Monday, May 31, 2010

Antwerp, first time around.

Antwerp is big enough that wandering it thoroughly will take a few trips.  We stuck fairly close to the centre, weaving up and down the streets in the area.  I had hoped to stumble upon the Guess Jeans store, check out the Centraal Station, and other than this we had no real goal other than to wander and see what there was to see.  So without further ado, here are a few things we saw:

One serious car-park.

Outside Centraal Station, in the Astridplein (the square outside the station.)

Do you know what I find funny?  I saw people with full Starbucks cups when we were around the Centraal Station, but did not see the Starbucks.  In looking at the photos I'd taken of the station later, guess what I saw?  Do you see it?  Take a look.

Modern platform.  Reminded me of Gare du Nord in Paris.

Facing back toward the 'old' station while on the modern platform.

One thing I found about the centre: it was quieter than I thought it would be.  It was Saturday, and the weather was decent, but I found the quiet odd for a bigger city.  Perhaps later wandernings in other districts will show us where the 'action is' but it seemed fairly sedate where we were.

Next time we'll probably look inside the Cathedral.

One street-performer said: "We've got good weather today ...for Belgium."

If someone can explain to me why I keep seeing 'street saints' or ... well I'm not sure really what these guys are, but I've seen them before in other parts of Belgium, just chillin' on the outsides of buildings.  What's the story behind this sort of architectural detail?

And finally, there was The Chocolate Line, which is a higher-end chocolate shop placed in a historic building (once served as a palace for Napolean, A King of the Netherlands, as well as Leopold II.)  I'm always interested in chocolatiers who try to push the envelope of flavour, and noticed "fried onions", "black olive", "wasabi", "safron curry" and "hammam tea" among others.  Curiosity piqued, we purchased and shared several.  My overall impression is that the flavour pairings are generally successful, though at times the ganache texture is slightly off (this is a matter of how the ganache is worked and left to set.  This said, these were very slight qualms, and overall the quality of the chocolates here is certainly worth sampling.  I still think Marcolini is a bit above The Chocolate Line for overall quality of product, but they are doing their own thing here, and it's different, and worth tasting.  If you have never seen a chocolatier at work, it's also worth visiting for the windowed open-kitchen, where it's possible to watch some of the work being done, not to mention the whimsical chocolate sculptures on display.

Last of the discoveries for the 'initial wanderings in Antwerp' was the building which seems like it was something classier before it became a mall (either this, or it is one fine attempt at making malls seem classier.)

This mall featured in the atrium, (just below this lovely ceiling) a substantially sized and very pretty champagne/cocktail bar.  I am all for booze and shopping combined.  I very much liked how there was a wall of playstation 3s within view of the bar, offering free-play of various games.  How civilized, I thought, that mom can have a flute while keeping an eye on jr.

Today I realized that this is not the first time I've thought it's great when you can stick your kids somewhere within view while you have a drink.  After having had the up-close-and-personal view on many friend/family parenting experiences, I wonder if this appreciation for children's entertainment combined with the parental pause de détente avec un verre means I'd make a horrible mother, or just a realistic one?

Aaannd that was my time in Antwerp.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cleaning house

I've been clearing up little bits of business here and there over the past few days.  I hate having all kinds of little things undone, piling up.  After a certain point, it starts to make me feel a little incompetent within my own life, guilty, crowded by pain-in-the-butt things that must get done, no matter how boring or tedious they may be.

Along the way I realized as well there were some things I should share, so I'm doing a little odds and ends tidying here too.  I seem to be enamored of numbered lists of late, so why not another?

First: it's past the expiration for my visa, and I'm still here.  That's because I have managed to secure one of these:

This is the temporary version of the "carte F".  Isn't it quaint, how it's on paper, and how my photo is riveted in place?  I think it's quaint.  And I'm happy because I'll get to use the same photo for my permanent card when they make it in a few months (hurray!  Finally a photo ID that isn't horrid!)

I had (also) been granted the right to enter and work in Australia for a year, but I've decided to forgo the lovely spine-tingles and adrenaline-rushes that Australia's freakish wildlife could provide for the time-being, given that I should be sticking around in Belgeland.  As the date of entry on the visa for Oz has quite recently passed, I have ceremoniously burned these papers.

Just a sample of some "Aussie-rules" biology...*shudder*   (photo from

Second: I have finally chosen a mutualité, going with Euromut.  I can fall-back on English with them if I'm confused, they seem to have reasonable coverage, they are politically neutral, and they have extra dental and hospital coverage options.  This of course does not mean I have submitted my papers to the mutualité to join them yet.  Hopefully... today?  Sometime next week?

Third: I have been horribly neglectful in general of emails received in relation to this blog.  And being able to hear from the shy-er violets as well as commenters has been great!  I will apologize in advance for not having been the most responsive human being at times, but I'm hoping to step this up a little because I really do appreciate the words, (some of you are riotously hilarious and really should consider coming out of the shadows!)  PS- if you email me it's probably a good idea to title your email subject something like "BLOG something or other", as my spam filter is insane.  I swear ymail is owned or financially supported by Ponzi Scheme Inc.

Fourth: Taxes.  Zzzzzz.  When oh when, will I find the mental fortitude to do these without slipping into a coma as a result of extreme boredom?  Taxes are serious business in Belgium though, they must be done.  How else will Queen Fabiola receive her annual hair-product allowance?

Fifth: Flossing frequency has improved!  I figured if I used reports of governmental turbulence in this country as a way of remembering to do this, the situation would improve 10-fold.

Sixth: Antwerp.  I am off now to wander this part of Belgium for the first time.  Camera and extra batteries are in tow. Hopefully something interesting can be found.  Will report findings upon return.

Seventh: Yesterday was "National Hamburger Day" in parts of the world.  To mark the occasion, I bring you a lovely (and brief) multimedia experience... Go on, make with the clicking.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

10 odds and ends

1.) There is a truce of sorts.  Much thinking, some preliminary cooler-headed talking.  I am all for cool heads.

2.) Recently it was "Victoria Day" in Canada.  Quite by chance I stumbled across some information about this particular Queen that has given me sudden interest in her.  More on this in another post.

3.) I am older.  Gravity and survival instincts have allowed me to experience the wild merry go round trip around the sun 32 times now.  I kind of looked 32 on my birthday too.  And then the next day my face decided to pull 27.  I don't get it.

4.) I believe I've figured out what to do with all that whiney energy that's been coming here.  It's never really made me feel good to spread negativity, and in addition to that, I've been very un-zen about things in my own life lately, quite a bit in the past year or so actually, which I attribute partly to the whole 'figuring out how to be you in a new place' adjustment that happens with expat-ing yourself.  But I'm adjusting, and in thinking about things I believe I've found a much better outlet for my inner drama-queen.  So hopefully things will become a bit more positive and there'll be less griping in these here parts.

5.) There is a new ice cream place near us.  It's been open for about a month, and we've already been several times, working our way through the flavours after finding the creams and sorbets to be goooood.  The maker of les glaces is fairly young, and so I'm guessing this is his first shop.  He is very talented with fruit and flower flavours, but could use a little more intensity in some other flavours (though they are still quite good.)  Texture is bang-on, and thankfully it is not overly-sweet.  I am trying to work up the courage to talk shop with him a bit.  This may never happen.

6.) I have been working on some summery sweets of my own.  Mmmm.  Salivating just thinking about them!  Ah yes - I know I promised choco-pics awhile back, and they're coming, but I'm going to bundle them in with others I think.  There should be a serious food-porn post in June if all goes well, (meaning if I remember to photograph what I'm up to.  I am frequently bad at remembering to do this, but I will try!)

7.) I have a bike!  Well, it's not mine, but Belle-Mère never uses hers, and has lent it to me on a longish-term basis so I can figure out if I feel ok about biking here.  I've washed it, oiled the chain, and bought a lock.  After my experiences in Toronto (where motorists and cyclists are about as friendly with each other as Israel and Palestine are,) I'm trying to shake the residual survival instinct nerves and remind myself I used to bike regularly, on all kinds of roads with no trouble prior to T.O.  ...Just do it, right?

8.) I finished reading "Black like me" the other day.  I'd wanted to read it since seeing it on the parental bookshelf at age 7 or so.  But I sometimes take awhile to get down to things, so about 25 years later...  Though I found some parts of the book inconsistent or a little repetitive, it was a fairly quick read.  I do find much of what the book offers (I read a printing with a very good afterword by the author,) as far as insight into the systems of how dominant culture deals with minority cultures to be highly relevant, both in North America and Europe today.  We've come a long way in 50 years, but not as far as we might like to think.

9.) I found a self tanner that seems to do the trick for my legs.  Something by Dove, made for pale people, and it doubles as a moisturizer.  It's a good choice for me given that it's not too strong and works cumulatively, meaning it's easy not to end up streaky, and to either bump up or tone down the colour by applying more or less often.  The smell isn't bad, but it still has traces of the unappealing smell I've noticed in all fake tanners.

10.) I have been having some great art ideas lately, along with some audio notions. This has been wonderful, and a little frustrating given there is no space here for me to get down to working on these things in a 'finished product' sort of sense as far as quality goes.  I'm trying to figure out how to carve out some studio space for myself.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thanks, way to rub it in, facebook.


The two first responses to my shameful status update were "Can I practice my french with vous?" and "i dont know what that means but as i read that out loud it sounds awesome lol.

followed by two early wishes for my impending doom birthday.  

I feel as though I've just received a telegram from the heavens saying "You are old and alone in your sadness."

One sad little facebook status.

(translation): "Jessica likes you all, but will not be there tonight due to a dispute with (boyfriend).  Embarassing to say, but at least it's the truth."

This, after I said I couldn't do what boyfriend wanted to do tomorrow, (which was a little urban exploration that trended to the dangerous side - I said no because I don't yet have safety shoes here, and for this one I think it'd be wise to have them.)  I even said that I was interested in doing it another time, (and I am,) just when I don't think I'll impale my foot.  Nonetheless, boyfriend decided to become short and snippy with me after this.

Not one to tolerate less than positive or neutral treatment, I decided to get ready, let the situation breathe a little, and go upstairs to read.  Boyfriend got ready, and then came up to see me.  "So, are you coming?"
I explained that I'd be happy to go, but that I'd like to go with a companion who is treating me respectfully, not someone who is going to be snippy with me simply because he hasn't got exactly what he wanted.  Because I just don't feel like going out to a barbeque to feel mildly estranged in front of a group of boyfriend's friends.  Not my idea of fun.  Kind of more like public torture, with a very long apero.  I made a point of saying that I'd be happy to go, and that I had wanted to, but that really the only thing causing me feel less than good about the function was his behaviour toward me.

At this point, boyfriend went through a convoluted series of statements.  I believe he was trying to convince himself that what I'd just said about wanting to be treated correctly must in fact have been not at all about the desire to be treated correctly, but in fact was coded language for "I don't like your friends" (not true,) or "Raaa, you only bought sausages and I don't want to eat them so I'm not going" (also not true, and ridiculous.)

Then came the petit chantage... "what shall I say to them?" boyfriend asked.  "The truth" I said.  "I'd be happy to go but that we aren't getting along very well tonight."  Boyfriend followed with: "I'm just going to tell them that you don't like them."

Do you see what's going on there?  The whole "I'll tell them something horrible unless you come and act like nothing is wrong despite how I've been treating you just now" thing?

Funny how the other night at dinner I was saying to belle mère that something women like about men is that they seem to retain more of the "esprit de jeunesse" (youthful spirit), but that something women dislike about men is that they seem to retain more of the "esprit de jeunesse".  Tonight that "esprit" can go elsewhere.  This would be one of those evenings where I find the manifestation of said "esprit" unacceptable.

I'm trying to be supportive where I can, since the esprit hasn't been doing wonderfully of late, trying to be restrained when I feel compelled to use expletives, while remaining honest with everyone all-round, and not compromising my own values.  I figure in a situation like tonight it's best to remove myself from the equation and leave boyfriend with his friends.  But that whole bit of bullshit about telling the friends I don't like them?  It doesn't fly.  So what is the lesser of all evils?  Sadly I believe it is this sad little facebook status.  How terribly, horribly shameful.

Meanwhile, I realize there is only so much one can do with calm self-restraint before it becomes bondage.  The black pool slithers into the corners of my mind, feeling opportunity, and the true cynic in me (positively outraged at the social blackmail attempt,) says "well, there it is again, right in front of your face... This is who you are with.  What were you hoping for, darling?"


"I'm coming back in my next life as a neutered rabbit."  I recall hearing my mother say this when I was a little girl.  And you know what?  I totally get it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

White like me.

It has been rather lovely outside lately.  As I've been in hermit mode the past few days, this was something I noticed really only at 3pm today when stepping out to get some groceries.  It was today as I walked in the sun that I realized we are officially entering the season of skin-baring.  And I am white, white, pasty-white.

My Irish-German genetics don't give me much of a chance.  I am one of the whitest people I know.  I freckle somewhat up top, on my face and arms, while the rest of my upper body when tanned is what most people would think of as a 'normal skin tone'.  From the waist down however, I do not tan easily at all.  I can count on one hand the number of places in the world I've been where mysteriously the sun was at just the right angle, and the planets were aligned correctly resulting in my having a tanned lower body.  Generally I've always been fairly accepting of this, however I've noticed that paradoxically here in the land where the sun rarely comes out from behind the clouds, my whiteness meets greater disdain than it did in Canada.  Is it that we are trained in Canada to accept all skin tones?  I don't know.  But I do know this...  there is a skin tone not widely seen in Canada... it's quite prevalent here...  it looks something like this:


Now, I don't like fake tanners.  I generally find them to be somewhat disagreeable in smell or texture, and let's face it... the colour often leaves something to be desired.  We even have bright orange celebrities walking around proving to us that no matter how much money we were to spend on these products, that we may still end up orange, or blotchy if we aren't careful.

Or maybe I've just gotten it all horribly wrong and the point isn't actually to look naturally tanned.  Perhaps the orange look is intentional.  Could it be?  Regardless, at the very least I can say that here around Liège, the look has caught on like wildfire:

That, and a random man stopped me on the street the other day to tell me I needed vitamins, because I (he was looking at my legs,) must be sick.

It left me feeling a little conflicted as I waited at the bus stop, gazing upon my remarkably pale legs.  Might I find a way to give them a little boost, just to match them up with the rest of my skin, which does take colour?

To dye or not to dye?  That is the question.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


1) - The alcove of doom can probably be coerced into being an ok place for chocolate-work.  I took it for a spin this week, and do you know what?  It was doable.  There are still a few adjustments to be made so that the quantity of profanities I utter there are lessened to a non-tourrettes level, however I am confident that it can work, maybe even well.  Pictures to follow.

2) - The more tired I become, the less I am able to be a well mannered social organism.  It was a busy week for us with several nights out.  I went into the weekend already feeling thoroughly tired and dehydrated thanks to several late nights, not enough sleep, and too much alcohol.  I noticed that social fumbles accumulated the more tired I became.  I started the week a little more the social butterfly, and finished it rather like an injured caterpillar morosely dragging itself along.  Not so good.

3) - I run 10k with great ease when I am so tired that my muscles aren't able to hold onto extra tension.  The easiest 10k I've run in awhile was SO not what I expected when I showed up the track this afternoon feeling more like I ought to be taking a nap.

4) - I have no natural talent for babyfoot / foosball.

What are your recent revelations?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I will be older. Gimme?

We interrupt this period of navel-gazing to present an illustrated list.  The following items may help to assuage the pains of ageing, and are thus proposed as ideal birthday gifts (for me.)

A KitchenAid 600 mixer.  575 Watts of mixing power.  Choice of colours, and the alcove of doom could really use one.  What's not to love?

*This* particular sorbetière has actually been on my list of wants foreeeeever.  The last place I saw one was in Strasbourg around New Years.  This is one of the only consumer-level ones, as far as I'm concerned that will do things the way I'd like, and that won't take up all the counterspace in the alcove of doom.  Eventually this will be mine.  Oh yes, it will be mine.

A new kitchen.  This one would do fine.  No?  Oh.  ok...   *sigh*   Moving along then.

A Wacom tablet and pen.  Cuz I likez to draw, but hatez to scan.

The Samsung Diva Folder.  I don't really care about what it does, I just love the way it looks.  Irrationally want this shiny object.

I read that these actually do a better job of cleaning your teeth than the manual approach.  Better is good.  (I'd still have a manual on-hand too though, you know, to "keep it real" now and then.)

Shhh.  This mode of transport might be creeping back into my life.  I'm kind of terrified and elated about the idea.  Elated because this would mean more freedom in my day-to-day moving about, but terrified because living in Toronto will make anyone, even a confident road-cyclist, think that ALL MOTORISTS WANT CYCLISTS TO DIE.  But it seems not to be the case here, so I'm thinking about it.  Part of me is already cheering "wheeeee!"

I like smelling like this.  It is the only perfume I haven't tired of, in my life.  I find the scent pleasingly fitting for my personality, and the name pleasingly zen.  So I suppose I can say it is my scent.  Not too sweet, sliiightly floral, and crisp.  Like me.

I could go for one of these.  Like, every day of my LIFE.

Pretty much anything else on the list involves trying things on, or is a book involving italian merengues and culinary nerdery, so I'll spare you the catalogue of CSJ n' L + PGB (clothes, shoes, jewellery & lingerie + Pastry-geek books.)

And so that is that.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In a haze.

I have not blogged for a week.  I fail as a bloggeuse, because I am not a content-generating machine, and sometimes I just feck off for a week.  I'm sorry to those who came to check on me and found nothing new.  I did not die.  I have had my head firmly wedged in my navel.

The truth is I've been doing a lot of self-questioning this past week, along with working and getting down to business on a bit of paperwork.  (Anyone who doesn't know this should be informed right now that being an expat anywhere usually increases the paperwork quotient of your life by about 2, at least.)

The result so far of all my self-questioning seems to be a thin mist of guilt, and the feeling of "now what?"  If it seems rather unspecific, don't worry, it does to me too.  All I know is that my mind is wandering about, trying to figure something out (what, I'm not sure, though I recognize the feeling,) and in the meantime I'm drifting aimlessly, waiting for the answer to come back, the next set of directions.  I'm on hold in my own life waiting for me to get back to me.  Great.

As well, I thought about making chocolates this week.  It's true that I think about this often and do it little, but the thinking keeps getting more serious.  It can only build so much in me until I HAVE TO, even if it means doing battle in the alcove of doom.  The kitchen at work is so perfectly set up for making truffles, and all that does is encourage my urge.  Gorgeous stainless steel surfaces everywhere, ideal lighting and temperature.  I could make thousands of chocolates happily every day there.  But we do not make truffles at the hotel.  And so, instead I have my frustrations building, and only the alcove of doom to work with.  That prospect is ... less than inspiring.  I am bundling up my courage though, because damnit... I can't just not make chocolates ever again.  It's been more than a month since I brought my tools back from Canada.  I have what I need now, at least enough to give it a go.  The time is nigh.  ish.  Ughhhh.

And here is the featured guilt of today:  Yesterday I went to belle-mère's for dinner.  Yesterday was mother's day.  I had planned to call my sister, mother and grandmother in order to wish them happy mother's days respectively, but instead, I once again underestimated the power of a Belgian dinner, and ended up being rolled into bed by boyfriend in some sort of food and drink coma.

It's just not really the same to call the day after, is it?  This would be one of those areas I tend to fail too often, actually; Timely Gestures.  They are always thought of and then missed by my becoming too involved in something else and not remembering until it's too late, or they are thought of and then hesitated over, and should they materialize it is much much later.  I mean well, but sometimes it just doesn't amount to much actually happening.  I don't feel good about that.  So what to do now?  I have no idea.

I suppose for now, I wander off back into this cloud and try to get something done.  Something that will make me feel that I can do good things.  Something productive.  Something to assuage my general self-ennui.  If you could just point me in the right direction?

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Lifeboat.

"Life of Pi" is an excellent book.  I've had my face buried in it the last few days, and now that I've finished it I will recommend it, solidly.  I can say this of it too: it came to me at the right time.  There is something in the story that I believe will ring a little louder for expats.  Author Yann Martel effortlessly weaves themes of family, suffering, perseverance, love, reason over fear, spirituality in many forms, the changes that can occur in the minds of the displaced, the lost and disassociated, and of hope.  The events that Piscine Molitor Patel, or "Pi", finds himself swept up in are absorbing.

I was never convinced into opening the book based on the cover, nor by the rear-cover print, and I don't want to ruin any surprises.  So I recommend you find this book, skip reading the rear cover, and give the first few pages a go, if you are like me it won't take much more than that for you to realize it's a story worth reading.  But, just in case, I'm saying that it's absolutely a story worth reading.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


It is the weekend of May 1st.  Here in Belgium, this could lead you to die of boredom.  Let me help you with a few suggestions should you be mired in a funk of "there's nothing to do".

Brussels seems to be the luckiest, with a high number of activities taking place today.  There are several concerts including Rufus Wainwright at Bozar, A lovely soprano with piano pairing at the Art Base, An R&B-reggae style show at the Ancienne Belgique, A intimate pay what you can salon-style offering of classical violin and piano in the early afternoon at Jacob Norden's (call in advance if you want to guarantee yourself a place though, as the place fits about 35.)  As well, many of the museums are open along with the Atomium.  There will be "ouverture exeptionelles" today at some of the stores and shops about town, since many missed out on being open yesterday.  I'm not certain how the weather is there, but there seem to be happenings in many of Brussels parks today, including a marionette to-do, and a guided walk to check out the emerging blooms.  Here in Liège the weather is somewhat grey and wet, but things may be different there, and if you are ok with whatever weather you've got, I recommend going for a stroll to see what might be on offer at your local green-space.  At the very least it will have gotten you out of the house!

If you are elsewhere in Belgium and not aware of this site, I recommend you check it out, since it's regularly filled with things going on, and these 'things' can even be sorted by region.  I don't believe it's available in English, but if you have even rudimentary French skills, you should be able to take advantage of it.

Don't feel like leaving the house?  Ok.  Well, you could always pick up a book, try to do one of those pesky chores you haven't 'had time to get around to', make a go of a new dish in your kitchen, play a game with your children or friends, have a spontaneous "the weekend is killing me, let's drink" party, or go shopping online, (Haha!  Stores there are always open!)  If you are truly morose at this point in the weekend, may I suggest finding a park-bench and having a good sulk (take your ipod if you can,) followed up by some frites or a waffle, or somethig you consider a comforting indulgence.  Sometimes if you indulge a funk outside of the house, it passes.

As for me, the only reason I can speak of these things today is because Boyfriend declared extreme boredom this morning.  One who is very bad at creating or planning his own amusement; he claims he has been suffering from "not doing anything other than working".  I have told him repeatedly that he needs to be a little more proactive about this, finding ways to 'unplug' mentally through leisure.  It's not easy for him though... the man hardly reads, has no apparent hobbies, and seems at a loss for how to make his own fun when friends or I are unavailable.  Today I tried to assist by throwing out a bunch of possible to-do's, and now he has fallen asleep on the couch.  Hrm.

So, for now I'm going back to my 'quiet weekend' activity.  I finally got around to opening up a work of fiction I'd been meaning to read for some time.  I am picky about fiction, but this one has been a true pleasure, pulling me in right from the get-go and keeping me interested all the way along.  As a result, over the past few days since opening it, I have been nothing short of a glutton with my book, devouring it.  I expect that should my melancholic housemate rest in varying states of slumber and sulk, I will finish it today.

As well I have decided to try and assemble a list of "wants".  My birthday approaches and I always miserably unprepared when asked to give ideas to those wishing to gift me.  Not to mention, it may help me sort out my priorities a little (I do not neeeed that overpriced cellphone, but oooh how it is pretty and shiny and would match everything I wear, and oooh how that makes me waaant it.)  This year, I'll be ready.  Plus, as my friend Tea Party Crasher says, what isn't satisfying about a good list?

What do you do when you're bored?  Do tell, or if you know of anything going on today in Belgium, please do feel free to mention it - I'm sure there are a few people out there who may thank you!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I am part reptile.

Read no further should you wish to retain your appetite.  I'm warning you.

Strangely, once a year my hands erm, shed...  They scale slightly and peel over a day or two, as though I'd dipped them accidentally in bleach or something.  (This, despite the fact that I am an obsessive user of moisturizer.)  Try not to throw up in your mouth a little, but this year I caught the magic 24 hours on film so I could share the magic with you all.

I have no idea why this happens, but fortunately it happened this year on a non-work day.  The same day I said I may have been a 3-toed sloth in a past life.  As if my body was saying "Really?  Think again, ssssister."  So, maybe I was actually just a really slow snake in a past life.  A boa constrictor?  I think that's my final answer.

My body is weird.