Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holidays: Friend Or Foe?

I know it has been quite some time since I wrote (at least that's how it feels on my end), however, life always seems to get in the way these days. No matter how much I get home and say "Write!!!", the opposite seems to happen. I really am sorry - I am hoping that in the spirit of the holidays, you can all forgive me. Since the countdown to Christmas holidays now has even less days than the last time I wrote, I thought I would discuss them some more, and whether or not they are the best or worst time of year. Granted everyone's opinion differs, this is MY blog, so right now, what matters is MY opinion...This is, after all, what has kept you coming back faithfully - my oh-so politically correct views, and obviously optimistic attitude regarding everyday subjects. Let's get to it, shall we?

If I appear a tad bitter about today's topic, the holidays, it is perhaps because if I look back to a year ago, I was in the crappiest place I have ever been for the holidays - the beginning of the end of what I had believed to be my "happily ever after". Work had distracted for most of the month, but once I was on vacation, I found myself at home, and feeling more alone than ever. Bambi, through no fault of her own, barely had enough time to sleep, let alone time for a few good heart to hearts with yours truly. Instead, I sought comfort  and advice in one of my closest guy friends, and then found myself falling for him, which just made everything worse. Instead of spending the holidays with the love of my life, I found myself dodging him at every corner, contemplating everything we were and stood for - and everyone could see it. Everyone watched us crumble as though we were that lonely cookie left at the bottom of the bag, with no one to lean on, to one to help us stay whole and strong. And every night, as I told him that I loved him, and as I crawled into his arms in bed, I felt a piece of me die.

Fast-forward 12 months...Now, I find myself single and much happier than I was a year ago. But alas, the holidays is most certainly THE time of year that you want to have someone special in your life. It is always so nice to feel fuzzy inside as you feel that special someone's gaze on you as you open a present, solidly kick their ass at the annual Legault-Bédard Monopoly battle or as you sit by a fire and enjoy a nice glass of red wine. This year, I get to watch others do that, and take my place as a bystander. I won't get to feel that gaze, or be the culprit responsible for someone else's ear-to-ear smile as they open that gift I picked out perfectly. I will wake up alone on Christmas morning, I won't get to be snuggled under a mountain of blankets, or hear that "I love you" as I open my eyes, and I certainly won't be stealing kisses under the mistletoe hung in the front entrance. I can't help but feel a little sad about the fact that no one will be seeking ME out at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, anxiously awaiting that cliché, but oh-so-delicious, first kiss of the New Year. This year, I will present my date as "my friend" at my work party, not my significant other...I will also pray that he doesn't pull a Hank Moody and hit on every girl there he finds to his liking, though technically, he is certainly allowed to - after all, there really is nothing going on between us.


Now, rewind to 11:00am today, December 14th, 2010. As I sat in a meeting at work half listening to my team mates, half asleep, someone brought up the dreaded subject of "coverage" while we are all away from the office for two weeks. Apparently, this person didn't remember that last year, NO ONE on our team had Blackberries, only Account Managers had bring-home laptops and oh ya - no one died. Our Out of Office responses on Outlook were enough for our clients to realize that we were on vacation and barring World War III, any issues they had could - and  would - be resolved upon our return. To sum it up, last year, we actually got vacation. This year, the Account Managers have Blackberries and the assistants have bring-home laptops. And to a certain extent, we are ALL on call. What. The. Fuck. Is. THAT? So if I understand correctly, the office is closed for a week, I am NOT allowed to carry any of my vacation over to the new year thereby forcing me to take time off, but I am expected to check my emails to make sure the clients are supported? How does that make sense? Did I mention I don't get paid for having to check these emails? Not that I have to respond, I just have to check to make sure nothing is pressing, but that requires me to spend at least a half hour opening, reading and assessing emails - ya, I would say that sounds like working. I realize that sometimes you have to do things that aren't exactly "included in the job description", but this is most certainly pushing the envelope, and the expectations mean I won't get to fully enjoy my vacation. You aren't supposed to check your emails during vacation - the point is to take a break so you don't have a meltdown, so your brain can not think for a period of time - so you can come back feeling rested, and maybe even excited about the new year. And some might say that I should count my blessings since I have a job to begin with, and to those people, I say screw you - for 45K/year + the bullshit I put up with on an almost daily basis, checking my email while on vacation is NOT in my job description. If you want me to check them, then give me more money.

So, being single and having to check email aside, I must admit that I am looking forward to vacation - can I call it Fake-ation?- this year. Just a tad. This year, yet again, I get a whole two weeks off. My twin from another mother also gets a ton of time off, so the 21st, she is driving in from Toronto and coming to spend a few days with me before jetting to Montreal to see her family. I get to go shopping, have late breakfasts, sleep in (because she likes to sleep in too!) and just enjoy her company. When my turn finally comes to head off to the 514, I will be hitting up my friend's Latin Invasion soirée at an intimate little venue, and dance to my heart's content - also with a ton of friends that I don't see as often as I should. On the 24th, I know I can look forward to the traditional dinner with those closest to me, and even though I will be doing it up single-styles, I know it will still kick some serious ass. After all the Christmas brou-ha-ha, I get to hit up the Biodome and go hang out with some awesome mammals, rock the ski slopes with the twin, and do up some serious breakfast lounging at L'Avenue with another best girlfriend. I am then topping off that week with a New Year's celebration in cottage country, off the beaten path, where I can frolic in the snow, sleep late, and just be silly while enjoying home made pizza and having my butt handed to me during random occurences of "Game Time!".

I have yet to decide whether or not I am excited about the impending holidays. Technically, I suppose they have already arrived and are already sucking large, but I have decided to wear my optimist hat, and hope for the best. Don't get me wrong, I fully expect the worse, but I am willing to remain open to the idea that maybe this year will be different. This will be the last "usual" Christmas I get to spend with my family for the next few years, and I guess I would rather not write it off completely until I am at least half-way through it. And in the event that push comes to shove, I suppose a little booze can always help brighten the mess up.

Now to start thinking of resolutions I might keep...

-Milie B.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Juice Is Worth The Squeeze

Those who know me, be it well or not so well, know that I LOVE food. LOVE IT. I love smelling it, I love eating it, I love watching people make it, I love sampling it - honestly, I just can't keep food out of my mouth. You know those people who can eat just a handful of chips? Well, I do not belong to that demographic. I am the person who will eat the entire bag, to herself, in one sitting without batting an eyelash. On more than one occasion, I have finished a guy's plate while out on a first date...I know what you're thinking - DAMN that is sexy! And right you are! Actually, not (really) having that sensor that tells me to stop is a bit of a pain; I often wind up in food comas. And, since I don't discriminate against high-calorie snacks, I often indulge in those a wee bit more than I should...Oh well - go big or go home, right?

I thought I would write about food because the Christmas holidays are right around the bend. Basically, this is prime time for food. This is the time of year where all the yummy stuff makes that resolution you made about going to the gym really hard to keep, when you eat more sugar than you thought you could ever consume - the time of year where you appreciate those ugly-as-sin elastic waistband pants, and wonder why you didn't buy more than just one pair. After all - there is a good chance some of the yummy treats will find their way onto your clothes. This is the time of year to forget about calorie counting, and just indulge - as often as humanly possible!

I recently began thinking of the holidays, and all the baking that comes along with them. I can only speak for myself, but every year, I go home to my parents for Christmas Eve dinner and find myself surrounded by a myriad of desserts. Butter cookies, tarts, pie, brownies, fruit cake (ugh...) and whatever other sweet treats my mom has decided to add to the roster. And that's just what my mom makes - that isn't even counting what various family members and guests might bring along to add to the feast! Now, I'm not quite sure why, but this is the first year that I have really opened my eyes to the hard work and prep time these yummy treats demand. It really doesn't happen overnight, and much blood, sweat and tears can go into all this baking. And this is really a best case scenario - this isn't taking into account the time you need to set aside for holiday shopping, family needs such as kids, and the general stress that holidays seem to bring about. So, this year, I thought I would try to alleviate some of that stress for my closest girlfriends.

A week ago, I held a dessert swap. The idea is simple - get your friends together, and have each person bake a portion for everyone else. In doing so, you bake one dessert multiple times, and you leave the swap with many desserts, enough to provide a generous variety for all your holiday party needs! The more people you have in on the swap, the more you walk away with. This will most likely still involve an entire day devoted to baking, however you only need to worry about one recipe. For our swap, we had six ladies baking treats - and treats could be anything we wanted to offer up. I chose banana bread - it freezes well, and I can never seem to get enough of it when my mom makes it! I set aside a Saturday afternoon, bought some bananas, and got down to business. Having never made banana bread, I wasn`t too sure what kind of job this would end up being. I doubled everything, threw it all in a bowl and then discovered just how thick banana bread mix is - my electric hand mixer began having problems early on. It made a variety of interesting sounds, jammed, and then I started to smell smoke. I felt it was time to move on to a spatula. Wrong move #2. After all of five seconds, the spatula broke in half - half in the batter, the other half in my hand. This was obviously going as planned. It was time to bring in the wooden spoon and put my arm muscles to use...Not such a bad idea considering I haven't been to the gym since that bout of pneumonia. Armed with my wooden spoon, I showed that banana bread mix exactly who was boss.

After having conquered the mixture, it was now time to throw everything into the oven. I like to think that I am pretty good when it comes to baking - I can't cook, but I can bake. This endeavour presented a mini-challenge in that these were mini versions, and as such, the cooking time had to be adjusted. Also, I was cooking them ALL at the same time and there were no "extras" - only enough so that each lady would have one. There was no room for error, and I couldn't really taste-test any of them...All I had were three little cupcake-sized extras made from the little batter that was left, and since these were smaller, they couldn't be an accurate measure of how the real banana breads would turn out. I had one of the three itty-bitty ones and it was scumptious. It almost melted in my mouth, and I regained my confidence in its bigger siblings. I wrapped them up in foil and my freezer quickly turned into a massive banana bread grave. I couldn't wait for the swap the following weekend!

Finally, swap day arrived, and I waited for my girls to arrive. Slowly but surely, everyone arrived, bags of desserts in tow. We set out healthy snacks, and extra portions of our desserts - after all, we had to sample the goods just a bit! We settled in for an afternoon of gossip, treats and catching up. We laughed, shared stories, oooo-ed and awww-ed at the kids that had joined their moms on this afternoon and just enjoyed being with each other. It felt like it had been forever since we had all been in the same room together. There was no drama, just smiles. The way holidays should be. The afternoon wore on, ladies came and went. By the end, the sun had begun to set, and snow had begun to fall - it was a perfect ending to a perfect day, and everyone agreed - this would now be a tradition among us. It was the perfect opportunity to get together, and everyone could particpate since it was kid-friendly as well.

The dessert swap is by far one of my best memories of the 2010 holiday season, which is just barely under way. The baking aspect was a little tricky, but the reward was well worth it. The holidays are a time when people are supposed to get together and simply enjoy each other's company. It is easy to let holiday stress get the upper hand, and having some good friends to chill out and relax with for an afternoon can certainly contribute to positive morale, and help take the edge off. I think everyone needs to remember that taking time for yourself is a good thing, and that slowing down is a must if one is to make it past Christmas day alive! My friends are just as important to me as my family, and I cherish the time I spend with them. The dessert swap was the perfect pretext, and seeing the joy on everyone's face was such a rewarding feeling...

Starting this new tradition has actually left me feeling (slightly) cheerful, and I can truly say, the juice is worth the squeeze...Now, go start your own traditions and enjoy the precious moments you share with those you love and hold dear - and remember, food is always a great way to get everyone together!

-Milie B.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For The Love Of...Travelling!

Oh my - already December 7th! You know what that means - 19 more days until Kwaanza!! And more importantly, 18 until Christmas day! But, no need to discriminate here - to those of other religious beliefs, I wish you happy Hannukah (chanukah, hanukkah, and whatever other ways I have seen it spelled)  and a happy Eid, just in case. I think that covers it all...Think.

Now that I have that out of my system, I will attempt to move forward...I would love to sit back and take complete credit for today's post, but alas, I can only take 98% of the credit. My cousin gets the other 2%, but only because she started an album on Facebook dedicated to her favorite things. Which is more or less the point of this post - and others to follow. I have decided that it might be a good idea to let you peer into my life, into what makes me tick, what I am passionate about. Things I enjoy, and things I loathe. I am going to try to remember to post at least once each month from each category - things I love, and things I hate. There are probably more of the latter, but I hope you will be entertained no matter which one I choose to write about.

So yes, I love to travel. And what is funny is that I am not someone who has travelled very much. Don't get me wrong - I have done my fair share of moving around Canada since I am military brat, but I am definitely unsatisfied. I think my ex-boyfriend might actually be responsible for the travel bug biting me to be honest. When I was 19, and 3 months into my first "real" relationship, JL and I sat down and decided we would go on vacation. We decided that some crappy three-star in the Dominican just wouldn't do for our champagne taste, so we opted for a (fairly) swanky all-inclusive five-star in Ixtapa, Mexico. This place was awesome - it had a gazillion restaurants, more bars than we knew what do do with, and a 24-hour snack shack - more than I ever thought I would have on my first official vacation. The flight was long, and we arrived super late at night, but the week that followed was nothing short of amazing! We went jetskiing, parasailing, had a liquid breakfast most days and met some really cool people! We returned tanned, rested (?) and I was certainly anxious for the next vacation! Getting away was going to be something I now needed required on a yearly basis...

JL and I broke up, and shortly thereafter, the opportunity to spend a month in Italy presented itself to me on a lovely silver platter. I was in university majoring in translation, and my minor was Italian. It made sense to go - what better way to learn the language than spend a month in the homeland! And so, I jetted off to Florence. I spent a month eating paninis and pizza, drinking espressos and aranciata San Pellegrino. I visited Gucci, Prada and Miss Sixty, and even managed to find some spare change for an itty bitty Dolce & Gabana string bikini! While in Florence, I was also treated to World Cup fever...Craziness I tell you! Every day, class would finish and we would hit up The Old Stove for homework and calcio...and pints. Lots of pints. While visiting abroad, I had to stay true to my nature - I managed to get so sick I was almost shipped back to Canada right before finishing my course. Seeing the stress I was under, my teachers told me not to worry about the final exam, and to get out of Florence for the weekend and go explore - always one to take advice(cough, cough), I did exactly that. I peaced out for 3 days, and was lucky enough to venture out to the Amalfi Coast. This remains the most beautiful place I have seen to date. While out on the coast, I got to drink a tad more vino rosso, sleep in a Snatch-style caravan (a.k.a. a trailor) and pull a B&E at a campground pool...I also got to see some of the most breathtaking views that can be experienced in Italy, and swim in the Mediterranean Sea...As the trip came to an end, I was sad to go home, but I was also happy to return to a country where I could get free healthcare, and understand what the nurse was saying when describing my lymph nodes.

Over the next few years, I didn't have quite as much opportunity to travel. I moved out of my parents place and in with my new man. Between school and rent, I didn't exactly have the funds required to vacation at will. The next few vacations were in all-inclusive resorts in either Cuba or Mexico. Nothing fancy, nothing special, but a sunny getaway nonetheless...Sometimes that's all you need really. And even those trips were awesome in their own right; I met some unforgettable people, and made new friends along the way...I also learned that I could be given a crash course in scuba-diving in Spanish and make it out alive, and that contrary to my own beliefs, I could drink Tequilla without a problem. The next vacation I took was after I moved back to Ottawa - I went to Orlando and Miami with the man I thought I would marry so that we could do all the things I never got to do as a kid - we went to Disney, Universal Studios, we saw a Tampa Bay Rays game and then lived the high-roller life in Miami for a few days - it was an awesome trip minus the fact that it was plagued by continuous arguments as he drove and I tried to read the map. Who would have thought that every place we wanted to visit was just not well indicated on the map? It certainly never crossed my mind.

Fast-forward to summer 2010, June to be exact. Freshly heart-broken and armed with more money than I knew what do with, I called my twin from another mother and proposed the following: Vegas. I had never been, and my twisted logic led me to believe a trip to Sin City was bar none THE way to get over this latest failed relationship. Being single was now looking like it might not be so bad after all...We booked our tickets and the countdown began. As the day drew nearer and nearer, I could feel my stomache ball up with excitement! I was so ready for this. We got on a plane and embarked on the most fabulous disaster of a vacation - not disaster in that it wasn't amazing, disaster in that I don't think I have ever been as invincible but incapable all at once. Vegas was paradise, I never wanted to leave. The sun was beaming and it was 40 degrees each day, no humidity. Booze flowed freely, and everyone was there to have a good time. Nothing was ever rushed - you got there when you got there. Girls were treated like goddesses and everywhere we looked, yummy boys could be found. Coming here was the best idea I had ever had - we left hungover, broke and 20 new friends richer. The countdown to my return (to Vegas) had now begun.

As the summer wore on, I travelled a little more. Nothing huge, but I went camping in Maine with some friends, and in the fall, I even hit up California to go visit some of the friends I had met in Vegas, and catch Smoke Out 2010, a one-day, three-stage concert dedicated mainly to hiphop and its culture. As I returned from this trip, my heart sank. I was sad to be leaving. Not because I was leaving L.A., but because I realized that travelling is something I should be doing more of. There is so much that I want to see, and I feel as though I might not have enough time, and mainly not enough money, to see it all. There is so much to experience, so much to do, and so many other wonderful people out there who's paths I have yet to cross. Every time I get on a plane, I get anxious - not because I am afraid that it will crash, but because before my adventure even begins, I know it will sooner or later come to an inevitable end. And though it isn't even really an end - more a pause really - it is the time between different "play" periods that seems so long. I once thought that being single would be the shittiest thing to ever happen to me, and as luck would have it, instead I found a blessing in disguise - now I fear that I might find someone worth holding onto; I don't think I could put this passion on hold yet again.

Where will I head to next? I am happy to say that I have no idea! I know that due to some recent developments, I will be spending quite some time in Brussels in the next three years, but the roster isn't fixed. My travel wishlist? Bora Bora, Egypt, Iceland, Spain, Hawaii, Prague, Turkey, Hungary, Croatia, Ukraine, Ireland, Brazil, Costa Rica, Australia, Bali, Dubai, England and the list goes on for quite some time. Whether alone or with friends, my only hope is I can somehow visit all the places I dream of, and that each trip enriches my life more than the last.

As far as I'm concerned, the best feeling in the world is the sensation you get from the g-force as the plane takes off, and the thrill of not knowing what lies ahead...

-Milie B.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Strategic Planning, 101

As a self-proclaimed procrastinator, I know all about putting things off until the last minute. Though it isn't exactly an enviable trait, I am proud to say that in doing so, I also developed the ability to write three 10 page essays in one day while studying at university. Recently, I have also been told at work that (perhaps) I need to be more proactive and less reactive. The truth of the matter is, I am actually very proactive, but it seems this only shines through when I actually care about the task at hand - or at the very least, am being treated with respect instead of being thrown under a metaphorical bus on a daily basis. But that's neither here nor there. I actually doubted my proactiveness until a friend told me he would be in my neck of the woods visiting for a few days...As you have probably already guessed, yes, this definitely has to do with sex...But it also served as an exercise in strategic planning - execution and observation of.

About a month ago, right after the disaster I like to refer to as Halloween 2010, Mr. T.O announced to me that he would be in town at the end of November. He informed me that he had picked up a contract here in Ottawa, and would be visiting/ working for about five days. Now, not to toot my own horn, but I knew when I visited the states in October that he found me to be a pretty awesome chick (I am quoting). I also knew from my visit that he is pretty bomb in das sack. So, when he mentioned his impending business trip, I knew two things were certain:
  1. I was going to get to hang out with him and finally get him to relax and get reacquainted with the meaning of the word
  2. I would have a few late nights due to midnight athletics
*Guys, you probably won't care, or appreciate, but ladies, this guy is 10 different shades of tanned yumminess. He is not only very tall, well-cut and armed with a million-dollar smile and baby-blue eyes, but he is also super smart. Smarter than me, that's for sure. He is also very social, outgoing and makes me laugh - all around, a keeper (if only he lived here...sigh). And, he's a successful entrepreneur - my heart/ brain is melting as I type.

Being the proactive person I can apprently be, the first thing I did was run to the bathroom to grab my trusty Tri-cyclen, and then I ran to a calendar. After some quick math, and a quadruple-check (there was NO room for error here), I quickly realized that the weekend he would be in town was the dreaded "week" every woman gets to experience once monthly. This was simply unacceptable. I ran to the pharmacy and re-stocked knowing full well that if I didn't eat the sugar pills and started right away on the new pack, I would skip the week, and be free to frolic as late and as often as I pleased. In retrospect, this was an awesome move on my behalf. Awesome. When Mr. T.O finally arrived, I packed a bag and made my way to his hotel. It was funny because for once, I remembered to bring toothpaste, something I usually don't bring, only because I always anicipate the place where I am going will have some. Yet another awesome proactive move by yours truly, because Mr. T.O had none...When I left the next morning, I left it for him thinking this would save some time in his schedule - less running around meant more time to work, and the faster the work got done, the faster we could get back playtime.

The next time I was over, I found myself with gremlin breath...I had just devoured 3 pieces of pizza, and paired that with a large coffe, followed by a cigarette. Not very appetizing - it was my mouth and I couldn't stand the taste that was lingering around. In desperate need of some teeth brushing, and general oral cleansing, I made my way to the bathroom. Upon my arrival, I was quickly confused - I had  left more than enough toothpaste for his stay (and for me to borrow if need be), yet the tube was nowhere to be found. I looked under towels, in a toiletries bag, on the shelves - nada. As embarassed as I was about my inability to locate something so simple, I asked "My mouth tastes like ass - where on earth did you put the toothpaste?". His answer, "In the shower, it's way more efficient if I can wash and brush my teeth at the same time!". Ahhh...So he was apparently all about strategic thinking as well - and I found this whole scenario amusing because I used to do the same thing. I crawled into bed shortly thereafter, in desperate need of sleep. It was time to wander off to dreamland...

Well...It seems as though Mr. T.O was even more of a strategic planner than I thought. He quickly joined in bed, and would have bet my left arm that he too was off to dreamland given the late night and long day he had just worked. I was wrong. He had gone so far as to work midnight athletics into his (our?) schedule. As we, ahem, got down to business, I was amazed yet again - normally, I keep latex products in all purses or bags or whatever. He had planned well enough in advance to actually relocate these from his backpack to the nightstand, to make them not only easily accessible, but also to save the time one (a.k.a. me) would spend looking and fumbling around for them. I won't go into any details regarding the 45 minutes that followed, but I will say that post-playtime, Mr. T.O was showered and back in bed in about 10 minutes flat. And as he crawled back in bed, and I began to doze off, I heard the unmistakeable clicking of a keyboard. That's right, he's also a machine - or workaholic, whichever you prefer. He was now planning his presentation for Monday morning.

I think we can all learn something from Mr. T.O - strategic planning plays a key role in being successful. Whether it is life, play or work, making a plan is not always such a bad idea (which reassures me, because I am such a planner!). These plans allow you to map out strategic ways of going about your business in an efficient manner so as to get more done in a short period of time, or to maximize the time you spend doing something - be it sex, work, vacation, etc. However, I think that the amount of planning we put into something is also indicative of its importance to us. I recently planned a dessert swap with some girlfriends of mine - I planned it because I know the holidays are stressful, and there is never enough time to bake, cook and get "life" done, and by doing this swap, I knew it would alleviate some pressure,and free up some time for my girlfriends to actually enjoy the holidays instead of spending them slaving in a kitchen. This way, they get a bunch of desserts, ready to serve, and only had to bake once (unless they choose to bake some more, but the point remains the same). I would never put this much effort into oh, I don't know, a potluck for work. Why? Because other than providing me with a decent salary, my work is simply not that important to me - it is not my passion, and as such, by no means deserves the love and attention that something I am passionate about deserves.

And remember, this is applicable to everything - strategic planning, I have found, is quite the tool when it comes to navigating busy shopping malls during the holidays!

-Milie B.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Respect - A Not-So-Distant Relative of the Ghost of Christmas Past?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T - find out what it means to me...Guess what?! You're about to, really! There are a bunch of other things I really want to write about, but since the holiday season is right around the bend (hurrah), I thought I would throw this one into the mix before I broach anything else. As usual, this decision is not based on purely objective rationale, but rather, on my general dislike for 90% of society as a whole. Now, you may think what you will, but I am certain I am not the only person who feels this way, and the holiday season just accentuates this feeling. It's almost as though the blinking, brightly coloured lights and high-pitched Fa-la-la-la-la's serve as fuel, and feed this fire, this lack of respect towards others.

Where should I even begin...Since I brought up the holiday season, I think I will run on that tangent. The battle, I have found, begins before even entering the shopping mall. Actually, it begins before you even park. A lack of respect can often be observed as one TRIES to find a parking spot. Everyone is always in a rush for some reason, and it's as though any common sense they might have also goes out the window. The parking lot no longer serves its intended purpose, but rather, is transformed  into a battle to the death. People forget all about their side mirrors or rear-view mirrors, they drift around corners like they are auditioning for the latest installment in the Fast & Furious saga. In the event you are lucky enough to come across an empty parking spot, you should also be ready to duel, as there is a high to very high probability that someone else has spotted it too, and is now tracking you, like a mountain lion would it's prey, just waiting to snatch it up at the last second, leaving you back at square one. And don't for a moment think that someone will respect that turning signal indicating you are parking there - it is every man for himself.

Let's now assume that someone had enough basic respect to stop their vehicle, and allow you to cross safely at the crosswalk, designated mall entrance. After a few near-fatal misses, you have now reached what I like to refer to as the pinnacle of Hell. This my friends is where the battle ups it's ante, and the blood-lust begins. Everywhere you look, there are people - and not just people, but MASSES of people. People with children, people who live in retirement homes and move slower than a snail, people who are also letting the holiday stress get the better of them and having public disputes with their loved ones, who are equally stressed by this holiday shopping experience. When you walk into any given store, your mission is no longer just to make it out with "only what you NEED to buy", it is now to try and locate what you need, purchase it, and do so without taking out a few people along the way. Everyone has bags upon bags, and yet no one seems to be aware of this - anytime you try to make your way through a crowded aisle to get to whatever you need, you risk an eye because no one can keep the bags down low, at their sides, the way one should. To add to the stress, there are always a strict minimum of five children throwing various tantrums, screaming, crying and running between your legs out of control as you try to dodge the aforementioned mags. And then, just when you think you have finally done it, you reach for that item you so desperately seek, and someone gets to it before you do, snatching it right up from under your hands.

Feeling mainly defeated, but still slightly hopeful, you attempt to locate a store employee. Let's take another moment to remember that this holiday shopping period stresses out everyone, including the store employees. When you finally manage to locate one, you enter a 15 minute queue - not ideal, but you do want that thing you went to the store for. After a seemingly never ending wait, it is finally your turn! You explain to said employee what your situation is, and kindly ask "Was that the last one, or perhaps do you have another in the back somewhere?". The response you often get "Well if there's none left on the shelf, I guess there's none left!", often accompanied by one of those smug looks like he/she is just soooooo much smarter than you. Well, if you were smart, you would do your job - this means instead of giving me attitude, you would walk yourself into the back-store and check, I won't even know if you actually checked, but I will smile and say thanks even if you humoured me and only pretended to check, or at least offered to check another store location, or order it - anything really.

That scenario I just mentioned, it's a little like washing and rinsing your hair - repeat. in. every. store. After this long day of attempted (perhaps even successful) shopping, one last obstacle stands between you and home base, aka, your home. The damn parking lot - again. Remember everything I wrote about that parking lot earlier, well now, consider this - there is a good chance everyone has had the same general kind of day you have, so there is an even better chance that they are now just as irate with everyone around them as you are. This means that people have even less respect for you, your space, your car, and the obvious crosswalk you are so carefully and frightfully trying to traverse. As you finally reach your car, you can only hope that buddy who was parked thisclose to you before didn't leave a nice dent, and breathe a sigh of relief when you find your vehicle intact. As the cars slowly crawl out of the parking lot, you hear horns honking, see people (maybe even me!) swearing in their cars at the idiots in front of them and a few people are even kind enough to utilize sign-language, letting other motorists know exactly how they feel about them.

Listen up folks - I don't like most people in general society. I don't. And it isn't because I am not a people person, it is because of scenarios like these. No one seems to realize that the world's population is on the rise, and as such, it means you need to be more aware of your surroundings. It means you need to have respect for people's personal space, and throw out an apology once in awhile if you invade it. It means you have to understand that you are not the only person that is frustrated, but that yelling won't get you any further. It means you have to try to keep your cool even when you are about to lose your shit, it means you need to be the bigger person. Respect is a tough game - it is much easier to let your emotions get the better of you, and it is easy, especially during the holidays, to make yourself #1 and push others to the wayside. Let this holiday shopping season be a season of change - take a deep breath, and ask yourself - is this how I want to be treated? If you answer no, then remember that - keep yourself in check when you find yourself in one of these less than ideal situations, respect others and their space, and they might just do the same...But "might" is the operative word.

-Milie B.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Rules Of Engagement

I must admit, I debated for quite some time whether or not I should even write this one. Given that my blog is advertised not only on my Facebook, but also my Twitter and Skype (and my Skype consists of all my colleagues from work on my team), I had to give some serious thought about what my audience might think. And so, on that note, please be advised that this post is personal - it talks about sex, MY views on it, and to some extent my experiences. If you don't want to know about it, then stop reading now. To my mom and dad, in the event you are reading this, I am sorry if this tarnishes the image you have of me, and to all others, don't you dare judge - I have chosen to "air some dirty laundry" that I am certain you have dabbled in as well. I'm not idealistic, I am realistic.

For quite some time now I have noticed this very unfair trend whereby anytime females act in a manner that displeases males, it is labeled as typical chick behaviour. We are not allowed to want to spend 3 consecutive days with you without being clingy, if we are the slightest bit emotional, then we must be PMSing. One of my all-time favourites though is the dilemma single ladies face vis-a-vis sex. I have faced this dilemma before, and it's an interesting one.

When you are in a relationship, the fun thing about the relationship is that you have everything you need on-tap. You have love, affection, compassion, and that physical aspect better known as sex. All of the aforementioned items gel much better when paired together, but they also happen to exist independently as well. It's a damn good thing they exist independently these days - I can deal with not being loved by someone or having compassion, but honestly, after a month of no sex, I start to get really bored. Let's be honest here ladies - a vibrator will only get you so far, and when it's been your best friend for a month, it starts to get old. And that is after a month - imagine being single for a year. Longest.year.EVER. Luckily though, having sex outside a relationship is less frowned upon these days. I said less, there are still those who judge.

The problem with sex outside a relationship though is that there seems to be a common misperception from the males that we as females cannot detach sex from emotions. If we are having sex with you, it is because we want something more, because we are emotionally involved. If we aren't in a committed relationship with you and we call you twice in one week, we "must be after something more". Did you ever stop to think that we too might be after the SAME thing you are - JUST SEX? Is it so far fetched to think that maybe you did a good enough job the first time around that you have left us wanting more? I mean, I know this isn't often the case, but some of you have left such an impression that I wanted more - after all, when you come across good cake, or good coffee, you often want it again, so why would sex be any different? A good Friday-night relationship, with pre-established Rules of Engagement, is not such a bad thing - it's a non-relationship with many of the same perks a relationship has. However, the rules must be clear from the get-go, otherwise complications will arise.

First and foremost, no emotions. If this is going to work, neither party can feel anything for the other party - there cannot be anything past raw sexual attraction. If there was ever even a slight crush in the past, don't even bother - same goes if you are doing this in hopes of it resulting in a relationship. Second, though it is strictly sex, there must still be respect. This happens to be a mutual itch that you are scratching for one another - it is not grounds to treat the other person like dirt, or in any manner that might be degrading. This girl (or guy) is not easy, nor are they a slut or sleazy or skanky. Be discreet and for the love of all things holy, don't advertise it as though the person is an escort - have some class and discretion. Lastly, just because it's a purely sex deal, doesn't mean you can't set a mood every now and again. A dinner out once in awhile certainly won't break the bank, and a few drinks has been known to get things flowing nicely.

Why I am writing this? Because in the past, I have found myself in instances where I was single and free to do what (and who) I wanted. I remember one occasion in particular where a friend whom I had lusted after for months propositioned me - I thought, why not? He was the first guy to ever make me scream in bed, which means he must have been doing something right. Now maybe I'm crazy, but if a guy rocked your world like that, something tells me you would be calling back for seconds as soon as possible, no? I know I did - and he mistook me calling him back as me wanting a relationship. Sorry buddy, not so much - your brain is sexy , but it isn't what I was after. Although in retrospect, perhaps he was upset that he had not played/ used me, but rather, roles were reversed. I can imagine it might be odd for a guy to suddenly feel used, though I can't imagine why since so many have done it to women. Regardless...

My parting words? I'm single now, and I have my go-to people. You can think what you want about me and the way I choose to live out my relationships, but just because I do something you don't agree with, doesn't make it wrong. I am a strong and confident woman, and I am not going to go a year ( or more, gasp!) without sex because society doesn't agree with my views on the subject. There are far worse things happening in the world than my calling the doctor at 3am on a Friday to get my rocks off. It's just sex - everybody does it, so why is it sooooo taboo? So long as you stay safe, remain respectful, and abide by whatever pre-set rules you and your lover set forth in the beginning, there is no reason to frown upon it as though it is an outbreak of Typhoid fever. If I can respect your choice not to have a Friday-night relationship because the thought of having someone who you aren't in a relationship with touch you disgusts you, you can certainly make an effort to respect the fact that I don't have a problem with that exact situation.

-Milie B.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reel Life vs. Real Life

Alright - it has been exactly a week since I last wrote. My apologies. The last time we met, I was battling some badass bug that had decided to attack my throat. As luck would have it, this bug also attacked my lungs. Yes, what I thought was merely a throat infection turned out to be pneumonia. Instead of gargling with some salt water, I found myself with logging 16 hours of sleep per day while getting reacquainted with Zithromax. The good news is, I can finally breathe again, I can eat solid foods and I have the energy to actually write.

I recently went out with bambi and Darleya to catch a flick...While the boys were away, we thought it would be great to see a chick-flick, something we knew we had no chance of ever going to see with a significant other (not that I have one, but they both do). Our choice - Life As We Know It. That's right, we opted for the cheesiest one out there at present time. I would like to mention that it did not disappoint. Within 20 minutes, I looked to my left, then my right, only to find my girlfriends in the same state as me - sniffling, teary-eyes and mascara running down our cheeks while frantically looking for some tissues. The circumstances in the movie were horrible, and though none of us had ever lived through anything remotely trying as what these people were going through, we could all relate to the pain and emotion the characters were experiencing.

Watching this set the wheels in motion for this current post. What is it about these chick-flicks that has us so hooked? Or even reality shows in general? Perhaps my target is moreso reality shows than the movies, but I have come to realize over the last year that too many of us spend time idolizing things that just don't exisit, or that are so far from what reality actually is. Let's take anything (or most things) produced by MTV, The Real World being a prime example. I watched the entire last season of The Real World: New Orleans with bambi religiously. We each had our favorite characters, and would spend a fair amount of time discussing these. But more fascinating than the characters was the predicaments they seemed to always find themselves in, and the whole notion of the show to begin with. Life is so much more complicated than the images we are fed. Who really lives with eight COMPLETE strangers, in a pimped-out house without having to worry about money? And really, who is lucky enough to say that their biggest problem in life is a weird roomate. Not me, that's for damn sure. And yet these people are made out to be role-model types. People somehow think that being on The Real World is an accomplishment, something to strive for - why is that? And more importantly, who managed to convince today's youth of this, because this person is not only psychotic, but at the same time, a genius.

Allow me to take you through a week in my life. Everyday boasts some routine activities - showering, gym, meals and work. But my work is not going out and having fun and being carefree. My work is in a cubicle, with deadlines, working with some people that I like, and some that I don't like at all. I depend on my salary, and if I lose my job, I am up shit creek without a paddle. Pardon the expression. I feel like these shows are propaganda, instilling non-accurate depictions of what "real life" is in today's younger generation. Everyone wants to live this "fabulous" life where everything is taken care of for you, where responsibility and accountability are notions of the past, where by some miracle, you can dress in designer duds without having to work for any of it. Whose "real" life is this? It certainly isn't mine.

No one appreciates what they have anymore, and we are always seeking more, seeking something better. We are fed images of glamour and wealth on a constant basis, and find ourselves comparing our lives to these images. And for what? It would be nice to have the world handed to me on a silver platter, but I am 95% certain that if I did, I would have the same level of intelligence as Paris Hilton - I too would think that Walmart is a place that sells walls. I would much rather have a little less, and know that at least I worked for what I have. I would much rather save up for a vacation and enjoy the anticipation that goes with it than just mindlessly jump from one continent to another just because "I can". When I close my eyes at night and go to bed, I know that I have made a difference in someone's life, and it isn't because I was photographed wearing the newest Louboutin's. I go to bed with a sense of accomplishment, I don't need thousands of random strangers worshipping me in order to have self-worth.

So I guess at the end of the day, my point is the following - if you aren't happy with your life, do something about it, be proactive. But, don't for a second allow yourself to be fooled by "reel life" - everything is orchestrated, and nothing is ever really as it seems. Life is not like the movies, and problems are not resolved after an hour and a half of romantic comedy sequences. Life isn't a fairytale, and living vicariously through reality-tv lushes will more than likely leave you feeling quite disenchanted. Life is what you make of it. And if you spend your time idolizing others, and lusting after things that only about 10% of the world's population can actually afford anyways, you will always be let down. Work hard, and play harder, and above all, remember - as poor as you may be, all the money in the world can never buy pride, and you can take pride wherever life brings you.

-Milie B.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Lesson In Pissing Away Hard-Earned Money

In the not so distant past, I indicated to all you faithful readers out there to be on the lookout for my write-up on how to effectively go about pissing away your hard-earned money with Good Life Personal Trainers. And, I also very recently informed you that because I had so many things I wanted to write about, I was compelled to write my ideas on Post-it notes, which I then cleverly placed above my laptop. What a fanstastic idea!

Remember how I said that the gym is one of my thinking places, or rather, my go-to thinking place for my blog entries? Well, imagine how thrilled I was when I awoke this morning ill. And I use the term "awoke" loosely because honestly, I was up all night in pain. My throat is presently being invaded by some sort of nasty microbe, and this microbe has rendered my throat useless insofar as swallowing anything is concerned, and has found a way to send searing pain into my ears. I know, I know - you wish you felt this awesome, but not everyone can be so lucky. Now due to this unforeseen invasion, I thought it wiser to skip the gym, and look at my Post-it notes - after all, this, I suppose, is their intended purpose.

Now referring back to that day when I was at the gym and overheard random girl's life story, I realized that this girl was pissing away her money with a trainer. I have long suspected that Good Life doesn't necessarily hire the most "professional" people. My suspicions first arose when I signed up, and many of the frontline staff could barely be bothered to smile at me upon my entry into the club - no need to state that a "Hello!" was also out of the question. I contemplated getting a personal trainer for a few sessions until I saw (many of) them in action. The norm seems to be that you come in, get a quick warm-up in to get the heart rate going, and then the trainer takes over. Now if you ask me, a trainer is someone who is there to keep you focused on your long or short-term goal. That person is there to show you what you need to do to achieve results faster than you would on your own - this is actually Good Life's gimmick. They are there to motivate you, show you what to do, and how to do it effectively. Apparently, they are also finely versed in the art of training vocal chords as well.

I have watched these trainers in action for the last 10 months, and I can now understand why people keep on with them - because all they do is talk. Talk, talk, talk. Incessantly! I know so much about strangers' lives, it is borderline disturbing. Every trainer I see feels compelled to shoot the shit with their clients, all through the session - how's life, how's your boyfriend, how is your job - really? why do you hate it, why don't you look for something else, last weekend I got soooo hammered, etc. I think you get the idea. This leaves me to wonder what are these people really paying for, and if you don't see any results, is there any recourse? I can only speak for myself, but if I am paying you to be my personal trainer, I don't want to hear about your life, and I certainly don't want to spend the hour that I am PAYING for, WITH YOU, to dish about mine. What I want expect is for you to to guide me through exercises, to show me what moves will give me the killer booty and flat abs I have been working so hard for, to show me how to do exercises properly, without risk of injury. I want you to motivate me, and if I am getting off topic, for Christ's sake, get me focused! I am not paying you to be my friend - I am paying you to get me in shape, fast!

Now, perhaps I seem a little too annoyed or angry about this, especially when one considers I don't even have a personal trainer with Good Life, but it bothers me when I see people pissing their money away. And don't get me wrong - as a smoker, I KNOW that I am pissing away money with that, but tobacco companies aren't exactly promising me anything either, except maybe the eventuality of cancer. It bothers me that people my age who work really hard for their money, or even older people who have neglected to stay in shape for the last decade or so, are spending money on a service that isn't living up to it's promises. What adds fuel to my fire is that Good Life trainers do NOT come cheap, and since they must make monthly quotas, they are always convincing patrons to sign on for more lessons. If you were to spend your time as it was intended, working out, then I wouldn't object, but I feel as though the trainers are, to a certain extent, holding back their clients. They are in a way taking advantage of them, taking their money, without delivering on their promise to get you in shape. Think about it - you pay to get in shape, you stay exactly where you because your trainer is a Chatty Cathy, Chatty Cathy informs you that you haven't quite reached your goal and reccomends more sessions, and then the cycle starts over again.

Now, we covered how common "common sense" is these days, but my hopes with this post are to open up your eyes and raise awareness. You can attain those weightloss and fitness goals ladies and gentlemen, and they are very much within reach - just tell your trainers to shut up and do their jobs. I don't know about you, but it would be much easier to persuade me to buy additional training sessions if I was seeing actual results. But then again, I'm not polite enough to just let them talk, and continuously siphon money out of my account without me seeing results.

-Milie B.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Will You Be My Friend?

Growing up, my dad was in the military. This meant that much like clockwork, every three to four years I could expect to move to a new city. Sometimes even a new province. Often, during the moves, I was shipped to northern Quebec to go spend some quality time with my grandparents while my parents took care of the actual move, and proceeded to unpack kid-free. I will always remember the summer I returned "home" to Ottawa. I arrived in the middle of July. I was five years old. I remember going outside to ride my bike up and down the street (because back then, we didn't have an Xbox to play with) in hopes of meeting some kids my age. I quickly befriended two boys my age who lived a few houses down, and before I knew it, we were kickin' it daily. Several weeks into this newfound friendship, we were swimming in my froggy pool when a young girl appeared. She had long, dirty blond hair, red corduroy shorts, a white, short-sleeved blouse with little red flowers, white leather sandals, and a Burger King crown. She was friends with the two boys, and wanted to know if she could come swimming. The audacity! She just shows up in MY backyard, wants to join and doesn't even know me?! As it turns out, she was pretty cool - she kept me around, and I somehow became her best friend. She is the person who probably knows the most about me, and to this day, is my closest friend in the world.

Friday, as my work day came to an end, I found myself looking forward to an evening with her and our Halloween hostess. An evening of good food, good wine and of course great conversation. The evening didn't disappoint. We arrived and enjoyed some wonderfully tasty food, followed by some Cheetah Surge and a few glasses of red wine we had developed a whole new appreciation for while at the Wine & Food Show last weekend. As bambi and I left, our parting words were, "We'll see you tomorrow!!", knowing full-well that Saturday would be just as awesome. Saturday had been in the works for a few days now. Shopping at a new, yet-to-be-discovered place that R3's girlfriend had been gushing about, dinner, and just some quality girl-time. We all headed out late Saturday afternoon in search of treasure (a.k.a. some awesome designer finds at Hush, above mentioned store) and coffee. After our incredibly successful treasure hunt, we headed to The Grand to replenish our energy with some drinks, and well-deserved carbs. We left more than satisfied, and piled into the car to head back home.

When we got home, there was no question about what the first thing we would do was - we would get into lounge gear. We settled into the couches, armed ourselves with dessert and attacked Season 2 of Sex and the City. As I watched, like every other woman out there who has ever watched, I found I could relate. I looked at my friends and saw that we too, were much like Carrie and her tight-knit circle of friends. And as I looked closer, I found that there wasn't really anyone else I would enjoy my Saturday night with as much as with these friends. They enjoyed my company and who I was, they themselves were nothing short of a joy to be with. They are ladies I know I can count on and that I can trust. They are my go-to network of supporters when I am feeling down and need to be indulged, and they are my "I will slap you if you don't get it together!" reality check when I need it. THEY are my friends.

As I drove home, I couldn't help but think of Facebook and the obessession with having all these "friends". Really, what is the deal? Don't get me wrong - I think there are many uses for Facebook, and some of my friends belong in this group of people with 1500+ friends, but it is mainly a networking thing. I am talking about the people who don't network. The people I went to highschool with, barely whispered a word to, and are re-adding me after they have realized 8 months down the road I deleted them from my friends list back in February. I would love to know why they want to re-add me. After all, I do know you, and I guess you were an aquaintance back in high school, but did I miss something along the way - were we friends the whole time? And considering you weren't even aware that I moved away for 10 years and didn't even graduate with you, can you honestly tell me that you value our Facebook friendship status - it took you until now to realize I had even removed you.

I have long wondered what drives this need for the most friends. Are these friend whores particpants in a game of who knows more people? Are these people naive enough to think that everyone they meet is actually their friend? Are these people trying to re-live the glory days of high school/ college/ university, or perhaps trying to re-invent themselves and differ from the person they once were, a person who didn't have quite as many friends back in the day? And at the end of the day, does it matter? Should it matter? I hope you don't think for a moment that I have answers to any of the above questions - I only ask them...

In my early Facebook days, I also found myself trying to locate as many people as I could. People I had grown up with, people I had once gone to school with, people I had lost touch with or worked with. As the weeks passed, I too felt good about having all these friends, and it then dawned on me that I never actually spoke to 60% of the people I knew. I knew them yes, but they were by no means my friends. They aren't the people I call when I am feeling like everything sucks, and they certainly aren't the people I spend my Saturdays with, shopping, having dinner and enjoying Sex and the City with - they aren't my friends. Now, don't get me wrong - in the past months, I have met alot of new people, and I have added them to Facebook as friends, but I also keep in touch with these people - they enrich my life. I know their phone numbers, and when they text me (though some still need to learn about time differences), I answer back without so much as a second thought. It has taken me a long time to realize it, but knowing 1500+ people will never change your life unless they are all your friends. And real friends are few and far between. I would much rather have 10 friends and know they will be there no matter what than know 1000 people I can't rely on...

To all my friends - to those whose calls I don't screen, those who hear from me on a regular basis, those who spend hours with me as I agonize that I cannot find jeans that give me an ass or shoes that fit properly, those who understand my somtimes twisted logic and know that I will always be mildly neurotic - thanks for being my friends; you mean the world to me and make my life better. Which is exactly the way it should be.

-Milie B.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Klassy With A "K"

First off, I feel as though I should apologize for not writing sooner. Secondly, thank you for your patience - I know I said I would write frequently, and it seems as though life keeps getting in the way. I have actually had to resort to sticking post-it tabs above my laptop in order to avoid having my brilliant topics escape my mind. Honestly! There are no less than 10 tabs, all of which are issues (?) I need (want?) to address...Or at the very least, voice my opinion about.

As you may or  may not have noticed, today's topic is all about class - but with a capital "K". The kind of class that is usually reserved for week-long cottage parties or Vegas expeditions where only your friends, or complete strangers see you at your abolute worse. When you don't need to worry about shame, because you know everyone is just as messed and incapable as you are. Once again though, my ever-watchful eye caught one of these Klassy people at gasp! a very public event last Friday.

As my work day wound to an end, I found myself getting mildly dolled up for the Ottawa Wine & Food Show. Dark skinny jeans, crisp white v-neck tee, black blazer and black knee-high leather boots. I was dressed a propos for the occasion, without looking pretentious, like I was on my way to dinner with the Queen herself. My friends and I had long awaited this night - it seems as though in previous years, we had never been able to get our acts together long enough to map out any type of plan to attend. We had finally reached the follow-through stage.

When we arrived, we saw all types of creatures. Some over-dressed and pretentious, there were others for whom the notion of mirrors and a hairbrush were foreign, and most people were dressed as my friends and I were - clean, but with a little something extra. As the night wore on, we ventured from country to country, in the search of our new favorite wine, of a new restaurant we hadn't yet been to, but now HAD to try based on a mini-portion of appetizers. What was great as well is that everyone in the area knows about this weekend - those who are smart go on Friday, when there are less people, and you can still move around without feeling completely claustrophobic. Those who weren't quite as hip to the game went on Saturday and got to enjoy the great outdoors as they waited in the monstrous line. *Ahem, suckah what?!* Most people you know probably go on the Saturday, and this is actually a great thing - this means there are less chances you will run into a disliked or awkward coworker, or "friend you don't really talk to anymore" - this means you are likely to run into the crowd you normaly run with, even though no one told anyone else you would be there...See how the Friday is better, even though it doesn't go quite as late.

As the night wore on, my friends got a little tipsy, but never drunk, I stopped drinking because I had volunteered to be the designated driver, and everything just got silly. People evcerywhere were laughing and in a great mood, no one was snobby, a great time was obviously being had by all. Too much of a good time for some. As 21h00 rolled around, we found ourselves being ushered out to the coatcheck - ugh...bright lights! As we got ourselves organized, we turned around to see a young woman, approximately our age, being held up and supported by two or three of her closest friends, who seemed embarassed to be bringing her out in this state.

I understand that it is fun to go out, and have a good time with your friends. I also understand that it feels good to sometimes let go, booze it up, and drink until you can't tell your hand from your foot, and you wonder how you got home. Bars are there to cater to that exact need. But the Wine & Food Show, really? Come on, have a little more class than that. This is not some place where people go to get hosed on a  Friday night - this is a place where regular people can go to have a "more sophisticated" time once a year, so they can avoid the "drunks". Now, I am not saying this girl was a drunk, but she certainly was drunk, and I am willing to bet she saw it coming a mile away, and simply chose to have a a few more when she clearly knew that disaster loomed. I am still wondering how she got the guts to do it! I was once drugged at a bar, and my friend had to carry my sorry butt out of the bar in a similar state, and I was absolutely MORTIFIED. To have people see me in THAT type of state. I am certain if I had had my camera with me, I could have turned this into the most perfect demotivational poster there ever was.

One can ever be sure of who is waiting around the bend, and if there is one thing I have learned, it is that the world is very small. This is often thrown around, but I don't think people truely realize JUST how small it is. If I am going out to some fancy event, that I know happens only once a year, and that a very high percentage of people in my city are also attending the same, said event, then it is only logical that I will likely run into someone I know. I could also run into people I don't know, but am supposed to meet in the future, unbeknownst to me at that time - this is NOT the type of impression of myself I would like to leave anyone. And so, if i can impart and words of wisdom, it is to stay classy at all times. Always be aware, and remember that someone is always watching. Leave the "klass" at home, and leave classy events with your head held high, and a million dollar smile - not draped over your two best friends, head down in shame, trying frantically to put one foot in front of the other.

-Milie B.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not So Common After All

One of the most wonderful things about my best friend's boyfriend is that he has recently taken up hunting. This statement should not be mistaken for my condoning the hunting of Canadian wildlife - no sirree. Rather, I love the fact that he is out of the house for a whole week (along with the other roommate). This week 10 days of male-bonding within close proximity to beer, cigarettes and guns also gives way to female bonding, better known as "Guy - I'm crashing your place for a week!". During this week 10days, I get to indulge in some healthy cooking (cause my friend makes the best YUMMY healthy stuff), guilty-pleasure t.v. shows that we are otherwise almost too embarrassed to admit we watch, chick-flicks and above all, some SERIOUS girl-talk.

That's right, girl talk. It sounds all fancy and very well-to-do, but, much like men, we too have stuff we like to dish about, things that get our knickers in a twist and above all, things we need to vent about. Which brings me to today's subject. "Common" anything.

The plan for the evening was simple, and well-laid out. We would get home, bambi would do some work, I would take my best shot at baking gluten-free red-velvet cupcakes, we would make dinner, and then go to the gym...Maybe even cap off the night with a little Sex and the City, Season 2. But alas, due to a moderate-to-severe lack of common sense-decency-respect of other people's living space, a wrench found it's way into the perfect plan. Knowing full-well there was an "issue" with R3's glorious, algae encrusted fish-tank proudly displayed in the kitchen, we were naive enough to think it would "be ok" until the boys were back...WRONG. Luckily, we had seen this disaster approaching like hurricane Katerina, and had placed a call to our closest fish-tank expert Sunday night - her visit fit perfectly into the above mentioned, well-laid out plan. No one counted on what came next.

As the tank was opened and the situation assessed, it sunk in that we would no longer be going to the gym (ok, there are certainly worse things in the world, but you know how it is when you get into a routine). Due to the fact we had been cooking until now, we had managed to camouflage the rancid odour the tank was emitting - the picnic was now over. The lid came off, and I am pretty sure that the smell coming out of that tank could rival that of a rotting carcass. I am also pretty certain all three of us threw up in our mouths a little. The amount of CRAP in that water was unreal. Even more far fetched is the fact that there is a fish living in this filth. And less far fetched than that is that R3 knew this tank needed to be changed for at least the last, oh, I don't know, 6 months, minimum. The tank had actually gotten disgustingly clogged to the point where the air filter popped off whatever it is usually attached to, and the tank clouded - wait, no, it murked (<- this is another new word I have invented, feel free to use it)- over in about 36 hours. It was an army-green brown opaque mess. And it smelled like death - really.

I don't think I need to go into explicit detail about how revolting this whole mess was (and think - I was icing the cupcakes and WATCHING this go on - I watched and I was grossed out), but what was even more disenchanting is the fact the whole situation could have easily been avoided - very easily at that. I have found in my recent years that people seem to have lost this thing we once referred to as "common sense" (or decency or respect). I really don't think that in a house where 3 grown adults live, there should be any type of need for a chore chart - I think that when you live with 3 people, you should know better than to leave all your stuff lying around. You should know to keep common areas cleans, to pick up after yourself and to put things in the dishwasher. It's not just about keeping a house or area clean, it's about having enough respect for those with whom you spend the most time with that you don't need to be reminded, like a child. Granted this fish-tank incident is nothing like the hot water tank incident from a few weeks ago, it still put a damper on the evening. A little common sense would have led R3 to the same conclusion that everyone else reached (and pointed out to him, I would like to add) over two months ago.

And so, I would like to know if someone can please re-iterate to me what "common" sense is. Or decency or respect. And I ask because everywhere I look around me, it seems to be more and more obscure. People are rude, selfish and have almost complete disregard for those around them. But above all, the "common" aspect seems to have vanished - it has now turned to rarity, and dare I say, it might even be on the verge of extinction.

The million dollar question - can it be saved?

-Milie B.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's like, you know, like...

If you are anything at all like me, you have a thinking place. A spot where, for one reason or another, you do your BEST thinking. Wait a moment, I lied - I have two. But you probably still just have one. Just kidding.

Mine are as follows:
  1. The shower - This is where I do my best thinking. I am not quite sure what it is about lathering shampoo, or getting facewash in my eyes, but every time I am in the shower, my mind drifts to the issues that have left bumps in my day, to future plans, to brilliant ideas (well, I think they are brilliant, so that's all that matters).
  2. The gym - The gym is a recent one. Originally intended as place of solace post break-up last January, it had the opposite effect. I instead found myself agonizing over my break-up even more, taking apart and over-analyzing every last detail. This was obviously counter-productive to my "healing" process, but since it was keeping me in shape, and I was bound to a one-year contract, I figured I should probably keep going. Recently, the gym has become my thinking place for what I post on Bursting At The Seams. The gym is my new goldmine.
As mentioned above, I like to think at the gym. I do my stretches, power up my sassy metallic-pink iPod and just run. It is during this run that I let my mind wander, and begin to piece together whatever interesting story or social commentary I deem worthy of being posted here. I hear my heart beat faintly, my feet beating the treadmill and whatever mix I have pieced together that drives me to run. Normally, by the time I hit the 3-mile mark, I am drenched, thirsty, feel like a million bucks and I know what I am going to write. Until this Tuesday that is. I was caught off guard - so much so that I don't even remember what I origianlly intended to write about. As I moved from the treadmill to the floor/weight area, I overheard a girl (woman?), close to my age, talking with her personal trainer.

*Sidenote: Be on the lookout for a following post about pissing your money away with Goodlife Fitness Trainers

As I listened to her conversation - and I would like to point out I wasn't eavesdropping, EVERYONE within a 10 foot radius could hear her clear as day - like, every other word was like. Ugh, shudder. I understand that today's youth has some issues with communication, and is working very hard at massacring (<-- is this even a word? it doesn't matter, I am inventing it as of now) the English language, but this was a young professional. And like, ok, I like, get that she was like, talking to her trainer all like, friendly and stuff, but come on! Really, come on! I was astounded at how dumb this girl sounded when she spoke. I am certain she is very smart - as I listened to her conversation, I could sympathize with her situation, and have myself made the same decisions she was relating to her trainer - but I was exhausted just listening to her.

Listen up folks - the word "like" should be used when you discuss something that pleases you. I, Milie B. like shoes. I also like apples with peanut butter, and I like Kenny Powers of Eastbound & Down. You can also use "like" when comparing something - This drink tastes like @ss. But "like" is not a word that is to be inserted after every other word in a sentence because you are too lazy to string together a grammatically correct sentence. Put some effort into it. I spoke like (see, correct usage right there) that when I was 15, and I was embarassed when my mother pointed it out. When I speak to people, I organize my thoughts, then let them flow out. Also, at the age of 29, I feel the way I speak reflects on who I am, what type of education I have, and how I might present myself in a real-world situation such as a work environment. Imagine speaking like that in a job interview - I am sure she would be their first pick, really.

So, in closing, I would like to say two things. Firstly, if my English is questionnable when I write here, it is because I have often been told that the way in which I organize and express my thoughts is part of what makes my charm. And know that with each keystroke, I spend much time reflecting on my choice of words, and my words are chosen to articulate my points as I see fit, in a manner that I feel will best demonstrate my point, whatever it may be. I also go back to delete, and re-write, and delete and re-writre again MANY sentences because I feel they don't articulate my point(s) well enough. Secondly, to all those anglophones out there, I am a francophone - if I can put together a grammatically correct sentence, then you should be able to as well. This is my second language, and I still don't know if I should be proud, or appalled, that I can speak and write it better than many of you can. My stomache is gurgling and begging for food, so I am off to appease it, but will be back soon enough. Until then, think about what you are going to say before you say it.

-Milie B.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Pond is Pretty Bleak

After my last post, or rather, my horrible halloween timing in telling a certain gentleman that I have a "thing" for him, I began to re-examine this whole notion of dating, and what it entails. It is not only rather time consuming, but quite frankly, I am starting to wonder if there really are any "dateable men" out there. Allow me to extrapolate.

My dating life, if I were to attempt to sum it up in one word, could only be described as disastrous. No one has a more finely tuned radar than I as far as picking out losers is concerned. I should also mention that the term losers doesn't refer to the nerdy/geeky population - I mean guys with no respect, no game, no nothing. Is it too much for me to ask that you have a job, maybe pick up the bill, perhaps open a door? Am I out of line to request that you are actually single and no longer living at home, that you have a driver's license? You don't even need a car - just the license! And, while I have your attention, just a heads up that I don't play the "sharing" game, in the event we make it to the bedroom one day (and this stems from yet another fabulous dating experience). My radar is so finely tuned to these guys that you could fill a room with successful men, and only one loser, and I would pick him out of the bunch, no doubt about it.

MEN - WHERE ARE YOU? I have actually reached the point where my best friend in the world has offered to screen guys I am interested in so that SHE can weed them out. Ouch - I never thought it would come to this, I really didn't. They (whoever "they" might actually be) say that you attract what you give off. Now, I may be far cry from a saint, but I am certainly not the devil incarnated. Like most girls my age, I am always a willing participant in an evening out sprinkled with dinner, drinks, loud music and dancing. I am always a willing participant in trips down south which are fueled by energy drinks, caffeine, Tequilla and little sleep. However, I am also an even more willing participant in quiet nights in with friends, drinking tea, playing cards and watching movies - truth be told, I much more of a homebody than I should be for my age...One of my cousins said to me recently "Guys your age aren't looking for a party girl, they are looking for a girl to settle down with, a motherly-type figure". Well, my experience has taught me that this is most certainly not the case. I am not a party girl, though I do enjoy partying once in awhile, and I am certainly not going to begin a first date with "Hi - I'm ready for marriage, a home and kids". Which begs the question - where are these decent guys my cousin referred to? Where can I meet one?

I took a gander at the famous Plenty of Fish dating site recently, and wow - trouble looms. Every guy really is the same - and when I did have a profile on there in my early dating days (aka, last spring) I was far from blown away. Honestly, I want a guy to tell me what I can expect one year down the line. I know that for the first year we are gonna go on a ton of dates, we might vacation, we'll see and do stuff that neither of us has done before, or haven't done enough of - but what's the long-term reality? And I don't ask because I want to get into a long-term thing off the bat, I want an idea of what I am signing up for. I want to know if after this so-called "honeymoon phase" whatever we have going on has any actual lasting potential. Can you make me laugh, can you deal with my loud mouth, will you berate me for enjoying some top 40 music on my way to work? Do you know how to compromise, do you have emotional capabilities, will you be my shoulder when I feel as though the world is crumbling around me, will you be my friend first, and my lover second? And more importantly, if you answered yes to any of the above, do you actually mean it, or do you think I am not hip to your ploys to try to get in my pants?

One of my favorite songs, Love Ain't (care of CunninLynguists) has a verse that hits home: "You'll catch bigger fish in the sea if you manage not to drown in it". Well said. I am a decent swimmer, and let me tell you, I am on the verge of drowning. I certainly hope this figurative sea has better fish than the pond in my area, because I keep hearing about all these wonderful guys, but I am beginning to believe they as mythical as unicorns.

-Milie B.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Spice...On Ice

Ahhhh...that most wonderful of time has passed yet again. Halloween. Yes, it is the holiday that never was, and for this, I continue to be saddened every year on October 31st. I don't know about everyone else out there, but I really do feel as though Halloween should be an actual holiday, and I am willing to bet many others feel the same.

So what was on the menu this year? Well, unlike many other years, I found myself feeling slumpish. And as I looked around, I found that mood seemed to be a general thing. No one was as psyched as previous years, no one was putting any real effort into their costumes - honestly, everyone seemed as excited about halloween as they did about being put into a medically induced coma. On the day of, I found myself looking through drawers, looking for costume ideas. Returning from a recent trip to the SoCal coast, I wasn't about to drop any type of major coin on yet another revealing costume I would probably wear only once. I would have to do it on the cheap! I found myself at American Apparel looking at thong-style bodysuits in the ugliest colours one has ever seen - and then there it was, all perfect and waiting for me to purchase it - a pastel-turquoise bodysuit. I paired said bodysuit with a raspberry coloured sweatband, matching tights, white cashmere legwarmers and ta-da! I would be doing promo for Koodo Mobile all night long.

So, after a few hours of getting ready, my friends and I found ourselves nearing that "party-zone" frame of mind. As we got pumped to leave, we walked outside to find a snowy blanket now covered the ground. Hurrah. Could the night be saved, we had suddenly left autumn and entered into winter. Smoke breaks would be chilly tonight, yes they would. We arrived at the party and found ourselves in much more of a party mood despite the snowy set-back. We got settled, poured some drinks slammed back some shots, and were ready to take the night head-on. Our party was under way, people were dancing, talking, playing drinking games, snapping pictures of my ass, in a pastel-turquoise thong body-suit while pointing and laughing...And then who should appear but cookie monster. No one actually knew who was under that suit, but when the big reveal came, we couldn't hold back smiles, it was the one person the party had been missing all along, and obviously, from this point out, the party's new mascot. Cookie Monster had found a way to be the cherry on the cake. As the night wore one, the regular tra-la-la took place...Our friend poured shots, people came and people went. Bambi got sick pre-maturely, and without her help, I found myself drunk and unable to resist sending "just one text". Allow me to insert a FAIL right about now.

One would think that after all the stupid things I have sent via text, I would have learned my lesson, but it appears as though I need to repeat these types of mistakes a few times before I learn from my erronous ways. Now, because I have a tendency to open my mouth at the exact moment in time when I shouldn't, I will keep it closed this time around. However, I will say that timing is everything, and I, for one, have MUCH to learn about it. Yet again, I woke up and thought - Shit, what have I done. And when the person in question responded to my drunken electronic slurs, I found myself wanting to find a rock, and if possible, to crawl under it and hide for a while.

As I write, I find myself full of candy, and feeling sick. And as I look around and see my costume, and see the pictures being posted, I realize that though I may not have been in the mood to party, I still did so, and it felt great. I can only hope that those who were with me enjoyed themselves just as much - it's no longer about being at the most happening place, rather, it's about enjoying the night and being as silly, stupid, drunk, and out of control as you want, with those who are closest to you - your friends.

Now to start planning for next year's costume...and explanations for drunk text victim...

-Milie B.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Wicked Witch of the East (End)

Why hello again. Happy you're back to see what else my brain has hatched as far as topics of conversation go. Well...I am pretty certain that everyone has heard that saying that "life isn't about the breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away" (or something to that effect). I am proud to say that yesterday, I experienced this not once, but twice. I am sure you are as flabbergasted as I was - twice in ONE day, who knew that was even possible.

As I mentioned, there were two moments. I have decided to give the second moment some more thought rather than write about it prematurely, and risk having it lose its lustre. And now for the first moment.

It began during an obligatory, weekly meeting at work. As I looked around the room, I couldn't believe my eyes - and not to judge here - the women were atrociously dressed. As I looked closer, I realized that individual peices were ok on their own, but an alarming number of these grown women could not put an outfit together to save their lives. There were so many colours that just did not belong together, or were perhaps acceptable in the form of a unique dress concocted by Betsey Johnson, but by no means work appropriate(think turquoise crew-neck shirt, with beige tapered corduroy, brown clunky shoes and a pink, yellow and orange flowered cardigan). Listen up ladies - that show, "What Not to Wear", I know it seems harsh, and perhaps even uninteresting if you are a tad "wiser" in your years, but it offers tutorials on how to dress, at any age. Not only does it guide you in how to dress, but how to wear your make-up, your hair - how to look fashionable at any age and yet remain classy. Don't get me wrong - I am all about bold fashion statements and choices, and I realize that the way you dress is an extension of who you are, a means of creative expression, and yes, I know individual tastes aren't exactly up for discussion, but these fashion decisions were so far off the target, I really do have to comment.

Now, after thinking I had quite possibly seen it all (though I knew there was no way that would ever happen), I came across her while I was walking out of the gym - The Wicked Witch of the East (end). **I say East end because those of you who know Ottawa know that the Gloucester centre is in the East end** I couldn't believe what was before my eyes. I came to a dead stop, tripped over my feet and my jaw dropped. Again, I am not judging, but please refer back to prior comment regarding television show. The woman in front of me, someone who was easily in their 70's, had not one, not two, but three - 3, THREE - different colours of hair. And I would like to point out these were not highlights. This lady was dressed, literally, like The Wicked Witch of the East, but her hair was a long layer of black, followed by a long layer of dark-ish grey, topped off with a final, shorter layer of forest green-turquoise. What is THAT? I have made some bad calls on hair colours (thick black chunky stripes on platinum) and haircuts (the self-induced "Moulet"), but I was also 20. And I have also worn some questionable fashion items (yes, I wore fun-fur, but I wore it out, to party, in an environment that was tailored to that fashion movement - aka, Montreal's rave scene circa '99), but the woman in question was out, shopping. I was scared. I think there comes a point in every person's life, and the point is about the same - I would say mid to late 20's - where whether or not you are done being crazy and out there, you need to dress in an age-appropriate manner. I am willing to sacrafice make-up if you can wear your hair in an age-appropriate manner as well. Aging is a part of life, and rather than try to hide it, I think people should instead embrace it. And truthfully, as we age, we ALL look less and less good, and we eventually will probably all look ugly in our old age, but baggy, black, witch robes and bad dye jobs are not going to camouflage this, or prevent the inevitable. And since I am on the subject, one should also avoid trying to squeeze into clothes an 18 year old would wear, stop trying to look that age too! If you are going to dye your hair, do so in a way that accentuates and complements your features - don't dye it 3 different colours, a move even "squeegee kids" are smart enough to avoid trying. Look at Joan Rivers - do you really want to look like her? Do you ever want to come close? Of course you don't.

I really want to reiterate that I am not judging - I have made some bad choices too. I admit them, and am able to laugh at them, and see how far off the mark I was. Ladies, dress your age, adopt a "less is more" attitude with make up, and stop wearing your hair like you are a rebel punk going riiden with teenage angst - this will not make you cooler with the kids (or grandkids, depending), and you risk embarassing them, and yourselves beyond repair. My apologies if you are offended by what I just wrote, but if you walk around and open your eyes, you will realize this phenomenon is reaching staggering numbers, and should be stopped before gains any more momentum.

-Milie B.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Purpose, or point, of BATS

Alright. I was talking with a friend today, and said friend pointed out that successful blogs have a purpose. Some exist to inform about fashion, politics, parenting skills, etc. Which brings me to my next point - the purpose of MY blog.

I don't have a concrete purpose like all the "successful" blogs, but one should also consider how young my blog is (at this point in time, all of 3 days old!). I actually spent a good deal of the day trying to figure out what my blog was about, and how I should go about articulating it. I think when I look at this on a global scale, the purpose is to simply provide others a view into my life. I am a regular person with a regular job, who likes to do regular things. However, I feel this is the perfect forum to address issues I care about, or at the very least, to discuss things that are on my mind, and probably on the minds of others. This means one can probably expect to read about travels, dating, and what life is really like outside The Hills and TMZ. I feel as though we have spent so long being fed a dream image of what "life" is like, and ultimately, people are never satisfied what what they have directly in front of them. I feel as though for too long, I was also part of this jaded population, and now that I have opened my eyes, I can actually begin to live life instead of always thinking that I am falling short.

Ultimately, I want this to be something that everyone can relate to, in some manner or another. I will do my best to keep you entertained, and to write often. I don't claim to be a social butterfly, or to be as popular or interesting as those we have come to idolize, however I don't believe these are pre-requisites to being worthy of being read (although I will be really frank here people, I am definitely just as, if not moreso entertaining than Snookie - except my IQ surpasses that of a roof shingle). My life is full of FAIL moments and debacles, moments of joy and sadness, and even ones that inspire or induce awe. My only hope is that as you read, you can appreciate, and take a chance on whatever I post - it comes from the heart, it isn't my job, and I am doing it because I love to write. Besides, maybe even you will be surprised with what you find here...

-Milie B.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday - Le Sigh...

It is currently 1:25pm - its is Sunday, and I am (obviously) sitting at my computer.  I woke at 12:31pm, something unheard of in my life in the last 10 months - it felt so nice. A few months back, I became a lemmings and purchased an oh-so coveted iPhone. This phone, I am sad to admit, has since become such a major part of my life I cringe at the thought of forgetting it at home during the day while I work. It is my lifeline to the outside world, to my friends, to society who are all, when you think of it, doing the same thing I am - working. This morning when I woke, the first thing I did was reach to my headboard for said iPhone. Yes people, this has become my new morning ritual - wake up, and find out what's up on FaceBook or Twitter. Back to FB.

When I scrolled down my feed, I found my cousin had posted that she was "Working tomorrow, so not down" and that her friend had responded to her post indictating FML - she, too, was working on Sunday. I will readily admit that working on a Sunday isn't the most appealing thing one could do. However, the FML is extremely uncalled for, in my  humble opinion. When I was their age, working on a Sunday was part of the deal. These days, with the economy being what it is, and there being fewer options for part-time work, or even full-time work for that matter, people, especially the "younger" generation should be happy to find jobs that aren't in the fast-food industry; though any job is good at this point in time. I was quite disappointed to see this post from my cousin. For me, a job meant having spending money, moving into the adulthood part of my life, and above all, monetary freedom. It meant I no longer needed to rely on some petty allowance from my parents - I finally had my own money, with which I could do what I pleased for the most part. It meant I could start planning for my future, but it also meant I was now someone who was employable. It meant I had skills that people could seek out in me, and it was an opportunity for me to learn something new, something I could excel at. And, it meant sometimes I would have to work on Sundays.

I now work full-time at a job I probably enjoy less than the part-time job I had when I was in university. I make more money, but you know what? When it's crunch time, I still work Sundays! And when I work Sundays, I don't have the opportunity to work with people, I get to sit at home with a laptop and pray that I get the work done before I get distracted. ALL jobs suck at one point in time or another - no matter how much you love what you do, there are always a few downfalls - but you have a job! Be happy that you have one! And also remember that some people, they work every Sunday because their job is such that they have to - that is the only job they can have, and there is a good chance that their money goes to supporting a family - not funding a Saturday night bender with friends, or a trip down south.

So my message to today's somewhat jaded youth - if you want Sundays off, keep going to school and working the part-time jobs with Sunday shifts. And if you make it REALLY big in today's world, then don't be so quick to push Sunday work days out of your mind - those who make it big work hard all the time, including Sundays. And finally, working on a Sunday, in Canada, in the winter no less, really isn't that bad - if you're going to spend the entire day inside lounging around, you might as well be inside making money, no?

My deep thoughts for this Sunday...Now, I am off to go enjoy some football and junk food, because THIS Sunday, I don't have to work. I did say THIS sunday - next week could be a different story.

-Milie B.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Who am I - who are YOU?

Ok, so some of you know me, and some of you don't...And even those who claim to probably don't know the half of it. This is my attempt at making life better, at pursuing one of my few passions. I am not always politically correct, and my opinions are my own. So please, don't be offended - or take anything personally.

As a welcome post, I thought I would dedicate this first rambling to my ex. Yep, really. If you know me, you know that the last 10 months have been somewhat of a journey to hell and back, and then back to hell, and then back - again. But seriously, no more visits to hell. I thought you were the love of my life - FAIL. EPIC FAIL. But you know what? You broke my heart, and taught me that I am a much better person without you - because you are out of my life, because you are no longer slamming my personality, and everything I am and stand for, I am stronger, wiser and above all, sane. Without you, I have had so many experiences that have meant the world to me, and met so many other people that are worthy of my time, attention, friendship and love. Because of the people I have met, and those who have always stood by me, I can breathe again, and really live my life. My life is better without you, and I finally feel like I am living it - I can only wait in anticipation for all the great things I will achieve WITHOUT you. So thanks for nothing - without this nothing, I would not have had the courage to step outside my comfort zone and boundaries, and I wouldn't be enjoying all the wonderful things life has to offer. Oh, and remember how I said I knew she left you her number and that it wasn't in a "friend" way, well you should also know that I know I was right, and that you're seeing her. I wish I could tell her that if it ends up being serious between you two, she will most likely have her heart torn to shreds as well - you seem to treat all your significant others the same way - I am just happy I got out when I did.

Now to everyone else, happy reading, and please don't hold back on constructive critiques - I hate being criticized, but I do welcome it.  And remember - life is what you make of it, don't wait another second.

-Milie B.