Sunday, June 28, 2015

How to be Patient - An Andrea Choose Your own Adventure

A funny thing happened the other day, someone refered to me as "patient".

It takes patience to pick just the right filter for this shot
And no, they were not referring to me as a patient, of perhaps a local mental health center, but they were in fact referring to me as embodying the characteristic of patience. For ease of storytelling, I will refer to this person who referred to me as patient as Intelligent Man #1 (IM1).

Option 1:

You are unaware that I am not known for my patience (just tuning in are we?!) so you choose to do some background reading on the topic, picking "The Art of Patience" - a post I wrote February 22, 2015 on the topic of patience.

Option 2:

You are well aware that I'm a not a patient person and you choose to read on...

It takes patience to grow pretty plants in your urban patio garden!

So someone thinks I'm patient! Super cool, right?! And there is no need to be an asshole and point out that IM1 probably thinks I'm patient because he has never actually met me in "real life" and perhaps has only had the pleasure of interacting with me via email.

That could be true, it may not be true. Kind of like will we ever know if God truly exists? Probably not, so we should really move on with the story and just assume that IM1 has actually met me.

Option 1:

You are pretty sure God exists and to prove that, you choose to conduct some evidence-based research on the topic, just to prove I'm wrong and you are right. So off you go down that rabbit hole, and we never hear from you again.

Option 2:

You don't care if God exists or not, you are pretty sure IM1 probably doesn't even exist but you don't care, you just want to read the rest of the damn blog post already! You choose to keep reading.

It takes patience to look this good here is how you do to be patient (or at least appear to be patient)

Definition of patience (compliments of

Patience (in 3 parts)...

the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
ANDREA TIP: Basically if you are going to be annoyed, complain or lose your shit, aka be inpatient, don't do it around other people. If you are going to do those things, find an outlet for it that does not involve other people. For example, you could punch a punching bag as opposed to punching the offending person in the face.
an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay:
to have patience with a slow learner.
ANDREA TIP: the easiest way to suppress something is to not have to suppress it in the first place. If you are one of those people who doesn't like delays, especially if they are out of your control, then you need to minimize the possibility of that happening. For example, to have patience with a slow learner...I will never be able to accept that slow learner, I don't care that they are slow and they are not capable of going faster, it is all unacceptable in my book. I am a perfectionist after all. And really that is why I am not a teacher.
quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence:
to work with patience.

ANDREA TIP: it is best to spend a lot of time alone. Truth is, I am able to get the impossible done (have you seen me lately?!). And sure it takes a long time and a lot of work and patience! But if I seem to you like I accomplished something with a lot of grace and poise, it is probably because you didn't actually see me work on getting it done. Basically I did the majority of the work (i.e., the work that makes me swear a lot) locked in an office with the blinds shut.

It takes patience to raise a baby and thankfully not much to just hold one!
And so yes, perhaps IM1 has not had the pleasure of being around me 24/7 because yes then he would see a whole other side of me, but let's face it no one gets to see that side of me. And I think that in order to be patient or at least have others think you so, you just need to not expose them to that side of you.

And it isn't that you aren't being true to yourself, it is just you are being respectful of others and not subjecting them to your bullshit. After all we all have bullshit, the ones that seem like they don't, at least have the decency to not expose us to their bullshit. And we should thank them for that.

Congratulations! You made it to the end! You now know how to be patient!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Andrea Week in Review

Monday, June 15, 2015 - I'm almost certain I went to work this day...oh yes! And I was exhausted as i worked the whole weekend preceding this day. No doubt I probably spent the day trying to wake up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - Definitely went to work Tuesday...probably did some work there...I feel like something important happened on this day but I can't remember exactly...I'm sure I went for a run after work and then probably went home and made my current dinner obsession: brown rice, black beans and kale with a garlic, ginger, molasses, brag yum...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - work, work and work. Run after work. Food. (see above)

Thursday, June 18, 2015 - start the morning with a run with my fav run buddy @TheCesspit, haven't seen him in forever (read: 3 weeks). He listens to my entertaining stories of online dating, my favourite at this point, being the dude who referred to his penis as the "Jolly Roger" (WTF is that exactly?!) and was super offended when I shared with him that I have depression. Nice to know the mental health stigma is alive and well in the online dating world.

@TheCesspit is still blogging and clearly shows no signs of stopping. After our run, I lick his car door handle without him seeing hoping he will touch it and then his face so he catches my cold and will not be able to blog this week, making me finally the official winner of this blasted blog competition.

After this I'm sure I went to work. I do have a full time job after all. Then I hit the gym at lunch for some strength training with my favourite lifting buddy Matt. Matt is so fit he is just so inspiring to workout with, always encouraging you to do better. A great cheerleader. While I'm at the gym I spot my #fitgirl role model, Shelly. Shelly is that super fit sexy girl at the gym that everyone drools over (not to be confused with me of course) and I finally get the ovaries to ask her for a gym date. And no I'm not gay, it is just super intimidating to ask the cool girl out for a friend date, what if she rejects me?!

I feel something happened Thursday night...but I'm probably just confusing exciting times with my usual routine of go home, eat food, and go to bed by 9. Although I will say that I was high as a kite for the rest of the day. I guess lots of exercising and scoring dates with your girl crushes does that to a person.

Friday, June 19, 2015 - I feel seeing as this day was only two days ago I should have a better recollection of what happened but alas I do not. Wait! Now I remember. I have a super amazing phone call with my meditation coach to talk about my practice. We discuss for awhile and I let her know that I'm dating now and want to continue my practice but I'm finding it hard to balance the two in my mind.

The perceived problem is I don't exactly desire an intimate relationship and feel that if I find someone who complements me that would be cool but I don't need them in my life. For some reason I feel like I should want it more but I just don't. It is a freeing revelation to me to know that I am truly happy in my own skin and all I need is me to be happy. Someone may enhance my experience of life but it is not necessary, as I feel i'm living my life to its fullest.

I also mention that I'm feeling I may want to focus the majority of my energy on my path to enlightenment more right now than say spending energy on a relationship. The realization does not make me feel very popular among the majority of my friends who are in loving relationships or are wanting to be in them. But to me, it just feels more true to myself not to be in one. As I have taken a one year vow of celibacy before I am now finding I am contemplating doing so again.  I feel less alone in this world talking to my coach as she understands fully the crossroads I'm at. She at one point has taken that vow and now is in a committed loving relationship. Just because you work on your path doesn't mean you can't be open to having someone else in your life too...only time will tell where this ends up for me.

Saturday/Sunday June 20/21, 2915 - spend the weekend going on dates and connecting very nicely with a couple of guys, which helps restore my faith in humanity a little bit. Have my gym date with Shelly (awesome) and hang out with my good friend Casey and her kids.

Casey, the kids and I all go to the park for a couple of hours and the children subject me to some form of jungle gym punishment and then proceed to kick my butt at soccer. It is good times and you really can't help but smile after hanging out with kids...although I'm guessing I'm smiling because they are not my kids and I get to go home and be alone after seeing them. Regardless kids are pretty rad.

Receive a text message from Paulo of a picture of a gift he bought me and is sending me in the mail (see Figure 1).

And turns out my attempts at contamination are unsuccessful and @TheCesspit posts his blog post for the week. Here it is: Ground Control Cafe Restaurant Review

Now I want coffee.

Figure 1: Paulo's gift to me.

And there you have it! The Andrea week in review. Hope you remember more of yours than I did of mine!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Anna’s Top 5 Ways to Survive your Date with Andrea

-->Hello my lovely readers! So as everyone is much aware, I’ve been doing the whole online dating thing for the last week or two. So yes, that is why you are seeing many more happy faces around Victoria because nothing makes this town smile more than knowing I’m back on the market.

So I’ve been messaging several people on OKCupid and have even gone out on two “dates” that didn’t turn out horrible (i.e., I was not found raped, mutilated and murdered in a shallow grave after the date was finished). Some would even classify these dates as going “OK”; however, despite all this seemingly positive events in Andrea history, I’ve kind of lost my motivation for the whole dating thing.

Not entirely sure why, some would postulate that maybe it is due to my interest centered on dating this man I met a year ago (not online). Yes, that man, who in the one year he has known me, can barely scrape together 20 minutes of time to have coffee with anyone socially let alone actually have the time to even wrap his mind around the spectacular possibilities of dating me…

I on the other hand, believe my lack of motivation for dating may have come from the fact that nothing really happened on these dates that warranted a second date. After all, despite all my “alleged” pining for the “too busy for Andrea-WTF? Who is this guy?!” man I’m still moving forward with my life. I go on dates with people, I just think these people could try harder or just be better. And then maybe I would feel more motivated to date them.

Looks like my theory is pretty sound but just to make sure I wasn’t just holding my default 100% completely self-absorbed Andrea position on all of this, I asked my good friend Anna for some sage dating advice. Anna is one of the few people I know who is in a relationship with a man that when I think about their relationship I think “that doesn’t seem so bad”. Huge endorsement, I know!

Anyways, so Anna listened to my dating drama (read: non-drama) for a whole weekend (mostly because she was stuck on a work trip with me and had no other choice but to listen to me). And the following is her advice in the form of everyone’s favourite Top 5 lists!

Anna’s Top 5 Rules to Survive a First Date with Andrea & Possibly Score Yourself a Second

1. Do not try to make out with Andrea 5 minutes after meeting her OR expect any type of interaction with Andrea that involves exchanging saliva with her on your first date. Note: Andrea carries hand sanitizer with her for a reason people!

2. Do let Andrea occupy a minimum of 75% of the talk time of the total time you share together. This is critical. Consider the following if you propose a movie for your first date: allocate 45 minuets of Andrea talk time for every 1 hour of movie time watched (i.e., time where Andrea doesn’t talk). So if you watch a 2 hour movie you will need at least an 1hr and 30 minutes of Andrea talk time. So unless you do not want to talk at all during your date do not go to a movie! Andrea likes to talk. She likes to talk A LOT!

3. Do playfully indulge Andrea’s need to spend an inordinate amount of time staring at herself in any/all reflective surfaces she comes across. Note: if you go out for dinner with Andrea DO NOT under any circumstances let Andrea be seated by a mirror. If this happens DATE OFF! You might as well get up and leave, as Andrea won’t even notice because she will be too busy staring at herself OR taking selfies OR tweeting OR scrolling through pictures on her phone of herself, etc., See Figure A – Selfie 6 of 58: Andrea out for dinner.  Apparently no. 6 was the best selfie, as Andrea even posted it to Instagram and tweeted it to her followers while we were out for dinner. So yes, this rule extends to you being good humoured about Andrea’s need to tweet to her followers at regular intervals during your time together.

Figure A - Selfie 6 of 58: Andrea out for dinner
4. Do not subject Andrea to any diatribe you may have involving your racist/sexist/homophobic/**ist/icsbeliefs. Actually if you have any of these someone needs to contact OKCupid and get them to fix their matching algorithms.

5. Do dress well. No one is asking you to iron your underpants (yet) but please put on a clean shirt and jeans. In terms of footwear, no sandals, unless you are at the beach for your first date which you are not because you are with Andrea and you are at a coffee shop on one of her famous coffee date “non-dates”. And yes, do expect her to blog about this at some point, she has to come up with weekly material for her blog after all.

Good luck with the first date! You will need it.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tales of Fear and Loathing from the TransCanada

--> So this story took place after me having one my typical ADHD moments, you know the ones where I spontaneously decide to hop on a plane and go somewhere random to visit with my good friend Paulo. This time I was visiting Paulo during that brief period where he squatted in the town of East BattleAxe, in the province of Saskatchewan.

This was the year 2012. And yes, I travelled to Saskatchewan, willingly. For my Russian readers, Saskatchewan is one of those Canadian provinces located in the middle of our country in an area commonly referred to as “The Prairies” aka the boring flat parts of Canada.

Before this moment of spontaneity, I remembered Saskatchewan as the province where a swarm of locusts descended from the hazy skies upon my car as I sped through 8 hours worth of the same flat farmlands. This was the scene from my TransCanada road trip, the road trip I decided to go on because I was moving to the West Coast for graduate school, and I thought “wouldn’t it be super fun to drive across Canada just once in the life of mine?!”

Short answer: No, it wasn’t fun.

Explanation of short answer: The trip was like a Canadian interpretation of Dante’s decent into hell (#FutureBlogPost)

Ten years after my decent into hell, I decide maybe I should revisit this province and give it another chance to make new memories for me. And what better way to do this than hang out with Paulo…nothing can go wrong with that idea!

When my plane lands in Saskatoon, I’m happy I decided to consume a ridiculous amount of Bourbon on the flight (5-15 drinks, unsure of the number I lost track after 5). I know it is not recommended to drink that heavily (or at all) on a plane but I was travelling to Saskatchewan, so it’s actually encouraged to consume alcohol. This story explains why.

Reason #1 to consume alcohol: The airport

The Saskatoon airport is the equivalent of the portable classroom at the high school with no money to go towards infrastructure and fire safety but however, seems to have lots of money to spend on their football team of rising stars of future wife beaters and serial rapists.

Reason #2 to consume alcohol: it takes the edge off from the constant state of anxiety you will be in due to the perpetual fear you will have for your safety while visiting in this province…starting as soon as you leave the plane.

Example of the fear: You know how they have those stairs they bring over to the plane so you can exit the plane? Well generally those stairs are not held together by duct tape, as they were at this airport.

After surviving the questionable stairs, and deciding now was not the time to have a panic attack over the fact that I haven’t even been in this province for more than 20 seconds and I quite possibly should have died from me breaking my neck by tripping over a piece of stray duct tape, I see Paulo.

Clearly I was in some form of shock from my near death experience on the stairs, as seeing Paulo at this moment probably should have seemed odd to me. I mean here is Paulo across the tarmac from me, lounging on the hood of a garish pink (read: electric raspberry) Cadillac sucking back a slurpee, casually waving hello to me. So much is wrong with this picture and all I can think of is, “I wonder how many grams of sugar are in that slurpee?”

I grab my duffle bag and walk over to Paulo.

A: I think I should have died on those stairs, they have duct tape holding them together! Also, I think I’m really drunk.

P: Hopefully not as drunk as I am, I mean I got to drive! [finishes slurpee and chucks it into the backseat of the car]

A: What?!

And as if Paulo could not read my mind at all, he says: Oh no, this isn’t my car, the car is over there.

Paulo motions vaguely behind him to what appears to be a slew of abandoned vehicles behind a chain-linked fence. The fence the airport authority set up to prevent wildlife from accidently walking onto the runway and causing plane crashes. Because planes crash when their wheels get lodged inside the cranium of a deer instead of touching the runway like they are designed to do-true story and thankfully  no one died, except for the deer of course. This is possibly one of the reasons deer are considered endangered in the province of Saskatchewan.

P: Alright let’s go. (Paulo throws my duffle bag over his shoulder and leads me away from the other passengers towards the car).

A: Don’t I need to like go through the airport with everyone else?

P: nah. You’re domestic, they don’t need to scan your retinas. It’s quicker this way.

I must be drunk because I can’t even be bothered to question this logic. Also, when we get to the chain link fence and we crawl through a section of the fence that has been ripped open I don’t go on some anxious rant about the probability of me avoiding a plane crash due to this fence maintenance oversight. After all, a deer could have walked out while my plane was landing and next thing you know, crushed deer head and dead Andrea.

Other examples of how I know I’m drunk include:
1. The car we get in is a white Honda civic, which in and of itself is not all bad. What is bad is that the rusted out parts have been painted over in an off-white (dusty cream) and the color doesn’t match the rest of the car.
2. To get onto the TransCanada highway, Paulo drives through a small field and ditch in order to bypass the lengthy connector road to the highway. We save approximately 5 minutes doing this, although I suspect it is more like 30 seconds.
3. Paulo explains that the car isn’t his but is a friend’s car he borrowed. Paulo doesn’t have any known friends other than myself and one other guy, whom I know for a fact would not drive a car the color of an albino Dalmatian.

And Paulo speeds off down the highway, that only goes North, the other side that goes South is separated by one of those very wide river overflow ditches. So pretty much you are fucked if you get on the highway going the wrong way until you hit the next town, located at least 50 km away.

A: The Bourbon is wearing off.

Paulo reaches over and smashes the glove compartment with his fist, the door flies open and a bottle of JD rolls out onto my lap.

I hold the bottle up inspecting it for defects.

A: How can this even remotely be considered legal?

P: It’s fine, you are in Saskatchewan, what else are you going to do on these long boring rides?

A: That was a rhetorical question. (I take a long swig out of the bottle) Aren’t you like 40 over the speed limit right now?

P: Nah, I’m only like about 5 over.

A: that sign back there says 120 and you are going 160 if I’m not mistaken. I’m drunk but I can still read and do simple math.

P: I think you should drink more. And that’s just a guideline there is no limit to how fast you can drive out here. It’s like a tree falling in the forest…

A: (I take another swig and finish half the bottle) How is driving like cutting down tress?

P: It’s not. It’s the sound it makes when it falls and no one is there to witness it, so it makes no sound at all.

A: Ok. Next time you need to bring a bigger bottle.

P: Ok, hold on.

I nonchalantly nod in agreement and he speeds up over this slight hill along the highway. After he descends the hill at a speed that is what I would argue well over the speed limit, he drives off the road across the ditch so we are now driving along the Southbound highway going the exact direction we just came from.

A: So now seems like just as good a time as any to ask what’s going on exactly and do I need to be concerned for my safety or anything.

P: Nope! It’s all good, we were just avoiding the cops.

A: cops?! (I look around very confused)

P: Yup. See. [Paulo points to the other side of the highway to the cop car that is cruising down the road apparently going after us.]

A: seriously?! I’ve not even been in this province for 10 minutes and you have us outrunning cops?! Fuck Paulo! [I pause for dramatic effect] Is there anymore alcohol I can drink?

Paulo laughs, turns the car on a side street and drives until we are no longer visible from the highway. We take a couple of turns and then we are another street that runs parallel to the highway. He pulls to the side of the road, slams on the breaks, puts the car in park and jumps out and starts rummaging through the trunk.

As I wait for Paulo to do whatever it is he is doing in the trunk, I check out my surroundings. And it is at about this moment I wish I had  drunk to blackout. In front of the car not even 30 feet away is a darkly tanned man wearing only bright red boxers with small little Christmas trees all over them. In one hand he is holding a half full 26er of vodka of non-descript branding and in the other he is holding an empty leash.

The dog, which is not leashed (I’m almost certain this is a bylaw violation), is a few feet in front of him taking a shit on the side of the road. The dog is a small pile of white fluff and seems to be taking an inordinate amount of time to take a shit.

I’m about to get all judgy, as I notice the x-mas tree boxer wearing man has no bag to pick up the dog’s droppings and then I realize that is because there is nothing to pick up after the dog. The dog had diarrhea although apparently it did not know that because soon after it shat on the side of the road, it walked a few steps then came back to the scene of the crime and began to lap up its own shit.

The man starts yelling at the dog, probably calling it disgusting. The dog ignores him and continues to drink up its own shit. The man stops yelling and from somewhere in those x-mas tree boxers he pulls out a cigar and begins to smoke. And it is at this point he notices our car and he starts yelling something our way.

P: Maxisum! I bought your car back!

Of course this is Paulo’s friend. Paulo is now standing beside me with a large black suitcase in his hand and my duffle bag over his shoulder, which somehow he managed to get out of the back of the car without me noticing. Paulo motions for me to get out of the car.

P: Andrea! Meet my good friend Maxisum!

M: I’m Maxisum! Like the sexy men’s magazine. [he flashes a smile at me and I wince very audibly and everyone laughs).

A: That’s not funny. (I say to no one in particular)

Somehow it doesn’t really surprise me that this car is Maxisum’s, seeing as a part of the rusted out floor fell off during the ride over. And given the current state of Maxisum, I’m actually quite surprised the car didn’t blow up on the ride over.

I get out of the car and go over to introduce myself but I can barely make out what Maxisum is saying to me. Either he is a recent immigrant from some now-defunct Russian country in Eastern Europe or he is so drunk his dog speaks better English. However, Paulo seems to speak Russian drunkard fluently and he translates the conversation for me.

P: Maxisum is upset about the lilacs that were planted along his driveway.

I don’t even want to know why but that doesn’t stop Paulo from explaining in full detail as to the reasons why.

P: White is better than purple and as you can see the lilacs are all purple. White is a symbol of good fortune, whereas the purple signifies trouble and hard times ahead. He bought white lilacs but they grew purple. He thinks this is why gravel is sick.

A: I’m sorry did you say the gravel is sick?!

P: Gravel is the name of the dog.

Of course that’s the name of the dog!

And on cue, Gravel looks up at me with sad eyes and a white muzzle that is now covered in his own runny feces.  

M: [says something completely unintelligible]

P: Gravel ate the lilacs and now he has possession. Oh sorry, the devil has possession of the dog?

M: [nods and says something else that makes zero sense to me but perfect sense to Paulo]

P: He was told he could remove the possession by feeding the dog salted peppers. But he thinks that is stupid so he’s not going to do that. He hates when friend’s ask for advice and then don’t take your advice but he says that only applies if the advice isn’t stupid. There is no way salted peppers can exorcise demons from his dog. [Paulo looks at me and whispers and aside] he is quite upset about this.

A: I think your interpretation is off a bit, it sounded to me like Maxisum said he got syphilis from reading a policy paper. (I raise my eyebrow at Paulo in an overly dramatic fashion) Paulo, I’m not drunk enough to follow this conversation. How are we getting to your place?!

P: we’re walking.

A: are you serious?!

P: of course, I live next door to Maxisum, he is my neighbour!

Of course he is.

As we go to leave, Gravel throws up in his puddle of feces, which I feel is an excellent end note to this story.