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The Mother Load

You know, for the first seven months of my engagement, I was very proud of my mother. Of course, she had involvement in the planning but she never once stepped out of bounds. She gave suggestions and she did not even make the implication that I had to follow them. She has been more than generous about paying for things right down to the attire of the attendants and the honeymoon. But lately, I'm starting to see more of a transformation into the typical mother of the bride. By lately, I mean that I was given many clues to this behaviour in a phone conversation with her yesterday.
The first thing we discussed were the readers at the ceremony. I have chosen my Uncle (and Godfather), Jim, to do a reading at the ceremony. One of Bren's relatives will be doing the other reading. I haven't formally asked Jim about this yet and I admitted this to Mom. However, I had planned to e-mail his wife, my Aunt Bess and mention it this week and I also explained this to Mom. "I already asked him, so don't worry", she told me. This rubbed me the wrong way for a second, but I quickly calmed down. After all, it is expensive for me to use my cell phone to call Newfoundland and speak to him directly. In addition, I don't have an e-mail for him. I have one for his wife. I ended up thinking that maybe this was the best way to do it. I was very firm in my decision to choose Jim to do the reading anyways.
Secondly, I wanted to choose my Uncle Ted to read out the petitions at the ceremony. I was also firm in this decision, so again this wasn't a big deal. I told Mom that I was planning to e-mail Ted and ask him. Once again she says, "I already asked him. He's honoured to do it". Again, this rubbed me the wrong way. It was still a brief feeling, but it did last a little longer than the last one. Mom is well aware that I am able to ask Ted directly by e-mail.
Thirdly, we started discussing the seating plan for the front pew in the church as well as the ushers. Until recently, Mom actually thought that she and Dad were supposed to sit by themselves in the front pew. I explained to her that the ushers, any participants in the mass, important relatives and the attendants - Derek, Julie and Kari, when they did not have to stand at the front - would be sitting with them. She felt more reassured because this meant that Ted and Jim would be beside her. She then mentionned that my cousin Chris would also be close by because he would be serving as one of the ushers. I replied, "Well yes, I was certainly considering him for one of the ushers". She then told me, "I already asked him when I was talking to Catch (Catherine's nickname) today". Now, Bren and I know that we're going to need at least 2 ushers (proper etiquette decrees that there is supposed to be one usher for every fifty guests). Bren hadn't given me any names of people on his side yet. On my side, it was a toss up between Chris and one of my friends.
In truth, I was leaning towards Chris because I wanted to be inclusive to my cousins. All of the attendants are friends and the readers are older relatives, so I had been thinking that the usher positions and the processional line would be a good way to include some of my younger relatives. So I'm not bothered by the fact that she approached Chris, because I was going to anyways. I am bothered by the fact that she asked these people for me, and I hadn't even told her that I had made a firm decision in the case of the ushers.
I was very bothered by the last thing that we discussed. A few weeks ago when I was visiting my parents after work, Mom played this song for me and Dad. It was a Newfoundland folk song. At least it sounded similar to a lot of the Newfoundland folk songs that my older relatives listen to (ex: Harry Hibbs). The song was about a father dancing with his daughter at her wedding. Dad hated it. He even deliberately belched during the song to voice his disgust. Truth be told, I didn't like it either but I was too polite to say anything. I wish I had now.  Yesterday, when she mentionned how I am supposed to dance with Dad at the reception she automatically assumed that we were going to use that song for the dance. Dad and I had already agreed to use "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole and Nathalie Cole. Since I knew how much she wanted to use her song, I was a little nervous when I tried to stand my ground with her. But I have dreamed of using "Unforgettable" for that dance for as long as I can remember, so I wanted to defend my cause. She was okay with my decision once she remembered how "Unforgettable" sounded. However, she said that she still wants to put the other song in somewhere. I'm visiting them after work today. I will be at the house in two hours and I am still trying to come up with a way to say no. Despite being part Newfoundlander, I hate Newfoundland folk music. I love Great Big Sea, and that is the closest to that genre that I will ever love. Well, I do like a few classic songs such as "Drunken Sailor" and "I's the B'y", but Great Big Sea has covered them.
I'm starting to really get off topic. My mother has made some great suggestions, but that doesn't mean that I want her to take over the planning from me. I'm just not sure how to make my point without sounding like "Bridezilla".

Writer's Block: Call Me

Do you still use a landline at home, or do you rely completely on your cell phone?
It can take me a while to get used to a new form of technology. I certainly did not care much for the cell phone at first. I can't exactly remember my issues with it now, but I knew I had some. I guess it was just a fear of the unknown. Bren and I were only dating for about two months when he got his first cell phone (he had similar reservations about them). He had arranged to be given a two week trial period with it just to see if he would like relying solely on it. His plan was to get rid of his landline if everything went well. Like the majority of society these days, Bren did end up liking the convenience of a cell phone. I think his landline was possibly laid to rest even before the end of the two week trial period.
I, on the other hand, was still unsure about the idea of being completely dependant on a cell phone. I could see the benefit of having them for emergencies, but I was still partial to the landline for anything other than that. I guess it is part of the way that I was raised. My mother loves to talk on the phone, but she hates cell phones. She hates how they are becoming a more integral part of our culture and our daily lives. She absolutely abhorrs the idea of having a lengthy conversation on one. Her values stuck with me for a while.
I remember rolling my eyes when friends began saying I was hard to get a hold of. Children from the 1980's were starting to have trouble with something that they had grown up with! Suddenly leaving messages with family members if I wasn't home started to be viewed as a great inconvenience. Not even an answering machine was good enough anymore. Though I have come around on this issue, I still think this perception is going a tad overboard.
Last spring, after having a cell phone only for emergency purposes for more than 5 years, I finally decided to try out a contract. I concede that I liked it. It was convenient. It especially became useful after I moved in with Bren and I began to use my cell number as my full-time contact number. I never missed a call from work anymore. I don't have to worry about missing any calls at all. The best thing about a cell phone is that you can turn it off when you need some alone time. This is probably the biggest annoyance with a landline. I supposed you can just ignore the phone if you have a landline, but that can be very irritating for other people if you do not live alone. Whenever I tried to ignore it when I was under my parents roof (and I was the closest to the phone, of course), they would start nagging me to answer it by the third ring.
Another good feature about cell phones that I love is the custom ring tones. I have different ones for Bren, my family, my friends, and work. I know I should always take my calls from work, so when I hear that specific ring tone, I always answer it. Thanks to the feature of customized ring tones, I know who is calling me right away (and that can give me a clue to how serious the call is).
The whole experience has made me realize that new technology is worth trying out!

Writer's Block: Apology Not Accepted

Have you ever refused to accept someone's apology, or had your own apology rejected?
In the twenty-seven years that I have been alive, there haven't actually been many situations where somebody has come forward to apologize to me about something. There also haven't been many situations where I have come foward to apologize to another person about something I did.
Some time has passed since the last time I felt that somebody really hurt me and I think that time has helped me put things in perspective. After all that time, there are really only a few cases where I still feel some hurt. I still feel some hurt when it comes to my volatile ex. That's only natural since he was verbally and sexually abusive. If I didn't still feel some hurt then what am I paying B for? However, I feel I have at least come to terms with what happened and that has helped me move on. In fact, I can see myself forgiving him one day and if I can forgive him, it should be possible for me to forgive anybody. My volatile ex is a case where I can forgive but not forget. Even if I do forgive him, I could never allow him to be a part of my life again. He simply did too much damage for that.
The only other person I'm really still mad at is "Esme", but that was a very recent conflict. However, she did betray my confidance (certainly not forgivable in the short-term future) and even when she was telling me off she still didn't have the guts to admit to it even though it is very obvious that she did it. She was the first to bail on me when I acted out of character and I think a true friend stands with you even when you haven't acted appropriately (again not forgivable in the short-term future). Lastly, she chose to remain friends with my ex (a different one) over me despite the fact she only had known him because he and I were dating - the worst backstabbing of all between women. I am honestly angrier with her than I am with that ex right now. The anger has subsided so much towards my volatile ex that I honestly feel more angry at "Esme" than I do at him right now, which I know is not even reasonable. So I think the only reason that I feel so angry at "Esme" is just because it happened not too long ago. Having said that, I wouldn't be able to forgive her now. In a year or two, I might (or probably will) feel differently. At this point in my life, I don't think I would want anything to do with her again even if the anger subsided in a few years. We're just not compatible. There's a personality conflict - I actually have one.
I don't recall having any of my apologies rejected. I can be very stubborn when it comes to admitting I was wrong, so when I do actually apologize, it means that I must have truly felt horrible about what I did. I think the people I have apologized to see that.  There are many apologies that I feel but have left unsaid. When I think that the person will likely not be happy to hear from me, I try to let sleeping dogs lie. But that can be difficult for me.
As a Christian I have strong faith in the power of forgiveness. I feel like I'm programmed in a way. When working through a conflict, I feel I just have to eventually try to forgive the person. I feel I have a right to be angry - at first. That's human emotion. But over time, I feel I have to try and get over it even if it is only so that I can move on from the conflict.
Also, I think holding a grudge just causes an unwanted headache.

A Big Sigh

I recently found out something very discouraging. A former friend of mine from about four years ago is still mad at me. Out of respect for her privacy, I won't get into who she is or what exactly happened to bring the friendship to an end (though I'll say the basics), but I feel the need to get this off my chest. First of all, I myself have no issues with her now. Yes, I was angry with her at first. I was very angry about the fact that she ended the friendship without a word, and I had to find out what I did to her through other people. I was also bothered about the fact that she did say some mean things about her ex, who was my friend at the time. I could understand her need to do that, but I wish she had known to tone it down in front of their mutual friends. 
My former friend is mad at me because I did tell her ex some of the things that she had told me in confidence. In addition, she probably thought it was uncool of me to hook up with her ex. I can't blame her there. 
I am sorry for those things. In fact, I am very sorry that I chose him over her. As time went by I learned the hard way that she would have been the better choice. In the end, she was a better friend, I did have more in common with her and a lot of bad stuff would have been avoided. Like with Nina, I had wanted to contact her and tell her how sorry I was. But now I wonder if that's a good idea. I suspected she was still mad, but I was surprised to find out exactly how mad she was. I don't know what I should do now.
I do feel bad for myself in this situation, but I think I feel even more sorry for her. I can't imagine being unable to have faith that people can change and improve themselves. I can't imagine being unable to have faith that people can have regrets. I can't imagine not having faith in the power of forgiveness. I'm honestly reminded of my Aunt Theresa.
In 2002, my oldest Aunt Eleonor died of cancer. Eleonor had been a spinster and she lived with my widowed grandmother in Newfoundland. Theresa used to live in the same small town as them, but had moved to St. John's the previous year when she and her husband's job prospects went downhill. As Eleonor was dying, the family had to decide where Nan was going to go. Eleonor had the need to know what was going to happen before she passed on. Everyone seemed hesitant to offer for good reasons. My mother and my Uncle Ted lived too far away from Newfoundland for her to be happy in those situations. My Aunt Catherine had no room (she had three grown children and one grandchild under her roof). My Uncle Tony's house was never kept clean, and Nan had standards about that. That only left Theresa and my Uncle Jim. Theresa's husband was now the superintendant of an apartment building, but there were no units available. Jim only lived three hours away and his house included a very nice basement apartment. He and his wife Bess took the initiative and welcomed Nan into their home. Having this information, Eleonor passed away very peacefully.
About a year later things went very badly. Bess and Nan were at odds. Evenutally they agreed it was best for Nan to move. A unit became available in Theresa's building, so she told Nan to come to St. John's. She would never forgive Jim and Bess for the "inconvenience" they caused her. The conflict became a big mess, Catherine, Mom and Tony were all dragged into it (Ted lives in Belgium, so he had an advantage with his distance). For four years, Mom was the only one who voluntarily spoke to Jim and Bess. What makes this really sad is that Jim and Catherine live in the same town, which is not that big. As these years went by, Theresa became more viscious about her views. She said if Jim died, she would not care. She went as far as to wish his two sons and six grandchildren dead. She called Bess horrible names (her favourite being a C-word that rhymes with "Runt").
In the fall of 2007, Nan became very sick. She was clearly dying. The five remaining siblings had no choice but to come together (Tony had passed on only a few months before. "Five" was not a typo). Ted and Catherine were very civil to Jim and Bess, considering the circumstance. But Theresa - nope. She went as far as telling all of Nan's nurses about Jim and Bess throwing Nan out of their house. She took every opportunity to humilate them. She had always been confident that her other siblings would stand with her against Jim. Did they? Nope. Ted told her if she didn't back off he would cut her out of his life. Catherine kept quiet, but was clearly not in agreement with her anymore. Mom told her to be reasonable. Nan did pass on, and this did cause Catherine to start talking to Jim again. They started in baby steps. They would actually chat if they ran into each other on the street.  
Mom returned to Newfoundland the following spring, so that she could help Catherine with Nan's headstone. Since she was alternating between Catherine and Jim's houses, they had to see each other more than usual. Towards the end of Mom's visit, Jim made a call to speak to Catherine's little granddaughter, Julia. He told her that 4 of his grandchildren were visiting him for the afternoon and one of them included his granddaughter, Jamie, who was Julia's age. He asked Julia if she wanted to come over. She did and she became instant friends with Jamie. These girls were not even three years old when the family conflict started. They only live twenty minutes away from each other and it was only a year ago that they became aware of each other's existance. The joy of the children caused Jim and Catherine to think this was stupid. They finally act like real siblings again. Jim and Bess are also going to visit Ted in Belgium this summer.
As for Theresa, she hates everybody it seems - Jim, Bess, Catherine, Catherine's husband, even Mom at times. She has told Mom that she refuses to be in the same room as them all again. Ted, Catherine and Jim are all coming to my wedding. She is not. She wants to be there, but not if they will be. She is miserable with her life, and very unhealthy - mentally and physically. No one visits her for more than a couple of hours (very rarely) or calls her with enthusiasm about it.
I did learn a valuable lesson from Theresa. Life is too short to hold grudges. How can you be happy that way? Is she hurting Jim or the others with her anger? Not at all. They're all moving on with their lives and enjoying them - separately and together. She's hurting herself and she is missing so much as a result of it. I don't want to be like her.
I also learned a valuable lesson from Jim. He knows that he cannot expect Theresa's forgiveness for his actions. I'm sure Nan forgave him instantly, but she is not around for him to actually ask her if she has. The best thing he can do is forgive himself.
I do miss my former friend and I feel no hositlity towards her. I honestly feel a little wistful every time I see anything to do with butterflies. I can't help but think of her any time I taste bubble tea. I hope that in time, she can come to terms with what I did to her and maybe forgive me. Until then, I have to forgive myself and let go. I have changed and grown since then. I know that I have the capability to be a much better friend to people now. And at this moment, that feels like enough.

The Fourth Of The Fabulous Six

I saw a few cute messages from my friend Negar in my inbox today. She has been mentionned a few times since I began this journal, but I have not said too much about her. I should take a moment to talk about as she is one of the fabulous six. I first met Negar a little more than two years ago when I was still dating my ex-boyfriend, Peter. She was originally a friend of his from Algonquin college, as well as a high school friend of my fairweather friend Alexa. We first crossed paths at Alexa's housewarming party. I found her to be very friendly and outgoing.
After meeting up a couple of times at parties, we decided to get together one on one. Our first social outing was to the Rideau Centre. Negar had decided that I needed a new look. I guess she was right. On that particular day, I was wearing navy blue corduroys and a sweater from Northern Reflections (a store that sells clothing similar to what my Great Aunt Mary or my mother-in-law to be would wear. Now, my future mother-in-law is very elegant, but she is more than 50 years older than I am so we shouldn't exactly have the same fashion sense). We spent about two hours at Jacob. I spent a lot of that in the dressing room as she handed me various pencil skirts, slik tops, halter tops, etc. from the outside. Trying the halter top was an unforgettable experience. This was still back when I was more self-conscious about my appearance. As we entered the store, she pointed at one that was on a mannequin in the window. She told me "Merrigan, it is time to get out of your comfort zone. You ARE going to try one of those tops on!". I reluctantly complied with her. It wasn't too bad. I actually ended up buying a dark green one.
Negar has an ability to change my entire outlook on life when I see her. Ever since that afternoon at the Rideau Centre, I am more careful about the clothing I buy. I will only look at certain colours (She pointed out that I was too pale for overly light colours) and I pay more attention to how well things fit.
During all of the hesitation I went through while I was contemplating contacting Nina again after two years, Negar was the friend who was encouraging me to do it. She kept telling me, "She may be happy to hear from you. She may even want to be friends again. And if she isn't and doesn't, you haven't spoke to her for two years. You have nothing to lose sweety".
When I received that e-mail from "Esme", Negar was the first friend I called to vent. She told me simply, "Honey, she's not worth it". I listened to her, and it's funny that I did. My mother never liked "Esme", and told me bluntly many times while I was friends with her. I would always get really upset about it. Negar puts her down only once (and she has never met her, I might add) and I listen. She just has some sort of presence with me. In such a short time, I have come to really respect her opinion.
It's great to have a friend that has that kind of influence on you - and for that friend to actually be a good influence. I am very glad that I met her (LOL, she's the reason why I can't kick myself for my association with Alexa). These are just some of the reasons that I consider Negar to be one of the fabulous six.

Kitty Moment

Aside from my reference to them in my user information, I don't think I have posted anything about our cats yet. When I moved in with Bren, I immediately inherited two cats from him. Bren is more than ten years my senior, so you can guess that he has been living as a bachelor for a long time. I have never been given the impression that he enjoyed it very much. In fact, he often mentions how he found the lifestyle to be very lonely. This is what motivated him to get a cat. He wanted the company. More than two years ago, he adopted Nick (we affectionately call him Nicky most of the time) from the SPCA. Nick is a black cat (that makes him my dream cat right there), with bright green eyes who is completely full of himself. Seriously, he has a look on his face that indicates that he agrees with the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians - that he should be viewed as divine. He is very attached to Bren - he even waits outside the bedroom door during the night while we are sleeping. He certainly was a good choice for company.
A month after Nick's adoption, Bren became concerned that Nick was lonely while he was at work. Bren felt that the logical solution was to get a second cat. Through some contacts, Bren adopted Cleo, a grey tabby. She is very sweet but always seems a little stand-offish.
Eventually Bren met me, we dated for a while and then I moved in. Obviously, Bren is not exactly lonely anymore since he now has quite a family in that small apartment.
Nick and Cleo are very entertaining together. They are constantly in competition for the title of "top cat". Nick often likes to tackle her. We still aren't sure if he does this out of hatred or if he is just trying to have fun and hasn't yet grasped the concept that he is bigger and stronger than Cleo. Either way, Cleo hates it.
After a while, we started giving Nicky a little tap on the back whenever we saw him do it. Since then he waits for us to be at work, out or otherwise occupied. He's clever! He started to chase her this morning as we were distracted reading the newspaper. We noticed them as he was chasing her accross the living room, causing her to jump up on the old beat-up chair that they sleep on. He was just about to jump up on it when we yelled at him. At that moment he changed his position to make it look like he was stretching. I rolled my eyes and said to him, "Nice cover Nicky". Bren laughed.
I just had to write about  that. Our cats always find some way to entertain us. I fully understand now what Nina meant when she used to say that her pets were silly (that was always her response when I asked her how they were doing). Lady, my childhood dog was cute, affectionate and a good companion, but she wasn't silly. I guess animals are like humans - different personalities.


A Short Post

With summer well on it's way, I've been thinking that it's time to start paying attention to popular fahsions for this year. So far, I haven't seen anything that appeals to my particular tastes, but I still find it fun just to go look at the new styles. I must confess that I love everything to do with fashion and that I am a total brand whore. By this I mean, I can stumble upon a simple black top at Winners and think that it's the most amazing thing once I see a "DKNY" tag on the back of the collar (I actually love many brand names, "DKNY" is just the first example that came off the top of my head since I wore a black shirt from that line only yesterday). I know, I'm very materialistic (now where does that fit in with the whole Catholic thing?).

In any case, I am trying not to indulge in too many new fashions this year since my half of the closet is already overflowing and my dresser is nearly there as well. However, one item of summer clothing that I am lacking in is shorts. For the past few years that has been deliberate on my part. I became very self-conscious about showing off my legs during high school (I heard the name "chicken legs" shouted from behind my back once or twice. Ah, good old teen angst). By the time I was in university, I resorted to wearing capris or knee-length (at the shortest) skirts in the summer. For the most part I had kept up that fad up until last summer.
Bren is wonderful in so many ways, but one thing I will stress in this entry is that he has done wonders for my self-esteem. In the evenings during the winter, I normally change from my work clothes into my Pink University sweats from Victoria's Secret and a plain t-shirt and braid my hair. Even when I look like this, Bren still tells me that I look good and that I am beautiful. I honestly don't get the impression that he is just saying this. It is so liberating to be with someone who makes you feel so good about yourself. Last year, I actually felt good enough about my body to buy a bikini - and I did use it when we went to Meech Lake for the day. By the end of the summer I decided that I would never buy a one-piece again.
This year, I have decided to give shorts a second chance. I stopped ino Old Navy on my way home yesterday and bought a pair! They some blue, red and orange in them so they will be able to go with a few of my tops. Most importantly, they were sooooo comfortable!!! Once I have more money, I think I will buy a few more pairs. What I love most about Old Navy is how the clothes is actually affordable for someone on a limited budget!
My legs haven't changed much in appearance since I was a teenager (though they did gain some muscle during the summer that I worked for the National Capitol Commission), but I feel a lot better about them these days. I'm now waiting very impatiently for a day over 20 degrees that does not have rain so that I can show them off!

Last Saturday, I attended the wedding of two very good friends of mine from my parish as well as the World Youth Day pilgrimmage. I first met Kat a little more than two years ago when she was hired by our former pastor, Father Muldoon, as the co-ordinator for the youth group. At this point she was finishing up her degree at Carleton University. In her first speech to the congregation, I could already tell that she was very personable. She has a very perky voice that is enjoyable to listen to and she absolutely radiates positivity. She is the kind of person that it is impossible to be in a bad mood around. Seriously, if she was outside in a rain storm, I am certain that she would have a rainbow over her head, protecting her from the water!
Kat and I began to become more acquainted when I first expressed interest in participating in the pilgrimmage. She, along with 3 other parishioners, were also planning to go. We would see each other at the meetings (where I also got acquainted with Julie, if you recall) but we also worked together on a few fundraising activities. Despite being an introvert, I quickly became very comfortable with her.
Shortly after the planning for World Youth Day began, Kat introduced me to her at-the-time boyfriend, Marc. Now Marc was very unlike Kat. At first he seemed extremely quiet and withdrawnfrom the rest of us. Kat told me that he had some difficulty with big crowds, but was much more friendly once he got comfortable with people.

I honestly did not get to know Marc very well until we actually were Down Under. He and Kat became engaged just before we left. The experience really caused him to come out of his shell. How could it not? For two weeks, none of us had any time by ourselves. We all had roommates in New Zealand and in Sydney, we all slept in one gymnasium together (the women on one side, the men on the other). During the day we were either travellin with the entire diocese or at least our small groups of friends. I can't stress this more - none of us had any moments alone for two weeks. So perhaps Marc was forced out of his shell due to circumstance. No matter how he was provoked, Marc embraced the change and demonstrated that he was a friendly, easy-going and talented guy (he plays the guitar).
Kat and I shared a hotel room during our retreat in the Blue Mountains. Since she wasn't exactly my best friend, I was a little uneasy about this during the days and months that led up to the retreat. But by the time we arrived in the Blue Mountains, I found that my anxiety had subsided. Kat has a way of making people feel comfortable.
I still see them a lot. I sing in one of the church choirs every two weeks and they often join us. In addition, the confidence that Marc gained on the trip has seemed to stick with him. He's shown everyone that he has a wonderful sense of humour. He makes me laugh every time I see him. He has started accompanying the youth choir (which Kat directs) by playing the guitar at the masses they are responsible for.
It rained on their wedding day, but it was still a beautiful day. Before the ceremony, they were hanging around in the foyer of the church to greet their guests (I think Bren and I will still do the traditional thing and not be anywhere to be seen before our ceremony, but this was a nice touch for them). Kat looked beautiful in her lacey, strapless, mermaid gown. Marc looked very sophisticated in his suit. They walked down the aisle ahnd in hand to begin their new life together.
It was a simple ceremony, but still classy. Instead of a big, lavish reception they had a gathering at the church (Kat had originally wanted to have a communal picnic, but the weather did not co-operate for that). It was a lot of fun. I ran into a lot of fellow pilgrims that I have not kept in touch with. It was wonderul to see them. We all embraced like old friends when we saw each other.
This wedding allowed me to think about how absorbed I have sometimes been getting in the actual planning of my own wedding. It can become such an obsession that I have to admit, I can occasionally lose sight of what the whole occasion is really about. It's time to take a deep breath here.
I'm not doing this to have a big party. I'm not doing this just to wear the gown that looks like it could have belonged the Cinderella. I'm not even doing this to have a chance to dance to Barry Mailow's "Copacabana" in a posh setting (though I'm sure that will be a lot of fun). I'm doing this because I love Bren and I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I'm doing thii because I want to declare that to everyone. I'm doing this because I cannot see myself with anyone else. So though it may be fun to register for household items, create songlists and pick out flowers and many other things, those are only minor things. The important thing is that I have found somebody who completes me, and honestly that makes giddy than any songlist or flower ever can.

I openly admit that Bren and I could not help but get into watching the "Celebrity Apprentice" this past season. I know, some people would probably shake their heads at being informed of this fact. Well here's even more insight into the junk food section of my personality: I like Donald Trump. He first caught my attention when he publicly declared in Hello Magazine that he did not think Angelina Jolie was good looking or even that great of a human being (Loved, loved, LOVED the man for this! I hate "Angie" with a passion). Okay, Trump is no saint himself, but that's actually why I like him. He's blunt and he comes off like he doesn't care how people will react to what he says. I wish I could be more like that since I have often felt that my softness has been my weakness in the past.
I thought that he had a very good lineup for the show this season. At the beginning, I was particularly interested in seeing the antics of Dennis Rodman and Tom Green. In addition, I was interested in seeing how T-Boz from TLC would do (I hadn't heard of her in a long time and I used to have TLC's cd, "Crazy, Sexy, Cool"). Of course, I knew who Joan Rivers was, but I had never watched her sketches or anything (though I'm a big fan of the movie "Spaceballs", in which she did the voice for "Dot Matrix" the droid). As I don't follow any poker tournaments on television and know nothing of the game itself, Anne Duke was a nobody to me.
Annie and Joan developped a bitter rivalry throughout the show that I couldn't help but compare to some of my own experiences. Joan mainly attacked Annie for being two-faced, which she was. Annie Duke was a classic poker player, even on "The Apprentice". She would act so pleasant in the boardroom in front of the Donald, but would become a complete viper during tasks. She often monopolized the task, thinking herself to be more qualified than anyone else. She also could never give a straight answer in the boardroom. For instance, in the 2nd last episode, Donald asked her if her playboy playmate friend Brande Roderick was only doing so well because she was using Annie as a crutch (they were the final two on their team). Annie begins her answer by saying "There are two ways to answer that". Joan on the other hand, was the same person in the boardroom and outside.
Joan has been criticized for her meltdowns on the show and for the things that she has said to Annie and Brande during the course of the show. I actually admire her for it. When I'm dealing with someone, I would prefer to know their exact feelings on something. I think the ability to react that way is just what makes us human. 
In addition I found myself on "Team Joan" because I am just plain sick of two-faced people in my own life. "Jessica", who was beyond rude to me at times and has since been trying to portray herself as the victim. "Esme" who acted like things were okay with us when she moved away from Ottawa and then tried to cut me out of her life without telling me that she even had a problem (I'm still proud of myself for preventing that from happening). There's also my ex (not the volatile one), who I've come to know as possibly the most two-faced person I have ever met. If you've met him and have only known him well for a year or two, I know how you'll react to what I'm writing. You'll be thinking, "what a b%$&@". He can come off as an extremely sweet guy. I am not the first person that he's made to look evil. He has done the same thing to other former girlfirends and former friends (In fact, he nicknamed one of his exes which I'll simply call "D", "Voldemort", you know, as in the evil being from the Harry Potter series). He leans on any of their friends who will have some sympathy for him, tell them about all the "heck" or "abuse" he has taken at their hands, and gradually turn the friends against them. On the plus side, since I had seen this played out so many times, I knew what was happening and what was likely coming. I even called him on it many times. Of course he sweetly denied it. Another fortunate thing is that the friends that were worth keeping stuck by me. Friends like Kari, Negar and Derek, who will be MY best man at the wedding. Like Joan, I did have a few outbursts during this conflict that didn't make me look too good. But I feel that I only said what was true.
Joan argued that her honesty was an honourable quality, and it is. Say whatever you want about her behaviour, but you always knew what she was thinking. Even if the outcome was staged, I'm glad that the Donald decided to go with Joan over Annie. Regardless of the script, it was a small victory for those of us who hate two-faced people.

Coca-Cola Update

Soon it will have been five weeks since Easter Sunday and I have not posted a thing about how my mission for the Lenten season went. A few weeks before Lent began I vowed that this would be the year that I would finally give up my favourite non-alcoholic beverage, Coca-Cola, for Lent. Translation: My goal was to go a full forty days without drinking any Coca-Cola (or Pepsi). I am pleased to announce that I indeed made it through the forty days of Lent without any Cola drink! During that entire season, the closest I came to breaking my Lenten promise was when I drank a Dr. Pepper at the mall while I was shopping. Okay, okay, Coke and Dr. Pepper are very similar drinks - but only in appearance. They taste completely different! Besides it was only one and I did drink it on a Sunday (During the Sundays of the Lenten season, Catholics are permitted to have or do the thing that they gave up for Lent. The Sundays are not included in the required forty days). Most importantly, even on Sundays I had no actual Coca-Cola. I am very proud of myself for lasting the entire time without it.
Since the Lenten season has ended, I have had Coke a few times but I am still trying to cut down. During my abstinence, I noticed a few positive changes. I was less fidgety, I lost weight and I slept more soundly. Due to those results, I made the decision to stop buying cases of Coca-Cola to keep at the apartment. Therefore, it is not available to me whenever I want it. I occasionally have one with my meal when we eat out. I occasionally have one when I am visiting my parents. I drink Coca-Cola maybe twice a week now. 
I am amazed by my willpower. This is a huge accomplishment for me, considering that I used to drink Coca-Cola almost exclusively. If I was like this for everything I pursued, maybe I could own the world! I wonder what that would be like...