Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Date 3 Report - Update #2

Guy #3 and I had our second date last night. We went out for drinks after work. Met at 6pm, left at 10pm. Sounds like a good time, right? And I did have a good time; lots of laughing and talking about all manner of things. But here's the thing - I'm not sure if he's really into me or not. It's hard to figure out. I can't say I felt any "vibes", you know. Hmm.

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 12

Alphabeticalize: to arrange alphabetically, i.e. alphabetize

Monday, November 28, 2005

It's a Record!

I think this is an all time record for me - as of Saturday, my Christmas shopping is done and last night I wrapped everything. Now I can concentrate on baking many, many cookies.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Question of the Week

Question: "I wonder why they've never played here before?"

"Uhh ... actually, they have. A bunch of times. I think the first time was 1985."

Talking of upcoming U2 concerts in Montreal on November 26 and 28, with ... guess who? Tweedle Dee, of course!

Happy Birthday, Why!

Happy Birthday to mybestestclosestfriend, Why!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Birthday, Rachel

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

She's 14 today! I could offer words of wisdom or advice, but really who wants to hear that when you're 14?! So - here's wishing you a great year and have fun!!!

Date 5 Report

Talk, talk, talk ... blah, blah, blah ...

It would've been nice if I hadn't been the only one asking questions last night. This guy seemed to be one of these people who, when asked a question, can talk for half an hour. He also laughed a little too long and a little too loud at his own jokes - most of which didn't make me laugh, they just made me groan.

To give him credit, he was on time, polite, well dressed, educated. Just not the guy for me. Oh well.

Analysis: 6/10.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 11

This week's entry isn't a single word, it's the use of a double superlative. Here are just a couple of examples: more funner, most funniest, most beautifulest.

I mean really ... it's funny when you know you're saying it wrong, but when you have to listen to a person say it who doesn't know the difference, it's like nails on a chalkboard. (And that little nervous tick starts up again.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Date 3 Report - Update

Yes!!! Can you believe it? I'm going to see this guy again!

I did send him an email yesterday (and yes, I saw your comment, Why) and he wrote back asking me out for a "real" drink and a chance to get to know more about each other. He also said I was easy-going, fun to talk with and that I have pretty eyes (!). This so makes up for the terrible date I had yesterday.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Date 4 Report

Where to begin? I'm so friggin' mad right now, I can hardly think straight!!!

When I first talked to this guy a few nights ago, I wasn't too enthused after our conversation, but put it down to nerves (both his and mine). I had found him difficult to talk to and quite negative in a lot of his responses, but decided the only way to really decide was to meet him. So, we decided to meet this afternoon at a cafe of his choosing. Now, understand that when you meet someone at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon in a place that is more restaurant than cafe - there is going to be a crowd. I arrived a few minutes early and noticed a few people hanging around outside but didn't pay particular attention to see if one of these people was the guy I was meeting. Went inside, waited a few minutes for a table and sat down. This guys comes in about 5 minutes later and tells me that he saw me go in, but didn't stop me, even though he thought it was me. (Is it me, or is that ... well, stupid?) I'll tell you why I didn't recognize him. The picture I had of this guy was about 10 years old (again this happens!).

He sat down and had a look around. It suddenly dawns on him that everyone is having breakfast/lunch. We ordered our coffee. I got a bowl of fruit too because I hadn't eaten lunch yet. He started complaining that he wasn't used to coffee (why he didn't order tea from the 50 types they had, I don't know.)

Conversation got off to a slow start (now I am comparing him to the great date I had yesterday). And it didn't get any easier. Finally, I was starting to feel rather like a chatterbox and told him speak up, interrupt, take part in the conversation a little. Now, I could've said it mean and snarky, but I didn't - I was trying to funny about it. It didn't work. At all. He got a little upset. OK - my bad.

Then I started on another round of questions. I tried to talk about music - he wasn't interested. I tried to talk about books. He hadn't anything to say about them, except for The Merchant of Venice which he read in high school. I tried again. What were some of the most recent books he had read. Answer: Dan Brown's books (and he thought they were good).

I tried to talk to him about my experience volunteering in Panama last year and about the gifts I had recently helped collect for the girls. This didn't go over so well with him. He pretty much told me that I wasn't helping these kids by providing them with gifts simply to subscribe to the North American consumer attitude (or something like that), that the time I spent was more beneficial to them than any "gift". Maybe I shouldn't have taken it so personally, but I did. In fact, I was pretty insulted.

That's when I picked up my cheque and walked to the cash. Outside he asked if I wanted him to call me. (WHAT???) I said no. Total length of date: 40 minutes. I think this might be a new record for me.

Analysis: 2/10. Making me spitting mad on a first date is a guaranteed no call back.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Date 3 Report

I can hardly believe this happened only a few hours ago, but it's true. I had a good date. No, I had a pretty damn good date. No kidding.

It wasn't terribly awkward. It didn't seem forced. He was on time, polite, looked the same as his picture, didn't lie about his height. We spent nearly 2 hours over coffee, just chatting, laughing and getting a feel for each other. It was fun and enjoyable. I'm still quite shocked.

Analysis: 9/10. Feel I can't give a 10 because ... well, I suppose, because I'm hoping to see him again and want to feel like there's only one way to go - and that's up!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Sleep Workshop - Week 6

It's over. Last night was the last workshop. While I know it was helpful in certain aspects, in others it was simply not the environment for me.

In the end, it comes down to practice and consistency. Keeping these things on the top of my priority list will help. The things I have to work on are: keeping a regular sleep time and wake up time. This means every day, seven days a week. No matter if I'm taking a day off, it's the weekend or it's vacation. My body needs to know when it's going to go to sleep and when it's going to wake up. If my sleep efficiency is less than 90%, I must stay up 15 minutes longer. Next, I need to keep up with my sleep hygiene - less caffeine (and none after 3pm), give myself a specific time to worry (but not at bedtime), take an hour to relax before bed (practice breathing and relaxation exercises). Finally, change my thinking - I can get by on little sleep, one bad night won't be the worst thing to happen, be kind to myself.

After a follow-up visit with my sleep specialist 2 weeks ago, I have decided to go with her suggestion to get this oral appliance that will help to keep my airway open when I sleep. This is going to be expensive ($1800). Unfortunately it's not covered by my insurance so it looks like I'll be working the tax pool again this year... Oh well, not the worst thing to happen. And hey - it could be the combination (appliance and sleep hygiene) that finally helps me get the restorative sleep I need.

Guess what? I'm hopeful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blackmarket Naps

Yesterday afternoon was a tough one. Tough being that I couldn't take the nap I so desperately wanted. I'm telling you, if I could've bought a nap, I would've paid for it. I often kid around with the woman who sits behind me at work, about having naps at our desks in the afternoon (she's got 2-3, I've got 3-4). Well, yesterday I wanted to buy some of her nap time and she refused (the nerve!). I joked that I was in the blackmarket nap business. Later that night, I thought that maybe it's not such a crazy idea. I have heard of shopping centres and airports having areas where people can catch a few zzz's. Seriously, I really think this is a huge money maker for someone with the right know-how.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 10

Lozenger: i.e. lozenge. Small sweet or medicinal tablet to be dissolved in the mouth. Usage "I gave her a throat lozenger".

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sleep Workshop - Week 5

What to report? Not much really. Other than the fact that I was embarrassed at my lack of math skills. We had to start charting some of our sleep data from the last 5 weeks, work out averages, etc. For most people this is not an issue. For me, in a public setting, it's hugely stressful and all out nerve wracking (first calculating my time sleeping, then my time in bed, dividing that number and multiplying by 100 to get some other number). Everyone else in the class was able to provide some kind of data. I was the last one called on and here's what I had to offer: "Yeah, I've got nothing. This is too much math for me."

Ended up spending nearly 3 hours Saturday morning figuring out all these numbers. Ugh. It gave me a headache.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Thank you, Boys!

Thanks go out to Marko, Tim and all the boys who made last night such a great evening. There is nothing like a few drinks, some innocent flirting and many, many laughs (my cheeks are still sore!) to end off an otherwise ho-hum week.

Happy Birthday, Marko. I won’t tell everyone how old you are now, just that you’re great at being tall, skinny and dipping (not chips, me!).

Smooches to all of you!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mr. Darcy!

So I did all the stuff I mentioned earlier today. Ended up doing a little more shopping than originally planned, but got everything I wanted and more!

One of my favourite second hand book shops in the Monkland Village, Déjà Lu, is closing. The man who runs it is retiring sometime in December and is selling everything at 50% off. I managed to pick up 6 books for $15 (which comes to approximately $2.50 each) – what a steal!!

Super C and I met for lunch at St. Viateur Bagel Restaurant & Café for a late lunch. Man, what a crowd! Good thing we didn’t try to meet at noon, or I think we’d still be waiting for a table.

Then to the library where I managed to find a number of books in that I want to read. Only took one though as I seem to have amassed quite a pile of books in my book basket.

And so to the movies. Ended up seeing Pride & Prejudice because Water didn’t start until nearly an hour later. Now, being a huge Jane Austen fan and a fan of the A&E mini-series done in 1995, I was prepared to compare the book and mini-series against the movie. And I did. There were many details that were omitted or shortened for the length of the movie: the Lucas family (except for Charlotte), Mr. Bingley’s married sister, Jane’s time in London and meeting with the Bingley sisters, Lizzy’s aunt’s connection to Derbyshire & Lambton. One thing that really ticked me off was how they changed some details, one such example being the sculpture busts of the Darcy family instead of miniature paintings. Honestly, I think that unless you’ve read the book or at least seen the mini-series, it may have been difficult to follow all the comings and goings.

Casting: didn’t care much Keira Kneightly (plays Elizabeth) or whatever her name is. Judi Dench was good as Lady Catherine DeBourgh. Jane was very pretty and reserved. Mr. Bingley was a bit too stupid for me. Miss Bingley was good and snobby. Charlotte Lucas was nice and plain. Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland) was, well, kind of iffy – accent wasn’t spot on and I really didn’t get a feel for the strong bond between him and Lizzy. Finally, Mr. Darcy: I was not prepared for was how much I liked the guy playing Mr. Darcy (Matthew McFadyen). I didn’t like him at first, but he kinda grew on me. And by the last scene in the movie (it’s actually the second to last scene, but I am choosing to forget the AWFUL last scene altogether), I was all “Oh, hello, Mr. Darcy!!!” Striding across the early morning field, with his great-coat billowing behind him and his shirt undone at the neck … *sigh* That even gave Colin Firth a run for his money! I kid you not. All in all, I think I may actually have to add it to my dvd collection, when the times comes, for that scene alone. Oh yeah, and also the big argument between Mr. Darcy and Lizzy in the rain.

Final analysis: not bad considering what they had to scrunch into 2 hours, but not a classic either. Rather disappointing.

Bank Day

It’s Friday and I’m at home. No, it’s not a holiday. I’m using up some of my banked overtime hours. Plans for the day: trip out to St. Hubert Street to price some of my Christmas wish list, over to St. Denis to have a look in some Naturopath shops, lunch and some shopping in Monkland Village with Super C, followed by a trip to the library and perhaps a movie (Pride & Prejudice or Water) then a little birthday party for a friend of a friend. It’s sunny out so I have great hopes it’ll be a nice day.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Date 2 Report

Before I say anything else, I've got to say this: Why, why, why do people lie about their height? And again - WHY??? Just so you understand where I'm coming from - I am 5'7. Exactly. I have three brothers. They are all taller than me and range from 6'0 to 5'10-ish. If you are shorter than them - YOU ARE NOT SIX FEET TALL. Got it? Good.

Moving on.

The date started off well enough. He was on time (and in my books that actually means early). He was presentable and in fact was colour coordinated to me. He is a "friend of the museum" (meaning he pays an annual fee so can bring someone with him when he visits) so I didn't have to pay the entry fee. Was kind enough to explain some of the differences in style, the influences and wasn't too pretentious about it all. After the exhibition he gave me a little box of Godiva chocolates (this is worth bonus points later). We went out for dinner and wouldn't let me pay my share (and no, I didn't do one of those pretend reach for my purse gestures - I actually had the money in my hand to give to him). And finally - he didn't cry!

That said, there were a few negatives. The first being the whole height thing. It's starting to sound like I have an issue with height and it's probably true. But my point is that I just don't understand why a person would lie about something so obvious. Next is the language. I knew beforehand that English was not this guy's first (or second) language. We had talked on the phone and I found it very difficult to understand him. His English in person was a little easier to understand. Perhaps because I was able to see the body language and facial expressions that went with the speech, but it was easier. However, it was still no simple feat to follow the thread of conversation while trying to put together each sentence in my head. He may have found me quite silent. This was not entirely my natural reserve but rather the sheer intensity of my thought process in figuring out what he was talking about. After the exhibition he invited out dinner. We agreed on Chinese food. He got lost walking there (it was cold, rainy and windy) and we ended up at a Mexican restaurant. (Coincidentally the one restaurant I won't eat at anymore because the last time I did I was sick afterwards.) My feet were soaked through, the bottom of my pants were soaked, I was cold and shivering (all this means I was cranky). Then he spent the better part of dinner talking about his ex-girlfriends and past long term relationships. (FYI: not what any woman wants to hear about on a FIRST date.) Finally, he told me I "made a mistake" by not having noticed his age before agreeing to see him. He's 47. I'm 36. I realise there is an age/generation gap, but I wasn't there to decide whether I'd spend the rest of my life with him. It was a date.

Right. So we said our goodbyes. I jumped into a taxi and headed home. Strangely enough, the taxi driver and I started chatting about the horrid weather (that's what us Canadians do, eh) and the next thing I knew he was asking me if I had time to go out for coffee! I kid you not! I politely declined and he just took me home. Then I gave him a $20 to pay the ($10) fare but he didn't have any change, so let me off the hook giving him about $5.55 in change. I thanked him profusely. Quite a difference from one of my more recent taxi experiences).

Final score: 4/10. (Allocation: 1 point for showing up, 1 point for being presentable, 2 points for giving me chocolates)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Came across an interesting article in The Gazette on Monday about an online stock photo company that sells royalty free images. They're called iStockPhoto. iStockPhoto maintains an archive of nearly 500,000 digital photographs, sold to advertisers, graphic designers and publishers for use in everything from annual reports to billboards. Clients can download pictures for a fee of $1 to $20 and use them as many times as they wish without paying royalties. Meanwhile, the photographer gets a cut of the purchase price.

Some people use AdSense or other ways to make money with their blogs. Think I'll load some of my pictures to iStockPhoto and see if I can make any money from my own pictures.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 9

Sorry, I missed last week's entry. Just clean forgot.

Youz: the plural for 'you'. As in, "What did youz guys do today?" Talk about aggravating my nervous tick. My head practically falls off from all the twitching I do when I hear that.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Public Service Announcement:

In the paper this morning there was an interesting article about a website that caters to scorned women. Check out dontdatehimgirl.com.

DontDateHimGirl.com, masterminded by Toronto resident Tasha Joseph, attracts an average 200,000 hits a day by unmasking alledged philanderers from around the world.

So, if you're angry or just interested, have a look-see.

Date 1 Report

If there's one thing I cannot stand, it's liars. Lies, be they small and seemingly insignificant, will backfire on you.

I may become petty and picky here, but not without some good reason.

Things started off a little bit on the wrong foot. I arrived at the coffee shop about 10 minutes early and made a quick detour to force myself to arrive only 5 minutes early. I ordered my coffee and sat down at a table. It was exactly our appointed meeting time. Shortly after that my phone rang and it was my date, calling to ask where I was. Where I was? Where was he was more the question. Apparently he had arrived at the correct coffee shop 15 minutes early, not found me there and decided to see if I was somewhere else. I explained patiently and kindly (honest!) where I was. He showed about about 5 minutes later. Fine.

Now - imagine, if you will, you are expecting to meet someone for the first time. You have a (supposedly recent)picture of this person and some physical details. This person shows up and is not the person you are expecting to see. This person is a good 4-6 inches shorter than indicated on the profile he wrote. This person gave you a picture that must've been taken at least 10 years ago and some significant physical changes have occurred since then. Why would you lie about your height? Do you think I won't notice? Why would you give me an old picture? Do you think I won't notice the difference between now and then? All I can think of at this point is if this guy has lied about his height, deceived me with his picture, what's next?

So we had a quick coffee and then left for a walk along the Canal. It was a beautiful afternoon, sunny, a little bit of wind, not too cold - good walking weather. Here's when I thought we'd really start talking. We had previously talked on the phone for over an hour a couple of days prior. I did find it difficult to talk to him and felt myself really trying hard to get him to talk. Possibly it was just because we were talking for the first time, but it was awkward. Understandable. But now there we were, face-to-face, and it wasn't getting any easier. I tried. And I tried hard. I asked all kinds of questions. And all I got in response most of the time was a one-word answer. An hour and a half of one word answers.

I certainly wasn't expecting to meet the perfect guy on my first date in nearly a year, but COME ON!!! Give me something to work with here! Ask me something, anything! He never asked me a single question without me giving him some kind of lead up to it. I know I can be intimidating (and both friends and family will tell me so), but I was trying so hard to put this guy at ease and getting nothing in return. His profile tag line was "Laugh a lot". In the hour we were on the phone, plus the time we were together on Sunday, take a guess at how many times I laughed. Wild guess here. Anyone? A grand total of ZERO. Oh no, I'm sorry, close to the end of our walk, (as I was getting more and more frustrated) I did one of those sarcastic little "Heh" laughs. Probably not the best thing to do on a first date. But I was fed up.

Oh yeah, here's the petty part - the more he didn't respond and didn't ask questions, the faster I walked. And he couldn't keep up with me.

Final score: 4/10. He gets a few points for not crying on the first date. (Yes, this has happened, twice.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Wish me luck

I've got a date tomorrow afternoon. Going to meet a guy whose last name is the same as the name of the building where I live. No relation. Two friends have said this is a sign. I don't know if I'm inclined to agree, but I'm willing to give it a chance. Will let you know how it goes.

Then on Wednesday, I've got another date. His name is Ying. Is he the ying to my yang? (Although ying is the female and yang is the male.) We'll see ...

Wish me luck.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Sleep Workshop - Week 4

If you've been reading this space faithfully, you'll have realized that I didn't write anything after last week's session. I could say I was busy and that I didn't have the time. It's true. But really, I just didn't have the energy for it. While I still am pretty low on energy these days, I think it would be good to get this down on paper, so to speak. Right - so last night we continued on the topic of cognitive behaviours and techniques.

First we discussed the nine ways to reshape our thinking. I'm finding all of this really helpful and maybe you will too.
1 - Clean up your thoughts: Involves simply identifying those maladaptive cognitive distortions.
2 - Straight forward approach: Substitute more positive and realistic thoughts for your negative thoughts. Ask yourself "Is this negative thought true? Is there another way to look at the situation?" Instead of "I know I'm not going to fall asleep", think "People are very bad at guessing when they'll fall asleep - it's very possible I'm asleep within a few minutes."
3 - Cost benefit analysis: List advantages and disadvantages of a negative feeling (becoming angry in traffic), a negative thought (I'm no good at this). Ask yourself "How will this attitude help me and how will it hurt me?" Once we are able to identify that our automatic thoughts almost always are unhelpful, it becomes easier to reject them.
4 - Double standard technique: Instead of putting yourself down, talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you might talk to a friend who was upset. You may be amazed at how mean you are to yourself. Yelling at yourself (mentally or otherwise) is entirely unproductive.
5 - Examine the evidence: Instead of assuming that your negative thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it. What are the facts? Is it true? Probably not. Substitute the thought for something more realistic.
6 - Experimental method: Do an experiment to test the accuracy of your negative thought. (e.g. counting backwards from 100 by sevens "100, 93, 86 ..." - OK - so maybe not a math test for me ...) Do the task after good nights and bad nights and you may see that your sleep does not render you useless after all.
7 - Thinking in shades of grey: Instead of thinking about your problems in black and white categories, evaluate things in shades of grey. When things don't work out out as well as you had hoped, think about the experience as a partial success. Try to pinpoint your errors instead of thinking of yourself as a total failure. This is important while you're trying to incorporate muscle relaxation and other techniques into your routine. Giving up on things that are difficult is very easy and made easier by black or white thinking.
8 - Semantic method: Related somewhat to the problem of using "should statements", substitute for language that is less colourful and emotionally loaded.
9 - Reattribution: Instead of blaming yourself entirely for a problem, think about the many factors that may have contributed to it. Focus on solving the problem instead of using all your energy blaming yourself and feeling guilty. The fact of the matter is, there are factors that are somewhat out of your control; acknowledging that they are out of your control may reduce your anxiety.

Strangely enough, all these things brought up some nearly forgotten tips I had picked up at a yoga workshop about a year ago, but I'll get to that in a minute. Bear with me.

Next we discussed some procedures for identifying and countering negative self-talk and how we can break these habits. Here are the steps:
1. Notice - catch yourself in the act of engaging in negative self-talk. Be aware of situations that are likely to precipitate or aggravate negative self-talk. i.e. any occasion when you're feeling nervous or anxious, anticipation of having to face a difficult task, occasions when you've made some kind of mistake and feel critical of yourself, occasions when you're feeling depressed or discouraged, situations when you're angry at yourself or others, situations where you feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed.
2. Stop - Ask yourself any/all of the following questions: What am I telling myself that is making me feel this way? Do I really want to do this to myself? Do I really want to stay upset?
3. Relax - Disrupt your train of negative thought with relaxation. The point is to let go, slow yourself down, and relax.
4. Write down the negative self-talk or inner dialogue that led you to feel anxious, upset, or depressed. It's often difficult to decipher what you're telling yourself by merely reflecting on it. It can be confusing to try to think about what you've just been thinking. The act of writing things down will help to clarify what specific statements you actually made to yourself.
5. Identify the type of negative self-talk you engaged in. After doing this for a while, you'll become aware of the particular types of negative inner dialogue and particular types of cognitive distortions you're especially prone to use.
6. Answer or dispute your negative self-talk with positive, rational, self-supportive statements.

Now back to the yoga tip list. More of it was resurfacing in my mind and I couldn't wait to get home and have a look at it. When I did get to it, I was astounded at how closely some of them are related to the techniques I'd just been learning. All these things were swirling around in my head last night as I recognized many of my own attitudes and beliefs. Here are the Top Ten Way to Reduce Stress (especially during the holidays)
1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
2. Work from intention
3. Go with the flow
4. Practice metta (loving kindness) to oneself
5. Practice metta to others
6. Take a break
7. Practice gentle yoga
8. Turn off the TV, throw away the magazines
9. Find time for spiritual practice
10. Breathe!

Is this great or what? I'm going to make a copy for the others in the workshop as well. Maybe it can be of use to them.

More good news - I was "allowed" to add 15 minutes to my sleep time. And if my sleep efficiency continues to remain above 90% after 2 or 3 days at the new time, then I can add another 15 minutes, and so on ... At this rate I'll be up to 8 hours of sleep in no time! I know there will probably be some problems getting there, but I'm ready for them. Feeling rather proud of myself.

On that note, thanks to the two friends (you know who you are) who both gave me the same advice - be kind to yourself. Tonight I will go home and thrill in the no longer guilty pleasure of Prince or other things ... ;-)