Thursday, May 31, 2007

Turn Up the Funny, Turn Down the Suck

Remember when I used to be funny?

Yeah, me neither, actually, but if you look in the sidebar, there is a little-used button there that confirms someone once thought I was funny enough to nominate me in a humour category. Of course, I also seem to have been nominated in a 'freaky' category, so I maybe I should just strike the nominator off my Christmas-card list and retire to Boca Raton.

You've all been wonderfully indulgent as I've whined and moaned and made an ass out of myself, and I wish I could say: the end is nigh! But the truth is, this post is not going to be funny, either. Sorry. All of you funny-enthusiasts can just take your raisinettes and please file quietly out the back door. There will be no killing of the goat today; we might poke it with sharp sticks, or call it fat, or make fun its orthodonture, but no goats have been killed in the making of this blog.

Skunks, on the other hand, were not so lucky.

The other day I happened to mention that I liked the smell of skunk. This is true. It's not that I don't mind it, I actually think it's kind of nice. And there were a couple of brave bloggers who also stood and confessed that they too are as retarded as I am.

Yes, yes, retarded is a harsh word, but the thing is, a skunk's spray is such an effective deterrent that even bears will leave the lowly skunk alone. In fact, of all the animals that would willingly eat its meat, only the horned owl actually preys on skunks because horned owls apparently have little sense of smell. All the others think he's just too stinky to take the risk. Kind of like my Uncle Roger. He always offered $1 and a Tootsie Roll to any kid who would hug him, but his boiled-cabbage, overpowering-armpit, steeped-in-cheap-rye, just-finished-shovelling-out-the-styes scent proved too much. No takers.

So yes, it does seem kind of odd that I should like the smell of skunk. I feel I should use this gift to my advantage, but hunting skunk just seems a little pointless, although I'm told that in certain states (and I won't name names, but you know who you are...coincidentally, many of the same states where it's legal to marry a first cousin), skunks are kept as pets. Of course, in that case the anal glands (the ones that contain the spray) are first removed. I wonder who's job that is? And can they possibly be paid enough?

And what is a skunk without his anal glands? I mean, the word skunk literally means "one who squirts", which makes me glad that my parents called me Jamie, which, if a little boring (Scottish pet form of James, which is biblical), at least doesn't refer to what I may or may not do with any of my orifices. The species of skunks found in Indonesia are called "stink badgers", and while that's not exactly the pretty kind of name you get engraved into 14K gold, I do find it highly amusing.

Anyway, I just think that the anal gland approach to self-defense is both practical and ingenious - and far more convenient than carrying mase! And isn't it impressive that they've also developed strong ass muscles so that the spray will shoot out a good 7-10 feet? I mean, I think Glade should study skunk butt. Every time I buy one of those air fresheners, it promises to make the whole room smell good, but usually you have to stand right next to it to pick up the scent. Skunks get the job done right!

However, I find their baby-making to be a little less romantic than the suave and debonair Pepe le Peu might have led you to believe. In fact, after mounting the she-skunk from behind (ahem), he repeatedly bites her in the back and the neck to induce ovulation. Then he loves her and leaves her, no child support or anything, and if she should happen across her baby daddy again, watch out because the boy-skunk is likely to snub or even try to kill his offspring. But oddly, though skunks might claw or bite each other to death, they will never ever spray each other. I guess that's their equivalent of hitting below the belt.

I realize this is a lot of skunk talk, probably more than you wanted to know, but the thing is, I was walking down the street trying to think of what to make for dinner. There's a little butcher shop near my house, and generally speaking, I love to buy food this way: cheese from the cheeserie, bread from the bakery, fruit from the's all so much more fresh and wonderful. But I'd noticed that this butcher sells strange things, such as ox-tail, and yes, goat. Goat!

Now, I realize that lots of people eat goat. Curry goat seems to be a real favourite around here. I'm not a goat snob, but basically we're all born thinking that some animals are food and others are not - me, I think cow = yum, cats, not so much. So I worried about going in and finding that large sections of goat are actually fairly unappetizing, but then fate once again stepped in, because as luck would have it, I didn't have to enter the shop to be grossed out.

There in the window, hanging for all to see, was not a goat, but a skunk, still in its skin (or I might not have recognized it), freshly dead by god knows what means, trussed up by its hind legs and with a price tag hanging from its snout.

Now, I had worried over goat which I acknowledged was food, just not for me, but I had never even considered that skunk might be considered a meal. But then I looked it up on the internet, and sure enough: "Skunk meat untainted with musk is tender and good eating." Good eating.

Can this be true? And who could confirm or deny such a thing - for surely to admit to having eaten skunk is tantamount to...well...well...well there's just no precedent! But I'd certainly have to strike them off my Christmas card list as well. Feeling somewhat faint, I came across a recipe for Baked Skunk, which claims that when seasoned with paprika and sage, the meat is quite tasty.

Now I'm a bit afraid to leave my house. I'm afraid to see either a skinned skunk or a slightly-decaying skunk hanging from the same noose....or worse, to see that the skunk is gone, has been purchased, and is roasting in one of my neighbours' ovens as we speak...the question is: WHICH ONE?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Not To Drown

I learned how to swim by the unrecommended method of throwing a kid into a pool and seeing what happens.

Here's what happened:

My first “swimming” lesson was when I was 3, and consisted not so much of swimming but of the “superman” maneuver. It was practiced at the municipal kiddie puddle (7 inches does not a pool make!), where us kids were encouraged to push off from the sides and “glide” with arms outstretched until momentum prevented us from going any further. My mother paid $45 to have a gum-chewing 17 year old “teach” me how to do this.

By the time I was 5, my mother had added 3 other girls to the family, and facing another hot summer, I guess she finally realized that the little plastic tubs we generously called pools were just not going to be enough for her pack of little mermaids.

For some reason, I remember pool shopping. I remember the showroom where the above-ground pools we were perusing were displayed – you could choose between faux wood-paneling and slightly darker faux wood paneling, and between a blue pool liner and a blue pool liner with an indistinguishable pattern on it. Most of the pool shopping was lost on me, being too short to see over the sides of any of these gems, but the thing that really stands out in my memory is the saleswoman, who wore sandals, and no nails on her big toes. The lack of toenails meant her toes had no depressions, they were just these fat, round, bulbous things, and I knew it was not polite to swear, yet I couldn't take my eyes off of her freaky deaky toes.

Back in the day, above-ground pools spread like a rash in my neighbourhood, and instead of barn raisings, we had pool raisings. Many friends and relatives had come to help, but the day our pool was installed was still the longest day of my young life. But just when it seemed like it would never be ready, it was, or ready enough, anyway. The walls were up and the water was in, and though the pool had no access point or ladder, my father figured it didn't matter much because he could stand at the side and lift me over the edge.

Not yet being a swimmer, someone blew up an inner tube for me, and tossed it in the pool. Then my father swung me over and tossed me at the tube. His aim was good, but remember that I was small, and I passed neatly through the donut hole and was quickly sinking towards the bottom.

The adults, gathered around for what promised to be the first jubilant splash, looked on, horrified, as little Jamie seemed to drown before their eyes. And, there being no ladder yet installed, and me being out of arm's length, there was no way to reach me. So they just stood there and watched.

I flailed my limbs but they just sliced through the non-resistance of the water. My little round body in its pink frilly bikini went down, down, down, and though too young to understand the mechanism of breathing, I felt the burning of water in my lungs, which seemed to scream up! up! Up! Somehow I managed to reverse my sinking body and I broke the surface of the water, spluttering and coughing like I was a 5 year old who smoked 6 packs a day. When I had sufficient breath, I yelled to the grownups “Did you see me? I swam! I swam!” and they muttered their praise while looking at each other guiltily out of the corners of their eyes. I should have been a little pink blob on the bottom of the pool but instead I was clinging to the siding imploring others to join me in my newfound splashy freedom. A smarter kid might have clutched to the inflated tube, but once I had defied death that first time, I wanted to go deeper, faster, longer.

Many years later, many swimming lessons later, I consider myself to be a strong swimmer, which is a good thing because this time I have been tossed into the metaphorical deep end, and once again, the flotation device is just out of reach.

Life throws you into these sink-or-swim situations and it's amazing how powerful our sense of preservation is. We paddle on, no matter how many waves crash over our heads, no matter how many stitches we have in our sides or how tired we get. But what happens when you are thrown into the dark and forbidding water not alone, but with a weaker swimmer?

These are the moments in life that are infinitely hard: the days when we've just been treading water; the days when we've been slipping under; the days when we can barely keep our heads above the water line. I don't want to drown while trying to save someone else, some days I don't even know that I can save myself, and yet I can't not try, I can't. So I'm trying not to drown, not to let either of us drown, but it's hard. It's hard enough to fight the current on your own, but with the extra burden, progress is slow, and sometimes the undertow is stronger than I, and I feel us both being pulled back out toward the uninviting expanse and I think how nice it would be to relax my muscles, take a few deep gulps of water and let swirling water suck me under. But other days I see the shore, or I think I see it, on the horizon, if I squint real hard and ignore the burning sun. I stroke through the water like crazy, hoping to feel the sand between my toes before long, and I tell myself to just keep swimming.

I am trying hard not to drown. Oh yes, life's a beach.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunny Afternoon

When the grass gets greener and the sidewalk is decorated with brightly coloured chalks, I know summer must be right around the corner. The tinkling sounds of the ice cream truck has a pied-piper effect on the children and open patios turn busy adults on to frosted glass delights.

The summer reminds me of my Pa (my mother's father). Around Easter, my Pa takes advantage of having his granddaughters' strapping young boyfriends around his table eating his ham to haul them all outside for the annual taking-the-boat-out-of-storage dance (note: they don't actually dance). Meanwhile, us ladies, left inside, bristle at being thought too weak to overturn an old tin fishing boat. Poo poo. From Easter on (until Thanksgiving, where the ritual is repeated in reverse), Pa gets up at some ungodly hour and goes fishing on the mighty St Lawrence River. Okay, it's not mighty. But the river part was true. And when I was young, he used to take me along. I remember...being strongly encouraged to dress in being freezing at 5 am and scorching by noon...I remember waving at every single boat that passed us by....I remember the old plaque that he hung over his bar that said "Old Fishermen never die, they just smell that way".... I remember being slapped in the face with a fish when my younger sister finally reeled one in and then didn't know what to do with it....I remember peeing in a margarine container, then throwing it overboard....I remember the fishy smell and the wind on my face, and the thump of the waves against the boat, and the feel of a bamboo pole in my hands and the sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper that my Nanny would send for lunch. I also remember getting up on the mornings it had rained to hunt for worms, the only kind of bait my Pa ever used. I would throw them into a coffee can, and my Pa paid me 5 cents each!

Summer reminds me of sautons en coeur (jump rope for heart). When the weather started turning nice, each classroom would get a box of old skipping ropes, though they were not rope at all but that nasty plastic that would leave welts on all the kids who got too close. I went to a french catholic school that had almost no funds to speak of, so the skipping ropes were like treasures, and there were never enough for all the students, so when the recess bell rang you ran like heck to the vestibule to try to claim one. I remember the naughty french poems we used to recite while skipping, and the way our skirts would flutter over our heads, showing off little girl panties everywhere you looked, and the whizzing sound they made slicing through the air once you got a fast enough pace going, and the feeling of adrenaline that pulsed through our young veins when we waited in line to be pushed into the torturous double-dutch jump! And my left knee still bears a scar from when I was purposely tripped during double ditch by a mean older boy named Chris (who I later found out was punched by my husband during a game of the universe has a way of making things even, I suppose).

Summer reminds of what it feels like to burn the soles of your feet. The deck attached to the back of our house would reach impossible temperatures, it seemed, and I remember chancing the heat while I made a run for the pool, a run that consisted of : scorch, scorch, scorch, jump, splash, ahhhhhh, and all the laundry hung out to dry on the line would be soaked with chlorine-smelling water and my mother would have to pretend to be mad even though her mad dash to the pool was usually very similar. I would spend hours floating around in the too-blue water, a t-shirt over my bathing suit, protecting the sunburn blisters that I had despite my best efforts and the strongest spf known to humankind, my hair plastered to my head and freckles sprouting out over every exposed piece of skin. It was bliss...until my baby sister decided to join, thereby effectively emptying the pool in record time...she was a known pool-pee-er, and only the sight of her in her floaties making her watery entry could entice us to exit our refreshing oasis.

Summer makes me think of green onions (usually known as scallions to the rest of the world, though I never even heard the word til I was 19 or so). Everyone grew green onions in their garden, and at my grandmother's table, a water tumbler would save as a sort of onion-vase, where the green onions would be cleaned and trimmed, and placed in whole and raw, and people would take one, then reach for the salt shaker, get a little pool of salt going in the corner of their vinyl placemat, then they'd swirl the onion in the salt, and eat it just like that.

Summer makes me think of the butterfly nets and frog-catching-kits that used to amuse us to no end. Our neighbourhood was filled with creeks and ditches and the kind of standing water that nowadays screams "west nile" but back then used to mean "adventure!". I remember once, when I was old enough to be busy catching warm-blooded males instead of cold-blooded amphibians, my sisters raced home with tales of "giant rats" that had apparently taken up residence in the ditch a few doors down. The "giant rats" turned out to be beavers, and they seemed to follow my sisters home and take up residence in our backyard for a while, where we also saw rabbits (which our dog took to imitating, hop hop hopping around, the first documented case of canine identity crisis), and foxes, and many others.

Summer reminds me of nights too hot to cook, and relatives stopping by with buckets of chicken and beach towels, hoping this is a fair exchange for a dip in our pool, and how the fried chicken place always had a beach ball giveaway and by the end of summer, we'd go to the beach and toss around the 37 of them that we'd accumulated, only they were the kind that you blew up and then added some water to, so when you tossed them they were oddly weighted and wonky and they'd blow all over the beach, and we'd run around, toes in sand and bathing suits like second skin.

I remember getting on the riding lawn mower and putting in the several hours that it took to mow our big back yard...the backyard was fine though, because it was straight forward once you got used to the uncomfortable angle of mowing on a hill (I developed great ass muscles!) and I could listen to Vanilla Ice on my walkman as much as I liked. The front yard was trickier. The front yard was where I would run over the young trees my mother had planted (and ringed with a pie plate for an ineffectual warning), and where I'd ding the blades on the stone of our walkway, and where worst of all, I would often get stuck in the ditch. The mower was just the right size to get wedged right in there, and I would sit on the screaming mower and yell for help, would would go unheard for sometimes 30 minutes...but I'd heard stories about getting off a mower and losing a toe or a foot or god knows what else...and each time my mother would come out, scowl, and then mime at me to turn the thing off...why of why did I never think of that simple solution when I get stuck? But I never did, I just sat there terrified each time, never thinking to just turn off the engine. Eventually a few neighbours would see the mower in the ditch and they'd help us push it we would help push out theirs as well, because mowers got stuck in ditches, that's just what happened in the summer.

Summer is running around in the backyard barefoot and eventually stepping on one of those prickly weeds.

Summer is eating outside, corn on the cob and steaks from the barbecue, and shooing flies all the while.

Summer is driving with the windows down, big shad flies going splat on the windshield, and either exposed skin sticking to burning hot leather seats, or else sweaty backs making shirts damp on the upholstered ones.

Summer is eating a popsicle quickly, quickly before it melts, trying to catch the drips as they invariably form sticky rivulets down your wrists, trying not to let it break apart, carrying the stain of it on your tongue for the rest of the day.

Summer is picking a buttercup, twirling it under someone's chin, and, if it reflects yellow, accusing them of being a "butter-lover"!

Summer is mosquito bites and camp fires and swing sets in need of oil and squeaky pool noodles and impromptu baseball games and broken sunglasses and coolers full of beer and grass stained knees and humidity ruining our hairdos and throwing pebbles for hopscotch and mothers yelling "close the screen door!" as the kids run out of the house.

I love me some summer, and I'm glad it's almost here, and I hope you'll tell me why you love it too.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Kill the Goat Case 436: Tito v. The People

(A Stalker Update)

As you might recall, I did not call my stalker on Thursday as promised.
Back when I was dating, the whole not calling thing was a pretty clear indicator.
Apparently they have different rules in Chicago, because Tito didn't get the hint.

Instead, he came looking for me, and obsessively combed my neighbourhood until "fate" crossed our paths, because when a girl fails to call him he doesn't think "hmm, maybe she's not interested" but rather thinks "something terrible must have happened to her for her not to call, and therefore, even though I've only met her once and don't know her last name or her address or really anything about her since I mostly just enjoy talking about myself and how suave I am, I should go in search for her because chicks really love when creepy dudes invade their privacy".

So when he found me (can you believe he found me? that's the part that really makes me mad!), he scheduled another pre-arranged call, this time for Friday morning.

I felt that this time, I WOULD call, because not calling had not worked so brilliantly the day before. I would call and tell him in no uncertain terms to back the fuck off and leave me the hell alone.

But I'm glad I posted, because thanks to the many readers who took the time to laugh with me, flinch with me, and share their own stalker experiences, I did heed the advice and decided NOT to call after all.

And I didn't hide in my house, either. I took to the streets (albeit with a man who asked "well, is he bigger than me?" to which I replied, truthfully, not) and spent a nice day stalker-less.

I sincerely hope the story ends there. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, guys. And yes: if he shows up again, I will head to the nearest public place and request that the police be called.

And what became of the egg?

Well, it made a brief appearance in my left pocket on Friday morning, during which I had an alarming incident involving blood and puss and the untimely demise of my beautiful cream bed linens and my new capris.

The egg has not been pocketed since (although, to be fair, when I discarded my capris I put on a skirt, which had no pockets). However, I think it's fair to say that over the course of this summer, the egg just might make another appearance or two. I'm going to suck some bloody luck out of that thing if it kills me (and me thinks it just might).

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What the FUCK was I Thinking?

First of all, let me just say: I blame Kat for what has happened. The kind-hearted Kat was in New Orleans recently where she saw a small glass egg that's meant to bring luck and good fortune when kept in your left pocket, and she sent it to me, because she thought I needed some of both.

I went for a longish, leisurely, 11k walk yesterday (blister count: 7) (foot blisters, not sunburn). My good luck egg was nestled in my left pocket, but I wasn't going to put undue faith in it. In an effort not to get lost or fall down any rabbit holes, I usually walk in really big squares. Don't laugh. It's better than bread crumbs, and I've always come back, haven't I?

So this is what I did yesterday, and I chose Yonge as the far side of my square. I had my earphones in of course, as this is how I protect myself from unwanted advances. When men start hollering, as they do, I either don't hear them, or I pretend not to hear them. I feel bad occasionally, since I'm sure every once in a while some poor schmuck is only asking for directions (but hello! I'm a square-walker! the LAST person on earth you should ask for directions), but on the whole this technique has worked well for me.

Except at some point on Yonge, I saw some guy gesture at me out of the corner of my eye. I kept going, but for a while he matched my pace, then he fell behind, to check out the goods, I assumed, then he caught up with me again, and I slowed down to let him get ahead, at which point he stopped, tapped me on the shoulder, and I was forced to take the buds out of my ears and face the world head on.

Excuse me Miss, can I talk to you?

Talk to me? I stammered...oh great, the only thing worse than some guy hitting on you is some guy trying to convert you to his religion.

Yes, he said. When I saw you walk by, I thought to myself, now there's an attractive young woman...

Oh great. So I am being picked up on the street after all.

He fell into step beside me as I continued on, and he blabbered about how fate had put him on Yonge street since it was the first day of his vacation and he wasn't normally in this part of the city, and how I could call him Prospector and I was his gold mine.

Yes, really, that's what he said. And for the rest of the story, I will refer to him as Tito, because that should conjure up a pretty accurate image for you.

At this point, Tito has asked me to sit down on a picnic bench with him, and I've told him that I'm married, so I don't see much harm in listening to an exceptional character make a fool out of himself for a little while. The weather is gorgeous, and I haven't met any funny, mildly deranged people in a while.

But while we're sitting across from the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, a cyclist is hit and does a face plant on the road before him. He does not get up. People, good people, rush to his aid. I am very upset by this, of course, but feel compelled to move on because the accident-gawking thing doesn't sit well with me.

Tito's reaction? He would like to treat me to a polish sausage.
A bit relieved, I find that he has no polish ancestry, and he's merely hungry.
Still. Polish sausage.

I decline, obviously, but let him buy me a bottle of water because he insists, and because otherwise I was about to get an orange crush, which is one of the least refreshing beverages I can think of.

As he masticates, he expounds on his theory that god has sent him to me, me being variously a "classy young lady", "a lady of very high calibre", "the prettiest thing on Yonge", and so many other cornball lines that I just stop listening.

The fourth time he asks me if I'm sure I wouldn't like a bite of his sausage, I thank him for the company and get up to go. I head up St Clair toward home, and find that Tito is following me.

We can't part yet, he tells me, surely I've noticed how the sparks are flying between us?

Really? I thought that was just gobs of your spit.

Unwilling to lead this man to my house, I sit down in a park, where he tells me I've not only made his day, but his "whole view of the universe", whatever the hell that means. He also tells me that he's the "romantickest" guy I'll ever meet, a true gentleman, would like to see me in a skirt and heels, wants very badly to cook me spaghetti, his specialty (he puts ground beef into a jar of ragu), and that our "first time" would be earth-shattering.

Uh huh.

Probably my fault for using a word as vague as "married". Next time I will arm myself with more concrete phrases such as "my husband has a large gun collection", "the nunnery doesn't like me to be late", "my genitalia are ambiguous", "scorching case of herpes", etc, etc.

I tell him I really have to go, and he tells me that he'll buy my subway ride home if it means I can stay even 10 minutes more. I tell him that I practically have this medical condition that forces me to walk. He says he'll walk me home. I can't think of a good reason why not, so I don't give him one, and just flat-out say no. He asks for my phone number. I tell him I don't have a phone. He gives me his instead, tells me to call at exactly 10 am the next day. He asks where I live, and I point vaguely in the direction (still some 5km away, luckily). I tell him goodbye, and he grabs my hand.

Don't let any guys pick you up on the rest of your way home, he pleads. Give our love a chance.

In answer, I make a splorting noise that is mostly choking with a some suppressed laughter and unavoidable groaning mixed in. As I make my getaway, I walk very quickly, without looking back, and I have to tell myself not to run. I hold it in until Spadina, where I unleash a fit of giggles that actually stops traffic momentarily as the first 3 cars at a green light watch me instead of making their left turns.

The next day (today, Thursday), 10am comes and goes. I do not call Tito.

I poke up my blisters and judge that I can make a trip to the library, the grocery store, the pharmacy. I put on my music and make a firm resolution that even taps on the shoulder will forever more be ignored. Make no eye contact, smile at no one, I tell myself. Before heading out, I grab the egg of dubious luck and give it a second chance. I slip it into my left pocket (note: this is what we call "foreshadowing").

As I walk down the street, a very cute old man is standing on the corner, trying to entice the passers-by into taking his pamphlets. Although the city has issued a "heat warning", he is wearing a suit, with his belted pants riding just below his nipples. He's so sweet looking that I almost want to convert for him, but I am firm in my resolution, so I nod slightly but don't pause.

I keep my music on in the grocery store, pick up my things, and remove my headphones only when I'm standing in front of the cashier. They are luckily replaced by the time I leave, because a man standing outside the door badly wants me to sign up for a credit card, I think. I shrug at him, indicate my music, and just keep moving.

I head for Shopper's Drug Mart because the grocery store sells only Coke products, which is a sin, and I must have my diet Pepsi. I stop for a moment to help an elderly woman who is carrying a heavy load. Her plastic bag has forsaken her, so I throw her groceries into my backpack and walk them home for her. She is grateful and tries to pay me, but instead I give her my number and offer to come help anytime she needs it. I have made a new friend.

At the drugstore, I walk up the foot care aisle and surmise that there isn't a cure on the planet for my many blisters, but since I'm still upright and mobile anyway, I guess I'm tough enough to do without. I head for the heavenly display of Pepsi, but I feel a tap on my shoulder. Don't turn around, don't turn around, don't turn around.

Actually, it's hard to pretend you haven't felt a tap on your shoulder. Not wanting to, I turned around, and there was Tito.

Apparently, he'd grown concerned by 10:08 and resolved to try to track me down. Not knowing my address, he'd spent the past 4 hours walking around the neighbourhood, and lo and behold, he'd actually spotted my blonde head bobbing along.

I ask you, dear readers, does this ring of stalker to you?

Because frankly, I was astonished to see him. And not happy astonished, creeped-out astonished.

I plastered a phony smile on my face while he droned on about how he already feels like my knight in shining armour, and it was his sworn duty to make sure that I was okay since clearly something tragic must have happened for me not to call. Meanwhile, in my head, I was thinking: how the fuck do I get out of this?

I told him I was in a big hurry to get home, and no, he couldn't join me. He wanted very badly for me to get to a payphone so I could prove my ability to correctly dial his phone number (which he'd re-given to me), and I told him that was "crazy", asked him which way he was headed, and said that I happened to be going the exact opposite way, which naturally was the exact opposite direction of my house, but I thought, blisters be damned, I will get down on my belly and squirm my way home, but I will not let this man find out where I live.

So, now I have a "date" to call him tomorrow at 10.
This time I think I will call.
Any choice words that you'd recommend? I intend to be brutal, to make sure that there is no room for misinterpretation.

And as for Kat, giver of the worst luck talisman in the universe, I strongly encourage you to visit her site and boo her into infinity :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kiss Your Past Goodbye

He wasn't my Pacey, or even my Dawson, he was just a guy I fucked around with.

Well, that might be selling him short a bit.

The attraction is still pretty much a mystery to me. I mean, he was blond, and a hockey player, and he had a tattoo of a snake on his bicep, heaven help me. Not my type at all. And we were together during a time in my life when I thought looking good meant wearing my corduroy overalls. True story.

We had no pretense of friendship. We probably wouldn't have liked each other very much, if we had bothered to get to know the slightest thing about one another, but ignorance is bliss, or so they say, and my god were we blissful.

I was probably 16 or 17, and I didn't believe in dating. Well, I believed it existed, but I believed it existed only for evil. As far as I could see, it turned reasonable girls into mindless dolts, and prohibited you from ever seeing the ending to the movies you'd paid to see.

While I didn't have boyfriends, I did have lovers, though I suspect that word is a bit too gracious for some of the eager yet inexperienced fumblings that some boys called sex (it's no wonder that I quickly acquired a taste for older men). And for the most part, this worked out well for me.

Not to say that Trevor was an exception, because he wasn't. Just that our "relationship" consisted solely of sex, with an occasional pre-bed drink or snack. The only time we spent out of bed, we watched a videotape of Eddie Murphy doing stand-up...and frankly, I'm still trying to figure that one out. Luckily, we filled in the awkward silences with mind-blowing sex, practicing feats of strength, endurance, and acrobatics that still give me shivers to think about almost 10 years later. Afterward we were too tired and sated to chat, so we'd doze on our separate corners of bed, until it was time for him to drive me home. In the car, I'd turn on the radio just loud enough to make attempts at conversation a foregone impossibility.

Eventually I stopped answering his phone calls, and we parted without saying so because break-ups aren't necessary when you were never together.

Why, then, when I was admiring the crisp redness of some sweet peppers at a local veggie stand and looked up to see him, did I feel an immediate need to duck into the shop and not be seen?

Hiding wasn't necessary, in the end, because he was walking on the other side of the street, and in fact, from that distance I couldn't even be sure that it was him. Just that it sure looked like him. But why hadn't I wanted to say hello?

The closest I could come to a good guess was that since we hadn't had anything to talk about while we were fucking 10 years ago, we'd probably have even less to say to each other now. And I hate the artifice of small talk, I hate being forced to ask How've you been doing? when the truth is, in all this time, I have seldom wondered what or how he'd been doing.

I was quite happy to leave Trevor in the past.

But it got me thinking, because a friend of mine has badgered me into joining Facebook, and even after 6 months of pestering, I'm still not sure why I opened the account. Maybe there are a lot of people out there thinking about lost connections, old flames, and friends who have faded away, but I'm not one of them. For the most part, I've kept in touch with all the people I've cared about keeping in touch with. I don't believe that all friendships are meant to last the ages. I think some are designed for a specific time in your life, and trying to rekindle them later on is almost always a mistake. People change, circumstances change. If you stopped talking to a friend, whether due to falling out, or neglect, they can't have been a great friend to begin with. And as for all the forgotten acquaintances - people who shared the halls of my high school, colleagues who used the copier after me, friends of old boyfriends whom I never should have dated in the first place...well, I have very little curiosity. The past is past, and I'd like it to stay that way.

But now it seems that either Facebook will drag these people back into my present, or, even more alarmingly, they might just move into my neighbourhood and catch me feeling up my vegetables.

So what's a girl who hasn't a nostalgic bone in her body to do when the past catches up with her? Invite it back to her place for cocktails?
Wear dark glasses and stop answering to her own name?
Pull up the pegs and run?

I mean, it's not that I don't love my life. I'm proud of who I am and what I've done. I've got a few twisted stories, but I'm sure I could boil it down to a saccharine story suitable to be divulged within the hallowed halls of Horton's. I guess it's mostly that I don't want to. Sorry Trevor, I guess my horny-meathead days are over.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Operation Wipe Out Farmer Tan

Generally speaking, my complexion being somewhere between the spectrum of Julianne Moore and albinoism, I am not a tanner.

When the good weather hits, I live outside, but I do it under a generous slathering of SPF 45, at least. Despite precautions, I get burned a few times a year, and I'm not talking reddened skin and peeling here. Me, I know burns. I know burns from splashing big pots of boiling pasta on myself, and from grabbing roasting pans without oven mitts and from making friends with the wrong end of a curling iron and from turning on the wrong burner and from trying to catch candles that are on fire. The sun is still trumps. Of course the skin will turn an impossible shade of red, a shade so shocking and magnificent that even Crayola would have a hard time coming up with an appropriate name. Then, overnight, it develops this slimy yellow coating. Some of this puckers into crusty, crinkled skin, and other patches become giant blisters oozing with puss and other fun things. Then you spend the next 6-10 days crying every time you move or breathe or think of moving or think of breathing. And don't even talk to me about bra straps digging into sunburned blisters, or the way water feels like needles with you turn the shower on (I have to shower with wet towels on my shoulders just to dull the pain a bit). It's ridiculous, but for a pale girl, it's life.

And this year I got started on the process early - before summer has even officially arrived. Only mid-May and already I burned, peeled, and found underneath the makings of an actual tan (a rarity for me). But the problem is, I was wearing a scoop-neck t-shirt at the time and now I've got 2 brown arms and an oval of brown on my chest, and a whole lot of blinding whiteness in between.

And as you may know, no matter how many cute camis or tank tops or spaghetti-strapped shirts I wear this summer, IT WILL NEVER EVEN OUT! The white can never catch up because the brown just keeps getting browner. I will be two-toned for the next 4 months! Pretty soon people will be asking me about my crops, how the beets are looking and if the corn's as high as an elephant's eye. I'll be so farmer-like I'll have to start wearing overalls and adopt 37 barn cats. It's going to be a bad summer, I can just tell.

Do you know what a dickie is? A dickie is this ridiculous thing that should have died in the 80s and mostly did, if you don't count my mother's wardrobe. A dickie is just the turtle part of a turtle neck sweater. It's just the part that covers your neck, and a small circle of fabric at the base so you can wear it under a sweater and fool people into thinking you're wearing 2 shirts when really you're wearing only one! Oh, they're horrible things. But I'm thinking that if I wear one, and then tear the sleeves of a sweater and wear them (I guess I'd need some rubber bands to make sure they didn't slide down), I could protect the brown parts and let the white parts (shoulders, lower chest) play catch up.

However, this would neither be a flattering nor a very respectable get-up (notice how nothing would be covering the breasts). So I suppose I could also sport a tube top for modesty's sake (I bet you never heard the words 'tube top' and 'modesty' in the same sentence before!) but this is quickly becoming a fashion revival that I want nothing to do with.

I thought briefly about wearing SPF 50 on the brown parts and 25 on the white parts, but I figure, I've spent almost my whole life buying into this skin cancer thing, why stop now? I mean, every time that I visit my grandmother and she points out all her various "possible melanomas", I make a very firm resolution to be kind to my skin, and to also stop visiting my grandmother. And I've made good on at least one of those promises (and every time my grandmother points to my arm and yells MELANOMA!, and I tell her No, Nanny, that's just a freckle, or a birth mark, or my eye, stop poking me in the eye, Nanny!, my resolve for the second bit gets just a wee bit stronger).

So what's a girl to do? I have this lovely sundress hanging in my closet, dying to be worn, but I know if I slip it on now, it'll look like I'm wearing a white undershirt underneath from far away, and from up close the effect of my two-toned skin is likely to cause traffic accidents and canine insanity and the accelerated melting of ice cream. Not to mention that I will only be giving the sun the chance to burn yet another unsavoury pattern into my flesh - this time with a sweetheart neckline and skinny little shoulder straps, and then I'll have tri-toned skin which we all know is the leading cause of satellites falling out of orbit and childhood obesity and male pattern baldness. And it only gets worse from there!

There's got to be some other way.
Maybe I'll take some high-grade sandpaper into the shower and "exfoliate" until most of my skin falls off. Of course, that would probably clog the pipes and plumbers can be very judgmental.

When I was in high school we had a car was to raise money, and I was wearing a tankini and got a funny burn with prom (and a strapless dress) just days away. My mother suggested I seek the tanning bed and I came out looking like a ketchup chip. I didn't tan, I just burned in a way that my entire body was covered in pinpricks of red, like an allergic reaction (which it probably was). So I've learned my lesson there: sunburns are not a hip accessory, but if you wear your strapless dress without a bra, no one really notices the burn.

Maybe there's nothing left to do but buy stock in aloe vera and call it a day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Window Pain

This morning I was woken up by a sound that I would have guessed was a robotic lamb bleating loudly for its mommy.

Turned out, one of my neighbours was doing her laundry (her clothes line is in desperate need of some WD-40).

It was 5:47am and the sun was just pink enough in the sky for me to make out other eyes such as mine peaking from between the slits of horizontal blinds, all of them beaming rays of unkindness upon the woman who dared disturb our last (and therefore most precious) moments of peace before another day begins.

I feel back asleep only to be wakened again, this time by what sounded like someone using a screwdriver and various cans of half-filled, half-spilled paint as a percussion instrument, and it turns out, that's exactly what it was. The musician was a 2 year old kid in a diaper, who must have been freezing in the cool temperatures that still cling to the dewy grass before 7am.

I was personally a little happy to have cooler temperatures prevail - not only was my sunburn soothed, but it allowed me to wear my Feel Good Sweater, something I have longed to do for 2 whole weeks but because of fevers in the body and stuffiness in the room, I could not.

Feel Good Sweater is a short hoodie, gray knit with silver strands throughout that are like pieces of tinsel from a Christmas tree. There's a little bunny pouch to keep my hands warm and long strings to keep me entertained while talking on the phone. It becomes part of my pj ensemble, and to me, it's like wearing a hug. I'm not much of a cuddler, and I don't care for the person-to-person contact, but Feel Good Sweater is all the affection with none of the pressure.


So I'm sitting in bed in Feel Good Sweater and some fuzzy slippers, and watching the things that happen outside of my window when it rains (I mentioned it's raining, right? Because it is, and not softly, either).

The raindrops tap tap tap on the shingles of the roof, and also ping ping ping on the piece of corrugated iron below and slap slap slap on the cracked window pane lifted above my head. Through the magic of window screens, I can smell the wet earth, and the scent is rich because it's spring and the earth is dark and recently churned where people have started to garden.

The yard below me is a narrow mess. There is no lawn, it's mostly rocks and patches of ground, and a few intrepid weeds that have managed to poke through the obstacles.

The yard to my left is much nicer. I wish that yard was mine. The grass, though only slightly larger than the proverbial postage stamp, is actually green and grows in one blade at a time, and has been uniformly cut. There's a neat patch in the back that could be a garden if only someone spared the time. I would spare mine. I would love to sink my hands in the wet dirt, dig holes and leave behind seeds, watch the earthworms filter through.

The yard to my right is an embarrassment. There is a white minivan up on cinder blocks. It has clearly been left there to die an undignified death, slowly rusting away, showing its sickness in bright orange patches for all the world to see and pity. Beside it, comically, is a white jeep, the plastic battery-powered kind that kids can drive around, but this one too has been relegated to junk, and it sits not on cinder blocks but a battered old folding table that looks ready to collapse.

Other yards are harder to see, although we are only separated by low chain-link fences. One appears to have been paved over. Another is obscured by the 3 satellite dishes attached to the house. One yard is completely full of...something. Stakes? Posts? I like to think that some sort of inventor-type person lives there, and creates these elaborate contraptions, and in the morning when the sun hits the sundial, a little ball starts rolling, which opens the gate, which drops the weight that's holding a bar that releases the mechanism that flushes the upstairs toilet. Or something. I like that house because there's a tiny window up on the upper floor that's been framed by electric-blue paint. Electric-blue for no apparent reason on an otherwise sedately bricked and sided home. I hope it's there for a whimsical reason, and not because electric-blue happened to be on sale that week.

In the yard beside that one are four tall wooden posts holding up a thatched covering of some sort. It kind of reminds of me of a chuppah, but that can't be what it is. But right now, it's just a free-standing thing, and I hope that as summer approaches its usefulness might become apparent.

Two houses over there's the bare metallic bones of a car port that houses no cars. On top there's a pile of dead leaves, only I can't decide if they're last year's garbage or this year's attempt at having vines grow over an otherwise incredi-ugly structure.

And beside that, a house which has its upper windows boarded over with plywood. I hope sincerely that no one lives in those quarters.

Beyond, there are several low-rise apartment buildings, all sitting squatly in their uniformly boring brownness. Why so much brown? The brown that reeks of cost-saving bleakness. If I ever have a million dollars, I will buy myself yards and yards of fabric and wrap those buildings up like presents in pinks and oranges and maybe even electric-blues.

But I don't have a million dollars, so for now I am content to sit in my Feel Good Sweater and gaze out at the wet, wet world, and wonder who, if anyone, is gazing back.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Don't Cry For Me, Argentina

It's funny how when you're grieving, your friends all start to cluck at you.
Cluck cluck cluck they say, and all you can do is shrug your shoulders, because you don't speak chicken.
And come to think of it, you weren't even aware that your friends were fluent.
Some of them are blowing the bull's balls, and some are dispensing the sagest advice you'll ever receive, but you hear none of it.

Suppressed sadness is like a head full of bubble wrap. You'll do anything to keep those bubbles from popping. You hold yourself really still. You spend whole days just trying not to blink.
Kind friends will try to help you in the cause.
One friend looked at her bookshelves and carefully edited her selection for me - the Daniel Pearl story was left on her shelf, judged unfit for a broken heart.
Another friend gently pried my copy of Love Story from my hands and put in The Waterboy instead.
Another, miles away, wrote an email that ended with Come home to your friends. And I wanted to, badly. I wanted to be where I last felt really loved.
And that's when I realized my friends were carefully wrapping my heart up in the bubble wrap as well.

They're keeping it safe for me. They're protecting it from the bumps and bruises that I subjected it to.
I am an unfit keeper for my own heart.

So when I plug myself into Liz Phair, I wonder, is this safe? And when I attempt to reread The Hotel New Hampshire, I think to myself, is this approved? And as I popped in Evita, I thought, surely this will be okay?

But I don't know. I don't know how to help myself.

All I know is that in this life, we choose our attitudes. We make that choice every day.
So if I walk around in a daze for 23 hours of the day, I don't dwell on it. Instead, I think about those 10 seconds that lifted me out of it - the billboard on the way home that said Feeling droopy? Try our soupy!, or the little old man who had a walker decorated in Beauty and the Beast decals.

If I have a choice, then I choose happiness.
I'm working overtime to pump some positive energy back into my life.
I'm too numb for anything else. My heart is wrapped up so tightly that even I can't get to it anymore.
So if you think I owe you an explanation, I don't.
If you think I haven't bared my soul today, maybe it's true. But if you came to Kill the Goat looking for group hugs and sniffles, you came to the wrong place.
A strong woman lives here.
And if a tear or two slip out, they won't be for me.
They'll be for Argentina.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A New Tattoo, A Lot More Sex

I was at the grocery store early this morning, too early in fact, because it didn't open until 9, and despite this fact, there was a throng, yes a throng of people - at least 30, waiting impatiently to get in. It was a veritable sea of gray heads and glasses on chains, one that I kept my distance from for fear that I might get swept under their current and not resurface until I'm withered and wearing orthopedics myself.

They had all brought their own buggies - lined with cardboard and plastic bags, some of them adorned with little flags or rosaries - and they kept tapping insistantly on the glass windows, though this seem to have little effect on the speed of the employees inside.

This end of my block is referred to as "Little Italy", and if you happen to walk among them, you'll know why. They're small. They're all small. And they segregate themselves by sex while waiting outside the grocery store. The women stand with their arms crossed and a sour little purse of their lips. The men stand more socially, and they kiss each other an awful lot. They also seem to have an unwritten code that prohibits them from ever leaving the house without a sport coat and a pair of spiffy loafers.

The one upside to shopping with these eager-tomato-squeezers is that when it comes to my feminine hygiene needs, I have the whole aisle to myself.

I should have decided between laundry detergent and the case of pepsi, but I didn't, and I regretted it the whole way home, as I felt one disc slipping into another. Once relieved of my burden, I was one happy camel. I rewarded myself with a trip to the park with a little hummus and some cucumber slices and a book to keep me company.

But sitting on the wobbly bench, I was distracted by the other patrons of the park:

First, by a gathering of adults all dressed alike, rather boisterous at times and prayerfull the next.

Then by a cheep cheep cheep noise coming from a woman who had brought a green plastic lunch tray heaped with bread crumbs and was calling the dirty birds to her, and then left abruptly after dumping the contents of the tray directly behind me. Knowing my sweet spot was about to become a fowl toilet, I fled to the grassy hill where I sullied my bum (but avoided the shit).

And then by a lazy cow of a mother who let her 2 year old daughter run into the soccer field where the above group was playing. The mother stayed more than 100 yards away (way out of reach, in my opinion), and called feebly, even though from that distance not a sound could be heard. The play had to stop constantly for her, and still she got dangerously close to the flailing limbs of a soccer team, and if you've ever gotten thwacked in the face by a soccer ball kicked at high speed, just imagine being 2 and that the ball is bigger than your face. And the mother made no move to retrieve her kid.

I was afraid I would end up yelling at her, so I packed up my stuff and left. And as I walked home, I felt rather directionless. I was finding my way all right, I was headed home, but no longer sure what that meant. I have never thought that home was the place you lived, but lately it's certainly not where the heart is, and it's rarely where the rump rests or where I hang my hat. I don't know where I'm going, and I don't mean north or south.

At the start of the year, I made 2 resolutions:

1. Stop plucking.

2. Don't break the blender.

As you know, I feel like I've already accomplished the first, and as for the second, I no longer own a blender.

It's time for something new. It's time to do something for me. It's time for resolution v2.0:

1. A new tattoo.

2. A lot more sex.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What a Beautiful Day, What a Beautiful Day, I Think I'll Wear My Brand New Negligee

Here's an interesting fact:

This weekend, I paid a visit to the larger of 2 branches of the Toronto Public Library that are within walking distance of my house.

I was refused a library card because I don't have 2 pieces of identification with my new address on them. In fact, I don't have 2 pieces of id with my old address on them, because as a non-driver, my health card is the only identification that I carry. The librarian said that a utility bill or a bank statement could be substituted for the second piece of id...but of course, my rent is all-inclusive (ie, no utility bill) and guess what? You can't open a new bank account without 2 pieces of id either.

I asked if there was another way to get a library card, and she said that I could pay for a non-residents' card.

And how much is that, I asked.

Oh, it's $25 for 3 months, dear, but you don't want to pay that. You live just down the street, for you it's free!

So there you have it. The hypothetical library card that I can't get is free.


But then I was foolish enough to return to the library today, intending to photocopy my resume.

I asked the librarian (the very same one) if there was a copier for public use.

Here it is, she told me, it costs 20 cents per copy if I was using coin, or I could purchase a $1 copy card and get a rate of 15 cents per sheet.

I'll take a copy card, then, I told her.

Oh, she said, actually it's just your library card.

I haven't got one, I reminded her. I guess I'll just use coin.

Well, she told me, I can't really let you use it if I know you haven't got a card.

And once again, I went home empty-handed, with a lingering question bouncing around inside my head:

what exactly does public mean?

Because the Toronto Libraries are certainly not Public, despite the sign above the door.

It's a very exclusive club, for card-carrying members only, run by old white ladies who refuse access to what I can only assume is a great number of the very community in which the library is situated. Weren't places like this done away with during abolition?

Because let's face it - this neighbourhood is pretty much 100% rental. The landlords, who employ management companies to collect rent for them so they don't have to set foot in this place, and who have since retired rather grandly to sunnier places, would be entitled to a library card should they for some reason ever return to the city and suddenly wonder what Harry Potter has been up to. But those of us who live and work here, not so much. Even our dimes are not fit for the copy machine.

Our rent pays the taxes that keeps this building heated or cooled, keeps the little old ladies in a steady supply of cardigan sweaters no matter the weather, keeps the collection of books that we can't read growing at a steady pace. I didn't need this much paperwork to get security clearance for the government! And my friend informs me that we can't work there, either, although as far as I can see, the work seems to consist primarily of dusting. According to her, a degree in library sciences is required before you can even apply to refuse people the right to read. I wickedly imagined what a course in library sciences might consist of -

A comes before B, which comes before, no, don't bother writing this down. The thing is, if you never let anyone borrow a book, you'll never have to reshelve it (evil cackles all around).

By the time I got home, without book and without copy, I was in such a stew that I threw myself face-down on the bed and thought the whole damned universe is against me. I'm not even a member of the public anymore!

And I think I would have gladly stayed there, angry and near-suffocation, had my overflowing laundry hamper not been calling my name. So I stripped out of my clothes and threw them in too, and dug down deep into my underwear drawer for something to wear in the meantime, pulling out what I like to call a pair of my "fancy panties". And it was the happy underwear that saved the day.

This time, when I left the house, the sun shone brighter and the sidewalk teemed with smilier people. As I walked along, my boobs jiggled enormously in an unsupportive barely-there bra that is totally impractical and well-loved for that reason exactly, and my tush may not have been encased in the comfort of excessive cotton, but I knew it was framed delightfully, and I felt I was doing quite a service to all those who walked behind me. The library may not have me as a member, but I had a new friend who'd been willing to lend me books without so much as asking to see a single credential, and while my dimes were turned away in one place, Kinkos was always happy to take my money...and not only that, they actually say Come again! (and mean it) when the little bell tinkles as I head out the door.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Happy Hours and Golden Showers

I smell sunshine in my skin. Sunshine and....oranges? Did I eat oranges today? No, I didn't. So why is my dried sweat so citrusy? Have I been secretly injected with flavonoids? My aunt Joan would hate that I just said sweat. She always said that horses sweated, men perspired, and ladies glowed. Clearly my aunt Joan has never seen me in aerobics class. I could equal any horse after he's pulled a plow through 87 acres of barley just trying to get my chubby rear into one of those up-the-butt-leotard thingies. Yeesh.

Anyways. I can't possibly have already forgotten where I was going with this, can I?

Today I walked and walked. There are 9 fruit and vegetable stands within 5 minutes in either direction of my house, 14 pizza places (2 of the same chain even!) and no fewer than 17 bars. My kind of place, if only I had the money to stop and have a sit. Walking is probably my favouritest pastime, which comes in handy lately because it's cheap and plentiful. But sitting on patios on warm days sipping daiquiris from a frosted glass with a plastic sword piercing a cherry or two floating around the top...oh man, that's a pretty close second. And while booze also seems to be plentiful around here, it doesn't come cheap (at least not the dirt cheap that my pocketbook insists on). But I do wonder how long I can really stay dry - I'm sure the seizures and hallucinations can't be far behind. So while patio-hopping might be out of the question, at some point I'm going to have to decide that a family-sized bottle of vodka is not "frivolous" but actually a "wise investment". And what better way to relate to my new neighbours than to sit on my veranda drinking from a paper bag?

I live in a part of town affectionately called the "international market", which basically means that when I met my new roommate, she said "Well, every neighbourhood needs a white girl!" and I'm it. Quota filled, all others need not apply.

But like I was saying, I've been doing a lot of walking. Today, for example, I walked south until I finally realized I was really going north. I was so embarrassed I blushed. But I am marking my territory (not fact, all the walking has left me quite dehydrated). Believe me, if I thought a little trail of multi-grain cheerios would still be there tomorrow, I'd be sprinkling just as fervently as the crazy lady with the grass seed on her little patch of concrete. It takes me 5 songs to get to the subway station. I can (almost) literally spit on the nearest pizza place - but since it has free delivery I can already envision making them walk. I can get to 24 hour bus stop before I even have time to fish the change out of my wallet. So. The neighbourhood is no longer foreign.

I covered so much ground that I was limping when I got home, and I had to unstick my sock (on which monkeys are inexplicably surfing) from the already-coagulating scab of a new blister. Now, I apologize for this in advance, but I just had to take a picture of it (aside: it's surprisingly hard to take a picture of the back of your own foot) (also: I guess I don't need to call it an aside if it's in parentheses, right?)

If you look very closely, you'll see a baby blister forming in the centre of the mommy blister. I thought that was pretty neat. Sore feet are pretty much par for the course for me, so I hobble along despite it, and resolve to soak my shoes in cold water when I get home so the blood doesn't set.

Plus, who can stop walking when they're on a mission? To be fair, this mission of mine has been in active duty for the past 12 months. As you may know , Toronto has a less than stellar reputation with the rest of the country, and "unfriendliness" is high on the list of complaints. So, having a lovely smile if I do say so myself (and I do) and a willingness to try anything once (or, for 12 months, as the case may be) I decided to put the theory to the test. So when I walk about, I smile at everyone I meet. Everyone. I call it my "Smile, Toronto" project. Today's results:

# of women who smiled back: 1
# of men who smiled back: 84

Remarkable, right?But I feel compelled to congratulate the woman who was waiting for a bus on Dufferin who smiled back. I was the crazy girl who seemed to be stumbling a bit, but was actually just walking-hyphen-dancing - my hair is the shade of soft butter, and I was wearing green pants and...some sort of top. I'm sure I was wearing a shirt. What shirt?

Oh yes, the white one. The dreaded white shirt. You see, I have this white lacy blouse that looked good enough to wear on the hanger in the store when I was high on credit and fluorescent lighting. But when I got it home I discovered that the fit model must have been a cousin of Sponge Bob's (Sponge Roberta?) - it was just that boxy. Horrid, really, not flattering at all, but the thing is, I wear. I wear it a lot. I wear it a lot because I hate it so much. I feel bad for the shirt and sense that it knows it's unloved, so I keep it high rotation to make up for my lack of affection. That sounds a little crazy, but think about it: if you were a shirt, wouldn't you at least want to be worn, if not loved?

Anyway, by the time I got home the neighbourhood was thick with the smells of barbecue. But it wasn't even the mouth-watering thought of a big juicy steak that had me in throes of passion - it was the promise of the baked potato as accompaniment. The baked potato probably does not get all the recognition it deserves, being so often paired with impressive main courses (it's the Jan to steak's Marcia). But here's my dark secret: yes, I like a baked potato, swimming in some butter and body seems to be craving carbs right now. But in all honesty, baked potatoes are merely the altar at which I worship the god of sour cream. Oooh, my hips just gained an inch thinking about it.

All right, I've bared my soul - now leave me to my neosporin and starchy thoughts.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Happy in Another Life

Today I smelled my hair and it made me happy.

Today was just breezy enough to flap my jacket as I walked down the street and it made me happy.

Today I sipped pepsi through a swirling pink and orange straw and it made me happy.

Today I showed drywall who's boss and it made me happy.

Today I wore my dragonfly thong and it made me happy.

Today I used my gold damask napkins as window treatments and it made me absurdly happy.

What's your excuse?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gone, Baby Gone

I am sleeping (or attempting to sleep, and occasionally feigning sleep) in a strange place.
There is not a soul in the world who knows where I am right now.
I can't decide if this is freeing, or if this is the scariest thing I've ever done in my whole life.