Sunday, August 31, 2008

passin' me by

Eleven years ago Diana, Princess of Wales passed away.  I was at a party in my 2nd year of university. The jam was in full swing until someone walked in and said, "Princess Diana is dead."  Everyone ran to the nearest TV and sure enough, it was all over the news - Diana died in a car accident.  Just like that.  A few minutes passed and everyone started going back to their dorms... partying just seemed meaningless at that moment.  I went back to my room and watched the news for hours.  In that moment it seemed like life would never be the same.

My life was never really the same after that, naturally.  I graduated, moved on to other things and eventually I find myself here in what feels like the same place.  I don't want to be in this place anymore.   I want to have a proper life.  I want to experience new & exciting things at the ripe old age of 31.  I want to start all over.  Guess what??  I have decided to do so.  I'm going to leave the Big Smoke and head to Upper Canada.  I'm going to leave Ontario and start fresh.

I got the idea from Christiane almost a week ago.  We've been chatting about the cost of living up there and what life would be like in general... then it hit me.  I could just go.  I could finally make a life for myself.  The thought initially scared me so I had to take a day or two to think about it.  I chatted with Blanka about it and she told me that if there was a time to do this it would be now as I don't have anything keeping me here in Toronto.   I honestly don't want to be in Toronto anymore.  I feel like I don't belong here - like no matter what I do I just can't seem to find where I fit in.

Jazz nearly made me cry when I told her.  She wants me to move in with her by the lake however I don't want to do that.  That's not where I want to be.  Bree is more diplomatic - she thinks I should just stay in Toronto and keep beating this dead horse I call my life.  I'm tired of trying.  I want life to stop passing me by and that's exactly what is happening the longer I stay in this town.  Both Bree & Jazz are shocked to hear that I don't want to live here anymore because Athena = Toronto.   I'm sure that equation would have been true awhile ago but not anymore.  I have to do right by me.  I have to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly and I could best do that elsewhere.  Bree & Jazz are looking out me... I know this, yet I'm looking out for me as well.   I'll still be a phone call away just like I am now.  Sometimes I feel like a mainstay - a constant: for as long as the sun rises each morning, Athena will live & love Toronto. Hark!  She has changed her mind.    The sun will continue to rise each morning... now we'll all just have to watch it from a different place.

Hard to believe September begins in a few hours.  This summer was, well, interesting to say the least.  Even the leaves are beginning to change!  Fall means change.  Fall means fall fashions.  Fall means mid-season sales.  Fall now means pack up and head east!  Whoo hoo!

(I'm really excited about moving... REALLY excited)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

govern yourself accordingly

I got a letter in the mail this afternoon from guess who - a bill collector!  I've gotten letters like this before but this one in particular stuck out because at the end of the letter, it read, "Govern yourself accordingly.  What in the hell does that mean... govern yourself accordingly?

Does my lack of income conclude my inability to govern myself?  Do those with incomes have this ability?  Who are they to comment on how I'm struggling to take care of myself?  Am I being painted with an overgeneralized brush? 

A few minutes ago, I came home from the gym after an embarrassing encounter. I give the buddy behind the desk my membership card and he told me my account is being suspended because I owe over $200 on my membership.   I nearly burst into tears right then & there - instead, I told him I would call Customer Service to straighten it out.  All I wanted to do was thirty minutes of cardio - now I'll have to find another way to get in shape... for free.

This whole episode is now hitting me really hard and I'm feeling defeated.  The fight in me is nearly gone.  I don't think anyone understands that I'm in this alone - no one has really come forward to offer me financial help.  Should I even expect it?  I don't, to be honest - people have their own lives and issues to worry about.

I spoke with Christiane and she suggested moving away from Toronto to get a fresh start.  I am considering a move to Montreal where the cost of living is significantly lower than here.  I am also considering just packing up and leaving everything behind to live with my uncle.  The positive in all of this is that I do have options.  If only I didn't feel so torn all the time.

Now I'll just enjoy my Sleepytime tea and wind down for the evening.  Tomorrow is another day... another 24 hours in which I go blindly, hoping the stars will give me a break.  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

paying for parties

Last night I traveled 89.3 kilometres to attend a stag & doe for a couple I've known for awhile.  Jasmine was kind enough to drive me there and she even bought me dinner!  What a trooper.  Before I go any further, I want to give props to Jazz & Briony - they've been so great at trying to keep my spirits up.  Muchas gracias, mi amigas!

I should really set up this scenario so you can get the full picture.  I went to university with the groom and didn't really get to know him until after graduation.  The bride... well, I think I've spoken 3 sentences to her total.  She's an acquaintance at best.  There's a huge group of university folks that all hang out and over the last few years the group has slowly grown apart.  People have gotten together, married and most of all, they tend to stick to the ones closest to them.  I know there's nothing wrong with that as I have totally grown closer to Bree & Jazz and I'd rather hang out with people I'm close to instead of acquaintances that used to be somewhat tight but not really.

Once I met up with Jazz at the kiss & ride in North York, we set out to drive around the lake to this shindig.  Driving out of Toronto is always an amusing experience for me.  One minute you're in civilization and the next you're surrounded by corn.  I asked Jazz if she would mind stopping so we could scarf a couple fresh ears of corn but she was having none of it.  Too bad - it's almost harvest time!   It felt like we were driving forever but eventually we stopped at McPigs for some eats.  I had a feeling this event wasn't going to be 'catered' in any real fashion so we thought it best to eat processed crap.  Yum!  We got back in the car and drove to this little hamlet with an arena in the middle of it.  It reminded me of a B-rated horror movie... two girls drive up to this sketchy building only to have the masked dude with the machete hack them to pieces.  I didn't want to get out of the car because we were so early and then we'd have to deal with the family whom we'd never met.

We walk in and paid our $10 entry fee.  Keep in mind this is the same group of people who think $10 cover at a bar where you can't wear jeans is scandalous.  There was a bucket of spirits & door prizes prominently displayed and various games were set up on one side of the activity room.  Drinks were 1 for $3 and 3 for $10.  

Here's where I started to get uncomfortable. I had all the money I owned in my wallet and let me tell you, it was a struggle to part with it.  My friend Blanka says if she were me, she'd have a hard time paying for someone else's wedding; especially since there's a slim chance I'll actually be invited to the wedding.  Blanka is absolutely right.  People were actually asking for donations for the couple.  Donations?!  They're not exactly covered in flies.  Cha.  

I wonder who got the idea for the concept of a function like this.  I've been to engagement parties before but stag & does and jack & jills are nothing but a cash grab.  Why should friends and loved ones be expected to help pay for the wedding?  No one says you have to have all the traditional frills & lace so why bother?  If I'm not invited to witness the nuptial, I shouldn't be pressured into donating my hard-earned government cheese to the happy couple.  Pay for your own cake!

Last night wasn't a total wash as I did have an intriguing conversation with my buddy Cristiano who is undoubtedly the biggest chick magnet I've ever known.  Okay, so I'll admit to having a crush on him some years back only for him to tell me he only saw me as a friend (story of my love life).  We were chatting about my singleton status and I told him that right now, I'm not really looking as I have bigger fish to fry (food & shelter for a start).  Call me crazy but I could have sworn that Mr. Contarini was flirting with me!  Maybe I still have game.  Sort of.  That conversation will have to take up another blog post.

In all, I had an OK time.  I wanted to just go home and watch the Olympics which has now sadly come to an end so I'll have to find something else to occupy my days.  There's another cash grab coming up next month however I am likely not going to attend.  For one thing, it's yet again about 80 km away and I don't know if I can hitch a ride with anyone.   Lately I have begun to become very selfish so of course, I'm thinking, would you do that for me?  Likely not.

Friday, August 22, 2008

en eaux calmes

Briony has been in town for the last few days and it's been nice to kick back and have a few laughs.   Hard to believe that summer is almost over.  Where has the time gone?  Do I have anything to show for it?  I've got a lovely tattoo and a new outlook on life.  If I haven't said it before, I'll say it again: I can do anything in this life.

Lately I've been thinking about next steps or what I'm going to do in the event of a worst case scenario.  I've narrowed it down to leaving the country to live with my uncle.  There I can relax, write and contemplate moving back to Canada to do something or other.  Quite possibly, I've run my course here.  After that farce of an interview with that messed-up multinational, I'm further convinced my calling is not in the corporate world.   As it happens I must provide for myself in some fashion but how without comprising what I feel is best for me?  I know now that I am not bound by tradition.  Normal doesn't exist.  I wasn't meant to lead a normal, traditional life.

Right now I would love nothing more for the next phase of my life to start.   I'm done with my current situation.  I'm tired of bill collectors, government cheese and wondering where my next meal is coming from.  Knowing that I can do anything is quite daunting.  As much as I want to run away (guess I lost the fight or flight battle), something is provoking me to stay.  For now, I'll stay... for now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

a lovely day

The sky is blue, the sun is out and it's unusually green in Toronto today.  A cool breeze gently caressed my face as I was walking home from the subway station after an entertaining experience in the heart of the Financial District.

All morning I kept thinking this interview is taking away from me watching the Olympics.  This particular job opportunity just isn't for me at this point in time since I'm pretty confident it's not what I want to do with my life.  My gut feeling about this is not good.  Around 10:30am I had it in mind to call my headhunter to say, forget it, I'm not going but I decided to just deal and go anyway.  As luck would have it, my headhunter gave me the wrong address and I ended up 10 minutes late for my interview.  Oops. 

I met with a very HR-looking woman named Marissa.  She gave me a limp fish handshake and escorted me through the office to a central meeting room.  On our way to the meeting room, the most unusual feeling came over me.  I was surrounded by cubes as far as the eye could see.  Each cube was an eerie ecru colour and the people I did see sat at their portable desks expressionless - some with headsets, others hunched over Excel spreadsheets.  I wanted to run far, far away from this bland environment.  There was no semblance of life or individuality in that office.  I tried my best to hide a shudder from Marissa, who was the typical HR person... cold and unfeeling with a fake smile on her face.

Marissa invited me to have a seat and we're off!  First came a barrage of questions about my work history.  I could tell she was curious about my apparent 'job hopping' but she didn't let it slip - smart woman.  Next she asked me what my headhunter had told me about the role and after I responded, she said it was completely off.  To put it plainly, this multinational's HR structure is imploding and they needed someone to clean up their mess.   Wonderful.  I have this peeve about working for companies that decide to restructure for the 'good' of the business only to realize they've blanked the whole thing up.   

Keep in mind I'm a person who is very observant of body language.  The way Marissa was dressed looked to me like she was a person who ordinarily isn't cold & unfeeling but she had to be in her role.  She did seem to relax a bit towards the end of the interview however not before she proceeded to tell me that she didn't think I was qualified enough to be the department beeyatch but I would be more suited to be an HR serf.   I had to contain myself from laughing out loud so I did the next best thing - I went in for the big Highlight of the Night save.  I made reference to a potential HRIS role she had discussed earlier in this farce of an interview and mentioned that I would be [somewhat] interested in a role of that nature.  She perked up immediately to say that she could tell that I was more of an HR techie.  In the end, she told me she would talk to Her Excellence Senior Manager about the next steps in the hiring process.

As I left, I couldn't help the hilarity of what I just experienced.  Here was Athena, the antithesis of corporate life, rubbing shoulders with Bay Street's finest.  To further my own amusement, I decided to take a stroll through the underground shops.   There I saw the city's best dressed finance folk walking around on their lunch breaks, stealing intimate moments with their BlackBerries and smartphones.  Groups of men were chatting about nothing in particular  and I even overheard two women cackling about how Olympic athletes should get real jobs like the ones they have.  Uh-huh.  I'm sure these women got great pleasure out of being someone's girl Friday for a big dirty multinational which gives them bigger swords... in the grand scheme of things, it's  just a job.  If that defines them, so be it.  They probably complain about it amongst themselves in order to make themselves feel better about their station in life.

An a-ha moment happened before that foolish interview even began.  Walking through the cubes gave me a vision of my book.  I want to tell a story - the story of Athena Titanides' epic journey through the corporate jungles of Toronto.  These cubes would make the perfect backdrop.  It's an image that's been burned into my mind and I'm optimistic I can make this story a reality.  I've had some very controversial adventures throughout my career that have brought me to this broke-ass point.  I'm going to do this.  I'm going to tell my story!

I am also getting fed up with Dalton & Stephen.  Dalton keeps taking money away that Stephen gives me!  Clearly they don't give a hoot but this is getting insane.  Bill collectors are calling talking about I give preferential treatment to other bills...?  Too bad buying FOOD is a small priority in my book.  And for the nth time, ain't nobody helping my blanking self out!  

All in all, it's been a lovely day. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

beans for breakfast

Just in case you were wondering, I have indeed eaten beans for breakfast.  Last year while in England, I was introduced to a local dish called beans on toast.   It is what it is - canned beans with spices on toast.   I've been adventurous enough to try it with eggs and cheese and it really is delicious!  Better still, beans are cheap at No Frills.  Worry not for I won't go down the cat food road... at least not yet.

While watching the Olympics (it's really all I do these days), I heard an interesting piece of information about Canada's athletes - those who enter to compete at the Olympic Games receive an annual grant of $18,000 to assist with living and training expenses.   According to Statistics Canada, the poverty threshold for a 1-person household living in an urban area of 500,000+ is $17,219.  Sickening, isn't it? It gets better.  Good ol' Stevie H will give you a maximum of $17, 145 if you're out of work like me.  So what, you ask?  Our athletes live in quasi-poverty.  No wonder they're slathered in corporate logos!  Running shoes ain't cheap!

An idea came to me while I was watching this report on CBC.  If Olympic athletes are receiving the same amount of cash as the unemployed, why not start a program for the unemployed to be trained as Olympic athletes?  Think of it as an athletic draft.  Government assistance recipients would have to report to a training camp to determine if they are indeed athletically inclined and if so, proceed to train for their identified Olympic sport.  As a nation, we would draw from a previously untapped talent pool that no one has yet to pee in, increase the number of participants in sport and ultimately increase Canada's medal count in future international sporting events.  We can prove to the world that we have a plethora of elite athletes at our disposal.

If such a program existed, I would certainly sign up.  There is no limit to what one can accomplish in a lifetime.  Besides, I don't just have to get a job until I'm 65.  I can do anything.  Really!  

I do plan to start my own training program after the Olympics.  I've been so inspired to get back into the level of activity I had about 40 pounds ago.  I'm not doing it just to lose weight but it's something that I truly enjoy.  

On an end note, I've got a job interview tomorrow afternoon with a big dirty multinational.  My recruiter set this up for me - a shot at at 2-3 month stint as a department beeyatch.  I'm going to go to the interview however I do have mixed feelings about it.  I could certainly use the money - better it come from the private sector than the public one.  All the same, I don't enjoy being a bottom feeder as I know I'm not one in general.  I have worked for some well-known places as a algae collector and I don't know if I want to go down that road again.  I will get this job if it is meant to be.  If I don't get it I won't be heartbroken because I'll still have an opportunity to figure out what I'm meant to do in this life.

Friday, August 15, 2008

from atop my soapbox

I must take a break from my frequent musings about life to stand up for the Canadian Olympic team.  Put simply, leave them be!  What is the matter with the blasted Canadian media??  Medals will come to those who wait!  Does it really matter that countries like Togo and Uzbekistan have medals and we don't?  Absolutely not!!  Torontonians have been waiting for over 40 YEARS (that's a generation, by the way) for the Leafs to win the Stanley Cup and people don't whine half as much about that!

 The ones that have been getting the most heat are the Canadian swimmers.  Having broken over 20 national records and coming out of nowhere to reach an Olympic final is an amazing achievement!  It burns my cookies to hear the media talk about "that's not good enough".  I pose this challenge to those naysayers - if you think you can do better, I'd love to see your backside throw on a LZR Racer suit and tear it up in a pool against the likes of Michael Phelps.   Do you even know what it feels like to better your personal best?  It's not about others did or where you place in the world.  It's all about overcoming your own personal obstacles.  

To the feds - show the athletes the money!  Let Canada be the first country whose athletes do not have to panhandle the private sector in order to realize their Olympic dreams. Canadian athletes have no business being sponsored by Rona or Visa because the feds should pony up more funds for amateur sport.  Sports in this country aren't cheap - I know this firsthand as I had to give up figure skating as a child because my family couldn't afford it anymore.  Unless you have been an athlete yourself, you don't know what it's like to pursue your sport or the sacrifices you must make in order to achieve to achieve your goals.I'm sure it's embarrassing not to have anything to brag about at the G8 summit other than our ice hockey program  but if you want to maintain the biggest sword of them all, pay up.   After all, you get what you pay for, right?  Own The Podium should also go for summer athletes.  You've got 4 years to get it right for London 2012.  As part of the Commonwealth, we gotta represent in England!  Tax deductions for families who got kiddies in sport is great and all however there's no financial support for talented athletes beyond the grassroots level.  This explains why Canada has the most soccer participants at the grassroots level in the world and our best player, Owen Hargreaves, left Canada to pursue a career in Europe.  Why's that?  There wasn't anywhere for him to go.  Now he's a card-carrying citizen of the United Kingdom and plays for Manchester United.  What if Wayne Gretzky buggered off to the former CCCP to play hockey because there were no elite development leagues?  

To the remaining athletes in Beijing - heed the wise words of Marnie McBean.  Canada is not China.  Canada is not USA.  Canada is Canada.  You represent a strong, proud and peaceful nation.  It is an honour to participate in the Olympic Games and you are part of a chosen few.  Do not yield to reporters who ask you where are the medals.  Ask them where their RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Awards are and why they haven't won any yet.  You are in Beijing as a result of hard work, dedication, copious amounts of training and the support of loved ones.  No matter your result in your chosen event, stand tall and be proud to be a Canadian Olympian - no one can take that away from you.

I'll be staying up until all hours watching our Canadian team for the remaining days of the Summer Olympics.  I certainly won't be among those asking where the medals are.  I wish that guy who was on YouTube yelling "Leave Britney alone!" could back me up here: "Leave the Canadian athletes alone!"

BTW... Hey China - you need to hook up Toronto with one of those rockets to make the rain go away.  After all, we gave you the contract to make our Olympic gear - it's the least you can do!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Right now I feel an incredible amount of fear.  Everything is scaring me today.  It's not like being spooked at a haunted house but more like a sense of hesitation.  

I have some bill collectors to call but I don't want to because I have to tell them that I can't make any payment arrangements as my current net worth stands at seventy-nine cents.   Then I would endure a barrage of "can't anyone help you out?"  No, dammit.  I'm tired of people asking me that.

My Facebook horoscope says that 'now is the time'.  Time for what?  What is it that I'm supposed to do right now?  I think I have an idea but I'm not sure.  Why?  I'm scared of going down that path in case it's the wrong one.   It's almost as if I've pressed the pause button for an extended period of time.  Why do I feel like this right now?

I have chosen the wrong path before.  I remember thinking, what have I done?  The only way I can describe it is like this - I was driving on a highway and all of a sudden, I veered off the road into a field where my car stalls.  I get out and I'm surrounded by cows... they're all looking at me as if to say, what are you doing here?  This is our turf.  I get back in the car and say to myself, Self, how did I get there?  How did I come to veer off the road?

Do I really know what I'm doing?  Is it possible that I've known all along where I want my life to go?  Am I alone in thinking this?  Lucky for me I'm not.  I chatted with my dear friend Briony last night while watching the Olympics and she told me she's not sure about her path either.  Briony wants to run away.  I told her we should just go.  Of course, this may not do any good for either of us however it would be kinda nice to just forget about real life for a little while.  

Once the runaway is over, my reality will always be there.  Am I just a 'fraidy cat?  Why don't I have the spine to just do it?  As I sit here, I'm slowly beginning to think that not only am I afraid of failure, I'm afraid of success.  No one knows failure like Athena Titanides.  Just once I would like to know what success is.  

There's only one person who stands in my way.  Me.  Go on Athena with your bad self!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

my life's calling went straight to voice mail

I've been watching the Olympics for hours on end and I do enjoy it. These athletes are inspiring to me and I love hearing about their journeys to their respective Olympic moments.  On the other hand, I am envious of them.  Not only is their body fat percentage 1/1000 of what mine is they appear to have chosen a calling - a life's purpose.

I, nonetheless, haven't a blanking clue as to what I'm supposed to do with my life.  

Am I destined to be a jack of all trades?  Should I just take one of those career tests (I did one in high school and it said I should be a cop or a FBI agent) and be done with it?  Every day I wake up and wonder about what it is that I am to do with myself.  What kind of contribution will I make to this world?

I search the job boards daily to see if my calling is there.  I have applied to a few places and have even been called in for interviews.  Most recently I was turned down for a role that I thought was 'the one' for me.  I did feel disappointed as it would have been an excellent opportunity yet I now know that the reason why I wasn't successful is that there is something else out there that I'm meant to do.  BUT WHAT????

Perhaps I could do an inventory of things I enjoy and things I don't.  I enjoy reading, writing, sports, food and shopping (not necessarily in that order).  I don't enjoy the traditional nature of work.  Yes, this indeed sounds odd coming from a recipient of Harper's cheese.  At my last job I felt restricted.  I was losing my identity as a woman.  I was just a human being going to work, enduring an 8 hour colonoscopy from my boss in order to pay bills.  To me, this is an asinine institution.  Why does it even exist?  I can only imagine how many scores of thousands of people out there who felt (and continue to feel) like I did.  I was a hamster on a wheel with no end in sight.  I work, get paid, pay my bills, have little or lint left over until the next paycheque and the wheel continues all over again.  I can positively say this is NOT the life I want for myself.

I had some doubts about my future in my current field.  I didn't want to pursue it any further but I continued on fearing that I couldn't make a change and do something else.  Who says I can't make a change?  Friends?  Family?  Societal pressures?  I finally came to the realization that I was pursuing an HR career to satisfy others and not myself.   Those days are over.  I'm tired of living up to a so-called standard.  I don't have to get a job day in and day out and become a drone.   If that works for you, all the power to you.  It just isn't for me.   Who is to say my calling is something completely different than the supposed norm?  When that epiphanic moment struck me, I felt a sense of release I'd never felt before.  

My friend Christiane says that money will always come when you need it.  My fed cheddar does come at some pretty odd times but in the end, it does come.  I need to be prepared for when it does come to an end a few months from now.  I guess my biggest question is, can one be truly at peace with their life's calling and still scrape out a living?  Or do we just ignore the call altogether?

Now that I think about it, I've been ignoring the call.  My line has been disconnected altogether.  I am certain that I'll have another epiphanic moment when I finally answer the call - I'm used to sitting by the phone anyway.  

Sunday, August 10, 2008

my human stain

Last Monday I got this notion in my head to do something special to celebrate 08/08/08.  I'm not sure how the idea of a tattoo came about but it did.  That's right kids, I decided to get a tattoo on 08/08/08. 

Of course, I had no prior knowledge of anything having to do with tattoos - that's why I love Google.  I ran a search for tattoo studios in south central Toronto (I don't like deviating from the subway line).  I figured if I found a place that had done tattoos for celebrities I would be in good hands - yet another example of my warped state of mind.  Yonge Street Tattoos was just the place.  Their website looked pretty reputable and lucky for me, they had a celebrity gallery that included the likes of Justin Timberlake, Marcus Camby and Damon Stoudamire.  I know I ain't no baller but I can fake the funk if need be!

I was always leery of getting a tattoo as I do get bored VERY easily and I knew if I got something superficial I would get tired of it and want it gone after a year or two.  Plus I didn't want some big Sistine Chapel painting all over my body or a tramp stamp - on some people it looks great (e.g. David Beckham) and on others it looks a little too pedestrian for my own personal tastes.   I knew my tattoo had to be simple in nature, incorporate my favourite colour (blue, in case you were wondering) and hold meaning for me.  Better yet, I had to pick a spot on my body that would be conducive to time and gravity. 

Next was to find something that I could live with for the rest of my days.   I thought about my name, a star, or an Aries symbol.  Yet again I turned to my trusted friend Google for ideas.  I wanted a symbol to remind me of these times - how I've learned so much about myself; how I've become more spiritually inclined despite my lack of employment and sudden financial downturn... then there it was.   An infinity symbol.

The infinity symbol I finally chose resembles an inverted '8'.   This symbol is representative of my astrological sign and my favourite/lucky number.  What better way to celebrate 08/08/08 with a human stain?

Off I went to Yonge Street Tattoos to book my appointment.  The facility was a lot more professional than I pictured in my head.   Artwork from various artists adorned the walls and 102.1 The Edge was playing in the background.  Truth be told I was expecting all kinds of skid rows all up in there however I was pleasantly surprised.   People of all shapes, colours & sizes were either browsing artwork samples or waiting for their scheduled appointments.  Once I arrived, I had an impromptu consultant and I put down a deposit.  As I left, I thought, good God, I'm really doing this.

The more I thought about it, the more I kept coming back to the same thought: why not?  I am not bound by anyone or anything as I once thought to be.  It won't change who I am - if anything, this tattoo is like a scar by choice.   I already have a ton of scars so why not add another in cornflower blue?  It'll be refreshing to know that my tattoo won't be a reminder of some sort of pain I endured - it'll be a reminder of the pain I survived.

My tattoo appointment was scheduled for 7:45pm.  I had no idea that Yonge Street Tattoos ran on IST (Island Standard Time) as I didn't actually get called until almost 8:30.  Oh well - someone must've got some kind of mural on themselves ahead of me.  My artist came to meet me and she was very friendly & pleasant.  I entered a room where was a rather beefy looking chap getting a testament to "Sadie" on his forearm.  Holy crap.  Once the heard the "zzzzzz" sound that reminded me of a dentist's drill, I started freaking out.  My artist explained the entire process and she let me pick out the tattoo colour (after all, this is a lifetime commitment).  She did a test stencil at first and once I approved it, she fired up that drill-looking contraption and my human stain began to take shape.

People always ask if tattoos hurt.  From the looks and sounds of their equipment, it's enough to make people lose control of their bowels.  However, it didn't really hurt - it was more annoying.  The needle used to apply the tattoo is not like a medical needle that penetrates through the skin to the muscle - it stays near the surface.  

Twenty minutes and countless deep breaths later, my tattoo was complete.  My artist explained aftercare procedures, bandaged me up and sent me on my merry way.  When I got home I felt so proud of myself because on that day I overcame a fear.  I never thought I could get a tattoo because I was afraid of it.  Boo to that!  I did it.  I got over that fear and best of all, I made a decision that will affect me for the rest of my natural days.  I can do anything in this life!  

Friday, August 8, 2008

eight, eight, eight

The opening ceremonies for the Olympics were amazing!  Yes, I actually got out of bed at 7am this morning to watch it live on CBC.  When I was a kid, I loved watching the Olympics.  I marveled at the fact that these teeny-tiny nations would proudly march into the Olympic stadium with so much pride for their country and passion for their sport.  I especially love the countries where the lone athlete is holding the flag and a couple of coaches are walking behind.  Yet, the Olympic dream is the same no matter where you go.  Every athlete, regardless of where they come from or what kind of reindeer games their leaders are up to, wants to compete in good faith.  You can't beat that.  

Best of all, the opening ceremonies officially started at 8:08pm on 08/08/08.  The Chinese believe the number 8 is a very auspicious number as it symbolizes prosperity and wealth.  My lucky number is 8 and my numerology life path number is 8.  Last year after 07/07/07 I was looking forward to this very day in hopes that this day would change my life forever.  Something would happen to set me on the correct path.

Did that happen?  Well, sort of.

In some ways, I am already changed.  These last few months have opened my eyes to who I really am and what I'm looking for out of life.  As a teenager, I knew that I wasn't going to lead a 'normal' life... you know, graduate from university, work for 30+ years at a fly job and head out to greener pastures.  I just knew that I would make a living doing something different.  Living off Harper's cheddar is certainly different but why is it I just know that this is temporary?  My gut is telling me there are things out there for me - things that have yet to be discovered; hopefully by the time the cheese runs out.  Then I'm really screwed.

Either way, I felt lucky today.  I have faith that my broke self will be broke no longer.  I'll find my life's calling.  Wouldn't it be funny if my life's calling was writing blogs?  I wouldn't mind at all - I do enjoy it!  

On the other hand, there are astrologers out there who feel that the number eight represents destruction.  My finances are a pile of rubble.  Job prospects are few & far between.  I don't think my life can be any more destroyed - scratch that because I could be living in Iraq and that would kinda suck.

Everything does happen for a reason.  I'm going to look back on these times and say to myself, Self, I made it through.  

It too shall pass.   

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I actually ran into a celebrity today - no word of a lie!  I almost ran headfirst into Leo Rautins!!  For those of you who are wondering who the blank Leo Rautins is, let me enlighten you.  He is the head coach for the national men's basketball team and he's an analyst for the Toronto Raptors.  Pretty cool, eh?  Wizzes on those who don't think it's cool.  Running into Leo Rautins is right up there with meeting Lenny Wilkens!  Now there's a basketball legend.  He even remembered my name after we met!  

Remember that chunk of Harper cheese I was supposed to get today?  Well, I did get it but only a fraction.  Turns out Dalton wasn't too keen on the fact that Stephen was hooking me up so Stephen had to take some of my cheese just to make Dalton happy.  Cha.  Why can't we all just share & share alike?  Coincidentally I did end up getting my big dirty bucket of chicken.  My apartment still has a hint of KFC in the air but that's OK.  It's like that lingering smell you get after you spray a wack of Febreze... either way, I find it soothing.  I'm sure once my life settles down somewhat I will wean myself off the KFCrack.  For now, along with chocolate, it'll do.  

So now I've got to do some juggling around with this little bit 'o government cheddar.   Food is still priority.  On pain of bill collector harassment, I will buy groceries.  Ain't no one gonna stop me from feeding my growing addiction to food!  I may be broke but I'll be fed!

As my computer is chock full of all kinds of malware, I had to break down and buy antivirus software.  In my mind, this is OK.  I need my computer to send out job applications and communicate to the world in some fashion... last thing I want to do is send out an application full of all kinds of crap.  Can you imagine?  It's actually happened to me before - some wingnut sent me an attachment infected with a worm and it nearly crashed my hard drive.  Needless to say, the wingnut was not considered further from the role.

I had all kinds of issues installing the software then finally, the stars aligned to make it work.  It's been scanning for a few hours now and so far there are 898 infected files on my computer.  Isn't that foul?!  As of this minute my computer is on lockdown.  No more sketchy downloads!  No more "Click here to find out more"!  As if this is taking this long.  Blast.  I wish my chair had a cushion - it's going to be a long evening.

With that said, I want to also voice my rant for the day - if that sodding woman is actually guilty of killing that poor 7-year-old girl, well... I can't even say it.  What is wrong with people today?  I can't stand watching the news anymore because it's all shooting this, stabbing that and rain, rain, rain.  Behave yourselves out there!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

days go by...

I completely forgot today is Tuesday.  How funny is that?  I'm sure I had a holiday of sorts yesterday but it wasn't until a little while ago when I came to the stark realization that tomorrow is in fact Wednesday.  Where have the days gone? 

Today was a day that felt like any other day.  My friend Christiane is in the same boat as me and she says that since she stopped working, the days just seem to melt into one another.  This is indeed true.  If I didn't have a calendar, I would only know that yesterday was a holiday because there was hardly any traffic on the roads and there were a few stores closed.  

I can't wait for tomorrow.  I have things to do, places to be and best of all, I get a payment from Stephen Harper and his band of merry men!  I'm totally running out of food and I cannot wait to get some groceries.  For those of you who don't know, I get a big kick out of food.  Food isn't just something you concoct for the purpose of filling your stomach (that's what Kraft Dinner is for).  It's about flavours and colours and creating something new.  Cooking actually calms me down if I'm feeling stressed out.   I love to check out cookbooks and try different recipes.  See, I grew up in a house where we ate the same thing day in and day out except for when we threw these crazy dinner parties trying to act like high society.   Since leaving home, I realized there were other foods out there and I wanted to try them all!  Nowadays, I am feeling a big hungry.   Not hungry because  I haven't eaten in a few hours but because I couldn't afford food.  Come tomorrow, I'm gonna shop for food like chicks buy shoes.  Only one more sleep!

Perhaps the time has come for me to find work.  I'm running out of ways to amuse myself all day long, especially with a lack of cheddar.  Now that I think about it, if I had gone to the gym more often, I could have a rock-solid body right now.  Then again, no one would see it because it's been raining all the sodding time!  I went to the gym yesterday and it was packed, much to my amusement.  The cardio machines were maxed out and there were plenty of juice pigs to chuckle at.  That's it.  I have decided to get my parts to the gym more than once a week!  Why?  It gives me something to do!

While I was at the gym I met up with my former personal trainer Tyler.  We exchanged pleasantries then I embarrassingly confessed that I had gained all the weight he helped me to lose about 6 months ago.  He wasn't mad (guess he's heard that before) and asked me if everything was ok.  I said not really and I can't help it if plenteous amounts of KFC, chocolate almonds and red wine make me feel better.  He chuckled and he told me something that stuck in my mind. He said to remember these 2 things:
  1. Learn how to distinguish between a wish and a burning desire
  2. If you feel like you've made a mistake, learn from it.  This way the mistake turns into a learning experience to help you grow.
I didn't think Tyler had it in him!  I told him thank you for the wise words and made my way into the cardio area.

I had to think about what Tyler said whilst churning away on the elliptical machine.  There have been things that I've wished for in my life and there have also been things that have definitely been burning desires (okay, those desires too - I ain't gonna lie).   My burning desires are my dreams.  Who says I have to put my dreams aside?  No way.  I'm not gonna say what my dreams are just yet - I'm waiting to see if they come true or not.

Till then, today is on the brink of going down in history.  Was today a landmark day?  I'm sure it was for some people.  It was just another day for me.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

gettin' my domestic on

Who knew that keeping house could be so invigorating??!?!  It felt great to scrub the blank out of my bathtub this afternoon.  I was sweating after I was finished!  So I said to myself, Self, why stop there?  Let's continue the endorphin rush!  I swept and mopped and disinfected my entire apartment.  I gotta do this more often!  Listen kids, endorphins are my new drug of choice.  Best of all, it's FREE!

Of course when you're Molly Maid for a day, you get awful hungry.  I spent $1.60 on 4 Parmesan buns which now reduces my net worth to fifteen cents.  Did I ever feel like Jesus when I made a big dirty plate of spaghetti, meatballs & garlic bread for dinner.  I thought about making an apple brown betty for dessert (why do they call it brown betty?  Was betty brown to begin with?) but no, I just didn't feel like it.  What would happen to me if I couldn't cook?  I'd starve.  There's just no other way to put it.

Now that my apartment is so fresh and so clean clean, I can put my feet up, maybe treat myself to a self-administered foot massage and watch football (American, that is).  Yes, you read correctly.  Football - of the NFL persuasion.  I really do like watching it!   In case you were wondering, it's Colts vs. Redskins.  Colts had an onside kickoff and the Redskins scored in 3 plays that took 77 seconds.  Redskins are up by 7 in the 1st quarter.  

If only I had a beer, some hot wings with blue cheese sauce and a pair of balls to scratch.  

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I enjoy being a girl

Being a girl is just so much fun.  We get gifts every month!  Mine is a doozie.  Every month I turn into the spawn of Satan incarnate.  I breathe fire and will vanquish those who dare to cross my path.  I feel like fire and brimstone at this very moment.  As much as it would be cool to hang out someone, I know I wouldn't be any good company.  Right now I just want to be left alone.

These rage blackouts started several months ago.  Back then I would just cry at anything & everything.  Now I just need peace.  Kinda hard when you've got no food, no money and annoying neighbours.  I don't expect anyone to understand me when I'm in this state... hell, I don't expect anything from anyone.  Athena will take care of herself - she always has so why should anything change now?

There's nothing else for me to say at this time.  I'm going to find some way to amuse myself for the rest of the afternoon.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I've got plans for the long weekend

For the first time in 140 days, no bill collector has called me looking for blood from a stone. Happy days!  Let's celebrate!  I'll do that in my imagination - no tengo dineros!

Before I go any further, I want to pay my respects to the poor soul who lost his life on a Greyhound bus by some maniac out west.  I've never known any Canadian who could be that cruel as to cut off a total stranger's head and throw it on the ground.  What a devastating thing to happen.  I'm sure no one's going to want to take Greyhound ever again - I know I wouldn't.

On to more lighter topics.  It's Friday night of a long weekend for those of us in Ontario.  Got plans?  Me?  Heh heh heh. I'm doing what I do best these days - sweet nothing.  I can't afford to do anything anyways.  Most (if not all) of my friends are doing something-or-other with their significant others.  Maybe they all think I've got plans.   It's happened to me before... I sit at home in front of the TV whilst the world lives it up around me and people call me up to say, didn't you have plans?  I thought you were going to _______ or hang out with _________.   I guess all those supposed plans just cancel themselves out so I'm left sitting here spending quality time with my PVR.

I'm sure you've come to the conclusion that I think about stuff alot, eh?  I wonder if I'd still feel lonely if I was employed.  When I was working, I still felt quite lonely. I'm not one to hit up the clubs or those dating sites that everyone seems to be having so much success with (I got all of their rubbish - great).  Am I looking for friends or a boyfriend to call my own?  A bit of both, if I may be so bold as to answer my own question.  I'd love to have a boyfriend.  Why not?  I like to think I've got a lot to offer - intriguing personality, killer curves and a mind that just won't quit.  No, I'm not a narcissist... someone's gotta toot my horn!

Truth be told, if I met someone right now I'd run for the hills.  "Hi, I'm Athena and I'm collecting government cheese.  I have a toonie in my bank account.  Wanna go out for some air sometime?"  Sounds like someone you'd take home to the folks right quick!  Maybe I just want someone who'll be there for me.  Someone who thinks the sun shines out of my backside.  Someone I can share my feelings with.  Someone who knows how to operate telephonic devices.  Someone who doesn't get "busy".   Are you out there?  Do you even exist?  In my dreams, maybe.  Rob James-Collier, you just don't know!  Once you go Canadian, you'll never cross the pond again!

There's those that say I should learn to love myself first before I can love anyone else.  This is very true however no one loves Athena like Athena.  Athena is sick & tired of being all things to Athena when the rest of the world is "busy".  I wonder if I'll ever find what I'm looking for. To top it off, nowadays I don't feel like I fit in anywhere.  Right now I feel like I don't belong with anyone or anything except here in my apartment in the company of my stuffed polar bear Bill.  I spend lots of time with Bill because he's never "busy" and he listens to me.  

I do have issues I need to work out for myself.  Who doesn't these days?  I'm trying my best to work through my issues on my own.  I read all kinds of books on the topic, actually... reminds me of something one of my exes told me: "Athena, you won't find life's answers in a book."  He knew how much I loved to read - hell, I still do.  Reading is cheap entertainment and the library isn't too far away.  S'pose I could just read all weekend.  I've got 4 books on the go and I could have them all done by holiday Monday.  

A-ha!  I just came up with some weekend plans. WOOT, WOOT!