Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In case you were wondering...

Muay thai-fighting, protein powder-eating, gym-going, car-punching, James Bond-loving, "I hate your girly CD and movie collection"-ing guys DO like pretty white cake with rainbow sprinkles on their birthday.

They also like puppies and the movie "Love Actually". Don't let any of them tell you otherwise.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My first chain letter

All right. First of all, I should explain that I have never, in my life, been able to make myself continue a chain letter. Send this to five friends and you'll get free stickers? Nope. That one that's been traveling the world since 1952? Stopped by me. More than once, actually. I think I was the only one in my college class to refuse to participate in the yearbook-style getting to know everyone-type survey that circulated through the inboxes (of course I read everyone else's with some enjoyment).

I'm not sure why, really. There's just something in me that makes me groan, then dig in my heels and refuse to participate. I always feel a little guilty, because the person asking me to be a part of this big paper circle of love is always someone I like, and I hate to disappoint...I just irrationally hate chain letters more.

HOWEVER, Mari, over at MaybeinUtah tagged me in an exercise that despite feeling suspiciously like a chain letter, I feel compelled to attempt.
So here goes.

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six random? things about me:

1. I hate chain mail.

2. Whenever I'm sleeping alone in my apartment, I have to check my closet AND under my bed for homicidal maniacs or gremlins or whatever before I can go to sleep. I realize that if they're already in my closet or under my bed, there's not much I can do about it, but still. I'd rather try to catch them off-guard than be lying in bed when they decide to emerge.

3. When I was really small I once stuffed a live frog down the smokestack of a plastic steamboat, thinking he might like to sail it. I became concerned after a while when he didn't jump back out. My dad had to take the boat apart to set him free.

4. If I take a nap during the day, I get sleep paralysis. (my mind wakes up but my body refuses to move -sometimes I can even open my eyes a bit - it's sooo creepy.) I always wonder if that's what it's like to be in a coma. Apparently my mom and all her sisters used to have it too.

5. I have a giant crush on Jamie, from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

6. I love to eat flavoured Miss Vickies chips with dip, I put hot sauce or pesto on my eggs, and I love to eat dark chocolate with a big glass of orange juice. My boyfriend is constantly asking if I'm pregnant.

And now I must choose some of you to subject to this. Feel absolutely free to ignore the tagging, I promise, I'll understand. And of course, as I can't possibly do exactly what I'm asked, I'm only tagging four of you.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happiness and cheer

In case you were wondering, so far on my holidays I have:

attended parties
taught drunk actors how to moonwalk
fought with drunk actors over a huge box of Toffifee (before deciding I don't like it)
visited a box of TEN three-week-old puppies
hijacked and ate an entire platter of free appetizers at a bar
met my ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend
housed a friend who was snowed in for three days
drove my mom around so SHE could shop
played two games of Hooplah and one of Things in a Box (highly recommended)
and I've seen and hugged more friends than I've seen or hugged since I moved last March.
Not bad for a few days in my hometown.

Oh, and I also received an email from the notorious *Ross. Due to excellent advice from some of my inter-friends and also my mom, I've decided to grant him probationary friend status. It feels really good to let go of two years of hurt and anger. So thanks again to all of you who responded to my previous post.

I hope that all of you are as happy, healthy and surrounded by loved ones this Christmas eve as I am.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008


You know how there are some people you just instantly click with? Like, to the point where it's spooky? Where you maybe even sense that you're about to meet someone really special before either of you have said a word? There's just something about them. A sparkle in their eye that makes you feel like you've already shared an inside joke.

On my first day of kindergarten I was feeling a little apprehensive when my mom pointed out a little girl already seated at one of the teensy desks. "Why don't you sit with her?" she suggested. I checked out her gloriously red hair and Minnie Mouse necklace and thought. "Yeah, she'll do." She in turn informed her mother that she and I would one day get married. 18 years later our kindred spirited-ness has not diminished in the least. It's been pointed out that when we laugh, which is frequently, it's impossible to tell us apart.

I can count on one hand the number of people that I've had such an instant and unshakable bond with. They are the people whom I can't help but break out into a silly grin upon seeing and whom, no matter how much time has passed, I can talk and laugh with as though we've been together every day.

I remember feeling a sense of relief when *Ross walked in to the room during my third or fourth day in college. A late addition to the program, he was the person I had been waiting to meet since day one. I willed him to sit at my table and that was it. We were finishing each others sentences by the end of the week. I can't tell you how many times I had to fake a coughing fit or duck under the desk to pick up an imaginary dropped pen during a class, shoulders shaking and eyes streaming with crazy unstoppable laughter bubbling up, sometimes from nothing more than a word mouthed across the room.

We immediately felt more like siblings than anything, which I guess is one of the reasons our friendship came so easily. We constantly swapped dating advice. When he and his girlfriend broke up, I made him a mixed CD of ridiculous breakup songs. When I limped my way back to school after being hospitalized and very nearly killed by my own body, only to have my boyfriend break up with me, he was one of my biggest supporters, making me laugh when nothing about my life seemed funny anymore and my usual BFFs were too far away to know just how bad things were.

When he started dating one of the other girls in our program, I was the first to be let in on the secret and was totally happy for him. Although she wasn't one of my particular friends, we had worked together on a couple of projects, and I liked her. She seemed smart and fun and cute, if a little insecure. In fact, I have video footage of she and I cracking each other up while working on an assignment. I made it a point to invite her when I had a party that Ross was coming to and always went out of my way to be friendly to her since I knew how much Ross liked her and I also knew how torturous it could be to have a boyfriend who got along really well with other girls.

After graduating, we kept in touch via the occasional email and maybe one phone call a month and every so often I'd try to lure the increasingly codependent couple down for a visit with the promise of theatre tickets for him and his gf.

Then one day, almost two years ago now, he informed me, through messenger that he and the gf had decided he was going to have to cut off all contact with me. I actually thought he was joking for a second. My heart and stomach switched places when I realized he wasn't.
"Sarah, it's me and you that's the problem. We're too close. We're basically the same person sometimes," was the best he could do in the way of an explanation.

I calmly informed him that cutting me out of his life was A) Effing insane, B) Totally unnecessary, and C) An unfair betrayal. He agreed. I told him I would even be ok with a rule that if we were going to hang out, she had to be there too in an effort to find a compromise.

He explained that I wasn't the only person his gf was having trouble with. So on top of feeling hurt and angry on my own behalf, I started to feel sick over the thought of my friend being in what was starting to look alarmingly like an abusively controlling situation. I hated the thought that someone I so cared about and admired could behave like such a coward. "What if I told you that my boyfriend didn't want me to be friends with you and I had to cut off contact?" I asked.
"I'd ask you if he's seen a picture of me."

I told him how hurt I was that he would even consider cutting me out of his life, I told him there had to be some kind of compromise he could find and I made it clear that this would be a deal breaker. If he went ahead and threw out our friendship to mollify his girlfriend, then we weren't friends to begin with. I thought surely he'd come to his senses.

Six months later I received a happy birthday text-message from him. I didn't respond, and I haven't heard from him since.

Every so often I still think of something funny to tell him, or I try again to solve the puzzle of our last conversation and I wind up confused and sad all over again. It's horrible to realize that if something happened to him, I'd have no way of knowing. I've thought once or twice about contacting him, but I don't know what to say and a large part of me is still too upset and bewildered by what happened. But mostly I just don't think about it.

A couple of days ago I was talking with another college friend. "I've been talking with Ross a fair bit, actually," he informed me. "He says you two don't chat anymore. He says losing you was the biggest mistake of his life."

"Ha, ha. Well, I AM pretty awesome." I blustered, hurt feelings rushing back to the surface.

"Well I know he feels really bad about whatever happened. Any chance you two could be friends again?"

I didn't know what to say.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Grinch who stole my boyfriend

"I don't want to go."

"So stay," I mumbled, trying to unglue my eyelids and force him into agreement with my powers of hypnosis.

This proving impossible at 6:00 am on a Sunday after an evening of red wine, youtube karaoke, and the Grinch who stole Christmas, I settled for snuggling in closer to lure him back to sleep or at least steal some of his body heat.

As usual, my mediocre plan failed.

He might think I'm sweet, and beautiful, and fun. So much so that he'll not only watch The Little Mermaid with me, but he'll learn to play Under the Sea on guitar.

He'll make dinner while I'm at work, and he'll patiently tag along while I browse for the perfect vintage inspired cocktail dress (at least for a long as he's been fed...and the store doesn't happen to be playing Jann Arden, but still!).

But the thing about being in a long-distance relationship with an actor is the second an audition comes up, he's gone. His first visit to my lonely little apartment since (Canadian) Thanksgiving is suddenly cut short a week early.

And I feel blue.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa baby

I've spent the last few days typesetting letters to Santa from all of the local elementary schools to be printed in the paper. They all sound pretty much the same:

Dear Santa,
I've been a good girl/boy.
I would like a PS3, Ipod, Idog, Bratz doll, Bratz car, Bratz house, Barbie doll, wii, gameboy, dirt bike, snowboard, skateboard, bakugon (what?), ninja turtle, Hannah Montana freaking everything, etc, etc.
I will leave you milk and cookies.

Your friend

Some Kid

However, in the midst of all these, there were one or two requests that stood out:

Dear Santa,
I would like a box of crayons, some new clothes, a blanket, my dad to come home for Christmas.

A friend of mine called last night to ask what I want for Christmas. I couldn't think of a single thing. If I were writing a letter to Santa, it might look something like this.

Dear Santa,
I have been a reasonably good girl. I've worked hard and I've been nice and I always, always recycle.

I would like donations of goats, chickens, and mosquito nets made in my name.
I would like the Stephen Lewis foundation to be able to continue its work and support the Panzi hospital of Bukavu to help the disgraceful amount of women who have been brutalized and sexually assaulted.

I would like trees planted, I would like education and equal opportunities for all.
Dear Santa, I have health, and love and laughter. I have food and shelter and freedom from fear. And the perfect gift for someone like me, the person who has everything, is a gift for someone else.

I may not leave you milk and cookies, but I'll be sure to donate a non-perishable food item in your name.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I do a perfectly adequate job of making myself look stupid. Both in my daily life and in the newspaper. So it baffles me when people think they need to help me out in that department.

Last week I was given the delicious assignment of playing paparazzi at a local church during their turkey dinner. The thing about an assignment like that is that, first of all, no one likes to be photographed while eating, second (of all?) these church goers are a fairly tight knit group and tend to stare (not always in a friendly manner) when I walk in.

So there I was, trying to be unobtrusive and smiling sweetly at anyone who turned their frown my way. Meanwhile I can hear this woman behind me complaining, without a trace of humour, about how someone from the paper once printed an unflattering photo of her with her grandchild in the paper. "Oh, my hair was everywhere, it was just terrible!" she griped.

Finally, someone took pity on me and suggested that maybe I should take some photos of the kitchen volunteers. At least they wouldn't have their mouths full. However, this did not mean they would be more cooperative. When I tried to ask him his name, the only extrovert in the entire place instead demanded that I put out my hand.

He was holding a tong-full of turkey, and since I'm a vegetarian, I was inclined to say no. However, I have this thing about actually telling people around here that I'm a vegetarian. Partly because I'm pretty sure I'm already looked on as a complete alien based on my clothes and sense of humour, but also because half the people here who are offering me meat have probably raised and slaughtered it themselves. It seems insulting.

Also, I have this disdain for picky eaters. I can still hear my mom saying "This is not a buffet!" if my brother or I requested something else after she'd already provided us with something nutritious and delicious.

So, I said. "Oh! ha ha, no thanks, ha, I wouldn't want to get any turkey on the camera!"
"Put the camera down for a minute. We'll get you a napkin to wipe your hands"
Foiled by his logic, all I could do was put out my hand and say, "Oh, erm, right, haha, I guess I could do that."

After they all watched me force down the giant piece of bird, which I was actually concerned might be my death by choking, I asked for the turkeymonger's name again.

"Charlie Brown"
"Yeah, somehow I don't think that's it."

Finally he gave me a more reasonable sounding name and I was out of there.

It wasn't until after the paper had gone to print that I ran into one of the women who had been in the kitchen at the time. Apparently after I left he had laughed his fool head off because he gave me the name of some other guy who lives in town. In a small town, you make your own entertainment.

Next time, I'm accidently dropping the turkey on the floor.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hey la, hey la!

(Photo by Joel Bedford)

After a month where I saw him for a pathetic total of one day, le boyfriend is coming to stay with me for an undecided but certainly extended period of time! Now when I come home from work he'll be there doing my dishes and eating my crackers and taking up space on my couch when I watch Scrubs DVDs. I can't wait!

And no, he will not be allowed to drive my car (see photo).


Once upon a time there was a young woman who spent her days slaving away over a newspaper in a hamlet in rural Canada. Plagued by cruel deadlines and evilly dull events, she longed for an escape. Finally, one day her fairy editor paid her a visit and granted her wish.

So off she went to the big glittering city for a weekend with one of her very best girls. They whiled away the day, chatting and laughing and eating at the newspaper girl's favourite falafel place until it was time to pick up coatracks for the ball.

Then it was back home to sprinkle on some glamour, transform into pretty, pretty princesses and run like maniacs in heels to catch the mystical carriage on wires to the ballroom for the magazine launch/formal.

And then there was dancing, dancing, dancing. The princesses, who were joined by their favourite ballerina quickly discovered their dance cards -yes, there were really dance cards - were full, and they spent the evening being whirled around the dance floor by prince after prince, none of who were the least bit gropey or disgusting.

The newspaper princess did lose a shoe at one point, but quickly retrieved it herself. Unfortunately, she also misplaced a lipstick and a box of smarties. An acceptable loss, anyway.

In the wee hours of the morning, the princesses and the ballerina returned home to massage each other's feet and laugh about the evening's many adventures before tumbling exhausted and happy into bed.

The next day, the princess hung up her tiara and went back to work, but the enchantment of the evening left a smile on her face that would last for weeks to come.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Does this qualify as "newspaper experience?"

This photo from my hometown paper makes me laugh extra hard now that I'm actually working for a newspaper in an area largely populated by cows. Who knew the camera lens doubles as a crystal ball?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's that time again

This morning I had to clear about a foot of snow off my car. I preferred vegetables. On the upside I have an excuse to wear ridiculous hats again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

And along came a hero

When Craig Kielburger was 12 years old, he read an article in a newspaper that inspired him to learn more about the issues surrounding child slave labour.

When I was about the same age, my mom started updating me fairly regularly about the activities of two young brothers named Marc and Craig. They were from Toronto and were traveling the world and making a real difference in the lives of children wherever they went. And they were my age!

Eventually I started paying attention to what was going on with Craig and Marc Kielburger and their organization, Free the Children, on my own.

Recently, someone was asking me about what direction I saw my journalism work taking me in the future and whether I would consider doing something insane like covering news in war-torn areas. I explained that although it wouldn't be my first choice to head off into a war zone, I do think that is one of the most important jobs a journalist can have. Telling the rest of the world about what is happening so they might be inspired to work towards peace.

I was oh so lovingly assured by my pessimistic conversation buddy that there is no way I'm ever going to change anything anyway, so why bother?

Instead of letting my idealism and optimism dissolve into some serious pouting and "accidental" shin-kicking, I was able to calmly hold up my shining example: the Kielburgers. Two young men who are no different than the rest of us, but who have made the decision to look beyond themselves and make a real effort to change things for the better.

My pessimistic friend couldn't argue with that.

The past 8 or so months have taught me many things about working for a newspaper. Of late, I've been feeling especially overworked and underpaid. And from what I understand, it isn't likely to get dramatically better. It can be discouraging to say the least. Not to mention the fact that the general population has no concept of what goes into putting together a newspaper and are, as a rule, remarkably unforgiving of the malicious "mistakes" we evil reporters like to throw into our work. You know, for funsies.

However just when I was beginning to wonder if I had maybe started down an entirely futile path with this writing thing, enter Marc Kielburger.

He was in town to speak at one of the local high schools, and as I was still pulling double duty as both reporter and editor, I thought it only fair to assign myself to cover the event.

Despite the fact that he has probably made the same speech to zillions of students before, Kielburger's passion for human rights and the work that he does just radiated off him. There are few people who can inspire an auditorium sardine-packed with teenagers into silence. He is one of them.

Before the assembly I caught up with him briefly and he graciously answered my questions for the paper with a smile and gave me his card in case I came up with any more later and I believe I held myself together at the seams sufficiently to pass myself off as something other than the bubbling, gushing fangirl I was suppressing. Of course after my job was over I figured it was totally appropriate to get a picture taken with him and let my fangirl out.

Aside from providing me with an excellent Christmas card for my mom, Kielbuger reminded me of what it is that keeps me going when I wonder if I might be better suited to some kind of career involving money, where my mistakes aren't splashed permanently across newspaper pages. It is the hope that someday, something I write might grab ahold of someone like Craig Kielburger, and set in motion some much-needed change.

A lofty aspiration, I know, but why have any other kind?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breakfast of champions?

Yesterday I almost ate one of those fake ladybugs for breakfast. A bunch of them have taken up residence in my bathroom since the weather got cooler, and I actually put my toothbrush in my mouth before noticing the bug hanging out on the underside of it in the mirror.

Let me tell you, if coffee doesn't snap you out of that morning haze quickly enough, a near miss with a ladybug might be just the wake-up call you need.

Plus, it might be good luck. Today I got to meet one of my biggest heroes. More on that later.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dirty Dancing

Last week an article about a young man who has blogged some helpful hints for women who might be considering something crazy like going out dancing in mixed company, to avoid getting raped in the process, was featured on

The helpful hinter likens women getting up close and personal with men on the dance floor and later refusing to have sex to a store advertising a sale, but then hiking the prices up instead, saying, "It would almost make you want to say "screw this" and rob the store to get your promised discount, wouldn't it?"
Um, no?

After recovering from the anger stroke caused by reading this and other choice quotes, I was reminded of an issue that has been on my mind for some time.

I LOVE to put on something pretty and go out dancing with my friends. I do NOT love being groped by strangers. And despite my best efforts to discourage this kind of behaviour, it seems the two are mutually exclusive.

There is inevitably some guy who thinks it's perfectly ok to approach me by sidling his groin up to me from behind. It's as if, by walking in off the street, we are agreeing to throw away all rules of acceptable conduct. Most people would agree that a stranger approaching them on the sidewalk, genitals first, should result in some kind of legal repercussions, or at least a swift kick.

And yet, once inside a bar or club, many young women I know claim they "don't want to be rude" by firmly telling a guy to please back the hell off, immediately. And, if a guy is deemed attractive enough, (provided she actually gets a look at him), a lot of women actually seem happy to oblige in dry humping to the music.

I guess this is part of the reason why many guys seem genuinely confused when I'm not willing to treat them like a human striptease pole. However, just because some women respond positively to this sleazy approach, is no reason to assume that all women will.

My boyfriend points out that most of these situations go hand in hand with alcohol consumption, and that most guys wouldn't make a move like that while sober. But I feel like, if it were firmly imprinted on their brains that this is not a respectful or acceptable way to treat a woman, it shouldn't matter.

Maybe I just don't watch enough music videos.

Or maybe I just need to accept this behaviour as one of those things I just don't get and stick to swing dancing with the elderly.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Well congratulations, America. I couldn't be happier for you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cabbage Patch Kid

Tuesday night my parents headed out to the theatre for a dose of Christopher Plummer, two of my BFFs, who I talked to via Skype were off to Bloor cinema for a movie and probably some delicious Thai food, or sushi or something considered equally exotic to where I live now, like say, McDonalds. And I assume that everyone else I know was also doing something infinitely more interesting than what I had planned.

I was settling in for a night of watching The Tudors, one of two shows I can stand on the two channels I get with my rabbit ears (if it's not raining, or windy and I'm not doing laundry.)

However, the downstairs food fairies had other plans for me. Remember back when my evenings used to consist of drinks and dancing? Me neither. Although technically there was SOME drinking involved, last night dancing was replaced with helping to make buckets and buckets of sauerkraut using an antique cabbage shredder and a homemade "pounder" to "Smuck" the cabbage together with salt. (Yes those are technical terms).

So I pretended I was on the amazing race and smucked like a million dollars depended on it, while Food fairy J told me about the giant sauerkraut parties the locals used to have. Families would bring their cabbages and spend the entire day chopping, pounding and salting together to put up enough sauerkraut for the winter.

Sometimes I think the food fairies are like those three godmothers in Sleeping Beauty, except, instead of sewing me magic dresses (which I would appreciate), their job is to educate me about various rural and historical items of interest.

For example, when I recently shouted "Look! A fox!", my city-born eyes sparkling with excitement, Food fairy J, said. "That's a coyote," without even looking at me like I was a moron.

Anyway, maybe my life is not as glamorous as it was, but at least I'm learning my animals. Plus this winter I probably won't get scurvy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tell me why...

I don't like Mondays.

It is 9:30, and I just got home. Normally, of course, 9:30 is well within my self-made, grown-up curfew. However, when the place I'm coming home from is a 2 1/2 hour meeting regarding the fate of local ATVs, which I only got to attend as my reward for finishing a ridiculous day of layout, with zero breaks for food, 9:30 is way, way, way past my bed time.

Naturally I couldn't just keep this to myself and go to bed quietly. I seem to be operating on some kind of adrenaline leftover. So, for your enjoyment, some of the highlights of Monday in the life of a small-town journalist, suddenly thrown into the roll of editor:

After waking up 20 minutes before I had to be at work, I stumbled outside, toast and tea in hand. I balanced my toast on top of my lucky car frog, and drove almost to the end of my street before realizing I should probably have my wipers on. Fortunately, this caused me to take a closer look at the windshield and notice that the food fairies left me an apple. (Aw) A good thing too, as it wound up being what passed for my lunch.

Fast forward through a brain-numbing day of laying out page after page after page of paper until the end of time, and yelling "What do you want from me!" at the phone every time it rang, before picking it up and pretending to be sane and/or competent.

At one point I deleriously walked into one of the offices to pick things up from the printer, only to find that the printer had morphed into a confused coworker who kindly pointed next door.

Top it all off with spending the better part of my evening seated next to a guy named Esau, who really wants to ride around on his ATV, to the chagrin of his neighbours, et voila,

this is my brain on Mondays.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dear Canada,

What the eff?


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Well, shoot.

Every so often I get this crazy idea that I am an "outdoor girl." This, despite my vehement protests to the contrary when I was 15 and my parents cruelly dragged me through various wooded areas of British Columbia in my platform shoes (I refused to pack sneakers).

It was in this spirit, as well as the spirit of "we're both strapped for cash," that I suggested my visiting boyfriend and I take not one, but two nature-type walks over this thanksgiving weekend. Outdoors, no less.

The first walk was lovely. The sun was all melted butter and honey over the fall colours of the trail and there was a spectacular view of the lake. We strolled along hand in hand, stopping to chat with birds and chipmunks, examine berries and apples and eat mint smoothies from my purse.

With the success of our first walk fresh in our minds, we happily headed out to another local trail system to see what it had to offer. This one was part of a conservation area. I assumed that conservation meant protecting the local plants and wildlife.

Not so much.

While the plants seemed to be flourishing, the boyfriend and I didn't pause long enough to observe much in the way of wildlife. We did spot one chipmunk and two tiny frogs, who were doing a rotten job of eating the cloud of mosquitos following us. But by the end of our woodland adventure, we were crashing through there so fast that no animal within a hundred yards of us would have stuck around long enough for us to spot it. Which, was probably good for them, as what had us in such a rush to end our leisurely stroll, was the almost constant sound of gunshots uncomfortably nearby.

Apparently the conservation area is not only a popular spot for hikers and horseback riders, but for very enthusiastic hunters. Shooting things. With guns. Go figure.

Next time I feel the need to do something crazy like commune with nature, maybe I'll just head back to my hometown and hang out with the squirrels in the park.

Or this parrot I met downtown.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's official. My acting editor is leaving the paper in two days. While that might not mean anything to most people in the blogosphere, to me, it means approximately double the work, and no extra money to show for it for the month until the real editor returns. It also means, that for about a month, the local rag will probably read something like the above.

Maybe I can spin this into some kind of promotion. "For the next four weeks, I will be cleverly hiding grammatical errors, typos and incorrect names of local public figures, in the paper. Find them all for a free mug! (filled with my tears. And sweat. And dignity.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Canada Youth Voter Day

My mom called this morning to inform me that today is Canada Youth Voter Day and that I should take advantage of the opportunity to vote early as she knows I am about to get sucked into a vortex of a month acting as my own editor/both of the paper's reporters.

Embarrassingly, I was completely oblivious to this Canada Youth Voter Day. Considering that I do actually try to at the very least, read the headlines every day, as being aware of the news is kind of, like, my job, and that I even watched the entire debate last night, you'd think I would have come across something like that.

This is a little disturbing, because if I didn't know, then other young people who are less inspired to vote than myself almost certainly didn't.

Anyway, it turns out the advance poll is located directly across the street from where I live. After a couple of minutes of being grilled (well, maybe not grilled, more lightly toasted really, they were pretty tame) by the overly-suspicious seniors guarding the polls, I sat down, marked my "x" and was on my way back across the street. Easy as that.

For those of you other young whipersnappers out there who can't see the polling station from your house, find out where it is, take the five minutes out of your day, and get your youthful selves to the polls. We shouldn't allow people who very well may be dead by the time our future arrives, to decide what it's going to look like for us. It's too important to leave it up to someone else.

Advance polls are open until 8 p.m. tonight. For more information, check out,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The best plant holder ever.

This is the inside of the bunkie my parents built in the backyard recently. Cute, no?

In the window reflection you can see the back of the house and the bumble-bee infested back porch which may or may not be next on the list of projects.

Through the back window you can also see my 5th birthday present. My dad had thoroughly convinced my four-year old self that the project I was "helping" him work on, was a house to hold his boss's plants. I saw no reason why his boss wouldn't want a pretty little Sarah-sized house on stilts, complete with heart-shaped cutouts.
I don't remember much about what I did to actually help the project along. I did have a tool belt and a hat like my dad's but my tools themselves were of the fisher price variety.

I do, however, remember changing into what I thought was a hilariously large pair of shorts and then coming outside and announcing "Now THIS is what I call a pair of shorts!" My mom laughed, which may have prompted me to go around repeating the phrase every time I put them on.

My parents recently found footage of the big reveal. Mom woke my cousin Emily and I up at what looks something like 6a.m. although it's hard for me to say, as I generally try to avoid getting up that early these days. We're all tangle-haired and sleepy-eyed at any rate. I'm carrying my stuffed dog who I alternately called "Fred" or "Cinderella" depending on my mood.

The video shows us barefoot and pj-clad, tiptoeing out onto the back porch -at the time, not bumblebee infested - and stopping short to stare at the "plant holder" which was decorated with pink balloons while my parents yelled "Surprise! What do you think?" I stood there smiling uncertainly until Emily, almost a year younger, but clearly a little quicker on the uptake than me, exclaimed " I think it's a playhouse!" At which point I laughed out loud and flung myself at my dad for a bear hug. It was a very happy birthday.

Because of various health issues, it seems pretty unlikely that I'll be able to safely do the whole pregnancy thing. I've known for a while now, but once in a while, when I come across an especially glowing pregnant woman, it can still get me pretty down.

On the upside though, I'm now more likely than ever to adopt a child. One who is already here, who wasn't born into the kind of charmed childhood I was lucky enough to enjoy and who desperately needs someone who will build them a playhouse or just laugh when they put on a funny pair of shorts.

Anyway, the real point of this story is, I'm sure any day now, my parents are going to lure me home for a visit, tie balloons on that cute little bunkie, wake me up at 6 a.m. and shout "Surprise!"


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Comfort food

Green beans and roasted beets fresh from my windshield with roasted garlic and rosemary risotto. Delish!

And to think most people just find flyers and tickets on their cars.

Monday, September 29, 2008


You know when you're running around like a crazy, trying to find your keys/shoes/coffee mug/everything,everything,everything because you are the most disorganized person on the planet, on your way to what will inevitably by a grueling Monday of trying to make the local news fit on the pages of the paper without looking like a kindergarten collage and it's rainy and you stayed up too late finishing assignments because it was the first episode of the amazing race and, let's face it, you were just so damn lazy last week and you finally sprint out the door, only to find that your car has been....

...visited by the local produce fairies?

And then you laugh out loud and your day doesn't seem quite so bad after all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

One more for the road

I'm off to my bustling metropolis (formerly known as teeny-tiny hamlet) of a hometown for the weekend.

I thought I'd leave you with one more scarecrow photo. Your guess is as good as mine concerning the one on the left....(edit) and by left, I mean right.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm not the only one

Whether by nature, or nurture, I am overwhelmingly an optimist. Despite the constant barrage of news headlines to the contrary, I believe that most people are basically good.

Unfortunately, this week, my generally sunny outlook has diminished as I got a look at a disturbingly dark side of this quintessentially small-town, town.

Suffice it to say that I've been made aware of the details of a horrific crime that took place over the weekend and the atrociously damaging way in which it was handled by the people who were in a position to help after the fact. As a result, the perpetrators are free to roam around town looking for their next victim, secure in the knowledge that no one will bother to come after them.

Just knowing about it has left me feeling sickened, outraged, fearful and frustratingly powerless. I can only imagine what the victim must be feeling.

Maybe by next week, I'll be thinking of proactive ways to address the issue of a system that could let someone down so unimaginably, but today I'm just not feeling very optimistic.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A very scare(crow)y weekend

This weekend I was lucky enough to cover -what else?- a scarecrow competition. It took me a second, but this Home Improvement-inspired display made me laugh (it had been a long day).

Not sure if these guys were effective at scaring crows away from church, but they definitely made me walk a little faster.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tiny wings

During a weekend assignment at the local racetrack, I was absentmindedly staring into space when a monarch butterfly floated down to settle on the dust of the track in front of me.

As I cringed to think of the fate that might befall the little bug -yes, I worry about the fate of bugs. I also insisted my boyfriend return a toad he wanted to bring down the street to live under my porch in case we were separating it from its friends and family- I assumed that I was probably the only one who noticed the butterfly potentially about to be mangled by stampeding horses.

However, the avid gambler senior citizen sitting on his walker next to me at the rail suddenly patted me on the arm urgently.

"Look at that, that's a monarch. They're supposed to be headed to Mexico by now, aren't they?"

"I think you're right," I smiled.

Just then, the horses sped past, somehow leaving the butterfly undamaged. As we watched it float back up into the sky. My new friend said. "That's a long way to go on a tiny set of wings."

Before I left, he gave me a pin to remember him by.

It was unnecessary.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh, CUPCAKES make the heart grow fonder!

Last night we ate the last of the adorable cupcakes I made soon after my boyfriend arrived for a visit. Today he is packing to make the 6 or so hour trip back home. Coincidence? I think not.

I found Paris Hilton's dog

...or a rummage sale-loving alien?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

200 square feet of cute!

So I may have to ditch this reporter gig to take up carpentry. Won't dad be proud! It's not that I don't enjoy small-town journalism. For example, today I photographed this adorable man who couldn't stop giggling after making some joke about fixing his hair. I also got to watch several seniors try out the Nintendo wii bowling game. One woman kept shouting, "Who is that person in my lane? They're in my way!" referring to the on-screen character representing herself. I honestly can't think of too many more enjoyable ways to spend my morning at work.

HOWEVER, I just discovered, the website of this guy who builds the cutest gosh-darn teensy little houses you ever did see and all the adorable local news I get to run around covering just went right out the window. My new dream is to build Tinkerbell-sized, environmentally friendly, homes. Or at least to live in one.
I think I like the Weebee best.

Actually, conveniently enough, my parents built a very cute little bunkie in their backyard recently which should be easy enough to fit with solar panels and add a bathroom and tiny kitchen. Now all I have to build is a second one to hold all my dresses and shoes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

No Bed of Roses

I have been meaning to write about the charms of living in an idyllic rural setting that I've been discovering recently. One of the things I've enjoyed most is becoming a bit of a locavore.

I buy potatoes at a local flea market and stop for corn at farms along the way home. My lovely neighbours are constantly bringing me locally grown produce to try. Hardly a day goes by that I step out the door without finding a sun-warmed peach, or fresh tomato or cucumber waiting for me on the hood of my car. It's like being visited by the food fairies. And all of it tastes much better than what I find at the grocery store.

But lately something has happened that made me never want to eat anything within a 100 km radius -or any radius really- ever again.

You know that smell you frantically roll your windows up against when you're driving through the country? That pungent aroma of manure and some kind of nostril poisoning chemicals combined that comes wafting across the fields while you crank the air conditioning and try to forget you ever smelled it? Well, for the past week or so, I have been trapped inside that smell. And I do not have air conditioning.

Anyway, besides giving me a constant headache and making me faintly nauseous 24/7, this stench monster has thrown a bit of a wrench in my whole gung-ho attitude about eating locally to benefit the environment etc.

If, as I suspect, local farmers are spreading more than manure, or even if it is just manure, how environmentally friendly is that really? I find it kind of disturbing that our food is grown out of something that smells like toxic waste.

This might be worth looking into.

Also worth looking into; breathing through my mouth.

Friday, August 8, 2008

What's the big secret?

The other night as my downstairs neighbours plied me with food, as is thier very kind habit, I mentioned that I had dropped off my boyfriend at the train that morning. They asked about where he lives and when I told them, he lives about 6 hours from here they wanted to know how we met.

I explained that the first time I noticed him was at a theatre opening where I told my friends, "I want that guy to come over here and talk to me." He didn't. However, the next day when I was out for a walk, I kept thinking about bumping into him. Sure enough, he came rollerblading towards me and I flashed him a big grin as he went by.
He doesn't remember this or seeing me at the first party but the NEXT night we were introduced through mutual aquaintences at another party.

I somehow managed to make a good impression on him despite being disproportionately tipsy after about half a drink due to it being my first after about five months on blood thinners. Fortunately I didn't do anything too embarrassing besides giggling hard enough to fall out of my seat and finishing another guy's sentence "Hey, why don't we all go back to my place and play some...." by yelling "VIDEOGAMES????!!!" a tad too excitedly. Turns out he was going to say music. Whatever, he seemed like that kind of nerdster. Not my fault. Plus I NEVER get to play videogames.


After I explained that "No, no really, I'm FiNE. It's just the drugs." and then explained that by drugs I meant blood thinners and THEN assured my future boyfriend that he had not, in fact, killed me by giving me a drink, we got along famously. And once he was convinced that I really wasn't a 15 year old who made up some elaborate story to cover up the fact that I'd actually never had a drink in my life, we started dating.

What impressed my neighbour about our meeting was the number of times I would visualize running into him and then it would happen, and the fact that it was like I simply made up my mind that we would date, and then it happened.
I've told my boyfriend about this since, and he's convinced that I'm a witch, which is why he now refuses to play Yahtzee with me. Apparently "games of chance are no fun when you're playing against a witch." What a baby.

My neighbour found this all really interesting and told me I should watch a video her friend had loaned her. I had to bite my tongue when I saw what it was. "The Secret." Seriously? But I figured I should try to be open-minded. Besides, I don't have cable and know every word of every DVD I own by heart.

I finally got around to watching it this afternoon. It was pretty lame for the most part. Lots of horrific re-enactments and people who seemed slightly too smug, crazy or irritating to be credible. There was also a big focus on becoming wealthy or obtaining your dreams (I.e. a bike, necklace, mansion or sportscar), which made me feel a little ill. Also, a weird, hypnotic voice encouraging viewers to relax because "It's not your job to change the world." Which I disagree with, like, a LOT.

So overall it was about as lame as I expected, but I did like some of the suggestions. I don't think it can hurt anyone to take a minute every day to think about and write down what you're grateful for, and I have no doubt that positive visualization can go a long way towards helping achieve your goals. Although clearly it's not always that simple. According to the theory of the secret, as I understand it, starving children simply don't WANT food enough. Um, no.

So maybe I will just stick with my original plan and find myself a wish-granting, sand fairy.

You can all come over when I receive my sportscar and mansion...where I will play VIDEOGAMES!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Target Women

From now on, when I see a yogurt, botox or wedding show commercial, I will no longer have the urge to hurl the offending television violently into the street. Not because any of the ads have miraculously improved, but because of my recent discovery of Sarah Haskins.

She oh-so-cleverly skewers these and other insipid/offensive ads and products targetted to women in a segment on infomania. And she's hilarious. So now all I have to do is run her commentary in my head over the ads, and voila! Comedy gold!

You should watch her.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


It's fairly safe to assume that your day might be out of the ordinary when the first thing you hear upon arriving at work is, "Want to go check out some crop circles?"

"ha ha... What?"

The two bonafide local women I work with assured me that, no doubt it was some damage inflicted by the previous night's impressive storm. Not one to miss a chance to leave the office (unless it's to chase the firetrucks), I said I'd check it out to be sure.

I found the spot fairly easily as a family pulled over just ahead of me and the damage was quite close to the road. I followed the family of neighbours out into the wheat field.
I found myself standing in a very large, very perfect circle. Ahead of me, the others were quietly wandering through four other very perfect circles that decsended in size and were connected by evenly spaced pathways.

It was weird.

I phoned in to the office to see if there was some way we could get an arial shot of the formations but was told that one of our sister papers had heard about the circles too and would be sending one of their reporters up in an airplane. I was kind of disappointed, but figured I'd do the best to get some good shots of my own, including flagging down a guy in a Bell Mobility truck and asking if I could go up in the truck's bucket extender thingy (he said no, but did take my camera up himself and let me clamber on top of the truck to take some shots of my own).

After I chatted with various neighbours and friends, and the family who own the farm and heard a variety of theories as to how the circles could have materialized between 2:30 and 7:30 that morning, I headed back to the office.
It turned out that while I was gone, the others had been busy making some calls just in case there was anyone willing to take me up in an airplane to get some shots in exchange for the chance to sit next to, at this point, a very giddy, hungry and slightly sun burnt reporter. Lo and behold, there was. I was out the door so fast that my editor was sitting there choking on dust and wheat particles before he could tell me I didn't need to meet the guy for another half hour.

By 3:30, my camera and I were packed into a tiny little plane with my new best friend, a.k.a. local man with a plane. After he'd indulged me in flying over the crop circles umpteen times so I could get a good shot, he said "OK, what else would you like to see?"

I really hadn't thought past the wheat field myself. So off we flew towards the lake and along the coastline. It was so strange to look down at places I drive by all the time and have a completely different perspective. I didn't realize the water was SO blue or that the fields were such precise squares. Just as I started to relax and enjoy the view sans camera and the fact that, to my surprise, I didn't feel nearly as claustrophobic or just plain terrified as I would have assumed, the pilot leaned over and explained how the steering and foot pedals worked. Then said "Ok, now you can fly her."

"ha ha... what?"

So I did.

That evening I covered a local rummage sale. Although weird and hilarious in its own way, it was kind of anticlimactic.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sure you can ballroom dance, but can you YMCA?

One of my very best girlfriends made the trek out to visit me this weekend. I was extremely determined to show her/myself a good time. This was partly due to the fact that, you know, I like her, but also due to the fact that she can travel back to our hometown and spread the word about how fabulous visiting me is to help me lure more friends here to entertain me.

Not that this little community is really lacking in things to entertain me, as we discovered when I convinced her it would be just the cat's pyjammas to attend a big band dance in one of the nearby villages.

We spent a giddy evening flouncing around my apartment, transforming into vintage, 1940s versions of ourselves and drinking frozen fruit cocktails in preparation for the big night. We then took a $23 cab ride to the tiny Town Hall, where we were greeted at the door by raised eyebrows and the hesitant question, "Oh, did you ladies want to come into the dance?"
It didn't take long to understand the man's surprise as it was echoed on every face as we walked into the room full of senior citizens. We might as well have actually been cats in pyjammas.

We quickly realized that we were seriously out of our league as far as dancing goes. I guess when you've been dancing with the same man for 60 years, you're bound to pick up some moves. So we decided the best course of action would be to bop along with the music from the safety of our table. It probably would have been bad form to knock over someone's grandpa with our flailing limbs.

However, the band aparently had other plans for us. The conductor announced that for their next number, they would need some help from "the two young ladies." That's right, no further description was needed. And so it was that we found ourselves accompanied by an 18-piece band, doing our very best impression of The Village People and leading a town hall full of seniors in doing the YMCA.

It was ridiculous. And hilarious. And just exactly the kind of thing I should know enough to expect by now.

In any case, we were the toast of the town hall. I think our willingness to look exceedingly foolish convinced the dancers that we came in peace. At their insistance, we spent the rest of the evening bumbling our way around the dance floor, laughing our heads off while trying to avoid steamrolling some of the frailer-looking dancers.

We also made friends with an adorable couple who were both about 5 feet tall. We had watched them tear up the dancefloor with some extremely smooth moves, laughing and smiling all over the place. So it was a bit of a shock to see the gentleman using a cane to walk back from the bar. "You saw him dancing away out there. He just pretends to need that thing so he doesn't have to carry my drink." His wife informed us. Once we stopped giggling, she admitted that "He actually has two false knees, but he just bandages them up, drinks his whisky, and away we go." If the grin he gave me -which didn't stop even when his false teeth fell out- once they were back on the floor was any indication, these might be words to live by.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bears, and bears and bears, Oh my!

When word reached the newsroom last week that one or more bears had been sighted in the area, my reaction was not "Hmm, I guess they've come to eat some garbage." as most other people seem to have calmly deduced. Instead, I thought "Rats! They've found me at last."

I have had a paranoid fear of bears ever since I saw the movie The Edge when I was about 10. Obviously my fear is not completely irrational. I'm pretty sure that in a bear vs. Sarah throwdown, I'M the one getting my head swiped off and eaten.
However, having grown up in a relatively urban area, where the scariest animals I was likely to come across were really big ducks, I probably would have been better off worrying about the *eighty-four thousand tourists driving the wrong way up my street, than an errant bear.

Instead, I've spent valuable time worrying about things like birds flying into my face while I'm on a roller coaster (if it happened to Fabio, it could happen to me), getting trapped under ice (I have rarely, if ever been forced to skate around on icebergs), or, thanks to a tv show that shall remain nameless, dying alone in my apartment and having my cat eat my face.

The thing is, most of the bad, scary, or life-threatening things that have happened to me, I could never have dreamed up to be afraid of in the first place.

So I guess I can take comfort in the idea that as long as I continue to be afraid of bears, they probably won't show up on my porch with a Sarah-sized cake pan.

Plus I don't actually have a cat.

*An approximation based on gross exaggeration

The glamourous, glamourous

This week I chatted with an emmy award-winning director/producer for the show 24, attended an exclusive shoe sale and a meeting with local politicians.

One might assume that I am perhaps a politically-inclined celebrity. One would be wrong. Well, sort of.

I am, in fact, your friendly neighbourhood small-town reporter, which actually does come with a strange version of celebrity, especially in a town with a population of about 3000.

Today I found myself being whisked around a nearby golf course by a friendly and enthusiastic member of the local Lion's Club, who were hosting a fundraiser for the local hospital. Not for the first time since I began this, my first real journalism-type job, I wanted to laugh out loud at the places and situations I wind up in in the quest for the ever-elusive -and usually soft,- "news."

From the day I tiptoed into the time capsule of a newspaper office and was greeted by the editor's exclamation of "God you're skinny. Somebody needs to feed you a sandwich," I knew this was going to be what they call an experience. And so far, every day has lived up to that expectation.

Though it is at times frustrating and exhausting, there are several things that keep me from jumping in the Hot Pursuit (my grandparents named my car) and driving way the heck outta here.

I get to write every day. Sure, maybe it's about the new regulations being introduced regarding landscape ponds, but still.
I'm not stuck behind a desk -at least not all the time.
I work with people I genuinely like.
I have a licence to be nosy!
I get to meet all kinds of people and listen to their stories. Yes, some of them are crazy or mean and angry that we didn't publish their alien abduction story, but most of them are really happy to see me.

Plus, a lot of them really DO feed me sandwiches.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


1. Cerebration is the act of thinking
2. Sarahbration is the act of ME thinking
3. ...or partying?...with my brain?