Moving Forward (Like Toyota - Only Not as Unexpectedly)

I've lived in Average-Land for almost 3 years now and just as I've moved IRL, I think it's appropriate to move online. I feel like I've outgrown this home. I'm in Vegas right now, about to leave for Mexico. In honor of this journey I'm starting a new blog - a new platform for my writing and a fresh start to get the creative juices flowing (gross, I hate that saying).

I'm going un-anonymous because I pretty much suck at it anyway. What kind of anonymous blogger posts her pictures and a VIDEO with her real name? So there's that.

Introducing: Connecting the Black Dots

What happens when a city girl from the Great White North packs up her life (minus 80 pairs of heels, minus ¾ of her clothes, minus any sense of what she's doing) and heads to the coffee coasts of Central America?

I have no idea, but this is my journey to connect the black dots on the map.

Also, my new 20SB page is here: Profile

My new Twitter name is: @JenBetweenDots


Paradise Hunter

Aka: my DREAM job!

I just found out about this competition and it's absolutely freaking perfect! It's to be the host of a travel show called Paradise Hunter. The cut-off for applying is today and since I only just found out about it, I submitted my video yesterday - eep!

I need your help - please click the link, watch my video and vote for me! You can vote once a day for the next week and since I'm really late applying, I need all the help I can get:

This would be the most amazing thing ever, so c'mon click through and vote!

PS - you don't have to put your name and email address in, just the verification code and hit vote. Thanks everyone!

Life Lessons

My dad and I drove down to Vegas from Calgary this week, with a detour to Yellowstone National Park. It was a long drive but beautiful and we had a really good road trip. My dad made me laugh unintentionally a million times; he reminds me of $#*! My Dad Says.

For example when he was in the hospital a few months ago, my sisters and I went to visit him around 11 am:

Dad: "I hate it here. They won't let me shower. And I haven't even gotten a paper today"
Me: "Want me to run downstairs and grab one for you?"
Dad: "No! Why would I want this morning's paper? That's old news."

I thought I'd share some of his road trip wisdom.

On Saving a Couple Bucks:

I go to turn off the lights as we're leaving the hotel

Dad: "Don't turn out no lights, they can god damned well pay for that electricity. Cheap bastards don't even include breakfast."

We're running out of gas and see a turn off, the next sign says Gas - 5 Miles

Dad: "I'm not driving 5 bloody miles to get gas! What the hell kind of a scam is this? I'd rather run out."

On Law Enforcement:

Dad: "I've never gone through Idaho without getting a ticket. It's like driving in BC" (where he gets a ticket. Every. Single. Time.)

5 seconds later, the speed limit = 55 mph:

Dad: "I think that's a cop...should I fly by him at 65? ...I'm gonna."

Outside the Idaho border

Me: "Well! You made it through Idaho without getting a ticket!"
Dad, sounding forlorn: "It's a new record."

On Being A Dad

As we're leaving the hotel I realize I forgot my swimsuit in the last hotel, sadly 400 miles behind us

Dad: "Don't forget nothin' again. I didn't think I had to be following you around like a little baby. I don't wanna hear no more sob stories."

On Religion

Upon arriving in Utah I note the slogan is "The Elevated State"

Dad: "That's because we're in Mormon country. You can't walk 2 feet without tripping over one"

I asked why they have these signs

Me: "What's with the beehives?"
Dad: "Bees are really religious animals"
Me: " come?"
Dad: "because they swarm."

On Sightseeing

I asked if we were going to be near the Grand Canyon and if so can we stop? We figured out it was over 100 miles out of the way.

Later on, as we're driving through Arizona:

Me (looking at the map): "We're only in Arizona for about 50 miles"
Dad: "And the whole thing looks like the goddamn Grand Canyon"

I'll leave you with this quick video:


Phone-Sex, Malaria and Also Some Advice

If anyone has any guaranteed Get-Rich-Quick schemes I would really like to hear about them. I've been contemplating everything from selling drugs to escort services to phone-sex operator.

(shut up, I totally look like this)

Sadly I wouldn't know where to get the drugs to sell, am nervous on first dates and would giggle incessantly at getting paid to talk dirty.

These qualities do not a highly paid escort/drug dealer/phone-sex-operator make.

I figured out that to be comfortable and not worry about money I need about $6400 to last me until the end of January.

I leave next Monday.

Planning your life fail.

I redid a budget and actually should be okay as long as I stick to it and don't go crazy buying copious amounts of kitschy "plastic grumpies" (as my dad calls souvenirs) and expensive meals. And also I might have to sleep on the street with a hat beside me just in case anyone feels like dropping money in it. Or you know, whatever.

And also? I was going to leave Oct. 1st then there was a whole medical scare thing with my dad so we were going to delay our trip for a month, but it turned out to be totally not anything thankthesweetbabyjesus (note to everyone: make sure your pops checks his prostate after age 40. And guys you too. Just do it. Oh and girls, feel your boobies).

Once he got the A-ok from his doc, he called me up to say we're leaving as originally planned. Which now gives me a week and 3 days to sort my life out, donate stuff, transfer my phone to my sister, pack my bags, renew my drivers license, throw a going-away party, learn to hula-...well you get the point.

There's a crap-load to do.

On top of that I have my hands in like 8 proverbial pots (cookie jars?). Looking at freelance writing, applied for a few things online, looking at starting a business (might be too much to deal with right meow), looking at making this video for this thing (how appropriately vague).

So yeah, my mind is all "why are you drinking so much coffee late at night when you know it makes you stay awake applying for jobs you're probably not qualified for and scheming things that are good in theory but maybe not practical and maybe, actually really, you should be getting some sleep every once in a while and not just stressing over Things That Cannot Be Changed"

Like the fact that I should probably maybe just go get some Adavan but it is known to worsen asthma and oh god I need to get my inhalers that cost $100 a month and I'm gone for a year so pair that up with my birth control and malaria pills (sexy) and all of a sudden I owe the pharmacist about $1500.

So yeah, I'll fork over the cash.

I just need to practice saying "Give it to me bad boy"...



In Which I Explain Why I've Never Had The Homesickness. Sidenote: Waterfalls Are My Favorite .

I have a confession.

I've never been away from Calgary for longer then 3 weeks at a time. I know it sounds insane but I guess between school, then being a working stiff, I've just never taken a long vacation. Or moved anywhere else.

This next year is going to be a giant leap out of my comfort zone; in a fabulous way. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm scared. Nervous, excited, scared, thrilled - all of it.

This year will also be my very first Christmas away from my family. After doing some research, I discovered that here's where I will be instead:

Granada, Nicaragua

Tequendama Falls Near Bogota New Granada
by Frederic Edwin Church

So you know, I think I'll be okay.


You're Welcome

It's day 3 and I'm already just about on the fail boat. And since I have had no time to do anything at all today, I'm just going to give you this picture of me getting ma hair did:

It's like living art. On my head.

(PS - I wrote this last night after work but my internet connection crapped out on me when I went to post it so I'm actually really not cheating by backdating it)


I'm Starting a Business (Send Money)

I gave my friend's dog a haircut today. It looks pretty awesome (read: as if the dog ran through a lawnmower and halfway through tilted her head sideways). Her eyebrows were starting to look like an old Grampa's and her mustache was reminiscent of the batty women who come into my work wearing tracksuits, order Bud and drink it as quickly as it hits the table. Go go gadget gag reflex!

Photo courtesy of Leading Edge Pet Care
Not that I got permission...(please don't sue me)

I guess that could be my art project for the day. Stylized dog grooming - coming to a doggy salon near you.

I did try to take a picture of downtown today but there's still some residual smoke in the air from all the fires in B.C. so it's a bit foggy. Either that or I haven't figured out the de-fogifying feature yet.

Hey camera buffs, have any tips on how to do wicked things with point and shoot cameras? I also have manual setting capabilities, I'm hoping it lightnings one of these days so I can play around with the shutter speed and uh, other camera stuff I guess.

Another fun activity we did today was move my sisters furniture into her new house. Her and her hubby are in Hawaii getting lei'd (oh terrible joke, I'm sorry) so we thought it would be nice for them to come home to a set-up house. I refrained from putting cornflakes between their sheets.

I know, I'm a super awesome sister.


Swearing in Spanish, Art and a "Royal" Wedding

These last few months have been ridiculous. I'm planning my adventures in Central America (I'm even doing a 32 day tour to get myself acquainted with the culture), trying to get a job in Costa Rica (which apparently they don't do online anymore because too many "gringos" flake out) and hyperventilating over money (do I or don't I have enough? How cheap is "cheap"?).

As I'm preparing, I got a few books on tape out of the library to brush up on my Spanish. One of the books is called "Speak-in-a-Week" and is supposed to be a good book to learn Mexican slang.

On my way to work the other day, I pop my CD in, roll down the windows (my air conditioning is broken) and head off. Next thing I know I hear: "Pinche, literally "an assistant cook", means nasty and is used where Americans would say fucking, shitty etc. That fucking asshole would be pinche cabron in Mexico".

I look over and there are 2 middle-age women staring at me with their mouths wide-open. I rolled my window up pretty quick. On the plus side, I now know if someone lips me off I'll have a good response.

I bought a new camera yesterday and after buying a spare battery, 2 memory cards and a carrying case I spent about $550 but I love my camera (it's a Sony-HX5 for anyone who knows anything about cameras). Coincidentally the theme for NaBloPoMo for September is Art so in honour of the theme I'm going to learn how to use my new camera and TRY to post every day this month.

I wouldn't call this art per say but here's the first picture I've taken with my camera, my little crazy miniature husky (actually called a klee kai) and the big fluffy one (called a keeshond):

On top of all my preparations for travel, we've also been organizing my younger sisters wedding. Last Friday she married a real live French Count who is an engineer, a youth group leader and saves orphans in his spare time (I know, right?). They've been together for 7 1/2 years, and are perfect together but really, thanks a lot because now I have to find a Prince who is a doctor and builds orphanages in Peru while volunteering as a fireman.

Wish me luck


Maybe I Could Sell The Gum I Collect to Pay My Outrageous Phone Bill

I finally got my May phone bill. I've been waiting in anticipation for this bill because this was the bill for while I was on vacation. My long-distance and usage charges weren't as awful as I'd anticipated but did add another $264 on top of my standard $102 bill. Try going to a social-media meet-up and not using your phone. Impossible.

The feeling I got when I saw the bill was the same as the feeling I get when I'm doing the best, most fun server duty of all: gum scraping. You know the nastiness is coming but it still hits you hard (TWSS). See, some people still think putting their wad of chewed up, disgusting, spit-encrusted gum under the table is socially acceptable.

I say "still" as if it were ever socially acceptable. I mean, how does an adult decide that the best place for their nasty gum is under the table where strangers have to sit and eat? Really though, you can learn a lot by observing the patterns of the gum.

For instance, there are obviously groups of people who come to the conclusion that asking for a napkin is really far too difficult and under these tables you will find four matching blobs, one at each place. Group consensus: random gum attack!

I have also learned that white is by far the most popular color choice, with green as a runner-up, followed by red or pink and finally blue. This says a lot about people because I mean really, that light blue gum is so obviously the most delicious gum out there, yet it's the least often randomly discarded under a table.

I feel like I should write a thesis on this: less blue gum under the table because it's not as popular or because people who chew light blue are more sophisticated?

On that same note, I actually watched a 40-ish year old woman take her gum out and put it under the table yesterday. I was sitting a few tables over waiting for some friends to be done work and had notice this woman earlier because she was wearing a very, incredibly tight shirt that was too short and a tiny frilly skirt that looked borrowed from her 14 year old daughter.

I'm all for showing off your body and being proud of what your mama gave you but if you can't feel your ass cheeks as two separate entities that is probably a good indication that your bottoms are too tight.

It's also probably good to consider a wardrobe change if you find you look as though you have four boobs instead of two (fondly referred to as "quadra-boob" in some circles, also known as "you need to go get fitted for a new bra"); or when you show up to your kids friend's party and your outfit more closely resembles the pre-pubescent kids outfits then it does the other parents.

Her worse crime however wasn't one of fashion (though seriously? Really? Tough call here), it was one of basic human etiquette. Because we all know there is nothing worse then settling in at a restaurant for a night of drunken debauchery and getting surprise gum attacked.


Joy, Green Cards and How Calgary Has Officially Turned into Seattle

I haven't really written anything since Vegas because compared to that, life seems pretty tame these days. It's been raining here for about 8 years straight, I'm not sure when I moved to Seattle but apparently I have. The problem with this is that I only work when it's nice outside so I've worked maybe 6 shifts total in the last 2 week. 6 shifts does not a millionaire make.

Instead of being productive with all my free time, I spent some time when I got back uploading LOST episodes and other illegal things.

At one point, when I was waiting for my mesozoic computer to load, a flashy sign came up and told me I won a real live American Green Card! I mean, that's pretty much like Christmas, Labor Day and Halloween all rolled into one. So basically if Jesus dressed up as a resurrected cheerleader vampire and gave birth to himself (side note - what the hell is Labor Day?) it would be almost as awesome as my Green Card.

Now I can travel to Arizona!

(Too soon?)

Top things I would do if I was American:

3. Call the washroom a bathroom
2. Laugh when people call us "the States" because obviously we are America (even though technically so is Canada...and Mexico...and all of South and Central AMERICA but whatevs I mean details here people)
1. Make fun of Canadians

I guess that's really all that would change.

For now though, I'll be content being Canadian and saying eh! and drinking piss water Molson Canadian.

The other good part about not working a lot this month is that I have plenty of time to do The Joy Equation. I was lucky enough to meet Molly in person and trust me, she is every bit as bubbly and optimistic as she seems.

If you haven't heard of Molly's program or her amazing website, go check it out. I got my Joy Equation in the mail super quick and am so excited to get started. If you've ever thought you need to recenter, refocus, regroup and figure out what you want from life - which is exactly where I'm at these days - you should definitely look into it.

I have 3 months to go until I start traveling, first to the US and then down to Central America, my life has never been so up in the air. Well except maybe that time when I realized my 3rd grade boyfriend didn't want to marry me on the playground...