Monthly Archives: February 2011



I met my personal trainer today.  She is a small blonde mean person.

Actually, she’s not really mean, she’s really nice, and I’m four pounds less fat than I thought I was.

But things hurt.  I ache in the places where I used to play, Mr. Cohen, and I really didn’t do that much.  Ai Yi Yi.  I told her the only thing I can’t do is the treadmill, because I fall off the back if anyone says hello to me.  She gave me a very funny look, but said that that was fine, there were lots of other cardio machines.  Either that, or they can hang a giant sign on my back that says “Don’t Say Hello”.  I need to do solo stuff, not classes, because I’m antisocial that way…

And I don’t care what she says, I’m not going to poop on the newspapers, at least not until I’m finished reading them.


My Theory – 4 Peep-O-Types


I’ve always had this theory that there are four types of people.  In order of my personal preference, they are:

1.  smart nice people
2.  dumb nice people
3.  dumb mean people
4.  smart mean people

I could draw a grid, but I don’t think I need to.  Quadrants.  Pretty simple.

Now, by “smart”, I don’t necessarily mean educated or literate – just – smart.  Commonsensical.  Knowing which way is up, and how many beans make five.  Conversely, you can have the best education in the world and yet still, somehow, be as dumb as a post.

So – what do I mean by “mean”?  Including, but not limited to:  Selfish.  Obstinate.  Loud.  Bigoted.  Pushy. Narcissistic.  Sneering.  Rude. Self-aggrandizing.  Arrogant.

In this grid, “nice” trumps everything, particularly in my line of work.

1.  Smart nice people – I don’t see a lot of these at work, and they usually aren’t in custody.  If you’re smart and nice, you usually don’t need me to help get you a lawyer, unless your marriage falls apart, or you get blamed for something you didn’t do. Usually, you require minimal assistance from me, you listen, we get along fine, you say “thanks”, and I never see you again.  I love you.

2.  Dumb nice people – I see a lot of these, but I generally only see them once or twice.  If you don’t have the intellectual wherewithal to understand the system, I will do my very best to help guide you through it, patiently and pleasantly.  And because you’re nice, you generally appreciate my assistance.  I will reassure you, pass you kleenex, and make sure you get the help you require from the appropriate source.  Often, you were swayed by someone in category 3 who took advantage of your good nature and set you up for a fall; in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Usually, I’ll never see you again, either.  I love you too.

3.  Dumb mean people –  I see a lot of these too, probably more than any other type.   It’s not their fault that they’re mean, it’s usually just because they’re dumb.  They don’t understand the world around them, no one bothers to explain it properly, they make mistakes, they get angry, and they take it out on whoever is in the way.  Often, me.  I will try to patiently help you get the assistance you require.  You need it just as much as anyone else, often more.  The system is hard on people who both don’t understand and are not inclined to listen and learn.  They need a reasonable advocate to paint them in their best light.  But please listen to me!  I’m trying to help you.  Believe it or not, I’m on your side, buddy.  Don’t take it out on me.

4.  Smart mean people –  I don’t see a lot of these, thank God.  They’re very, very scary people.  Sociopaths.  Narcissistic personality disorders.  Here are some smart, mean people:  Ted Bundy.  Hitler.  Jack the Ripper. I think that there’s more of them than we know, because they cause all kinds of havoc and misery and don’t get caught.  The ones that I do see scare the living daylights out of me.  They accept my help grudgingly, because it irks them to have to deal with someone as stupid and menial as me.  It’s always very important that they impress upon me how terribly smart they are.  They are constantly trying to play the system, to hide and distract, to attempt to cause me to make statements that they can twist to their advantage.  They generally are caught in connection with big, bad crimes.  Really big.  Really bad.  They have probably done a lot of smaller crimes, but haven’t been caught.  They feel that the rules set out of the rest of us don’t apply to their exceptional selves.  God help you if you or I are in their way, because we just don’t matter.  It’s allllllll about them.  Please don’t hunt me down and disembowel me.  They make me very, very tired and sad.  I’m glad I don’t see a lot of them, because on the rare days when I have to see them, at the end of the day, I am very tired, very sad, and very uncertain about our inherent worth as a species.

I don’t mean to be politically incorrect in my use of the term “dumb”.  I hope I’ve explained properly what I mean by the term.  Also, I’m not talking about people with mental health issues, just about plain common sense.  Either you’ve got it, or you haven’t, and if you haven’t, that’s okay.

But please just be nice.  Can’t we all just play nice?  Please?  I usually love my job, I want to help people, I want to be kind and patient and helpful.  I believe in access to justice, I believe in equality and fairness.  I want to keep believing in it, but sometimes I just sink into horrible despair.

Rat Tales


Today I re-joined the gym.  I was at the surgeon’s today for my final followup, and he said it was okay, I was good to go and it wouldn’t hurt me.

I used to go to the gym three or four times a week, up until 1999 when my life exploded.  I got divorced, and suddenly there was no money for extras like the gym, and certainly no money for babysitters so I could go to the gym.  Sadly, at a time in my life when I could have benefited the most from some healthy self-time, I couldn’t manage it.  

Thing Two turns seventeen next month.  He no longer requires a sitter.  I quit smoking, so I have about $120 per month in “found money”.  I used some of it to sponsor a child through Plan (something I also used to do in the old days).  The rest, I think, is for me, and what better use could it go to than my own health?

Ever since the surgery, and for many months before that, I have had no energy whatsoever.  Just getting up has been a chore.  Hopefully, this is about to change.  I know from experience that when I’m working out, I also eat better and sleep better. Also, I have developed an alarmingly weird body shape since the operation.  Things have shifted around in a most unpleasant way.  I should have anticipated that, I guess, as I know they don’t just pack you full of styrofoam peanuts when they remove a major organ and a ginormous growth, but it didn’t occur to me how drastic the change would be.  It also didn’t occur to me how badly I would react to it emotionally, even though I was fairly forewarned.

What happened to the good old days, before gyms, when we just did everything for ourselves, and did it by hand?  No one needed gyms, daily living was enough to keep one fit.  Well, if I don’t have time to walk to work, I sure don’t have time to churn my own butter and bale hay, so I guess it’s a necessary evil.

Prepare to be bored by Tales of a Gym Rat!

Today, Which Was A Great Day


Why was it great?

Well, I finally got my last dressing off, and I don’t have to go back to the VON anymore, which is great. I have one fantabulous mofo of a scar, though.  Looks like I was shot, or stabbed, or maybe both!  I had a fascinating discussion with an old dude in the clinic waiting room.  He’s all about the prostate health, man.  Spread the good word.  I assured him I would, although I am lacking a prostate.  He was also having a good day, apparently, as he was having a catheter removed.  Let the good times ROLL, baby!

Then, Thing Two and I sped off to Toronto in my Little Red Car.  Purpose?  My much anticipated visit with Thing One, who moved at the end of February.  I missed that boy sooooo much.  His new place is nice, his landlord is nice, the downstairs neighbours are nice, the little back street is nice, the neighbourhood is nice.  It’s all – NICE.  And clean.  And safe.  Kid-tested, mother-approved.  So we all went out for Greek food and stuffed ourselves silly.  Well, Thing One couldn’t eat all his, so he got some of it to go, but he gave it to a street person on the way home.  I love that kid.  He’s got a beautiful little heart in him, sometimes.

Pictures of the day are on Facebook, but some of you aren’t on Facebook (AHEM this means you, CEG), so here they are for your viewin’ pleasure.

When we got home, I finished my latest knitting project – Rebecca Danger’s Chubby Chirps x 3 = Three Little Birds.  I put them Above My Doorstep.  They’re singin’ sweet songs, melodies pure and clear, and this is their message to me –


Thanks Brother Bob for maybe my favourite song of all time.

Peace Out!

Me and My Little Red Car


When Thing One and Thing Two were small, they had a book called “Me and My Little Red Car”, about a little boy imagining all the places he could go in his little car.  It was a lovely little book, with beautiful vague watercolour illustrations.  I can’t remember all the places he went, but I do remember him going to Paris, and having lunch at a little cafe.

I have a little red car.  A little red Chevy Cavalier car.  It’s 11 years old.  It has been the victim of five years of commuting, and has 243,000 km on it.  The driver’s side window doesn’t work, the A/C conked out years ago, the power lock on the driver’s side is history, and the brake sensor is messed up.  I recently had to have a new support structure put on to keep the entire exhaust system from dragging along the ground.  It has been peed on, thrown up in, and generally abused.  It is never clean, and my trunk, yes, is full of junk.  I don’t know what I’m gonna do with all that junk inside my trunk.

WARNING:  Language!  And potential giggles.

This is only my third car, lifetime.  I took driver’s ed in highschool, but never got my licence.  Then I moved to Toronto to go to York and couldn’t afford to run a car anyway.  Besides, with the transit system in Toronto, I really didn’t need a car.

After we moved to Peterborough, and I had two small kids, I decided to bite the bullet.  I called Young Drivers of Canada.  I was about 30 at the time.  They said sure, no problem, we have students of all ages.  Yeah, right.  I found out later than they had all ages, all right, from 16 – 18.  I was the only adult in the class.  I enjoyed it, the kids were actually really nice.  One of the girls said she had a friend at school that I would really “like”.  I reminded her that most married 30 year olds with two kids don’t date highschool guys, as a general rule…

I didn’t get my full-fledged grownup licence until I was 35, and I failed the road test the first time.  My ex-husband promised me when I got my licence he would get the Colt painted for me. It never happened.  Before we separated, he had me cosign a loan for him so we could get a second car, as he didn’t qualify on his own.  I was supposed to get the newer car (as I drove the kids around everywhere), and he was going to drive the old Colt.  Guess what?  He changed his mind.  I wound up with the sh**tty old Colt.  Oh well.  In the separation agreement, he wound up with the car loan payments.  So, I guess we were square.  At least the Colt was paid for.

I drove that Colt into the ground.  I drove it to the wrecker’s.  The engine was great, but you could see the road speeding along beneath you through the rusted-out floor.

I got the Sable after that, “Atlantic Blue”.  My friend Nadine’s husband, who knew a lot about cars, helped me shop for it.  He’s passed away since then.  He was a very nice man, and very helpful.  He was quoted lower prices on the same vehicles that I inquired about.  I think it’s that “has a penis” thing…

The Sable was a great car.  It got bizarrely incredible gas mileage, and the previous owner had souped up the sound system.  It was basically a boom box on wheels.  I loved that car, it was the first car I ever bought myself.  It was great, until the transmission went.  I took it to the mechanic.  They fixed it, took my payment, and THEN advised me that there was one little problem…

I no longer had the option of  “reverse”.

I would just like to say a great big “SUCK IT” to Master Mechanic.  Yeah, that’s right.  You heard me.  I don’t think they handled that transaction very ethically.  Just sayin’.  I had been going there for years, and I think in the circumstances that they treated me badly. 

I tried living without reverse for about two weeks.  Can’t be done, really.

So, I started shopping for another car.  I bought a GM certified used Chevy Cavalier, four years old, 50,000 km, beautiful, clean, and I could afford the payments.  I chose the Cavalier because lots of my clients own older Cavaliers, and they seem to withstand the test of time very well.  They also get excellent mileage.  And, mine was RED.  Bright, in-your-face, fast, racy red.  There were actually two that were virtually identical, but the kids made me get the red one.

It owes me nothing.  I love that car.  I plan to drive it right into the ground.  The resale value is virtually nil.  It’s in terrible condition.  But it goes from A to B, cheaply, it stops when I ask it to, and it goes both forward and backward.  That’s all it has to do.  I have a little plastic Buddha on my dashboard looking out for me with a big smile.  When I get rid of that car, he’s coming with me. You can have yer plastic Jesus, I don’t care if I rains or freezes.  To each his/her own.

So, I think it’s going to pass away soon.  The next major repair estimate will determine when that happens.  I will miss that car. They don’t make the Cavalier any more, they stopped in 2005.  They replaced it with the Cobalt, and now they don’t even make that any more, it’s now the “Cruze”.

I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

Screw the Oatmeal, Full Speed Ahead


I like my coffee double/double.  I like potato chips.  I loooove cookies.  I can drink gallons of OJ.

I have to stop all of that.

It sucks.

I already quit smoking, it’s not fair!  I’d like my body to be a temple, but realistically, it’s always been more of a Kwicky Mart.

Doctor M and Doctor Dermo think it might be the accutane, but I’m not doing myself any favours with my diet, either.  So, the accutane dosage has been cut in half.  On the upside, they think it’s controllable with diet and exercise, and that if I smarten up, I won’t need medication.  I’m still not in a position physically to get back to the gym yet, but that’s next.  I go see Dr. Z again next week.  Hopefully I’ll be back on track soon.  Dr. M has also prescribed a low dose of estrogen, as she thinks my body has just freaked out and been hit by the menopause truck, which may also be why I’m not sleeping.

So – lentils, chick peas, beans, carrots, apples, seaweed, yams, soy, almonds and tahini.  Chips, white bread, alcohol and white sugar are the enemies.

On the upside, sushi is looking like an awesome treat full of good stuff that I can eat a) with lower carbs (except for the rice – well, maybe sashimi) and b) with seaweed, which is recommended for the menopause symptoms.  Also, the falafel, which is one of my favourite foods ever ever.

Also on the upside, neither doctor insisted that oatmeal was the be-all and end-all answer to everything.  So – screw the oatmeal.  I think I’m going to do this my way.  I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again.  The only combination I’ve never been in my whole life is a thin non-smoker.  It may be time…

Just Don’t Call Me Late for Dinner


I was embarrassed to discover recently that I had been addressing our temp by the wrong name.  For several days, I was calling her “Rebecca”.  I know several Rebeccas, but apparently she’s not one.  I’m so embarrassed!  I wish she had said something sooner.

I was saddled with some name issues as a child.  I’ve always been called Lynne.  WITH an “E”, for starters.  Even when I send someone a memo signed “Lynne”, the reply almost invariably starts with “Dear Lynn”.  Even people who have known me for years misspell my name.  Although I rarely bother correcting people anymore, I would just like to go on the record as saying it matters to me, and it bothers me.  I remember as a kid checking the calendar in the kitchen, and on a Thursday, my dad had written “Lynn – dentist”.  I confronted him, and he was a little annoyed.  He taught a lot of kids, he explained, he couldn’t be expected to remember how to spell everyone’s name.  *sigh*  Okay…

In grade 8, Mr. Parkhill asked me why I was spelling my name with an “E”.  I was kind of confused, and just said, well, that’s how I’ve always spelled it.  He asked me if that was how my parents spelled it.  Yes, I said, that’s my name, that’s how we spell it.  He looked into it for me, and apparently the records at BPS had it spelled incorrectly.  Thanks for sorting that out, Mr. P.

My first name is actually Andrea, after my great-grandmother (pronounced ahn-DRAY-a, actually, if you want to get fussy).  No one has ever actually called me that.  So, I sign everything “A. Lynne Campb3ll”, which looks pretty pretentious, or “A. Lynne Verst33g” as I never legally changed my name back to my maiden name after my divorce, for a number of reasons, not the least of which was ease of spelling.  But if I don’t put that “A” in there,  no one can find me on their database.

Telemarketers actually call our house and ask for “A”.  Honestly, guys, it’s a dead giveaway.  Really, who names a kid “A”?  Or they ask for “A. Lynne”.  I generally tell them I am THE Lynne, thankyouverymuch, and who are they?

Even my employers have it wrong.  For a long time, my pay statements had my correct name on them, but somewhere along the line, instead of “A. Lynne Campb3ll”, I became “Lynn A. Campb3ll”.  Fortunately, the money still goes into my account, so it matters very little to me. All other correspondence from my employer, however, has my correct name on it.

See, the explanation is simple.  The parents always intended to call me Lynne, and Andrea after my great-grandmother.  However, this would have made my initials L.A.V., and where my mum comes from, that’s the toilet.  So, they just flipped it around.

Deep down, in my secret heart, I am and always have been just Lynne Verst33g.

And you’d think it would be that simple.