Thursday, February 25, 2010

Red Velvet Love

It's been years since I felt red velvet love and today, I found myself searching on the internet for just that.

Before you get all "pervert!" on me, I'm talking about red velvet cake. I'm not sure why I thought of it or why I now find myself salivating over pages and pages of internet photos of the devil food.

The last time I had this red velvet love, I thought I was in love. For reals. And not just with the cake. He was the polar opposite of my ex - tall, muscular and driven. At 6 ft. 4 in. tall, he dwarfed the 5 ft. 4 in. I had so valiantly fought to achieve (I reached my peak height in grade seven, never to see another growth spurt. Ever). At 275 lbs., he had enough room in his frame to fit three of me. He was also already in a long-term relationship that I thought was over.

He was a bodybuilder, and probably still is continuing that dream. At 45 years old, he had been taking steroids for a very, very long time, since he was 18 and considered himself to be too tall and too lean. He needed muscles and he needed them fast. So, he reached for the guaranteed results, popping pills and stabbing himself with needles to get the much-desired testosterone to attain his ideal. When I met him, he had decided to call it quits - the bodybuilding shows and the performance-enhancing drugs. We talked about it verbatim and he knew where I stood. They were not needed, he was great just the way he was.

That is, until the notice for the next show went out to the masses. Just one more time, he thought. It will be my glory on stage, showing these juniors what age and wisdom will do. Right. Wisdom. He did his first cycle when I was away on a business trip. He told me about it after the fact, but by then it was too late. He was hooked again. I know it's not as "addicting" as coke, crack or even cigarettes, but it was addicting to him and the image he thought he was supposed to portray.

He assured me it would be his last show and I supported him, taking time off to prep him for the show and give the necessary pep talks, even going as far as "painting" him with the fake tan the bodybuilders seem to love.

And then came the kicker, the thing I knew would happen but I had hoped it wouldn't. An increase in synthetic testosterone turned his boys' own production on low and that transferred to other areas. I don't think I need to go into detail, but let's just say his favourite type of nuts were walnuts. - miniscule walnuts that, when shaken, would emit a tiny tinkle, a small rattle.

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to look him in the eye without even a hint of anger, especially when he refused to acknowledge how his steroid use (yes, from 18 to 45!) contributed to the flaccid state of affairs. Instead, he chose to hike his walnuts deeper inside his body and lay blame elsewhere. On me and my then 10-lb. I was 150 lbs. and no longer attractive to him.

My friends know this story already. It's taken me years to feel comfortable about myself again and I'm just beginning to come out on top, albeit with more than the original 10 lbs. to lose. But, I will take responsibility where responsibility lies.  It's being held accountable for your actions and striving to improve, to take the road less traveled and not blame your state of affairs on everyone else but.

I'm still angry, and hurt, and still reeling from the rejection, even years later. What he doesn't realize is he just didn't reject me just because of my weight gain, he rejected everything I had worked so hard to attain: my independence, my spirit, my quest for enlightenment. He got to know me, met my family and made plans for the future and rejected me anyway.

It's many years and much growth later. I have moved on, honestly, but a little part of me will replay that final day in my head and how he didn't have enough balls or respect to own up to his role and hold himself accountable.

This weekend I will make that red velvet cake I've been dreaming about over the last week. I will light a candle and invite friends, family and friends I have yet to meet to make a wish and blow out the candle. It's a sort of a celebration, of me, of all the people out there who strive to do the right thing for themself and others.  I may even serve it with a side of nuts. Crushed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dancing to the beat of my own drum

I think I'm about to die and something called Zumba is responsible. Send the police. And an ambulance, or at least some smelling salts and perhaps a wheelchair or two.

I haven't worked out in a while. A. long. while. And, tonight, I decided it was time to lace up the old sneakers again and head to the gym. It's a new gym, or at least a new spin on an old one. I belonged (and worked for) LA Fitness, formerly Canadian Bodyworks (only the best gym EVER), since early 2000. Some of you will know that I used to be a gym fanatic. I was obsessed. Every day for over seven years, I would head to the gym after work for at least a two-hour workout. Weights, cardio, classes - I did it all and did it with passion.

So, tonight, after a stint of not going to the gym, I stepped through the doors to participate in my very first Zumba class. I had the rhythm though not the stamina yet, but I made it through with no stops. Okay, I stopped once because I mis-stepped, but otherwise I was a proud Zumba-enthusiast.

People, it was fun. I've never laughed so hard, especially when my friend Zumba-ed into a cloud of stench left behind by the lady beside her. She screamed. I laughed and then missed the next two steps. I soon caught up and I was mamboing and screwing in the light bulb and sewing the seeds with the rest of them.

Zumba is a combination of latin, African and Indian dances, all to upbeat music. It's cardio-plus. The plus is the fun. Now, for the rhythmically challenged, it may seem daunting (just ask my friend), but the laughs and energy levels are contagious. I used muscles I didn't think I had, and I know my waist and calves will be on life support tomorrow (and maybe even the day after). But...

I will do it again. Next week. Until then, it's wheelchairs and muscle relaxants, or at least a good massage or five. I will also head back to the gym for other things, a date with the elliptical machine being one of them.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

She's so Leeenda!

Talking about the DR and my vacation there (and my return visit six months later 'cause that's how awesome it is!), reminded me of one part that drove me nuts.

You all probably know how "Linda" means beautiful in Spanish. Yes, it does, and I was reminded every fecking day that I was there. The men in the DR are very forthcoming. Even stepping off the plane and herding to the bus to take us to our home away from home for a week, we were bombarded with cat calls, whistles and offers of help to carry our luggage (Step away from the bags, boys, and I'm not meaning my suitcase!).

"Oh Mamacita, you so linda. You want a Dominican boyfriend? I want to marry you."

Yes, we weren't there for more than 20 minutes and we were getting marriage proposals. It was a little overwhelming, flattering but overwhelming. And, when you consider that 20 minutes does not a relationship make, you then feel a little ridiculous for even being flattered for that second.

Sure, I'm beautiful. I am Linda, am I not? But, coming from a country where single women in their 30s are still looked on as "spinsters," you tend to be a little cautious, okay maybe jaded when you hear how beautiful, how linda you are after stepping off of a cramped airplane.

(My brother was referred to me as his "spinster sister with the whole house of cats --- I had two. He got a swift kick up the A-to-the-butthole.)

And, so it happened. Every time someone asked me my name (and it happened in the resort, in the stores, in the street - they wanted to get to know you because Canadian girls are apparently the bomb in the DR), I heard "Oh Leeenda (insert Spanish accent here), do you know what Leeenda means in Spanish?" Yes, yes, sir I do and no, I don't want to marry you. I will not bear your children. I will not see your one-eyed trouser snake. And no, I don't want to be your Canadian girlfriend, flattering or not, since you're 15 years my junior.

I have nothing against May-December romances. I think everyone deserves love, at any age. But when the I love you comes after 15 minutes of talking, or even an afternoon on a catamaran with a ton of Santo Libres, then I think you have lots of thinking to do.

I looked up my name on Urban Dictionary, as was the trend a few weeks ago. This is what I found (and yes, beautiful was in there):

Linda: meaning beautiful or cute in spanish..would usually fun,caring and effin awesome in bed! is described mostly to be crazy and not care what others think if her.

I preferred this one:
spanish name meaning cute.

a common name used in the fifties.
meaning caring, helpful, energetic, organized,spiritual,compassionate, thoughtful and hard working.

Nowhere in there did I see Linda: a girl who gets marriage proposals only 15 minutes after stepping off of a plane. Maybe I should suggest it.

To be honoured

Friendships made quickly on such a happy occasion!

I think I'm a good person who makes friends easily, but it's always uber-wicked when this is recognized. I don't need confirmation, really, but it does put a song in my heart and a dance in my step when another person steps up and puts his or her arm around you to say "You know, you're alright, kid." It's all about the connections you make, day in day out.

It happened today. A friend I met while on a holiday/tropical wedding contacted me on the Facebook chat to share some news: he's getting married. I had met him once at my friend's wedding two years ago in the Dominican Republic. He's a friend of the groom, a childhood friend who, despite the miles that separate them now, has asked my friend to be his best man. The connections are still there, the tie is unbreakable. And, in while sharing the news of his newborn daughter and his upcoming nuptuals, he extended the ultimate invitation. Despite meeting only once on such a happy occasion, he uttered the words (actually he typed them but I just imagine him speaking them): You know, if you can come to the wedding, you're invited. We'd love for you to come and join us.

In my years, I've found this commonplace among Dominicans, the instant acceptance, the throwing open of the arms to welcome you to the fold, no matter how your affiliation or no matter how long you've known them, or even your exposure to them. They are so very welcoming and loving, immediately opening up to you as family.

I was touched and immediately considered the invitation. Of course, I'd have to save for it, especially considering my skint stint in which I find myself. But, I'm honoured to be invited, considered, recognized as friend, as family.

It left me in a good mood for the rest of the day. I was light, I was jovial, I was exhuberant. And thrilled. It didn't hurt that I stepped on the scale at WeightWatchers to discover I had lost 3 lbs, bringing my total to-date to 10. Ten pounds down. I feel lighter already, not just in my body, but also in my soul. I'm on my journey, bloggers and it will be a hell of a ride.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stumbling upon serendipity

My blogger friend Ange had a brilliant epiphany after receiving an award from a fellow blogger in which she had to nominate 12 of her fave blogs. Why be so selective, she asked? And, taking matters into her own hands, she changed the rules. Just. like.that. And I am thankful for this.

Ange invited all of us bloggers to visit one of her avatars on her sidebar. Anyone. I chose Serendipity. Apropos is it not? This is the inspiration I found (it comes courtesy of imsocarly Chuck Palahniuk):

“The unreal is more powerful

than the real,

because nothing is

as perfect as you can imagine it.

because its only

intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs,

fantasies that last.

stone crumbles. wood rots.

people, well, they die.

but things as fragile as a thought,

a dream, a legend,

they can go on and on.”

Late night television can be edumacational

I’m a night hawk, and because of this, I see some pretty bad television.

I’m not sure what keeps me up at night – my internal clock, my internal wiring, my incessant worrying over everything that isn’t nailed down – you name it and it’s probably true, or at least makes up a portion of the reason my head doesn’t hit the pillow until at least 2 a.m. every night.

But last night was a windfall. I watched a program, while worrying about my new budget and cutbacks and light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not something I’d likely ever tune into – Tim Gunn’s Style Guide. It was pretty, frou-frou and surprisingly enlightening.

Sure, it dealt with a revamp of a wardrobe but unlike most “makeover” shows it delved deeper than the penchant for sequins and bad holiday sweaters and actually showcased a “Life Stylist.” What’s this humbo-jumbo you ask? Yeah, me too. But I kept watching.

The Life Stylist (code name for social worker, psychiatrist, therapist?) had this woman do an exercise where she labeled a bunch of volleyballs with her worries, some everyday worries, others life altering. He then had her put all of the balls into two prospective buckets, one of all the things she can control and the other things beyond her control.

After worrying about money and looking high and low for cutbacks and potential income increasers and expense decreasers, I needed some perspective. What can I control? My attitude. What can’t I control? You’d be surprised. You thought I was Wonder Woman didn’t you? I may have the same name but that’s all we share, if you don’t count the invisible plane and the gold lasso, but they’re presently locked up in my bedroom so I can scratch that worry off of the list. Phew!

So, at 2:30 in the goddamn fecking AM, I created two lists (I couldn’t find my volleyballs or a Sharpie marker… or buckets for that matter). I grabbed the first paper-like substance I could find – napkins – and wrote in point form my lists, a separate napkin for each ‘cause even though I’m skint, I’m not that cheap.

Things I can control:
  • My attitude
  • My weight
  • My health
  • My exercise regime
  • My time
  • My expenses (cutting back where I can)
  • My job search

Things I can not control: 
  • My family
  • Other people’s reactions
  • Work and the numpties I work for and with
  • My past (I’m learning to forgive and let go, but not forget)
  • My Man and his insecurities (I can’t make them mine or take responsibility for them)
  • Other people and their issues

This morning, I’m invigorated. I may not have thrown all of the items I can’t control into the bucket, but I’m in the process one issue at a time. And that’s a start. (I also applied for about 10 jobs online last night, one of them in PEI, so I’m hoping that my career horizon is on its expansion route.)

Until then, I’m in control. Damn it.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A skint stint

Christmas and January has caught up with me. I'm not tired from all the festivities and day-to-day living, but my bank account is. Seriously.

I typically don't live beyond my means. I'm good at reining it in, tying the pursestrings tight and putting my credit card in the freezer (don't laugh, I've done it). Not to mention, I've been watching back-to-back episodes of "From Debt to Us Part." If you've even contemplated buying a Starbucks grande latte AND a sugar cookie, don't watch this show. You'll only be sad of all the things you can't do when you owe a little too much to the Credit Card Fairy.

January was tight. I had unexpected expenses and a rash of vet bills trying to bring Bella (my soccer ball cat - RIP Bellalicious) up to optimum health only to have her depart in the end (and I had to pay for it!). I passed on the cremation and the paw-print ceramic and chose the utilitarian option. No fringe, no pomp and circumstance and still, it cost almost $200 to say goodbye.

And, I was still recovering from Christmas, overspending on some gifts by as much as $40 to $50 per person because I know the gift rocked. Now I'm rocking myself in a corner wondering what I will have to cut back to make ends meet.

I'm not broke. Don't get me wrong. I'm just not as comfortable as I think I should be. I have a mortgage, townhouse maintenance fees and all the bills and whistles that go along with home ownership. It adds up, and in a time when expenses are rising and my income is not, then something has to give.

So, here I am, looking over expenses and seeing what I can cut. Whether it's for now or forever, something has got to give and it will be giving back to my fiscal bottom line. As of Friday, I will no longer have a home phone. Since I use my cell 99 per cent of the time and the only person to call me on the home line is my mother, it was an easy choice, a $50 choice.

Also on the hit list: bowling night. At least for now. I was getting annoyed with it anyway. I was paying $18 per week to a bowling alley that takes 20 minutes and two reminders to fix a defunct lane. Two weeks in a row, we were beside two very large parties, one a stag (on Monday night of all nights!).

Art class will be put on hold for a month or two as well. I have two weeks left of the present course, which was paid in full. I will enjoy the rest of my time immensely and instead use the canvases I already have in some home-based art time.

Will there by other cuts? Probably. A return to the drawing board is in order until I can increase my income. While I have not had any concrete hits to-date, I remain optimistic. Until then, it's skint city. And some creative accounting.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Things for which I am thankful

It’s bright and sunny and although it’s a cold February day, I am happy. Happier today than I have been in a while. The reason: who knows, but I’ll take it.

This makes me smile... 
... And this does too.**

To commemorate this happy day, here is a list of things that made me smile today (and there’s a
lot of them!):

  1. A lady crossed the road today while I was stopped at an intersection. She wore leopard print gloves and a smile as she strode across the street with purpose. A purpose with a smile: a lesson learned.
  2. A new-style police car complete with non-descript markings to alert the driving public that it was, in fact, a police car. Talk about sneaky! Who did they think they would fool? Not this fool, that’s for certain!
  3. Hitting every green light on the way to work and beating the boss in. That almost never happens.
  4. Having someone tell me I look thinner in the face and that my almost 7-lb. weight loss to date is becoming noticeable. Just think what 20 lbs. will be like!?!
  5. Stepping up and stepping out to go dancing on Saturday night and realizing how much I missed it.
  6. Good friends and not just those who pay lip service and tell you what you want to hear. Want to know the lowdown? Just ask Anasatan and Mags. They’ll boost you up but also get your head out of the clouds, all with a gushy, love-filled centre. Oh, and a “Quack, Quack, Muthafuka.”
  7. Knowing I don’t have to wake up early on Monday morning. It’s the provincial PD-Day – you may know it as “Family Day” or as my U.S.-made calendar calls it “Heritage Day.”
  8. Donning a “meh, whatever” attitude upon hearing my boss had a hissy fit over something I may or may not have done. I have no clue so I’m feigning ignorance, and it’s bliss.
  9. Knowing that the New Year marks a new beginning and a forward look to the future of what I want to do and not what others see fit for me. Quack, Quack, Muthafuka.
  10. A clean house and a light mind. Yes, it’s all light and sunshine in the Scribe household (we can actually see out of the windows now that they no longer have nose prints on them… and they’re not mine!).

Okay, that’s the list, but there are others I just can’t think of right now. I’m working on making this mood last. Some say exercise is the key. I think it’s forgiveness and a sometimes swift kick up the rear.

Quack, Quack Muthafuka.
** Chaplin image "borrowed" by Stephen E. Wise, visionary artist. Visit him at
It's worth a look!


Friday, February 5, 2010

My very own house of cards

Today has been a day of 52-pick-up - the game my brother never tired of playing yet yelled at me when I turned it back on him.

It wasn't a day of major catastrophes but rather many small ones, an early morning wake up call of bloodied consequences. The clowns were already in the big top and I was still in the ticket booth hyping the show. I'm now in the process of doing laundry so I can sleep in the bed and not on the couch tonight. The Man was rather understanding about it all and is patiently waiting for the dryer bell to go off. Hopefully he'll offer to make the bed and remember to put the pillow cases on all the pillows.

As if that wasn't enough, the ancient dishwasher that came with the house decided to head for the big appliance graveyard. Sure, it filled with water but that's where it stopped, and the water overstayed its welcome. A bucket or three later and the dishwasher was empty - empty of water and of the still-dirty dishes. Right now, I can't afford a new one. Christmas was tight and while I'm still in the black, my bank account is not as comfortable as I'd like.

This is one month after my main level toilet decided to blow a gasket (okay not a gasket but the little doohickey that keeps the tank and toilet together and functioning cohesively. It was no longer adhesive. I'm no plumber and I'm certainly not a handy girl. I've learned that about myself. While I think I'm independent (mostly), I know there are things better left to the professionals. It does, after all, involve a lot of water that could end up on my floor (and it did for a time).

I've been in this house for the past eight years and it seems that everything that could go wrong has. A year ago, on New Year's Day, the upstairs toilet decided to leak and drip, drip, drip onto the floor and through my kitchen ceiling. Dry wall and spackle later and I no longer have a large gapping hole in my kitchen ceiling. It's not the first time. That was five years earlier just before I overhauled the bathroom. It seems the contractors I hired decided that a wax seal was not an important item to include in the whole bathroom package.

Oh, and there's the intermittent stove element that decides when it will and will not work. There's no rhyme or reason, I'm really not sure what to think. I think I've offended it somehow. Walk on over to my sliding glass doors and a look down at the laminate will unearth another issue - moisture in between the floor boards and a slight raise in the floor.

There was a time when I considered the house my pride and joy. I had bought it, paid for it and managed it for the last eight years. I had lost a house in the divorce, having to bid farewell to a large sum of money and some pride to move back with my parents. A year and much saving later and I was in my own house. By myself and it was proof that I could survive on my own.

I still can survive. Perhaps this is just a blip or perhaps it's a sign that it's time to find something less flimsy and more in line of what I can handle.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spoken words

The Vagabond Artists

There seems something almost comforting
about that afternoon of idle chat
With a stranger in passing
over a musty cup of tea
Hours too cold to drink with any enthusiasm

We sat in appreciation for each others' words, lives,
A chance to converse with no recourse
No judgement passed on previous accomplishments, mistakes
And no fear to live up to expectations
for another as enlightened a conversation

All I knew was what he wanted to tell me -
His name, Billy, I knew from the CD he held
of his music, his love,
His beat-worn fingers staccato drumming
his passion for his craft
on the laminate checkered table
Smudged with the breath of its last inhabitants

He thought me an artist, a vagabond with a sharp wit
and an etheral outlook on life
A fellow artistic soul to jive, to jam,
To bounce ideas off of, with renewed optimism
for the human race.

And as I drove away
in my melded steel and rubber chariot
I thought about how one, 20-minute conversation
could last a lifetime in memory
and cause me to slow enough
to decipher his rhythmic drum
in the ticking of every clock.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A post about nothing (Seinfeld has nothing on me)

I’m at a loss. Looking back at the posts I wrote last month, I’ve come to the conclusion that I lead a very ordinary life. Day-to-day activities are lackluster and I seem to be pulling from my past and writing about that. Is the past so interesting that I’m stuck there? Perhaps it is.

I reminisced about my childhood growing up, my mother and father, though my brother has yet to make his way into the posts. Shall I talk about the time he laid underneath my bed and grabbed my ankles as I walked by? And the fact that I was so scared I actually peed on his hands? Oh, and I was five, okay!?!?!

Or shall I write about my very first job at 14, a little too young but not enough to notice. I looked older anyways. Or, how about the really cute rugby-playing boy I liked but stammered every time he came around. It got worse when I was told he actually liked me too. Me form a sentence in his presence? Ma hum hen a. No way. We’re friends now on Facebook and I still regret not putting myself out there. But, I was 15 or 16 and painfully shy. Oh, and I was a silly girl too. That didn’t help.

It’s certainly better than writing about the monotony of my day: getting up to feed and water the dog (yes, I said water) and get ready for another day of pushing paper, watching the clock until lunchtime (and snack time – I love this WeightWatcher regime!) and then home time. I’ve been trying different hobbies. I’ve joined a Monday night bowling league, I try to see my girlfriends for coffee and chat at least once a week and then I’ve got the wonderful WeightWatchers meeting. It’s wonderful because the leader is loud, exuberant and fun. Add information to that mix and I’m entertained and inspired. It’s a good combination.

Oh, and the art! After last week’s final “runs” class, I’m doubly inspired – so much so that I want to do two classes a week but know that’s not feasible. I created a piece that spoke on so many levels, but mainly it told me that I was capable. Of runs, of creating, of being inspired, and I need all the inspiration so I can find my calling. Maybe I'll find it in the next art course: bubbles. (Stand way back for a Trailer par

The job search is still ongoing. I’ve got no bites, save for a really nice rejection letter from an association in Manitoba. It wasn’t like I wanted to move to Winnipeg, but I wanted the possibility. It was not to be so it’s back to the drawing board. Anyone looking for a writer/communications specialist based in the Greater Toronto Area? I’m certainly willing to relocate or work from home. Boyo the Boxer would love that - more Mama all the time.

I am certainly glad that I have this blog (and yours too) to keep my writing skills up to par. It’s surprising how fast you can lose something if you don’t use it (I tell that to the Man and my libido all the feckin’ time, but that’s another story for another time).

Okay, so maybe I did have more to write about. It’s a free flow of nouns, verbs and adverbs – and more. Hopefully, they’re all grammatically in the right place because as some of you know, I love me some bad grammar.

Happy Hump Day, everyone. Literally.

Getting his nails did

When I was little, I lived across the street from the only other girl on the street and that only girl had the only dog at our end of the street. I loved dogs and they loved me – except for this one.

Oh, he liked me well enough. He was always trying to kiss me, and as a basset hound, he’d leave a trail of drool everywhere he visited. The worst: he smelled. Bad. The whole house smelled so bad that I would visibly gag when I first entered the house. I’ve always had bad refluxes and it’s the smells that activate it.

So, when I noticed Kao’s bedding was a little less than pristine – okay, it stunk – I immediately took action, throwing out the offending blanket and exchanging it for a fresher, larger one. And, one that he would hopefully leave in one piece. The boy has an aversion to creating confetti. He would not eat the thing, but tear up the flannel sheet in strips that you would see in a carwash.

This coming Saturday, the boy is booked into the PetSmart Day Spa for a two-hour appointment for a much-needed bath and buff. He’ll get his smooth coat washed, dried and styled (?? – that’s what the ad said), and have his nails did - trimmed, I mean. The Man would draw the line at any polish but if the colour suits him I might have to acquiesce. After all, it’s all about the bling. Even for the boxer.

What will I do with two hours on my hands? Go shopping. For purses. A girl can never have too many purses. Or perhaps a nice new pair of pants for the body I’m sculpting, thanks to the beauties at WeightWatchers and of course, me. I’m down 6 lbs. bloggers and that is just the beginning.