Thursday, May 31, 2007

My mom sent me an email a while ago, asking how my critique went. So...

So, I'm in this class, see, and it's on writing fiction, and it's compressed, see, so it feels like we're handing things in all the time, hand-over-fist. But really, we've only handed two things in, and that's not so much until you consider that, for crying out loud, it's not even June yet.

So, we've handed in two short stories to date, and in my personal opinion, there's NOTHING more difficult than writing a short story. Unless it's having a short story critiqued.

See, we're put in groups of 5, and then we each print off enough copies of our own story for everyone else in the group, and then we all go home and break out our red pens, and read them, and make comments. That part is fun. The reading of other people's stories, the peek into other people's brains, the realization that I am a much better writer than some of these people, and somehow that matters.

But THEN we come back to class, and we get into our groups, and we share. We share what we liked, what we didn't like, what worked, what confused us. We say 'you shifted tenses here' and 'this sentence was awkward' and 'when I first read this, I thought it meant this.' We say all these things, and we try to be kind, because our turn is coming up, but we also try to be constructive, because this is why we are here, right? To learn?

But it's stressful. It's stressful to have people say unflattering things about something you've spent hours on. It's stressful to have people not get your vision, and have to gently explain to them that what they're suggesting you amend it to isn't in fact what you want to say, without sounding defensive. It's stressful to have the prof sit in on your discussions, and to be judged not only on your work, but on your criticism of others' work.

And THEN you get your second story back, a story which you kind of loved and which tickled you when you realized how it was going to end, and it's a full letter grade lower than your first story, which you hated.

And THEN you realize that the only thing more difficult than having a short story critiqued is revising a short story, because it's like trying to decide which parts of a child you like best, and hacking off the other parts, and then trying to rebuild a new child, but at least NOW you get to revise the one you love, instead of the one you wish you'd never written.

THAT'S how my critique went.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I love Costco.

I love grocery shopping in general, love coming home and filling my cupboards, love the thought that I can eat ANYthing I want for dinner (see also: that feeling after laundry day, that my whole wardrobe is open to me). I think they call it 'nesting,' this fondness for a well-stocked larder.

And so I love Costco doubly, because anything I buy at Costco, I wont need to buy again until 2034. And because anything I buy at Costco is liable to be oven-ready. Prep time will be half an hour, twenty-five minutes of which I will spend watching Scrubs.

And because Charmin Ultra was on sale, and Joel wasn't along to gainsay it, I'll be wiping my ass with disposable hand-towels for the next eight months.

I feel so decadent.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

This Weekend: A play in four parts

Act 1: Friday

Friday evening, Joel and I went to Eat! Vancouver (exclamation point totally necessary). Never been? Us neither. But imagine, my friends, if the stalls in the aisle of Costco, you know, the ones that hand out little samples of Blueberry Bran Bars or Chicken and Monterey Jack Chimichangas, if those stalls were to rendezvous with the PNE, and their illicit love child were to be blessed with all the culinary attributes but none of the bizzare ingredients of an Iron Chef, THAT is Eat! Vancouver. Tiny kiwi slushies, scallops wrapped in bacon and skewered on a toothpick, slivers of mango, the world's only good potato salad, all free. Like the potato salad? Here's the recipe. And a bag of baby potatoes. Want some rice? Have some rice. Slip it into your goody bag you got when you came in, and walk by the rice place again. Walk by the rice place NINE TIMES!! That's right, in addition to the delicious samples of tasty tidbits, many places handed out freebies. All told, Joel and I got:

nine bags rice,

two packets of splenda,

three razors for Joel,

two razors for me,

five tea bags,

five packets of flax seeds,

four packets of raw sugar,

five servings of psyllium and oat bran cereal, which I actually kind of like,

and seven ketchup-packets of honey.

So we got free stuff, and we got full, and we got to have an evening out with our landlords. Well worth the twelve-dollars-and-one-food-bank-donation-each we spent to get in. OH! AND we had a cheese tasting. I've never been one to sit around and savor cheeses for their own sake, but if someone's going to sit me down and tell me about six different kinds of cheeses and let me spread them on bread and munch on them, I'm all for it.

Act 2: Saturday day

Saturday morning, Joel and I went on a mad shopping spree. We went back to Ikea to return the coffee table we bought the last time we were there, and which we may have inadvertently dented quite badly while still in the package, but which we don't feel bad about returning, because if furniture can't withstand a good ramming-into-an-overcrowded-hatchback, then it deserves what it gets. We also dropped by the massive Linens 'N Things, which is unignorably RIGHT NEXT to Ikea, and for which we had some gift card money. I had no idea. I would sell my right ovary to live in the L'NT. We found this fabulous space-saver shelf thing that goes over our toilet, to make up for the nostoragespace that we have in our bathroom, and we got the most badass doormat in the neighborhood (my sister actually commented on the badassedness of our doormat today when she came to visit, but that is another story), and we got a massive wooden salad bowl with these matching serving spoons, except the only pair of serving spoons left were broken, so we cracked open a set that had salad bowl/serving bowls/and spoons, and stole the spoons out of there. NOT stole as in did-not-pay-for, but stole as in the girl had to call in for the code because there was mysteriously no price tag on them, and someone's going to buy that set, and have to come back and say 'We didn't get any spoons.' And to them, I am very sorry. But isn't the bowl gorgeous? Doesn't it make you want to eat salad? Then we went to the mall and I bought ultra-high-quality running shoes for wayyyyyyyyyyyyy too much money, which goes against everything that I stand for, but Joel and I have this discussion every year and YES! I value my knees over the amount of money I am about to spend, and YES! I realize that running is my only real sport and that this is the only sports-based expenditure I am going to make for the next twelve months (except maybe some really cute jogging shorts once I stop feeling so fat), and YES! logically it all makes sense, but my gut reaction to paying through the nose for shoes that AREN'T EVEN CUTE? Still sour. Also, I bought a pair of darling brown board shorts with yellow and blue stitching.

Act 3: Saturday evening

I think I've mentioned this before, and if I haven't, let me do so now. Our landlords are the most gregarious people in the land. When Joel and I move out, we will have forgotten how to conduct our own social lives. We won't be able to make friends or plan events for ourselves. It will be a disaster. Saturday night, our landlords threw a pop star party. Everyone came dressed as their favorite pop star, and there was much kareoke. Since I've always wanted to be Avril Lavigne because she's so raw and edgy, even more so now that she's all processed and hot, and still raw and edgy, and because she's more distinctive-looking than Kelly Clarkson, who I've also always wanted to be and who I share a birthday with, I dressed up in my favorite black short-pants and my favorite miscellaneous tight t-shirt with something random on it (knots, in this case), put on too much eye make-up, and affected a completely disinterested manor. Also, because I wouldn't be generic punk without a rad pair of chucks, and because I don't own a pair of chucks, and because you can't wear shoes indoors and the party was indoors and my outfit wouldn't be complete without a pair of chucks, I borrowed a pair of Joel's socks and made...

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Those are not, in fact, a pair of Converse high tops, circa 1992, they are socks. Socks meets four Sharpies meets old shoe laces. Rad, though, hey? I won best-dressed, and I give credit to the sock-chucks. Here they are from the side.

I know. Yes. Two and a half hours. Totally worth it.

Act 4: Sunday

Mine own seastar Greyhounded out to visit me today. We assembled a coffee table, played a round of one-on-one Taboo (which I won), visited my grandparents and played two matches of Sequence (Kruegers vs. non-Kruegers, which Joel and I won, and boys vs. girls, which Boo and I won), played one-on-one-on-one Taboo with Joel (which, since I have a Swedish mind meld with both Boo and Joel, I won), polished off a bag of dried apricots, and ransacked the Walmart before parting. Dried apricots and stomach acid, in case you didn't know, are like Mentos and Died Coke. If you don't believe me, you can come over and listen to me fart.

On that winsome note, I will end this longest post ever. Many happy returns.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I had a pseudo-streak going of quasi-consecutive blogging. Very half-assedly productive of me. But I'm boring now, and my days are spent in this big leather chair, fiddling on the computer.

HowEVER, there is a new phenomenon sweeping the nation (or, at least three of my friends' blogs), and it's called: List Seven Random Facts About Yourself!!! Most of you (the people I hang out with in real life) will know all of this, but YOU, oh Internet, have no idea.

1. I only ever use one of my eyes at a time. I see in 2D and have no depth perception. I didn't know that it wasn't normal to see two of everything and to close one eye when you read until I was 22. I wasn't formally diagnosed until last year.

2. I can't drive.

3. Or ride a bike.

4. Or operate most things with wheels. Lots of this may have to do with #1.

5. I truly enjoy a peanut butter and pickle sandwich.

6. I broke my big toenail off about three years ago. I was chopping wood in my bare feet, and the chopping block fell over on it. It took a year to grow back, and it's never been the same.

7. I like to sleep on my back with my hands folded on my ribs and my ankles crossed. Vampire style.

I'm supposed to pick seven bloggers who have to do this now, or they'll get seven years bad luck and no one will think they're hot and their next kiss will be a flop and their dog will die, but all of the bloggers I think would do a thing like this have already done it.

Except Robyn. Robbie, you have to do this now, or all these bad things will happen to you. And Ryan will never do laundry as long as you both shall live, or even offer.

In completely other news, check out these photos of balloons popping! Tres bizarre!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Because I wasn't dissatisfied enough with my frozen burrito

Joel and I have been married for a month (check the ticker). We have spent the last few days spent in various homework-doing positions (in large leather chair, sprawled on bed, sprawled on floor, lumped up against wall with blanket), so I have really nothing to report.
Instead, I will tell you about this little Mexican restaurant that we went to on our honeymoon, as an excuse for posting some gratuitous, hunger-mongering pictures.
Our resort had a buffet-style everymeal eatery, as well as a snack bar, but it also had two 'restaurants' that you could book into. You had to make a 'reservation' the day before, but you probably didn't really because they didn't check or anything when you walked in. I think it was just a matter of people not knowing about it, because it was practically empty both times we ate there. The service was frighteningly prompt (they refilled your wine practically every time you took a sip) and the food was amazing!!
Here. Here is Joel's fish-and-shrimp kabobs.

I wish I'd gotten a better picture. Here is my steak. My tortilla chip is in the shape of a swan.

Because the resort was 'all inclusive,' the restaurant was free. You could conceivably, order seven entrees if you wanted. But who would? That would be gluttonous.

We did, however, each order a dessert. My crepes...

and Joel's ice-cream-in-a-wafer-dish...

and then we may or may not have each ordered a plate of churros.

We may or may not have also gone back the next night, ordered 2 appetizers, our entrees, and 3 plates of churros to finish the deal.

You may all go back to your bland lives now.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Yesterday Joel and I enjoyed all the perks of camping (the hot dogs, the fresh air, the intermittent rain, the nearby beach, the territorial squirrels, the jovial neighbors) without all the drags (the setting up the tent, the taking down the tent, the sleeping in the tent, the waking up when there's no fire built yet, the no coffee).

Two of our couple-friend-sets, JonandLaura and DaveandSheri, were going camping for the long weekend, despite threats of inclement weather. Joel and I drove the 45 minutes down yesterday morning (with an hour thrown in at the border), spent the day with the four of them playing Ticket to Ride and one very intense game of Game, picking our way along the beach to watch the locals dig for clams, and roasting a frozen pizza over the fire, and then drove the 45 minutes back up (with ten minutes thrown in at the border), stopping for the obligatory Sourdough Jack and milkshake, to shower in our own heated shower and sleep in our own lavish bed.

We got what you might call the long end of the stick.

PS. While we were on the beach, squirrels took over our campsite and ravaged our hot dogs. One of them climbed into the bag of chips while another stuck its head down the neck of Sheri's Nalgene. Our neighboring campers took pictures of the outrage before securing our edible goods under a box.

Friday, May 18, 2007

And the answer is...

For those of you who guessed ass-kicking bookshelf, YOU WERE RIGHT!!! Not only did he allow me to buy this beautiful beast (which cost more than our other two purchases put together), but he kicked me out of the room until he assembled it so that its final glory wouldn't be marred by seeing it in its various stages of undress.

It makes my extraordinarly heavy collection of books look positively trifling! I have room to buy ever so many more now! There's a rhyme and reason to which books are where, but it has more to do with how much I like them than it does with general logic. But if you can figure out which books I'd stab someone to keep (see: center tower) as opposed to which books I'm rather ashamed to own (see: entire top left shelf. see also: really bad but totally awesome fantasy), you'll have no problem navigating my new library.

We also bought this enormous, metal, infinitely practical monstrosity...

I totally love it. Look! I CAN SEE ALL MY SHOES! And yes, I know, only one of the shelves is forwards. I fixed them later. But look! My shoes! All of them (that's a lie. I have two pairs left in the closet, and three up by the front door, and my slippers are under the bed).
We also bought a coffee table, but there is a teeny massive dent in the top, so we're taking it back. We might have caused the dent. We don't think this is likely.
For lack of a measuring tape, we measured our spaces in Joels. This particular space, for example, is one Joel's wingspan minus one Joel's hand wide, and one Joel plus two Joel's hand span from thumb tip to pinky tall. I can't think of a more useful human being.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Yesterday, my family met in Coquitlam to celebrate Mother's Day/Grandmother's Day (not a real day)/my birthday/my brother's birthday/my brother's engagement/my sister's return to the workforce/our general continued well-being and enjoyment of food.

Joel and I got to Coquitlam and hour early, and what does one do when one is in Coquitlam with spare time? WE WENT TO IKEA!!!

This is three different furniture items. We will now play a game called 'guess what Rachel and Joel are building.' Your only clue is this: I love Joel eight times more now than I did before this trip.
After we engage in some adult-style Meccano™ I will post pictures of the finished products.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Parallel lives!

A day or two before my wedding, my sister came with me to the mall so that I could by a few last minute things: a garter, a cake (pie) topper, some earrings, a groom. I had seen some sunglasses at the 1-for-$13, 2-for-$20 kiosk, so I convinced Boo that she wantneeded* a pair as well. She bought this fabulous pink pair, and I got some faux-DG ones that I loved. They didn't squeeze my head too tight, they didn't have those little nose-rest things that catch in your hair when you wear your shades on the top of your head to look cool/keep your bangs out of your face, and they didn't sit so close to my face that my eyelashes hit them whenever I blinked. They were delicious.

The other day, I put them on the couch, thinking 'These are so large and fabulous, I will surely see them before I sit.' I am an idiot. They are in several shards.

That same day, I got an email from my sister saying 'I dropped my fabulous new pink sunglasses into a bucket of oil paint today. It was like watching the Titanic sink into oblivion.'

There once were two girls from Burnaby
Who bought sunglasses so they could see
One pair, it has sunk
The other is chunks
And now I wear the pair I broke last year, which aren't half as fabulous and were missing a little metal bolt that I replaced with an earring and hope no one will notice. Woe is me.

wantneed: to want something, but be unable to justify buying it unless you convince yourself that you need it. Dried mangoes are frequently wantneeded.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


There was a spider in my bathroom this morning.

I scooped him up and threw him in the toilet, and took a huge poop on him.

I like to think I'm exacting some small revenge for the years of terror his kind have afflicted me with.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Delicious victory

Yesterday night, after all our homework was done, Joel and I sat ourselves down with a few of our new games to teach them to ourselves. We love to have people over for games, but there's nothing worse than having someone try to teach you a game, stumble over the rules, check the rule book, renege on a rule that you've been playing by for 20 minutes because they realize they just made it up, and generally violate your interest in playing the game.

Some of our games we've never played. Some of them we haven't played since childhood, when cheating was expected and rules were hazy. And one of them, Ticket to Ride, we'd played over Christmas with Joel's adorable rich cousins, who then promptly sent us our own in the mail, except that it's the German version (set in Germany, not written in German) and obscenely more complicated (shameless plug: Ticket to Ride is the greatest game since jacks. It's like Settlers of Catan, except you know how sometimes when you're playing Settlers, someone builds the wrong road and effectively screws you over really early in the game, and so you spend the rest of the evening alternately sulking, trying to figure out why your ankle is so itchy, and screwing other people over, because you know you can't win? That never happens in Ticket. I mean, it can, but no one knows where you're trying to go, so they can't intentionally sabotage you unless they're really clever or you're really transparent, and even if they snag your quickest route, it's usually not impossible or even difficult to get where you were going anyways. Also, no one knows who wins until you count up at the end, and the game never lasts more than an hour. End shameless plug).

So Joel and I sit down with our Kahlua (which we bought for $10 in Mexico) and milk (which we drink out of crystal glasses because we have them), to play ourselves a few mock-rounds of each game. We never made it to the other games, because I was so excited by the destination cards I'd drawn in our faux-Ticket game, and Joel gets totally caught up in whatever fun thing is most immediately present.

I actually just wrote this entire post so that I could boast about kicking Joel's ass.

Also, to invite you all over for some games. And Kahlua and milk, if you are of age. We'll serve it to you in crystal.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Come one, come all, to my wedding photo extravaganza!!

We finally got our wedding pictures today (most of them), so follow the link to your right, or this one here, which I have inserted in case my chimichanga is done cooking before I can create a link to your right, and I have to go eat it.
If you are too lazy to follow the link, at least check out this sweet shot of us dancing on the moon!

Mom, I have a cd with all of them on it for you and dad.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Did you know that you can buy cream puffs covered in chocolate and filled with chocolate-flavored cream?

Last night I met with my writer's group. We talked about size-J boobs, everyone's children (except mine, shhh!), sugar-and-wheat-free cleanses, and my sister's artistic prowess.

I think someone mentioned a book they had read, but we shushed her up right away.

Seriously, though, many exciting things are happening with these ladies. Whether it's an article published in the Herald, or a manuscript that's been accepted by an agent (right, Christine? I have no idea of how publishing works), things are moving. Don't take this the wrong way, my dears, but it gives me hope that you are all older than me. It gives me the freedom of ten more years to get where you are, and means that all I have to do now is finish that short story for class on Thursday (eep).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my sister (she of the artistic prowess), took this picture of me...

(that I can't seem to post, but that can be found here)

and painted this...I'm having her paint brushes bronzed and put on a plaque for my wall.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

If I did not give this post a title, the obligatory 'first sentence slightly cut off' title would look thusly: Going to an all-new school has a hug.

Going to an all-new school has a huge learning curve. I had to print an assignment off this afternoon which required me to
- go to the library,
- get an ID card,
- have an inane conversation with the ID card guy about what my name should be on it since I haven't gotten my name changed yet and I'm still registered under my maiden name,
- put money onto my ID card using this ancient black machine,
- go to print lab,
- log on to computer using 9-digit student # and 6-digit password,
- look for 'Word' on computer,
- give up on looking for 'Word,'
- thank God emailed assignment to self,
- check email,
- download assignment,
- hit print,
- look around for cleverly-hidden printers,
- find cleverly hidden printers,
- be accosted by older gal who doesn't know how to print and can't seem to understand that I don't either,
- try to figure out why printer isn't printing said assingment,
- notice small black box which says 'insert card,'
- insert card,
- startle a bit when pop-up pops up on adjacent computer,
- read pop-up,
- enter aforementioned 9- and 6-digit codes,
- utter small yelp of triumph when paper prints,
- go in search of stapler.

No hugs.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Deepest fear realized

Well, friends, it's official. I'm back in school. Break out the nerd goggles, the travel mugs and the barely-edible breakfast muffins!

Yesterday was my first day of classes. I will quote for you a segment of email I sent to my sister the day before: 'I'm nervous. Not about the classes so much, but about the whole new campus and new school system and all new profs and new ways of doing things and most students don't start at the beginning of summer so there's no real 'orientation' or new-student-friendly thing-a-things, so I'm nervous about that.' You see, it's the 'going to' part, not the 'school' part that makes me want to eat the contents of our cupboard, and follow it up with the door handles.

So yesterday I show up for my 10:00 class. There's only one other person in the room. I ask him if this is English 120, and he thinks so, so I sit down. We wait. I play Spellbound on my Palm Pilot (like I said, nerd goggles). Another guy shows up. It's 10:00 by this point. There's only the three of us there. The awkwardness is palpable. Are we in the wrong classroom? Was class cancelled, and everyone knows about it except us? The one guy suddenly whips out his schedule and says, hey, what do you all think this means? He points to where it says 'English 120, July and August.' Somehow the three of us missed the fact that our class didn't begin until the latter half of the semester, EVEN THOUGH all of us were taking at least one other class that began at the same time, and were well aware of this anomaly.

Good thing I live a twelve-minute walk from the school.

My two other classes were fantastic as far as first classes go, in that I don't totally hate everyone in them, and we got out early. All both of my textbooks that the bookstore had in stock came to a total of $117 (which, and Joel remarks scornfully, is nothing compared to his $150 paperback text, one of many).

I have an assignment due tomorrow already, bringing with it that anxious weight that a first assignment for a new prof in a new school for a class that I shouldn't technically be registered in because I don't have the prereq's but for which I plea-bargained my way in inevitably carries. So instead of doing that, I've been poking around on my Facebook (takes off nerd goggles, replaces them with fashionably huge faux-D&G shades) and eating Pringles.

You all wish you were me.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Excuses, and a bullfight

Hello friends, me again. Sorry for the delay. Moving is death, but it's beginning to look more like a reasonably well-furnished basement suite around here, and less like an awkward situation. We're still using a filing cabinet as a desk, and some boxes as a coffee table, but we are now equipped with spoons and a microwave.

Plus, there was that wedding that I was in on Saturday, which ate up that whole day and half of Friday, too. And for which I wore an ill-fitting (long story) blue satin dress and pinchy shoes (which I may have accidentally-on-purpose left at the reception hall).

Plus, we're currently three disks into the 2nd season of 24 (I know, I have to get my priorities straight. But it's so frightfully gripping!).

So, another tale about our honeymoon. Um...we watched the entire first season of 24, which is actually not as lame as it sounds, because it was mostly after we'd burnt ourselves crispy, and there are only so many things one can do indoors. Plus it was good downtime after a long morning spent eating and lazing.

Also, we went to a bullfight. At first, we were all like, yeah, rad, this is going to be awesome! We're in Mexico and we're going to a bullfight! It's like somehow we forgot that they KILL BULLS in these things. They ride out on a horse and stab the bull in the shoulders with these long spears. Then the matador comes out with two-foot metal spikes, and (this part was actually pretty ballsy) runs straight at the bull's head so that he can plant the spikes in the back of its neck before spinning away. All of this is done to make it more difficult for the bull to gore things, like people. The whole thing seems a bit one-sided, since the matador has five other guys hanging around in case he gets into trouble, and the bull has no one, and is bleeding from the word 'go'. That's probably what made it hardest to watch. Sentimental feelings aside, it was a great show. Flourishing capes, bleating trumpets, massive raging beasts. It was what you'd call an 'experience,' but I'll probably never do it again.

I make no promises, but life has settled into something resembling routine, so the probability of me blogging steadily is somewhat higher. If anyone besides Jane and September still read this (hi, guys!).

Saturday, May 05, 2007


People keep asking me to post wedding photos. I haven't even seen our wedding photos. Did you catch the part where I have no spoons or shower curtain? As soon as I have some (pictures, that is), I'll post them (in all honesty, that's a lie. I'll post some when I have them and some spare time and some energy). Other people have posted some. Here, and here and here. Jane, your photos are amazing.

As a concession, here we are on our honeymoon. We took maybe a dozen pictures, because we were too busy strolling hand-in-hand down the beach into the sunset to bother with a camera.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Moving In, and, The Adventures of Carlos the Fish

Hello friends. Sorry for the delay. I've been home for about three days now, but sometimes there are more important things to do than blog. Like buy dish soap.

Joel and I moved into our new place the evening of the 30th, grabbing a carload of stuff from my parents' house on the way home from the airport. We were more concerned with how many things we could tetris into Joel's little hatchback than we were with the usefullness of the things, or with our surivial for the next twenty-four hours. As such, we ended up with no cutlery or bowls, no towels or toilet paper, but we did have our raclette grill, our art-deco letters spelling the word 'HOME,' and the exoskeleton of a puffer fish that we bought in Mexico (his name is Carlos, and he sits on the back of our toilet).
Since any report of my activities for the past few and next few days will read thusly: 'Packed shit in boxes. Moved boxes. Took shit out of boxes. Found place for shit. Didn't like place, found new place. New place proved impractical, moved back to old place. Took swig out of one of four wedding-gift-wine-bottles' and since I did nearly no blogging on my trip, I will regale you with daily adventures in the past tense. Today, I will tell you the story of how we bought Carlos, and gave ourselves melanoma.
We were trying to balance fun activities with blatant relaxation, so every day we would have one adventure, and spend the rest of the day lying by the pool. Or on the beach. Or eating long, luxurious, ridiculously sumptuous meals. On my berfday, we decided to walk down to this little market one town over and get our shopping out of the way. It was our second full day in Mexico, and we were extremely proud of how we'd survived one full day with our skins intact. We'd sunscreened up thoroughly the day before and spent maybe an hour outside, getting our pasty Canadian selves indoors before any damage occurred. So here we are, thinking we're all smart and invincible and that a two-hour walk down the beach will be get us off of our lazy asses so that we'll finally be hungry for a change. So we sunscreen up good with our SPF 15, and truck on down the beach. Sooner rather than later, the smooth, firm sand near the water has become a smooth, slippery layer of jelly fish near the water, and we have to huff it on the softer, dryer, more exhausting sand. By the time the stretch of jelly fish ends, the sand has turned to gravel that gets into the sandals and scrapes the feets, and makes walking without the sandals awkward and unpleasant. Still, the sun was bright and the breeze from off the water was refreshing and we were honeymooners and off to market.

We spent about an hour touring the market, picking up kitschy vases and tawdry t-shirts and putting them back down. We were looking for something mildly functional and fabulously decorative to bring back for our house, something like the wooden-hand-wine-bottle-holder I found in Thailand. Joel and I have been unable to get a for-real puffer fish, due to the difficulty of working with salt-water fish, so imagine our delight when we saw Carlos there, in all his spiny glory! His innerds have been scraped out, and he resembles nothing so much as those paper-mache pinatas you make in elementary school, you know the ones, you build them around a balloon with newspaper and glop, and then let them dry, and then pop the balloon, and then you have a fragile newspaper shell that you paint, and then and only then do you realize that there's no candy in it, and that it's really a crappy pinata, and you hate art and Mrs. Miller both. ANYway, we bought Carlos up and packed him carefully in our checked luggage because we were afraid he'd be stolen from us by customs, being an animal product and all, if we took him in on carry-on, and the first thing we didn when we moved into our new place was check to see if he'd survived the trip. He did, and here he is, and he's creepy as hell.
Finding Carlos was pretty much the highlight of the market, so we headed on back home. I cannot emphasize enough how deceptive a cool breeze off the water can be. We tralala-ed down the beach with no idea the trouble we were in. We saw three dead carloses, one giant fish skeleton, and Joel collected a handful of beach glass, and then all of a sudden he turns to me and says, babe, you'd better put on my shirt. You're looking a little pink.
A LITTLE PINK!!!!! Over the next few hours, that 'little pink' would deepen into an intense red, before becoming an excruciating purple. We'd been in the sun for five hours, from 10 to 3 (read: hottest part of the day) with a thin veneer of spf 15 the only thing between our skins and the laser rays of the Mexican sun. We spent the next few days alternately pitying each other and bickering over who's burn was worse, taking the long route to dinner to avoid walking through any sunny patches, and slathering ourselves with an outrageously-priced medicated aloe (they threw in a stick of spf 50, knowing that if you needed the aloe, it was because you were too dumb to pack your own spfs).
And Carlos watches me when I shower, because we have no shower curtain.