Sunday, January 29

A Story of Friendship

Apparently ShanWow and DIW (Does-It-Weller) are having all kinds of fun up there in Edmonton.  They spent some time putting together the story of the friendship of The Dapperdame (aka KV), ShanWow, DIW, JSLPA and Hi-C and sent it to the latter two lovely ladies.  The unicorn might have been embellished.

Thursday, January 26

You Don't Make Friends with Yellow Tights (Saga II)

Yellow tights shouldn't get such a bad rap but they do.  Enough to feature in two blog posts.  Good thing I don't give rodent's hiney whether people like my fun tights or not.  The abuse continued today when I decided to wear the mustard-hued tights to the longterm care home that I work at once a week.  Or let's call them "stockings" because if you're over the age of 70 apparently that is the word for them.

Little old lady (LOL):  Miss, miss!
Me:  Yes?
LOL:  Why did you wear those stockings?
Me:  Because I like them.
LOL:  Really?  Because they are HORRIBLE.
*sigh, + eye roll*

Me (to little old man):  You wanted help with _______ , I have some time now.
Little old dude (LOD):  No thanks, I'm busy [staring at the table, breathing].
Me:  Sure, it is just that I'm only here once a week so if you don't want to do this now you will have to wait until next week.
LOD:  No, I think I'll just keep on [watching dust fall]
Me:  No problem, just thought maybe now would be good since you asked and we'll have to wait until next week.
LOD:  Well, maybe if you had on some different stockings.

I want to say that I'm pretty sure he was joking.  Perhaps he was entirely serious.

Next week I'm going to wear the burnt orange ones.

Sunday, January 22

The Results Are In

The results are late and not scientific but they are finally being "published" on here.  Don't remember what I'm talking about?  Almost exactly one year ago I decided to find out once and for all if we SLPs were as unique of a group as we thought.  Our hypotheses included SLPs (or at least those in our class) were more likely to be first born, left-handed, and to have cooked extra long in the womb.  My big plan was to use SPSS to analyze the results and be all scientific about it but then I got lazy and didn't have access to SPSS (but actually I did in the computer lab until April).  It is safe to say that I'm not going to follow through and that it isn't even a true random sample because all participants were self-selected, and all non-SLPs for comparison were on my facebook and therefore more likely to be in the same socioeconomic class as myself and at the same or similar education level.

N (slp) = 31
N (non) = 37

Enough prefacing - here are the results:

Question 1:  Are you an SLP?
We've got ourselves a nice sample.

Question 2:  Are you a first born?

Remember, this is not scientific so I have no idea if these numbers are SIGNIFICANT but it looks like the answer to this one it YES.  Yes, SLPs are more likely to be a first child and to bring along all the control issues and over-achieving inherent to the position.

Question 3:  Did you cook too long?  ie Time spent in womb

On this front things look pretty equal.  My gut says these results are not significant so our hunch was wrong - being in the womb too long is not necessarily related to the typical SLP personality or a strong desire to watch people swallow things.

Question 4:  Tell me which hand you prefer (Right or Left)

This one is clearly scientific.  SLPs are officially more likely to be left handed than the general population.  The world average is 5-10% of the population and we hit a full quarter.  A creative bunch?  One needs to be creative to come up with a way to make teaching children gerunds fun and effective.  "Jumping.  She is JUMPing.  Jumping!"

Question 5:  How did you do in school?  What was the lowest grade you have ever received since the beginning of undergrad?

This was a lot of analysis for, what looked to my extremely trained eye (sarcasm), to be inconclusive.  Perhaps I should have asked for the second lowest grade ever since we all have that one that haunts us - or that could just be me.

Question 6:  Did/Do you play the French Horn?

Maybe all that left-handedness is paying off - only 23% of SLPs (surveyed) find music only in their souls compared to 49% of the "general" population.  The french horn and wind instruments are appear especially popular.  Does anyone have a joke about SLPs and our affinity for wind instruments/long tubes?

Did anyone fit the whole profile?
Yes!  One person fit the entire profile of an SLP:  first born, late delivered, left-handed, over-achieving, french horn player!
There was a close second as well that hit all the criteria but plays some other wind instrument.

Question 7:  What did you get for Christmas?
Nerdiness all around.  I don't feel like analyzing this one but it looks like everyone (SLP and Non) likes to get children's books for Christmas.

Question 8:  Tell me something terribly nerdy/neurotic
This question was optional and SLPs were primarily the only ones to offer something up (except my former OT-roomie).  Here are a few choice submissions:
"For my 10th birthday (or so) party, I wrote a schedule, timed to the quarter hour, and got somewhat upset when things didn't go according to plan..."

"Well, I think I have become even more last minute than ever before since I started this program. I've pulled more all-nighters and have had more coffee (to the point where my tolerance is crazy). These are indicators that I am one of the more relaxed people in class. I just wanna be a good SLP. BEST NEWS I HEARD RECENTLY: MARKS DON'T MATTER FOR JOBS. WE'RE ALL ON THE SAME LEVEL mouhahahah (hehe)"

"I would not call myself a keener or particularly uptight, although I absolutely HATE listening to someone speak when they have excess saliva/mucous/phlegm in their throat and won't clear it."

"I remember in grade 7, I got a B- for my French spelling (I am a terrible speller!) and I started to cry and when a boy named S.P. who had a crush on me asked me why I actually yelled at him that I got a B- and universities didn't accept people that got B-'s. I have never told anyone that story."  Woops, now you told the whole internets.

"I won the "Too Keen For School Award". Nuff said."

"I have to eat my peanut butter from the jar in flat lines... can't just scoop a spoonful out and leave it. Also I got stressed out by choose-your-own-ending books for the exact same reason as you!"

Sunday, January 15

The Red Deer "Scene"

Sometimes I compromise - even though I would rather stay in an play Rumoli with some friends and have some good chats over nickels I'll agree to the clubs now and then.  Besides, dancing is good for your soul (if you're doing it for you).  The reason going to the bars is not really my scene is because I'm generally not going to meet the kind of people I would prefer to spend time with there nor would I be able to talk to them or the people I go with anyway.

Between the four of us we rules out every bar in the city before we even left the house.  One refused to party downtown and another doesn't do country (very limiting in this town) and dated a bouncer at the one and only real dance club I have ever even heard of here.  So we went to The Vat.  This was probably the first and only time I have or will ever find metal/screamo refreshing but it was.  It was the first time I glimpsed the grunge crowd in Red Deer and there was enough long hair in the room to make a new fur coat for Snuffy - and that was just the men.  The floor was sticky, the waitresses were rude and the lights were tacky - and some young'uns bought us drinks.

When our late-20s eardrums could take no more we compromised and convinced The Skip to chance Bellini's - bouncer or no bouncer for a little dancing.  Well the temperature in that club was sweat-inducing and I'm pretty sure it was all of the menopause in the room.  Not once have I been to the most "happening" place in a city with fairly current dance music and found myself between groups of 18 year olds dressed like Jersey Shore wannabes and a pack of 60-somethings trying to shake what their mommas gave them....a while ago.  Overall a  pretty fun night but, if (when) you come visit me let's stay in and play rumoli and talk about the big life questions.

Saturday, January 14

Edmonton: A New Arrival

Last weekend was spent in Edmonton getting to know the city and celebrating the arrival of another SLPeep, Miss Does-it-Weller (or DIW).  She is officially all moved in just 3 floors above ShanWow - running the stairs in PJs felt like a trip  back to residence but without having to hold my breath while walking through the bad-smelling floor or the communal bathrooms.  ShanWow and DIW worked hard to come up with a list of all kinds of Edmonton activities to explore the city - a large percentage of them involving yummy food/drink.

Friday night we immediately set out for a frozen lake to strap some thin blades to our feet and skate around more-or-less-gracefully.  Saturday ShanWow and I took a brisk walk by the riverfront while DIW got some shut eye.

DIW really needed some sleep after the move so we entertained ourselves for a while.

 For a pretty long time....

After we dragged DIW out of bed ShanWow patiently directed me and Otto to the Old Strathcona market for some local goodness.  I found some lovely pesto, DIW bought all kinds of flower-flavoured jellies (stomach-turn) and ShanWow tried to steal some Ghanaian peanut soup.  After a hard day of perusing we ventured to Dream Tea for some tapioca infused tastiness then hit up the organic food market where I picked up some PEANUT BUTTER PUFFINS (why, red deer, do you only have plain and cinnamon? why?!?) and a toothbrush made of old yogurt containers.  SOLD.  A shopping spree on Whyte Ave ensued and then the long anticipated Ethiopian cuisine!

If you aren't into Ethiopian or have never had it that multi-coloured palate of mush might not look appetizing but I promise you that Ethiopians make some of the most splendid and flavourful mushes out there and you get to eat it with your hands by tearing off pieces of flat (and tangy) injera bread and scooping it up.  What are you waiting for??  Try some!  We spent the evening stuffing out faces with food whose names we did not pronounce correctly (always get the cabbagey one though!) and speculating about the odds of two families who didn't know each other - we're almost positive they didn't know each other - both with an adopted African and Asian child each dining at the same small joint at the same time.

For good measure we all got our yoga on the next morning and I actually enjoyed it.  Even the hippie dippy aromatherapy "bonus" at the end.  My core felt stronger for days until it faded because I stopped exercising. Did I mention that it is frigid here?

Since The Duchess, Edmonton's finest French bakerie with scrumptious lattes, was closed (gr) we headed straight to West Ed (what "people-in-the-know" call The West Edmonton Mall) for some Viet food (go salad rolls!) and more bubble tea.  The purpose of the trip was more colourful Anthro tights for me and tapioca pearls for home plus some pineapple coconut buns for snacking.  Oh T&T how I love you.

We parted and I drove home with a happy heart and a very full bladder (but a not-so-full gas tank requiring a pit-stop on the way for emptying one and filling the other).  Come join us in Edmonton - we're oh so fun*.

*I'll work on the slogan.

Sunday, January 8

Yellow Tights

Anthropologie has released (and since un-released!!) lovely opaque tights which I have started to collect.  Lavender first.  Then Mustard as a surprise from the lovely and thoughtful ShanWow.  Today - red and forest green, both on sale from the last of the batch.  Why anthro?  Why?!?!  On New Years Eve I paired my grey calvin klein dress with my brown leather boots and the mustard tights.  Oh, did I love that outfit.  The tights were similar to these:

These are the names I got at the New Years party (well, I went to two - the comments only came from one)
-big bird
-mustard tights (well...yes)
-Simpson legs

Some of those were quite clever.  It didn't get me down - I still love my richly coloured legs and can't wait to try the forest green with my mustard & ivory (anthro) dress tomorrow at work.

Monday, January 2

A Year in Books (2011)

For a few years now I have been tracking every book that I read on  It gives me a sense of satisfaction to check the book off my list, keeps list of "want-to-reads" to inspire me, and provides statistics about the year's reading.  A few weeks ago I realized that if I got my read-on I could beat my 2009 record of 33 books that year.  2010 had an abysmal 14 books so we won't go there.  Did I make the goal???  No.  Life caught up to me and I tied with 2009 at 33 books - if I had rallied I could have surpassed because I have another book sitting 7/8ths complete by my bedside.

So what did I read?  Did any of it impact me?  How do the stats look?

Number of Books Read  (2011):  33
Total Number of Pages Read:  11053  (29 more pages than 2009)
Most Read Author:  Bill Bryson - 6 of his books and the 7th is nearly complete.  He tends to have two types of books 1) Travel books with witty lines and apt observations.  My favourite so far in this category would be The Lost Continent:  Travels in Small Town America.  2)  Then he turns it around and writes beautifully researched books about history with a few comedic quips for good measure but generally just lots of information presented in a readable way.  The fave from this category was At Home: A Short History of Private Life
Longest:  Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. This also took me the longest to complete as the first half was completed in Kenya where my book was subsequently stolen (and likely unappreciated!) and the second half was tackled on Canadian soil.  It isn't easy to get one's hands on Can-Lit while traveling.

Best Read of 2011:
Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures:  A True Story from Hell on Earth
by Kenneth Cain, Andrew Thomson, and Heidi Postlewait

3 perspectives - 5 conflicts.  How young, idealistic humans found themselves cleaning up after the great genocides of the 1990s and how the UN went wrong.
I read this book while traveling in Kenya (a country that borders on Somalia) and learned so much about where good intentions alone will get us.  Not a light-hearted read but a definite must for anyone who considers themselves a "global citizen" (please for give the cliche, I gagged a bit when typing it).

Best Fiction Read of 2011:
The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
I want to like Doug.  I really really want to like it.  I DO like him.  But the books I was expecting to blow me away could barely blow out a birthday candle.  The Gum Thief was an unexpected gem, one that I had not heard of nor developed any expectations.  I cared about the characters.

Most Disappointing Read of 2011:
My Stroke of Insight:  A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey
by Jill Bolte Taylor
I'm stingy with my top rating of 5 stars, giving no books this year just one star although 5 books received only two stars.  I had high hopes for this book; I watched the TED Talk while baking bread and was highly intrigued.  Her story is fascinating - she even makes some very thought-provoking points - and then she rambles on like a new-age hippie for the second half of the book.  It isn't as much about her recovery process as her new spirituality.  Grain of Salt:  tons of other people love this book and I'm heartless.

Oldest Read of 2011:
The Screwtape Letters
by C.S. Lewis - published in 1942
No, I'm not that in to Christianity but good ol' C.S. speaks to me.  So much of what he wrote just tapped into human nature anyway and could be completely removed from spirituality.  Try some Lewis!  You might like him.

Recap 2011:  This year I traveled across the American states with both Jack Kerouac and Bill Bryson - first with youthful indulgence then with humour.  Mr. Bryson also brought me to the UK, Australia, back in time to Shakespeare, into an 16th century British home and right back to the big bang.  I thought about my own role as one person in this big world while reading Emergency Sex and learned that things are never how they appear in Africa in It's Our Turn to Eat.  I sympathized with the plight of street children in Ask me Why I Hurt and found myself unable to sympathize with a the selfish and frustrating Corinne Hofmann (author of The White Masai).  Through books I felt a hint of the frustration that black women would have felt living in the American South in the 1960s but just a hint.  Dave Cullen revealed the real motives and the real plan behind Columbine in the best surprise read of 2011.  And over and over again I examined what it meant to be human, to be an individual and to live in the time and place in which I am.

What was your Best Read of 2011?

The Whole Bibliography:
5 Stars:
It's Our Turn to Eat by Michaela Wrong
Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures (see above)
4 Stars:
At Home:  A short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
Ask me Why I Hurt by Randy Christensen
The Emperor's New Drugs:  Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Irving Kirsch
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
The White Masai by Corinne Hofmann
Columbine by Dave Cullen
The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes
The Help  by Kathryn Stockett
Wasted:  A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher
3 Stars:
One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman
Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
The Mother Tongue:  English and How it Got that Way by Bill Bryson
The Lost Continent:  Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland *Last Book Finished in 2011*
Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
The Other Brain by Douglas R. Fields
The Unlikely Disciple:  A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill *Roots is a much better read*
The Screwtape Letters  by C.S. Lewis
2 Stars:
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor
Fifth Business  by Robertson Davies
Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland