Actual Science, Probably

A ground breaking study proves that visiting your friend in Victoria BC leads to a happier, longer life.

Recently conducted by a moderately well respected person who frequently reads science fiction, a new study believes it has proven that frequent visits to Victoria, British Columbia can not only lead to a happier life but a longer one.

“In recent years many studies have been linking happiness to healthier habits and longer life expectancy so this study really is an offshoot of those” says Miss Porter, the driving force behind this research. “I mean, anyone with Google can tell you that!”

When asked to explain her research Miss Porter cited many links, including this article from 2011, which she admittedly only skimmed (but she for sure got the gist of it).

Victoria, BC is widely believed to be one of the top destinations to visit in Canada, known for its beauty, diversity, and abundance of Craft Breweries. Lovely all year round, Victoria also boasts an interesting history and with the dwindling Canadian dollar coupled with recently announced direct flights from Dublin to Vancouver now is the time to come!

Miss Porter is confident that the entire scientific community agrees with and supports her findings. As well, she hopes to continue her study in 2016 or 2017 by encouraging her good friend to visit from Ireland which will help provide more concrete research.

More to come.

12360268_10156267247765177_3614972107903299340_n

One of the many delightful places to visit, the Breakwater in Victoria BC is a popular tourist spot.

A Letter to My Parents: The Childhood that Could Have Been

Dear Mom and Dad,

Yesterday my friend sent me this picture of what is probably one of the coolest things ever invented in all of time. It is beautiful in its simplicity, marvelous in its design, brilliant in its function.

That could have been me!

That could have been me!

But rather than being excited at this awesome innovation I felt the green eyed monster rise up inside of me and if that kid had been in front of me instead of in a picture on my phone I would have stolen that Dino-Cob right from his sticky hands and not felt a single drop of regret.

That is how much I love it.

My friend and I got to talking about the Corn-a-Saurus and I couldn’t help but think about how much better my life would have been had I owned one growing up.

I think of all the veggies I could have eaten but didn’t, my pickiness solved by a dinosaur companion.

I think of all the friends I would have made when I unpacked it from my lunch bag, attaching it not just to corn on the cob but to apples, bananas, heck, even hot dogs!

I think of all the stories I could have now but don’t.

But most of all I think of the joy it would have brought me.

Joy that I now know was robbed from me by parents who didn’t think to make me my very own Corn-a-Saurus.

Mom and Dad (mostly Dad), I really want you to sit and think about what you have done here. Or, more specifically, what you didn’t do.

Take a moment and just think hard about how much better my life, the life of your youngest child, would have been if I had this product.

Think about how much more successful I would probably be right now, my shy awkwardness driven away by the popularity the Corn-a-Saurus would have brought me. I could have been Queen of the Playground! Benevolent but firm as I ruled with my Dinosaur Accessory at my side.

Think about how much more creative I would be having had such a neat start to life, learning early on the things you can do with a little imagination.

Please know that while I have forgiven you this obvious failure I will not forget it.

With affection (the love will come back in time),

S.M.R.P.

PS. Dear Parents, it would go a long way in healing this wound if you would make me one now. I promise to use it every day.

The Optimistic Pessimist

I am a bit of a pessimist.

Though, if I am being honest, I really prefer to be called an ‘optimistic pessimist’. You see, dear reader, I believe the glass is half full but I also know I’m going to knock it over anyways.

This is something I work on daily and I hope to one day overcome (both my dismal outlook and my knack for knocking over everything that isn’t nailed down).

Lately my Debbie Downer tendencies have started to take over and I am doing my best to not let them get the better of me, but it can be a struggle. I’ve been pulling out all the stops but things just aren’t looking up quite yet. (Thanks a lot, Brain.)

And while I am a firm believer in the healing powers of exercise and also of eating right (Chocolate Mini Eggs are so wrong they’re right which totally counts) sometimes these just don’t do it for me. I mean, it’s hard to enjoy a nice leisurely hike up the side of a mountain during the beautiful balmy spring days when you just know there are bears waking up and they are probably hungry and you didn’t bring a honey pot to bribe them with so obviously they are going to eat you.

You can't argue with the cold hard facts. Like how cold it is outside at night. And how hard the ground is to sleep on.

You can’t argue with the cold hard facts. Like how cold it is outside at night. And how hard the ground is to sleep on.

And it’s not like I can run fast after all of those damn mini eggs.

Delicious mini eggs! I always knew they would be my downfall!

Not to mention the threat of dinosaurs. Sure they are obviously extinct, but that doesn’t stop me from looking around every corner and waiting for the attack to come. It’s the age of genetic modification and gene splicing, anything is possible!

Dear Reader, in the interest of full disclosure I obviously know I am not *likely* to be attacked by a dinosaur. This last paragraph could be because I have been reading up waaaaay too much on Dinosaurs over the last several months. (Ok, that’s a lie. As if a person could ever read “too much” about dinosaurs! They are pretty much the best topic ever. If anything, I haven’t been reading enough about them!) It’s also possible I just wanted to share the Dino picture featured at the bottom of my post. Man, I can’t wait for ‘Jurassic World’.

Now I firmly believe things will get better, they always do. In the meantime I have compiled a list of facts which I now carry around in my wallet for easy viewing to help cheer myself up. These wonderful insights are knowledge I can turn to when life is bringing me down. I call it “Tools for Overcoming the Apocalypse” (Or, “Things Really Aren’t That Bad”):

  1. Things could always be worse. For example, my name could be spelled “Sara” without the H. *shudder*
  2. At least I got to eat all those mini-eggs!
  3. Even if the plot for ‘Jurassic World’ ends up sucking who cares? It’s not like I’m going to see it for the plot. Sometimes a girl just needs her Dino fix.
  4. I don’t have to outrun the bear, only the person I am hiking with. Note to self: Feed Kevin more junk food.
  5. So what if I can’t make a good carrot cake? It’s not like anyone actually enjoys carrot cake.
  6. Beer is still delicious.
  7. My family is pretty darn cool. When in doubt, call my brother and listen to his munchkins call me “Auntie Amie” … it works every time ❤
  8. Disney! It’s important to remember that I live in a world where it’s possible to watch ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ any time I want!
  9. Mondays may suck, but they are also the day where ‘Moon Under Water’ offers half price appies so at least there is that.
  10. I am so lucky in so many ways (and not just because I now own a ‘Cricut’ which is every crafters dream).

This list while silly to some certainly helps me to put things in perspective and perspective really is the key when dealing with pessimism.

Until next time, dear reader!

Let me set the scene: You're out and about, hiking through the dense woods when the skin on the back of your neck prickles with an odd tension. Something is out there. Something is watching. DINOSAURS! RAWR!

Let me set the scene: You’re out and about, hiking through the dense woods when the skin on the back of your neck prickles with an odd tension. Something is out there. Something is watching.
DINOSAURS! RAWR!

The Story of Zipper and Cuddles

The names of the animals have been changed to protect the innocent. *This is a repost, originally featured on The (Western) Canadian.

The Story of Zipper and Cuddles, our two family bunnies, is not a very exciting one.

Sure it has violence which seems to be all the rage these days (Pun Alert), but beyond that it’s pretty mundane.

Cuddles was, as you would expect, a very cuddly rabbit. She was all soft white fur and floppy ears, even tempered and the perfect pet for a young girl.

Zipper was sharp and jagged, perpetually cross and furthering the stereotypes that brunettes are mean and vindictive. There was also something in her eyes, a look that I didn’t recognize as disdain until many years later.

Zipper hated everyone and everyone hated Zipper. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Zipper even hated herself and that self-loathing was her everyday companion causing the fits of temper and the lashing out. I’m not 100% certain that bunnies can have self-esteem, but if they can I am sure Zippper’s was in short supply.

Still, the only creature on this planet Zipper did not hate was Cuddles.

They were inseparable, mostly because they shared a hutch, but also because they shared a deep bond that was evident even to my young eyes. The bond of sisters.

Cuddles and Zipper loved each other and though that love in Zipper never carried over to her owners, it was enough for me to see that Zipper was capable of love at all. At five I was quite the optimist, believing that one day Zipper could come to love me as Cuddles did. (Cuddles loved everyone.)

And then it all went to shit.

Cuddles had her pelvis broken in an accident that should have been avoided (my cousin was far too rough when putting Cuddles back in her hutch). She had to be taken inside where she was lovingly nursed back to health by my sister, hand fed and nurtured, cared for with every breath in my darling sister’s being.

It took weeks before Cuddles was ready to go back outside and I could tell that those weeks wore on poor Zipper. Zipper was lonely, fervently plotting her escape every chance she got (she often tried to dig under the fence and escape underground, perhaps imagining a bunny sanctuary just over the horizon). It never mattered how much chickweed I piled in her home (her favourite), she was growing angrier by the second.

Finally when Cuddles returned it seemed to calm Zipper, her nose twitched warmly when we brought Cuddles closer and for the first time since we had brought her home Zipper even took a few tentative hops towards us. This was the only time during our acquaintance that Zipper did not try and disembowel me and I cherished it.

I still cherish it.

Alas Cuddles died that night, her first night out. My sister and I were devastated (my sister because she had lost her loving pet, and myself as I mourned the only creature that made Zipper less of a monster). We buried her in a simple ceremony, my sister standing over the fresh grave in our backyard as I tried to hold Zipper in my arms while she scratched until I bled, bolting for the fence as soon as my abused arms let her go. It was beautiful (the ceremony, not the attack).

Weeks went by and turned to months and Zipper appeared to waste from sadness, the loss of her sister and only friend becoming too hard to handle.

And then things got worse.

Our new dog, a feisty poodle named Frenchie, found Cuddles’ final resting spot either through the power of smell or some odd and unfortunate intuition. Frenchie dug poor Cuddles up, excited at her buried treasure.

My sister had the misfortune of finding the remains of poor dearly departed Cuddles, stumbling upon Frenchie sprawled across our family room couch and chewing on the half rotted skull of her darling bunny, traumatizing her for life. My sister still has nightmares of this moment, the empty sockets starring imploringly at her, the indignity of it all.

(Perhaps I myself have a bit of Zipper’s vindictiveness in me after all as to this day I still laugh at my sister’s disturbed screams. Perhaps this is something I should keep to myself?)

With this last insult Zipper seemed to shatter, watching forlornly as her sister was reburied. But over time Zipper became less despondent. Sure, she was still the devil incarnate but the fight seemed to be drained from her and replaced instead by a desperate fear of our dog.

Zipper’s terror of our young pup only seemed to encourage the poodle. Frenchie wanted more than anything to be friends with the vicious rabbit, playfully bounding across the yard whenever Zipper came outside. Our poor poodle did not understand that eating the rotted flesh of one’s sister does not encourage friendship.

Or perhaps she had just developed a taste for hasenpfeffer?

Time sped by and it was not long before another tragedy befell us. While most of the family was on a long weekend getaway Zipper, already on edge for the last several months, was terrorized under the cover of darkness, scared so deeply that part of her exploded and she was left paralyzed in fear after screaming deeply into the night. My father grudgingly rushed the hated animal to the vet only to find there was nothing to be done. She too passed on, joining Cuddles finally in death.

We placed a marker in the grass by the fence, symbolic of Zipper’s time with us and her successful escape from life. At least dear Zipper would not be dug up by Frenchie, her final resting place an incinerator at a vet’s office far away from Frenchie’s curious nose.

Despite the obvious hatred that Zipper felt towards me I mourned her passing and for many years I despised raccoons, believing the adorable bandits of the mammal world to be the culprit of the murder of my beloved yet terrifying bunny. It wasn’t until many years later that my father gleefully told me the true story.

Zipper had been frightened to death by Frenchie who, while outside on a late night pee, decided to check to see if Zipper was game for a midnight romp, barking playfully at the hutch and waking Zipper from her sleep in what I am sure was the equivalent of a human being waking up to find a strange masked man standing over their bed with a knife.

She had never stood a chance.

With both my sister and I traumatized for good and my father thrilled to be bunny free the story ends, Zipper and Cuddles gone from our lives in all but memory.

PS. If you would like to know the whole truth about “Zipper and Cuddles” please click here and here.

 

Love Letter, pt. 16.

Dear James May,

I meant to write this love letter much sooner but I have been on the edge of my seat these last few weeks waiting to hear about the future of ‘Top Gear’ and thus had to put my pen and paper aside so I could scroll through Google News. It has been quite the rocky ride made bearable only by your continued dry wit and lovely face.

I love you, Captain Slow, with all my heart (or at least a fair chunk of it). You are a true delight and obviously my undisputed favourite host of ‘Top Gear’.

This is how I imagine you in my dreams, hearts in your eyes only for me!

This is how I imagine you in my dreams, hearts in your eyes only for me!

When Kevin first introduced me to ‘Top Gear’ I’ll admit I was skeptical. To be perfectly frank I have zero interest in cars and don’t even have a driver’s license.

But you won me over, you cheeky Brit.

I still remember it so clearly. We were watching the Bolivia Special and though I spent the first fifteen minutes playing on my phone I quickly tossed it aside to watch.
(In the interest of full disclosure, my phone battery was dead so I could no longer surf Pinterest, but please do not let that distract from the genuine interest I felt watching you grumpily travel through the rainforest, machete in hand.)

Your fear of heights and penchant for grouchiness stirred a fire in me that has been going strong ever since. From that first moment you yelled “Oh Cock!” I have been hooked.

You, sir, are a true gentleman.

Obviously we are meant to be, we both even dance the same way!

We both look absolutely absurd when we dance! It’s magic! Has there ever been a better sign that two people were more meant to be?

Since that rainy afternoon of watching you travel through South America I have watched dozens more episodes of ‘Top Gear’ and have truly become a fan.

I mean, I still obviously don’t give a flying *expletive* about cars but the show (and you) are hilarious.

And though I have only ever watched clips of your other BBC Specials that segment where you were in a house built of Lego was pretty darn cool.

You, sir, are awesome.

I honestly hope to run into you one day while I am wearing my black Helly Hansen shirt, the very same one you wore on that episode that one time which may or may not have been why I chose that particular style of shirt.
(You have the same one! I know you do, despite my failed Google Search – apparently you can’t find everything on the internet. Thanks, Google.)

You will politely say “Hello” and compliment me on my excellent taste in clothing.

I will coyly tell you how much I love you then stammer and blush and attempt to correct myself by saying “I mean, not like in a creepy way or anything” before staring intensely which will of course make everything even weirder.

Then I will gaze longingly into your eyes.

It will be magic.

Until then, my love, farewell!

Sincerely,

S.M.R.P

So. Very. Sexy. It's that whole 'stern British man' look you've got going on. And boy, do you have it going on!

So. Very. Sexy. It’s that whole ‘stern British man’ look you’ve got going on. And boy, do you have it going on!

 

A Birthday Story on My Birthday

I don’t normally post on Thursdays but in Honour of my 28th Birthday Today I have decided to share a Birthday Story for you, my dear readers. Please read and enjoy.

So this one time my Dad totally forgot about me on my birthday. I guess he forgot about my sister too, but seeing as how it was my birthday I feel like I’m the daughter more entitled to indignation.

Yup, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that forgetting about one’s daugher on her birthday doesn’t sound like a very nice thing to do. And you know what? It wasn’t!

I was 13 years old and I had been forced to go to a Sea Cadet function on my birthday where we marched for hours and did parade drills in the chilly April morning. It was hell and I was miserable.
(I loathed every second I was in sea cadets. I had joined because my sister was in it and because my parent’s thought it would give me more self-confidence and make me less of an awkward duckling, but alas it definitely did not work. If anything it made me more terrified of social interactions.)

The entire ordeal lasted about four hours which when you are 13 is basically forever and ever and ever. When it finally ended at 1pm my sister and I milled around the parking lot with our friends waiting for my Dad to pick us up. (Ok, fine … we milled around the parking lot with my sister’s friends. I did not have any friends. Happy now?)

Slowly Julia’s friends left us, their parents arriving on time or slightly after, rushing up and apologizing for being late. As the time dragged on Julia and I got more and more uncomfortable. Two of the officers were forced to wait along with us unable to leave minors unaccompanied in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere. Their annoyance grew thick as the minutes ticked by.

Finally all of the other kids were picked up and we were left just the two of us and the officers. It was the age before cell phones were commonplace and we had no way of contacting our Dad. We couldn’t accept a ride from the officers as Dad knew he was supposed to pick us up and he would have panicked if he had arrived there to find us gone. The four of us stood in our two groups of two with embarrassment and frustration filling the air and making things uncomfortable.

I still remember it so well.

Finally it was 10 after 2pm and a familiar sight approached us. My Dad’s car, Jaguar Racing Green, slowed down beside us, my Dad smiling without a care in the world and completely oblivious to how irritated we both were.

He parked and got out of the car, looking around at the empty parking lot, his brow furrowing as he realized something was off. Dad was usually one of the first people to arrive and it was odd to him that no other kids remained. I think too that the expression on the officer’s faces was also quite telling.

“You’re late!” my sister and I both accused him.

He looked down at his watch.

“Only 10 minutes” he replied defensively.

“Actually you’re an hour late” one of the officers bit off then checked himself and smiled awkwardly in an attempt to be polite. Both officers said goodbye and hurried to their own cars, ready to finally leave.

Julia and I stared at Dad, glaring with all the attitude available to teenage girls (which is a lot of attitude!).

Dad looked at his watch again. “I thought I was supposed to pick you up at 1?” he said.

“You were!” I stamped my foot melodramatically. “It’s after 2! And it’s my birthday!” I added sullenly, Julia reached her arm around me in a gesture of comfort and solidarity.

We all piled into the car and after a moment Dad let out an exclamation, cluing into the problem. It was daylight savings time and he had forgotten to change his watch ahead an hour.

He explained it to us thinking the matter settled but neither Julia nor I cared. Both of us were cold and pissed off and even though his explanation was totally reasonable to us it seemed a bit halfhearted. He was a Father, after all. Don’t Dad’s just know instinctively to change their watches? Can’t they sense when their children are in trouble? (Or at least mildly perturbed?)

It’s been 15 years (Gosh, has it really been that long?) and I still haven’t forgotten. The scars of childhood run deep and being forgotten on my own birthday is one I still carry with me.

Ok. Fine. Dad, I acknowledge that you didn’t really forget about me since you thought you were on time, but that doesn’t change anything. And yes, I will definitely still be bringing it up, even when it’s been 25 years.

Whatever, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.

It's been 28 years and yet that is still my Go-To Photo Face. Looking Good ;)

It’s been 28 years and yet that is still my Go-To Photo Face.
Looking Good 😉

 

 

Plan New Year: A Life Lesson

This weekend Julia and I are going to visit my brother and his family on the mainland. I am quite excited, especially to see my darling niece and nephew who I adore (yes, Walter, we can play “Airplanes”). I am especially excited as it has been months since I have last seen them and it will be great to catch up. Also I am super excited because it means I can put ‘Plan New Year’ into motion. (So much excitement!)

‘Plan New Year’ begins with me buying super awesome presents for the kidlets and enjoying the spark of joy I see in their eyes as they fall in love with their new possession, the power of imagination taking over and reminding me it’s the little things in life that matter. I will probably even play with them and their new toys, planning adventures and enjoying the kid babble.

It will be magical.

And then on the second day I plan to take those toys away, smash them, and throw the fragmented pieces into the garbage, eyes narrowed and smirking as my darling niece and nephew stare at me in horror while they learn far too young that life is not fair.

Whoa, whoa, whoa dear reader, please put the pitchfork down and try and be a little less offended. I am not a real monster I am only pretending to be.

You see the last few years have taught me a very important life lesson and ‘Plan New Year’ is my attempt to implement it. Growing up I used to believe that “Bad things happen to bad people, and good things happen to good people” (Thanks, Disney) but I am now realizing that’s a load of hooey! In fact, the opposite is true.

Dino Comics

If I was a dinosaur no one would question my need to stomp and wave my arms. Oh, one can dream!

“Bad things happen to GOOD people and Good things happen to BAD People!” (You know, in case you weren’t quite sure what I meant by opposite.)

Don’t try and convince me otherwise, I am finally wise to the truth. I frequently binge watch Netflix and have seen ‘House of Cards’ and the first two seasons of ‘Breaking Bad’. Terrible things happen to good people and the bad people are rewarded with power, money, and awesome monologues. Now, I haven’t seen how these shows ended but I’m sure it was happily right? No spoilers please.

Which is why, dear reader, I have decided to become a Bad Person. And what better way to do this than by emotionally scarring those dearest to my heart? No, seriously, I am asking. Do you have any suggestions? I am happy to take notes. Bad Person 101 doesn’t seem to be a class that is offered at any nearby schools and Coursera was totally useless on this front.

No suggestions? That’s cool. Thanks for trying.

Wish me luck my internet friends as ‘Plan New Year’ begins, if all else fails at least I will have some blog fodder when my 2 year old nephew beats me up with toy fragments and my brother and sister-in-law tear me to shreds for playing mind games with their children.

Adieu!

PS. Perhaps when I mature a bit more and get over the bitterness of misplaced anger I will learn the real lesson which is that “Bad things happen. Period. End of sentence.” Until then find me a baby so I can steal some candy.