Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Paranoia raises its head

I am slowly going crazy... I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Switch. Crazy going slowly am I, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Switch...

I used to sing this repetitively since I thought it was funny to speak backwards or jumbled up. I was good at it. But now I truly believe I am going crazy and I blame the characters in Cell Block C.

I've worked there for the past four years and when I started I was confident, funny, loyal and meticulous. I wore my rep and my skin with pride. Now, I am more paranoia than perky, proof in point a conversation I had with myself today.

A co-worker has invited me to join her for lunch, not an uncommon thing in the workforce. We work with people day in, day out for 8 or 9 hours a day. You're bound to make friendships. Except on Cell Block C. Everyone seems to be out for themselves and will throw you under the bus on a moment's notice. No, I'm not being paranoid, though you may be apt to think so. I've seen it happen and I've had it happen to me. So, when the newest charge asked me what I was doing for lunch this Wednesday, I stopped and thought: "I wonder what she has to tell me. I wonder what her motives are."

Yes, those were my initial thoughts and how sad is that state of affairs that people can't bond over lunch, over coffee in the cafeteria or a stopover at a desk to say hello and discuss the weekend's happenings? After much debate, I've come to the conclusion that she doesn't seem to have any ulterior motives, save grabbing a coffee and sandwich outside of work hours. It will be a nice break to the day, and for someone who takes only 15 minutes to feed my Tim Horton's addiction, it will be different, nice and strangely comforting to see perhaps the atmosphere is changing for the better.

That's not to say that I will push any warning signs to the back of my mind. I'm not that naive. But until then, I will enjoy the change of scenery away from the Negative Nellies in Cell Block C - and yes, my boss is the leader. I will also enjoy a bit of the camaraderie no matter how short the lunch.

Perhaps I will dazzle my new co-worker with my ability to put the po-po under my spell with my "Occifer, Occifer, I am not under the alkafluence of inkahol as some thinkel peep I know."

It was cuter when I was five and my dad was coaching me. Now it may lead to a night in the slammer. Oh well. At least it will be a day (or five) off.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Don't phone Hoarders just yet...

I may have been a little too quick to jump on the hoarders' bandwagon. Tonight, I actually sat down and watched a full episode. Between cringing about a cockroach infestation and gasping in awe of how much stuff can actually "fit" into a home, I've decided that while I may keep things a little too long, at least you can walk through my house without having to call in a search party to get out.

What disturbed me the most was that the parents featured on the program thought nothing of placing the spillover from the rest of the house into their children's rooms, so much that there was no available space to sleep.

Oh, and don't forget the cockroaches. Yes, cockroaches. Everywhere. My skin is still crawling and I thank my lucky stars that I have the odd spider or two and a rogue moth to contend with and not the scurrying of cockroaches of all sizes and ages as soon as the lights go on.

Not too many things make me queasy. I can handle spiders, earwigs and even mice, but I draw the line at cockroaches. I've been traumatized more than once by those disgusting creatures. The first time had me running down an aisle trying to make an escape from a flying cockroach that, I swear, followed me throughout the store as I tried to leave. A second time, it was a cockroach falling onto my hand as I tried to make a purchase at the checkout counter. And, it was not even the same store. I made even more acquaitances on vacation, and while I was expecting them since it was the tropics, I was still all heeby-jeeby about them.

So, in short: you can see my floors, I'm working on clearing the clutter and making money in the process and I am cockroach-free. All in all, I think I'm winning.

Hello, my name is Scribe and I am a hoarder

Can you say procrastination? Do you call it procrastination when, instead of finishing an editing job, I'm listening to the Gary Gnu Show from the Great Space Coaster show of the 80s? Or checking out recipes for Red Velvet Cake? Or how about reading about hairless cats and their oil secretions? Yeah, I thought so too.

It's not that I don't have a lot of stuff to do tonight. Finishing the editing of my friend's book is top on the list, or so it should be. The same goes for prepping for this weekend's garage sale, sifting through my shite treasures and choosing which ones would be a great addition to someone else's home. 

There is some good crap here, like two or three televisions that now take up residence in my home. I told The Man before he brought in the latest entertainment device (high-def television) that he we would have to re-gift at least two of the televisions that are in storage. I guess I wasn't as "Terminator" as I should have been since we now have a television for every room, including the small main floor powder room.

I've also got a Houdini-like dog crate and a futon frame minus the mattress. Boyo the Boxer (my high-IQ canine who is now staring at the china cabinet willing it to move) discovered he could escape from his crate by pulling the back into the body of the crate and stepping over what I thought was a locked metal panel. He then proceeded to have his run through the house unattended, shredded tissue boxes and their contents strewn throughout the house and a make-shift potty on the futon mattress.

I've also got lots and lots of coffee mugs, a rice cooker/veggie steamer, a stand-up, life-size poster of Mel Gibson pre-crazy in Braveheart, a almost-complete family tree poster of the Royal Family (minus Camilla) and a few donations left behind by old tenants. No forwarding address? Then say goodbye to your picture of two well-trained German Shepherds, plug-in Jesus and Mary "paintings" and array of Glade Plug-ins.  There's a limit to re-gifts, my friends.

Ahhh, the re-gifts... thankfully my mother took back the pukey purple sweatshirt with the big, honking, yellow sunflower. The sunflower didn't actually honk, but you could see me coming a mile away if I ever put it on. I didn't. She did, and that's one re-gift I didn't have to worry about. I've got candles, candle holders and picture frames coming out of my... closets... and those too will make a move to a front lawn near you!

I know that one man's trash is another's treasure, or at least that's what I'm hoping comes my way this weekend. While the cash I'd get for these treasures is tempting, what is more welcome is a cleaning up and a move away from my approaching hoarder status.

I don't even know how have of this stuff ended up in my house. Oh wait. As The Man has pointed out on too many occasions: "I am my mother's daughter," and that explains it all.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Words that should not be in my vocabulary

As most of you already know, I cringe at non-words - those words that have made their way into the modern-day dictionary that have no business being in the word business. Last night during a quick jaunt to Port Credit to drop off Happy MacGyver at a shiatsu appointment, The Girl and I were lamenting the downfall of the English language, especially when grown adults use the word "irregardless" in a sentence.

Her son, having been present for many a discussion, decided to pull one over on The Girl. With a grin on his face, he said "Irregardless, Mom..." He didn't even finish the sentence before he broke out laughing for having pulled a funny and for the look on The Girl's face. It was a cringe really, followed by a look of shock. Last night, after practising our dance moves in a store window and laughing the whole drive home, she reminded me of another word that did not get its beginning in the dictionary: Can't.

It's not a word and it should not be in anyone's repertoire, she said, not to mention the damaging ramifications it has when uttered. The Girl is right. "I can't" is damaging, it's defeatist and it sets you up for failure as soon as it forms in your head. You don't even have to say it. It's there and it automatically deflates any idea or possible situation you can imagine.

If you want to go back to school and take a course not in your usual realm, a little off your present path, and you say "I can't" a list instantly starts to form. "I can't" because of a) finances; b) I'm too old to go back to school; c) it doesn't fit in with the idea I already have of myself; d) the homework would be too much.

Wanting to change your present relationship status? You may say "I can't" because of the financial ramifications, because you would be alone, because even though the relationship is not working and you're not as invested you stay because it's comfortable or status quo. Say "I can" and the world of possibilities opens up.

When I ended my first marriage and moved back with the parental units to regroup, my mother Margaret (the same Jesus Christ Margaret) uttered a phrase that has stuck with me to this day and makes me revolt and work to prove the exact opposite. "You can't survive on your own without us," she said. And I cried because at that time, I believed it. I'd just taken a step back and moved into my childhood home. True, I had walked from a bad relationship and was starting anew (and that had a host of new possibilities and opportunities), but I was in a place where I blamed myself. I had screwed up. I had disappointed people and that didn't jive well.

This is something I've carried around for a long time, until recently. I've forgiven myself for a lot of things and am slowly making steps to eradicate the "I can't" from my vocabulary. It's all about the positive and the silver lining I can spin. A day of closed doors and veiled whispers at the office may cause a little upset ('cause I think they're whispering about me) will now garner a look back at my work performance and the personalities of the people doing the whispering. It's not me, it's you," I would whisper back. "I did nothing wrong. I'm doing my work and to the very best of my ability." This was not always the thought process.

Sure, I still get overwhelmed but I think I've learned to relax with certain things out of my control. I can control only myself and by sweeping away the words "I can't," I'm living a more positive life. Two positive steps forward and one step back still puts me one step ahead of where I've been.

Last night, as I was learning the step, shuffle, step in the store window, I never thought "I can't." Instead I thought: "I'll get that eventually, with consistency and practice." And, that is my new philosophy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where Scribe is oblivious

My right driver's side taillight is out. Broken. Not lit up. I've known about it for a bit but haven't gone into the garage to get it fixed. The plan is to do just that next week once I get another pay cheque, money that hasn't been allocated to the bills. I've had two people point out that the taillight is out. They're good samaritans really, since I can easily be pulled over by the po-po. But, most are not that aware or just haven't been bothered to let me know. That changed, or so I thought, last night and this morning while I was driving in to work.

The first time was last night not far from the gas station. I had stopped to fill the tank, hoping that the $25 gas card I had was still valid. I figured it was free gas, so why not. A car had pulled up behind me at the intersection. The light was red and I was waiting for it to change when I noticed the girl in the car behind me was trying to tell me something. "I know, my taillight is out. I'm getting it fixed. Thanks," I motioned to her. This morning, it was the same thing, only this time the guy beside me was yelling something from the other lane. I mouthed thanks and was on my way.

It wasn't until the next red light and the guy behind me, again motioning, got out of his car and walked up to my car. WTF, I wondered. With a twist and a tap, my gas tank was closed and he was walking back to his car just in time for the light to turn green. It wasn't my taillight at all.

I have never forgotten to close a gas tank before on any of my cars. I'm meticulous, really. I turn the cap until I hear three clicks. It's the same every time. Except for last night.

I think it was because I was so intent with paying for the gas with the gas card. I'd never used one before and had a bit of a difficult time at the pump. After realizing I had to pay inside and the card was indeed valid, I was counting myself as lucky. I'm not broke, but with the mortgage coming out today (Thursday) and a few bills scheduled for payment, I wanted to leave enough disposable income to get by until next week. And besides, free gas is free gas and I will take it when I can. Besides, I had a broken taillight to fix before the po-po realize I'm in violation of traffic laws.

I do count myself as lucky. I'm lucky to have a good sense of humour and was able to shake my head at myself and laugh. I laughed all the way to work at how oblivious I was and the fact that while people do not notice a burnt out taillight, they most certainly notice an open gas tank.

Monday, September 20, 2010

When three channels are better than one

I'm not a channel surfer by nature. If there is a show on I usually leave it until the entire show plays out, including the credits. After all, the crew deserves recognition too. But, lately I've become really frustrated. A 30-hour show is in actuality only about 15 minutes. Half of our time is wasted on commercials, and most of them are shite. So, I flip.

I don't like flipping channels, especially since my father used to watch an average of four shows at a time. Golf, The History Channel, Law and Order... you get the picture. I'm sure he still does flip between shows but I don't know anymore since I refuse to watch TV with him anymore. So imagine my surprise when I found myself flipping between three channels. That's my limit. Three. But, it seems the networks have it in for me. It's my own personal conspiracy theory since all channels seem to play their commercials at the same bloody time.

Don't they know about us flippers? Channel surfers who don't want to watch their commercials, their pleas for our disposable incomes? My disposable income is anything but and I don't want to know about the latest no-pulp juice, paper towels with sponge pockets and those inane people who look like a gigantic snowball and fight for position to clean up our spills. 

I've taken to watching Rogers On Demand because, guess what, most of them don't have commercials. Praise be. And, you can usually fastforward those 2 to 5 minutes to get back to the show at hand. Except. Except for the networks who have figured us out again and have taken the control away again by disabling the fastforward feature.

Right now, I'm watching live TV - Little People, Big World since it's in its final season. So far I've learned about probiotic whatchamacallits, Glade plug-ins with Febreeze, those damn sponge pockets and pizza pockets - all things I don't use. Well, except for that probiotic crap. I dig that 'cause it's good for you and it tastes good and I eat it for both. Damn! Those commercials are good!

Now it's back to channel surfing as the next batch of commercials are on and I don't want to hear about the spin brush, the magic eraser or the germs that are left on my teeth after brushing, flossing and using Listerine. I have had enough of the dentist or any conversations about teeth.

Happy Monday, bloggers, and happy flipping. I'm off to surf again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Finger painting is not just for little kids

I wish I still had the carefree abandon I had as a child. You know the kind: twirling until your feet get caught up and you can't stand because the world is still spinning and you admit you like the feeling. Or, when you fancied yourself a chef, or as good a cook as your mother, and you made concoctions of all the ingredients in the cupboards and fridge because you were creating. I had that feeling for about two hours today, and it was delicious.

My inspiration piece from the fabulous Tina Palmer. Click here to view her other amazing works.

Today, Sunday, was the second class in my month-long artistic experiment. I'm working on perspective and today's lesson was colour, in particular the choosing and the blending of the colours to create a certain mood. Despite other art classes and finished paintings, I was still in the primary colour stage, choosing colours but not mucking around with the hue. If it was a colour it was in its primal form. A red was a red. A green was a green and there was no mixing of the two to create that two-dimensional feel. But not today. Today, I blended, I finessed and I manipulated a static outline of a horizon, river and river banks with hues of teal, white, umber and ocre. I recreated a two-dimensional scene and it looked legit.

I took my first class two years ago. The outcome is perched high up on a bookshelf. It's visible but you have to look up, way up to see it. Three other attempts have spots on my walls because with each class, I'm improving and it shows on my walls. Two paintings have spots in friends' homes as gifts, and both of them have been hung proving a) that they love me and support me; and b) that my progress isn't in my head. It's hanging on their walls.

Next week, it's more blending, the adding of more ocre and umber (the sky and river are done). It's also more finger painting as I move to other subtle tones for the trees on the horizon before tackling my arch-nemesis in this whole art world: trees. It means more control and less finger play. It can also mean more apprehension and nerves. But, with a paint brush in my hand and my trusty art instructor at my shoulder, I'm sure I'll rise to the challenge.

I just wish the finger painting aspect would stick around for a little longer.

A pick-up or a spit-up? You decide.

What has two thumbs and gets hit on at a speed metal CD release party? This bitch right here, that's who!

First, I really don't have any business being in a speed metal bar or any bar with metal of any kind. I'm more of the house/grunge/jazz bar type where snazzy drinks with sparkly straws are ordered up by the dozen. I don't have long, frizzy, never seen a pair of scissors grunge hair. I don't own a leather jacket with fringes, and I don't even own a black concert t-shirt of any genre or any decade. I do, however, have an appreciation for all types of music and friends who just released their second CD, and that's what I was doing in a metal bar on a Friday night pretending to head-bang to Knuckle Sandwich. Well, I wasn't pretending. I was banging and screaming the lyrics since I wanted to pay homage to the Spewer, Shredder and Pounders of the Gore.

And that, my friends, is when he made his move. I was caught unawares. I came up from one of the more powerful head bangs, singing with my friend The Girl and I met his gaze. He smiled, adjusting his glasses and pulling on the sleeves of his corduroy jacket (I didn't notice if they had the elbow patches but it would fit the whole image. He certainly stood out in the line of leather wallpapering the walls). I smiled back 'cause I'm friendly like that, and he went in for the kill.

I was flattered. Don't get me wrong. I've been off the market for over three years, co-habitating with The Man and leaving the perfume and make-up for special occasions - like taking out the trash and trimming the bramble bush. We chatted for a bit. He complimented my outfit and headbanger hair and asked what I did for a living and did I do it in Toronto. I answered him politely, inching my way over to The Girl and the Spewgore fans (they are a swarthy but friendly bunch). He asked me if I'd like to get together this week. I said no thank you and that I was in a relationship. He asked why that mattered and did I like to have fun. "Not that kind of fun," I countered. You don't like fun? he asked. I shot him a look and said that I was committed to The Man and would appreciate that he back down before I had to deliver the beat down. Actually, I said thank you but no and left it at that. It also didn't help that I had the entire conversation logged in spit running down my neck.

I went back to singing along with the speed metal version of The Rodeo Song and started to search for a tissue, a rogue napkin or anything to wipe away the remanents. And while he was a more than little distasteful in insisting that a weekly meet-up was in order and acceptable to all parties, I decided it was also a little flattering. If only for the spittle.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Common thievery comes in fives...

The Bandit is at it again, stealing ideas from other people's blogs 'cause they rock and he/she/it (yes, me) wants to share TMI. This post comes courtesy of Fickle Feline - you should really check out her blog, not only because she's got shit that's worth thieving, but because she's an inspiration.

So, without further ado, here's my FIVE. It's not Roger's Five (the five people who wish you'd delete their number from their favourites...) or the Fab Five... wait, that's the Fab Four... oh never mind. Here's a list of five things you wish I had kept to myself. But, since I like to share and I don't have an internal sensor... you're welcome.

Things I Don't Do Anymore:

1. Fancy myself an expert at the dreaded Lemon Twister or that new-fandangled Skip-It. Scribe's an old bitch now. Well, I've always been a bitch but now I'm just old, apparently accident-prone and with weak ankles and a chipped bone.

2. Drink milk straight from the milk bag. Yes, I said milk "bag" and no, I'm not referring to the breasteses. My brother taught me that glasses are just a suggestion and it's more direct to put mouth to the bag and guzzle. And I wonder why I don't drink milk at other people's houses. I know where their milk bag has been.

3. Burn ants and rip the legs off of grasshoppers, but I still reserve the right to cut worms in two and sell them for double. I am an entrepreneur, after all.

4. Clean knives with my tongue. Now if there's any peanut butter left it usually ends up on my toast. I learned my lessbon, yesh I did!

5. Show everyone my double jointed fingers and wrists... Wait, scratch that. I still do that. And, I've discovered that people get freaked out over my rubber finger. Oh, how fun.

The Most Disgusting Things I Ever Ate:

1. Liver. Since I don't live with my Mommy anymore, I don't have to eat what's on my plate and liver will never be on it (ask me about the first time meeting The Man's brother and the special "dinner they said I would enjoy).

2. Tomato juice. My gag reflex kicks in every time.

3. Lima beans. 'Nuff said.

4. Powdered skim milk. I can afford the real shit now.

5. Bourbon and sparkling wine. Bad memories. Very bad memories, and not just for me.

Favourite Words With Double Vowels In Them Such As AA, OO, or UU:



varoom. you get the picture.


Things Which Are Clear Indications That Your Boss Is a Freak and You Should Seek New Employment:

1. Your boss argues with you whether you did or did not tell her about an ice cream joint (Marble Slab Creamery) that may or may not have opened in a mall that you've never been to.

2. Your boss asks you if you used to do a lot of puzzles when you were little and maybe you should get back to them to nurture your problem-solving skills.

3. Your boss tells you that bathroom breaks are from 8:45 and 8:50 a.m. and that you should use your vacation time to book any doctor or dentist appointments regardless if you need an emergency root canal.

4. Your boss informs you that even though you're still with the company after 3 years you should have been fired in the first week because you breathe too loudly.

5. Your boss decides to dock you a day's pay because you were a little too upset to come into work after a close family member has died that day. He/she then decides to donate $10 to a charity of your choice because they are employers that "care."

People of the Internet Who Never Fail to Make Me Feel Good:

Ange of Signed by Ange
Aunt Juicebox for her love of all things bacon
The Bloggess
The Earwig's delightful Lulu
Wow that was Awkward

Oh, and Fickle Feline... but that makes six. Oh well, I don't usually abide by the rules anyways, so...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zombie dentists like tongue electrocutions

I've never had a fear of the dentist until now. I'm headed out tomorrow for another dentist appointment, my third in matter of a month. After over five years of "look Ma, no cavities," I have two and a repair to a chipped filling circa 1999. And even though I asked why the guarantee was no longer valid and I made the only dentist I've ever known to laugh until he almost passed out, I'm back for another, my final to fill cavity number two.

To say I'm nervous is an understatement, especially considering the last time my dentist electrocuted my tongue. Twice. I don't know what happened but I think Dr. Dentisto's body, mind and soul was taken over by zombies. Zombies with drills and gargantuan needles, not to mention the largest sausage fingers known to don a white jacket.

He also loves dams. You know, that green rubber torture device that zombie dentists use to stifle screams and keep you wide-mouthed and tied to the chair while he drills and drills and drills until you have hollow stumps where there were molars? Where the phlegm sucker gets attached the hangy-ball thing at the back of your throat rendering you useless, unable to swallow, to scream or to call your lawyer? It's happened. Trust me.

Tomorrow it's drill time. And needle time. And while I have a pretty good tolerance for pain (ever wax your mustache!?!?), I'm now having flashbacks to the tongue electrocution and the fact that I couldn't feel my face for about 10 hours, causing me not to notice when my Diet Pepsi was running down my chin and onto my keyboard in Cell Block C cubicle, while the boss was standing by my desk and asked if I was an epileptic or if I was suffering a stroke.

"Stop mocking me," I said, channeling Peter Griffin in that one Family Guy episode when his face melted. He didn't get the reference. He sucks. And so does that phlegm sucker. And my dentist 'cause he's obviously now a zombie who charges $150 for a teeth cleaning and $300 to murder me. What a rip-off. He can't guarantee a filling but he can guarantee pain, and a large bill. 

I wonder if dental floss makes a good weapon.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Four months

It's 2 a.m. on Monday, September 13th. Four months ago today, Christopher William Brockbank would have only five hours left with us. He died at about 7:15 a.m. on a sunny Thursday morning with his family by his side, as he would have wanted it.

It's not that he wanted to die. He really didn't know he was. But we did and each day was a blessing. Having lived for over two years with a brain tumour, Christopher's was a life on loan, to him, to us.

Four months ago seems like yesterday. The tears, still fresh, are shed less each day. It's not that it's getting easier but we're working hard on keeping his memory alive and living the life we would want for him.

Four months, Gus. Four months and I love you more each and every day.

Hello, my name is Simon

Well you know my name is Simon,
and the things I draw come true
Take me
take me
take me
Climb the ladder with you

At least I think that's how the song goes for Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings.

I think I stopped drawing in Grade 8 where my pictures still included big, fluffy clouds, rainbows and hills. I was also good at drawing eyes - one eye only - cause the other eye always came out a little lopsided and certainly not the mirror image of the other. Today was my first day in the next set of art classes given by my friend Sir Robert of Norval. I was nervous because a) I didn't know the theme of the class and b) it may mean that my secret of being able to draw only rainbows and fluffy clouds badly may be revealed.

This is one of Robbie's latest pieces and incorporates the texture and "run" techniques I've learned in his class.
Isn't he great?

I can't draw a straight line, and even with a ruler I'm a bit off-centre. I think that's just a reflection of me really - off-centre, a little skewd from the norm. But today it was all about perspective, learning the two-point perspective of why things in the foreground appear larger, more substantial, foreboding and things in the background appear smaller. They're still there but just a little out of reach and smaller. Today I learned that I can draw, if only I give myself a little perspective.

So here it is: my perspective. I get weighed down in the little details, sometimes too focused on the whole picture to see what's right in front of my face, the first steps I have to make to instil change. Change in me, change to my present situation, no matter what it is, it's all about looking at the perspective and the flow of the walk, of the road, of the river I have to navigate to end up on the horizon and just a little closer to my goal.

I'm being cryptic but that's just because I'm not certain about my whole goal, the reality of where I want to end up. A new job? Definitely. A career in writing or communications? Probably. Living a life closer to my real self? Most certainly. So, I will deal with the things in the foreground first, the painting in of the trees before taking on the river at the widest point.

I've mapped out my travels and put pencil to canvas to sketch out the outline. Next it's onto colour, the painting in of the sky, river and rolling hills before I carve out the trees, the larger ones first and then smudging in of the details.

All I know is I'm excited about getting into the paints, feeling the softness on my fingertips and the texture of the canvas. I'm excited about the journey and getting my hands full of paint in the process.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Some things are better left in the vault

Just last year, I upgraded my cable for the Rogers special HD package since The Man and I were lucky enough to inherit a gently used high-def television. It didn't fall off a truck but it came in one - a pick-up truck from The Man's brother. Since it's introduction into the house and the joining of the five televisions we now have in residence, I have developed a bad habit... addiction to chick TV.

Our channel changer (yes, I've called the remote a channel changer since my early teens since that's exactly what they do) rotates between sports, sports and more sports and... get this... Cosmo TV. I get my daily fix of SATC (I think I've successfully seen all of the episodes now three times over). I also watch the ultimate chick show - Oh So Cosmo - where I learn all about the perfect date, the perfect orgasm and the outfits we should wear while experiencing them. I was scratching my chick itch this evening before I took Boyo to the dog park and I almost choked on my early evening coffee. An "expert" on the It show for fashion was sporting a throw-back to the 80's.

It wasn't a scrunchie. It was worse. Two words, people. Banana Clip. In. vibrant. green. Don't the researchers at Cosmo TV and Oh So Cosmo screen their "experts" before putting them in front of the camera? If it's not to find out what they are going to say or recommend and how they're going to say it, they should at least have the last word on accessories.

It's confession time, bloggers. Scribe has sported a scrunchie, but in my defense, I was 15 or 16. And while I may have had the Facts of Life big, poofy hair, I have never considered bringing a banana clip into the equation. Maybe it's coming back into style, as it seems most of the 80s fashions have experienced a resurrection of sorts. But, I think banana clips should be put in the same vault as leg warmers, shoulder pads and headbands. I had all three and I will never repeat that particular piece of history. It's in the vault, man. It's in the vault.

Doesn't it look like Headband Bruce is passing a kidney stone?

I thought headbands were in the vault but I learned they had made an escape during my little tryst with one Billie Joe Armstrong about a month ago. He couldn't have been more than 19. Sitting just a drunken step away from our little circle of awesomeness was a man and his son. The parent was respectful enough, dressed in the uniform of dadness. The son, however, thought he was the reincarnation of Bruce Springsteen a la Dancing in the Dark. Poofy hair, military-style shirt, ripped jeans and a navy blue and white bandana rolled ever so carefully and tied around his forehead. He wasn't working out, he wasn't in a sweat shop and he wasn't on a construction crew. He was at a damn amazing concert, watching my secret boyfriend gyrate on stage. In a bandana. Oh, the horror. Perhaps his first girlfriend will rock the banana clip and they can both be lost in the 80s. I'm sure they can rock out to Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper and Dexy's Midnight Runners. Better yet, they can make their little love nest in the vault so the world will be a safer, happier place.

* Please note that I do not wish to offend any Bruce Springsteen fans. While he's not my fave, he has had a long-spanning career. His headwear, however, should not.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Did you ever know that you're my hero...

Cheesy, I know, but when I was 18 or 19 I had a hero, a true-to-life, in-the-flesh hero. There were no capes or tingly spidey senses but I swear, my hero could jump tall buildings in a single bound.

Heidi was six years older than me and a traffic engineer, having graduated top of her class at U of T. She worked for a downtown firm, had a great apartment in the city and could make THE best fettucine alfredo. Oh, and did I mention she drove a BMW and drove stick? She was originally my brother's friend from summer lifeguarding but she soon saw my potential and took me under her wing. She's since moved to Australia, got married, had three kids and has climbed in her career down under. In short, she's still my hero.

She left a few days ago to go back to Australia, having visited family and friends, including moi. I hadn't seen her in 14 years. We kept in contact through Facebook, the occasional email and word-of-mouth from other friends. But, as we agreed to meet up at the corner of Bay and Bloor for a Friday night of cocktails and catch-up, I was nervous. What if we, now 14 years later, had nothing in common. We hadn't really communicated that much in the 14 years she'd been in Australia. We'd gone from a friendship of hanging out every weekend to almost no or little contact.

I worried for nothing. I'd taken the subway, leaving the car at Yorkdale (I didn't fancy maneuvering through congested and construction-strewn streets). She had taken the streetcar. I was 10 minutes late and worried that she'd been waiting on the corner outside of The Gap forever. She was 30 minutes late and totally apologetic in between hugs. My hero was here and in the flesh. And, it was like we had never been apart.

That's what true friendships are like, she replied, as I noted that our conversation, our friendship had picked up right where we had left it so many years previous. We may not see each other but that doesn't mean our friendship has ended. Our in-person conversations were just on hiatus. She had put into words exactly what I had been thinking and it was truly amazing.

So, we explored the city she had left behind, stopping to pick up clothes for her Miranda, Toby and Jeremy at Kids' Gap, window-shopping in Yorkville and relaxing over glasses of wine, an amazing gorganzola gnochi and a range of appetizers, both healthy and hearty. We looked at all the buildings and commented on which buildings were still there and which ones had cropped up over the years. We even stopped in at a downtown hotel and had our picture taken on its rooftop patio bar, the CN Tower standing in the distance and the whole city lit up and on display just for us. A sweet man (I use the term man, but he was 15 years younger and yes, I would be a cougar) offered to take our picture and stay for a martini. It was tempting but I had to catch the last subway and she had to catch a cab.

This re-meeting also reminded me of other long friendships I've maintained over the years - the ones that just pick up where you leave them, like a good dog-eared book that you've read over and over again, always discovering something new when you pick it up again. Isn't that what friendship is all about?

Heidi is still my hero, now back in Australia but I know I will always have her heart here in Toronto. My god, I'm a sap!

No prolific post here

I meant to start this blog about an hour ago but I got distractumacated. Distractulated. I was whisked away to other worlds as I visited other blogs, learning about patience, creating a home studio while undertaking home schooling and the much-needed packing for a wonderful trip.

Tonight, I was the procrastinator as I set out to write a prolific blog on.. what, I do not yet know. I've got a million of ideas and when I sit down to hammer them out (I'm trying to work ahead) the ideas, the words flow away from the computer and into thin air. What to write? Let's visit others for inspiration. And now it's time to take the Boyo out for a walk. He's getting antsy and so am I. I've got a blog to write, a book to edit and a bathroom to clean but all I want to do is go and visit a good friend. I think I may take the boy and turn two activities into one. It's just too bad I can't type, walk, talk, wax poetic and drink coffee at the same time. Did I ever mention that I need a clone?

I will be back. It's a threat and a promise. I promise a blog by the end of the evening or at least by the early hours of tomorrow. I know... tomorrow never comes but in this instance it may just have to work.

A bientot, bloggers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Because llamas are cool

... especially when they wear hats and go on cruise vacations... I couldn't resist. Here's Carl and Paul back with another wonderful episode.

I promise I'll give you a Scribe original tomorrow.

mmmm... boat nectar -- click here!

I like llamas, especially if they wear hats

I just discovered there is a third video in my favourite series, Llamas with Hats, and I would be remiss if I didn't share, so I've included a link. You may be offended, you may laugh but rest assured, you will never hear the name "Carl" without remembering this psychotic llama. Yes, llamas can be psychotic. Just Carl.

Click here, you'll never be the same again!

Shhhh... it's the sound of forgiveness

Every work day I have an insatiable need to vacate my office, even for 20 minutes, to get outside, hop in my car and either go to the bank, run some errands or grab my one-a-day Tim Horton's coffee. I may have brought lunch that day and have no need to go out and grab sandwich but I find that small break away from the computer, my desk and the ever-watchful eyes of the Cell Block C warden reinvigorates me for the next half of the day. And it is never at the same time every day but no matter the time I always have a companion.

Now I should qualify this: I hardly ever go out with a co-worker. A long established rule of only have one to two of the account coordinators out of the office at any given time dissuades this. The companion to whom I refer is the owner of the small panel van I park beside every single day. Some days he's taking a power nap inside the van. But today, he was sprawled out siesta-style on the small expanse of grass bordering the parking lot.

It's an ideal place really. There's a slow moving creek metres away, a few well-placed trees and more often than not, a really nice cross breeze blowing in between the strip mall-like buildings. It's the perfect place for a siesta. And that is why I almost joined him this afternoon.

After a weekend of unseasonally cold weather, the sun was out, the heat was up and the birds were chirping - even the seagulls seemed idyllic. Instead, I opted for the coffee, which was probably the more evil of the two choices.

This past Sunday, I headed out to the movies with my friend The Girl. I coerced her into seeing Eat, Pray, Love with me. My treat, popcorn and all. I know I didn't really have to bribe her but with The Man quite vocal that he wouldn't see this chick flick (oh sorry, the term he used was a movie geared to the female demographic, in his generic female voice), I felt that I owed her something for stepping up to the challenge to meet me for a movie that was not her first choice.

I had read the book so I knew the premise and communicated the basis of the movie to her. A woman who, just after her divorce, put everything into storage and traveled for a year to Italy, India and Bali to eat, pray and love. While it was an adventure of sorts, what came across to me was our avoidance in our busy lives to stop, listen, pray and rest. In Italy, Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts' character) learned to slow down and appreciate the sights, smell and taste of Italy. In India, she learned to slow herself down to still the voices in her head to let divinity in, and in Bali, she realized that balance between work, prayer and love.

Today, the siesta guy brought all of that out of the theatre and into my real life: taking a break away from work to stop, listen and lay in nature while unaware of the traffic around him. I realized that taking a break is not laziness but sometimes a necessity. I used to work a full-time and part-time job and did freelance jobs on the side. My whole life was a motion, moving from one place to another, one mode to another, often with no breaks in between. These duties would often meld into each other. I was the best multi-tasker but I often left one task out: to breathe.

Tonight, I am putting myself to bed early. The rest of my editing work can wait until tomorrow. What can't wait is my latest book that I've been putting off because there was always something else that needed doing. There are some things that can be put off, broken down into smaller tasks so they don't seem insurmountable or all-consuming. What I can't put off is investing time in myself.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kemptville Population plus 2.5

Kemptville's population numbers may be climbing, especially since I just got approved for Phase 1 from one Captain Dan of Westerra Way.

It was a four-hour drive with a farting dog in the back seat and the windows open  hoping to air us out before visiting our friends for a surprise birthday party for Old Git aka Gay-vin aka Vagin aka Gavin. We arrived just in time for the first beer and the first whiff of the barbecue. Kao got along well with Capone and Charlie, and we got along with all the neighbours. So well that we were given the unofficial approval from one of the street residents to build on the lakefront property just across the street.

I use the term "lakefront" though the only water source seemed to be the large hole dug in the center of our potentially new property in which the day's rain had seemed to congregate. A few coolers, beers and Jager-Bombs later and we were planning the details of the home - floor-to-ceiling windows, a large porch and of course, a fire pit for those late night parties. 

My friend's daughter (and my honourary niece) Bina had an instant frown on her face and told me in no uncertain terms that she would kill me if I moved four hours away. She wants me to move to Burlington - just a 10-minute walk from her. The girl loves me, what can I say.

Captain Dan loves me too, especially because we sealed the deal with a hug and a high-five, and his promise to cover the down payment. Thanks Captain Dan! Do you think he'll remember since it was post-many beers and a Jager-Bomb or 5... I sure hope so. I am planning the hardwood floors and kitchen island already.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Godamn It Ina and other pet names

You know you're in the presence of true love, the everlasting 50 years married kind when you can finish each others' sentences. Or better yet, when your pet name for your spouse includes curse words.

I was reminded of this the other day when my aunt and uncle paid an impromptu visit with my parents to my office. Yes, Cell Block C was the location for this epiphany. As we stood out in the parking lot with Mags and Joe and my beloved Aunt Ina and Uncle John, I was reminded how the occasional godamn it Ina could come from a place of love. I learned my first swear words at a small back-split on Aberdeen Cres. where I would hear my uncle, also my next door neighbour, yell from the kitchen "Godamn it Ina, you did it again." For years, I thought that was her name. For some reason, I knew enough not to call her that. She was Aunt Ina, my mum's best friend and our excitable neighbour and later one of my swimming teachers as she watched and coached me as my dad threw me in her pool. "Godamn it Ina, you shouldn't condone that," my uncle would yell.

Both Aunt Ina and Uncle John and my parents have been married for over 50 years. My parents will celebrate their golden anniversary this October. It's been longer for my aunt and uncle, and to this day, he still calls her Godamn It Ina, and she laughs.

"I bet you thought that was my name," she said to me. And I agreed. And she laughed and hugged my uncle.

My mother's name is Jesus Christ Margaret. My mother is a damn sight better than my father. Maybe it's from her upbringing in a rather rigid home, but I've heard my mother swear about five times, and never the big words that would bring fire and brimstone. Bitch. Asshole. Damn it. And that is it. But she has been known to smack my father upside the head and he always deserved it. Not full-out of course, but just with enough impact to appear like teasing but with a bit of a sting so he gets the point. He usually gets a "Joe-seph!" before impact.

I don't condone hitting, especially between spouses but sometimes it's the only thing that gets the point across - a well-timed pinch, a light spank - never set out to hurt or maim.

The Man doesn't understand the importance of choosing a pet name and always insists on creating these sappy, over the top gestures. "My Angel of Devotion" is not my favourite but he giggles as he says it. I call him Bumfluff and Honey Bunches of Creamed Corn. I don't know where they came from but they formed instantly and I can't seem to break myself of them. I also can't seem to break away from the gentle love-tap upside of the head.

He thinks I'm weird and violent. I tell him it's from years of Godamn It Ina and Jesus Christ Margaret. I think I've come a long way. Baby. And don't get me started on the spanking... I know... some of you just threw up in your mouth. Me too.