Friday, February 22, 2008

Time for Winter to End

I'm sitting here at my desk at work. Exhausted from yet another morning of walking the 10 minutes from my house to the subway station. The weather makes me feel as though my whole body's energy is being sucked out. My limbs and head ache from the cold and I have been experiencing a constant shiver for the last three days. I feel like I'm 90 years old! But actually I'm only 27.

This is how I feel every winter. I tremble, I whine, I feel sad and depressed and I wish the season away. I often wonder why I allow myself to live this way for the better part of five months of the year. The minute Spring-like weather arrives, I can feel the cloud of darkness peel away from my soul. I can feel the invigorating freshness of new life and new energy. It's like my mind hibernates for the Winter season and the real Care emerges after a few months. Yes just like a bear, grrr.

I often dream of moving to a warmer place. As I'm sure many people do. I'll watch The Hills on MTV and see pretty girls living it up, wearing dresses all year long in LA and wonder why I don't get to have that life (as I mentioned I whine A LOT in the winter).

Instead, I'm here, stuck wearing ugly dress pants because I'm too cold to wear a dress in -20C weather and my precious boots I spent $200 on are now ruined because of the damn salt stains! Wearing a pretty dress is actually a luxury to me. It means the better weather is here and I get to show some skin OR it means I'm heading to a formal party and I'm willing to grit my teeth and bare through the freezing cold for style. Something I rarely do in the Winter. No matter what though, with my pasty white skin, dry patchy face and ugly "winter wardrobe". I feel like a slob and not an attractive one, every single winter season. I also tend to drink a lot of red wine.

I'm sure my posts will get a lot lighter as Spring approaches but for now, I'm sitting at work, looking at the snow blow outside and am not looking forward to my walk back home. I could use a hot chocolate, or a glass of red wine and definitely a fire place right about now!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Selling the Shreddie Getting Stale?

Shreddies, the healthy cereal made up of 100% whole wheat began it's journey to popularity in 1955 when Nestle began marketing it to the public with it's "Good Good Whole Wheat Shreddies"slogan.

I grew up on this cereal and was often excited for the treat in the bottom of the box and the unexpected good taste! The marketing of this healthy cereal was obviously effective with its consumers.

So I was rather surprised recently when I noticed Shreddies start advertising "Diamond Shreddies". At first glance I thought it was a joke. A marketing spoof perhaps?

Until further investigation and additional commercials appearing on my TV screen, did I have to come to terms with the fact that yes Shreddies Cereal has indeed run out of marketing ideas. I'm no advertising agent, but when a group of individuals marketing this brand sit in a room and discuss the next course of action for this cereal, did they really collectively agree that turning the shreddie on its side in a picture will trick it's faithful consumers into thinking this was brilliant? Will this really create more purchasing power?

What was wrong with a circle? Or a rectangle? I will never know but am allowed to wonder why my cereal of choice thinks this marketing indolence is going to just slip under the radar with its consumers. We who eat the Shreddie are no idiots. We, who are over the age of five, are obviously healthy breakfast eaters, and know better than to be excited about an image turned on a 45 degree angle.

All in all, with or without this new publicity ploy, the Shreddie remains the same. The cereal has history behind it and that is what will keep it on the shelves. Diamond, square or circle my childhood favourite will still get my buck. However, perhaps the buck should go to new advertisers.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

'V' day finally Vindicated

It's Valentines Day today. The 14th of February and the one day of the year I'll witness men in suits carrying big bouquets of flowers in a snow storm, or watch as my coworkers receive embarrassingly large deliveries of flowers, and also see men and women frantically shop for that 'special gift' at the last minute.

Since grade 10, I always managed to have a Valentine. Someone who would shower me with gifts, hold my hand, and show to the outside world that I was actually part of the 'Valentines in crowd'. In High School this was much more relevant believe me.

Well, I have always held a secret hatred towards the day of love. I think it's mainly from the fact that I wasn't always in truly fantastic relationships and I saw the day as a time to rekindle something that wasn't even there in the first place. A lot of forced actions and emotions in one day can really drain a person! Until I met my fiance.

Birthdays have always been big with me. The day comes once a year and it's special to the person having it. It isn' t as commercialized as other big days and there is no pressure from outside media to do something. This makes me want to do something. I am sometimes more excited about someone 's birthday than the person celebrating the day. So when I found out my fiance's birthday is actually on Valentines Day I was ecstatic! This means I get to do something nice because I WANT to not because I have to. So for the past two years I have been doing just that. Every February 14, I get to make my love feel special.

And for the rest of the time, he makes me feel special. Not because he has to. But because he wants to.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Shameless Subway Antics

Witnessing the behaviour of people on the subway every morning and every evening has got me thinking there are some bad apples and some really great people in the world of commuter chaos.

After moving from a smaller city to a much larger city, I've made some observations. Some good, some not so good.

Every morning my fiancee and I 'ride the rocket' together. Sounds very sweet doesn't it? It's not that sweet of a ride actually. There is no privacy of driving together in our car, picking up coffees along the way and listening to the radio as we slowly crawl with the other cars to our destination. At least with a car, you have a sheild surrounding you from other people. Other people's body odour, other people's bad habits, foul language, colds and coughs and heavy breathing. Personal space does not exist on the subway.

One good thing is usually during the rush hour, trains arrive quite regularly. Waiting too long is never usually an issue. So I get very annoyed when the trains are already packed so full I'm literally smushing my face into someone's backpack and someone still pushes themselves into the wall of people in the doorway. They often get my best look of disapproval. Why do they think they are so important that they deserve to climb onto the train instead of waiting the minute for the next one to arrive? This only makes people even more uncomfortable and therefore irratible for the day. I'm guessing they don't think about that sort of thing.

As for seating on the subway. Well here is my personal rule. If a person is pregnant, carrying a cane or just looks like they really can't stand, they should get to sit. I'll admit after a long hard day at work, I just like to sit down and read a book on my commute home. But a seat isn't really that important to me. I've been sitting all day! I have seen very pregnant women stand while men and women sit comfortably beside them. Why are some people so ignorant? It's funny because one of my first experiences after moving here was a man offering me his seat. I was a little taken aback as clearly I am capable of standing. I politely declined and hoped that he would be just as kind to someone who really needed the offer.

Of course good people take the TTC everyday. But moving here from a smaller city, I've noticed everyone just looks kind of numb. It could be the fumes from the trains or the long days at work. We just have to be more considerate and conscious of other people and do what we can to respect personal space even when it seems impossible.

Some ways to make personal space less of an issue include:

  • Moving out of the way when someone is exiting the train - don't just stand in the doorway!
  • When sitting, please don't spread out your legs so far you're forcing the person beside you to clench their legs together. Who do these people think they are?
  • To the people who are dancing around to their turned-up-way-too-loud MP3 players. We don't want to hear your music! And quit dancing. You're not that good.
  • If you want to eat a full meal, please do so at home or at work or at a restaurant. Basically anywhere but a train filled with people.

I'm not an expert but I know what annoys me every single day. I consider myself normal (at times) so I think this may be the case for others as well. Shameless Subway Antics are here to stay but it would be nice if we all took the time to think of what we're doing and how it can affect the next person.