmets, headlamps or rope) so we didn’t go very far. But it was exhilarating just doing something new. Although it was completely safe, it made me feel like a daredevil.

Holding the light and making Matt go first.

There was sweat (not enough). And dirt (could have been more). But no blood, although I did bonk my head real good a few times, so maybe pain can count. Or, maybe I was lying about the whole blood thing to begin with. It sounds good in theory, but is less appealing in practice.

Either way, it was a grand ole’ time and it has me searching for other adventures to tackle in the upcoming months.

I’m open to ideas.


Hi There!


I'm Claire. I like to write about ridiculous things.

I love chocolate but don't think cheese and cake belong together.

I often wish it was socially acceptable to wear glitter before 10pm.

If you want to chat, email me at clairesuzanne1 at gmail dot com.

Tweets

Legal Stuff

Creative Commons License
This work by Claire Suzanne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at clairesuzanne.wordpress.com.

© Claire Cowan, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Claire Suzanne with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.