Thursday, 28 January 2010

Mary Kay made me over

Today, after two cancelled attempts due to cold sores and broken feet, I went to a neighbours house for a consultation. Consultation always seems too grand a word when we were basically talking about make-up but I suppose that's the point; the industry trying to convince us how important make-up is to us. Funny, I wanted make-up when I was 17, now I need it.

I arrived and was taken straight into the downstairs loo for a hand pamper. It might just be me but I think I expected to be pampered - not do it myself with products supplied. So I duly washed with hand cleanser, exfoliated and then moisturised as instructed. I could have just read the labels I suppose.

Next - down to the basement where, after avoiding the punch bag and yoga mats, we went into the 'consultation room'. Compact and full of MK goodies, probably a basement loo at one time. I took a seat. What followed was evidence that I have bugger all idea about what and how to put stuff on my face. I had been doing things in the wrong order with the wrong fingers and the wrong pressure and wrong colours. Who knew that I should use my ring fingers to apply eye cream (not that I ever apply eye cream)? And that I should apply foundation in dozens of 'chicken pocks' across my face to avoid over application or pulling the skin? And lip exfoliator?

So, duly consulted with I bought some things I liked (lip exfoliator being my favourite - how I've managed thus far I don't know) and a few things I know I'll use just once or twice before they go to the make-up cemetery in my bottom drawer (behind the nail varnish cemetery). I was told that if I didn't like anything I could take it back and get my money back 'no questions asked'. What questions do you think they might ask (if they asked them)?
'Have you put it on properly?'
'Why is there only half an inch at the bottom left if it make your skin peel off?'
'Did it not strike you that purple lipstick on your thin lips would look hideous?'
It's one of those guarantees nobody EVER takes up. It's like buying extra cover on your 65 quid microwave to extend the manufacturers warrantee by another 2 years even though you know they are built to break down the week after it expires.

And so I left promising to return for more MK goodies. I get a phone call in 2 days just to check everything is ok which means I use everything religiously and give accurate feedback, or lie. HHmmmmm....a dilemma. Not really.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Mixed pickles

Funny old day.....still limping, weather going Canadian again, Martha talking about midgets, buried my husband. The latter is something I do pretty much every time my husband doesn't arrive/phone me at the precise second he said he would (or I thought he would) so he's familiar with the grave - in my mind.

So, in order. Bloody foot whispered lies to me in my sleep telling me it was getting better and I didn't need to worry about hanging on the line to the insurance company for interminable button pressing sessions, or waiting for hours and hours and hours.....and hours in a waiting room in a hospital in a province that speaks English for them to tell me it's a bad sprain and 'rest it for a while'. In truth, it still bloody hurts but with less venom than when I first 'broke' it.

The weather was warm on Monday, i.e. plus something. Tomorrow (Thursday) it's going to be minus 20. Who can buy a coat to deal with that? I bought a coat this morning which was eminently suitable then, but is of bugger all use tomorrow morning. Despite me having no social life I suspect I'll have more clothes than I've ever had ( though that isn't anything to write to anywhere about) simply due to surviving the weather. Surviving.

Martha...hhmmmm...to get a flavour see my blog about her. Tonight, whilst talking about the intricacies and dilemmas of giving to charity she mentioned a teacher who had recently visited Burundi. The conversation went thus.
Me: Do you know where Burundi is?
Her: Africa
Me: (impressed) Yes, it is.
Her: Well they have little doctors there.
Me: (processing what she could mean...) Small doctors? What's wrong with small doctors?
Her: Not small doctors, Mam. Just not lots.
Ah......the English language..mixed with Canadian, French....and most of all, Martha.

And so back to my husband's funeral. Delayed, thankfully, for some time yet. I kept him talking until 3am his time (he's abroad, not living a Star Trek dream) to make sure he wasn't about to croak. The nearest he was to croaking was passing out from jet lag exhaustion. But alive.

Bring on Thursday.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Whether the weather be hot.....

... or whether the weather be rain, in the middle of winter in Canada. Nobody told me about rain in winter over here. Snow, yes. Lots of it. 'Brutal winters' they said. Brutal? The snow is melting - I can now see the metal dog bowl we put on top of the BBQ in case the dogs licked it and got their tongues stuck, a la Dumb and Dumber. Dog poop will no longer be frozen and relatively smell-free; it will be sloppy and malodorous to the extent of requiring a gas mask, or a huge lung capacity. The cacti the landlord left in pots around the pool are peeping at me, accusing me. Well I hate potted plants, especially cacti and it's not in my lease that I must care for them. Or care about them. The dogs, who have just got used to the snow are now refusing to voluntarily go out to do their business. It's no easy task pushing an unwilling 130lb dog out of the door and then expect him to feel relaxed enough to defecate in public. However, the alternative gave me strength.

Of course this rain will inevitably freeze, turning already treacherous roads into death rinks. Not much point buying a four by four if the tyres are completely useless. It just means I'll be able to do a double axel rather than the two wheel drive toe loop. It's not bad enough I have to drive with a gammy foot (see last post) but I also have to work out slide patterns, 'breaking' distances and which cars to hit with least impact on my insurance.

The forecast suggests 'light rain' today (tell my dogs it's light) which in Canada speak is an inch of rain, and 6 degrees. Positively tropical. I'm glad to see that by the weekend it will be -17 and snowing. That's proper weather.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Oochy ouch

Plans for week commencing 18th January:
- start to go to gym every morning in order to become lithe
- buy all of the planned birthday presents for my husband's birthday at the weekend
- go to very nice hotel and take advantage of free ice skating and snow shoeing

Actual events for week commencing 18th January:
- sit on sofa with injured foot propped up and watch shite TV
- give my husband the one present I've bought which was at best a gimmick present.
- go to nice hotel and stay in.

Stepping off my bed was how I hurt my foot. Simply stepping off the bed, foot decides to turn drastically and Ooooowwwwwww. Tears to the eyes, big painful screaming - thank god I'd had a glass of wine which probably numbed the pain a bit. Then again - perhaps I wouldn't have hurt my foot if I didn't have a glass of wine. Who knows? What it means is that I'm dragging my foot around like a redundant limb. It's just not fair. I join a gym with magnificently over-zealous plans to become a gym bunny and get a body beautiful - 3 days later this happens. I haven't so much as broken a sweat at the place and now I'm, at best, going to be able to do bicep curls. I may end up having Arnold Schwarzenegger's upper body and some sad fat bird's lower body (i.e. mine). Sodding Sod's Law.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Slowly does it...

I joined a gym yesterday. Must be the fifth time in my life. And each and every time I join I have an enthusiastic initial spurt then just pay them the 50 quid a month for the sake of it. But this time I may have it cracked! I joined for 3 months only which means I can get my initial enthusiasm over at about the same time as my membership lapses. Or so I thought.

I got there this morning at 7am. SEVEN A.M. Some of you would still be snuggled up in bed when I was all sweaty and red. I arrived and went to the desk where someone who wasn't the one I joined with stood. I asked her about where I could leave my bag, etc and we started talking. Not only did she advise me that everyone knew everyone at the gym but she is also the mother of my daughter's friend. I felt the cold tentacles of fear crawl slimily up my back. I'd thought I'd be anonymous and fade away anonymously when I got bored but it was starting to sound like I might just get drawn into gym 'buddies' and training groups. God! How could I be so stupid?

I only have 2 choices here. I never go back and make up some ailment story. Or, gulp, I get fit. How will I cope with weight loss and a toned body after a lifetime of flab and breathlessness? Well let's not count our chickens just yet......I may yet find another escape route.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A Trip to the Doctors

I would like to highlight the difference in experiences between going to see my old (ex, not decrepit) doctor in the UK, and seeing my new doctor here.

UK experience

- Phone to make an appointment - usually available that day or the following day (immediately available for children).
- Turn up at surgery and book yourself in on touchpad screen.
- Wait in modern surgery with current magazines available to read and a children's play area.
- Listen to piped classical music.
- Get called in over the tannoy by your doctor
- Sit in his spacious office

Canada experience

- Guess when you might be sick and make earliest appointment which will be no sooner than a month ahead (for children, go to emergency room at a hospital if urgent)
- Turn up at surgery and wait until the receptionist finishes putting 4 people on hold
- Sit on the vinyl chairs and look around at the rows filing cabinets against every wall, presumably full of confidential information.
- Listen to receptionist putting people on hold
- Get called in by your Doctor who comes into waiting room
- Sit in his cubby hole.

I went today not knowing what I'd be able to get. Are doctors tight with their medication here? Do they make you try everything else before prescribing anything useful. Nope. Drugs, physio and x-ray all prescribed. So despite the different approach to patient waiting experiences I might actually get better.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

I told you so!

My husband and I have promised not to be party to that weird Canadian pastime of walking (and even driving) across frozen lakes. It's simple really - it's ice, it can crack. And it does crack. Let's not pretend we are being over cautious here - people die in frozen lakes. And it's just lazy! Drive/walk around like you do in summer - work off some Christmas calories for goodness sake.

Shopping is strange here

There's one shop in town that I have wanted to go to but hadn't until yesterday. Mainly because it's really hard to park there - there are only 2 spaces in front of the shop. Yesterday I got one of those spaces. I pulled up and got out of the car. A man with a young German Shepherd over the road shouted 'Hello'. I thought he was being (over) friendly but said hello back.
'My wife is at the Post Office'.
Oh....why did I bloody care where his wife was?
'I don't have a key'.
Bloody hell - a madman who's locked out.
'She won't be long'.
Penny dropped - his wife owned the shop.
10 minutes later he turns up with dog and a key and said,
'Are you German?'
'No, English'.
'Ah, she's German', he said pointing to the dog.
Didn't know what to say so said nowt. He lets me in to the shop which is about the size of a changing room and it is cram packed with stuff; jewellery, clothes, shoes, bags, belts, toys. It's piled high and packed deep. The clothes seem to be a mix of new and second hand and the shoes definitely are. I eyed a pair of comfortable slip-ons before I came to my senses. He kept shouting from somewhere in the back 'she won't be long'.
The wife eventually turns up. She looks like a potato farmer and has what sounds like an eastern european accent. She was that height between short and toddler, the height where it's almost impossible to resist tousling her hair. I resisted.
I browse the funky/crap/1970's/cool mix of items determined to buy something. You have to buy something when you enter such a small shop - it's the law (well probably is here). I found three necklaces, one for Eldest, Youngest and myself. And for spending over $20 I got a free scarf. The type arab terrorists used to wear, but purple. I produced my bank card.
'Is this a bank card?'
'Yes'
'You'll have to come with me. Excuse the mess.'
She took me in the direction of her husband's voice, indeed she stood me in front of the television her husband was watching as he ate his lunch (probably potatoes) so I could put my PIN in.
'This is the phone line,' she said needlessly.
Her living room was of the same style as her shop and I realised it wasn't that she had too much stock and piled and packed it - it just seemed to be her thing. Books and clothes and games were piled high and thick around the room.
She played with the dog (who was German) and I completed my transaction trying to look inconspicuous in my foot thick winter clothes. The husband didn't seem to notice me so it must have worked.
I left promising to come back though, of course, not meaning it.
'Tell people about us,' were her parting words.
Hence the blog.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Christmas, New Year and dirt.

My first Canadian Christmas and New Year. Completely uneventful. Except for the desperately hard work I put in to eating, drinking and doing no cleaning except enough to stave off E.Coli.

And now I pay the price:

- Fat needs to be fought
- Drink needs to be drastically reduced
- Dirt needs to be swept/dusted/vacuumed

So, Day 1. The dogs thought they'd make Day 1 just a little harder by leaving me large sloppy poops all over the basement carpets. Thanks boys, tackling poop at 6am is my favourite thing.

I have been off the cleaning for a fortnight now so thought I'd break myself in gently by mixing sweeping with Lexulous with tea with BBC News. Tea wins. By 10.30am I have swept necessary rooms (the ones people see), streaked into the lead of my very letter-lucky sister in Lexulous, listened to news of a Gordon Brown coup, and drank 6 cups of tea. Yorkshire tea...mmmmmm.
And I haven't eaten more than one piece of Christmas cake or consumed alcohol. Things are looking good for Day 1. Day 5 could be a worry as we take delivery of 60 bottles of wine that I ordered before I became so abstemious. Perhaps the children could hide them and ration us.

Things I learned about Canada over the last few weeks:

- you can't buy Christmas Crackers here
- snow of any depth does not slow drivers down
- frozen dog poops (poosicles) are a bugger to pick up
- eggnog is thin custard
- I can still get coldsores here
- I can still get fat here

My highlight? My MacBook
My lowlight? 6am poop cleaning

Happy 2010.