Friday, December 02, 2011

Dear Santa

Every year, Canada Post has a special program where kids can write to Santa at the North Pole and, apparently, Santa will answer them. I've always wondered exactly what kind of letter gets sent back. Is it a general form letter? Does a volunteer actually read these letters and respond personally? So I figured, what the heck! I'm writing to Santa this year! I'll let you know if the big guy ever responds.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Point Proved By 9:00 a.m.

Monday mornings suck. Not this Monday morning in particular but, in general, Monday mornings suck. For everyone.

However, my Monday mornings aren't always terrible. I take the subway and the bus to work every morning, then I have to walk about 10 minutes to get to my building. It's not a long commute and Lord knows I could use the exercise so I don't mind it. But, on the occasional Monday, a lady I work with has to drop her daughter off at the subway near my apartment so she offers to pick me up. As much as I don't mind the morning commute on public transit, it's always a treat to have someone pick me up. That gives me an extra hour at home in the morning to do whatever I want. This morning I used that extra hour to work out and eat a healthy breakfast.

Those of you who actually believed that last sentence clearly don't know me very well.

So let's rewind to this particular Monday morning. I actually wake up before my alarm goes off because I'm still trying to recover from the killer migraine I had last night, but I know I'm getting a ride to work so I decide that it's going to be a good day. The power of positive thinking and all that crap. Then my alarm actually does go off and the first thing I hear is something about Jupiter, Venus and the moon all being close together tonight. At first, the astronomy geek in me gets super excited, then reality kicks in and I realize that this is going to be a crazy day. You can agree with me or think I'm insane, I don't really care either way, but I'm telling you...every time there is something funky going on with the moon, things just go all wonky. There's really no other way to put it. There are some days at work where every phone call I get is someone who is insane or things are just are just, well, off. On those days, I always think to myself: "It has to be full moon tonight." and it always is. Like I said, believe me or not, the moon does crazy things to people and nothing will ever convince me otherwise.

So I'm having a good morning, no rushing around to catch the bus, and I go downstairs and wait for the lady I work with to pick me up. And I wait. And I wait. And I wait some more. By now, she's almost 25 minutes late. I know we confirmed right before we went home on Friday evening so maybe she overslept or she forgot about me or she's sick or who knows. For whatever reason, she's clearly not showing up and, by now, I'm going to be late for work if I take the bus. Taking a cab is so not in my budget, I haven't even paid my rent yet, but I hate being late for work. I would rather be an hour early than 5 minutes just throws my entire day off. And that is not the way I want to start my week so I decide to bite the bullet, call a cab, and hope that it gets me to work before the boss. This also involves a mad dash to an ATM.

When the cab shows up, I'm stressed about being late for work, I'm worried about the lady I work with, and I'm pissed that I'm spending money that I hadn't intended to spend. But I decide not to take any of that out on the cab driver so, when I get in, I'm polite and give him a friendly "Good morning" and "How are you?" Again, the power of positive thinking and all that crap. He turns out to be one of those chatty cab drivers, kind of "grandfatherly", and we get into a friendly conversation where the topics vary from the economy, to advice our parents gave us, to society's general lack of common courtesy. The conversation was all over the place but there was a natural flow to it and it actually put me in a good mood. We commiserated about how people like us, the poor schmo who drives a cab or the girl who answers the phone, may not make a lot of money but we always make a point of saying "please" and "thank you". Somehow we got on the topic of our families and he asked if I had children. I told him that I would like to have children one day but it's just not in the stars for me. I can barely afford myself, I could never afford to raise a child. The poor kid would have nothing.

Yes, I know that may come as a shock to a lot of you, but it's something I've thought about a lot ever since I turned 36 and have come face-to-face with the reality that, if I ever want to have kids, there's not much time left to do it. Men don't have that issue, they can have kids when they're 70 years old. Women, it's a different story. Whether we like to admit it or not, that biological clock does exist. Not that I mentioned any of this to the cab driver. It was a friendly conversation but not that friendly.

Anyway, the conversation continued on to other topics and he was a very nice man who not only got me to work with a smile on my face, he actually got me there on time. So I gave him a genuine thank you, not to mention a generous tip, and started to get out of the cab when he said: "You know, I'm psychic."

I replied: "Really? And do you see good things for me?"

Now, going by the general lighthearted, friendly tone of our entire conversation, I assumed he was going to say something like: "You're going to have a good day" or words to that effect. He looked at me, very seriously, and said:

"You have two years."

So I, of course, replied: "Two years for what?"

He ominously held up two fingers and said: "Two years to have a baby. After that...NO CHANCE!" (long pause while I silently sat there and tried to process what this seemingly normal, nice man just randomly said to me) "But you're going to be a good mommy!"

Then he smiled as if he what he'd just said to me was completely normal and not something that would completely freak someone out!! I mean, really, wtf was that? It was such a pleasant cab ride! He was such a sweet old man! Then, at the very last second, it turned into a scene from an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Who says that to someone? Is he really psychic? Did he say that just to mess with me? The Hell?

I gave him a polite, slightly bewildered, thank you and got the hell out of Dodge. Then I looked up and cursed the moon...ALREADY!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Just because

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Godspeed, John.

As we get older, we become more and more nostalgic about our past. This especially happens when someone from our past disappears from our lives forever. It may be an old friend or just someone we knew and loved from afar. Sure, it's an inevitable fact of life, as we get older, people pass away. But, every once in a while, someone's passing really makes you stop and think about how much happiness that person brought into your life, even if the two of you never actually met.

And so it was with a heavy heart that I read about the death of John Majhor yesterday. He was a man that every Canadian from my generation will never forget. The eighties: the days of big hair, jelly shoes and the birth of mainstream music videos. Back then, we had no MTV, no MuchMusic...the only thing us Canucks had was a little show called Toronto Rocks hosted by a local DJ named John Majhor. John sat in a tiny little area that looked to be the size of a closet. There were no flashy sets, no special guests, it was just us and John watching music videos together.

But this wasn't just any ordinary music video show, it was THE show. Everyone watched it! I remember rushing home from school every day so I could be home in time for Toronto Rocks. I still have the video tape that has the clip of when my high school appeared on the show. It was a quick 5 minute segment about our school releasing a bunch of balloons with tags on them so people who found them could tell us where they were and send the tags back to us. It was our way of "putting our school on the map" - at least, that's what the president of the student council said at the time. (I believe one balloon actually made it as far as Quebec.) But, really, none of us cared about any of that. We were going to be on Toronto Rocks and that was all that mattered!

If teenagers today were to watch an old clip of the show, I'm sure they would laugh at the set, the wardrobe, and the general lack of bells and whistles that seem to come with today's video channels. But, people from my generation, we'd watch the same clip with fond nostalgia and a big smile on our faces. John Majhor wasn't just a random host to us. He was a pioneer, an icon, and a true friend...even if we'd never actually met him.

Rock on, John! And thank you.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

'Tis The Season....

.....where I become absolutely miserable.

I hate holidays. Once you lose people you love, the holidays are never the same. As for me, I never had a big family to begin with. My father had a stroke when I was 10 yrs old. My mother passed away 7 years ago. And my brother lives 3 towns away so I spend pretty much every holiday alone. Holidays are a depressing time for a lot of people and I'm one of them.

But what really makes me miserable is Christmas. Not Christmas, in general, but the fact that Christmas pretty much starts right after Halloween. Two months of Christmas is enough to drive anyone batty. But imagine how annoying it is if you don't even celebrate Christmas, yet you still have it shoved down your throat every day for two months straight. Yep, I'm one of those people too.

A Jew. A lonely Jew during the Christmas season. Sure, we have Chanukka, but you never hear anything about it. It's not like you see Stars of David in every shopping mall. You can't go sit on Moses's lap and tell him what you want as a present. (Not that I'd really want to sit on Moses's lap anyway. Ew. Creepy!)

And then there are the little things that really drive me crazy. For example, every year I am blown away and completely pissed off by the number of people who wish me a Merry Christmas. Hello! JEWISH!! Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about random strangers like store clerks, etc. Those people don't know my religion so I know they're just trying to be nice. I don't mind that at all. I'm talking about people who do know me, like the idiots I work with. Every single person I work with knows that I'm Jewish, yet every single year, half of them wish me a Merry Christmas. To me, that's not them being nice, that's them being disrespectful. That's like them saying: "I know you're Jewish but I'm going to completely ignore your religion and wish you a Merry Christmas because my religion is so much more important than yours." Would it kill them to just once say: "Happy Chanukka"? I think it would.

And you know the most miserable day of all? December 25th. That is the most boring day of the year for us. You can't do anything with any of your friends because they're all at home celebrating Christmas with their families. You can't watch tv because there's nothing on but Christmas specials. And you can't listen to the radio because they're never playing anything but Christmas music. It blows! So what do we do? We all go to the movies. Yup, December 25th is National Jews Go To The Movies day. Of course, there's always some people in line that are talking about what gifts they got for Christmas which always makes me want to go up to them and kick them in the shins. Really, movie theatres should have express lines for Jewish people on December 25th. "Move aside people! Jew coming through!"

But, the one thing I will say about the Christmas season, occasionally people do give me gifts! That part absolutely rocks! Especially since my family is pretty much all gone. Usually I live vicariously through my Christian friends when they tell me about all the stuff they got, so it's always a kick ass surprise when one of them gives me a gift. Does it make me a hypocrite that I despise Christmas yet I happily accept Christmas gifts? Probably. But, hey, if I have to put up with all the other stuff being forced upon me for 2 months straight, I think I totally deserve a present or two. Or five. Or ten! So, if you're thinking about getting me a gift this year, how about this:

Or possibly this:

But, if all else fails, you can just buy me stuff!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sometimes it pays to talk to strangers.

I hate summer. I hate summer with a passion.

There's no hockey. All the skinny little women walk around in their tank tops with their bra straps hanging out. (Tacky!) And it's just too damned hot! Especially since I don't have air conditioning. Every summer my apartment turns into an oven. You walk in there and, within 5 minutes, you're literally dripping with sweat. It's completely unbearable. However, I just never seem to have the extra few hundred dollars I need in order to buy an air conditioner.

So yesterday I'm coming home from work and I get into the elevator with some random guy I've never seen before. He decides he wants to make small talk. Clearly this guy doesn't know me or else he would know that I hate people and never chit chat with anyone in my building. I don't know my neighbours and I like it that way. When I come home from work, I just want to be left alone. I don't want to have to make small talk with strangers. However, for whatever reason, I actually decide to be pleasant to this guy. (And, no, it had nothing to do with him being insanely attractive or anything because he wasn't. He was just your average looking dude.)

Him: Finally, the day is over!

Me: Thank God! If only I had air conditioning so I could enjoy it. It almost makes me wish I was back at work.

Him: Oh, you don't have an air conditioner?

Me: Nope.

Him: Do you want one?

So I'm wondering what the deal is with this guy. Does he sell air conditioners? Does he steal them? Is he going to refer me to a friend who owns a store or something?

Him: I'm moving out of the country in a couple weeks so I'm trying to get rid of all my stuff. If you want, I'll sell you my air conditioner for $20.00.

Me: An air conditioner for $20 bucks? What's the catch? Is it broken? Does it leak?

Him: No, I swear, it works great! I'm moving to Japan and I'm not gonna lug an air conditioner with me so I need to get rid of it. You can come look at it right now if you want.

So I figure, what the hell! But as we're walking down the hall to his apartment, I start to wonder exactly how wise this is. A woman walking into the apartment of a total stranger? That's how those stupid women you hear about on the news get killed. But when we reach his apartment, I see that his neighbours across the hall have their door propped wide open. So I figure that if this guy turns out to be some psycho murderer rapist, those people would probably hear me scream. badly do I want this air conditioner? However, after he opens his apartment door, he takes a shoe and props his front door open so problem solved. His apartment has practically no furniture in it so I guess he really is moving out of the country. That's when I start to think that this guy is on the up and up.

He pulls the air conditioner out of his closet and he tells me that he only used it for one year and he never had any problems with it at all. Even better, he says that I don't even have to pay him right away. He insists that I try it out for a few days and, if I'm happy with it, I can just slip the $20.00 under his door. He even carries it down to my apartment for me. When we get there, I insist on giving the guy his $20.00 because he just seems like a nice guy. Plus, I'm damned excited about the prospect of having an air conditioner! And he tells me that if there are any problems at all, just let him know and he'll give me back my money. So we shake hands and I thank him profusely. At that point, we finally decide it might be appropriate to introduce ourselves. It turns out that Sayid (sadly, not the hot guy from LOST) has lived in the building for 3 years but our paths have just never crossed before.

Anyway, I set up the air conditioner (which involves a long, ugly fight with the pigeons on my balcony who seem to think it's their apartment, not mine) and get ready for the big moment. An air conditioner for $20.00? It's way too good to be true. There's gotta be a catch. Like I'll turn it on and it'll blow all the fuses in my apartment and burn down the building. But I cross my fingers and push the button.


Cold air! It works! No leaking. No sparking. No blown fuses. It totally works! It doesn't really cool down the bedroom that much but it's awesome in the living room! And, believe me, I have no qualms whatsoever about sleeping on my couch for the rest of the summer. Hell, I fall alseep on the couch half the time anyway! Will it continue to work? Who knows. But, for now, I have an awesome air conditioner that I bought for only $20.00 from some random stranger who just happened to make small talk in the elevator with me, the one person on the planet who practically never makes small talk with strangers. Right place, right time, I guess.

I still hate summer. But at least I won't be living in an oven anymore!

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Passover Miracle?

Or possibly a wormhole in the universe?

Or, most likely, a really bizarre coincidence.

I own only two pieces of jewellery. A necklace that belonged to my mother and a ring that belonged to my grandmother. The ring was the only piece of jewellery that my grandmother owned and she wore it every day. The necklace was the only piece of jewellery my mother owned and she wore it every day. After they both passed away, I wore the ring and necklace every day to remind me of the two people who I love and will never stop missing.

Neither the ring, nor the necklace are real, I'm sure. If you stole them and tried to pawn them, I'm positive you'd get maybe $10.00 for both, if you were lucky. But to me they are priceless.

I wore them every day.

Every day until about 5 months ago.

I was taking the ring off at the end of the day, so I could put it back into my grandmother's old jewellery box, which is what I did every day. But, this time, the ring slipped out of my hand. I heard it hit the floor but when I looked down, it was gone. I searched for hours and hours but I couldn't find it anywhere. There are no vents in my bedroom so I knew it couldn't have bounced into one. The search went on for days, and then weeks. I tore my room apart but it was just gone. It was like it hit the floor and just disappeared. After about a month, I finally gave up.

I was beyond upset about it but what can you do? Life goes on, and really, it was just a ring.

A few weeks ago, I came home from grocery shopping and was putting the change back into my wallet in the living room when I dropped a nickel. I bent down to pick it up but it was gone. Now, this nickel was simply a nickel. It had no sentimental value so there was no extended search for it like there was for the ring. I did, however, look all around and peeked under the couch before I gave up after a minute or so. I turned to my friend and jokingly said: "It must have fallen into the same time-space continuum that my ring fell into."

So, here I am, a few weeks after losing the nickel and months after losing the ring. It's Good Friday. It's Passover. I don't really care what the holiday is, I just know that I didn't have to go to work and that's always a good thing! So I spent the day lazing around being a bum. Watching The Price Is Right. Taking a nap. Basically, doing a whole lot of nothing. After finally deciding to get my lazy butt off the couch, I came into my bedroom and, as soon as I walked in, something caught my eye. There, right next to the chair by my desk, was my grandmother's ring!

It wasn't hidden in any shadows. It wasn't tucked up against the corner of the desk or anything. It was just sitting right there in the open. Right next to the chair where I sit every single night when I use my computer. I swear I looked there a million times! And, even if I hadn't been looking for it, I don't understand how I didn't see it. I swear it wasn't there before.

But it had to have been.

I immediately grabbed it and went into the living room to grab a tissue so I could wipe off the dust and, as soon as I rounded the corner, something caught my eye. There, directly in front of the couch - the couch I sit on every day; the couch I had just been sitting on a few minutes earlier - was the nickel.

A Passover miracle?

Or possibly a wormhole in the universe?

Or, most likely, a really bizarre coincidence.