Saturday, August 28, 2010

Welcome to the Phoque (Fuck) Show

I promised you a story, a story about Phoques and the great show they put on in Quebec City.

When I first got to the aquarium situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence River I had no idea what a phoque was. All I knew was it sounded dirty and more than a little like an English word that got my mouth washed out with soap the first time I said it. That's right. Fuck. Phoque and Fuck. They couldn't be any different but in the seats of the aquarium during Marjorie and Sandy's cocktail hour it was fuck this and fuck that and I thought it was totally inappropriate for the occasion.

You'd think that I knew what a phoque was given our seats at the upcoming show. A phoque is a seal and while it sounded a lot like a curse word, it was the cutest curse word I had ever seen in the flesh. There was Cleo and Nikki, Dalia and another two that I can't remember their names. Five seals were part of the hour's entertainment before dinner. Wine glass in hand, the guests sat in the stands and watched as the phoques danced and clapped, swam and jumped, and it was amazing. They were the cutest fucks I had ever seen.

They also smelled like mackerel. They were smelly fucks. Marjorie and Sandy and a dozen of the wedding guests got so up close and personal that they would know what the phoques had for dinner. Mackerel. A lot of mackerel.

All of the phoques had been born into captivity. That is to say that they had never seen an actual ocean, let alone swam in one. While they were incredibly cute and I imagined swimming with them, I was saddened to realize that they would never leave the aquarium. The trainer and host of the show, who spoke only a smattering of English, told us that while they were captive, they were happy as this was the only life they had known or would ever know. I guess ignorance is bliss and they did seem happy to give kisses for mackerel and swimming in a safe environment with no known enemies.

It was time for dinner and as The Man and I searched for our table, I broke out laughing when I realized which table we were assigned: the Phoque Table. We were the friendly, cute seals who loved to give kisses in exchange for mackerel. We were the cute, little fucks.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Dancing Queen of Suburbia

Shhhh... I have a secret boyfriend. Don't tell The Man. Though if he reads this post then the cat is out of the bag and I really should have never put a cat in a bag in the first place.

I've been lax in writing because I'm still reeling from our chance encounter, this secret boyfriend and I. It happened about two weeks ago on a grassy knoll with tiny fairy lights flickering. It was so beautiful I think I even heard music playing.

Was it in my head? The music? Nope. It was on the lawn seats of the Molson Ampitheatre with Toronto skyline in the background. Does it matter if there were 10,000+ other people in attendance? Billie Joe didn't seem to think so as his soulful eyes searched the crowd to find me. A pointed finger and a full moon later and I was reeling. It was meant for me. Out of the thousands of people bopping and weaving to 21 Guns or whatever other song on the list, he looked for me and instantly I was transformed, my hair flipping in the wind, my hips moving and my arms outstretched for the embrace I was sure was coming next. It didn't matter that he'd have to crowd surf about 50,000 feet, he'd find me.

I started to write this post a few days ago in the confines of my Cell Block C cubicle and I shivered with every word I typed. I hate to say that I think it was the dregs of my Sinus/Ear Infection but it was shivers nonetheless. The Man knows but doesn't really know how deep my love for Billie Joe Armstrong goes. The Green Day concert was just his front to find both of us in the same city, the same venue, breathing the same August wind.

This summer, my travels have been relatively close to home: Toronto, Kemptville, Quebec City. But it's nowhere near BJ and his gyrating. I don't think I'll ever be someone who would travel the world following a band. I know there are people out there (and probably in this blogosphere) who would but it's just not me. BJ has to come to me. And under a mid-August night, he did and I loved every minute of it. It's just too bad the restraining order keeps me so far away from him.

Okay, I jest. There is no restraining order and although I love my BJ (that sounds so bad but oh well...) I am pretty sure I would not know what to do or what to say if I ever had a chance to meet him in the flesh and not just from a distance. I'm kind of shy like that and I definitely holds me back.

I remember when I was wee and I would meet new people, even my parents' friends, and I would hide between my dad's legs and peek out to catch glimpses every once in a while. This shyness still rears its ugly head every once in a while with a bout of tongue-tiedness and the inability to walk into a group of people and immediately start a conversation with a group of strangers. It's worse if I find them attractive or, god forbid, actually genuinely like one of them. I go red, get flustered and all forms of communication slips from my grasp. I'm just thankful I don't resort to grunts and guffaws the like of my ancestors, the neandrathals. They may walk upright but they can't for the life of them use a full sentence of comprehensive words. Maybe I have more in common with them than I think...

I was a little tongue tied in Quebec City, where I again met up with a crowd of people I hadn't seen in almost 10 years. I was nervous at seeing them all, given how much I had changed physically. Gone was the trendy hairdo, the svelteness of my youth. But, after a few minutes of hiding behind some well-placed legs and I began to find my own voice. It didn't matter how much I had changed on the outside; I was still the same on the inside and that was what mattered.

I met up with Francis, my favourite French roommate/brother/friend and even though we were now into a new decade, I was still his "girl," in his circle. It was like no time had passed and I was still that fun-loving, water-fight instigating girl who danced the night away. And danced I did. Arms wide, head back and laughing. I danced like no one was watching and it was liberating.

So, when I ventured downtown to meet up with Billie Joe and his entourage I kept with it... dancing arms outstretched and head held back, taking in the sounds, the sights and dancing like I was the only one there. He was singing for me and I was dancing for him.

We all need more moments like that - carefree and unabashed - regardless of who is there and who is watching. The only person I judge is myself and I'm beginning to like what I see.

P.S. I was going to write about phoque shows and in meeting old friends for dinner and drinks in the city. When I put the fingers to the keyboard I had no idea where it would take me. The rest will have to wait for tomorrow's post. I have so much to catch up on.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Je ne suis pas un coc...

Is this what the mean by a double-ended coc?

Since I'm on my way to Quebec City proper in a couple of days I thought I'd bone up on my French. Above is almost the extent of it, despite my years of high school French. Je ne suis pas un coc. I am not a rooster or a penis, and praise be to Darwin for that.

I'm off to see Marjo and Sandy get married in Sainte-Foy, Quebec and I'm uber-excited, not only because I will see the two best people in the world walk down the aisle but because I will get to visit an extended family, a family who gets me when I carry around an alarm clock and wear my red pom pom winter hat proclaiming for all to hear "Je ne suis pas un coc." And they will laugh at my French and call me cute because at least I tried to speak their language.

Do you need a background on the coc thing? Really? Isn't it enough that I'm not a penis? I can sometimes be a dick and will freely admit this, especially when it's said in jest but call me a dick in all seriousness and I would be all distress and wide eyes. Me? A dick? Okay, well sometimes. But I am never a rooster.

And because I am not a rooster, I will share with you my coc story. It was more than a few years ago (more than I care to admit). I'd just bought my house when Marjo asked me if her sister's boyfriend - her now-brother-in-law - could stay with me over the summer to follow in her footsteps and immerse himself into the English world. Enter Francis, the instigator of many water fights and hands-down the best summer roommate/boarder/friend ever. He's my little French brother and while I don't see him very often, his smile, laugh and joie de vivre pops into my consciousness and I smile.

Again, more than a few years ago, Francis came for a visit and I trekked in the cold, apres-Christmas snow to Oakville to see our Francis. And I wore my hat. Sandy opened the door and started to laugh. I didn't know why until he brought out the alarm clock, set the alarm for a minute after my arrival and then started crowing... you guessed it... like a rooster. With my limited French and a reach back to my first French class and I whined, "Je ne suis pas un coc." It sounded as dirty then as it does now. Francis turned red, fell on the floor and I thought he'd pass out. "Of all the French we spoke, that is what you remember?" he exclaimed.

I was under pressure, wearing a rooster hat and laughing over an alarm clock, so yes, Francis, that is the best I could come up with. You're welcome.

I am not a rooster, nor an alarm clock and definitely not a penis. But, I can be a dick sometimes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Biting the bullet

I just posted today that I am a little trepidatious in following new blogs since so many of my recent favourites have gone on hiatus or disappeared altogether. Not one to shy away from a challenge or give into my fears I set out tonight to find some new gems in the blogosphere. Thanks to Serial Comma, I found two and discovered a new post in the process.

xl-entropy challenged me to answer some questions and perhaps put myself more out there in the process. So here goes:

1. Coke or Pepsi?

Seriously, I can make a decision on this one but bear with me as I explain. I prefer Coke over Pepsi but will sell my first born for a can of Diet Pepsi. Diet Coke - not so much.

2. Do you play a musical instrument?

Does a skin flute count? One time at band camp... yes, I was a band geek for my entire high school career and yes, I did play the flute. I also took up the french horn, the saxamaphone (for a summer) and guitar. I can still pick out a few things on the guitar but I haven't picked up any of the other instruments in years so I'm not sure if I can make the grade.

3. If you could go back in time, would you make a different decision in your life?

There are tons of things that I would do differently.  The top one extends to so many aspects of my life - not to be ruled by fear, the fear of failure and the fear of the unknown. I think all other decisions, no matter what they are, would benefit greatly from that.

4. Which sport do you consider to be "football?"

Canadian football, of course. Pigskins, downs, quarterbacks in their cute, little tight pants and huddles so I can peruse the wares. Growing up in a Scottish household, you would think my answer would be soccer. It's the one area that I don't follow the U.K. rules.

5. Do you like to travel?

Yes, I do, I have and I would like to travel more. Where have I been? Across Canada, to Canada's winter destination (Florida, but for the beaches and not for the early bird dinners and golfing), Mexico (three times), Dominican Republic, Scotland, Amsterdam, England and Wales. My next trip: I have no flippin' clue and no flippin' funds, but I am going to Quebec City for a wedding. My dream vacation: anywhere but here.

6. Do you like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain?

Pina Coladas, no. Getting caught in the rain, definitely. There's something liberating about dancing amidst the raindrops, catching the drops on your tongue and just being free. I do the same thing in a snow storm.

7. Surely you like cats, right?

I do like cats. I've had two, but right now, I must say nothing beats a dog's devotion and loyalty.

8. Beatles or Stones?

Beatles. The Stones should just give it up and retire 'cause this biatch ain't getting any satisfaction from them.

9. Which foreign languages can you speak (regardless of fluency)?

French, very badly (I read French better than I can speak it), Italian (all the swear words and all numbers) and Spanish (see Italian).

10. What special meal would you prepare for me?
Blue Cheese Hamburgers, Sweet Potato Fries, Mango Salsa and Bananas Foster. I rock at those.
Now it's your turn. Same questions. Go.

Do I smell or something?

Is it something I’ve said or done? I have to wonder because, since starting this whole blog thing and discovering the many great personalities behind the blogs, over half of the blogs I follow have bit the dust.

Sure, some give updates every few months but when you’re conditioned nay have a downright need to connect on a co-dependant basis, it’s heartbreaking to say a goodbye, especially when you’re not ready to sever the relationship.

I have an aversion now not to become attached because life has taught me these people, these words and these ideas will disappear in about three months’ time. Some last a little longer but when blogs hit the 2-year mark they combust and I for one will not be a part of that.

It’s like a long friendship that has seen smoother roads. With some there is an explosion (or implosion), a single catastrophic event that sends everyone reeling and kneeling in their respective corners. For others it’s a slow fizzle, a dying of the light that once was a friendship.

All of them say “it’s not you, it’s me” and I tended to believe them. But, after the 10th blog list to disappear from my feed, it’s got me wondering if I did indeed do something to offend.

The latest to hit the chopping block took me aback. There was no real indication of an impending exit. The blog posts were consistent or as consistent as most of us make it. So when “Reasons to be Happy you don’t have Kids” announced its intent to close up shop, I was at first amazed and then a little frustrated.

There are a lot of good blogs out there. Most I’ve found through referral – a link on another blog. If my favourite bloggers read them, so shall I. But, I had established a relationship with these now-defunct blogs. Again, it’s like saying goodbye to a friend, no matter how long the friendship lasted. Often, it’s like a missing appendage. Will there be phantom pains whenever I hit my favourites tab?

And, how long will it be until I hit the reset button on this blogging thing? I’ll admit that I’m not as good as posting this summer since it is the summer and my brain is on somewhat of a hiatus. I’ve felt it too – the declining comments, the stagnant followers list. Perhaps people hit the hold or the release button because they feel they’ve ran out of things to talk about, or what about if those things are no longer interesting to them or their followers?

I hope I’m not defunct yet. I don’t feel it. I may sometimes stretch for a topic and not every post is prophetic. My last post is a case in point. When in doubt, post a picture of the dog.

So how do you keep it fresh? What inspires you? And how do you stop from hitting the release button?

I will await your answers. Until then, I must strap on my black arm band and mourn another fallen blog.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A welcome distraction

I'm sitting here trying to think of something prophetic to write. I've had several attempts and nothing. But then I looked up and saw this and thought why not...

Isn't he intense? Kao often will come up and stare at you, willing you to put into words what he's thinking.