Thursday, May 31, 2012

Surly Thursdays: grocery store edition

Dear Loblaws:

Just wanted to thank you for another thrill-filled adventure at the self check-out station today. I know, I know - it's my own fault. Every time I go there I tell myself I will never, under any circumstances, use the self check-out station again because saving a few minutes is not worth the resultant blood pressure spike/rage-induced headache/visions of death and destruction. But then the next time, there are barely any cashiers on (why would there be, when you have these marvels of technology to replace them?) and long lineups of cranky people, and, well, it's kind of like childbirth or aerobics; I forget the magnitude of the pain, and I think 'maybe it won't be so bad this time'. Because I'm a fucking moron.

It tells me to put my re-usable bags on the platform, so I do. It says press DONE when I'm, you know, done, so I do. Then it tells me that the large item I'm trying to scan needs to be scanned by the cashier. Except I didn't try to scan a large item. The cashier comes over and says maybe my bags on the platform set off the scale. You know, the bags the disembodied robotic bitch just told me to put there.

Anyway. I proceed with scanning items. There's the usual bullshit with the disembodied robotic bitch telling me to remove the last item placed in the bag and scan it when I ALREADY BLOODY SCANNED IT, and the disembodied robotic bitch taking her sweet damned time scanning stuff, like she's off deciding what colour she'd paint her robotic fingernails if she had a body, and then the out-of-the-blue, Kafkaesque demand to 'see the attendant'. The attendant - who stand at the center of the bank of self-checkout stations, ostensibly to monitor things and help out as needed - is, of course, busy chatting with two other cashiers, who I have clearly been mistakenly feeling sympathy for, being replaced by those evil machines and everything, because here they still are. So I push the button that says "Call Attendant". And the Attendant immediately fixes me with a vicious stare and hollers "Don't EVER push that button! All it does it jam everything up!"


Right. Of course. I'M the asshole for pushing a button that says CALL ATTENDANT, in order to... um.... call the attendant. I make questioning noises. She says "Well I don't know! I'm not a software engineer. They make a lot more money than I do." I suggest that maybe she could make a nice low-tech sign that says 'don't use CALL ATTENDANT button to call attendant, because if they don't make a sign and the button stays there, people will probably keep pressing it when they want to call the attendant. People can be douchey like that.

I've worked a lot of retail. I've dealt with a lot of bitchy customers. Normally I'm not one of the bitchy customers. I'm nice. I'm sympathetic. I'm ready to be on your side. If she had said "I know. They're idiotic. I hate them", she and I would have been TOTALLY COOL. We could have high-fived and gone out for margaritas. But no - she's drunk disembodied robotic bitch's kool-aid. She's one of THEM now.

And yes, I do realize I started this out as a snarky letter and that device kind of fell apart halfway through. I should have just gone with this:

Dear Allison: Don't ever ever use the self-checkout station again. It's worse than childbirth. And you can't even use stories of the pain to guilt it into bringing you cupcakes later on.

Friday, May 25, 2012

So I went on this field trip...

It was really far from the school, just like that other one - over an hour on the bus.

BUT I was sitting with this really nice woman who moved here from Edmonton last year and we talked about books and teachers and working for the government and the time flew by. We were in the second seat from the front, so there was a nice breeze but not a 60mph wind whipping my hair into a Medusa-like frenzy.

The weather forecast was 35 degrees with the humidex, with possible thunderstorms.

BUT it didn't feel that hot or humid, and the whole place was shaded, and the weather was perfect and beautiful and it didn't rain.

We were going to someplace called MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre, which I was led to believe was a kind of conservation area, and we were told to bring bug repellent, so I was envisioning swampy ickiness swarming with frogs and mosquitoes. One woman at book club said, with great portent, "I've always managed to be unavailable for that one", and I quailed, QUAILED, with terror.

BUT it was actually a pioneer village, there was no swamp in sight, and the bugs weren't that bad.

When we first got into our groups with the instructors, I realized that the entire area was covered with those tiny pebbles just like the ones around the bench at baseball, and I had a flashback to 12 seven-year-old boys kicking the rocks in a deafening rock-sliding din and blinding choking dust flying around and I was just taking a deep breath for a consciousness-losing screaming session....

WHEN the instructor said to the kids "look, we're standing on these little tiny rocks, and the temptation for you all to kick them around while I'm talking will be strong, but if you do that no one will be able to hear, so we need to listen respectfully and keep our feet glued to the ground". AND THEY DID.

We went to the schoolhouse and they let the kids dip quills in inkwells and do lessons. Some of the kids got ink all over their fingers. And hands. And arms. And faces.

BUT they let me help wash it off in the bathroom before lunch. And one little girl said "thank-you for washing my face" very politely.

They let the kids lift relatively heavy logs, grind corn with honkin' big mortars and pestles, drill into tree trunks, use hammers, and wield two-man crosscut SAWS.

AND yet everyone went home with all digits and limbs intact, and they were all thrilled at everything they got to do - Eve said gleefully, "they let us use inappropriate tools!"

I know, I know - everyone was waiting anxiously to commiserate (I don't want to say 'like a bunch of rapacious vultures hovering around looking to tear with vicious beaks at the carrion of my misery' or anything). Unfortunately, there's just no story here. I'm about equal parts relieved and disappointed.

I went on a field trip.... and it was fun.

Building a log cabin

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stuff I was Thinking While Driving Around

I was out running errands - library, grocery store to get stuff for a good field-trip lunch for tomorrow, because remember this little piece of hell manifested on earth? I decided it wouldn't be fair not to experience the same unsanctified splendours with my younger child as well. That's not true, she actually brought the form home and begged me to sign it and send it back RIGHT AWAY because the first three Moms got to come and she was pretty sure no one else would send it back the very next day (uh, yeah, because NO ONE ELSE WANTS TO GO), so I did. Only afterwards did I realize it's an all-day deal again and it's supposed to be 35 freaking degrees out again and I have to ride on the bus. Again. Please god let the epi-pen chick not be in my group.

....and flowers for my Mom to plant in our front planter, which she does as a birthday gift for me. Of course last year she bought the flowers, which meant I appreciated the effort but hated most of the flowers. This year I bought the flowers, which means she'll still plant it for me but will hate the flowers. We share not one iota of aesthetic sensibility, my mother and I.

Every time I'm driving and I see someone walking along the road hauling grocery bags I have the immediate impulse to stop and give them a ride. I remember hauling grocery bags, and while sometimes it felt like good exercise and a reasonable part of the day's work, sometimes it was just a slog. It would have been awesome to have someone pull up and offer me a quick ride home in an air-conditioned vehicle. Of course, it would have been awesome if it was someone I knew, not some crack-brained stranger who might have a knife hidden under the driver's seat or some kind of paralytic drug that she would administer in order to render me helpless while she parks in some secluded area and forces me to listen as she reads aloud from The Magicians or Little, Big, or some other book that she adores and can't figure out why every single person she recommends it to thinks it's dreck.

So I don't offer anyone a ride, because I am no longer the struggling student or carless young person. I am now the crack-brained stranger. In case that wasn't clear.

As I was pulling up to the mailbox on the way home, I saw a woman walking on the sidewalk across the street who had obviously just been running. She was.... thin. The adjectives I want to insert there are 'painfully', 'skeletally', 'excessively', but I acknowledge the possibility that she just has a marathoners body type and maybe she's completely healthy. I imagined getting out of my van and calling out to her, "you look a little too thin", and her calling back, "you look a little too fat" and the two of us cheerfully going on about our days.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mondays on the Margins: Your Voice in My Head by Emma Forrest

The last time I was at Chapters, I looked at a book in the biography section that struck me as interesting, so I got it from the library. It was called Your Voice in My Head and the author was Emma Forrest. As soon as I started reading it, I realized I had read an article in the paper, a few months or a year ago, about the author and the book. The article went into a fair bit of detail about an affair the author had had with Colin Farrell. Also, there was a picture and her hair was awesome.

Well, I thought, I'm never going to read THAT book.


From Goodreads: Emma Forrest, an English journalist, was twenty-two and living in America when she realised that her quirks had gone beyond eccentricity. A modern day fairy tale of New York, Your Voice in My Head is a dazzling and devastating memoir, clear-eyed and shot through with wit. In a voice unlike any other, Emma Forrest explores depression and mania, but also the beauty of love—and the heartbreak of loss.

It wasn't bad. There's sort of a Catch-22 situation, I think, about memoir writing, which is that, if you're a crappy writer, people reading the book (and by 'people' I mean 'me') are annoyed by your crappy writing but it does sometimes convey a sort of rough authenticity, because you haven't been able to beautify your pain with eloquence and metaphor. If you're a really good writer, conversely, you always run the risk of writing too well about your crippling depression and multiple suicide attempts, in which case people reading the book (and by 'people' I still mean me) are automatically suspicious about how tormented you really are when you manage to describe bodily fluids, near-death experiences and incarceration in psychiatric wards with such wit and wisdom. Maybe the problem is that the people reading are just sort of bitchy and impossible-to-please? Nah. 

Also, do you think it's worse if a person who has slept with a lot of famous people is a name-dropper or a name-withholder? The widely-held consensus is that Forrest's 'Gypsy Husband' is Colin Farrell - their relationship is well-publicized, and there are no pictures of her with other movie stars - but she doesn't name him in the book. She also mentions dating "a writer who is almost as famous for his tumultuous private life as he is for his award-winning work", and in interviews she states that she's dated several movie stars, but "Colin is the only one I ever got caught with" (because it's so embarrassing dating movie stars that everyone tries to hide it, natch).

Leah McLaren, when Forrest plays coy about the Colin Farrell thing in an interview, says "It’s simply unreasonable to accept public adulation for laying yourself bare one moment, then behave as though your privacy is being invaded the next." I sort of get that, but on the whole I think I prefer Forrest's decision not to use names - it's only just a bit less obvious and self-aggrandizing, but it is still less so. She does mention running into Heath Ledger shortly before his death, in a wistful anecdote where she imagines that the coffee they had together was a magic coffee that prevented his subsequent overdose.

It's a book that could have been annoying, but for the most part it wasn't. Forrest has written three novels and is now a screenwriter, and although there are definitely moments where she makes being bipolar and suicidal in L.A. sound a little more screen-worthy than it probably should, and the description of Gypsy Husband is right over the top, her description of the psychiatrist who changes her life (maybe - I'm not sure she wouldn't have gotten tired of all the cutting and squalor and bad sex all on her own) is quite endearing. And the way she talks about her parents is charmingly hilarious.

I wouldn't have been outraged if I'd paid for it. As a free read it was quite good.

Memorable Quotes:

"I think my mother has the sense of doom, and guilt about the sense of doom of Jews her age who weren't directly touched by the Holocaust. When she was growing up in New York, the first bad thing that happened to her was that Irish children moved into the Jewish neighbourhood and stole her kazoo and her sailor hat. She was a fat little girl, guarding the cakes she had hidden in her sock drawer. What was a fat child in 1940s New York, without her kazoo?"

"[Dr. R.] was cheerful. He was an eternal optimist. There was nothing I could tell him that he'd tell me was as bad as I'd decided it was. 'Oh, and then I murdered a drifter. I stabbed him twenty-two times.' 'Only twenty-two times? That's fewer than twenty-three.' I trusted him completely. And I liked how he saw me. It's that simple."

"'Instead of sending mix tapes to Robert Downey-' 'Junior.' I make this distinction as if it excuses my behaviour, like, what kind of sick person would send unsolicited packages to Robert Downey Senior?'"

"There's still a fresh flower [a scar from self-cutting] on my upper right thigh, and I can tell from the nonchalant reaction of bikini waxers that they've become used to this sort of thing: girls who want to prettify and uglify, and cannot find a difference - like that hypothetical circle where communism meets fascism."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I could have done a 'Wordless Wednesday': I was just at the grocery store and I passed a big display of bags of popcorn. There was kettle corn, which we don't like because it's too sweet, and aged cheddar popcorn, which we like but I didn't buy it, and then there was BACON RANCH popcorn. And at the bottom of the bag it says "ALL NATURAL". And I HAD a camera, because I was just at school to watch Eve's class perform their mini-plays (in Eve's she was a speeding, red-light flouting, car-stealing maniac who then mouths off to a policeman, and she was a little too convincing for comfort if you ask me), and as I walked past the display I thought I should really take a picture of the popcorn and then blog it with the caption 'there is nothing natural about this'. But I didn't. Here's a picture, if you really need one.

Eve being a delinquent:

I thought of doing an "I Wonder Wednesday". You know what I wonder? When a female character on a tv show is heterosexual, and has sex with men often and happily, but then meets another female character and falls in love with her and has sex with her, when they break up, why is the female character just "gay now"? Why wouldn't they be considered bisexual? This happened with Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy. Both characters are initially presented as heterosexual - Willow is in love with her best friend Xander and later has a serious boyfriend, and Callie is - well, I don't want to say 'easy', but let's just say she is in firm control of her own sexuality, not that everyone in the freaking hospital doesn't seem to have way too much time and energy for sex in the on-call room, considering they're all supposed to be working punishing hours wherein they're, you know, responsible for PEOPLE'S LIVES. Anyway. In both cases, these women meet another female character and become overwhelmed by her charisma/intelligence/magic specialness, and end up having sex with her. Fine. Good. I'm pretty much solidly hetero, but I've looked on certain women as lust objects - when I met a friend of my husband's from when he went to school at the Ontario Science Centre, this woman with an electrifying presence and really cool hair, and she introduced herself and I went to do the same, I actually forgot my name for a second. 

But then, in both cases, when the relationship with the game-changing woman ends, both women are now just... gay. Forever and ever. I have no problem with gay characters, obviously, but is this realistic? I don't know a lot of gay people really well, admittedly, so maybe what I've read and assumed for years is wrong - that most people either know they're gay fairly early in life or know that they don't feel about the opposite sex the way they're expected to, and if they do date the opposite sex it's usually just in an effort to appear 'normal'. Is this totally wrong? Or is it that tv show producers think that we're ready to accept gay characters but not bisexual ones? Because I don't understand why the character would not just now be considered bisexual. I mean, it's a tv show, everyone's so goddamned good-looking anyway, does one really have to choose? 

Or maybe a "What I'm Reading Wednesday". I just finished Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood. It was actually quite good, but I have trouble reading Margaret Atwood these days without all my Margaret Atwood-related baggage coming to bear. When I was interviewing for my job at the audio publisher where I used to work, I mentioned her as one of my favourite authors, and my boss (who was, bear in mind, a little insane and kind of an ass) told me she was a complete and total bitch, and provided a supporting anecdote. Then I saw a few interviews with her around the time she was publicizing Oryx and Crake, and she just seemed so smug about the fact that she'd figured out that the environment was in trouble, like she thought she was the first and only one, and she went on and on about how bananas are becoming extinct, and then there was the whole thing about her not wanting it to be called science fiction, when, Dude, it's totally science fiction, and not the best dystopic science fiction book I've ever read (although I did quite like The Year of the Flood), and ANYWAY, I saw Moral Disorder in the library and thought I should read it since I read everything she wrote for years but then hadn't read anything lately. And then there was the jacket copy. "...her breathtaking and deeply personal new book of fiction". Um? What's so deeply personal about it. It's good, but it's quite similar to many of her other books from what I can see. It's about relationships, being a woman in the modern world, being a mother/sister/daughter, plus there's a horse. Maybe Margaret Atwood has a horse? Also, it's billed a 'a series of inter-related stories, which seems to be the New Thing in publishing. But, much like The Juliet Stories, to me it just reads like a novel. Okay, it skips around in time - many, many novels do this. It still tells the story of one woman's life, from childhood to old age. I guess that it's possible that each story can be read as a whole in a way that some book chapters couldn't - is that supposed to be the big draw? I recently read A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, which is just presented as a novel - THAT, to me, reads more like a series of inter-related stories. Each chapter begins from a different point of view, and it took several paragraphs to figure out which character from the previous chapters was now front and centre. I really liked it (although reviewers on Goodreads seemed deeply divided). My husband thinks I'm being too hard on Margaret Atwood. It's true, I do hold silly grudges for perplexingly long period of time. I've had The Blind Assassin on my shelf for years. Maybe I should try to read it. Without prejudice.

There you go. Waffly Wednesday. 

Friday, May 11, 2012


Oh look, one pitiful post this week - possibly a new low?

It's been a strange week. Matt was in China (that was not the strange part. That was fairly normal, which suddenly seems a little strange, but whatever). Monday was beautiful and sunny. Pam and I went down to Dow's Lake to walk around looking at tulips and saying things like 'ooh, nice tulips'. Then Pam took a picture of me that made it obvious that 1) I've gained some weight over the past year or so and 2) When I try to suck in my gut it makes it look like I'm trying to stick out my boobs, possibly in two different directions. On the up side, my hair wasn't bad.

Monday night Eve had baseball (they won) but she was already starting to get sniffly and Tuesday she stayed home from school with a bad cold. Her nose was running, but the worst cold symptom she gets is that her eyes tear up horribly. When she was young this was terrible, because she didn't understand that it was just happening because she was sick - she thought that if tears were coming out of her eyes she must be sad. Now she just finds it annoying.

The week was going to be a welter of tortuous logistics, with Matt away, Eve's Tuesday dance class and Thursday dance performance (at school for the art display night), four baseball games between the two kids and Angus getting braces. But Eve was sick, which meant she didn't go to dance class on Tuesday night, and Angus's first baseball game got rained out. This should have made me more relaxed. But Tuesday, I felt so exhausted and crappy that after Angus left for school, I got Eve breakfast and went back to bed, I let Angus play video games for too long in the evening, and by Wednesday morning I felt like I was lying at the bottom of a deep, dark hole with something heavy and immovable on top of me.

I sat at the computer while Eve lay on the couch all morning. I tapped keys aimlessly. I tried to breathe. Breathing felt really hard. I tried not to cry because I didn't want Eve to worry. I was kind of glad she was here because it felt like being alone would have been worse. I thought about asking Twitter for help, but then I felt like I'd been doing too much of that lately and it didn't see possible that it would help, which means I was further down than I've been for a long time. I felt the future disappearing.

But I had to take Angus to get his braces on. So I dropped Eve off at my Mom's and picked up Angus and acted normal. And Angus was funny and goofy and sweet and it wasn't morning any more (I'm starting to think that I'm 'not a morning person' in a slightly more intense and unfortunate sense than the usual one). And I started to feel better.

Thursday I got up and went to the gym and got on the treadmill, where I always listen to my ipod but still look up at the bank of televisions. I was hoping for I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, because we all know how an unearned sense of superiority crushes the last of a depressive episode, but all I saw were sappy shows about children getting home makeover experts to built a garden for their recovering-from-cancer single Mom. I am not a sentimental person. Well, I am, but I have an overactive snark gland that always takes over before I can get too far down any sentimental path. So I was confused when water started dripping off my face when I didn't think I was sweating that much, and then I realized with utter horror that I WAS CRYING. ON THE TREADMILL. AT A SHOW ON THE LEARNING CHANNEL.

I took a deep breath and looked away from the offending show. Directly at a clip of a soldier returning from Afghanistan, who was crouched down while his six-year-old son with cerebral palsy who doctors had said would never walk WALKED ACROSS THE ROOM TO HIS FATHER, JESUS CHRIST THEY'RE TRYING TO KILL ME. I looked away from the televisions and tried to concentrate on the music.

This song.

This song.

Oh for fuck's sake. I probably would have cried if it was this song. I started laughing, which just made me feel even more like I was completely losing my shit. I took deep breaths and stared directly ahead of me. At the defibrillator.

Today was sunny again, and I was fine. I never used to be that big a fan of the sun - it was, I don't know, too bright. Too obvious. Now I practically need a goddamned prescription for it. Pam and I tracked down Suzy Q. Holy mother of fuck, Suzy Q makes a MAPLE BACON doughnut. And one with FROOT LOOPS on it. And they all taste exactly like a sunny Friday when you've been Horribly Depressed and aren't any more - no, really, that's objective, I'm almost sure of it. And then we went bathing suit shopping and even THAT didn't bring me down. Plus, Pam was in a total badass mood. My overly polite and deferential BFF, the woman who watches people not scoop up their dog's crap and then says good morning to them anyway, DID NOT let people merge several times - it's true, I witnessed it personally. Also, there was a group of teenagers, some of whom butted obnoxiously in front of us to get on the escalator, so while I stood demurely to the right as we rode up, she parked herself solidly on the left so none of the others could get around us. Also, she drove my van so I didn't have to because sometimes I'm too anxious to drive.

It's stuff like this that makes me happy to pay for her doughnuts every now and then.

Now it's Friday night. My husband is home. My son is at a sleepover. My daughter is asleep, having first explained to me in vivid detail this fabulous new movie she's just discovered called The Parent Trap which is Sick And Awesome. And did I mention I got to watch my daughter dance to Kung Fu Fighting while wearing a duct tape belt? Here's a blurry photo or two as proof.

I'm happy.

It's been a strange week.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sick day

Eve stayed home sick today. I seem to have this weird problem where I regress back to when she was two years old and sick, and I would have to spend all day cuddling, consoling, entertaining, making her drink and helping her blow her nose (you know how kids can't blow their noses for shit? She would blow through her mouth with a TOTALLY CONVINCING noise and I was convinced she was a snot-expelling genius, until my husband clued me in. Whatever. She was a fake-nose-blowing-prodigy). At this point, she really requires almost no attention. She reads, watches tv, blows her nose on her own (kind of pathetically, actually, since she doesn't feel the need to fake the noise any more). I could easily go about my business - write stuff, clean stuff, organize stuff - but instead I wander around aimlessly asking her if she needs anything and getting nothing done.

At least she's entertaining. She was lying on the couch and I was enjoying the novelty of having The Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana on during school hours, and then REALLY enjoying the badass cynical edge Eve was displaying while watching.

After an episode of Zoey 101, in which a former bully returns to school reformed and spends the episode convincing everyone he's changed: "Well that's not right. He SHOULD have been drawing them all in to believing he was good and then turned out to still really be bad."

Switching the channel from That's So Raven: "This show is so stupid. You'd think that after the twenty-fifth time she does this she'd realize that she's ALWAYS totally WRONG about what the vision means. Clue in to reality, people!"

Then she said "me and my snotty nose are going to take a shower." She went upstairs dragging her blanket, then called down that the blanket was so fuzzy she had accidentally lain down in the hallway and was having trouble getting up. I offered to come up and take her picture, which got her into the shower.

Now she's upstairs reading Catching Fire, but she has to come down every few minutes because it terrifies her until her hands shake. Which - wait - I'm a fucking idiot and I should go upstairs, right?

Anyone need a kleenex?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Randoms

I keep trying to blog but being thwarted. It's Angus's birthday on Sunday but Matt's leaving for China or Estonia or wherever-the-fuck tomorrow night so Angus has three friends over for Laserquest and a sleepover tonight. I had to bake a cake. Here's the cake:

Is that not freaking awesome? Here's where I got the idea. It's double awesome because it looks impressive on the outside and yet the actual iced cake can be a bloody mess, which iced cakes INVARIABLY ARE when I make them. I was short one KitKat, so those slightly different lumpy things over there are Reese sticks. Because even when something's dead simple, count on me to find a way to bugger it up.

Then I had to take a picture of the cake. Then I tried to load the pictures from the memory card onto my computer and it did that thing where it said I had to reformat the card to use it, which would erase all the pictures, including the ones from Eve's birthday party, which, granted, was in February and now it's May, but still, sucks to be me, FUCK OFF. So then I tried it downstairs and it didn't work but in a different way, so then I tried another memory card in my computer and it still didn't work, but when I stuck the original one back in it suddenly worked. Isn't it funny when all it takes to make a day better is something going horribly catastrophically wrong and then turning out not to be?

Every time I cut oddly-shaped fruit I always cut towards myself, and even though I know this is asking for trouble, when trouble occurs I am always both surprised and outraged.

I went to the allergist. He was nice. And weird. Possibly slightly mentally unhinged. He wanted me to do a breathing test that measured exogamous nitrous oxide or something - wait, that can't be right, exogamous means marrying outside one's tribe or clan. It was probably endogenous. Possibly indigenous? Hey, have you seen this? I never would have guessed so many people would misspell 'vicariously' as 'bicuriously'. Look, a squirrel! Anyway, this device that measured the outwardly-marrying, originating-from-within, ethnic-and-probably-soon-to-be-persecuted-and-eradicated-by-war-or-disease nitrous oxide is apparently a little finicky, so he cautioned me that I would have to breathe out 'not too fast, not too slow -- like Goldilocks', and said he would coach me. The thing is, once you reach the optimum blowing speed (never typed those words altogether before, I don't think) the thingy lights up and a little happy face appears. So he really didn't need to be standing uncomfortably close to me going "Perfect! Perfect! Perfectperfectperfectperfectperfect" the whole time I was blowing and trying not to explode in hysterical laughter.

Anyway, the verdict seems to be that I'm allergic to.... nothing!

Awesome. So it's more of an... existential allergy? Ah well. Ruled some stuff out and didn't bail on the appointment and spend the day curled up in the corner drinking gin, so... win?

Happy Friday. I'm eating mango. And there is a bandaid on my finger.