Sunday, July 31, 2005

Suicide Bomb

The recent bombings in London and Sharm Al-Sheikh, Egypt have stirred up a funny memory. Not that suicide bombings are funny. They are, in my opinion, abhorant acts carried out by seriously mentally-ill religous zealots.
So, when I write this story about my experience as a suicide bomber, please take it with a grain of salt.

Years ago, maybe 10 years ago, when I was living in Riyadh, I was out shopping one day with my friend, KD. There is was a beautiful store that we used to go to called Gazzaz. When you walked through the doors the air was perfumed with expensive fragrances, there was a HUGE chandelier hanging from the second level straight down through to the first, and there was an aura of pure luxury. The bottom level sold mostly beauty supplies, lipsticks, perfumes, make-up, purses, scarves, etc and the upstairs level sold household items such as crystal, fine china, jewellery and gift items. We used to go there quite regularly to kill time before running off to visit with our boyfriends.
So this particular day, we were hanging out at Gazzaz and we both had our overnight bags with us. We were in the store for just a few minutes when we noticed this really irritating noise: buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. We spent some time looking at make-up and such and then headed upstairs. All the while complaining about that noise: buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. So, we're upstairs and I say to KD: You know that damn noise is following us! It's driving me CRAZY! KD: I know what you mean! It feels like it's going right through me! But we were shopping, and tried to ignore the sound. After a few more minutes, I noticed that one of the shopworkers was following us. KD noticed too. But, that wasn't really so strange. As Western women we were often oogled at because our faces weren't covered. More minutes pass, the buzzzzzzzzzzzing continues. KD is getting more and more irritated, and the Freakin shopworker is still following us! I was starting to think that maybe he wasn't so much enthralled with our beauty, that maybe he thought we were thieves! Anyway, a little more time passes and finally the man comes up to us and starts pointing at KD's bag. He clearly didn't speak much english and just kept pointing all the while searching for the right word. Well....You guessed it: BOMB?! (Point-point, point-point)
At that moment, the light goes on in KD's face. She opens her bag and there, buzzing happily away was her electric razor! No wonder the buzzing kept following us around and she could feel it going right through her!
At the time we were hysterical with laughter and embarassment thinking how crazy it was that the guy actually thought we were carrying a bomb. Imagine!!! Us!!! Suicide Bombers!!! And if it were a bomb, did the shopworker think he was going to un-detonate it?!
I guess that was what security was like 10 years ago.
Today, this story would have a completely different ending.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Some days are better than others.
I bought my dress today. I went to the seamstress. I got all misty...this dress is SO puuurfect!
I went to the local arts &crafts store. I decided against invitations. I am planning on announcements (after the fact.) I figure, what's the point...everyone who's coming already knows. If you'd like an announcement...let me know!
I've got creative plans.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sweet smoke...Just recommending the music!

Scratchie Records

There are a few nights when Greg and I first met that REALLY stand out in my mind. His too. Music has been a huge part of our relationship. We enjoy going to live Indie bands, concerts around the city, listening to MTV, whatever. There is always music playing in our home.
One night, before Greg and I were living together, we were hanging out in his basement apartment. I never really liked going there, but once in while I felt guilty and agreed to hang out at his place.
But this one night, in particular, was great. We sat for HOURS in candlelight, enjoyed some vino tinto and listened to scratchie records, one after the other. The Who, Simon and Garfunkle, Hair, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd,The Beatles, The Stones. Greg had inherited all of these records from his older sisters (who, ahem..are my age!) None of the records had their cases any more, and every circle of vinyl looked like cats had been using it as a scratch pad. But you just can't beat that nostalgic sound! Every second beat you could hear the 'skip' and there is that undercurrent sound of crackle (kind of like a fireplace, but without the fire!) It was one of the best, most romantic nights in our 'courtship' (teehee! Isn't that a funny word?!)
...and I'll always remember that night.
Tonight, Greg went over to his old basement apartment where he'd left a few things, and brought them Home. The record player. The scratchie records. The musty basement stink...
Right now we are listening to 'Sweet Smoke.' Absolutely incredible. And something I have never heard before. Check it out:
I think it's really good. Greg is in his Glory.
...And scratchie records? Nothing like it. It's good times.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Not-too-Foofie Dress

I lucked out today. I went dress shopping, and had it in my head that I would find one today. A Not-to-Foofie one. And I did!
As it happened, it was the second dress I tried on. I could have saved myself a lot of work and time, if I had just bought it then and there. Instead, I went to 5 other shops, and tried on another 25 dresses. In some of them I looked like a house, in others I couldn't get my ass into them. (Why-o-why didn't I stick to my Weight Watchers?!) And some of them had so much crinoline under the skirt that it was absolutely ridiculous!
Every dress I tried on after dress #2 didn't even come close. Not even a consideration. In the end, I called the first store back, gave them my VISA # and made it a done deal. They even gave me $100 off the asking price. I was told today that when you find the perfect dress for you, you just know. Kind of like how you just know when you've found the perfect man.
This is where I bought the dress: It's a consignment shop, but the dress I bought is new. After the wedding, I can bring it back and they will try to sell it for me (because, really. What am I going to do with it after?!)
I feel like a million bucks in this dress. It'll need just a few alterations. I'm going to cut the train off, and have the crinoline removed, and then it will absolutely be the dress of my dreams.
Because a bride should wear the dress of her dreams, even if sometimes it is a bit (Or a lot!) Foofie. But mine's not. Foofie.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Family Ties

It is amazing what can get done in a week. Having never planned a wedding before, and having never planned one in Vegas before, I think I've done pretty good so far. Chapel, Matron of Honour, hotel and flight are booked. I need a restaurant, a dress, and wedding bands. Oh, and shoes. And a marriage license. And probably a number of other things, but I feel like I've got a good start. To be honest, this week has been a bit of a blur. But in a really good way.

My mom seems thrilled that we are getting married! I am really, really, pleasantly surprised by this. You'd think at 40 I wouldn't care (or shouldn't care) what my mom thinks, but I do. The first Christmas that Greg moved in with me, things were so bad with my mom, that we were having a hard time even being civil to each other. My brother ganged up with my mom, and suddenly I was the black sheep of the family. (It's just the three of us) It was so bad, I dragged them all in to councelling. The funny thing was, the therapist immediately decided that my problem was peanuts compared to the co-dependant relationship my mom and brother have. (Ooops! I got off on a tangent there. That's another story.) In the end, therapy helped and obviously, over time, my mom has accepted Greg. And my brother thinks the world of him.

Greg's Dad and Step-mom are also thrilled. We were over there for dinner the other night, had champagne toasts, his dad was talkative and all smiley. Mary-Anne (Step-mom) has actually taken on the roll of wedding planner, and is in her glory. I have her to thank for the recommendation about the Chapel, and for flights and hotel being booked already. (But I made the decision about Matron of Honour!)

The strangest reaction we got was from Greg's mom who we see every weekend in the summer up at the trailer, and with whom I actually get along with very well. Her initial reaction was something like: "What?! Why?! I thought you didn't want to get married?!" When we told her that we were getting married on Nov 11th of this year her reaction was: "What?! Are you kidding?! No one get's married on Nov 11th. Don't you know what day it is?!" I replied: "yes, it's going to be our wedding day!" She said "'s Remembrance Day!" (As if I didn't know.) Then, when we told her that we were going to Vegas, her response was "Hmpff. Well I guess that counts me out. I can't afford to go to Vegas" Whereapon (is that a word?!) we told her that we would be paying for her trip, because we wouldn't be doing this if she couldn't be a part of it. Her response "oh." Then she looked at my ring and said "that's nice. I've been married three times and have never had an engagement ring." She hung around a bit and left.
After a while I walked up the road to find her. Every neighbour I passed congratulated me, as she had told everyone on her way back to her place! But. This is how she told people: "I just found out I'm going to Vegas! Ya. Greg and Ramona are getting married" She's a funny woman.
The rest of the weekend was all about her recounting her terrible marriages (one of which lasted two weeks!) Anyway, by the end of it all she got drunk and told me how much she loved me and how happy she was that we were getting married. But it took her a while (and a case of beer) to come to terms with it!
I always say: Greg's mom is like no one else's mom.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Ring

Vegas Baby...Part Deux

For those of you who are curious, here is a picture of my lovely ring. I am so captivated by it, I can't concentrate on work these days! It really is pretty and Greg did such a beautiful job. I know that it really IS a nice ring, because even my mom had no words of criticism about it! Not that I would care, but I was expecting the usual comments...because that's the way she is. (Honest, in her opinion!) Anyway, I was pleased that she liked it.
And, for the venue...
Check it out!
And, yes, that's right! We are getting married in none other than Las Vegas! November 11th at 4:30 PM. Pez will be my Matron of Honour (check out her site...I STILL don't know how to link!!!) I am not having bridesmaids, we are just keeping it simple. Greg will have his best friend, Darren stand up for him.
While we are keeping it simple, we have invited our closest family and friends. There will likely be about 30 people there to join us. Which, we think is perfect.
We'll have a quick, short ceremony, pictures, and then a nice sit down dinner together. Then, everyone will be free to enjoy Las Vegas, and have a vacation.
Greg and I are planning to stay for an extra week, rent a car and see the Grand Canyon, the surrounding area etc.
So...that's the plan. The chapel is booked. I think it looks nice, and not too cheezy...what do you think?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dum dum dadum....

Greg and I are getting married!
He proposed last Friday, half an hour before I had to go to work. Perhaps not the most romantic proposal, but he certainly caught me off-guard! I had just got out of the shower and had put on my scrubs. He was sitting on the bed (In his underpants) and pulled me over. I thought he was just being silly, but a second later he pulled the box out from behind his back and said those magic words.
I was in total shock! And then had to go to work.
He says that he had played different scenarios over and over in his mind (like getting someone to roll him in on a stretcher at work and have me pull the blanket off his face) but in the end, he says he was as eager to give me the ring, as I was to receive it.
Speaking of the is GORGEOUS! He did a beautiful job designing a custom ring for me. I know I would not have been able to pick out a more perfect setting.
Needless to say, we had a lovely weekend at the trailer, just the two of us (and his mom!) It poured rain, and it was romantic.
Now, the planning begins.
I have 116 days.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Garbage Pickin' and Other Goodies

The Sunday Antique Market
Every Sunday, when we are in town, Greg and I head to the antique market. We are at the point now, where we don't even ask each other anymore "whaddaya wanna do today?" We just know. We get up, we get dressed, we go to the market, and we go out for breakfast. We have it down to an art. We know exactly what catches our eye and we march through there in about 20 minutes flat. We never invite anyone to come with us, because it seems like everyone else has to pick up and look at every little thing, and that gets irritating. Greg looks for music gear such as guitars, amplifiers and once even an autoharp. I search out 1950's Pyrex, Jadite, 1970's lucite spaghetti lamps, and once in a while something that I completely DON'T need, but I think might come in handy. Like, the Spanish shawl I bought last weekend for $20.
This market attracts all sorts of folks, but some of the more interesting characters have stands and sell their wares. Take the guy in the red t-shirt with the black stripe. He was very tame the day I took this photo. I almost didn't recognize him because he didn't have an inch of foundation smeared on, and he left his spray-on hair and false eye-lashes at home! (It was another really hot day, and I guess he didn't want his head to melt!) He also usually wears a Glitter Jacket, in case he's not flamboyant enough!
There is something to be said about finding a really great deal, and over the years I've really learned to appreciate other people's garbage. And, speaking of garbage, I've also discovered that I am Garbage-Picker Extraodinaire! Yesterday, as I was throwing out the recycling, somebody had thrown out a Le Crueset cast iron dutch oven. Well! I picked that baby up and ran to the car (before anyone could catch me garbage picking) I happen to know that Le Crueset sells for around $200 I REALLY found the deal of the day! And, I checked it out e-bay:
I guess that saying is true: One person's garbage, is another person's treasure!

Thursday, July 14, 2005


The hospital where I work has beautiful grounds, with gorgeous flowers. I take a walk on my break every day and the other day I took some pics.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Summer in the City


This has been one helluva hot summer so far. (Click on Pic.)The kind of summer we used to have when I was a kid.
The kind of summer where the 90-year-old Greek knife-sharpening man would clang his bell along the suburban blocks, the Dickiedee ice-creme kid on their frozen tricycle would bike along the streets ringing their bell (the bells were distinctly different!), kids would have lemonade stands, we'd go to Becker's and buy Lola's for 15 cents or Popsicles for 5 cents (I liked lime or cherry.)
I'd go to summer camp: when I was younger, I would bring home jars of minnows or caterpillars--- depending on the catch of the day. When I was a bit older, I'd be a Tommy's Angel and experience popularity for the first time in my life.
I'd go roller-skating to Disco Music (Born to be Alive!) and play 500 games of gin-rummy and be made fun of by my best friend's sister when Donna Summer and I sang "Hey, Hey... I will Survive!"
And it was hot in the middle of the night . The racoons would skitter across the roof at night, and there would always be a clumsy Junebug or dusty Moth banging against the window, trying to get in, and I would wish it away. 'Please, please, oh please don't come in to my room!" And cry for help when it eventully got in.
And the fan blowed on.
That is the kind of summer we are having.

Monday, July 11, 2005


The sign says: WARNING!!!
If you leave the dryer door slighty ajar, with the light on, and fresh, clean clothes in the dryer, (right beside the kitty-litter) BE PREPARED! One Kross-eyed Kitty will do his business, think to himself "Ahhhh...that felt good!" see the open dryer, hop in, and then say to himself "Hmpff....Fuck the warning...I'm wipin' my paws, and makin' my bed...THIS is cozy!!!"

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Yesterday's Wedding

Greg and I

Well, the wedding yesterday was actually a lot of fun, the ceremony was short and sweet, and in case you're wondering, my speech went very well. I was pleased with the reaction I got, there were a few laughs, and I think Scott and Christine really enjoyed it. I must admit, I did have a few glasses of wine for bravery and I think it helped. (And no...I did not slurrrrrrr!)
Thank god I stopped drinking right after that speech and opted for water. I decided to be DD at some point, and wouldn't you know it...we got stopped by R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) on the way home! I couldn't believe it! I thought that the police had this programme just during the Christmas season, but apparently they've got it up and running during Wedding season too. I knew I was ok to be driving, but I was nervous just the same. I popped a couple of chocolate covered almonds and when the officer asked, I admitted that I had had a few glasses of wine. Then, I went on to tell him that we were at a wedding, that I was a bridesmaid, had to say a speech and EVERYTHING! (And no....I did not slurrrr!)
To make a short story shorter, I made the officer laugh, he admired my dress (said it was the nicest bridesmaid's dress he'd ever seen!), and I was off on my merry way.
Pretty Bouquet

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Bridesmaid's Speech

Today I am a bridesmaid for the 7th or 8th time in my life. I always promised myself that I wouldn't do this again, but how on earth do you say no? And, I guess truthfully, I am honoured. Last night at the rehearsal I was asked if I could make a speech. Needless to say, while my brain was screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!" I heard my mouth say "OF COURSE! I"D BE HAPPY TO!" (Stupid, big mouth)
Anyway, the following is what I have come up with, and thought I would share with you.

"Christine and I have known each other for about 4 years. My first clear memory of her was at work in the ICU when she very kindly helped me clean a great big, huge pile of sh…stuff. She was working an 8 hour shift that day and had about 10 minutes to go. I jumped at the opportunity for help, but it quickly ended up being one of those situations where the more we tried to clean, the bigger a mess we were making! Christine ended up going home nearly half an hour after shift ended. Needless to say, only nurses can laugh hysterically over a great big pile of sh…stuff, and not a lot of people can say that that is how their friendship started. What I appreciated about Christine at that moment, was that despite knowing she was out the door in 10 minutes, she offered her help, and did it with a smile on her face. She turned an unpleasant situation into a memory that once in a while we still laugh about.

Christine is very well respected at work. She very caring and compassionate, she shows good judgement, is quick to learn new areas of expertise and always, has a beautiful smile on her face. She is an excellent nurse, and I am sure that she will bring these qualities into her marriage.

But, there is much more to Christine than her work. I have never met anyone who shows more passion in her day-to-day life, and I think this is one of the reasons Scott fell in love with her. She has a keen eye for photography and a love of world travel. She will often combine these two passions to visit friends and family on the other side of the globe. And when she returns home, is always eager to share her stories and photos with the people who are dear to her.
Both Scott and Christine share their passion for their pets: Bear, Philip, Ginger, Miko and Lily. For a while there, it seemed like they had a direct hotline with the Humane Society and were bringing home a new animal every week! The home they have made together is a cozy and warm one,and filled with a lot of love. And, if ever there is a bad odour in the air, they can always blame Bear!!

Christine has a passion for sweaty yoga and I think that this has helped her with not only her outer flexibility, but in helping her learn inner calm. Because we all know that sometimes passionate people get a little too passionate

If ever there is to be a bargain found, Christine is your girl! She knows where every sale rack and discount bin can be found in the city. For someone with Champagne tastes, this is a necessity. And… I think she got a pretty good deal with Scott!

She has a unique beauty, is very proud of her Hungarian, French and Morrocan heritage. She loves to cook and will often experiment with foods and drinks from these regions. She loves her red wine, but I’ll leave out the stories that go along with the bottles!

Scott and Christine are excellent matchmakers (thank-you!) but they best match they have made is with each other.

(A toast!)
May your lives together be long and full of sunshine
May the dark clouds always be behind you
May your love always remain passionate and strong
And may your hopes and dreams always be fulfilled.



That's it...hope they like it!
Gotta go squeeze into my dress now...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Mr. Wonderful

Mr. Wonderful!

A friend of mine gave me Mr. Wonderful a while ago, and every once in while I give him a squeeze just for a little laugh.

This Mr. Wonderful says things like this:
"You know Honey, why don't you just relax, and let me make dinner tonight?"
"Awww, can't your mother stay another week?"
"The ball game really isn't that important. I'd rather spend time with you!"
"Let's just cuddle tonight."
"Actually, I'm not sure which way to go. I'll turn in here, and ask directions."
"Here, you take the remote. As long as I'm with you, I don't care what we watch."

My Mr. Wonderful says things like this:
"Since you're up, can you get me another beer?"
"Your mom's coming? Ah, no...sure...that's...ok."
"Let me just see what the score is" (and then flicks back and forth all night long)
"Where's the lube?"
"Move outta the way, A$$h@%%!" (While swerving insanely around cars)
"Here, you take the remote, I've gotta get some sleep."

Now, to be fair, my Mr. Wonderful has now been around for more than 2 and a half years. I seem to recall that when we met, he was very well-mannered, and considerate, much like the guy in the picture. He reeled me in, and I fell in love.
And then the more relaxed Mr. Wonderful moved in.

Monday, July 04, 2005

A tangled web...

You'd have to click on the pic to actually see the web.
So, I'm not necessarily so fond of spiders, although I tolerate them much easier than I did a couple of years ago. But. I LOVE spider webs! I think that they are fascinating in their intricacy and in their art. It amazes me that a little creature could create such beautiful work. I've always wanted to take a picture of a web, and so I did.
Lately, I've been finding that I don't even want to step on spiders anymore. Or even ants.
I went to an educational day a few weeks ago, and one of the speakers was the hospital chaplain. She spoke of different religions and how they affect how we nurse these patients. One of the religions was Jainism, which is one that I really never knew anything about. This religion believes that every living thing has a soul, and living things should not be killed.
I really loved hearing that. I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do believe in spirituality, and the general goodness of ALL religions. And, I believe in having soul.

Of all the religions the chaplain spoke of that day, this one interested me the most. It may not be a big deal...but why do we learn, even as children, that it is ok to kill a harmless ant, or a spider, just because we think it should not be there, or we are afraid.

Maybe, if we learned tolerance as children it would affect us differently in later life. (Because sometimes, I am intolerant of others.)

Perhaps, I shouldn't have stepped on all those ants, and sucked up all those spiders with the vacuum.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Canada Day Long Weekend

Red at Night, Sailor's Delight!

We drove up to the trailer last Thursday night, and I took this photo when we were just about there. The sky was unbelievably beautiful, and I can't remember the last time I saw it this particular shade of scarlet.
I wish that I could take a picture of just how crystal clear the night is up North, and how many jazillion stars there are when the sky finally fades from red to black. Pitch black. The only light is from campfires and patio lanterns. Somehow the nights seem so magical there, the smell of the fire, the sounds of the crickets in the nearby fields, the wind as it blows throught the pines.
On Canada Day, the fireworks were cancelled as it was too windy. Greg and I took a walk through the park that night, admiring people's lights and listening to the occasional campfire song. We made our way to the beach and as we sat there, we were treated to four little girls playing with sparklers. They were running along the beach, barefoot and in their nighties, making big circles with their arms, giggling and having so much fun! I overheard one of the girls say to her friends "Let's pretend they are fireflies!" How innocent and charming this moment was...I sat there mesmirized, the tears pricking at my eyes!
It really was one of those magical moments, caught in time.