Want to find a way to waste some money, get several good bruises on your person, scare yourself shitless, and completely deplete your adrenaline reserves? I suggest paintball!

At first I was pretty weirded out, because I come from a family where we never even had toy guns, and so the idea of shooting at someone for fun didn’t really occur to me. But Mark was so excited, because he loves paintball the way I love reading. So, we gave it a go, and got excited. And we were even more excited pulling into the parking lot, to see that the only other players then were a bunch of nine-year-old boys and a chaperon dad for a birthday party. No problem! They’re little, but we’re wily!

And then a bunch of other people showed up: Guys with camo. Guys with their own guns and Co2 cartridges on holsters around their waists. Yeah. And the paintball referee guy put us five on the little kids’ team.

The first game was a slaughter. I got hit in the chest and the splatter went all inside my mask. The paint tasted gross.

I liked the ‘Guard the Embassy’ game best. I hunkered down underneath the ‘embassy’ AKA paint-covered plywood shack on stilts, and Kat was right inside this little netted fort. We held off the other team for quite a while, a little triangle of me, Kat, and Mark watching for snipers. I got one girl right on the head, that game. That ruled. But then I got hit on the wrist and the thigh almost at the same time. OW!

But one of the groups was a stag party, and they were blatantly cheating: Shooting people after they ‘died’, not going off after being hit, that kind of thing.

And so when the next game came, it was ‘Terminator’, and the paintball guy made the groom and the best man be the Terminators. And they couldn’t die, only surrender. And we blasted them. It was rather vicious. But when I saw the groom covered in pink paint, I smiled. He’d had enough of spoiling everyone else’s fun, today.

My Feet Stink.

Is there a way to make this stop?

I love summer for the flip flops and the painted toenails and whatnot, but my feet are exposed, and they smell. With a vengeance.

I’ve heard that if I soak them in tea they’ll stop stinking. But that works because tea has tannins and tannins are what cures leather. And I’m just not ready to tan my feet like leather. It makes me think of Hannibal Lecter.

Niche Market?

Me: Hello?

Boss: Hi. Did I interrupt?

Me: No, I’m in the wilds of New Westminister. I have my map book.

Boss: Yeah, that location’s hard to find.

Me: No, I found it. I’m just lost in New Westminister.

Boss: (laughs) Hey, does it smell like an animal?

Me: Yeah, but overlaid with a doctor’s office smell.

Boss: Like a taxidermist’s!

Me: Eugh. I wish you hadn’t said that.

Boss: Sorry.

Me: No, it’s okay. I’m in the Mobile Taxidermy Van. Catering to all your stuffing needs!

So, what do you think? Is this my million dollars waiting to happen?


I succumbed. I was going to wait, but when I looked at my hair in the mirror today, I was like, “Oh. That’s bad.”

So I made an appointment with a stylist at my regular place, even though it wasn’t my usual stylist. She did a great job. But then she pulled out the diffuser.

I have curly hair, and stylistslove it. They all want to diffuse and finger-style and whatnot my head. I never spend that much time on my hair. I tell them this. Bu they all do it.

So the stylist is done with my hair today and she holds up the mirror. “And this is the back.”

“Oh my God! The back of my head looks exactly like Lionel Richie’s in 1984!” I gasped.

I really wish I’d used my inside voice for that one. But it’s true!

PMS Is Kicking My Ass.

Not a little bit, either. This month, she is an avenging harpy, pelting me with crying fits, uncontrollable cravings for Chinese food, and dark, niggling doubts about my chosen path, my future, and my relationships. I can’t think straight.

Here is a pretty much verbatim report from inside my brain: Why are there so many crazy people today? I wonder if there’s any truth about the moon controlling people. Maybe it’s a full moon. It’s something. Bobdog dropped the brick and had a meltdown. I want sweet and sour pork. Bad. It makes me feel sick. But I want it. E better stay safe. What am I going to do for debate class? Maybe we can have a field trip downtown and then we can debate about what to do about the homeless problem. Yeah, right. Kid has potential, I wish his mom was less of a tightass. Christ, I need a haircut. I look like a sheep is sitting on my head. Chow mein would be good. I wonder if I should do it myself. Probably not, though. I have curly hair but that could get scary. Can I afford a haircut? Oh, god, what a cute puppy! I could go to an eight dollar place but they would kill my hair, they always do. Maybe I could do that olive oil thing, that seemed to work for a day or so. I bet if I got some vegetasbles, Chinese food would be good. I mean, vegetables have vitamins. Hey, there’s a new Hellboy move! See? I’m my own little gerbil wheel thingie.

In addition, Rachel has loaned me a Very Precious Book, a reviewer’s copy of the new book by my favourite author on the planet. This book keeps making me cry, because the author has Alzheimer’s and all I can think is, what if this is the last time I’ll ever read anything new by him?” I think I’m going to have to wait until my period starts. I’m dripping tears on the pages.

Friday Confessions.

I’ve really only got one confession this week, and it’s not even a real confession, because I don’t feel guilty. I feel defiant.

I wrote “Why not try the Cooperative Auto Network instead? It’s cheaper and has more cars!” on a bunch of Zipcar pamphlets. Then I put them back in the Zipcar box.

I am considering having a stamp made with the information, so I can do it to every Zipcar pamphlet I see. Plus, I’d add, The Co-Op is locally owned and nonprofit. How much trouble would I really get in, anyhow?

Anyone else have anything to confess?

Summer Work

We’ve moved to the summertime schedule at work, which actually means I will be working a few more hours per week, since kids can come in the daytime. It’s also a little different from week to week, with kids popping in at different times because they are going on vacation with dads who have flown over from Korea. The overall effect is that things are a little lazy, a little lackadaisical, because who really wants to learn stuff in the summertime, anyhow?

We chat with the kids more, hear about all the day camps they’re going to. Everyone’s a little more relaxed and it’s fun to hear about trips to the beach or the park or Science World. Personally, I think of it as developing students’ speaking and listening skills. I’m looking forward to the summer at work.

Happy Birthday, Els!

Tonight, Rachel and I went out to the wilds of North Burnaby for Els’s birthday.

I do love getting out of what my friend Jim calls the ‘Safety Zone’. The fact is, when you work and live and shop in as small an area as I do (seriously, I live most of my life within a 3-square-mile zone) it’s fun to get out and see other places. Look! We’re out of Kits! Note the lower incidence of Lululemon and purse dogs! Look, Italian bakeries! Lack of posturing! I’d forgotten how much I love that neighbourhood.

And Ethiopian food! How great was that!? And cake! And reading stories and reciting poetry!

Thanks to Rachel for doing the hard part, the driving, while I rode shotgun and looked at stuff. And thanks to Els for inviting me to a fun party!

Halfway There.

O Hai!

Originally uploaded by Liz du Canada

I am officially halfway through my taking a photo-a-day for one whole year.

I’m really, really proud of myself. If I can do a half year, I can do a whole year. Which is cool to me, because a lot of times I lose interest and kind of peter out of things. But I’m still going strong, and have had little (and big) rewards along the way. These help, a lot.

I have actually gotten better at taking pictures, for one thing. For some reason, I didn’t think that would happen. Before I started Photo-a-day, E was the guy who held the camera for all functions. And we hardly took it anywhere. I didn’t know all the little buttons and settings, and I usually just handed it to him, thinking that he would magically know what to do, because he is more technical than I am. These days, if he’s taking a photo, he hands the camera to me, and says, “Do the settings and stuff. You know more about it.”

I know more about it because I have taken a heck of a lot of pictures. I learned sometime in January to never, ever leave home without my camera, because I might miss something cool. And so the camera comes with me as naturally as the wallet does. It’s just always in my purse. I’m not an artist, but I am prepared.

I’m also lucky that my friends are looking out for me. “There’s a Photo Op,” they’ll say. “Hang on, the angle’s better down here.” Driving in the car today I was snapping out the window and John would ask, “Got it?” I like that my friends accept and encourage this hobby, which verges on insanity at times.

Even with my not-perfect photos, I have learned that there’s no shame in working on them in Picnik, Flickr’s editing tools. I crop, I auto-correct, I over-process to get a shot that’s closer to the one I saw in my mind.

As with everything, I am always, always learning. I love it.

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