Plantwatch 2009, Day 3

miscellaneous-010So, yeah …

Remember what my plant looked like below? This is what it looks like now.

Compare and contrast, boys and girls.

I don’t know whether this is because:

 (a) it’s assuming its natural position after spending three days standing up straight 

(b) It’s not getting enough water, even though I was told to let it dry out before watering it again, or

(c) it was a combination of my mother and I trying to get the bugs off of it.  I went over it with a wet cotton swab Wednesday morning; she cleaned it with a combination of  soap (I can only guess it was gentle?), water and vinegar Wednesday afternoon.

Plant hobbyists and pros will probably be horrified if they read this. But my mom has eight other plants which are thriving quite nicely, thank you very much. And the thing had bugs – most likely mites. Something had to be done.

And I’m not any closer to figuring out exactly what it is, although I was given a guess that  it could be one of two possible genera of plant.

I reeeeally hope it doesn’t die on me.

Update: After a couple of inquiries, mystery solved. This is my plant. And, as it turned out, it had aphids. Love-er-ly. At least now I now how to treat and care for it.

Name This Plant!

miscellaneous-002Calling all plant lovers – both novice and professional – out there in the blogosphere …

I have but one question:

What IS this?

(I apologize if the quality of the picture isn’t up to snuff – it’s the best I could do with the ol’ digital.)

I got this lovely houseplant yesterday as a birthday gift from a friend. She didn’t seem to remember the name either. But she told me:

(1) It likes sunlight – west views especially.

(2) It blooms.

(3) For the moment, I should water it as much as it needs, and maybe give it black tea weekly or so. 

The leaves aren’t fuzzy so it’s (obviously) not an African violet – but for all I know, it could be a cousin of the same family.

I keep getting the impression it’s some sort of begonia relative, but I’m probably wrong.

If someone out there could help me identify this mystery plant so I can get this little guy re-potted to make sure it doesn’t develop root-rot and die (because that would make me sad, especially now in winter), I’d gladly appreciate it.

The Thing With Birthdays

half-eaten-cakeTomorrow is my birthday.

My thirty-second birthday.



I’m entering my thirty-third year.

Pardon my French, but fuck, does that ever look so weird, written out like that.

You know when you look at a word or sentence so long, that it stops making sense?

That’s what that number looks like to me right now.

Complete. Jibberish.

I’m not freaking out, I don’t think. But today I’ve been finding it hard to wrap my mind around it.

Yes, it shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just another birthday. I should be wearing it as a badge of honour, as a testament that I’ve been lucky enough to even gotten this far in life. Right?

And I did. TWO YEARS AGO. Man, was I boastful about it back then.

But earlier today, my mind did that weird, neurotic, obsessive what-have-I-done audit of my life thus far.

And for everything I see as something I haven’t done, I have to keep myself in check by reminding myself of the things I have been lucky TO do. The things I’ve been lucky to have. And the people I’ve been fortunate enough to have in my life and surround myself with.

But at the same time, I feel like this puny meteorite hurtling through space, knowing there’s nothing I can do about the velocity at which I’m travelling.

And tomorrow will just remind me that I am another year farther away from being a spry, spring chicken.

I can see why people hate birthdays as they get older.

Hump Day Video, “Day One” Edition

Due to my line of work, I didn’t get the chance to sit down and truly witness the history made with yesterday’s American presidential inauguration.

But of what I did see, I was made aware. And it made me conscious that something like that CAN happen – and did (a lot earlier in my lifetime than I actually expected).

Perhaps it really won’t start sinking in until today. Or tomorrow. Or even next week.

I sincerely hope this is the dawn of a new age – a time when people can actually put some faith in world leaders, instead of being forever wary of them …

And those leaders won’t let them down so horribly.

And one thing I’ve heard in the last few days that rings true: change will only happen if we all work together.

I think the late Robert Palmer said it best:

Strangely enough, this still fits, even after all these years.

Time to get to work, folks.

Here We Go Again …

Last night, while at my friend’s “Bye Bye Bush” dinner party (’cause if THIS isn’t an excuse to throw a party, I don’t know what WOULD be), a friend of mine asked me what my New Year’s resolution was.

I told her I didn’t really make any, because I’d be liable to break them.

Later on, when I asked her what hers was, she replied:

“To spend more time with men.”

Her rationale behind this: She’s a very girly-girl; thus, most of her friends are female. By hanging out more with guys, not only might she expand her cache of comrades of the opposite sex and gain some really good friends, eventually she might meet someone who’s boyfriend material. Why not?

I thought it was a great idea, and said good for her.

Then she said to me, “I have a dating site for you.”

I blinked.

“You do?” I said (and I’m pretty sure I was wrinkling my forehead and turning up my nose ever so slightly).

Apparently it’s high-time for me to get myself on a dating Web site – if only for the “dating practice”. AND she’s going to bug me everytime she sees me until I’m on it. Because really – what do I have to lose?

*sigh* Yep. Ten days AHEAD of schedule from last year.

I have to admit when I bedgrudgingly said I’d try and do it, my eyes were flitting from my friend’s face to the splotch on the ceiling above the kitchen tape.

Honestly, I’d love to oblige. And I like boys, really. But I’m so disinterested right now. The weeks following Christmas usually mean my hormones are in hibernation. And the weather we’ve been having lately? NOT helping.

I dunno. I’m not feeling the whole idea right now.

But I guess when she talks to me, she’d rather hear me talk about some guy I went on a date with, rather than me saying, “Not much. I’ve just been working.” Ha.

We’ll see.

The Best Job EVER?

hamiltonisland1To the left is an image of Hamilton Island, off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Now imagine for a moment, that THAT is your office – for six months.

All YOU have to do is keep an eye on the island … feed the fish … and occasionally write a blog about your experiences.

And for all your hard work, you receive a salary of 70,000 pounds ($126,232 Cdn.) and a three-bedroom villa. Rent-free.

Here’s the thing: this ain’t the premise for a new reality/game show.

It’s a real, honest-to-God job posting for Tourism Queensland. I’m not even kidding – this is the Web site.

They’ve posted the aforementioned job in 18 countries, looking for someone to work as caretaker for Hamilton Island, starting in July.

All you need to do is be at least 18 years old, be able to swim, have a year of “relevant experience”, and good communication skills. And you have to send them a video showing them why you want the job.

There’s NO catch whatsoever.

Suddenly I’m finding it VERY hard to focus at work.

The posting closes in 40 days. So if any of you apply and GET said job, pleeeeeeease invite me. I’m a reeeally good, conscientious house-guest :).

You can read more about it here.

The Vomit Comet

As I mention on a semi-regular basis on this blog, I live way out in suburbia, but work and (for the most part) play downtown.

Although I’m trying to be more responsible about this, there are times where I’ve stayed out as late as possible, catching the last possible subway without resorting to cabbing it all the way home.

It’s challenging enough dealing with people on public transit during the day – loud voices, annoying personal habits and big, bulky bags, at times packed into buses, streetcars and subway trains.

But in the middle of the night, The Better Way gives way to The Vomit Comet – the nickname given to TTC service at night and the wee hours of the morning. 

It immediately conjures up images of drunken, unruly folks so inebriated they can barely stand – or worse,  when their insides give up the war against alcohol and revolt, causing said drunkards to showcase the contents of their stomachs to  other patrons.

I have somehow avoided witnessing this for myself.*

Until last night.

Two stops into my commute home, a bunch of young guys bounded onto the subway car, making all sorts of noise. Two of them plunked themselves down into the seats just behind me; their friend eased into a two-seater just diagonal from my own, on the other side of the car.

I turned up my iPod as best I could, but I could still hear them. At one point, one of them said something chiding their friend about throwing up somewhere, but I didn’t really pay any attention.

Around the time the train was cruising through Greenwood station, I don’t know WHAT caused me to look up from my book at one point, but I did – and looked over my shoulder.

The guy seated diagonally and across from me had upchucked (if I were to take a wild guess, pizza) into the seat right beside his. His head was bent forward, a long string of mucus just hanging there from his mouth, like a wobbly, gelatinous icicle.

His friends were just whooping and hollering with laughter.

I looked away, not processing what I saw. Then I looked again. Yep, I thought. THAT’s vomit. Time to move.

I should have left the car entirely. But I just moved as far down to the opposite end as I could.

Near the end of my trip, I turned to see if the young dude was still there. He was. And so were his friends – taking pictures of his digestive artwork with their cellphones.

The young guy was still retching as I got off the subway at the end of the line.

I feel sorry for that kid when he finds out what his friends did.

And I feel sorry for whomever had to clean up his mess. 


*By which I mean seeing OTHER people vomit. I was a victim of this once, but I had (a) the luxury of having a subway car to myself and (b) a plastic bag, into which I could deposit – and later dispose of at my final destination – the evidence.

New Year, New Dreams

Maybe this is some sort of indirect by-product of my efforts to get more sleep … but I’m ALREADY having weird dreams.

I hope none of these are premonitions.

Sunday (January 4): I dreamt that I was going home to my apartment – which city, I dunno; it looked pretty generic – when I think I was accosted by someone I can only describe as a young, deaf guy try to mug me. I don’t know why I came to this particular conclusion, other than the fact he never said anything – he just grunted.

Apparently I managed to break free and fight him off, just metres away from what I can only guess was an entrance to my apartment.

Later on when I was inside the aforementioned apartment, I dreamt that two little girls managed to break their way into my living room (which looked strangely like the front room of my parents’ house, where I currently live). One of them looked no older than four or five; the other – who I just assumed to be her little sister – was a mere toddler.

I remember trying to figure out where they came from and whether they were all right … and I somehow got the impression they were in cahoots with the deaf thief from earlier. I think I remember hearing him trying to break into the window from outside … when I woke up.


Wednesday (January 7): I had what felt like three separate dreams.

Dream # 1: I was working at a radio staion with a colleague of mine, who asked me to telephone this man who I THINK was a doctor and was a guest that our local station really wanted.

I remember being given sheets of paper with his contact information, as well as a note that he was pissed off/annoyed at us because a number of other stations under the same network had been calling for interviews. At any rate, he was in a sister radio station in Newfoundland and Labrador.

I tried calling using this special inter-office phone code for the radio studio he currently was in … but I just seemed to keep dialling … and dialling … and dialling. I don’t think I ever got through.

Dream # 2: I dreamt that I was sitting at a table with my parents and this TV host, talking about abortion rights. And the host was commending them for their progressive views.

At one point, I was trying to figure out how to get my dad on camera, but my mom explained that he probably wouldn’t want to be on camera because of some incident a long time ago. I still wanted to try, and was imagining myself convincing him that it would be okay.

Dream #3: This one felt like a movie of the week. Apparently I was in my house – which looked a lot like the first house I grew up in – trying to change my clothes. But my sister (I don’t have a sister; this person resembles someone I know from work, who looks NOTHING like me) was trying to catch me naked – I guess to embarrass me? I dunno.

At one point, she came into my kitchen naked, except for where her hands covered her bits (I don’t understand this part) and she launched into some monologue about how my promiscuous behaviour had pretty much branded the other female members in our family (I’m assuming the other sisters I apparently had), and they’d been living with the shame ever since. And when she was finished, a couple of tears rolled down her face.

I remember going over to hug her and then just dissolving into tears when I tried to apologize. I couldn’t actually say anything – I just sobbed. I think the thing that got me was that it actually felt real. Strangely enough, I did not wake up crying.

It probably means nothing. But if you come up with some explanation for all this strangeness, go ahead – give it your best shot.