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As the title implies, I will be woefully absent from the internet until July 31. I'm going on the annual trek to the cottage, which is located as close to a literal middle of nowhere as possible. You can't get cell phone reception at my cottage – or for miles around it! Internet connection (even via 3G) is also out, and we don't have a TV at the cottage. Looks like I'll be spending a lot of time watching downloaded episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Arrested Development on my computer – oh, and I guess spending time with family and relaxing in the great outdoors.

Not that I'm complaining, of course; look at this place!

I'll also be baking up a storm; there will be 11-18 people at my cottage at all times, and most of them like baked goods, which I'll be happy to provide. I'll probably be cooking a penne arrabiatta too, since it's one of the few non-ramen meals I know how to make!

Other probable activities include board games, swimming, kayaking, tipping over people floating peacefully on inflatable water toys, having water gun fights with my four cousins (aged 6-8)… and of course, meeting my three-week-old cousin Benjamin Button (okay, Declan) for the first time!

I hope these next ten days are as lovely and relaxing for you as they are sure to be for me!

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Last post of 2009! *wipes tear off cheek* I don't normally make resolutions because I know I'm going to break them, but why not push myself this year? Looking back on 2009, I didn't get much accomplished, so I want to make 2010 awesome!

Here is a short recap of my year, and then my resolutions.

2009 in Review

  • January 2: We got the cats! I can't even remember a time before them. They've honestly brought so much joy into my household, and I'm so glad to have them… even if Hank is mentally defective. :P
  • January 20: I watched Barack Obama's inauguration on TV during school hours and had a mini party in my school library. Definitely a good moment!
  • January 21: I was nominated for the Bloggies and subsequently lost. However, I was never expecting to win, and just being nominated was such a happy shock!
  • January 29: I lost my cell phone and got a new1 one. (I'm getting a new one in 2 weeks, though! Yay!)
  • February 11: Jet ran away, but we found him. :D
  • February 11: My friend's grandmother died after a long battle with cancer. She was like a third grandmother to me, so this was devastating. It's been nearly a year.
  • May 3: I took a break from my blog and came back two months later.
  • May 25: I had a huge fight with a friend over a school project and didn't talk to her for five months. To put this into perspective, she was DEFINITELY the one being immature. She tried to blame her low mark on me.
  • June: I passed all my exams and finished the year on the honour roll!
  • July: I discovered the most amazing book I've ever read.
  • August 23: I lost my new phone, but found it in a Pictionary box. (Not a huge event, but it was funny so I had to include it.)
  • September: I won the Community of Learners award at my school. To this day, I'm not sure why.
  • September: I voted 1500 times for Aisling's cousin to win The Next Star. (This is a big event, okay? Do you know how much energy I put into that?)
  • September and October: Both the kitties had their first birthdays. (I only blogged about Hank's, though!)
  • October 22: I got contacts and was amazed by my awesome vision.
  • October 28: I deactivated my Facebook account, but had to cave and reactivate it shortly thereafter. I am weak. (But really, I had to reactivate it so I could give my friend directions to my house!)
  • November 3: I figured out what I want to do after I graduate from high school.
  • November 10: I got braces and was not amused by the fact that my mouth was in excruciating pain for four days.
  • November 14: I got a job as a cashier at a big chain of grocery stores.
  • November: I came thisclose to failing math! :D
  • December 17: I got a new laptop, after my (also fairly new) one completely died. This one is amazing and shiny and it makes me so happy. It's white with swirls! And the volume control looks like a light, but it's touch sensitive! And you can turn off the touchpad2!
  • December 22: I went to visit my relatives and met the little girl who's staying with my aunt and uncle. I fell in love with her sweet, adorable nature.
  • December 29: I lost my iPod! D: This is horrible, because I rely on it A LOT. I had notes on there that I reallllly need.
  • Best of all, I didn't die!

Goals for 2010, somewhat ordered by importance

  • Pull my average up by 5%3 – First term was not great for me in terms of grades, and my average dropped 5% from last year, 9% from the year before. (Notice a trend here?) Ideally I would raise it back up to where it was 2 years ago, but since my math mark is SO LOW (I missed a week of school and nearly failed the big test), chances of that happening are slim. This is going to be my main goal, since it will require a lot of work.
  • Get bank account balance up to $2000 – With my job, this shouldn't be too hard, and I'll probably earn more. This is my minimum, though. I need to save up for lots of big things I'm planning!
  • Get my blog post count up to 200 – That's 66 more posts in one year, which is definitely doable! I'm going to try to post more often than that, though. I really want to post 3-4 times a week, but sometimes I lack in motivation and inspiration.
  • Comment on more blogs – I'm such a serial lurker, it's not even funny. Along with Aisling, I'm going to try to comment on more blogs. My goal is 21 blogs a week4, and I'm going to keep track with a handy dandy spreadsheet. (Because seriously, I just love any excuse to make a spreadsheet.)
  • Write more – I have my NaNo novel, which I'm definitely going to have to scrap and rewrite from scratch for the 900th time5, and a new idea. I don't know how I'm going to balance the two, but I'm definitely going to make some time to write.
  • Clean my room – I've probably needed to do this for the past year, so I'm going to get around to this in chunks: realphabetise books6, organise clothes/donate old ones to charity7, clean desk (even though I just did that this summer), redo horrible disgusting closet8, clean/vaccuum floor, organise bedside table. I will most likely be documenting this journey on my Dreamwidth account.
  • Create at least three new designs and use them – I'm not great with Photoshop, but I figure I should make myself practice. This is going to average out to one design every four months, so hopefully I can keep it up. This means that I should probably get working on something soon!
  • Buy more clothes – I have very few clothes that actually fit me, due to wearing a uniform most days. I got some gift cards for Christmas, so I should be able to get a few things!
  • Figure out electives for next year – I'm going to be doing this within the next few weeks anyway, but it seems big to me. Universities will see next year's report card, so this is pretty important!
  • Keep track of money spent – I have an application on my iPod for this9, and I used to do it. I just stopped suddenly, so I'm going to start again. This will help me with my main monetary goal too!
  • Use an agenda – I stopped partway through this school year. I have no idea why. I just suck like that.
  • Pay the library – I've owed them $40 for a year. Enough said. (It would also let me get my card back, heh…)
  • Get my braces off – This doesn't really depend on me, more on my teeth, but it's possible. My dentist said 9-18 months when I got them in October, and they're going really fast so far. With any luck I might have them off before next school year!
  • Get my hair cut – Last time I had it cut was June 18, 2008. It's probably high time for a trim.

Happy new year to everyone! I hope 2010 brings everything you hope for. If you set any resolutions, I hope you achieve them. :D

  1. and nearly as crappy []
  2. which admittedly has no real use, but it's cool []
  3. which is where it should be []
  4. 3 a day []
  5. seriously, I've gone through at least 10 drafts of this stupid novel []
  6. I haven't been good about putting them in order in ages []
  7. I have so many clothes that don't fit, and I want to reorganise them; colour coding was a stupid idea []
  8. seriously, it's a nightmare []
  9. first I'll have to, you know, retrieve my iPod from the depths of rental car hell []
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I'm back from my holiday! Overall it was excellent1, but something happened today that's really upset me.

During our trips, we need someone to take care of the cats. Usually we get one of my school friends to do it; she lives two blocks away, and she works at a vet clinic, so she obviously loves animals. Last time, she spent hours with Jet just because she loves him that much.

Unfortunately, she was in Mexico for part of our trip, so we had to find someone else. I asked someone who I went to middle school with and who I sometimes meet for coffee (about once every 2-3 months). We're not great friends; she usually comes along because she goes to school with one of my best friends. But anyway, she also lives close by, so we thought it would be fine.


I asked her how the cats were on Christmas, 3 days after we got to my aunt and uncle's house. She said they were "divine".

We came back today to find the food and water dishes COMPLETELY empty. Like, COMPLETELY. The water dish was bone dry, not one drop of water left in it. The food dishes? Absolutely nothing in them. And out of the 8 tins of wet food we left on the table, there were 7 left. Wow! Good job NOT feeding my cats!

This REALLY makes me mad. Like, maybe more than it should, but it REALLY makes me mad, to the point where I really don't want to associate with her at all anymore. First, it's such an easy job. You walk two blocks and scoop out some food – and it's only for a week. Seriously. NOT HARD. I get paid $50 for 6 hours of doing ACTUAL WORK. And, I mean, they're just helpless little cats. I don't think they're going to die without food (since she did come in once, so it was probably 3-4 days that they were without), but STILL! It's not like they can do anything other than walk around hungrily. And to let the water dish become empty is really unacceptable.

My mother, for some inexplicable reason, still feels that we should pay her $50. I really don't think someone should be paid a lot of money for NOT doing an easy job.

Maybe this is all a big misunderstanding, but I doubt it. If she had some reason not to come, it's not like we were unreachable. I left her my cell phone number and my uncle's number, and there's always Facebook! Like I said, I even asked her how things were over Facebook. Anyway, I really can't see myself talking to her again in the near future. Overreaction? Maybe. I just don't want to talk to someone who treats my cats as if they're worthless.

  1. if you don't include the part where I STILL had my horrible cough and my horrible sore throat and my horrible headache []

On a happier1 note, I was able to see my cousin's cats again. Last year, they were adorable little kittens, and now they're full-grown cats2. Here is some kitty spam:

Rosie really grew into her looks!

She's adorable, although I don't necessarily appreciate the fact that she was using my slippers as a pillow! My feet were cold. :(

I still think Snow is adorable, if a little goofy-looking.

He's also MASSIVE – my legs weren't particularly happy with his chosen resting place.

See? Silly-looking!

(And because this entry wasn't mish-mash enough, my cousin's friend was lovely, sweet, and adorable, and I was so happy to have met her. She loved all her presents; after opening the stuffed sheepdog I picked out for her, she never put it down. She even brought it bowling!)

  1. though still cat-related []
  2. though still pretty cute []
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When I was younger, Christmas was all about me and what I was getting. In the past few years, it's stopped being so exciting. Honestly, now it's more about buying presents for my cousins1 and seeing their excitement. This year, it goes a little further than that.

My cousin is seven years old and in grade one. She has a friend whose mother hasn't been able to provide her with the basic necessities. She's been living with my cousin and her parents for the past week and probably will for awhile (maybe even permanently).

Now, you have to understand that this little girl is thrilled to have her own room with her own bed at my aunt and uncle's house. She's been sleeping on the sofa, which is in the living room, which is where her mother parties all night long. She usually starts the school year without the proper school supplies. Her snowsuit doesn't fit her – in Canada! You kind of need a proper snowsuit when it actually, you know, snows with some frequency. I can't imagine how she's going to feel when she gets to open presents on Christmas day.

Up until now, I haven't given it much thought. I've had the basics and I've had the luxuries, and I've taken it all for granted, and here is a small girl who's just happy to have her own bed. But, you know, the awesome thing about having these luxuries is that I have this platform called a blog, so I can share this story with you.

My mother and I are going shopping for my cousins soon, and we're of course going to buy this little girl a present too. I'm really excited to buy something for her, and even more excited to meet her. I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and I'm glad to be reminded about what's really important. At this time of year, it's easy to get caught up in the stress. It's easy to worry about your presents and worry about getting all your shopping done and worry about things that just aren't that important. Maybe this sounds preachy, and I know how annoying that is, but try to remember what really is important.

  1. who are 4, 6, and 7 []
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I know I've been posting a lot of Christmas-related entries lately, but, hey, 'tis the season, right? Here is another one for you. This one is another story. It's not funny, however. It's a heartwarming tale of love between two siblings.

You may know that I have a brother, who we will call Bighead. Bighead is three years younger than me. This means that we're pretty close, especially at this point. (A few years ago, a three-year age gap was more significant than it is now.)

When Bighead was in kindergarten, his class wrote letters to Santa. (I remember doing this too.) Now, I don't know how it works in other places, but in Canada, you write to "Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0HO".1 Then, some poor postal worker has to fill out form letter after form letter with children's names. Some of them will write a short line on the bottom to show that they sort of read the letter, like "P.S. I hope you get that PS3 you wanted!" So, Bighead wrote his letter in his 5-year-old handwriting2 and gave it to his teacher to mail to Santa.

I don't know what exactly happened, but all the kids started receiving their letters back and Bighead didn't have one. Maybe his teacher lost it; maybe the post office lost it. All I know is that he never got a letter from the post office Santa. He was quite devastated, so one evening I decided to make him feel better. By this point, I was 8 and knew that there was no Santa, so I decided to be Santa.3 I got out my green pen4 and wrote him a long, personalised letter in a fancy script. Then I put it into a red envelope5 and handed it to my mom.

She knew exactly what to do. She went to the front hallway and came out a minute later with the letter in her hand. She called my brother and told him that she found this letter, and it was addressed to him, and she must have missed it that morning when she got the mail.

Bighead was delighted. He ripped open the letter and devoured every word, fully believing that Santa Claus had written it to him. He brought it to school the next day and made every single five-year-old child jealous that they got back form letters6 and he got back a REAL LIVE LETTER FROM SANTA.

  1. Our postal codes are 6 characters, alternating between a letter and a digit. []
  2. which has barely improved []
  3. Now I really am Santa; I eat the snacks my small cousins leave out for him, which makes me kind of sad. I left snacks for him until I was 13. []
  4. because green is a Christmas colour []
  5. because red is also a Christmas colour []
  6. they knew the letters weren't real; they weren't stupid []
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The other day, my mother told me that she had something for me. I was quite curious, since she doesn't generally just buy me things. She presented me with a Tinkerbell advent calendar, and I may or may not have screamed like a five-year-old.

Now, see, I really, really, really wanted that advent calendar. (Feel free to judge me for having a mental age of five.) I worked on Sunday the 30, so a lot of people were (understandably) buying advent calendars for their kids. I decided that I absolutely must have one, so I came home and hinted strongly that I would definitely like a Tinkerbell advent calendar, and that my brother might like the NHL one that we also happened to have in stock.

Last night at work, somebody was buying a Transformers advent calendar. It's a little late for that, but at least his son (I'm assuming, but you never know) will have a few days' worth of chocolate to eat all at once. Anyway, so as I handed him the receipt, I looked at him to see if he was the kind of person you can joke around with. You can tell most of the time. If a customer smiles at you when you look at them, they are cool and you can talk to them. If they stare at you coldly and look like they're thinking "Give me my damn receipt, already", then you can't. This guy smiled at me, so I told him, "I have one of these at home."

He could have said any number of things, such as "How old are you? *incredulous stare*", "Really?", "Cool…", or "Oh." However, he did not say any number of things. He said, "Which one?"

I smiled because it's little things like this that make being a cashier bearable and told him, "The Tinkerbell one." Then I told him that my mother bought it for me. He told me to enjoy it.

So what was the point of that story? I have no idea. I guess I just wanted to share the little bit of happiness I got from my job, and maybe the excitement that this advent calendar is bringing me. Because you know what? It has 32 DAYS OF CHOCOLATE!! (It also includes a countdown to the new year.) Let's just chalk it up to me wanting to spread the holiday cheer. I know, I'm so thoughtful.

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As a general rule, I do not like cheese and I don't appreciate the ~sentimental value~ of a lot of things. However, Christmastime brings out the cheesiness in me. Ever since I was little, I've always been full of Christmas spirit1, this warm, fuzzy feeling that I can't properly describe. You'd think I'd have grown out of it the same year that I was finally able to sleep easily on Christmas Eve, or maybe the year that I became Santa, eating the snacks my younger cousins (ages 4, 6, and 7) left for him. But, no, I still have a lot of Christmas spirit and I still love that cheesy feeling.

I love all the Christmassy ads on TV and on websites. In fact, when looking up an adjective for "cheesy" on

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Because I actually feel worse than I did a week ago, I don't feel like putting a lot of effort into a post. So this post is all about you (and also about me, kind of)! (Okay, maybe I'm also doing this because I like talking about myself. Maybe.)

Manda recently posted an ask and answer entry. Amanda started doing this a few years ago, and I always meant to participate – it just never happened.

So! Since I'm sick, tired, and too out of it to write up a regular post, I'm going to leave things up to you. Ask me a question! I, of course, reserve the right not to answer certain questions; use your common sense when asking. :P Your questions can be about me personally, or they can be silly and less specific. I don't care – ask away!

Your questions will hopefully be answered sometime within the next week – if I'm still too sick to formulate interesting answers, it might take awhile. (Hopefully I'll feel better soon, though; you'd think that after a week I'd be better, not worse.)

Also, happy Turkey Day to my fellow Canadians! *enjoys day off*



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