Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 reflections



What? It's over? Already? This year has gone by so fast and at the same time not at all. Day by day, I thought that this year was a really long one. I couldn't wait for what was coming next. This was a big year of change for me in many ways. I graduated from University, Traveled around Europe, started working full time. Old friendships were strengthened and new friendships lit up my life, adding new joy and sparkle. I'm so incredibly grateful. As I keep living my life, I am constantly reminded about how much good there is in the world. Of course, tragedy also strikes in many forms and areas of our lives but just when i've written off this shit-hole of a world, I am hit with such kindness and inspiration.

I have been so fortunate that I have such amazing, inspiring people surrounding me. I can safely say that all the people who are my friends and family are "good ones." Sometimes I look around and think I am so lucky. This feeling is quickly followed by anxiety that someone will look through the window of whatever house I'm in and see how wonderful my people are and steal my friends and family. They are too marvelous. I know. You are jealous but you can't have them.

2012 was a year that supposed to be the end of the world. So I took that upon myself to bring positive changes into the limited timed before the Mayan Zombies came and ate our brains. (Did I not get that right?) I started taking care of myself. A novel concept that has become, dare I say it, kind of nice. I made time for the people who actually mattered and who are also generous with their time. I didn't say 'yes' to everything because surprise, surprise I'm not a robot who can function without anytime for herself. I focused on myself. What did I want to do with my precious time regardless of what others thought. I chose not to get as stressed. I went to bed? WHAT? I tried to look on the sunny side and sometimes it worked. These were small 2012 changes and sometimes I felt good.

We only get one life, unless of course you believe in reincarnation (in which case, you can take this or leave it) so we might as well make this a good life. So in 2013, I invite you to be your best self. Have fun and do what you love. You are one of a kind my darling and I'm so pleased that you are a star in my life sky. Kiss, Kiss!

Laurel

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Benefits Of Winter




I am Canadian. I am proud of this fact. In Canada, there comes a time every year where we get to hang-out with mother nature's offspring, Winter. I don't mind winter in the same way other people do. So lately I've been trying to see the positive side of this cold weather. Here goes nothing.

 1) I can skate. I can even stop depending on the proximity of boards and/or small children in my way. Sure, maybe once I made a small child push me around on her balancing chair because I got lazy. STOP IT. She loved it, she's also family and who am I to stop a 7 year olds fun?

2) You get an early taste of menopause...even if you are a dude. What? You thought you were cold? nah-ugh. You just walked into the subway and as you are squished into your seat, your two sweater,  jacket, and scarf combination work together to create a internal oven. Enjoy your personalized sweat lodge until you walk back into the cold and experience that pre-flulike chill. Yum-o.

3) I don't have to shave my legs. This is truly a personal fave for me. All summer I battle with my razor or I simply forget to shave. Don't act surprised. Shaving your legs sucks. In the winter, no one cares and if they do, I'm not friends with them, making this problem obsolete. Shaaaaaabam. Freedom.

4) I get to wear long Johns. Come on, admit it. Deep down everyone likes a nice pair of long johns. A waffle knit is fashionable in its own way. You can pretend you are a lumberjack by adding a plaid shirt. Long Johns are warm and thick enough to hide your leg hair. Trust me, I know from experience. 

5) Two words: Snow men. Single? Dating a lame-o? Told that you are coldhearted? Or are you just lonely and need someone to talk to? You are in luck! You can make a friend and/or love interest out of snow! Add a carrot and some pebble eyes and you've got yourself a hottie...or a coldie? HAHAHA I'm so funny.

6) The peppermint and chocolate combination. Junior mints, After 8, peppermint hot chocolate. Bless whoever put those two together, and thank-you Winter for insuring that every treat or hot beverage I want can incorporate this delightful duo.

7) There is no need to wear make up because soon your face will be perpetually wind blown and frost bitten giving you a healthy rosy glow. Just mind the snot pouring out of you nostrils. No matter what season we're in, that's not sexy.

8) You can watch any christmas or holiday movie of your choice. Want to watch the Holiday again? Yes. Want to recite Hugh Grant's touching monologue about Love...actually? Sure. Want to listen to the irritating sound of Rudolph's nose glowing in clay animation? Golden. I don't care. 

The time is now. Make everyone around you sit together and pretend like we all get along because its cold outside and there is no place to escape to. This is Canada and we have cold winters. Let's accept it and find all the good things about that cold-hearted season called Winter. Sure, she can be cruel but she can also be pretty darn beautiful.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Shakespeare's Biddies...come on.



I just came back from the Ralph Fiennes film version of Shakespeare's Coriolanus. Here is the thing...I don't think I always like Billy S. and this is why: Shakespeare was a man of many wonderful images, many words and yet I think SOME of his female characters are just terrible. In most Shakespeare plays, you see these rich male characters who have wants and needs. Then there are the young women...one dimensional idiots who will literally do anything to please people . They are passive, they are pretty, they are boring.

I should add some new information since I obviously wasn't as specific before. There are some great female characters in Shakespeare. Women who are funny and challenging. However these women are usually older women. My problem is that in MANY (not all) of Shakespeare's plays, the young women are portrayed as naive and self-sacrifcing martyrs. This is the case in Coriolanus. This is the case in Othello. This is the case in Romeo and Juliet.

Here is where I will shift my argument back to my point about Shakespeare and updating his work. I understand that we are all people of our time and during Shakespeare's time, woman were more passive. MAYBE all a woman wanted was to please her husbands. MAYBE women were constantly the victims or the perfect counterparts to men's vicious and troubled ways. I say this, but I don't believe that this was the case for all women. I'm sure that in every time period there was at least one feisty woman. A real ball-buster and frankly that's the girl for me.


I don't like roles that perpetuate passivity just because it was true back in the day. I'm not saying you should ignore the social structures of a time period and forget how the world once was, but you should also embrace how the world works today. My point is that if you are going to update Shakespeare in every other way (as is the case in Fiennes version) then why not update the women's roles? I'm not saying "change the text" but maybe give the women a scene that shows some depth, some humanity, some power.

IT'S SO AGGRAVATING. Why can't women have cool stories where they aren't the victims? Why can't there be more Joan of Arcs and less Bella Swans in the world? Why, dear jesus, do I have to watch another film where a woman sheds a single tear down her check when she is upset? For once, I want a film to show the raw emotion of a woman who has needs of her own and punches that stupid husband of hers in the face...sorry I got sidetracked. I want to play a woman who has strength. Who doesn't crumble at the first sign of trouble. I don't know about anyone else but these victims are not the women I encounter in my day to day life. The women I know are fierce, tough with huge hearts.

I have trouble not with how Shakespeare wrote his plays because he wrote them with the view of his time period. I agree that the man can write a verse like no other. He was a genius and yet we need to consider the fact that times have changed.  If a modern actor like Ralph Fiennes chooses to direct Shakespeare's play, take liberties with cellphones and modern wars, add food crisis to keep it relevant, then why can't he take the time to make the young wife Virgilia have some sort of purpose? Why can't there a be a shot to show how she feels about her husband? Why can't she react to whats happening to her like a human being as opposed to the one-dimensional character that shakespeare wrote for her?

Why can't films and Theatre show the courage, the bravery, the beauty and complexity of women that Shakespeare neglected to show in his writing? 

Perhaps it could be argued that Shakespeare was a man of  his time and we should stick to the tradition of his work. Yet if we were to truly honour the old ways of Shakespeare's time then we would all be peeing on the theatre floor and throwing oranges at the actors. I would no doubt be a prostitute and most of us would have the plague. I'm not down for any of these things and if you are, then throw some prostitute money my way so I can write a kick-ass play with bad-ass women. And frankly I don't want to see another updated Shakespeare play or movie that is praised for it's modern adaptation when everything is changed except for the representations of women. Either perform the original version or do a thorough reworking of the Shakespeare text.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

"Walking On Broken Glass" is No Longer a Good Song


It took me a while to figure out if I wanted the world to know this story. I'm embarrassed and yet here I am.This past Saturday I left my place of work early to study for an exam I had on Monday. This was my last exam of University. My last day and then I was free. I could do anything. I had only a few days left to study and then I would officially be done school.

As I was getting ready to go see a friend's show that evening, I started making soup while boiling water for tea and talking to my friend on the phone. This in itself is a bad combination of multi-tasking. I know what you're thinking. This girl is going to tell you how she burnt herself or lit herself on fire. No. No this is not a bad p.s.a for fire. I hung up the phone and continued making soup. Then I opened my cupboard which is never organized or at the proper level of storage capacity. Suddenly some Bulk food (popcorn, i believe) fell out of my cupboard and landed on a wine glass that was resting very close to the edge of my counter. We have never had good counter space in my house. As the beautiful glass shot back at my face, I did what anyone would do. I shielded my face and jumped back. Unfortunately gravity worked against me. The glass smashed to the ground before I had safely landed. My darling right foot moved towards the ground and landed  a broken wine stem. HARDCORE.

I've taken first aid and done babysitter training. I know you aren't supposed to pull things out of your body when said things are sticking into you. But there was no choice. No second thought. That stem was pulled out of my foot as quickly as it went in. Here is a fun fact. Feet bleed. A LOT. The sound of gentle rain pierced my ears as blood pitter-pattered out of my foot, covering my floor like a scene from a Quentin Tarrantino film. I handled it like the strong independent woman that i am and SCREAMED. SCREAMED FOR MY ROOMMATES.  SCREAMED FOR MY LIFE.

No one was home. "This is the end" I thought." "My life...is over. I'm going to die before I graduate. Why did i waste my last days studying nutritional science???" I grabbed all the paper towel i could possibly find, found my new phone (which I barely know how to use). Everyone made fun of my old flip phone but at least i could dial it. I didn't need to use a secret swipe password and use the robot screen to maybe eventually find the dial pad which would inevitably call someone who wasn't in the same country anymore. Anyway, I managed to figure out my phone and  I called my brother.

I'd like to say that i've helped my brother out in emergency situations before...he just never seems to have them. In comparison, in my 5 years of University i've gone to the Emergency Room (not the doctor) 4 times. I've also gone countless times in high school and in elementary school but that's beside the point. I am a pretty good person and yet it just happens. The sad part is that I almost feel relieved being in the E.R because I know that if I need something there are so many trained professionals. The sad truth is that I have friends I can't call in emergency situations because i'm embarrassed about the amount of times they've taken me to the hospital.

As i was saying, I called my always calm  brother who answered, "Hey Laurel!" to which I replied "AHHHHHHHHHHH" and as I delicately screamed into my smartphone " I SLIT MY FOOOOOOOOOT", he unfortunately heard "I SLIT MY THROATTT!!!."

You can see how one can be mistaken for the other when someone is yelling and crying at you. However it tends to turn one bad situation into one hell of a serious one. As I said before, my brother is always calm BUT HE STARTED SCREAMING "CALL 911! CALL 911" to the crew around him....oh did i mention my brother was on a film set? Yes, of course he was.

 The people in the background started getting freaking out and then there is me  on the other end flipping out because my paper towel is bleeding through. "NO, NO! MY FOOT!" "WHAT?" he yelled. "I SLIT MY FOOOOOOOOT. Not my throat"

"OHHHHH....should i still come?"

"YES...I'M STILL BLEEDING!"

As I waited for my brother to come save my life, I realized that if i passed out no one would be able to get in my house because there are two doors that guard me from the outside world. I pulled myself through the broken glass, bum scooted down my stairs and started crawling towards my outside door. As I opened my front door and lay there bleeding, I saw people walking down the streets. Talking on their cellphones. I thought how happy they looked. I envied that they could use their phones. I remember being happy like that...I want my razor phone back.

As I waited, I thought what no girl should let herself think in a emergency situation. What...what if i don't make it? It was all very dramatic...BUT I WAS BLEEDING. I quickly mourned the life i would never lead and thought about how much my friends would miss me. Poor them! What would they do without me? Maybe they would mention me at their weddings or MAYBE  one of them would name their kid after me. Laurel the second. That sounds nice. How they would cry at my funeral... Oh god. I hope...I hope they don't read my journal. No wait, I told katy to burn them if I die before her. Okay. Well even if she reads them, she will be too full of remorse to show anyone else. Great!

Eventually my brother showed up with one of the guys from set. I tried to overcompensate for my current appearance and proceeded to explain my situation. "This always happens to Laurel" I told him. I explained that I was wearing shorts because my room was so hot and that I hadn't cleaned my room because I didn't know this would happen. I babbled on while my brother went upstairs and found my stuff. Health card, wallets, jacket and pants because it was in fact cold outside.  It was not short appropriate weather unless you were in my room.

My brother found me pants to cover my cold legs. This caused another set of  problems because I didn't want this total stranger to see me in my underwear. Therefore  i couldn't exactly take my shorts off to put on the pants. So I decided  that the next best thing would be to put my jean pants over top of my jean shorts...not the most practical choice. I couldn't get them done up because my one hand was compressing my foot. So as my brother carried me out of my house, my foot bleeding and my pants open, I thought it really can't get much more embarrassing than this. It was for sure a highlight in my life.

Finally, we were off to the hospital and I had to call my friends, skipping over the ones who have paid their laurel goes to the E.R quota for a lifetime. "Yes, yes i'm going to the hospital. No, don't worry. Toronto Western again...yup. No need to come." I couldn't get a hold of parents and didn't even bother to leave a message. I was piggybacked into the E.R and there I waited. To be honest, it wasn't that bad.

I made a lot of friends. I like meeting new people and I've sort of become a expert at E.R introductions. The triage nurse told me all about her kids. The security guard and I quickly made a agreement  that he would push me around for the rest of my life. How I love a good inside joke.The man beside me, threw up right in front of me and later pointed at my foot and smiled. I took this gesture as a good thing but perhaps he was delirious from his temperature. I made other friends mostly because they felt sorry for me...they thought I lost my foot. "No, no, just sliced it open" I laughed. One girl told me about the time she smashed her toe completely. To which i replied, "That's fucking disgusting." She told me about all of her past injuries. I felt like we bonded, this girl and me. We were both veterans of the E.R. The whole situation was really funny. In hindsight, i think i was in shock...but during I thought "man i'm on fire." Even the mumbling women near me had a laugh or two...however that could have been whatever drug she was on.

Finally I got my foot glued together and patched up. I got a Tetanus shot for good measure and some x-rays to check if there was glass in my foot. Check, check, check. Even my doctor was nice!

All and all, I had a fantastic four and a half hours with my darling friend Miriam at Toronto Western hospital. We were supposed to go to our friend's show together so we decided to "go with the flow" and continue our date night. Just at the hospital...instead of the theatre. In the end, Mir and I took a glamorous taxi ride home and ordered Indian food. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. As for hospitals, I think i'm over them. Sure, it was fun but it's also a bad habit I want to give up. After I heal, I will retire my crutches for good.  No more E.R fun for me, thank you very much! As for wine glasses... I think from now on i'm going to drink from the bottle...and possibly clean out my cupboard.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Don't kiss me cause I'm Irish. Fight me!

Being of Irish descent gives me the right to say a certain something about St. Patrick's Day. IT'S AWESOME.  I have celebrated it ever since i can remember. My darling grandmother and I would decorate her house and prepare all these fun St. Patty's day games that my cousins had to participate in (I was always the bossy child especially to family...sorry Danielle).

Like I was saying, I love this day. Which is strange since I generally hate when douchebag drunk guys are yelling in the streets and drunk girls are frantically searching for Amber or Megan who always seems to disappear (not hating-just speaking the truth). HOWEVER, on this day, I'm all about these people. I will personally find Todd, the frat boy, charming and declare him a dude with a 'good heart'...even if he eventually pukes on my shoes. I will personally lead the search party for those lost biddies, wipe the tears from their eyes and  lead them to a bar where they will have an awesome rest of their night. I even love the semi-posionous green food colouring that goes into everything. Green cupcakes, green beer, green burgers...mad cow? (I'm a vegetarian so I don't know why I referenced burgers). I don't even mind that for days after I think i'm dying because my urine is green.

St. Patrick's day might be a bit of sloppy mess, leading to fist fights, group singing and drunken conversations with attractive (beer goggles?) new friends but its a tradition that the Irish have given us and so help me, I'm going to participate.  So whether you are celebrating today, tomorrow, or both, I wish you the luck of the Irish. I hope that you do a jig, get a kiss or fight someone bigger than you. As for me, I plan to do all three.

And when sunday morning rolls around, don't worry. Thats why leprechauns invented gatorade and Tylenol. And remember, that amount of food colouring going into your body eventually will eventually have to make its way out...gross.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

What are you going to do after you graduate?





One day you are sitting around, minding your own business. Drinking a coffee that you don't really need and you run into that person. THAT PERSON. The one you don't know very well but well enough that they stop to say "hey". You are simply enjoying a quiet moment to yourself when BAM, it hits you in the face like a zipper in your eye.

" So anyway, WHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAATTTTT AARRRRRRRRRRREEEEE yooooUUUUUUUUUU DOINGGGGGG AFTERRRR YOUOUOUOU GRRRRAAAADDDDDUUUUAAATTEEEE?"

Life slows down and their words come out jumbled. You massage your ears and your eyeballs, checking for signs of a stroke as you try to process the question. "Pardon me?" you ask politely.

"WHAT.ARE.YOUDOOOOIINNNGGGG.AFTERYOUGRADUATE?"

Your heart starts racing. The world starts spinning. Did you accidently stumble upon a family dinner? Did you run into that competitive friend that you hated in grade one? Are you suddenly in the presence of that high school teacher who thought the world of you? No. You were simply minding your own business when a total stranger had the audacity to ask about your future.

"I'm working on... multiple projects." Booyah! Take that nosey nancy! "Oh! Are you getting paid?" BASTARD. You smile and wag your finger in their face, hoping to poke them in the eye without appearing to have done it on purpose. "Oh, you know how it is!"

...They blink for what seems like a eternity....you laugh uncomfortably. Eventually you mumble an excuse that you have to go and leave feeling traumatized.

  Honestly i know these people are trying to be nice but seriously. SERIOUSLY. Do you think your amazing Sherlock Holmes inquisitive questioning will be of use to me? The answer is no. So for those of you out there with this burning question on their lips, i appreciate the sentiment. However, please just STOP IT. JUST.STOP IT.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Man: A true story



I don't know how to tell this story. It seems so absurd. But just keep reading. Today i was at the reference library grabbing a book. I was waiting around for the library staff to bring my book up from the stacks. To kill time, I started searching through plays. I asked a guy to move over because i needed a book from where he was standing. He happily obliged and moved to the next aisle. This was my first mistake. Now I was alone. I remember feeling like I stepped on something and then looked down but there was nothing there. So I continued searching for my book. Out of nowhere, a man in his late fifties, early sixties, was sitting near my feet. He looked really concerned and said "Excuse me miss. Oh no, I think something chocolately is on your foot. oh yes. A peanut butter cup fell out of your bag and you must have stepped on it."

This should have been my first clue. I have never put a peanut butter cup in my bag in my life because it could never last that long in my presence. I would eat that chocolate bar in a second. It is my favourite candy. It WAS my favourite candy. I also switched purses this morning and i knew for sure that i didn't have that treat in my bag. Unfortunately, I didn't think about this at the time. The man offered to get it off for me. I told him "No thank-you, I can get it." This eager gentleman pulled out a kleenex and said it was no problem. I thought this was odd but then realized that maybe I was being too harsh. Had living in Toronto made me suspicious of a kind man's offer to get peanut butter cup off my shoe? Was I that Jaded? My foot remained in a figure skating position as the man had my winter boot in his hand. I felt like a flamingo and realized how hard it was to balance on one leg. I thought what an odd moment this is for me.

The man saw my distress and said "Don't worry about me, just continue reading your book." He told me to give him the full weight of my foot so he could get the peanut butter cup off. At this point, my danger meter was going off. The one where a stranger has crossed the line from being an eager beaver to stranger danger. He then repeated "Don't worry about me just keep reading your book." But how I ask you, how can a girl continue to search for her book when a strange man has her foot? I turn around to "put my foot down" (if you will) and  to my horror saw this man LICKING THE PEANUT BUTTER CUP OFF MY SHOE."

Pardon me? This is what you are thinking, right? Laurel, did you make this up? I assure you, I AM NOT THAT FUNNY. Today in the Toronto reference library a strange man licked a peanut butter cup that he placed under my shoe.  HE LICKED A PEANUT BUTTER CUP OFF MY WINTER BOOT THAT I HAVE STEPPED IN GOD KNOWS WHAT.

I then shoved my ghetto hand into his face. If North York taught me anything it was how to use the "talk to the hand" gesture. I said "I GOT THIS" AND HOPPED AWAY. When i turned around he was gone.

The sick thing in all of this is that, yes, this man was a harmless dude with a foot fetish but i'm the girl who hates feet. He picked the wrong girl. In another world, with another girl, this could have been a love story. The start of something amazing. A funny wedding story, "Once he licked my boot, i knew i couldn't live without this wildly impulsive man." Why me? I don't know why things like this happen to me. I wonder sometimes if I attract these things. Then i think to myself, NO. A GIRL DOES NOT HAVE A MAN LICK A PEANUT BUTTER CUP OFF HER BOOT BECAUSE SHE DID SOMETHING WRONG. THAT MAN WAS CRAY-CRAY. So next time someone offers to get something off your shoe, just know that they potentially might lick it off. If this does happen to you, please contact me. I am looking for some sort of support group. As for right now, i'm going to have a long hot shower and avoid libraries for the next little while. Peace out studious ones. My work is completely funded by my readers-if you'd like to keep this an ad-free space, please consider making a small monthly donation below to keep the blog posts coming. You are also invited to make a one-time donation in my "tip jar." Thanks for all the love and support. - Laurel Monthly Contribution:
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Monday, 2 January 2012

Surround yourself with people who make you dance and smile!




IT IS 2012 and I've realized something. I have such amazing people in my life. I am so lucky. I look at my friends and think if I have these gems at my side then i am spoiled! I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't know them because they are divine! I also realized that i only want to spend time with people i can sing loudly to my most embarrassing music, people  i can wear my sweatpants with and people who make me laugh. It is simple: these wonderful human beings make me feel good. So if you are feeling sad then maybe look around and ask yourself a question: Do the people in my life make me happy? If your answer is no then stop reading this post because you need to get new friends. If the answer is yes then go out and:

Dance with them
Laugh with them
Eat delicious food
Enjoy Adventures
Because no one wants to look back at the end of their life and realize that the people in your life didn't appreciate you.
Happy 2012! Cheers to friends<3<3<3
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