Monday, December 31, 2007

The Magic of Giving

Remember when Christmas was that time of the year that couldn't come fast enough?

As soon as December 1st arrived and our first chocolate in our advent eaten, we were rosy cheeked angels on our best behavior lest our mother get on the phone with Santa (or was it just my mother who apparently had him on speed dial?).  Christmas Eve was TORTURE.  The gifts all shiny and wrapped under the glittery tree taunting us with their mystery.  Was it that new doll we had seen in the frosty window at the Bay?  Or our favorite Disney movie?  Or, in the year I was ten, a nintendo (old school) complete with Mario Brothers One, Two and Three?  
I could never fall asleep for excitement.  Especially because in my household stockings were placed at the foot of our beds so that I would wake up in the middle of the night and open it.  I actually still get just as excited for stockings!

Now days that burning excitement and thrill is barely a flutter in my tummy.  I must admit that I miss those days a wee bit - the only thing comparable in my adulthood has been the night before a big trip.  My grandmother was amazing at keeping the magic in Christmas alive until her dying day.  So I'm trying.  And I have found that there is a new sort of magic in Christmas as we get older:  the magic of giving.

As cheesy as that sounds, the 'magic of giving' has become almost, okay - as good as if not better - than getting.  This year I was a terrible gift giver.  I was terrible because I had no patience to wait until the big day.  My gifts were FANTASTIC!  They sat under my candy-like tree (it was covered in pretty pink and blue balls, snowmen on cupcakes, and ju-jube spinwheels topped with a star-shaped sugar cookie.  So cute!) taunting me as if they were my nine-year-old own.  I gave my parents gifts leading up to Christmas Eve, I gave the Engineer his big one on Christmas Eve Eve, and I made my girlfriend open her harmonica kit a week early.  In fact, I gave away so many gifts that there was almost nothing left for Christmas morning.  Oooops.

The days of not pouting or crying in case Santa might see,  butterfly filled sleep, and dreamy wishing while gazing at our presents are over for me.  But they have been replaced my finding joy in watching my mum's eyes fill with tears with her gift, or the Engineer actually showing excitement over his Disneyland pass.  And discovering a perfect present for the impossible father:  wine, wine and more wine.  It really is quite magical.

And that, my friends, is the nouveau magic of Christmas.  Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2007

How a Virgo Decorates for Christmas

I love the Christmas season with its’ sparkling lights, tree trimming, and wrapping of gifts. I just don’t love getting ‘help from other people – which clearly is not in the spirit of Christmas. It is technically a time for those you love to gather with glasses of wine and help you hang ornaments on your incredibly beautiful, lusciously green and robustly full Christmas tree. But screw that.
I am a Virgo, which makes me a slight perfectionist if being perfect means everything needs to be done according to Stella. I decided to get a real tree this year – and it is so incredibly beautiful. And incredibly against all Virgo rules. The things drops more pines that a Northern Boreal forest. What was I thinking? I can’t vacuum fast enough! I shleped it all the way from Ikea (which by-the-by has the best deal in town. $20 gets you a gorgeous tree, with that money going to Tree Canada AND you get a $20 coupon for Ikea! Hello! Other places are charging $60 for trees that would win Charlie Brown’s heart). Anyhoo, I stuffed the thing in my trunk (Volkswagens rule) and got it to my apartment ALL BY MYSELF. At this point I needed reinforcements in the forms of the Engineer, my girlfriend and her boyfriend who is also an engineer and best friends with my Engineer. Very cozy all around.
They were lovely and helpful, getting the tree up and trimmed so it stood just right. The boys had hockey so they left us girls to it – decorating my tree and drinking mulled wine. I thought this idea was great until she tried to wrap my lights around the tree – just wrap all helter skelter! The Engineer had done this to my mini-tree earlier (yes, I have two trees), which was appalling. Who are these people? You don’t just wrap your lights willy nilly – you have to place them in the branches so that they glitter like the fairies they are supposed to be. I don’t want to see the freaking cord??!!
And then – horror of all horrors – my friend started to hang decorations WHERVER. Just wherever??!!! GAH! No no no, you have to think about colour and size. You have to take into consideration what the ornament means to me, where I got it, and who from. Obviously the angel that I got in NYC has to have precedent on the higher branches. The bright green ball goes on the back of the tree – to balance out the balls but the colour is quite awful.
So I had to stop the madness by suggesting we wrap presents instead. Actually, she insisted on helping me with this too. I love wrapping presents. I love the precision of matching up the paper, the careful tape placing so the paper never moves, and the tightness of having a well-wrapped gift. None of that loose crap that men are really good at. And to my horror, my friend did just that! Double GAH! So I put her on bow duty, which to my relief she was amazing at.
Tthe moral of my story? If you are a Virgo and want to decorate for Christmas: don’t invite others over to help (except for putting the tree in the stand). Put on lovely Christmas carols, pour yourself some eggnog and go about making sure each detail is perfect to your own satisfaction. This is quite possibly the most rewarding way to decorate Christmas, alone alone alone.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Team Work

This weekend the Engineer and I travelled to Seattle for what is fondly known as 'Black Friday'. Firstly, I am an idiot as I had no idea Americans celebrated Thanksgiving on a Thursday. What an odd day to have Thanksgiving dinner? Why not Sunday or Monday like we do? But this is neither here nor there, as we ended up in the States on one of the busiest shopping days of the year and what day people eat turkey is of no consequence.

The Engineer has a new job and so has relented his highschoolesque/university student look for a more mature business type professional look. Praise the lord! And I am a Buddhist. While at Nordstroms I could no longer look at his baggy, torn and worn jeans so forced him to buy a new pair of Sevens. Well, I didn't really need to force him because once he saw what a good pair of jeans can do for one's butt it was a no brainer. It was glorious! The shops bussling with people vying for good deals and Christmas presents - it just put me in a wonderful mood. Or maybe it was spending someone else's money for once.

Back at the hotel, the Engineer and I snuggled in the king-sized bed with Indian take-out and a movie rental on the huge flat-screen TV. We watched a good old fashioned Hollywood comedy before getting down to the hard stuff. That's right - porn. I have never really seen a porn and thought it would be a fun way to spice up our 'life'. After purusing the very large selection, we decided on 'Bad Teacher Bad Student'. GAH! The acting and writing was HORRIFIC!!!! And the guy was so freaking ugly! I couldn't handle it (clearly I wasn't expecting an Oscar award winner but at least some decent sentences!) so I turned it off thinking we could still switch. So I called down to the front desk and said I made a mistake - he assured me it would come off of our bill. We pressed our second choice "Horny Cowgirls" or something like that. OH MY GOD. There was no speaking in this one, just bad fiddle music with out-of-sync pleasure noises. And once again, the men, yes MEN, were brutal. Horribly gross and wearing overalls (just for the record, I grew up on a farm and no farmer I have ever met wears overalls). Not that the girls were great either. The first scene was two man one girl action that looked terribly unpleasant and actually disgusting. I couldn't help but laugh and cover my eyes. The second scene was even worse - she was in this horribly awkward position standing up with her knees together but her feet apart and her skirt halfway down. And then they started doing IT. Quite frankly, the male body whilst thrusting is not the most attractive. Nor is the close-up of the . . . . well you can fill it in for yourself. I went from laughing to almost sick - the Engineer was also quite disgusted and lay on the other side of the bed. Needless to say, the film had the opposite effect.

But this is not the worst of it. When we went to check out, we had in fact been charged for both films. When we started to dispute this, the kind girl said 'no problem - can you remember the title?". We both answered no very quickly. Then she went to the back and said, "If I yell it out to you will you remember?" Oh god. The lobby was full and I turned to the Engineer and told him I couldn't handle this. Then I asked him for the car keys but promptly motored out of there not having the patience for the keys. And I motored with my little wheelie suitcase.

I was waiting in the car when the Engineer came out exclaiming how happy he was that he could count on me for team work in sticky situations. Apparently he looked like a creepy man by himself. But seriously, I just can't handle it - remember how I told the doctor I was getting married?? The girl must have seen the titles and didn't call out the name, thank goodness. Seriously, don't ever argue porn on the bill, just let it go. But the Engineer is too fiscally responsible for that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Doctor Shame

I went to the doctor the other day with problems regarding my birth control pills. I just don't really want to be on them anymore so wanted to find out what my other options are. There aren't many that I like. In fact there are none that I like. Why can't men be on some sort of birth control pill? Anyhoo, that is not the point of this entry.

My point is that I am a big fat liar!!! These lies spill out of my mouth before I can stop them - and they come out of no where but suddenly I just can't seem to tell the truth. This happens when I bump into people I don't like or when my doctor asks me how long have I been in my current relationship. Why can't I just act like the adult that I am and tell her the truth: I have been with my current boyfriend, the Engineer, for nearly a year. But the shame of being in a pre-marital sexual relationship in the modern age makes me say: I have been with my fiance for two and a half years! FIANCE! TWO AND A HALF YEARS! Why am I ashamed? Why do I care if she thinks I am a slut (not that I am)? Why do I keep telling people I have a fiance? GAH!

I had a doctor filling in for my doctor once who tried to talk me out of birth control. She thought I should just say 'no' - and this wasn't when I was 17, try a few years ago. She was a mousy little git with brown stringy hair. Probably believed in Jesus and thought I was going to hell or she herself was so desperate for a date she tried to stop anyone else from dating. In any case, it was highly inappropriate.

But why do I feel so bad about being a non-married girl asking for the pill? I think it is the way the doctor says 'relationship' - why doesn't she just come right out and say "who are you screwing now". Vulgar as it seems, it is perfectly true. Relationship says to me dinners with wine, holding hands during scary movies, bringing ice cream over when I have a sore throat. But when the doctor says 'relationship' it brings to mind all those private things we do that have now just been made public because I am having problems with my pill. Suddenly my wonderful and happy relationship is scientific and going for an ultra-sound in two weeks.

Well, at least the Engineer laughed at my lies. Now it is two places he can't go with me . . . .

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Ring

Okay, I admit it. I am a coveter. There I said it. I - AM -A - COVETER. Of what? Oh god, the truth will set me free, the truth will set me free . . . . . I covet . . . I can hardly admit this let alone write it . . . . rings. Phew! There. Done. Oh wait. What kind of rings? Diamond rings. Are you happy? No? Okay, fine. I covet diamond engagement rings. GAH! Double GAH! Who am I? Crap, I can't help it. I love the goddamn freaking shiny rings worn on the ring finger of the left hand. I suppose I would love any diamond ring on any finger of either hand. But there is something about that damn solitaire on that damn ring finger. It says: I have a lover. I have stability (well we hope). I have a man who buys me pretty things. Shut up all of you feminist females out there!!! I am sure if I polled the Western world most women would admit that it is very nice to sport a shiny diamond that they got for FREE!!! FREE! That is the best thing about diamond engagements rings! We don't have to pay for them!!

I never used to care about diamonds until my first trip to Rodeo Drive when I was 21. On the corner of Rodeo and Wiltshire stands a three-storey Tiffany's. Being from the farmlands of Canada. I had never been into a Tiffany's - so I had to see what all the fuss was about. And as soon as that doorman/security guard opened the door for me and I stepped into the softly scented room filled with sparkle and glitter I knew my love affair had begun.

So today I may have gone shopping with some girlfriends. And we may have gone into Tiffany's. And I may have tried on a ring. Not my fault! My friend pointed it out to me as being perfect. And it is perfect - it is MY ring. No really, the ring was made for my finger, for my colouring, for my personality. And it isn't a diamond (okay it is encrusted with diamonds but they are small so who counts?) it is a 2.5 carat, PINK Sapphire. Oh god, it is beautiful. And the manager practically insisted I try it on (I screamed at it, I think he felt I should). And as priorly mentioned - I am a retard shopper who pretends I can afford the crazy price tags of things in cases. So when I saw the price of $33 000, I hardly blinked an eye. I mean the ring was soooooooo me. I have to have one (or a fake one very much like it). I think the manager thought that the Engineer makes enough money to buy me a $33 000 ring because he gave me his personal business card. I have NO idea where he got that idea.

My girlfriends supported me 100% in my love and need for the ring (okay, maybe not so much for the price tag) so what else is a girl to do but tell her Engineer? He was in the shower. The conversation went like this:
Stella: I love you
Engineer: Aww babe, I love you too
Stella: No, I really really love you
Engineer: What did you do?
Stella: I didn't do anything. (pause) not really

I won't tell you the end of that conversation. I think it ended somewhere between 'pressure' and 'don't drink wine while you are pregnant with my baby who is going to have cancer at the age of six'. All I know is that things got fuzzy and I don't have a pink ring. yet.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Shop-over

I think I must be one of the world's worst shoppers. Right after my mum. My mum is a salesman's dream - if he says flattering things about his product my mother is putty in his hand. This is how my family has ended up with a pinkish tent, a pair of cross country skis, a Toyota CRV, and even a townhouse. I kid you not - I once got a call from my mum sounding all sheepish:
Mum: So today I went shopping
Stella: Oh yeah?
Mum: 'shy giggle' Yup
Stella: Oh god, what did you buy?
Mum: A house!

Seriously, who buys a house on a whim? The realtor convinced my mum that this was a dream home for investors and those about to retire - so she used her 'Fuck Off Account' - money she inherited from her father and keeps away from MY father - and put down a payment. I have to admit that it was smart buy - it is in Calgary and it is beautiful and it's price has tripled. But still.

Next in the retail idiot line is myself. I love to shop (what girl doesn't) but I really shouldn't as much as I do. Hello! I'm an actress/writer and things are quiet right now! It isn't so much that I suck at shopping - it is that I suck at saying no. For example, I have this problem asking how much things are, I hate appearing cheap. Which is ridiculous!! When things are in cases (ie pretty rings) I hate asking how much they are because when they say $900 I want to appear as if I have $900 to spend on a ring (not faint with sheer shock). I don't know why. So either I don't ask OR I ask and buy the thing even if I can't afford it!

Same with make-up counters. I walked into the new Holt's the other day, BIG mistake. BIG. It was all shiny and bright - how could I resist? Lead me not into temptation . . . . . but I was already there. At Bobbie Brown. Yikes. All the girls working were pretty and glossy. Could I help it if I wanted to be pretty and glossy too? So before I knew it I was up in a chair having my make-up done by a girl with pink cheeks. And I love having my make up done - it is right up there with massage. And she was putting nice smelling creams on my face that made my skin all dewy and silky. Then she had this blush that made me look fresh out of a walk in the woods, then the eye liner and shadow which made my blue eyes sparkle and before I knew it I had bought it all. ALL! GAHHHHH! And now I have to take it back - because it is Bobbie Brown and wonderful and very expensive. And I need to pay for car insurance. God I hate being grown up. Insurance over make-up, who thought of that stupid idea?

But I can't take it back to my new glossy store here, I feel like a retard. Like one of those women who shops everyday and spends thousands only to return her items the next day - we used to get them all the time in the retail store where I used to work. Luckily I am going to Calgary for Thanksgiving so I can return in there. HA! And I always make up a stupid excuse like: my mum bought me one already, it was a gift for my friend and she hated it, I suddenly lost 20 pounds so it doesn't fit, it didn't go with the pants like I thought it would (they went back too!), etc etc. Oh god, maybe I am that crazy lady??!!!

You know what it is? A shop-over. You know what the basic premise of a hangover is? - well a shop-over is very similar. But instead of your head hurting from wine, it hurts from VISA over-spendatures and moments of weakness in the bra department. You wake up with that sense of 'oh god, what did I do? What did I buy?" and items that seemed so perfect the day before are now just reminders of a weak moment in which you decided you just NEEDED a big purple purse (I returned that too). I hate the shop-over, but it is a really good cure for that shop-need (you know the feeling - when you just NEED to buy something. ANYTHING!) That is it. No more! From now on I vow to only make smart purchases that will not leave me heaving over the toilet or skipping off to other cities to return the items so I don't have to face girls with pink cheeks.

Being a guest . . .

So I just re-read some of my old entries. YOWZA! I do apparently hate weddings. But deep down, I really don't. If you read the entry below you will see that I enjoyed a wedding last weekend. And I enjoyed the cake (oh, god, I don't remember them cutting it? Did they cut it? They must have because I ate three pieces. It was YUMMO). I even think my boyfriend tried to catch the garter. I danced all night with my friends and it was so much fun. So therefore, I can't hate weddings as much as I think I do.

But I think I really like just being a guest - as long as I know the couple (I don't like being the guest of a guest when I have never met the bride OR groom). If it is a friend, then you get the fun stagette a few weeks before. As a friend, you know that other friends are going. And it is always really nice to hang out with your friends. It is nice seeing them all dressed up and pretty. And I love watching our boys playing with each other and becoming friends. And dancing is always fun. You can't ever go wrong with two-stepping in your bare feet!

Wow - two positive entries. What is wrong with me? Oh - I just realized that around July 19th I started taking my happy pink pills. Clearly they have kicked in :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The First Kiss

I fear that my writing is reaching high proportions of bitterness and bitchiness. Read one entry and you may think ‘hey, this girl is sort of funny’ but if you read them all at once you may think ‘get this girl a cocktail because she needs to shut up’.

Therefore I am writing about something positive, and the sad thing is I can’t think of too many positive things that involve weddings. Sad isn’t it? When technically love is the most wonderful thing that exists in our world (puke). But love really is nice. It means backrubs, cups of tea and oil changes. My own Engineer is sitting in my tub right now with rubber gloves and a wire contraption he designed, pulling hair out of my drain. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

I have to admit that I have a good one. A really really really good one. We started off friends and decided one magical night to be more. And when I say ‘magical’ I actually mean ‘drunken’. For just over a year, the Engineer and I had been pretty much inseparable - we used to joke that we were a mutant couple. In hindsight we were in fact mutant. We would rather hang out as friends than date other people. Our friends waited patiently for us to wake up and that beautiful day happened on Halloween.

I was dressed as a butterfly in an old formal gown that I had from my sorority days (that is an entry for another day) and he was a blow-up bull rider. My grandmother met my grandfather at a Halloween dance. She was dressed as a gypsy reading fortunes for all the kids and my grandfather couldn’t resist her beauty so had his fortune read. And his fortune was to fall in love (or that is how their meeting goes in my imagination – all I know is that she really was dressed as a gypsy). My Halloween story is not like that. At all.

When I say the Engineer and I were inseparable, it means that we basically went to the bar every weekend. Our bonding was over gin & tonics and a shared love of country music in sweaty bars (once again, another entry for another time). For over a year and a half, the Engineer took care of me at bars. He protected me if need be and always carried my lip-gloss. He would pick up my purse when I dropped it and he once gave me his runners when my feet hurt too much in my shoes. But not this fateful night. Oh no. The Engineer decides to hit on this girl dressed as a stupid super hero. Well this butterfly did not like the sudden attention he was spending on a random girl. So I did my darndest to deter her away.

At party number one I asked what she did for a living and found out that she never went to post-secondary school. Judgmental Butterfly told her the Engineer doesn’t like stupid people.

At party number two, Bitter Butterfly kept grabbing the Engineer away from her and shooting her dirty looks. I then made the Engineer fix my broken wings in a snuggly corner out of eyesight from the superhero. I also spent a considerable time telling him that I didn’t like her. I must say, that the Engineer and I spent most of this party together (I think) and excluded the superhero.

At party number three (I quite frankly don’t know why she stuck around), Belligerent Butterfly got mad at the Engineer because I told him that everyone thought he was in love with me but he wasn’t acting like he did. I then asked him if he ever thought that we should be a couple. When he said ‘yes’ I freaked out MORE – and told him it would be weird if we kissed. When he said ‘no’ I grabbed his face and kissed him. Then I yelled that his timing was off and that it was weird. So we tried again – but this time he grabbed my waist and the timing wasn’t off at all. And it wasn’t weird. Well, not really. I don’t know where the superhero was at this point but they still shared a cab and he saw that she got home. And in fact they went on a date a week later because we were both in denial about THE KISS.

And now that I write this down, I see the complete absurdity that was our first kiss and I can’t believe that I spent most of the time yelling at him – and that he still wanted to be with me. But we figured it out – albeit a month later. And now he pulls hair out of my drain. See? Now that is love. And as for the superhero? I don’t really care . . . . ..

Friday, July 13, 2007

To Prove that I don't really Hate weddings (that much)

Okay, now I feel bad for bitching about weddings as much as I do. Yes, I have seen too many weddings than I care to remember. But I have also been to several weddings where I had a great time and really enjoyed myself.

The first wedding in which I bridesmaided for was one of the lovliest. It was nestled in the mountains in the middle of August. it was not a $50 000 affair but something smaller and more intimate. The part I remember most is dancing under the stars on the grass in our barefeet. See? I can like weddings too!


1. Being with your best friend on the day of their dreams.
2. The daddy/daughter dance. It always makes me cry.
3. Free champagne and lots of cake.
4. Seeing old people dance. It’s really cute.
5. The night before sleepover (if you have one) where you giggle about boys like a teenager,

Monday, July 9, 2007

Everything a Bride should know . . .


1. Your wedding day is going to be the most incredible, memory-filled, happy day of your life. Note the “your’ in your life. It really is a great day that you have been dreaming about since you were five. But that’s just it. It’s your day - so don’t force your day on other people for a year and a half before the day. No one is going to think about your wedding 24/7, except you and maybe your mom. Your friends are happy to stand by you and celebrate your happiness; but they have a life outside your wedding. Remember that. (This also pertains to people who have babies talking to those who do not have babies)

2. Think beyond the wedding. Don’t worry so much about which dress has straps and which doesn’t. Don’t worry about matching toe nail polish on your bridesmaids. Don’t worry about ribbon being too gold or not gold enough. These things are not going to affect your marriage in 60 years. No one at the wedding will notice these silly details. And most importantly: people are dying in the world from war and famine. Put things in perspective and pretty suddenly minute details will be just that: minute.

3. Don’t’ waste time, money or energy on wedding favors. Seriously. That is silly. Most people forget them at the wedding and the rest just toss them away after a couple of months. The best possible thing you can do is giving that money to your favorite charity. Not only does that make you look really good but someone in need is going to benefit so much more than a guest will with a CD or a magnet.

4. When picking a dress for your bridesmaids, be nice. It isn’t even the prospect of wearing a burgundy dress that looks like a prom dress circa 1997 that scares us; it’s paying $300 that kills us. If you are going to insist on a dress that is expensive, you really should be picking up the tab or at least paying for some of it. Back when our mothers got married, the bride paid for the bridesmaid dress. That is a tradition we have sadly lost. Reason #1 comes into play here. It isn’t fair to tax your closest friends financially for your day. They want to spend their hard earned cash on something more fun – like a pair of Prada sunglasses! And if you don’t want to fit the dress into your budget then pick a dress for $100 or less and let the girls pick their own shoes. Also, don’t expect a gift so quickly from your girls. If they have just spend hundreds of dollars to support you on the day then that should be gift enough. Really.

5. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Things are going to go wrong, things are not going to go as smoothly as you would like but in the end nothing will matter except the marriage to the person you love. See #2

The Lucky Day

So this weekend was the famous 7/7/7 wedding day that apparently was the big day for more people than any other day in history thus far. That's right, a set of 7's is going to keep the divorce away - we hope. Actually, the traffic was clear at one of the busiest intersections in the city so I was grateful that everyone was at a wedding so we could get to our movie in time.

My girlfriend was a bridesmaid this weekend. She is like me in that she has served as bridesmaid more times than anyone really should. Unlike me however, her brides are vastly inconsiderate, as are the other bridesmaids. For the most part I have lucked out with brides that don't insist on the super expensive dress or feel that they should pay for all of it or at least some. My girlfriend though has been known to pay over $400 for her dress and shoes!!!! In this last wedding she also paid for food and drink for the shower and stagette, her dress and shoes and the gift for the bride and groom. She could ask for money from the other bridesmaids to help with the said food and drink but she is too shy, and I think it is appalling that money wasn't even offered! She is a teacher for crying out loud; it isn't as if she is rolling around in crispy $100 bills.

Thinking of her brings me to one of my PET PEEVES about weddings and why they drive me around the bend. I think weddings are one of the most stupid expenses we will face in life. For everyone involved. Let’s do some math shall we?

My girlfriend spent nearly $700 on food, drinks and decorations to throw her cousin nice pre-wedding parties. Not to mention the time and energy spent to put on the said parties. Then she spent another $400 on her dress and shoes that the bride insisted they all wear. Of course, she had to have her nails and hair done, let’s say another $100 at the least. PLUS she has to get a gift for her cousin which is often $100 or more (right here, this is what I HATE! Why should the wedding party have to buy gifts for the bride and groom – isn’t the fact that they spent a month’s rent on their wedding enough?? A little known fact is that you don’t have to buy the gift for a whole year after the wedding. I use this rule A LOT. In fact I think I am due pretty soon . . .. ). So her grand total is: $1300!!! $1300!!!!! That is half of her monthly take home salary! And for what? A meal that maybe was $60 a head and $40 worth of free wine? Oh and the joy of standing next to one of her best friends.

Another girl I know had to spend $1200, which included matching fake nails. MATCHING FAKE NAILS!!!! That is pure insanity! And I am sure you are wondering why don’t we just say ‘no’? Well first off, it’s hard. Brides have a funny way of guilting you into credit card hell. And I have said ‘no’ before and gotten my way. Not without some severe bitching and complaining but at least I didn’t have to use my overdraft on my bank account.

But it isn’t just the expense of being a bridesmaid that bugs me. It is the whole wedding thing. A cheap wedding is now $20 000. $20 000!!!! Many people I know have spent at least $50 000! And then there are the people who spend over $100 000 but they are just stupid. A day should never cost that much. A day should never send you into the hole in which you spend the first five years of your married life paying off. I have nothing wrong with the $100 000, $50 000, $20 000 wedding as long as the money you earn exceeds that amount. I know people who spent over $50 000 and don’t even make that in a year. GAH! Neither do their parents! GAH! Weddings have become this commercial enterprise in which all businesses involved can gouge you because they know they can. It is sick sick sick sick.

So if 7/7/7 was the most popular day this century to get married – how much profit do you think was made by dress stores, florists, halls, golf courses, caterers, hair salons, tux rental places, card companies, liquor people and the Bay alone? I don’t even want to think of the number because I might puke.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Why we marry

So I watched this CBC documentary the other day on why people get married in this day and age - and it made me think: why the hell do I want to get married so bad??

Apparently people in France and Quebec are no longer feeling the need to marry, they insist on common-law, which is surprising that a Catholic society who used to think that sharing a toothbrush holder without a marriage licence is a ticket straight to hell. But then again, they're French. French do everything they want to. They revolt against kings, they drink wine while pregnant, they don't get fat. Seriously, is it any wonder why French people are often hated? And now they don't need le wedding to commit to le love.

All my friends are married, well mostly. If they aren't, they want to get married. And yet none are particularily religious or traditional. At first I couldn't even answer why I want to get married. Isn't it enough if the Engineer and I decide to stay loyal to each other for life without the vows or the wedding dress? Ummmm, NO!

But then again, I am fairly traditional in some ways. And I am orderly and I like ceremony. My Christmas tree always goes up December 15th. I drink egg nog and listen to carols. The angel goes on last. I go to midnight mass even though I am a Buddhist simply because I like the carols and sticking candles in the snow. On Halloween, I have to carve the pumpkin BEFORE my costume goes on otherwise it is not really Halloween. Easter always involves a new pink item in my wardrobe and a pretend Easter egg hunt even though I am almost 30. Thanksgiving always gets a country drive. I get drunk at the Stampede. See? I am totally traditional.

And also, I ike a ceremony just so that I can refer to it. A commitment not said out loud to the love of your life is like a burial for your grandma without a funeral. I need those signposts so that I know it happened. Take University. You go there for four (okay, six) years and at the end you have the choice to go to convocation or not. I took the convocation route. I wore the cap and gown. I walked on stage and shook someone's hand. My mum took pictures of my dad and I with my $30 000 piece of paper. Therefore, I can look back and say 'Yes, I graduated from University'. I don't think I would have felt the completion as much if I had just had it mailed to me (like other friends I know).

Therefore, when that special someone and i decide we want to be together for the rest of our lives, I NEED that cermemony. I need those vows said out loud in front of friends and family. I need the dress and . . . . well, I just want a dress really. That way I KNOW I am commited. I will have had at least a hundred witnesses telling me so. I will look back at pictures and think "Yup, that's me. I said 'I Do' in front of people so I guess I have to put up with him throwing his underwear at my head when I am sleeping because he thinks it is a funny way to wake me up" I need that closure. Or beginning. Whatever way you want to look at it.

The Sandman and the Spreadsheet

I am a nightowl. The Engineer has to get up in the morning. This is a problem.

But before I talk about that, I have to say that my BF hates the fact that I am referring to him as the Engineer. Quite frankly, I like it. I mean 'boyfriend' is so boring, at least with the term 'engineer' you are all given an image. I date an engineer - that means I date someone who has slight autism (new theory and very interesting), enjoys spreasheets, likes to know how things are built and is very smart and science geeky. All is true of my Engineer. Before my Engineer, I never knew the magic of spreadsheets. He taught me that I could make spreadsheets for any situation and seeing as I am a Virgo and a lover of organization it was as if I fell in love with him just a tad more.

I have one spreadsheet. It is for all the restaurants I want to eat at or have eaten at here in Vancouver. And I have categories like price, ethnicity, dress, never eaten/eaten etc. If I have a craving for the new Thai in town that is cheap and dressy all I have to do is type that in and VOILA! I have a restaurant. There are none like that in Vancouver. But gosh darn do I love that spreadsheet! I wonder what else I can spreasheet? My shoes, my favorite movies, books I have read but forgot I have read, or charges on my credit card? Fun times I tell you. Fun times.

So back to being a nightowl. I get creative at night. I like to stay up and do things like vacuum (remember that i am a procrastinator) or stare out the window and visualize my life to be better. The Engineer has to show up at work between 7 and 10. When he sleeps over it is often the later time. And he sleeps over often. In fact I secretly think we are living together. I laundered his underwear the other day. I think that is a new level.

Often I go to bed with him and we talk about stupid things. But I have been really homesick for my late nights of creative wonder and infommercials. So tonight he sleeps and I write. And I have to admit something: I keep going and looking at him sleep! GAH!!!! What have I become??? But I can't help it - he is so cute when he sleeps. He has a slight snore and has the body temperature of a Hawaiian volcano so it makes him super warm and cuddly (not the mention that he is Asian so has super soft skin). I just did it again! I went and looked at him!!!! I am officially a dork. But I can't help it, apparently I am crazy in love and it makes me act stupid and stare at the Engineer while he sleeps.

We also don't make the best sleeping partners. I like to cuddle. The Engineer has the body temperature of a Hawaiin Volcano so gets too hot and rolls over. He only cuddles for a nano-second and only because I ask him nicely (okay, that is a flat out lie. I yell at him and tell him to spoon me). I also have this problem (apparently) of hogging the bed. I didn't believe it as I could always see the edge of the bed (makes sense right?) until the night the Engineer took a 3am photo of me sprawled in the middle of my queen with my mouth wide open! Why can't I be a pretty sleeper?? WHY?

The hogging thing is something we just have to live with. I have spent nearly 30 years sleeping in bed by myself so clearly I can't help that I am a creature of habit. Besides, I can totally see the edge of the bed. . . . . .

Woopsie Daisie

So May 31st is well over a month ago - woopsie daisie. Cleary things got out of hand in my world. OR I have the eternal problem of most writers I know. PROCRASTINATION. Why do we do it? Why do we insist on cleaning our closet or our storage locker BEFORE sitting down in front of our pretty white MAC's and writing something/anything/a word???? Seriously, we love it and yet we try to avoid it???? But I digress. This is not about my lack of ability to get my ass in gear, this is about my life. And yet the two go together like peas in a pod. Case in point: my best friend's tea shower.

I planned a tea party shower thing for one of my best friends. I planned it and sent out evites at least 6 weeks in advance. If not more. But when did I plan the menu/ask for help/buy the gift/clean my house/decidedwhat to wear/get some flowers? That's right, the day before. THE DAY BEFORE!!!!! I literally spent a sunny Friday afternoon chasing tea cups and cream around town. And I live in Vancouver - now for anyone who lives in Vancouver presently you know that driving in our Olympic-happy city is like driving in hell (or what I imagine hell to be like). That is why i don't believe in hell. No matter how evil one is, I don't think anyone deserves to spend eternity creeping along in traffic, avoiding orange pylon things, going slow for the damn workers, and always giving way to the highly retarded pedestrians in this city who think it is okay to stop traffic so they can saunter their fat asses across the street because they are too damn lazy to walk 12 meters to the nearest trafficlight. Don't even get me started on cyclists in this city . . . .

But wait, where was I? Oh yes, tea cups. So I am running around town searching for the perfect tea cup so my best friend can one day drink out of it in New York City (where she is moving) and think to herself, "Oh this lovely tea cup, it nearly drove Stella to insanity and all because I wanted her to be a bridesmaid" It is my own fault (obviously) but what is a bridesmaid without some bitterness?? And then I had to shop for food, and more food because the first grocery store didn't have all the ingredients. Then I had to clean my house. GAH! Inviting people over seems like such a great idea until I realize I am an anal-retentive Virgo who has to wash my walls lest a newcomer to my house should notice a slight black mark and immediatly cast me as a slob. No way. So I clean. The night before. I wake up early. On a Saturday. And I clean some more. And then I bake. I BAKE!!! Scones. And I chop and mix and blend and arrange. I literally have to pull my clean clothes on as the MOG sits in my living room eating cheese.

Why do I insist on procrastiating when entertaining?? Why?? I must admit though - I throw a damn good party. Everyone always thinks so. This time my house was all sunny and my couches glowed in their white glory. I had peonies in antique tea cups, pink cushions to accentuate the girliness of the event, P & P playing on mute and delicate music softly playing in the background so we could all be transported to an English manor in the spring. I rock. And the bride rocks. She lets me do anything and if anything means no 'toilet paper bride' then I am in!!

But seriously, when (or if) I get married, I am owed BIG time. I can't wait to cash in!! But knowing me I'll procrastinate until I die and forget to get married . . . . .

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cardinal sin of an ex-server

Did I mention I used to work at weddings? Perhaps this is why I am such a bitter bridesmaid. Spending a summer of late weekend nights working weddings is enough for anyone to want to take a wedding cake and shove it up the bride's dress. It actually was a fairly fun summer - we were like a little troop of wedding soldiers that would sneak food when the bride wasn't looking, help ourselves to a cocktail or two if it was an open bar, and dance to the DJ's random mix of music from the 60's to the 90's.

There are few weddings that stand out in my mind - not for their beauty but for their sheer tackiness. There was one wedding where it was a 'wrong side of the tracks' kind of girl marrying a West Side boy. One side looked ridiculous with their poor attemps to cover tattoos in gaudy dresses with mis-matched shoes while the other side appeared rife with dissaproval and upturned noses. The icing on the cake was when the bride whipped off her wedding dress, in full view, donned a sunflower covered sundress and continued to rip up the dance floor with her pre-1986 moves.

And then there are the couples who adore themselves so much that they go slightly overboard on everyone's own generosity at adoring them for the day. In one case, the couple had had a videographer record everything from the morning on. The bride getting ready, the groom nervous in his hotel room, the pre-wedding photos, the ceremony etc etc. So here these poor guests are just wanting some food and wine when the couple proceeds to set up a projector and show the video thus far. That's right. The guests had to sit through an hour and a half of video - most of which was the ceremony - THAT THEY HAD JUST BEEN AT!!!!! Talk about overboard.

But I digress. The point of this post was to apologize to those poor banquet servers that I have yelled at. Yes, yelled at. I feel so bad, especially since I used to be a server. But having been a server I get the ettiquette and I can't help but become bitchy bridesmaid when servers are being retards. One of the famed weddings was at this huge open area in an art gallery. Because it was a New Year's wedding staff was hard to come by, or so I assume, and there were these little old ladies serving us dinner. We all felt terrrible - it was if our grandmothers were giving us wine. So needless to say, the service was slightly slow, slightly clumsy and SUPER loud. So when during the speeches all I could hear was the CLANK CLANK of dishes being collected I sort of lost it. Not that i yelled at the nannies, more their boss, but seriously? When the head table can't hear the speech over the clamouring of dishes you know something is wrong.

And at the latest shi-shi wedding, we had to travel through the kitchen to get to the room where the ceremony was being held. Whatever. Just after the grandmothers had walked down the aisle (and the room was all a hush in anticipation) the kitchen staff insisted on moving dishes. CLANK CLANK CLANK!! I am standing there, arms linked with the best man, trying to listen to the music drifting from the sting quartet that is being drowned out by dishes! Seriously, are they blind? Can they not see we are about to walk down the aisle?? So I leave my post and march into the kitchen all purple dress and pretty bouqet, shusshing people. Yes, shusshing. I am ashamed that I was so harsh - but really, can you blame me? The bride glanced at me with deep appreciation (and some new admiration of my power skills) in her eyes and mouthed 'thank-you'. She was too nice to say anything - so another duty of being a bridesmaid is to pull out the bitch.

But I do apologize to any servers, not just at weddings, that I am rude to. I just have this thing about customer service. Sorry - you do a thankless job and don't get paid nearly enough. I will never be rude again. Okay, i will try not to be rude ever again . . . . .

The Shower

There is one thing about weddings in the new milleneum that I don't get - and that is the shower. Really, what is the point?? From what I gather, women (and only women - stupid men and their great deals) get together months before a wedding to give gifts to the bride sans the groom. Sometimes there are a few showers - which gets a bit much. There is only so much tea drinking and playing cheesy games that I can take. I guess what I don't get is why we have to give the bride and groom so much stuff in this day and age.

Most couples who get married, that I know, have already lived together for several years. They often own their home and have built it together. Sure, there are some remnants of university days - his coke bottle collection, her pink writing desk - but for the most part they have the toaster, the waffle maker, the tea pot. In the old days, the showers were to give the 19/20/21-year old couple the starters for their home. But we have them now!! Our baby-boomer mum's made sure of this. It isn't that I begrudge the gifts (okay, maybe I do a little) but seriously, when is enough, enough?

Plus, they are often the most boring afternoon ever spent on the planet. And I hate the games! Who wants a toilet paper dress? Who wants a hat made of gift wrap and bows? A friend of mine just recently had her shower - it was great and to the point. She is on my side about the games and hat - refusing both, so we just opened presents and drank wine. Lots of wine. Go team! I also hate opening presents in front of people - how can you fake uber enthusiasm for tea towells? Sure you need them but can you really oooh and aaaah over a set of flame-retardant material.

Remember that episode of 'Sex and the City'? The one where Carrie's shoes are stolen at her friend's baby shower? I can't help but think of that when I go to a shower. Here we are, a society that has opened up the doors for women - telling them they can be astronauts, moviestars, or engineers - and yet we still prize the bride. After all, she has been the most successful: she has bagged herself a man! Let's shower her with gifts and praise! ooooo, look at her! She can cook for her husband with her new crock pot from Auntie May! Lucky her! Give me a break.

I have two girlfriends who are fabulous and single. They are both extremely intelligent and hard working. They are leaders in their field AND they own their homes. By THEMSELVES! Under 30 and they bought condos in a city where real estate is going through the roof. But do they get a shower? No. Do they get a waffle iron as a prize for doing something good? No. And they both could probably use one - they are wicked cooks. I guess this is what cheeses me off. I am spending money on people who already have two incomes and a house full of goodies and yet my single friends get squat. When are we going to celebrate accomplishments worthy of the 21st-century? Anyone can get married - but can anyone write a novel? No!

I say we either stop the shower all together or start throwing "I'm single and I bought a house" showers. Take THAT 1950's tradition!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My top five of the day

I forgot my Top Five!


1. That stupid dance you have to do with the groomsman you walked up the aisle with. I think I hate this more than anything. Usually you don’t know the guy and he is some goofy friend or relative of the groom. They might have a girlfriend who inevitably glares at you during the song OR they are single and think that they will get into your crinoline later. The latter is the absolute worst thing that can happen (unless you want him in your crinoline) especially if he rubs himself close to your thigh and shows you had badly he wants in your crinoline. Seriously, it’s enough to make you puke up that wedding cake.

2. Matchy matchy matchy. Of course, I have covered the ‘suck it up rule’ in earlier ‘Top Five’ lists but that doesn’t mean I like it. No one is meant to match like that. It isn’t natural – unless you are twins; and that’s just cheesy.

3. I highly dislike the bouquet toss. It is a stupid tradition that should be banned. Let’s bring out the single girls and make them catch some flowers so that they too can be lucky like the bride and someday marry a prince. Puke. That being said, there is some horrible force deep inside my body that can’t help but want to catch that bouquet. My competitive side comes out and I don’t care who gets in my way: flower girls, mothers and even a grandmother. Oooops. I’m not kidding – I knocked a six year old out of my way once. And I’m still not married so clearly the tradition is stupid.

4. I hate wedding hair!!!!!! I HATE wedding hair!!!!!! Again, I have to just ‘suck it up’ but dear god! Why? WHY is wedding hair so bad? It’s like the hairdresser is so excited to do their most creative work on your head. I don’t care – my hair was never meant to look like a rats nest on the back of my head. Never!!

5. The morning after gift opening. Ummmm, whose bright idea was this? Oh please can I get up at the crack of dawn after an entire DAY of champagne and gin & tonic’s? And if I do have to go to a gift opening please provide greasy snacks such as sausages and bacon; this is only fair.

The non-bride wedding planner

Crap! I have accomplished nothing today! Nothing!!!!! I am waiting to find out if I made the top-five finalist for hosting CMT - which has me on edge in this highly annoying way. It's worse because it isn't even technically an acting job nor is it soley for actors. The thing about being an actress is you have to just let it go. Let it go! I am very good at letting it go (unfortunately I have lots of practice) but with this thing my mind is racing all over the place. Did I want it bad enough? Is the universe responding to my lack of enthusiasm at spending the summer away from Vancouver and living in Toronto for three months (ugh, no offense Torontonians but nothing beats a West Coast summer)? Should I have voted for myself more? Do I look too much like one of the other hosts? Did I even want this job? Do I want to be a host or an actor? YES! Of course I wanted this job! it pays!!! Lots. Crap. I hate losing out to non-actors or newbie actors who haven't even entered the real world yet.

So I accomplished nothing except watching some TV upside down and working out. I also planned my wedding today. That's right, I planned my fictional, non-exisitant wedding. I don't know why we girls do this, but we do (or I hope WE do, is it just me??). The thing about being a bridesmaid ALOT and going to tons of weddings is that with each year I get older and with each new wedding under my belt, I can't help but wonder: when will it be me? Ugh.

And with all these weddings that I go to, I have one conclusion: they are all the same!! So it is up to me (and my mum who gave me instructions to throw a different sort of wedding) to take the road not taken and do something unusual. Check. Today I planned a wedding in a Scottish castle, also I planned one in a barn in Alberta, and then there is the Paris wedding (very hard to do if you are not French). And now I am out of ideas. I am also fresh out of fiance. Wait, I never had a fiance to be out of but I do have a boyfriend who also plans 'our/his' wedding with me until we both stop, shut up and realize we are talking about our fictional, non-exsistant wedding that may or may not happen between us in the next two years.

I did something to my poor boyfriend, the engineer, this weekend that really does give him reason to run screaming for the door. I went to this wine club party and before i knew it, I told people we were engaged!!!! One minute I was talking real estate and the next thing I knew was these words were pouring out of me (I could blame the Merlot but this is after one glass!!). Words like 'engaged' 'getting married' 'how will we fit into my apartment as a married couple' kind of words! GAH! One guy asked when we were getting married, I told him next year and then retracted that statement and said 2009. The crazy (and somewhat sad) thing is that it didn't stop there! NO! Three hours later (this time FOR SURE fuelled with Merlot) I told this other group that I was getting married. They asked where my ring was. I sadly looked down and said at the cleaners. THE CLEANERS!!!!! Luckily the engineer was not at this party, but I merlot-emailed him later to tell him that i said some shameless things at the party. When i was able to finally talk to him, he just laughed and said I was an idiot. He also asked what happens when we go to the next wine party TO-GET-HER? Oooops. Clearly we are not going together EVER.

But he didn't deny the upcoming nuptuals. Muhahahahahaha. Paris or Barn Party??

Monday, May 28, 2007

Always the bridesmaid . . . .

I am a professional bridesmaid, or at least I feel that I am. I have been a bridesmaid 5 times in the last two years with three more times coming up in the next year. When it all comes down to it, I really do love being a bridesmaid because I keep saying yes. There are things I hate about being a bridesmaid (which you will read about later on) which have made me a bit of a bitter bridesmaid. But when push comes to shove, I am a good and compassionate friend. And I have to take some pride in being a bridesmaid so often. It shows that I have quite a few friends who are so close and dear to me that they feel confident in me being by their side on the Big Day. Basically, I’m popular.

So these are my tales and adventures of always being a bridesmaid and never being a bride (hurrah!). The ups and downs, the temper tantrums, and the happy tears that come with a wedding. But these will also be tales about being a girl in the city, auditions, bad bosses, and being in a relationship that is headed to a wedding of my own.

So let’s get started with my Top Five list of the day:

Top Five Things I have learned about being a Bridesmaid

1. At some point, some woman is going to go temporarily crazy before the wedding. It might be the bride, it might be the mother of the bride, it might be a fellow bridesmaid, or it might be you; but someone is going to get a little bit freaky.

2. After the wedding, you need a ‘de-briding’ time from the friend in which you were the maid for. The point above is often the reason or it is simply that you have spent too much time ‘worshipping’ her and clearly you need a break.

3. Suck it up. Suck up the ugly wedding hair (it’s inevitable). Suck up the dress that you are never going to wear again (even if you get a dress you could wear again you’ll always know it was your bridesmaid dress and so will always feel as if you are in a wedding while wearing it). Suck up the fact your friend is acting like a two-year old child. Suck up the matching purses, shoes, earrings, etc. Basically suck it up.

4. Be honest. Nothing hurts a friendship more than a bitter bridesmaid. If the manicure and pedicure that the bride is insisting upon is going to tip you over into credit card debt hell then TELL HER. She might pull a #1 on you, but quite frankly a good friend should understand that you have limits: financially and emotionally. And if she doesn’t, then she really isn’t a very good bride.

5. Have fun and get drunk. You deserve it! The bride might think she deserves it the most but in fact it’s you who deserves to let go. You have had to deal with #1 and #3 so drink that champagne! And even if you are wearing a bright blue caftan and have a nightmare of a bride, it always makes for a funny story for later. Much later (See #2)