Meeting strangers in Vegas

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Bloggers in Sin City, Day 1

Upon my arrival at The Flamingo, I proceeded to spend the remainder of the day meeting more people and drinking.  Because those two things go hand in hand, do they not?  This was probably the first time I have ever hung out with a large group of people, none of whom I knew previously, and actually felt comfortable.  We talked as if we were old friends.  I’m not saying that I wasn’t awkward, because it’s safe to say that I probably definitely was.  But I’m always awkward so that’s nothing new.  I was already friends with a lot of them on Facebook, and some of them recognized me from updating my status all the time everyday.  But since they’re all social media fanatics as well, no one was judging me for it.  A couple people also recognized me as the girl who loved shoes.  Apparently when I posted about Army & Navy, some of them thought I was actually buying army boots at some sort of military store.  I had to clarify and explain what Army & Navy really was.

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Carlo & Charlie’s

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Mango margaritas

It was happy hour at Carlos and Charlie’s when I arrived, so perfect timing.  New friendships were made and margaritas were drank.  Larissa pretended it was Tom‘s birthday so that the waitress with the big boobs would come over and pour shots in his mouth.  And she did.  And it was awesome.

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New friends

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Happy hour

When it was time to check in, I met Megan, who I would be rooming with for the first and last day of our stay.  Being the awesome person that I am, I used my Total Rewards card in order to get ahead in line.  We went back down to Carlos & Charlie’s and had some awesome quesadillas.

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Quesadilla Charlie’s

At one point, we all seemed very depleted and worn out and we weren’t sure why.  We were also all very on edge and upset about the fact that our phones were all dying.  It would appear that when you’re a social media buff and your phone battery is drained, your energy level may also become drained.  The solution?  A phone charging party, naturally.  And so a bunch of us got together in the hotel room to charge our phones, and as we did, we too slowly regained our energy.

My original plan was to go see strippers that night.  Because why would I not go see strippers that night?  But I wasn’t feeling it.  Shocking, I know.  There were only a few people who had originally wanted to go and the strippers we wanted to see were all the way on the opposite side of the strip.  I mean maybe if I had more energy at the time I would have been all for it, but I decided my first night would be better spent wandering around our side of the strip and meeting more awesome new people.  Besides, I had already seen Thunder From Down Under last year in Vegas and again this year in Vancouver.  I’m thinking once a year should be what I aim for.

Instead, a few of us wandered around the strip and walked down to The Venetian where we contemplated taking a gondola ride but decided against it.  We walked past Madame Tusseauds wax museum, where we took pictures with The Rock and Justin Timberlake.  Next time I’m in Vegas, I want to actually go inside and take pictures with all the celebrities.

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The Venetian

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The Rock

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Group shot with JT

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Obviously I needed a solo shot too

We later met up with others at Centre Cut Steakhouse in the Flamingo for martinis and bacon.  Because who doesn’t love martinis and bacon?  Especially when there’s three different kinds of bacon.

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Pomegranate lemon martini

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Trio Bacon Satay

More people showed up as the hours went by.  The group from DC took a limo from the airport, which somehow may have ended up being cheaper than the shuttle I took.  I was jealous.  Eventually I met Kitty and another Megan, who were my other roommates for the night.  I think I ended my night watching TV and eagerly anticipating what the rest of the trip had in store for me.

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The surprise

I wanted to give her something special.  Something that I knew she would enjoy.  All I wanted was to make her happy.  I guess I kind of did it without warning.  I knew that she would love it but I also knew that she wasn’t expecting anything.  She thought we were just going out like normal and that nothing was going to happen.  But she thought wrong.

I sat there and waited for the right time to do it.  Was there a right time?  I didn’t know.  But I knew that tonight was the night.  We were close enough that this was something I could do without seeming inappropriate or scaring her off.  Some may have found it awkward.  But I knew that she was different.  She would appreciate what I had to offer.  And so I just whipped it out.  In public.  She was shocked at first but she liked it and in the end she was satisfied and thanked me for it.

So yeah, I’m talking about last night when I gave my friend a mini penis shaped cake pop that I got from the Erotic Cake booth at the Taboo Naughty But Nice Show in Vancouver.

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Nothing says friendship like a mini penis cake pop.

That awkward moment when you want to write a blog post but can’t figure out what to write about

And so you end up writing about the fact that you don’t know what to write about. Even though you have countless other ideas, some of which may even be interesting. But you decide you really don’t have the time to bother with them enough at the moment to put them together coherently into a blog post. So you waste perfectly good blog space on posts like this one because you said you would write something. Meanwhile, people are wondering when you’ll start writing good posts again. Or at least mediocre ones. But no one knows. Not even you. And so you reluctantly hit “publish” even though you’re not particularly proud of your work.

Dancing in the street

Over a month ago, I went to the Richmond Night Market.  When we were leaving, my friend asked me if I wanted to come to a free swing dance lesson downtown the following afternoon.  She’s been doing swing dancing for quite a few years now with the Vancouver Swing Society.  At first I was hesitant because I’m a terrible dancer.  I wouldn’t say I have two left feet.  I’m pretty sure I have a right one and a left one.  I should know, being a shoe fanatic and all.  And they work perfectly fine, when I’m walking.  But when it comes to dancing, they’re a little slow.  I was assured that no partner and no experience were necessary, which was good since I was lacking both those things.

I decided to wear this awesome shirt that I’d never worn before.  It seemed appropriate for the occasion.  If I was going to do this, why not go all out?

When I went downtown, I noticed a bunch of closing signs for Sears.  I’ve known for a while now that they’re closing but it still makes me sad.

One of my friends had told me that the dancing didn’t cost anything and all I needed to bring with me was bus fare, and money to shop with while I was downtown.  I knew Sears was going to be one of my shopping stops while I was there.

I went to the dance lesson.  We all stood in a circle and then paired up, switching partners throughout the lesson.  Did I mention I suck at dancing?  The people were all really friendly and really patient, which was nice.

There was a booth set up there with a DJ and they played old swing hits from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.  That’s totally not my style of music at all but I guess it worked well for the dancing.

There was a random mix of people who stopped by for the lesson.  Some could actually dance and knew what they were doing.  Some were like me and didn’t have a clue.  I remember the instructor saying “If it feels awkward, then you’re doing it right.”  I really wish that applied to life in general, because then that would mean I’ve done everything right my whole life.

There was a sort of routine step that we were taught to follow.  Rock step, step, step, step.   That’s what the instructors announced as we followed what they were doing.  There were also spins.  I remember spins.  I’m bad at spins.  It took me a while to figure out which direction I was supposed to spin in.

After the lesson, there was just free for all dancing while the music played.  I stuck around for that for a bit.  It was fun and different.  More and more people started to join as it went on.

I didn’t stay for too long though because I needed a break.  I’m glad I went though.  When people ask you to dance at swing dancing on the street, it’s less creepy than the ones who try and dance with you at the clubs.  They genuinely enjoy dancing here, and there’s no groping or trying to get you to go home with them.

I decided to wear my comfortable shoes for this.  I bought these with the intent of wearing them to the gym.  But who am I kidding, when am I going to go to the gym?

The dancing tired me out and so I went to London Drugs to get some water.  No one needs 1.5 litres all at once, unless you’re doing the grouse grind, but I bought it anyway and carried it around.

While downtown, I was handed some H&M coupons.  I used them towards socks.  Because you can never have enough socks.
Sadly, I found nothing that sparked my interest at Sears.  Maybe I won’t miss it for the shopping, as I didn’t actually buy much at that location.  I guess I’ll just miss the fact that it’s there.  I wasted time shopping when I could have stuck around and danced some more.  I regret that now, especially since when I walked past them later, they were dancing to Hall and Oates.  I’m sad I missed that.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go attend any of the other Dancing in the Street events this summer.  But apparently you can see me in the Province’s video for the event I did attend.  Just briefly though, I’m awkwardly in the corner.  I also think I still have the coupon they gave me for a free dance lesson.  Anyone want to go swing dancing?

The dangerous lives of altar girls

Altar serving used to just be for boys.  I remember my mom saying that one time she saw a girl altar serving and thought “Oh, they allow girls to do it now”, but then she realized that it was really just a boy with long hair.  But at some point they did change this policy and open it up to allow girls to be altar servers as well.  Which I suppose is a good thing, a step towards more equality between the sexes?  But personally I wish they had just kept it to boys only.  Or at least waited a little longer before allowing girls to do it.  This has nothing to do with sexism or anything.  But if they had left it as is, then I would never have had to be an altar server.

I don’t know why I was.  I was terrible at it.  Why did I sign up for it?  Did my parents make me do it?  I don’t think so.  They must have given me a choice in the matter.  But I ended up altar serving throughout most of elementary school.  Okay, it wasn’t that bad.  I mean really there was nothing wrong with it.  And it certainly wasn’t dangerous, as my misleading title would imply.  But somehow it just wasn’t right for me.  Or I wasn’t right for it.  Or a bit of both, I suppose?

When you’re an altar server, everyone can see you.  Because you’re up at the altar.  Sitting, standing, walking, holding a candle, pouring the water, holding the book.  All eyes are on you.  Okay well not really.  But people can see you more so than say, a random person sitting in the crowd.  And for an awkward and introverted kid like I was, this was unpleasant.  It’s not as if there was a lot that you needed to know, but I would still get paranoid about screwing something up.  Or tripping on my robe or dropping something and just being an embarrassment.  I worried about these things anyway, but to have to worry about them up at the altar was even more nerve wracking.

And I didn’t like the robes we had to wear.  Especially in the summer, it was always so hot.  But we were told that it wasn’t so bad, as the priest had to wear even more garments than we did.  It was also difficult to get the size that properly fit you.  You didn’t want to wear one that was too long, because you could trip over it.  But you also didn’t want one that was too short, because then it would look bad and your pants would show.  We had a rope to tie as a belt, and I somehow wasn’t very good at tying it properly.  That was annoying.  The robes were also unflattering.  I mean, I wore a lot of ugly outfits at that age anyway, but in the altar serving robe, everyone could see me.  And I think I had an ugly haircut too, and a generic altar serving robe would draw more attention to my hair and my face which was not a good thing at the time.

I remember one of the priests we had commented to my mom one time that I was always so serious whenever I was there.  Yeah, I suppose I’ve always had that look about me.  But imagine a little girl sitting up there at the altar, looking angry.  Maybe I was angry about my bad haircut.  But yeah.  I’m pretty sure I looked angry when I wasn’t altar serving as well, but people were less likely to notice.

There wasn’t a whole lot to remember.  But being awkward as I am, I did screw up a few times.  I don’t think I ever fell down though.  Which is surprising seeing as I’m sort of clumsy and really don’t have the greatest sense of balance.  There’s a time during Mass when two servers bring the water and the wine to the priest, and he pours them into the chalice.  The altar servers then bow to the priest before walking away.  I’ve never been good at bowing.  How do you fail at bowing?  Well, trust me to find a way.  One time I just didn’t bow enough, so it was more like a quick head nod, and so realizing I hadn’t properly bowed, I tried bowing a second time to make up for it.  The result was a sort of double head nod bow combo, which I’m sure looked as awkward as it felt, possibly more so.  I seem to recall a few people in the pews who knew me noticing and laughing.

I also never learned the proper way to set the altar.  Only the altar server who was holding the cross had to do this.  The two with the candles were off the hook for this task.  But I reluctantly found myself in the position of the cross bearer a few times and didn’t really know what I was doing.  The napkin had to be folded and unfolded a certain way, the chalice put in a specific position, and the book placed in a certain way.  I was never sure of any of it.  One time I just left it as is, and let the priest rearrange it.  If I’d just done it how I thought it should be, he would’ve had to correct it anyway, so what was the point?

One time I forgot to help clear the altar after communion.  I don’t know why, it just slipped my mind.  Instead, I just went back and sat down, oblivious to the fact that I had not finished fulfilling my altar serving duties for the moment.  One thing I think I was good at was holding the book while the priest read from it.  I don’t think I ever managed to screw that up.  Except one time for some reason there was a bigger book and it was heavy.  But I still managed.  Good for me.

It was awkward sometimes holding the candles.  Because there are two altar servers who hold them together.  But I was always significantly taller than the other person.  So it looked odd when we both stood there, with the candles at different heights and sort of out of sync.  But what could we do?  I think I got roped into holding the cross a few times just cause I was tall.  And then I had to spend the whole time dreading the moment when I would have to set the alter.  It wasn’t fair.

I think my favourite part was putting out the candles when Mass was over.  I don’t know why, I just liked it.  Maybe because it was the last thing I had to do?  And it was just fun to put the candles out.  I can’t remember what that thing it called that we used to extinguish them.  No, it wasn’t an extinguisher.  It was this gold curved stick thing with a cup like thing on the end that fit over the candle so you could put it out.  Now that’s going to bother me.  Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

Even though I was probably a terrible altar server, I stuck with it throughout my elementary school years at St. Paul’s.  I suppose it wasn’t that bad.  I think they had an appreciation barbeque for us every year as well.  And I think I may have got a certificate or a card?  Or maybe not.  I’m not sure.  But in any case, our services were appreciated.  And I think we’re all really lucky that I never managed to burn anything by accident, considering all those candles at the altar.