Monday, January 31, 2005

Can there be dignity?

Marcel ate at a nice restaurant on Friday night, the kind in a fancy hotel. He was surrounded by 50 friends and family members who toasted him and wished him well. He wore his favourite blue sweater. Anyone seeing this kindly 78 year old man may have assumed that he was celebrating his retirement. He was not.

He went back to his Ottawa home with a few of his close family members, shared some fond words with each of them as he sat in his most comfortable recliner. Then, he put a helium-filled bag on his head and was dead within 5 minutes as his family watched on.

Marcel Tremblay went to a wake on Friday night - his own.

He had been planning it for three months prior, always hoping he wouldn't need it, but upon waking up every morning, he moved the plans forward. He was dying of a lung condition, but to his view, he wasn't dying fast enough. So, he took matters into his own hands. Marcel Tremblay is dead now, by his own hand.

Dying with dignity.
Dying with dignity?

This, of course, raises a lot of controversy. In Canada, it is legal to commit suicide as long as the person doesn't receive help from anyone else. Marcel Tremblay was a sane man. He was suffering. He chose for it to end.

This does not sit well with a lot of people. Words and phrases like 'euthanasia', 'assisted-suicide', 'mercy killing', 'compassionate homicide', 'the value of life', 'the quality of life', 'God's will', and 'the human will' are tossed around, back and forth, and eventually lose their meaning until the next prominent case occurs.

Many of us remember Robert Latimer, who, back in 1993, put his 12-year old daughter Tracy into the cab of his pick-up truck, and killer her with carbon monoxide poisoning. She had severe cerebral palsy, was a paraplegic, and functioned at the level of a three-month old baby. She was due for more surgery and lived in constant pain. Her father judged it better to watch his little girl die than to watch her suffer anymore.

He was convicted of second degree murder.

I'm not going to get into ethics and morals here today. We all have our beliefs, and we are all entitled to them.

What I'm thinking today is this:

What must it have felt like to watch Marcel die? To watch those last breaths of life. Did he give someone's hand a final squeeze? Did he close his eyes? Did he, even for just a second, have a flash of regret on his face?

If you want to know the value of 5 minutes, then think about what it must have been like to be in that room. To know that with one quick tear of the bag, life could be preserved. How many had that temptation? How many fought the urge to save Marcel's life? 5 minutes can be a very long time.

Marcel committed suicide. He chose this end by himself. But being surrounded by loved ones, he could have been stopped. How do you decide to support your father/husband/brother in their quest to die? How do you stand there for 5 minutes? The room must have been gravely silent, and we can only imagine the thoughts and memories and doubts and grief that went on in their heads.

Tracy, however, did not commit suicide. She was euthenized (or killed). She did not choose to die; someone else made that choice for her. But then, someone else also decided what surgeries to give her, what food to feed her, where to place her wheel chair, what she looked at for hours of the day, who she interacted with, what clothes she wore, what course her life would take.

By all accounts Robert Latimer was a very loving father. He believed that ending her pain and suffering was an act of love and compassion. He still believes that now, after serving 11 years in prison. This, of course, makes other disabled Canadians wary. None of us would want someone else to decide whether our life was worth living or not. But in some cases, that does happen. Lots of people have a living will, and lots of people give their parents or their spouses power of attorney should anything happen to them that would keep them from communicating their wishes.

Parents make decisions for their children all the time. They decide the most intimate details of their child's life before the child is even born: name, religion, place of birth. Parents decide whether the child will be circumsized, where the child will go to school, what medical treatments will be received or refused. Robert Latimer took this one step further; perhaps one step too far. Certainly his actions were not legal in this country. The news of Tracy's death hit people all over the country hard; there was an outpouring of support for Robert, and there was a lot of condemnation as well.

At the end of the day, Tracy is dead. Her father wrapped her in a blanket, laid her across the seat of his Chevy truck, and sat on the wheel to watch her die while the rest of the family was at church. We don't know what tears were shed on that day. Until you are in that situation, you just cannot understand. I imagine that the decision did not come easily, or quickly. They say that losing a child is the worst pain you can experience, but what about this? What kind of pain are you in when you turn the key to the ignition, and say your goodbyes? We can't know. All we know is that Robert Latimer insists he has no regrets.

Neither does Marcel Tremblay. Dead men don't regret. Marcel is dead. Tracy is dead. May their souls rest in peace.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Visitors in the Night

It's quiet here in the early morning hours. The only sound is the ping that water makes as it drips from the tap onto the porcelain of the tub. I took a shower at 4 am to warm me up. I'm cold again and my hair isn't even dry. I'm tired but I can't sleep. I'm lonely with only the glow of my computer screen to keep me company.

It's too quiet here this morning. It's quiet enough for me to hear the noises of the house. The groans and howls and pops that I rationalize away as "the wind outside" or "the house is shifting" but am irrationally afraid of anyway. I consider bolting from the desk and waking Jason up, but something keeps me here. Someone is watching me. Someone is here. I clear my throat just to prove to myself that I still have some control over the situation. It doesn't help.

"Jason?", I enquire, hopefully.

No response.

The hairs on the back of my neck stand up straight. I try to steady my breathing but I'm shaking a little. I wish I wasn't sitting in the dark.

I look around the desk for a weapon, for anything that will make me feel braver. All I find is a pen, which I purposely drop on the floor. I edge the chair away from the desk, bend over and pick up the pen. I catch movement out of the corner of my eye.

I jerk myself back up, heart racing. What have I seen? A mouse? A shadow? A burglar?

I am trying not to cry. I am trying not to have a panic attack. I am trying just to reclaim my thoughts and not let my imagination go crazy. I'm doing a poor job of all three. And then, I feel a hand on my shoulder. It gives me a squeeze, hard, and I know I must obey it. I must turn around to face my fears...

He is tall, and solid, and dressed in black. Only his eyes are not covered, and they meet mine with such a piercing, menacing look that I have to look away. I realize that he and I are not alone in the room. There are other men just like him: tall, dark, and threatening.

I fear that my heart will pound right out of my chest. I wonder if I should scream, or if I even could. The men begin to move around. I don't know what their intentions are, and at the moment I don't care. I know the best way to help myself is to calm down, so I close my eyes and take some deep breaths. The alarm bells in my head stop going off long enough for me to realize there is music in the room.

I open my eyes, slowly, painfully, saying my prayers, and....


Everybody was kung-fu fighting
those jerks were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightening,
but they fought with expert timing...

Is there a doctor in the house?

Well, I'm nbow violating the only rule i've ever had about blogging, and that is, don't do it when you're drunk. well, when i'm drunk. you never Seem to notify me when you're drunk, so it's hard to tell. Haha, I made a joek.

Raine is on TV. Or was. Man I love that kid. Sing like Canadians: We are all innocent. What does it mean that we are all innocent?

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

Anyways, K did something tonight that I haven't done since high school: fuzzy navels. And olts of them. Big ones. More fuzzy than navel. Who thought this would be a good idea? I don't know what we did tonight. There was that grail movie. Man, I was not impressed.

Dr. McGillicuddy is just the way I remember him at any rate. The last time I really remember lots of fuzzy navels was a certain trip to Kingston. We were just a bunch of bored teenageers hanging around town for too long when we suddenly realized, hey, let's get out of town. We travelled 2 hours just to have lunch at a funny burger place called Licks. They sing your orders. Those of us in the back passed around the schanapps. By the time we got to Licks we couldn't order anyway. Ah, misspent youth.

Jasn went to work today, and then he came back. He came back right away. His work is broken. We napped a bit and then thought, hey, we're never home on a saturday night. so then we went out. And had schnapps aux peches. Je suis bien enivre. I have no accents aigus on this damned keyboard. No more popscicle stick though, No more clackety clack clack. These keys are squishy. Quiet. C'est un peu triste.

The good news is, we finally found swoops. But the lady called them chocloalte pringles, which grossed me out. Jason keeps laughing through his nose. IO'm a little worried about that. Il fait froid dans la cave. But not cold enough to go and get socks. All the clean laundry just got dumped on the floor out of the dryer yesterday and findin socks is going to be easy at all, all jumbled and staticy.

Okay bye.

p.s. I just remembered this:

a) Jason, when the Scissor Sisters came on, I told you to dance like you were wearing gold pants. And you did.

b) It would have been so much better had the porno not involved cottage cheese. Right?

Friday, January 28, 2005

"Daddy Drinks Because You Cry": And Other Books To Put Kids To Sleep.

Jason here,

Oh yes, hello.

It is a rare day today. It's a rare day because I saw Jamie asleep. For those of you out of the loop, I sleep a tremendous amount. Jamie on the other hand can sleep for four hours and go out and face the day, I can barely drive myself to work under such circumstances. I woke up early this morning and on my own, no alarm today! Jamie always falls asleep after me and is up before me, sometimes I wonder if she sleeps at all, but if I'm quick enough I can still feel the warmth of her pillow. Jamie is a very adorable sleeper, unlike myself. I snore, kick, and generally make a huge mess of the pillows and blankets, hmmmmmm, maybe I shouldn't wonder so hard why Jamie never sleeps. But on those very rare days where I am up before her it's always trouble. I say trouble because I just don't know what to do with myself. It's not that I'm needy, wait a minute, that's exactly it, I'm very needy and I get a little lost when left on my own. Today I busied myself with the following: Took out the trash and the recycling, cleaned the bathroom, dusted the living room, kicked some of the snow that collected on the car, and made piles. Piles you might ask? I've learned a solid truth about most men and how they clean a house. Most men, myself included, will not think to take a bunch of stuff and put it away. No no, we prefer to arrange all those random items into piles of various sizes and heights. Papers and books are especially good for piling, but on occasion I've been known to pile dishes, cardboard boxes, and clothing. Not folded clothing, just neat little piles of flattened t-shirts and pants. I never see the problem with this type of cleaning, but I do see the disbelief in Jamie's eyes when she comes home to a house that has been "cleaned" by me. Piles on tables, in corners, and anywhere else one might think a pile of random items might fit. It's sad really and I try to work on it. Jamie says just to put stuff away instead of piling it, what a novel concept! Until then, let's see if I can stack this thing on top of that thing.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Sock Drawer Drama

Today I like: bagels
Listening to: old-school Madonna

So the other day, I was sitting down, completely preoccupied with something, probably mail, or paying bills, or some such thing, and Jason was trying to hurry me out the door. To go nowhere really, but he wanted to get there fast. I was dressed and pretty much ready, but I lacked one thing: socks.

I don't know if growing up in the country made me this way, but I have an affinity for bare feet. I always leave socks to the last possibly moment. When I'm at home, I just don't bother with socks. Jason thinks this is weird, and he obsessively feels my toes. If he judges them to be cold, he'll go get a pair of my slipper socks, the Tweeties, or the Poohs, and put them on my feet.

So of course while I was sitting, trying to get things done, I was still barefoot.

"I still need socks hun."

I thought that would discourage him a bit, and back off. It didn't.
He went and fetched me some socks, knelt down, and started putting them on my feet.
Eventually, I looked to see what was going on down there, and saw that I was wearing blue socks.

"I can't wear blue socks."

"Why not?"

"Because, Jason, my pants are gray and my shoes are black. I have to wear socks that are either gray or black."

So he takes them off and goes back to the bedroom. Soon, I feel him putting a new pair of socks on my feet. Something feels very wrong.

"Jason, those are not the right socks."

"But they're gray, like you said!"

"Yes, but they're athletic socks. These are nice pin-striped pants. Those are very expensive, pretty shoes. I need dress socks."


So he bounds back to the bedroom, and I think maybe he'll just leave me alone now. I should know better.The next pair that I feel (and by feel, I mean that Jason doesn't know how to put socks on. Thank goodness we don't have children. He shoves and pulls and complains that girl socks are too tiny.)don't seem to be an improvement. Am I brave enough to look down?

"Jason, those are red! Red athletic socks!"

He looks up at me, a huge grin on his face. He thinks he's just pulled a great prank on me. What a goober.

He has the right pair in his pocket, and puts them on my feet. Well, not exactly the right socks. They're gray, but with white flecks.

But in almost 5 years with this guy, I have learned one thing: not to push my luck. I bit my tongue, grabbed my purse and headed out, towards nowhere. Fast.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Dear Winter,

I've had enough. I hate you. Go away.

When I was a kid, I used to have a certain fondness for you. I would build snow castles outside until my mittens were soaked and refrozen, and I would have to place them on the baseboard heaters to have them defrosted for the next day. I would trudge up a snowy hill in clothing so thick I couldn't bend my own limbs, only to catapult myself down on a thin metal object, knocking down my friends like chubby little bowling pins, and knocking out my front teeth too. And if you were especially kind, winter, you would cause the pipes at my school to burst, meriting us some days off. Or else you would make it too cold to get the yellow buses started up in the mornings. We could stay home to skate on our pond instead of going to school, eating Mom's chicken noodle soup instead of baloney sandwiches, and it was a pretty great trade-off in the end.

But since the age of 12, I've hated you. I look forward to the first snowfall like I look forward to a visit to my prone-to-spasms gynecologist.

I'm sick of dry, bleeding, chapped lips. My house is being overrun with chapsticks. Here's one on the keyboard. I have one in my nightstand, 2 in my purse, 3 in the bathroom, one in the car, one in the junk drawer, one per pocket per winter coat, one in the kitchen, and about a dozen others that seem to go from one location to the next, and almost always end up in Jason's pants pockets, about to get thrown in the washing machine (and worse yet, in the dryer, where chapstick melts, and makes 'artwork' out of all your favourite clothing). I must spend $400 per winter on this never-ending chapstick supply, and still, I smile, and the scab on my lip cracks open, and I'm tasting blood again.

Then there's the toque hair. Now, I don't often wear hats of any kind, especially in the winter. I risk frostbite to my cute little ears, and for good reason: when you take off the toque, your hair is tragically crushed. No matter how long it took you to style it in the morning, it's gone by the time you get to work. All the hair on the crown of your head is flat, irrevocably, but if that wasn't enough, the rest of your hair is subject to intense static electricity, so while the hair on top looks like a helmet, the rest looks like you've recently been spending time a little too close to the sockets. Attractive combination? No. Damn you, winter.

Damn you for the salt marks that eat away at all my favourite leather shoes. Damn you for $800 heating bills. Damn you for Jason's cold toes pressed against my back in the middle of the night. Damn you for the feeling of frozen nostrils. Damn you for tempting children everywhere to see if it's true what they say about sticking your tongue on a pole. It is true. And it's psychologically damaging for the rest of the kids to have to see his/her taste buds ripped off, and left behind on that pole for the whole rest of the winter.

Oh, and then there's the joy of car ownership during the winter. You have to set the alarm early to plug in the block-heater 4 hours before you expect to go anywhere (and if you lose your head and have a craving for a Big Mac in the middle of the night, be prepared for a long, snowy walk to buy jumper cables in the morning). Then, you have to let it run for half an hour to warm the motor, and saying a prayer to the auto god, wasting gas and running up the bill. Then you have to brush the snow, scrape the ice, pry the doors open, and convince your numb fingers to grip the icy steering wheel while wiping your windows clear from the cloudiness that accrues from the fog of your breath. And that's just to get things started. Next you have to navigate the snowy death roads. Now, sometimes we experience 'white out' where you may as well have skipped the clearing of your windshield because you can't see anything anyway. But even in the best conditions, if there's snow on the roads, you can't see the lines. You could be driving down the middle of a road, or not on the road at all, which is more common than you'd hope. You have to constantly fiddle with the buttons, going from heat to defrost, possibly cracking a window just to see even if it lets jack frost nip at your nose. The ass of your car never stops at the same time as the front: you slip and slide, and pray to not die. It's fun, really. And then there were these 2 fun occasions:

1. Trying to turn left at an intersection, I slid right into a snow bank instead. It took forever to back out of it, meanwhile I backed up traffic, people honked (thanks dudes, the honking really helped...there I was, just taking my time, spinning my tires for fun, and your honks made me realize that okay, I guess I should speed things up a bit).

2. Getting snowed in in a parking lot, and having to dig out my tired with bare hands. I had to do it in shifts, burying my fingers in the cracks of the seats just to warm them up a bit.

But still, driving isn't half as much fun as trying to fend off nasty colds and flus. I wash my hands obsessively. I avoid public places. When Jason is sick, I make him sleep on the couch. If someone's nose even looks slightly red, I yell DON'T INFECT ME! at the top of my lungs until said person backs away. And still, we all get sick. We all set aside our Chanel no.5 in favour of Vicks Vapo-Rub (mm, sexy). We carry cough drops and those special kleenexes with the lotion built right in, but it's never enough. It sucks to be cold and sick.

And yet, winter, I have saved my chief complaint for last: wet socks. Dang I hate wet socks. The minute you step outside, you enter the world of frogger. You hop over here, you hop over there, trying to avoid the wet spots, but you can't keep it up forever. Either you let your guard down, or you meet the puddle from hell, that is too large to make your way around and too wide to jump across. Your foot sinks into an icy, slushy, dirty hole of the coldest water ever. Your shoe fills with water, your toes feel like they may fall off, and your socks will not dry out all the day long. You'll have the cold clammy feeling until you can change your socks again, which is a pointless activity anyway. The hamper fills up with dirty wet socks, your sock drawer never has enough warm socks. And even if you manage to make it through the outdoors obstacle course without getting wet, you come in the house, track in snow, take your shoes off...and you have to put those dry socks somewhere. Down, on the wet floor. Like it or not, they're going to get wet. It's going to be gross. Allllllllll winter long.

So winter: take a hint. Take a hike! If you stick around for another 3 months, there's a very good chance that one of us is going to get it right in the ear (and it ain't gonna be me).

Sincerely (I mean it),


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Dang !

Well, last night contained a lot of the usual up to a certain point: loud music, expensive drinks, getting hit on by guys who have no business doing so. But then, just a little past the witching hour, the DJ changed up, and it was time to go. A bunch of Jason's friends followed.

For security reasons, I am unable to tell you what happened next. Let me just go help myself to a mid-afternoon screwdriver ... okay, now I can tell you what didn't happen last night:

After leaving the above scene, we most certainly did not all end up at some dude's house, not having purchased several grams of the good stuff.
We did not consume it, voraciously, and then immediately decide that pizza was necessary.
We did not attempt to watch Napoleon Dynamite under these 'heightened' conditions, and it was not gut-wrenchingly funny.
No Napoleon-inspired dance-off was then initiated, leaving me to be the judge between 10 guys who should never, ever dance.
Wait, was there a llama in that movie?
Then, we did not venture outside to check out the tupperware under the wheel theory, and we didn't sit in the snow guffawing at the results.
This did not produce an all out snowball war between underdressed 30-year-old kids, playing in the glow of the streetlight, trying to smack each other in the face as hard as uncle Rico's steak.
And we certainly didn't decide that even a dumb movie like Dodgeball would be funny last night. It did not play in the background as a quick game of strip-Twister was played out until someone lost all of his clothes. Then, said Naked Guy did not have the indignity suffered of having his clothing thrown out the window, and having to retrieve them himself, then sit around naked while it tumbled dry.
Goldschlager was not brought out to do shots every single time Ben Stiller annoyed one of us (which did not result in the bottle being quickly drained).
The Goldschlager did not trigger some PTSD in me about the time Jimmy told me that the gold flecks were actually little fish, many of which were now swimming around in my tummy. This hallucination did not trigger a small freak-out on my part.
No sex was had where no sex should ever be had.


Friday, January 21, 2005

The Week In Review

Today I like: Chevy Chase, circa 1975
Listening to: Eve 6

Some notes on this week:

1. Jason smells eerily like me. Jason has been 'borrowing' my deodorant. Note to Jason: I don't want it back.

2. You know it's time to run some errands when your husband will wear 'powder fresh' deodorant.

3. I still don't know what day Desperate Housewives is on. I should give up, and decide I don't like it after all.

4. When I wash my pink sweater, I should be prepared to shrink with it.

5. Monday night in a dive bar? What could go wrong?

6. Watching people jump-start cars is bad for the heart.

7. Breaking my favourite wedding picture frame seems like such a bad omen I've been waiting for the impossible to happen all week long.

8. When it's too cold for the car to start, I should not think "Hey, I'll just walk to the store instead." Note to Jamie: it's too damn cold for you too!

9. Despite all the hype, rum does not keep you warm. Not even dark rum. Not even coffee generously laced with white chocolate Godet liquor (highly recommended nonetheless). And no, Sarah, not even the famous snowflake will keep you warm on a blizzardy night, no matter how many you 'catch on your tongue.'

10. How much trouble could I possibly get into on a Friday night? I have a feeling I'm about to find out ....

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Musical Genius

As mentioned before, and evidenced in almost every blog, I rarely miss the opportunity to spout my opinions. My friend Amy had this over on her site, and she has suggested that I should do the same. And ever since, Jason is annoying me with his rendition of his favourite songs: songs in the key of Springfield. So here it is, for all to scorn and judge, the rotten list of music that is often screeching away in my home.

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?

I must say, I used to have wayyyy more, but my computer can't handle it. It seems like I am forever sacrificing more music files to free up more disc space. The verdict? We need a new computer. Currently we have 803 files, and I've listened to each one in the past 4 days.

2. The CD you last bought was:

Well, that's hard too, because I tend to buy several CDs at a time. The last few have included U2, Green Day, and Scissor Sisters.

3. The song you last listend to before writing this:

Fight For Your Right, Beastie Boys

4. 5 songs that mean most to you

a)Walk Into This Room, by Ed K. (the guy from Live) and Nenah Cherry. This is great sedection music, not your typical love song, which is why we danced to it at our wedding. It's definitely not a balad, it rocks hard, but it's beautiful. It's from the soundtrack of one of my all-time favourite movies, Playing By Heart, also not your typical love story, but it's a great movie, a must-see.

b)Somewhere Out There, Our Lady Peace. This is the most invigorating song I know,
although when it comes to OLP, you can't go wrong. I feel this song so much, it makes me want to cry, plus there are the lyrics about me: "I miss your purple hair, I miss the way you taste."

c)Are You Sad?, Our Lady Peace. "I'm just a man who's made mistakes." How can you resist? It's about wanting to help your friends, but not always being able to, whether it's because you're not in a good head space yourself, or not being able
to bridge the gap to a friendship that's been cool lately. It's really heartbreaking, but great music.

d)Stealing Babies, Our Lady Peace. I loved this song so much I wrote a whole thesis about it. In short: it's about a little girl who lived with HIV but who dedicated her life to helping others. The song is a plea to God to make us understand how he can let these things happen, and how we should just stand by and watch them happen. It really gets to me, and it's a great rock song, seething with anger and unanswered questions, and has a haunting drum solo feature Mr. Elvin Jones.

e)Naveed, Our Lady Peace. This is the song that made it all happen for me. I fell in love with Our Lady Peace with this song. There's a catch in his voice in the middle of it that brings me to my knees. It's the song I use to convert other people, and it hasn't failed yet.

5. To whom will you pass the stick, and why?

Since this thing has probably spread faster than chlamydia on a dirty frat-house toilet seat, I will pass this on to only one person, but she's a good one, Miss Kelly, and if my darling husband wants to do it too (which I'm sure he will), well you can leave your crappy taste in music in the comments section, and as far as that goes, everyone can leave any segment of their favourite music too.

6. Your top 25 songs.

These songs are so super-duper, I could not possibly put them into any order:

Counting Crows, Colorblind
Robbie Williams, Feel
Michael Jackson, You Rock My World (I have been dancing to MJ since I was 3; regardless of anything else, his songs always make me move)
Barenaked Ladies, Call and Answer (this song is really sounds a bit romantic, but the lyrics are really about trying again in a failed relationship)
Vertical Horizon, You're A God
silverchair, Cemetery
Rage, Guerilla radio
Bon Jovi, I can't pick a song here, I love them all
Save Ferris, I Want You to Want Me (gosh I love these guys)
REM, Bittersweet Me
U2, Sunday Bloody Sunday (it's hard to pick just one U2 song, but this one is special to me)
Weezer, Jamie (seriously a funny song, classic Weezer)
The Flys, Got You Where I Want You
Green Day, Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Deftones, Change
Everclear, AM Radio
Reel Big Fish, Come On Eileen
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Otherside
The Watchmen, Stereo
Moist, Leave It Alone (this is such a throwback...ho, Anna!)
Finger Eleven, One Thing
Beastie Boys, Brass Monkey (that chunky monkey!)
Bif Naked, Chotee
Jay-Z&Linkin Park, their whole new album: what a funny, great, danceable combination!
Adam Sandler, Red Hooded Sweatshirt (it's hard for me to pick just one, among jewels like The Amazing Willy Wanker, The Goat Song, Lunch Lady Land, and others, but who can resist a song about a boy and his favourite sweater that never lets him down, even lets him win at basketball?)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Proud to be Canadian

Today I like: my country!

1. We take our liquor seriously!

"Canadian beer is like moonshine."
Okay, maybe not, but don't offer us a beer that's less than 6% - it's an insult; here, it's strictly for children and the elderly. Give me a nice two-four of the good stuff and we'll be all set. Actually, I prefer Crown Royal myself. We do whiskey right. Here it is legal to drink at 18 or 19, so we start at 12, and our elders put a lot of work into getting us ready for downing our first mickey. That way, when we get drunk out by the grain elevators we all have in our backyards, it's a pleasant and not too barfy experience.
And if you happen to be American, my grandparents probably sold liquor to your grandparents during the prohibition. No wonder we make it so well and can hold more liquor than countries 10 times our size!

2. We are a mosaic.

I think one of the biggest reasons why our country is so great is because of its diversity. Some countries have conversely been described as a 'melting pot' where all the new people coming in are encouraged to assimilate. Here, we encourage people to treasure their heritage and keep their individuality while at the same time being very inclusive.
"In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect."
U.S. President Bill Clinton

We're also really big on being bilingual. Most people don't speak both languages (French and English), but because of packaging on our favourite breakfast cereals, everyone at least knows both terms for fat-free, reduced-fat, and low-in-sugar!!

3. Gay marriage

I thank heavens that we can be reasonable about this. Love is not an accident, if you can find it, you deserve to keep it.
Brett Hull (yes, a hockey player) on SNL: "That's what happens in Canada when there's no hockey. Guys have more time to hang out, talk about their feelings, next thing you know they're in love with each other."

4. Poutine

Oh. My. Gawd. Don't even get me started! Fries with curds and gravy: what more could a girl want? Sooo delicious I can't even tell you, but most Canadians live a life-long quest to find the perfect poutine. Here, even McDonald's has it. Just try to remember that it is a french word, so if you pronounce it poo-teen, I will have a violent seizure.

5. Pretty Money

Foreigners compliment us on our pretty money all the time, and we like it too. Money, here, is like a work of art. The $5 is blue, the $10 is purple, the $20 is green, the $50 is pink. They have original Canadian artwork on them, and sometimes prose or poems (the $5 has a picture of children playing hockey, and an ode to a popular children's book called The Hockey Sweater.
And yes, we do use $1 and $2 coins, called the loonie and the twoonie. No one will be surprised when they announce the advent of the "fivie".

6. Health Care

On Sunday night, Homer Simpson crossed the border looking for free drugs. It's strange to me that anyone should pay to see a doctor, or stay in the hospital. My health has never depended on whether or not I could afford it. I've never had a very serious condition, but somehow I do have many emergency-type situations, and thank goodness you can just show up without a penny in your pocket, and receive treatment. In fact, in all my years, I have only once received a bill from the hospital. Want to know the one thing our government doesn't spring for? Neck braces. When I was in a car accident, I had to 'purchase' the brace; they sent the bill to me a couple of weeks later, and I didn't even know what to do with it. How do you even go about paying the hospital $17? Can you write them a cheque? Do they take interac, and if so, where the hell do you pay? Well, the bill just got sent to my car insurance company anyhow, so I never did discover the answer to those questions, and I'm glad of that.

7. Relaxed politicians

We don't expect our politicians to be perfect; they can make mistakes. We elect people amid scandals because apparently we're a very forgiving people, and also, we don't let those little trifles colour our judgement. We have openly gay members of Parliament, we've had a female Prime Minister, and we've had a slew of really nice people representing us. I know, I worked on Parliament Hill for a couple of summers, and while I was there, the current PM would go around with drinks and smiles (we miss you JC!), and a former one actually held a door open for me once. Humble folk,indeed. We rarely know (or care) about their religious affiliations, and if they are having sex, we don't want to know about it! Personal lives remain very personal. The most publicity a member of Parliament has lately received was the guy who stole a ring up for auction, apparently intended for his (gay) lover...he later gave it back, apologized, and took a leave of absence due to stress. And then we all (including the justice system, apparently) forgave him.
The thing I really love about Canada though, is that politicians are not so anxious about votes that they coddle their citizens. Lately, my province has launched a campaign to call several of their consituents 'stupid'. Their new ad campaign,, is aimed at smokers. Commercials declare that pouring chemicals on your breakfast cereal, or standing on a golf green with a lightning rod during a big storm is still less stupid than smoking. Man, I love this country.

8. The language

First off, I just think that the "british" way of spelling things looks a lot more polite. Canadian students are always 'correcting' their dumb textbooks by filling in all the missing u's...But let's face it, we may all speak English, but Canada does have a language all of it's own.
If I decide a toque is minty, I expect that other keeners will follow suit, and if not, they must be real hosers, eh? But in the end, we'll all head to out for some timbits or a two-four and be fast friends again.

hoser; unsophisticated friend
minty; cool
keener; someone who is eager and enthusiastic

However, the one things about Canadian language that is not true is the pronunciation of about. The only times I have ever heard it pronounced 'aboot' is in dumb American movies making fun of Canada. Where did they get that idea in the first place? And have they ever heard their own people talk? Look no further than NY or Boston for astonishing examples of the supposedly-english language.

9. Tim Hortons

Now, I don't even drink coffee, but if you grew up where I did, you know that this is a cultural institution. In a town of 40 000 people, we didn't have museums, and sometimes not even a movie theatre, but we did have 6-12 Tim Hortons, and then at least that many other coffee places. At Tim Horton's, they know how to spell doughnut correctly. You can go for 'a coffee' and stay for the timbits (um, donut holes to the rest of you, I think). Literally, it's where you go to spend time chatting with friends. There are more coffee/doughnut places here than anywhere else, and that takes dedication! Tim Horton's is the place to be; it's where you eventually take your date, it's where proposals take place, business deals go down, shoulders are cried on. We had 2 Tim Horton's inside our University campus, and the lines between classes were astronomical. Tim Horton's is where Canadians get their healing, and it goes for about $0.69 a cup.

10. The politeness factor

Sometimes, it's almost silly how careful and polite Canadians are. When 2 people bump into each other on the street, both will stop to see if the other is okay, both will apologize, blame themselves, shake hands, and probably exchange pleasantries about 'this darned weather we're having' before they part ways. In Canada, even the mosh pits are polite. They're intense, but no one will ever get crushed underfoot. If something happens, I've seen the entire audience participate in retrieval. The band will stop playing the song until things are okay, and then ask how the person is doing. It's cozy.

Our road signs all say please, or thank you, or both.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

100 Things About Me

So here they are, because for once I'm being a joiner and going along with the crowd, 100 things you never wanted to know about me, some of which even surprised myself.

1. When there is a scene in a movie with a man shaving, I can’t watch. I don’t trust that his neck will come out uninjured.

2. I have a big scar on my knee from when a boy pushed me while I was double-dutch skipping. When I came home, my mother yelled at me for ripping my new green jeans (yeah, I know: coloured denim, tsk, tsk).

3. I’ve had 2 poems and 2 essays published, and they’re all painfully embarrassing.

4. I wish I had brown eyes.

5. There was a lot of nudity at my wedding. I saw a lot of boobies. I, however, wore a proper wedding gown, something I NEVER thought I would do.

6. I started taking ballet lessons when I was 2 ½ years old.

7. I haven’t eaten movie popcorn since my friend Caroline told me about the fuzzy mould in the butter spout at the theatre where she worked 4 years ago.

8. Jason and I used to go to Mexi’s on Rideau and drink great big margaritas before doing groceries at 11am on Sunday mornings.

9. When I was a kid, I had a recurring nightmare that I was trapped in a circus tent that was on fire.

10. I know how to make balloon animals and hats.

11. When I was very young, I told my mother I was my school’s Carnival Princess. She excitedly told everyone. She soon learned that I had lied. She made me call my grandma and apologize for lying; my cheeks burned with shame the next 4 or 5 visits.

12. I don’t think Martha Stewart belongs in jail.

13. I don’t know how to apply eye-liner.

14. I’ve never so much as tried a cigarette, but my mother smoked throughout all 4 of her pregnancies. When I was young, I used to get every ear and throat infection going. My mother would blow smoke in my ear to make it feel better. Then one day she quit cold turkey.

15. I thought cold turkey actually involved eating lots of turkey.

16. I have some tattoos. Only Jason knows exactly how many. I want more.

17. I have a great big birth mark on my back, it takes up maybe a third of the real-estate back there; it grew with me. I used to love to have my sister trace the outline of it. Now you can barely make it out.

18. My favourite colour is pink. My favourite day is Monday. My favourite number is 8.

19. I’m addicted to learning.

20. I despise feminism; I’m a humanist.

21. I cannot primp in the mirror. In fact, I cannot look at myself in a mirror without making faces.

22. I used to have dozens of shoeboxes filled with ‘memories’: ticket stubs, fabric swatches, pictures, letters, other mementos. I have since learned to scrapbook those memories. I only have one shoebox to contain the present-day memories-in-the-making, and to date I have filled 12 scrapbooks.

23. My flair for the dramatic comes out in my personal appearance, whether it’s the blue hair, or the feather boas, it’s noticeable. I don’t blend in. I don’t like uniformity. No wonder my in-laws hate me. :)

24. I hate cell phones. I have owned 37 of them; my husband has worked for 3 different cell phone companies, and I still hate them as much as ever.

25. I’m overly sensitive and have a bad (short) temper.

26. I forgive too easily.

27. I’ve been proposed to twice; I accepted once.

28. I married my first love.

29. I’m very good at a lot of things, but if I’m not very good at doing something right away, I give up. I don’t like doing things I’m not very good at, like math, or most sports.

30. The whole socks and sandals thing really cheeses me off.

31. I have never seen any of the Star Wars movies, and I plan to keep it that way. I did, however, have Star Wars sheets, with Harrison Ford on them.

32. My hearing is horrible. Just having something near my ear can totally render me deaf.

33. I wore glasses for a while, despite having great vision. The problem was criss-crossed optical nerves, and the strain gave me migraines. I hated my glasses, primarily because my head is so small I have to wear children’s glasses. My first pair were Nintendo-brand, my second, Peanuts (as in Charlie Brown). This was so humiliating that I just stopped wearing them, and now I deal with the migraines.

34. I sleep naked but I have to sleep with at least a sheet covering me. On really hot nights, I arrange it so it still lies across my stomach, but not touching much else. I cannot do without.

35. I have a knack for remember useless things, but not my own postal code. If IQ tests were based on the TV-Guide crossword puzzle, I’d be set for life.

36. I get bored quickly. I have to multi-task all the time.

37. I make friends easily, and I tend to keep them.

38. I don’t like apologizing, mostly because I never think I’m wrong.

39. I’m a born walker. I can walk for hours everyday, and often do.

40. I’m a born reader. Lately I have embarked on a long list of the ‘classics’; I read about 130 books in 2004.

41. After 10 years of Catholic school, I realized that I don’t believe in organized religion.

42. I love cocky men.

43. I cannot put down a book or shut off a movie just because it’s bad. I MUST see it through to the end. I hate that about myself – what a waste!

44. I like kids well enough, if they’re cute, clean, and quiet…but I don’t want any of my own.

45. I wish I could experience pregnancy and childbirth without necessarily having a kid.

46. I hate my birthday, and I love everyone else’s.

47. I always describe myself as patient, even though it’s totally not true. I aspire to be though.

48. When I was little, I called my grandmother Eva Baby, and everyone thought it was pretty funny.

49. I rarely miss an opportunity to share my opinion, and I enjoy having an opinion that differs from most peoples’.

50. Most of the spelling mistakes I make err toward the French spelling since I first learned to read and write in that language.

51. I lather and rinse, but I never repeat.

52. I once threw up pink.

53. I remember my 3 sisters and I, all sitting in the back of a Chevette, singing along to “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys.

54. If I had a plot of land, I would plant myself an herb garden and love it dearly, but probably would be lazy about the weeding.

55. Women I find sexy: Penelope Cruz, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Selma Hayek.

56. I once sat on a caterpillar. I was 5, my mother was in the hospital giving birth, so my father drove me to my grandmother’s for her to pluck the pickies out of my bum. The car ride there was very painful.

57. I refuse to admit that 1995 was 10 years ago.

58. I believe that at this point, money WOULD buy my happiness.

59. Bands I’ve seen live: silverchair, Smashing Pumpkins, The Watchmen, Big Wreck, Tea Party, Creed, Foo-Fighters, Green Day, Moist, Bif Naked, Sloan, The Barenaked Ladies, Holly McNarland, Econoline Crush, the Killjoys, The Matthew Good Band, Blink 182, Finger Eleven, Treble Charger, Hole, Everclear, Wide Mouth Mason, Blur, Elastica, Collective Soul, Garbage, A Perfect Circle, Sum 41, Eve 6, Filter, Catherine Wheel, Deftones, and a lot more that I’ll never remember because I’ve been to all-day events, like Edgefest and Summersault…not to mention the dozens of times I’ve seen my favourite band, Our Lady Peace!!

60. I once got a skate in the mouth. It took out most of my front tooth, and lots of gum and lip. You can’t tell, but half of my front tooth was rebuilt.

61. I think small things are more polite. For example, I have a travel-sized mouth wash container that I refill from the bigger bottle, which I keep hidden in the cupboard under the sink. The same goes for a lot of things around my house. I also think it’s funny to see little things in Jason’s big hands.

62. Anyone who thinks milk is a mixer is crazy.

63. I can’t stand eye stuff. I don’t want to look at them, hear about them, admit that they exist. And for goodness sake, don’t put your contacts on in front of me!

64. I love Christopher Guest movies.

65. I used to have spiky hair. The spikes made slow-dancing interesting.

66. My first pair of Doc Martens are among my most prized possessions.

67. I’ve cried at every wedding I’ve ever been to, except my own. I made ‘no crying’ a very strict rule at mine. I am an ugly crier.

68. Kimi is my Hawaiian name.

69. I went up in a hot-air balloon ride for my 18th birthday. It was much smoother than I thought. ‘Landing’, if you can call it that, was the scariest part.

70. I know that blisters from a sunburn sprayed with champagne hurt like a bitch.

71. I wish I could play the piano.

72. When I was small, I was traumatized by an episode of Highway To Heaven when an old lady is almost eaten by a snake in your toilet bowl. To this day, I must look before sitting. Every time.

73. Some nicknames I’ve gone by: James, Mister, Spike, Jamiebear, Muffin Cups, and my personal favourite, just plain J.

74. I like the smell of skunk.

75. When I was in high school, I thought it was worth it to wake up 2 hours before the sun to do my hair extra-nice. By university, I learned to just say ‘fuck it’.

76. My parents always told me that I was adopted; they said they traded a bucket of chicken for me at a gas station on an Indian reserve.

77. I like plain cheese pizza.

78. I really, really, really want a pink KitchenAid stand mixer.

79. I think vegetarians who wear leather shoes/belts/handbags are hypocrites.

80. My mother never thought buying ‘those expensive cereals’ was important to our well-being, and I longed to try Corn Pops. When I was 17, my best friend bought me a box of them for Christmas. My sisters ate them all and I went without for another 4 years.

81. My first memory is of a punch bowl. Its contents are red. That’s it.

82. I will never be bored on my own. I’ve staged full-theatre productions just in the space of my own head.

83. I’ve also staged many productions outside the realm of my head; I wrote plays and performed with my sisters and cousins, including a musical review of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

84. Apart from Joseph, I’ve also seem Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and many others all before the age of 12 (including some Shakespearean production at the Stratford Festival Theatre).

85. I hate watches. When we went on our honeymoon, I made my husband leave his watch at home. He hasn’t worn one since.

86. I don’t like foods to touch on my plate.

87. I hate rough drafts. When some courses required them, I would just insert some errors and such into my final (and only) draft.

88. I don’t like using the phone. I really, really don’t like it. My close friends know to email me instead. If urgency is an issue, call and talk to Jason!

89. I can’t leave boxes unpacked. I need to get it all done right away. I can never leave anything until tomorrow. I am an organizer for sure.

90. I don’t like the taste of purple. Purple gum, freezies, candies, Tylenol, whatever, it all grosses me way out. I abhor grape juice. I like wine, and actual grapes.

91. I can read in the car. I can read anywhere, really, except in a library.

92. I know what a vas deferens looks like, and smells like when it’s on fire.

93. As much as I love to have my home well-organized, I also yen towards the chaotic (chaos is also one of my tattoos, by the way). When we play Monopoly, I don’t let Jason sort his money. I goop it all together, shuffle it all about, and it drives him crazy.

94. I am not fond of Monopoly. In what way can this be considered a game? It’s not even fun!

95. I don’t have a fear of heights. I do have a fear of falling. From heights. I don’t like to be picked up by my 6’1 husband.

96. My marriage certificate is in a language I don't speak.

97. I have clothing-claustrophobia. I can’t wear heavy sweaters. I can’t wear turtlenecks. I brave snowstorms in at most a hoodie because I abhor coats, scarves, mittens, hats, and the like.

98. I’ve never had a single cavity.

99. When I was prom queen, my hair matched my dress perfectly; both were pink.

100. I love making lists.

I Need To Clear My Head

Today I like: Dennis Quaid
Listening to: Bush: The Chemicals Between Us, Letting the Cables Sleep

1. I forgot how sexy that song is, Letting the Cables Sleep.

2. Is it immoral to open up your juice box to add gin?

3. I got to go see my darling Dennis Quaid this weekend. He was funny and charming as always. I give this movie my recommendation, for what it's worth (going rate: $2.76, CDN funds).

4. Red Bulls + sex = whoa.

5. The popsicle stick is barely hanging on.

6. This weekend I learned that Topher Grace's name is just short for Christopher, like Chris, except Topher. If I would have been a boy, my mother would have named me Kristopher. Except I was a girl, so she gave me another boy's name, Jamie, instead. I am named after her brother.

7. I need to go lie down.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

It's Cold In Cornwall, Folks

Bored Beyond Belief

This is what happens in Canada.

In October, snow is new again. We take out our shovels, our mittens, the extension cord to plug in the block heater in the car. We grumble, but minimally.

In November, we have started developing caluses from shovelling. We worry about whether the salt on the sidewalk will eat away at our shoes. Grumbling increases exponentially.

In December, many of us have frostbite. But we grumble a little less, because we all want a white Christmas. The kids make snowmen during the holidays, we have hot chocolate and booze to keep us warm. Maybe we've even had some snow days off from school and work.

In January, it sucks. It sucks a lot. We're cold, man! And there's still 3 more months of this left! So, we start thinking up ways to entertain ourselves. We are cooped up indoors, trying to keep warm, so naturally the mind runs to the gutter. 9 months from now, the Canadian population will explode. And some people, well some people, probably single, are just bored beyond belief.

No, that is not my truck!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Rest In Peace

Just a quick update on the 'situation':

After the daiquiris threatened to put a terminal end to my keyboard, we knew we had to spring into some fast action if it was going to be salvaged...

First, we made a pitcher of daiquiris to brace ourselves with.

Then, we had sex.

Then we lazed around in bed for 4 hours, discussing what we might like to do tonight, and whether I needed a nap.

Then I got up, and got down to the serious business of calling my friend in B.C. for the low, low price of just 99 cents for 30 minutes. Then I took a refreshing stroll around the block, munched on some carrot sticks for sustenance and announced to the empty room:

"I will save this keyboard or die trying, dammit!'

I armed myself with rags, paper towels, a pen cap, hydrogen-peroxyde, a steak knife, and 2 Q-tips. I meant to grab the rubbing alcohol instead of the peroxyde, and I paid dearly for that mistake, but more on that later. I also could have used more than just 2 Q-tips, but it was not to be.

Note to self: add Q-tips to grocery list.

First, using the knife, I pried off all the individual keys. I do not recommend this to the average joe, because frankly, it was disgusting. I will not tell you of all the horrors that I found under there, because that would knock this blog into a whole nother rating system. I cleaned and cleaned so whole-heartedly that I burned the tips of my fingers with the peroxyde and they are now permanently white and wrinkled.

Then I replaced the keys, which took an absurd amount of time because other than Ctrl, I couldn't remember where any of them belonged. Eventually I got this clever little puzzle all pieced together, and with just the right amount of jiggling, the shift and the ctrl keys both regained their functions. As you can tell, the E is Eing away, just as nicely as always.

There was one snafu.

For some reason, I couldn't get the space bar back in and working. And the space bar is an important key! Mysentenceswouldlookalotlikethiswithoutit,andthatsuredoesget

So anyway, since I have no idea what that pause button did, I figured it could be sacrificed, so I put it where the space bar belongs. It gets the job done, ultimately, but I was not satisfied with it. You see, the truth is, and I do appreciate your discretion on this: I have mushroom thumbs.

Shhhh! Not so loud! Stop with all the laughter, really, it's starting to hurt my feelings now. Simmer down.

Sim, simmer.

Okay, yes, it's true, my thumbs are shaped like mushrooms above the knuckle. They're squat little suckers, the mushroom occurs right after the knuckle, I have no space in between. They're bulbous little biatches. And short, too. So with my fingers on the other keys, I couldn't reach the little pause button. What to do, what to do?

Well, I did have one brilliant idea, one which has probably occurred to many of you already:

popsicle sticks.

I was astounded when Jason told me that we had no spare popsicle sticks just lying around. Well I made that boy sit down and get licking. Popsicles, I mean. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Now keep in mind that after a brilliant high school career, I had an even more brilliant university experience. I'm a bright little bulb. So when it came to attaching said popsicle stick to the pause button, I used the logical choice: scotch tape. The popsicle stick was just a little too long, but I didn't want to cut it because then I would get splinters, and you know what a pain those can be! So I gave up another crummy key that I'm sure I'll never use - the one with a picture of a page with an arrow on it. I've never used it in my life; I'm sure I won't miss it. Jason wore his dubious face throughout all this and tried to keep quiet, but he couldn't do it.

"You're doing that the girl way", he said. "You should let me do it the man way."
"Does the man way involve duct tape?"

Well, no, it doesn't. He sacrificed yet another "useless' key that I assured him I could live without, since I didn't even know what it was for; the scroll lock key.

He got out his toolbox.
Uh oh.

He screwed the damn stick right unto that button!
And you know what? It didn't work as well as the scotch tape button. Hah!

So yeah, it looks a little funny now. And sadly, the space bar button was not even affected by the daiquiris, it was simply the tragic result of my steak knifery. Goodbye, space bar, we'll miss you.

And the peroxyde, you ask, what happened with that?
Well, Madame La Dropski was gesturing just a tad too wildly, and it landed on the carpet, and glug, glug, glug, long story short, my carpet now has polka dots!

Madame La Dropski Strikes Again

Last night, somewhere between the third and fourth pitchers of daiquiris, a spill so magnificent in its execution, so far-reaching in its scope and so complete in its utter devastation that it may appropriately be called The Perfect Spill, did in fact count among its clutches this very computer, the keyboard in particular.

Hopefully a better post will follow later today, if the left quadrant can be saved. The mysterious Ctrl key is hanging on surely only by its sheer will to mystify once again, but it is quickly declining, too sluggish to go on this way for long, and when pressed, it oozes a red substance not unlike blood (but much more like strawberry daiquiri).

As the keyboard slips quietly away, Dr. Jason will work furiously against time with his trusty Q-tip to save Q through R, A through F, Z through C, Shift, Alt, Caps lock...but can he do it? Will the E ever E again? Which ones will be sacrificed? Will X give up its rights so that S can go on and pluralize the world with all its essy goodness? And will Ctrl ever be the same again?

Stay tuned to find out...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

One Loyal Friend is Worth 1000 Relatives

Today I love: Colin Firth
Listening to: Weezer

Last night, even though I was weeping from exhaustion (does this happen to anyone else? I literally lose control of my tear ducts!), I felt I had to stay up in a valiant attempt to watch a rented movie that had to be back today. It was the English Patient, in honour of my recently having re-read the book. I savoured and appreciated it all over again, and I thought I was ready to give the movie a chance (which is a risk, because often movies based on books are a real let-down).

And this one was no exception.

Now, I realize this movie somehow managed to win some Oscars and such. But to be fair, it was up against Jerry Maguire. I mean really, who would give an Oscar to that cheese-fest? Sure I saw it, sure I cried - it's a feel-good romantic comedy. But everyone knows that no matter how great a comedy is, it just won't be recognized (take Fargo for example, it didn't win, and it probably deserved it way more than Jerry Maguire).

It swayed so far from the book, I was much chagrined. The book is so haunting and so sensual and so wonderful...of course Hollywood has to come along and take every beautiful part and turn it into a farce. Anyway, an hour and a half into it, I said to Jason that I hoped it would just end soon, because I was up way past my bedtime. He just laughed. He knew this movie was almost 3 hours long, and I did not. I couldn't even guesstimate the running time because the movie was so unfamiliar to me that I may as well have read 'Johnny learns to ride a bicycle' and I would have been able to follow along just as well. Anyway, I turned it off, and had a delicious sleep. No word yet on whether or not I will attempt to finish the movie tonight (because as I later discovered, the movie is not due back until tomorrow, ugh).

All that to say I woke up in a mah-velous mood this morning. Maybe that's because I woke up to the phone ringing for me - I have an appointment! With my surgeon! Perhaps the end of my pain and suffering is in sight!

In any case, I felt it warranted an excessive us of !!!!s.

And then, to add to my happiness...well, let's just say I have great friends.

So today, I propose a toast to friendship:

Thank you friend who talked me out of getting that haircut that would have put a cold, dead stop to my sex life.

Thank you friend who told me that 12 tequilla shots were nothing to be ashamed of. And then held my hair as I puked. And didn't even complain when I got some on her shoe.

Thank you friend who held me close and brought me kleenex when we watched Armaggeddon, and never made fun of my mantra back in '97: when Ben Affleck cries, so do I.

Thank you friend who made my first tattoo a memorable one, complete with plastic wrap and molestations.

Thank you friend who rescued me from the man who mistook me for a hooker and became such a protective presence that I immediately felt safe.

Thank you friend who made work a little more bearable with your odd whistling quirks and your sexy stories.

Thank you friend who introduced me to 'betting on the ponies' and then who rolled around naked with me on the 1000 dollar bills that we won.

Thank you friend who visited me when I was sick, and even brought me play-dough to cheer me up, even though the smell of it gave me the heaves.

Thank you friend who gave me his coat to put over my tube top outside at the club, thus saving me from yet another bout of pneumonia.

Thank you friend who first suggested that since my advice was so good and true, I should consider going into psychology.

Thank you friend who cried with me when I was broken, who danced on the speaker with me when I was drunk, who sat through millions of showings of Billy Madison with me, and who did it all with kindness and patience.

I wish that everyone could be so lucky.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Ladies and gentlemen, that was the sound of Jay taking off her bra.

What a day!

For the past week I have had hardly a moment to myself because Jason has been home. Constantly. In theory, that always seems like a good idea; when I don't see much of him I begin to fancy that I 'miss' him or something, and I think it would be nice to see him, spend time with him, have him around.

Yeah, I should know by now: not so.

There is such thing as too much of a good thing, if it was ever a good thing to begin with. And I say this because Jason was home sick. Jason is the whiniest, most pathetic sick person you will ever meet. I tried to run away from home twice, but the sound of his whines just paralyzes me.

Every ten seconds he emits this tiny little cough to prove how sick he is, but I can tell it's fake. Of course it's fake! And each sniffle he has to magnify ten fold to prove how congested he is, as if this cold has him knocking on death's door.

"Jay, is it time for me to take some more cough syrup?"
"Jay, does my forehead feel hot?"
"Jay, do I look dehydrated?"
"Jay, could you bring me something good to eat?"
"Jay, I can't remember where I left the kleenex."
"Jay, do you think I should take some Tylenol?"
"Jay, do you think a shower would loosen up the phlegm?"

Oh shut up.
There, I said it.

I was sweet and sympathetic and wonderful for the first 3 days, but after that, give me a break.

He's finally out of my hair today, and thank goodness. I don't think I've taken in one full breath since the last time he was at work, and that was 7 days ago! I've been so busy catering to his every need that I haven't kept up with my usual housework or my dedicated 'me' time. Instead, I fluff his pillows, bring him drinks, fetch his warm fuzzy socks because his toes are cold, and then take away the warm fuzzy socks when he has overheated...I give him backrubs and watch dumb movies and quite frankly, I can't stand it anymore. Whether he felt like it or not, I was kicking his butt out of the house this morning.

So of course I spent the whole day scouring the house, picking up trails of his grody kleenexes (if that's not love, I don't know what is), washing 2 loads consisting solely of hundreds of pairs of Jason's warm socks, and I even made him a big pot of swedish meatballs, which would usually mean that I am in store for some big-time lovin tonight, only I'm not sure if I'm too enthused considering post-nasal drip and the dry wheeze of his lungs are not exactly turn-ons for me.

I didn't really get around to the 'me' portion of my day: I didn't go for a walk, or work out, or read any of Moll Flanders, or visit anyone, or even bake. But hopefully after spending 11 hours at work, where no one cares if his toes are cold or his glands feel swollen, he'll come home having completely forgotten that he's been sick, and it will be business as usual.

Unless, of course, I get sick. In which case, I have but one word:


Sweet, sweet revenge.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Message To Martin,

Melissa has told me the most wonderful news - you asked, and she said yes.

She said yes!!! Melissa and Martin are getting married!!

I, for one, and probably among many, am sooo happy for the both of you. You have forever in your eyes.

I have just one request for you, Martin.

You obviously have good taste, you chose Melissa. Melissa is the sweetest person I know. She is kind and generous, and a great friend. She is usually 'the quiet one', but you must know very well by now that she also has a darker, and somewhat fiestier side. There are a lot of things about Melissa that continue to surprise me, and I hope that remains true throughout your relationship and upcoming marriage. I know she will always be true to you, so be the same for her. Love her and cherish her, and treat her well.

My dear Melissa, it was quite a while ago now when you first said to me "I want to marry a farmer", and of course I rolled my eyes at you and laughed a little. But now your dreams are coming true: a new home, a new job, and a new fiance (well, granted you've known him for some time, but the engagement is new!). You got your farmer. You got your love. You don't need me to tell you that you will be happy with your man, you know it, and seeing how I have no real advice to give, I'll offer only this along with my best wishes, something I picked up from a favourite movie of mine:

The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.

Much, much, much love to you both,
J and J

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Part One

Sometimes I miss my father. I miss sitting out on the picnic table and listening to his stories over the clinking of the icecubes in my pink lemonade. He would be wearing a cheesy apron and drinking from a sweaty bottle of beer while he flipped burgers on the BBQ. He would tell me the best stories about all the dogs he had on the farm as a kid, every one of them named Bob, and how all the Bobs were jealous of his pony, which he rode every day until he outgrew it. He would tell me about meeting my mother, and how quickly he fell in love with her, and how the same would happen to me one day because my eyes are just as pretty as hers.

When I was little, I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to ride my bike as fast as he did. I wanted to drive the car with one hand on the wheel and the other out the rolled-down window, drumming away to the Beach Boys on the radio. I wanted to be tall, and sure of myself, and smile easily, just like him.

I wish I had him here, to feel his love, to feel his hug, to feel the tickle of his beard and the calluses on his hands. I miss my father, but not my father. I miss a father, the idea of a father, this imaginary father that I have concocted in my head. That's who I miss. I miss the man who knows my middle name, who knows that I don't like strawberries, or cats, or math.

I missed having a father to watch me graduate, to see me get married, to visit me while I'm in the hospital having another surgery. Or even just to know my current address, my general whereabouts, or even whether I'm still alive.

How can you miss someone that never existed?

(part 2 follows right below)

Part 2

I'm lying on the couch, my breathing is slow, my eyes are closed. I feel a tickle on my leg. Jason is kissing my shins. He kisses them like they're the last thing he will ever kiss on earth. He always kisses me like that. He kisses like he means it. He never pecks me goodnight, or throws a kiss at me as he hurries out the door. In his kisses, I feel all the love he has for me, and it makes me want to cry.

And not for gladness.

Sometimes I'm afraid for what what might happen to us. I'm afraid that I don't love him enough. I'm afraid I don't know how to. I'm afraid his love isn't enough for both of us. I'm afraid he will never be able to show me what he sees in me worth loving.

I push Jason away. I push my husband away. I make it really hard for him to love me sometimes, but he always holds me close. He holds me close and kisses me, and I push him away. I keep pushing because I want to see if he will leave. I want to see if he can stop loving me like my father did. I don't believe it's possible to be loved this much. I don't know what to do with it. I want to stop pushing but I can't. If I stop testing his love, then does that mean I accept it? Once I've accepted it, it can be taken away.

Sometimes I miss my father. I miss knowing his love. I miss knowing that a man can love you, period. I miss trusting in love. I miss knowing that someone can love you and always love you, never take it away, never bring you pain, never watch you cry. I miss every single tear I've ever wasted on my father. I miss every moment I spent mourning him. I wish I could get them all back. I wish I could make a bundle of all those tears, and all that time, and all my heart, and give it to Jason, and that it would be enough.

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Thing About Olives Is

So this was the other day, and I had a couple of friends over, and I decided to give my new blender a second chance by blending up pitchers and pitchers of daiquiris, and then consuming them single-mouthedly. See how forgiving I am?
Anyway, I am Madame La Dropsy on a regular day, so you can imagine the way things go after so much alcohol...the first thing to end up on my pants was cheese. And not just crumbs of cheese that could roll off somewhat tidily, but soft cheese, the kind that smears.
I wish I could say that it stopped with the cheese, but it didn't.

I was in the middle of an olive backlash.
The night before, I walked right by the olives without pouting too much. I never have olives when I'm out, because the thing about olives is that they roll. And once you have olives on the floor, it's not much of a party anymore. It's just a sprained ankle waiting to happen, and I don't want to be responsible for that. So I was munching on olives that night to make up for abstaining the night before, and as is my habit with olives, I was sucking out the pimento first, because....well, because. Because that's what I do. I guess I don't even have to tell you about the catastrophe that ensued. You can imagine.
And Anna said, "I saw that", and this from the girl who was compulsively yelling out "Johnny Cash!" in answer to questions that only she could hear.

It took a while before I could admit that I was 'a little bit drunk', and by that time I was a lot bit drunk. So drunk that when I woke up 3 hours later, I wasn't hungover, I was still drunk. But I got dressed and went to the birthday party anyway, because how often does a girl turn the big 3?

Julia was so proud of herself, she kept telling all her guests, "I'm 3, I'm a big girl now. I wear panties. See?"
Yes, Julia, I do see.
And you know what?
I was doing that very same thing myself last night...only my panties aren't Cinderella. I'm all about Dora the Explorer.
Anyways, when did 3 year olds start calling them panties? I think I'm still too embarrassed to call them panties. Undies it is, all the way.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

We are such stuff as dreams are made on...

Sleep is my fair-weather friend. We have our good nights, and our bad.

One night, not long ago, I lay dozing deeply in that delicious world of sleep where not even time can touch you. In my unconsciousness, it felt luxurious. If sleep were tangible, I would hug it.

I woke up in my cool bed, already sitting up. The black bars of the footboard were staring at me in the semi-darkness. The room had a blue haze to it, and it was so quiet that the silence became an it, a thing that came all around me and squeezed me just a little too hard. I swung my feet over the side of the bed, and groped for my robe, for a t-shirt, for anything that would come between me and the silence. I began to hum.

It was somewhere between morning and night, and I could feel dew on the grass when I walked into the backyard. The picnic table looked sad to me, abandoned, and the tire swing swayed slightly in the breeze. I remembered then that I must be cold, so I headed back for the house.

I fed the fish. I watched them swim around and wondered why I never caught them sleeping. I picked up the phone to call someone, and listened to the dial tone instead. It kept me company while I watched the fish. The fish seemed bored.

I laid down on the floor and made snow angels on the carpet. It tickled my skin. My eyelids felt so heavy, but I felt that I shouldn't close them, not yet. I counted the flowers on the ceiling and tried to remember since when there were flowers on the ceiling. The flowers became butterflies, and they flew down to me on the floor. I felt their soft wings fluttering against my skin, and they told me to sleep, so I did.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Year's Eve

Jason and I bought tickets to a new year's eve party this year, at a little place called Jazz Magnolias, which is New Orleans-infused, and usually a great atmosphere.uWe were hoping to avoid the teenage bar scene and be able to do something a little more adult. Jazz Magnolias, in this town anyway, is considered somewhat upscale, which means it's a step above the Outback Steakhouse (and there isn't much above that!), so we dressed up and plied ourselves with lots of champagne before we even left the house. It was a dinner/dance thing, so it started early, which means I was running around trying to get myself ready at a frenzied pace for most of the afternoon. Now, let me just say that we had the best time ever last night, really the best new year's I've ever had. The food was wonderful (mmm cajun shrimp), the crowd was great, the music was really good, both live band and dj, the drinks were only moderately overpriced, and there isn't anything more I could have wanted. But because we were with an 'older crowd' there were quite a few middle aged partiers there, which made for an interesting experience.

You know how there's always this one guy at a bar who is too old to be there, and he's alone and checking out all the 17 year old girls, and he's dancing around like he's a god, and his shirt is unbuttoned to show off his greying chest hair...well, it seems like they rounded up all these guys from all the surrounding bars and brought them all to Jazz. The result: hilarious! There was this one guy, great big beer gut, grey goatee, legs and ass poured into these black leather pants, and boy, he just knew he was hot! And this other guy with a ponytail and a circa 1970s John Travolta suit was bopping around to his own beat, apparently.

Other observations:

-This one dude looked a lot like Michael Moore, except bigger, but he had the same beard and the same goofy smile, and he was all decked out in his best sweater vest, and he was out on the dance floor playing the meanest air guitar that I've ever seen. He especially liked the AC/DC.

-Why do men think that clapping off-tempo is a dance move? A full 40% of the men there depended on this move as the bulk of their dancing repertoire. Some of them were still clapping off-beat during the slow songs. Who told them to do this?

-There was this one lady who teased her bangs extra high for the special occasion. She also wore super high stone-washed jeans...the kind that come up past the hips, over the belly button, up the rib cage, and don't end until just under the best. Sexy. Well, she thought so anyway. She was shimmying all over the place, just so proud of herself, and I thought, lady, you're too old and I'm too sober. So I went and got a couple more drinks.

-Dr. Phil was there. Dr. Phil is a bad dancer, as it turns out. He just plants his feet on the floor and doesn't move them ever again. Then he kind of thrusts his chest out, this way and that. It kind of looks like a chicken's mating ritual. Sometimes he would throw in some off-tempo clapping, but clearly with moves like that, he didn't need much clapping. He was feeling the music.

Happy New Year!

Tickets for New Year's Eve: $100
Liquor: $120
Cab fare: $60
Jason's sense of 'rhythm': Priceless