Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Canada. Scarier Than It Sounds.

I know Halloween was sooooo last week but in the spirit of such, I wanted to post about something that positively terrified me earlier this year. 

I went to Canada.

HORRIFYING, right?  Nah, Canada is great.  Except for how clean it is.  And that goofy accent.  And how overwhelmingly polite everyone is.  Other than that, it's great!  Plus, poutine!!!

Whatever.  I'm getting off track.  My Sister lives in Nova Scotia and for funsies booked us a hotel room in Halifax so we could play tourist and explore the waterfront and the city.  Which, by the way, is one of my favorite cities and if you ever get the chance, tour the city on one of these little ditties.

Which we totally did.  It's an hour long tour that takes you through the streets of Halifax where you learn all kinds of nifty stuff and then it plunges into the harbor (excuse me, harbour. when in Rome and all) for the second half of the tour.  

 My beautiful Sis pretending being the middle daughter didn't scar her forever. 

Saint Mary's Cathedral Basilica consecrated October 19, 1899

Photo credit

Old Burying Ground founded in 1749.  The only picture of mine that won't upload is of the Burying Ground.  Naturally.

Halifax has been around for awhile and has an absolutely fascinating history which includes receiving the bodies of the deceased from the Titanic while the survivors went to New York. 

With all of this history, I can't help but wonder if it had anything to do with what I experienced the night of September 28 in our hotel room in Halifax, directly facing the waterfront. 

Sis and I were sharing the king size bed and after watching The Voice or something equally mind-numbing, she dozed off to blissful tranquility.  I normally have a pretty difficult time getting to sleep and this night was no exception.  I turned on my bedside lamp and cracked open my book.  Wicked, by the way.  Awesome-sauce.  Definitely getting tickets if it ever comes back to Salt Lake.  

I eventually feel my eyelids getting heavy so I close my book, shut off the lamp, and snuggle in for sleep.

I'm not sure how long I was out but I was ripped from my slumber by the most anguished, desperate, bloodcurdling scream I've ever heard.
The sound terrified me so furiously that I started screaming.  And then I saw it.  Or him.  At the foot of the bed.  Leering towards me was the dark outline and face of a man who seemed to stay at the foot of the bed yet hover closer to my face simultaneously.  

The screaming wouldn't stop.

It seemed to be the exact second that I realized the screaming was coming from my own raw throat that I heard my Sister say, "Dawn.  I'm here".

My eyes had already been open but it wasn't until I turned and looked at her that I really saw her.  I threw both arms around her and willed my heart to stop trying to gallop it's way out of my chest long enough for me to try to figure out what the effing hell just happened.

I have never been more uncontrollably terrified in my entire life. 

She said I simply started screaming and she tried four times to say my name but she couldn't get any words out.  She said her voice just wouldn't come out.  I asked how many times I'd screamed and her response of "at least 5" made me glance at the hotel door waiting for security to come pounding.  It had been such a gorgeous night, we'd left the windows open and I was positive someone would have heard the murderous ruckus.

No one knocked on the door.  No one called the room.  I still have no idea what happened to me that night but I do know one thing.

If you're going to get yourself murdered, don't do it in a hotel in Halifax.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Glitter Can Go To Hell

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I FREAKING LOVE HALLOWEEN!  The crisp air, the changing colors of the leaves and those that have already fallen crunching underfoot.  And of course, the dressing up.  I love seeing people's creativity come out in a medium you usually only see once a year.
 I like gore and blood.  Erik does not.  Erik doesn't dress up for Halloween.  Which means Erik doesn't get a say.

While scrolling through costume ideas online and sharing with him my favorites, most of which included copious amounts of blood, he argued against each and instead made the request for a pixie type costume with lots of "sprinkles".
This coming from the man who, when allowing me to hack away at his hair, makes the request that I cut it "like they do at the store".
Sometimes he struggles with making the words.  Which is why by "sprinkles" I knew he meant glitter.

I hate glitter.

But, I agreed to something a little more feminine than what I usually go for.  I decided on a mermaid.  Erik was happy and I was purposely misleading.

 Upon seeing my interpretation, WHICH EVEN INCLUDED GLITTER, Erik was no longer happy.

 I didn't care.  With Milo's devoted help, my hooked mermaid costume was complete.

 And so it was I struck out on the mean streets of Salt Lake City to wreak havoc with the most adorably grumpy dwarf, a minion who can barely touch his fingers together and the resurrected Steve Jobs.
Side note here.  That minion was made from scratch.  As in, home depot and craft store scratch.  Effing amaze-balls.

Last year, I made no such promises of sprinkles or sparkles or pixies.  I told him my plans to be Little Red Riding Hood.  He approved.  Again, I didn't care.  And again, he wasn't particularly happy with the end result.


 This year?  I'm attempting a Voodoo Priestess meets gypsy clown.  I wanted something with lots of feathers on my head.  It's not looking good for me.  In trying to describe what I've created so far to a friend today, I realized it basically looks like a giant raven landed on my head to use as it's final resting place to decompose.  While simultaneously molting.  And it's making me feel a little stabby.  Luckily, I read somewhere that baking can be very therapeutic in relieving stress.

Turns out they were right.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Subtitles Required

My Grandfather is from Scotland and sailed across the sea to land in Eastern Canada where he knocked up my Gram and my Dad got himself born.
While planning the trip to England, it was decided that Erik and I would take a day to drive up to Scotland so I could see the home my Grandfather lived in.  Dad was pretty stoked and while providing me with Grandfather's Scottish address, requested I take lots of pictures as he had never been to Glasgow himself.  "Nooo problem!" I replied cavalierly.

On the way to discover my heritage, we stopped at this incredible, beautiful, broke-down castle.  I can't recall the name of it but I do remember trying repeatedly to pronounce it and sounding like the equivalent of a drunken southerner with a mouthful of marbles.

After wandering around and realizing how incredibly tiny people were back then, I naturally knighted myself Towering well nourished bad-ass of the Ginger clan.  I think the pink really brings out my menace.

After a couple of U-turns and some positively terrifying round-a-bouts that are even more troublesome when happening on the wrong side of the road, we managed to find the street in Glasgow my Grandfather lived on.

I was ecstatic and elated and other e words that mean happy.  These feelings were swiftly replaced with confusion and crushing disappointment.  Precisely where my Grandfather's house should have been, was now a parking lot.

 I immediately started frantically scanning the area looking for a quaint house that would be an ideal stand-in for the lie I was already forming in my mind to tell my Father.  But no such luck.  It was a strictly industrial area.
We pulled into my Grandfather's former home, paid for an hour of parking, and with a thoroughly dejected air, walked along the River Clyde until we found a coffee shop run by a charming fellow whose accent was so thick I needed subtitles to understand him.

The next day, Erik's Sister Jean and I dragged everyone through the streets of London visiting all those iconic Londony things you see on TV.  And it was glorious.

Erik was obsessed with the architecture of the Gherkin.  I've decided not to delve into the multitude of questions this brings up for me.

Tower Bridge.  Not to be confused with the far less remarkable and more than mildly disappointing London Bridge, which probably fell down out of sheer boredom with it's own design.

One of Erik's amazing shots.  This was a view of Big Ben from the side opposite the Thames including the architecture of the Houses of Parliament.

The Tower of London.  Bad things happened here.  Very bad things.

And then, just a typical day of Velma getting her ticket for the tube while Erik's Dad looks on in bemusement. 

It started pouring so we made our way to the London Eye thinking we could take refuge in the covered bubble thingies and see the city from above while we waited out the rain shower.  Only to realize there was a minimum two hour wait...while standing in the rain.

I was curious to know how many people had to have been kicked or bitten before putting up that plaque. Tourists are fun.

The lunch I grabbed for the train ride back.  Apparently convenience stores in London don't believe in providing utensils.  Or I'm blind.  Coffee stir sticks worked just fine getting those olives and feta into my face. 

 At the end of our second day exploring London, we made it back to our hotel room at The Thistle.  Erik threw himself on the bed and stretched out like the weirdest over-sized cat to ever sport a man bun.  Upon comparing the soft comfort of the hotel bed to our concrete slab back home, Erik stated: "That's it. We need a new mattress."

Me: "Want me to check Craigslist tomorrow?"

Erik: "No."

Me: "KSL?"

Erik: "Only if it's king size and new."

Me: "What if there are minimal splooge stains and they give us a good deal?"

Erik: "NO."

Me: "You have no sense of adventure."

Erik: "Whatever. I chose you didn't i?"

Me: "You're equating me to splooge stains?"

Erik: "Not at all. I'm equating you to adventure. A highly volatile unpredictable ginger adventure."

I'm pretty sure he was still suffering from jet lag.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

That time I became an English Rose; though exceptionally wine sodden and noticebly wilted.

I’ve lived in a couple of different provinces in Canada, numerous states ranging from New York to California and several in between.  I even spent a week sleeping on a beach in Mexico.  My point is, I get around.  North America, that is.  This May, I finally ventured out of my comfort continent.

Erik and I whisked ourselves across the pond to The Lakes District in England where we joined his family who all flew in from PA.  We stayed in the most charming 5-bedroom cottage called Ings, right outside the village of Threlkeld.  I feel like I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have visited so many amazing places in my life.  But this place?  This place most definitely makes the top 3.  I don’t have the mental capacity to consider the other 2 right now so don’t bother asking.


This is the wasteland we encountered every morning when stepping out the back door.

The odd little creatures wandering past the kitchen window to keep me company while washing dishes. 

Apparently these are called sheep and we were there during  something called lambing season.  Previously, my only real experience with them involved mint jelly.

Never again.  Seriously.  After seeing these adorable little bouncing bundles of fluff, as delicious as they are, I simply can't do it.  I would never make it on a farm.  Or an apocalypse. 

There was a pub we frequented often for dinner that was within walking distance using the footpaths that cut through numerous fields.  Fields that had been frequented by a plethora of those bouncing bundles of fluff.  Fields that had accumulated copious amounts of sheep shit.

That little white dot right in the middle?  The cottage Ings we were staying in.  Adorbs.

Which clearly called for an investment in plaid adorableness in the form of wellies.  Which I insisted I would continue to wear regularly once I returned to my dry desert of Utah.  (It's been 3 months since my return and I'm not even sure where they are.  Shhhh!)

After dinner and drinks at the pub, while stumbling our way back to Ings, Jean (Erik's Sister who I absolutely adore and will go along with pretty much anything she suggests) insisted we should all go for a hike up the "mountain" we'd been looking at all week.

Yeah.  That's the "mountain", straight ahead.

Superb idea!  Jean, her boyfriend and I were the only three to think it superb.  So off we went!

It was not a superb idea.  

We had to stop every 5 minutes to catch our breath.  About halfway up (though that's probably being optimistic) Jean threw herself on the ground, gasping for air and insisted she tasted blood.  

We did not conquer the mountain that day.  Or ever.

But!  There was this!! 

And this!!

But best of all?  THIS!!!

My favorite part of each day, was gathering around the big wooden table upstairs by the fireplace after dinner.  We'd all have our favorite beverage of choice and we'd play games.  The first night, we made the mistake of breaking out the UK version of Trivial Pursuit for Kids.  I don't think we'd ever felt dumber in our lives.  Unfamiliar with British terminology or pop culture, none of us were faring well.  When it was my turn and I got the question, "How many years are in a decade?", I was so used to getting everything wrong, not to mention I was half a bottle of wine in, I panicked and could not, for anything in this world, remember the answer.  

I was soon vindicated from my solitary stupidity when the fact that I'd misplaced my drivers license came up.

Me: "It's no big deal.  I'll just get a new license once I'm home."

Erik: "You do realize that means waiting in line for a minimum of two hours at the DMZ."

Me: "UGH.  I know!  Except for that bit where I'm not going to ANY Koreas."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cancer and Rain Clouds. They're Both Stupid.

My Dad has cancer.  Oh.  Maybe I should have eased that into this post a little more delicately.  But I don't feel like it.  They found it in two places and he just finished the round of tests to see if it's spread to his bones or organs.  Now we're waiting for the results.  So that's fun.

I was on my lunch break when my Mom let me know the results of the biopsy had come back and that it was in fact, cancerous.  I had actually forgotten all about it because it was never really an option that my Dad would have cancer.  We're not that family.  We don't get serious illnesses.  Dementia, Alzheimer's, sure, those a-holes are inevitable.  But my parents need to live long enough to get them.

Back to work I went with a blotchy, red face.  When my coworker asked if I was okay I was really good about holding it together.  I lasted a whopping .001 seconds before my chin quivered, face crumpled and the flood gates opened.  So that was fun too.  

Anyhoo, since then I've been doing a really great job of not thinking about it.  Coworker asked the other day how I'm doing with it all.  I told her just fine.  There's no reason to get upset about something that may or may not be worth getting upset over.  Until I know something factual, it's not an issue.  She said that was a really positive and healthy way to view it.

It's called denial.  And last time I checked (which, let's be honest, is never but still pretty sure I'm right) denial is never a positive or healthy way to deal with things.  Which may help to explain the little black rain cloud that's been looming over my head and following me around like an annoyingly shitty shadow that only serves to make me think I'm stubbier and rounder and fluffier than I really am.

After being fired in October, I went to visit my Sister in Nova Scotia which turned out to be the best trip I've ever had there since visiting as an adult.

  I started a new job in December which pays more than I was making at the place that canned me and gave me 4 weeks of vacation right off the bat.  10 days of which I'll be using this month for a vacation in England.

Once I get back from England, I'm trading in my jeep for a newer model.

I've recently gone back to school and just finished my first class.

I still have the best dog any girl could ask for and many people in my life who love me and I love them.

All of these amazing, happy things to have going for me.

And yet...

This damned little rain cloud refuses to stop growing.