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A homicide (of sorts) at our house.

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I arrived home yesterday with the house all in a flurry. There was a police car out front (my better half’s vehicle, that is) and I was informed immediately upon coming into the kitchen that there’d been a homicide. My better half was fully engrossed in the investigation, going over the actual scene of the crime, piecing together what bits he could to determine how and why this grotesque crime was perpetrated, and ultimately, why a young life was snatched away. Sadly, it was true. Sylvia’s life had been taken alright… and way too soon. They say (whoever “they” are is yet to be determined) that a vast majority of victims of a homicide are known to their killer. And the scene unfolding at our house would prove that statement to be true. The main suspect was none other than “Nanna”.

Yes, Nanna. Loving grandmother by day, calculating villain by supper.

From what I gleaned from the police reports Nanna claims that she had gone outside to smoke one of her “cancer sticks”. Whilst walking to her spot to sit down, she accidentally knocked over one of Amy’s plastic garden buckets. She said that it was with her next step that she heard a “crunch” sound and discovered in horror that she’d crushed Sylvia the snail to death. Poor Sylvia never had a chance. Nanna claims that she lifted up her foot and saw that Sylvia was now stuck to the bottom of her slipper. She said she was overcome with fear, guilt and (understandably) dry heaves at the horrific sight and called police right away.

Mind you, the one who was completely distraught over this was Amy, my 6 year old step-daughter. She slowly, and gloomily emerged from the basement, toting a piece of paper on which she’d drawn a picture on each side. One side contained a picture of the victim and herself before the grisly murder, and on the other side a picture of her very sad self at the what-appeared-to-be burial site. It was very detailed and accurate, as there in the picture was Sylvia (albeit, smiling), in her burial plot.

I’ve never met Sylvia and truth be known, I’ve never even heard of her until her untimely death. I’m not even sure how Sylvia came to live/reside/die at our house. From the description I got of her, I’m guessing she looks like this…

This would pretty much be exactly what a forensic artist would draw up based on Amy’s description of Sylvia. (the blush, hat and pearl necklace were added upon request of the victim’s family.)

It was indeed a very sad evening at our house as we each sat around and reminisced about how great Sylvia’s life had been. (You have no idea how hard it is to do this based on a slimy creature you’ve never met. Had I met her, well then, I could have talked for hours. But I had nothing.)

Nanna being taken away for questioning… (2nd degree murder perhaps?)

I guess it could have been worse. Say for example, if Sylvia and her family ended up like this…

Appetizers anyone?

Just so you know, we’ve decided to drop the charges against Nanna (negligence causing death). And if anyone would like to attend, we will be holding a service for Sylvia this weekend. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Save the Snails Foundation whose sole purpose is in protecting snails from such horrific and violent crimes.

Rest in peace Sylvia, wish I had have tasted  KNOWN, you.

Hot chocolate, some strangers, and complete embarrassment.

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Well, this moment must take the cake on embarrassing moments for me. It’s been a while since I’ve had an embarrassing moment so I guess I was due.

On Thursday evening I found myself hankering for a hot chocolate from my favorite place – Second Cup. Nobody does hot chocolate like them, except the French, and right now, I’m nowhere near France, so poo-poo for me.

One of my true loves, and one of many of my guilty pleasures. Only about a million calories and a zillion grams of fat. But who’s counting?

I park the car, go inside and see there are about 8 or 10 people inside. I pass a table of two men, another with one woman, three older men have taken the seats at the back by the fireplace, and there were a few other stragglers that could have been men or women – I wasn’t particularly paying attention at that point because now I had my nose pressed up against the glass of the display case and was oogling the various delectables housed within.

The girl behind the counter gives me a strange look and asks what I’d like to have. I tell her a large hot chocolate and a chocolate dipped peanut butter oat cake. Go big, or go home, I say. (Evidently, at this pace, I’M the one who’s gonna be big and going home, but anyway….)

She rings in my purchase and tells me my drink will be ready at the end of the counter (as if I don’t know this). I moved down to the end of the counter and I heard the girls snickering and whispering behind the counter. I couldn’t see them as the big brewing machines where in my way. I assumed they were giggling about what they were doing.

A different girl hands me my hot chocolate which I fancy up with a dash of cinnamon and about 2 whole minutes of shaking the chocolate shavings on top.

I get the same odd stares as I leave that I had coming in… but over the years I’ve just accepted the fact that I am kinda weird looking and that’s why people stare. Either that, or I’ve got something on my face like misplaced makeup or lettuce in my teeth. Whatever.

It’s not until I get back in the car and discover – in horror – as I pull the seatbelt across that I just walked around a coffee shop for about 5 whole minutes with half of my shirt unbuttoned. Yes, that’s right, my shirt was wide open, bra showing, and the first “done up” button was about mid-stomach.

Image

This is pretty much me, except I didn’t have a sweater. “Could I have a large hot chocolate please? And since I’m busy texting my friends I’ll just hold it between my boobs that are clearly visible through my open shirt right now.”  Grrrrreat.

I guess it could have been worse, I could have walked around Wal-Mart for a whole hour. Regardless, I’d like to say a “thanks a lot” to all the customers and staff of Second Cup who allowed me to walk around like that and not tell me. Men I wouldn’t expect to say anything simply because I think most men love even the remote glimpse of boobs and wouldn’t want to stop it, even my mom told me that my father used to say he’d love to run barefoot through a field of boobs, so there you go, but I’d expect a fellow woman to say something. They didn’t, I made a fool of myself and I hope they all spilled their drinks – preferably in their laps.

I mean really. If I were purposely doing that, don’t you think I would have worn a better bra, and NOT my slightly older, flesh/beige colored one? Beige bras aren’t attractive on anyone – they are functional, not sexy. Not even on Victoria Secret models. Beige bras are equivalent to compression socks – functional, but not sexy.

I just might have to start going to a new Second Cup now… one where the staff and customers haven’t seen my wares.

The North Pole, a stick, and some polar bears… according to Amy.

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It’s so interesting to hear a child reason out things. Amy (remember, she’s only 5) came to me this morning and asked me if I had a compass. Wondering what on earth she’s conjuring up this time, I advised her that sadly, I do not have a compass.

Amy: “Well, can you go buy one? I need to use one right away.”

Me: looking at her quizzically. “What do you need a compass for?”

Amy: “To find out which way is North. Like, the North Pole.”

Me: “Oh, I see.”

It was then she described to me an elaborate plan that involved a compass, a stick of some sort, and something about the North Pole. She said something about being able to find a stick that leads to the North Pole and you can take it home (not sure if she meant the stick or the actual north pole). I know. I didn’t get it either. But she was convinced this was a legitimate plot and assured me that it made sense. I made a confused face.

Amy: “It will work Janet.”

Me: “I have no doubt.” I replied, having no idea what exactly was going to work – the idea, the stick, or the compass, but who was I to judge? I could be sitting in the midst of a genius kid here. She has a great sense of imagination and creativity. She’s turned paper towel rolls into snorkels, cereal boxes into TVs, Smarties boxes into remote controls, and the list goes on. She’s turned empty pop bottles into water grenades (not sure why she went with weapons, but whatever), and I’m hoping and praying that she will find a way to upcycle my Toyota into a Mercedes convertible one of these days. Hey, a girl can dream.

Amy: “I think it would probably be better if we just flew in an airplane there.”

Me: “Now you are talking.” I replied, because now she was making sense and I could maybe understand this idea.

Amy: “Or we could drive there.”

Me: “Hmmm… I don’t think so, it would take an awful long time and what if we came across some polar bears?”

Amy: eyes wide, “Well, we’d just shave off their fur and turn them into meat for supper.”

Now my eyes were wide. Say what? Skin an animal and make it supper??? I don’t think so.

Me: “Uhhhh… I don’t think I could hurt an animal like that, could you?”

Amy: (thinking for a moment) “Well, Dad could wrestle the polar bears and then he could turn them into supper.”

Me: (envisioning that for a moment and liking the idea of her dad wrestling… perhaps shirtless, oil on his chest, muscles bulging… oh wait, getting off topic here) “Hmmmm… not sure about that. I don’t think I like this idea of killing the polar bears. Couldn’t we just eat Cheerios?”

Amy: rather loudly and seemingly quite frustrated at my lack of intelligence, “Well Janet, it could take us a hundred million days to drive to the North Pole and we’d have to eat SOMETHING with protein you know!!”

And there you have it. A feasible reason to eat a polar bear, at least according to Amy.

My thoughts exactly, little bear. My thoughts exactly.

9 reasons why I couldn’t be an Olympian…

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With all the hub-bub of the Olympics it got me thinking today whilst perfecting my laying-in-the-pool skills that I really couldn’t be an olympic athlete.

Here’s why:

1. I don’t like to exercise.

Yah, that’s right. I hate exercise and I don’t like sweating. That’s a problem if you spend copious amounts of time training. Ewww… no thanks. My idea of bicep curls is bringing food to my face. My idea of running is when I hastily jaunt to the toaster before my breakfast burns. And aside from all that, you can’t wear high-heeled shoes when exercising, so no, this is clearly not for me.

2. I don’t like sports.

I almost hate them. And I’m not sure I really even like people who play sports. I’d rather watch paint dry, or bugs drown in the pool, or a pooping dog than watch even a minute of sports (except hockey because that isn’t a sport, it’s a religion.)

3. Some of the olympic “sports” aren’t even “sports” – if you ask me (which you didn’t, but I’m saying it anyway.)

I’m not sure just how archery, sailing and any of the equestrian events (unless you are the horse) are even considered sports. They require skill – yes – but aren’t sports in my opinion. Archery? Isn’t that just a glorified version of shooting tin cans with a beebee gun?

And how is sailing a sport? Seems to me an olympic sport involving a sailboat would be more in the line of “sailboat tossing”, or “jumping over sailboats” maybe.

And with the equestrian events, they shouldn’t even BE olympic events unless the horse is in a saddle on the athlete’s back. Now that would be an olympic sport I would watch. It seems to me that jumping a fence with a thoroughbred on your back would take more effort than just riding one around and around an arena.  Seriously though, horses jumping fences – how in the hell is that an olympic sport? Is it because it takes skill to control a horse? Gimme a break. I’m thinking that if the horse is the only one on a calorie reduced diet prior to the event, it’s the horse who’s the athlete.

Many athletes train for years and years with grueling regimes, enduring injury and exhaustion in achieving extreme physical prowess… and then someone gets the same medals for pulling out an arrow and shooting it at a target, or steering a horse while it jumps a fence – yah, that seems fair.  I guess they should add dog show competitions to the 2016 olympics, right after “tv channel surfing” and “nose picking”. But whatever.

Seriously? If this is going to be an olympic event, shouldn’t the horse be the one on the podium when the medals are given out?

4. I’m a quitter.

While watching Good Morning America one day (yes, I watch GMA because Canadian morning news shows are lame-o and the stories are sooo boring… “Manitoba man finds litter on property”, or “It’s raining in the forest again”) I saw an interview with one of the American gymnasts who said she trains 8 hours a day. Say what? 8 hours? Every day? Pfftt… after a week of me doing something like that I’d have the attitude “yah, that should be good enough… I’m ready for the Olympics… call me when it’s time to go.”

5. I’m lazy.

The mere idea of having to train day in and day out doing the same thing over and over makes me too tired to even try. Sounds monotonous. Sounds like my job actually, except I’m not timed and required to beat my previous time. The only “marathon” event I’m interested in is a tv marathon of my favorite show.

6. I’d turn into the Incredible Hulk if I didn’t win a medal.

I know I already said I don’t want to train for  it, don’t want to exercise and hate sports… but I’m the kind of person who thinks that unless an athlete wins a gold medal, they failed. I know, I knowwwww, it’s an incredible achievement just to get to go to the Olympics, just like it’s an honor to be nominated for an Oscar, but unless there was a hunk of gold around my neck – it would be an epic fail for me. No gold medal – fail. Got a silver one – fail-you shoulda tried harder to get a gold. Bronze medal – puh-leeze – may as well have just finished last. It’s gold or bust for me. But that’s easy for me to say when I have no discipline, drive or desire for anything that requires effort.

7. I’m Canadian (well, I’m half American, but the Canadian side has won over)

Uh… hello. I think we have maybe 12 medals, maybe? I think Michael Phelps beat that in one swim. And I think even Cuba has more gold than us. Let’s face it, we are a country of olympic hopefuls, we’re just not medal-fuls. Although I’m quite certain we WOULD get a gold medal for the worst dressed at the opening ceremonies. I mean, beige pants and a red jacket with “Canada” emblazoned on it? That’s the best we could do? Did our olympic team just find out the night before that they were going to London and just grabbed whatever jackets the Roots store had on hand?

Who’s the genius that came up with this ensemble?

8. Makeup would be pointless.

I don’t even go to the mailbox without a full face of makeup on, so parading around in public and on international tv without makeup on would give me hives and make me cranky. No one wants a cranky athlete, no one.

9. I love chocolate, candy, and all things banned from a serious athletes diet.

It’s true. I do. I should be a member of CA – Chocoholics Anonymous, or heck even the group for Chocoholics who aren’t “anonymous”. So yah, I’m sure there aren’t any Olympians chowing down on a box of Mike n’ Ikes, a Mars bar, or a bag of Doritos during training (except for the archers, sailors, or horseback riders who could enter pie eating contests right before their events with no physical consequence to their “sport”). But who knows, maybe I’m wrong. Doubt it, but maybe.

And that pretty much sums up some of the main reasons I wouldn’t be an Olympian.

I wish all athletes in all countries the absolute best because while I’m sarcastic in my blog about not liking the olympics, or making fun of the lack of skill in some sports, I do realize that they’ve trained for years to get there and that’s an amazing feat. However, with that in mind, I’m looking forward to the closing ceremonies, not because I’m planning to watch, but because it will mean they are over… at least for a few years.

So yah… I won’t be making any olympic team in this lifetime…. unless “tv channel surfing”, “floating in the pool”, or “ranting and raving” are debuted at the next olympics. In that case, I better get practicing.

Real Housewives? I think not.

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The other night I caught a repeat episode of The Real Housewives of Vancouver (that’s in Western Canada for those of you from other parts of the world who are reading this.) I’d seen an episode a few years ago based on the housewives of Orange County, and I’ve seen commercials for spinoffs in other cities as well.

Holy Batman… they all look like the Joker. yikes.

The premise of all these silly shows is the same. The camera follows these filthy rich women around as they go about their high falutin’ day-to-day life… trips to the spa, elaborate lunch dates that cost more than my mortgage with other equally rich women, buying new ferraris, vaycays to the south of France on their private jets, suntanning their leather looking skin on their million dollar yachts, shopping for Christian Louboutin shoes before they head home to see what their personal chef has whipped up for dinner. Gimme a break. These are supposed to be REAL HOUSEWIVES???… these are real RICH-WIVES, not HOUSEWIVES.

Aside from all the shopping, tanning and backstabbing, they all seem find time to soiree with their personal plastic surgeons. Now, I’m not a person who is against plastic surgery, but I can’t stand it when you see these kinds of women who have so much work done they look rediculous and say they haven’t had any work done. Yah, and neither has Joan Rivers. Their faces are frozen, their lips look like they’ve lost about five rounds with Mohammad Ali, their teeth look like chicklets, and their cheeks are round like a Cabbage Patch doll. Seriously.

Obviously they don’t have a show that flashes the glamorous life of real everyday housewives because that’s what many women really are – what would be the fun in that I suppose. I know lots of stay at home moms who are a more traditional “housewives”. I admire every one of them. Instead of flashy cars and expensive jewelry, they are driving minivans and donning jewelry made of pipe-cleaners handcrafted by the 5 year old the day before. They aren’t at the spa, they are at the grocery store. Suntanning to them is what happens when you are outside hanging the neverending pile of laundry on the clothesline on a sunny day. And what’s for dinner is whatever you are going to make… there’s no gourmet chef because YOU are the chef.

Doesn’t every woman cook in a dress with hair done up and pearls on????

I say we give the REAL HOUSEWIVES of the world two thumbs up and a hip hip hooray! Enough with these phoney, self-absorbed, back stabbing cougars!

There, I’ve said my piece. I gotta go make sure I have the next episode taped for later… hey… making fun of these women makes me feel better – what can I say!  hahhah!

A wedgie, some turtles, and a bad flotation device…

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Now that our house has a pool and I’ve done pretty much nothing but perfect the art of laying down on my floatie in it since my summer vacation started, it got me thinking that this would be a perfect time to hone my snorkelling skills. And believe me, they could use some honing.

Picture it, Southern Caribbean cruise…Barbados….2011.

Now, if you’ve read any of my other posts, you’re getting a sense of just how many phobias I have.  One of the biggest being water. Oceans, lakes, seas, you name it. I’m not a great swimmer, well, actually I am an excellent swimmer in the 4-foot-deep section of any pool… but I’ll almost always nearly drown in anything over my head. I can do all kinds of swirls, dips, tricks in the comfort of the shallow end, but as soon as I’m swimming along and realize I can’t stand up or touch the bottom, well, all hell breaks loose.

This entire phobia came from all the near drowning experiences I’ve had in my life…. being a skinny 10 year old at a hotel pool and having your friend’s younger, 200 lb little sister (yes, that’s right) jump on you while you are not expecting it and not getting off of you until your lungs are screaming for air, or being a 19 year old and getting caught in a bizarre undertow in Cuba only to be tossed around underwater before being vomited by the ocean onto the beach and realizing that in the whole saga that just occurred I managed to have lost my bikini in the ordeal. Yah, open water has never been a friend of mine.

Sooo… this whole idea of going snorkeling with sea turtles last year sounded like a good idea when I read it in the shore excursion booklet, that is, if we could do it in a children’s pool and the turtles didn’t come anywhere near me. That’s right, I wasn’t sure I liked the idea of swimming in water with other creatures… I don’t like fish unless they are served on a plate with a side of tartar sauce or swimming in a fish tank at the dentist office, and the mere thought of jellyfish, catfish, clownfish, swordfish, sharks, water snakes and pretty much anything else found in the ocean even approaching me would send me straight into cardiac arrest for sure. Suuuure, this whole snorkeling with turtles sounded like a stellar idea.

My kind of fish… on a plate. (courtesy of pinterest)

I’d never snorkelled before, and along with this fear of water is the refusal of getting my face wet. Snorkelling and not putting your face in the water is like fishing and not putting the line in the water – it would be pointless. Clearly, like everything else I do on a daily basis, I hadn’t thought this through.

The catamaran crew for this excursion was fantastic. The sail to the turtle spot was spectacular. The views of the coastline as we sailed along were incredible. It was when they started passing out the snorkel gear that I realized it was too late to turn back. I had to do this. Didn’t I? Good grief, I was going to have to do this. The germa-phobe in me cringed at the thought of putting this snorkel gear on. Ewwww. I was going to have to put this in my mouth? Seriously? Mental note: buy my own snorkel gear next time.

My heart was pounding just looking at this stuff. I had the sensation of impending doom. At least, by the grace of God, there was a mandatory floatation device we had to wear. The other passengers were laughing and having a great time, anticipating being the first in the water. I was wondering if I had time to fake a heart attack.

My boyfriend wasted no time in putting his gear on, in fact, he had everything on and was ready to go while I was still holding up the snorkel mask and making faces at the “icky” gear. I told my boyfriend to take full possession of the underwater camera – I knew I’d be too busy trying to stay alive to take any pictures.

One by one people starting disembarking our little catamaran and enjoying the warm water. I watched as each one got in. I was obviously the only one with her floatation device FULLY inflated. I felt like a five year old standing at the water’s edge with my water wings on and inflatable ducky around my waist.

Yep. Almost me here.

There was no way the ocean was going to take my life today. No way. I play it safe with water stuff, I tell ya.

It was my turn to descend the ladder. My heart was pounding, arms shaking, knees knocking. I could see to the bottom of the ocean (we were told the water was 20 feet deep), so that was neat, I just wasn’t liking the fact that I couldn’t touch the bottom. I also realized that once I got in the water I’d probably have to let go of the ladder and the thought of that made me queasy.

I got in the water and I should point out that the preserver thingie that I was wearing, was now wearing me. As soon as I got in the water, the life vest thingie pushed up and punched me in my chin and the strap between my legs shifted up and into the crack of my ass… chafing, cutting and burning like barbed wire. My full back bikini bottom was now transformed into a thong. I immediately located my boyfriend, which wasn’t easy considering that once everyone was swimming around all you saw were snorkels and the tops of everyone’s head. I put in the mouthpiece, adjusted my mask and put my face in the water which instantly made me panic. My breathing, in medical terms, would surely be considered hyperventilating. All I could hear were the distant conversations of others in the water, and the constant sound of my nervous breathing through the tube. Hufffff.. huf huf.. hufffffffffffffffffffff…huf… huffffffffffffffffffffff.

I kept my head out of the water for a few minutes in hopes of regaining my composure. Suddenly I was straining to keep my head above the water. I looked down and saw there was almost no air in my vest. I did some sort of frantic doggie paddle back to the boat ladder, flopped onto the first step and waved at one of the staff members. He came over and I told him I needed a new vest because this one had lost all the air. He looked at me quizzically and said, ” Try eet again sweetie and if no air stay in, you come riiight back to da boat for a new one.” For cryin’ out loud, just give me a new one. I sat on the ladder, thought about putting my face in the water which made me hyperventilate and I was able to blow up the vest in no time. I slipped back in the water, bobbed around a bit, and sure enough, the air came out again. Back to the boat I went, flopped on to the ladder again and this time padded my way up to the deck.

“I need a new vest.” I said to him.

“Oh sweet tinnnng, ” he said, “Take dat off before dee others start right laughin’, dee strap is all caught up bad on dah back end.”

I knew exactly what he meant. I was standing on a stage-like surface above the water, dripping like a near drowned rat, and had a wedgie the size of Texas because of the life vest strap between my legs. Grrrrreat.

I was equipped with a new vest in seconds and was back in the water. I knew I could do this, I just needed to relax. And I guess I had to let go of the rope holding the boat in place. I wondered then if I could just hold onto the boat itself… become like a barnacle maybe, and stick to the side of it.

I calmed my breathing, and put my face back in the water. Nice big and slow breaths. Thaaaat’s it. I’m okaaaaaayyyyyy. Huffffffffffffffffffff….. hufffffffffffffffffff… huffffffff… Got it. Yep, got it under control. Nature has a funny way of picking on the vulnerable because it was like one of the turtles knew I was uneasy and came right over to me. Our eyes met… I panicked… huffffff…huff…huff… hufff.. hufff… huf..huf..huf.. what did this thing want?  I may as well been staring into the face of a great white shark because my heart was thudding against my ribs and I was sure this turtle could feel the vibrations of it. He/she (whatever it was) paused and just stared at me, blinked its big eyes a couple of times really slowly, before swimming off.

oh. my. gawwwwd. (my boyfriend took this picture because as I said above, I was too busy trying to stay alive and couldn’t stay afloat, breathe, and take pictures all at the same time.)

Everything was under control. I was okay, and I’d be okay if all the water creatures just stayed away. I had joined some of the other people from the tour but it was too crowded and twice I’d gotten kicked from the excitement of people seeing these turtles. Or maybe it was me doing the kicking in trying to get the heck away from these turtles, I’m not sure. I’d managed to float off to an area not far from the rest of the group, spread my arms in a dead-man float and just bobbed on the surface, looking down at the wonders swimming around beneath me, hoping and praying that none of them came near.

I have to say that once I regained composure, it was incredibly peaceful. My mask was like a thick paned window revealing the underwater wonders beneath me. In some ways it felt magical as I began to see things I’d never seen before. I saw a school of sleek, silver and yellow tiny fish swim by, a bigger purple one glide by ever so beautifully, followed by a trio of orange fish that zig-zagged around in perfect formation – all of them paying no attention to me… as if I were invisible and secretly watching them. Talk about neat. This was almost surreal once I stopped panicking and enjoyed it. The motion of the water was very soothing. Suddenly, I saw something familiar to me… it was one of the tour staff … he’d come into my mask’s view of underwater things… he was swimming around underwater, no snorkel, no floatie, no flailing arms in panic. He was way down there looking at something in the sand, then he sat down on the bottom of the ocean and motioned to a turtle which came right over like it was a golden retriever coming to its owner, then the guy rubbed the turtle under its chin and then along its back, it slowly swam away and then I watched the guy stay there and pluck a star fish from the ocean floor. I watched him in silence, completely amazed. I was mesmerized… as if he were now some sort of rare fish or as if this was some sort of underwater circus just for me.  I was wide-eyed and remained completely still as if I were staring at a “mer-man” that no one else could see and no one would believe. He spotted me and brought the star fish over to show me.  That was cool. The last time I saw a starfish was in a tacky souvenir shop in Florida. It’s nicer when they are alive.  I gave him a thumbs up and he went off to show someone else before returning it to where he found it.

Within minutes I had three turtles come and swim beside me, obviously disappointed that I wasn’t the person holding the sack of bait. Maybe they were disappointed, but I sure wasn’t. I felt relaxed and enjoyed every second of their presence.

whoaaaaaa big fella…

Wowwwww…cooooool

Suddenly it was time to leave and I, the girl who didn’t want to get IN the water, was now refusing to get OUT of the water. I’d found my peace with mother nature’s finned and not-so-finned water creatures. Snorkeling with sea turtles in Barbados is amazing, even more so if you aren’t flailing around in panic and crying out to a higher power begging for the ocean not to take your life.

So on that note, I think I’ll hit the pool and get practicing my snorkelling skills… there aren’t any sea turtles in my pool, just the odd dead bee or two. I’ll tackle my fear of flying buzzing things another day.

An artist, of sorts.

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My travel bud, Erin, and I were reminiscing about some of our many adventures and one in particular got us laughing. Well, it was more so her laughing at it since it was at my expense and well, I’m still reeling from the whole experience.

Picture it… the Montmartre district of Paris where all the artists come out at night like crickets on a Mississippi river bank. One of the women in our group was looking forward to visiting this area as she’d been there before many years ago. Not having heard of this area, I asked her what it was all about. She told me it was where the famous Sacre Coeur church was and it was the area where all the local artists hung out and many sold their pieces. Big woop, I thought. At this point, if I saw another boring church I was going to scream. I didn’t want to see any more churches… seen one, seen ’em all, and I had zero interest in seeing starving artists peddling their wares. I was more interested in sipping hot chocolate somewhere in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower, or hitting the shops on the Champs. Our group was heading to Montmartre and therefore, so was I.

Looky, looky, an artist doing a beautiful portrait of a girl. Imagine that. (courtesy of vigoenfotos.com)

We had wandered around the lovely cobblestone streets visiting the various little shops before coming across the “square” where many artists were roaming around with canvases in hand, offering to do sketches of random people. I sauntered around and watched several of the artists as they did sketches of various tourists who now dotted the area. Some weren’t bad, some were awful and some did pure magic.

I stood and watched one guy do beautiful portraits of a number of individual teenaged girls. I befriended the school group who turned out to be on a class trip from Alabama. I should point out at this moment that these kids were really outgoing and friendly, but certainly weren’t first in line when God was handing out good looks if you know what I mean. What amazed me was that the artist I’d been watching was turning out incredibly beautiful sketches of these not so great looking girls. Each one would see her finished product and just delight in the portrait. This guy was good! I stayed and spoke with several of the kids about their trip and where they’d been, and where they were going and school life back in Alabama compared to school in Eastern Canada. After the last girl was finished a number of the girls told me that I should get this guy to do my portrait. I didn’t want to. I saw that Erin had found a great table in front of one of the cafes and I was in the mood for hot chocolate, not a portrait. But then the artist started his selling technique and tried to talk me into getting my portrait done. I hesitated, but then finally gave in.

I’m stupid.

I stood still for about 10 minutes while this numskull sketched my portrait. I admit, I was actually starting to get excited and was looking forward to seeing the finished product. Several of the kids I’d spoken to were now watching the artist do my picture. They’d “ooh and ahh” as he finished one part, and they’d whisper to each other “it’s beautiful”, or “wow, he’s captured her eyes perfectly.” On and on it went. I watched him work under the stress of so many pairs of eyes watching his every move. The anticipation was killing me.

He finally announced it was finished, signed his name and ripped the sheet from his book. He turned it around for me to see.

This is what I was expecting….

I don’t look like this either, but at least he could have embellished a little!

This is similar to what I got….

This artwork itself is very good with great techniques/shadows/etc, however, no offense to the artist of this drawing, but if this were the finished product of my portrait I’d be screaming at this one too. (artist: Tom Richmond)

I nearly screamed.

It was awful.

Horrible.

My heart sank.

I was crushed.

I was hideous… like some sort of monster from a horror movie… some god-awful creature from the underworld. Okay, I’m getting carried away here, but it was a terrible drawing.

I knew it was awful when I went over to where Erin and some of the others were sitting. I rolled up the portrait like an old scroll. Erin was polishing off her creme brulee and said, “Oh, did you get one done? Let’s see it.”

I shifted my stance and decided to change the subject. “I think I’ll get a hot chocolate.”

“Let’s seeeeee it.” Erin urged.

I advised the others that it was awful and they sang out, “Ohhh commmmmme onnnn, it can’t be that bad.”

I opened the rolled up paper and showed them. They said nothing. Finally Erin, being as politically correct as she is, says “It’s… it’s really nice.”

“Its’ awful.” I said flatly.

“What’s wrong with it?” one of the women in our group said.

“If I look like this, I shouldn’t be allowed in public.” I advised. (Yes, I’m this vain.)  I was starting to get angry at the thought of the portrait. Afterall, why were all the other sketches of those other girls so beautiful? Why wasn’t mine as nice as theirs? I had no answers but I did have an awful portrait. This was terrible. What could have been a lovely moment to remember quickly turned into an event to forget. Ugh.

I was utterly disgusted and sour faced as we descended down the hill with the group…. wondering if I should take up residence as the Quasi Modo of the century at Notre Dame. (I wasn’t being serious, but hey, I was sour.)

Now, all this being said, I should mention that I shouldn’t really be criticizing anyone’s artwork because I cannot draw worth a lick. In fact, this is my own self-portrait….

’nuff said, right?

Once I got back home to Canada, I unpacked the hideous portrait and while contemplating keeping it, I just couldn’t bear the thought of seeing it again. I ripped it up… never to be seen again.

I should point out that two years after this incident, Erin and I visited Paris again, and even went to Montmartre.  Remembering the ordeal I suffered the last time, she smiled when we got to the artist area and said slyly, “Getting your portrait done again?”

I hate her.

Just kidding. We did have a good chuckle over it … although I think she was laughing slightly harder than I was.

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