Tuesday, January 31, 2006

So, a little while has gone by and I have yet to talk about my weight. Could it be that I've been in denial, once again, started gorging myself stupid, once again, and reverted to depressing ways... once again?

No actually, not at all. It's been good. It's at a tortoise pace, but good nevertheless. I have not weighed myself recently or fully reverted to the Herbal Magic diet plan - hey, old habits die hard - but I have been eating mega healthy, cutting down on portion size, and exercising every night.

I fucking hate exercising, but then I fucking love the results. Good definitely takes precedence here, and while it super sucks that I don't have a gym nearby to go to, it's pretty cool that I now pass any and all extra and TV time doing situps, squats and pushups. Sure enough, something is happening, and my tire is no longer spare. Isn't that fantastic? You can definitely pinch an inch on me, but even better, you can pinch several inches that is the baggy rear end of my pants. I'm very happy, I mean it's been years since I've felt like this. I'm not thin yet, but getting there and that's important too, right?

But more changes are needed and for the first time in a long time, I'm raring to go. At some point this week, I'll be stepping up my Life Program into high gear. Exercise regimens, better eating, bi-weekly weighings and vitamins out my yahoo.

Why the sudden mania? Because my darlings, In a little over two months, I will be in Jordan, home to Travel Goal #17 on a list I made three years ago otherwise known as, DA DA DUM: The Dead Sea.

Being a sea, it has shores. Shores have sand, and sandy shores are usually beaches. Beaches have people, lots of people, wearing next to nothing or nothing at all. While I'm not too keen on the Nothing at All part just yet, I don't want to miss the experience of floating in the Dead Sea because I'm too shy to put on a bathing suit. Yes I know, I won't be able to lose 60 pounds in nine weeks, but extra curvy always looks better than, ick, extra flabby.

I really, really have to try. And for once, I really want to.
Raj's marriage is over. I know this because he called me and said, "Bunny, my marriage is over."

Being totally gay and totally fabulous, he is also totally exaggerating. It's not that the *relationship* has ended it's that the *wedding* has, which in Gay & Fabulous land mean the same thing. Take the glitter off the fairy princess, and she sort of dies inside.

Raj really really really wants to have a wedding. He wants to get pimped out, dance to his jazz band, and proclaim his love amidst candles and a hell of ranunculus. Raj also really really really wants the quintessential house with the white picket fence but alas, both cost money. It took him awhile to accept the "one at a time" part, but I think he's finally got it. His domestic and decorative needs outweigh his romantic needs, so house this year, wedding next year.

Raj knows it's all for the best, but that doesn't mean he has to like it. And so with a dramatic sigh, the Martha Stewart Keepsake Wedding Planner has lovingly been wrapped in acid-free tissue and a breath of grosgrain. It's in a box underneath the bed now, but I think he takes it out sometimes to caress the pages.

James, Raj's significant other and groom-to-be-not, just smiles. He takes it all in stride and will be there for the wedding and the house, in whatever order they decide to come. He's great that way. But for Raj this is serious stuff, and his womanhood is feeling the blow.

James and I have brought Raj chocolate to soothe his shattered soul. And in turn, Raj has invited us for a two-week trip to Jordan.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I had to do it. Curiosity killed the cat, or in this case, fed my maniacal delusions. I went back to Starbucks and scoped out everyone's cups. I saw 47, 63, 12, 42, and the man beside me reading his paper had "The Way I See It" #50.

I went for another cup of tea this morning, and guess what I got? Good old #53. "Be exceptional. Make tremendous efforts to be extraordinary. What a privilege to be here on the planet to contribute your unique donation to humankind. Just make sure you do so..."

How on earth does it happen that there are so many numbered cups in there, but I get the same one running for three weeks?

It's official. We have a sign. Any and all ideas, spiritual messages & cuffs to the head welcome pertaining to the subject, What exactly is my unique donation to humankind?

Maybe I'll set up a 1-800 number for input.
Meet Catherine, all 45 pounds of her glittering silk, crinoline and crystal beadwork on a five figure price tag. Any dress with that much presence deserves a name.

Catherine was your standard cut princess gown. Sweetheart neckline, spaghetti straps, tight cleavage-flattering bodice and poof to spare. So if you're thinking, what the hell is a non-girly girl doing in a getup like that, I'll just have to admit Catherine's magnificence was so blinding, we decided Oli should try on every style of dress. Was it possible we'd been wrong all this time and could be... pleasantly surprised?

Absolutely not. Women, know thyselves and never doubt. If as a child you collected caterpillars and picked fights with Girl Scouts, chances are you do not belong in a princess gown.

My sister did not belong in a princess gown. We knew this the minute she zipped up and looked at herself in the mirror. None of The Dream, twirling or giddy happiness with hearts aflutter here, just one glaring image: Cake Topper. "Man, I look stupid."

"Yeah you do. Oli, where are your feet?

Oli kicked out her leg and disaster struck. Catherine was so heavy that standing on one foot totally displaced Oli and she went down, semi-pirouette, her head just missing a nearby armoire. More panic. More ruckus. And once we'd determined her skull was in one piece, lots more laughing. I mean, there was my sister, spread eagle on the floor, trying to crawl out of a twelve thousand dollar dress that just seemed to keep sucking her back in. Wouldn't you laugh?

All the noise of course brought Kim back through the curtain to see a red-faced Oli on the floor and me beside her, fetal position, howling away. Peggy Post, eat your heart out.

We got her safely out of the dress, and Catherine safely back on the hanger, away from our idiotic clutches. And by this point, Oli had had enough. She flipped through her issue of Modern Bride to a dogeared page showing an understated, yet gorgeous wedding dress. Totally unique. Totally Oli. She tore the page out, thrust it at Kim and said, "Make me this."

Measurements were taken, done deal, and we said goodbye to Catherine on the way out. We're sure she'll make some bride feel very beautiful, and very gravity bound.

As for me, Ms. Maid of Honour, maid to the bride, I have absolutely nothing to wear. But we talked about it over coffee and agreed on two things. First, since the "polished" look has been taken off the wedding dress, it has also been taken off the bridal party. Second, funky overrides classic, and my outfit will strive for something on the lines of "Cowgirl Gypsy."

I may hate dresses, but I'm definitely okay with that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mission Impossible: Five Dresses, Two Veils

I went wedding dress shopping with my sister last week. I was expecting to well up and have a moment after seeing my big sister in a wedding gown for the first time since it's all so *emotional* you know, and I did cry. With laughter.

Olivia and I are graceful girls. Within limits. Our grace extends more to, oh, downing shots hands-free, or bargaining discounts at a Turkish bazaar. And we are definitely not girly girls. I mentioned before that I had been a tomboy growing up, well, this plan was set in motion by my sister before me. Maybe if she had liked nailpolish and Barbie I would have too, but it was not in the divine plan.

As kids we liked sneakers, overalls and climbing trees. Not dresses. Our mother loved dresses, pretty MATCHING dresses with ruffles and boleros for her two little angels that in secret, we plotted to destroy. Oli just kept hiding hers in various places and shifted the blame back to Mom whenever she asked where it was. "What do you mean you don't know where it is? That's my favourite dress!" Of course, mentioning that it was her *favourite* dress just made mom feel guilty that she had slacked off on wardrobe management. Mine met its maker an hour before my sixth birthday party when I challenged the block Big Wheel champion for his title. It had rained that morning, and the ruffled skirt caught underneath the wheels, ripping and spraying muddy water everywhere. I came home, new champion, covered in dirt and torn ruffles hanging around my ankles. Happy-appy Birthday.

As we grew up we slightly eased our loathing of dresses, provided they did not have ruffles, and could be used effectively in attracting fairer members of the opposite sex. Largely in moderation though, because in short, we still hate dresses. You get the picture.

So what happens when you take a bride and maid of honour, blue jeans beclad and sworn off marriage until this point, and put them in a pink bridal salon surrounded by taffeta, lace and tulle? A recipe for disaster, that's what. See, we can't understand how one becomes Bridezilla. We can't understand The Dream of a perfect wedding that apparently every other woman in the world has been having since birth. We've never gunned for huge engagement rings or played the Bouquet Toss game. And frankly, the idea of sauntering down an aisle in front of hundreds of people makes us really, really nervous.

On the flipside, those "serious" brides can't understand us, either. Imagine the evil eye one mother gave us when we started giggling at her daughter’s dilemma over the several choices of white. "I want this white! THIS white, not THAT white! This is my dream white!” Or the other bride who needed her gown a week earlier, so she could perfect her wedding walk in full dress rehearsal. That last one was a real howler, making us duck behind a row of Cinderella reject gowns so no one would see us.

So back to the dresses. The first was very Joan Crawford, simple and straight, but just didn't suit her. The second was a little more flowery, which made it all the funnier. My sister is one gorgeous woman, but she's not flowery. Third was this satin white beaded bustle thing that she seemed to like, but I thought it made her look like a black-haired Melanie Griffith at the Oscars. In 1996.

The fourth was much nicer, creamy and simple, strapless with a little more skirt that swished when she walked. Not her style at all, but nice and simple enough to start veil testing.

Veil Uno was short, ending just below her chin. Perfect! If she wanted her head to look like a big white poof of cotton candy, that is. Veil Dos was long, almost down to her ankles and actually looked really nice until she turned too fast and got some of the fabric in her mouth. Coughing and spitting, choked and blinded by chiffon, everything was everywhere so I ran in to help. In tears from laughing and being hopeless with this stuff in general, my adjustments made my sister look more like the heroin bride in the "White Wedding" video, than a vision of maiden loveliness.

Our ruckus caught the attention of the store owner, Kim, whom we'd quickly bonded with after she confided that she'd never had The Dream herself, and intended on eloping in Vegas one day. Kim raised one eyebrow, cleared the dressing room of veils, and came back with some very chic hairclips. Gorgeous, idiot proof, and suit Oli to the tee.

Onto the last dress. And what a dress it was.
So here's what's been on my paper Starbucks tea cup for the past couple of weeks:

The Way I See It #53

Be exceptional. Make tremendous efforts to be extraordinary. What a privilege to be here on the planet to contribute your unique donation to humankind. Just make sure you do so...

So here's what I think. Either the Starbucks inspiration employees really aren't that inspirational and get bored of changing the cup messages so the same one is churned out by the gajillion, or I've been consistently getting cups with this mantra because it's a sign. From above. As in fate, chance, destino.

If it is a sign, I have a greater problem. What exactly is my unique donation to humankind? And if I can't recognize my unique donation to humankind, how will I be able to donate it? What if it just passes me by when I'm not looking or even worse, what if I do recognize it but it's too late? How exactly does one make tremendous efforts to be extraordinary, anyway?

Do I ask too many questions, and will these questions lead to any and all of the above? Why are things always so STRESSFUL?!
Before I post anything sufficient today, thanks for the warm comments and linkage from all, especially Bella and my favourite colourist fairy!! I visited both your blogs and they were absolutely, deliciously fabulous. Now, give me a quick lesson so I can link you all up on my page too?

I'll have more excuse to be stupid after the caffeine withdrawals wear off and I can stop yawning long enough to look at my screen properly, but for now I'm staring at it with crossed eyes and can't decipher a bloody thing. SOS.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Calorie Chronicles: The Scarsdale Diet

The 1980's left us with a lot of really horrifying memories, ie. leg warmers, Voodoo Economics and "Thriller." It also left us with a really screwed up sense of eating and body care, but of course we didn't know it. Scores of women sunning their oiled butts on the beach, smoking cigarettes and sucking down Tab sodas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No SPF, no corporate tobacco conspiracy theories, and Nutrasweet deserved the Nobel Prize. Fashionably anorexic, we counting calories with German efficiency, yet turned our noses at the protein, sugar and carbs that followed on the label. As for fat, it only came into the equation if one was to comment, "that's fattening."

The salad days, my friends.

It was in this world that I became a model. Calm yourselves, kittens, I was only 12. Some nimrods spotted tall me in the short world and decided that I photographed well. Five minutes later I had an agent and was strutting down a catwalk in four-inch heels with a dictionary on my head.

Modelling and me were a bad mix. Think "The Princess Diaries" without Julie Andrews, and a huge lack of patience on my behalf. I didn't want a makeup bag, I wanted Converse All Stars. I wanted to ride my bike and play baseball, not learn how to give myself an express manicure in ten easy steps. I didn't want to sit in front of hot lights posing like a trained monkey, or stare at the mirror with the other primadonnas chanting, over and over, that I AM a model, I AM the best, and I AM the fairest of them all.

Presiding over this magma of feathered bangs and misdirected esteem was our Fuhrer, an ex-model in her golden years whose first name, I kid you not, was a mispelled version of a well known fish. I'll call her Salmon.

Salmon was the undisputed dictator of our agency, presiding over hordes of girls with an iron fist. She had overbleached hair, swizzle stick legs, and a seriously high-pitched voice that would make your eardrums buzz. She pronounced it "Maw-dell" instead of "Model", and just adored using those perfect, blood red nails to pinch many a non-existent love handle. Pre, post and in between shows and shoots you were subject to the screeching of Salmon, and lord help you if you were unlucky enough to be at the agency on a Saturday morning, a.k.a. Weigh Day. Salmon would militantly march us to the scale in groups where we were amply weighed, berated and threatened. If it wasn't your life's ambition to be a waify crack whore by then, believe me, it would be after experiencing this. I've seen plenty of girls run out of the room in tears or hysterics after a weigh-in with Salmon.

Me and Salmon did not get along one bit. I thought she was an overstuffed, pretentious drama queen; she thought I was a tomboy and didn't give a shit. She was right. As you can imagine, this didn't make my life any easier, as she never lost an opportunity to showcase me as the Bad Example. Once Salmon made me show over 40 girls my bitten fingernails, tsk-tsking all the while and saying things like, "A maw-dell never has hands like these. Only maids have hands like these," or, "As every good maw-dell knows, the body is a temple, and your hands are the welcome to the door."

Miserable witch. I made faces behind her head when she wasn't looking. I'm sure good maw-dells never did that either, but I had plenty of fun doing it.

Soon after my christening as a reluctant glamazon, I experienced the glory of Weigh Day. I was now 5'9, 131lbs and therefore, completely satisfied. Until I looked over at Salmon. Her eyes were popped out, Pug style,
and she was white to the roots of her albino blond hair. Worst of all, she was SPEECHLESS. Il Duce had nothing to say. This was bad.

Salmon fanned her face and cleared her throat several times. Then she asked for some water, while I snorted and rolled my eyes. I knew what was coming, but oh please. She was acting like I couldn't fit through the door. The episode finally over, Salmon pointed one long, bony finger at me and exclaimed, "If you want to be a good maw-dell, you cannot be FAT."

Well la-dee-fucking-da. I was a lousy model. And I did not think I was fat. I played plenty of sports at school and was even on a swim team. I was a size five, for crying out loud. Despite my protests, stupid Salmon would not be appeased until I made plenty of effort to shed plenty of weight. She even had it out with my agent, who did two things: she booked me in for every future Weigh Day, and dipped into a file folder labeled DIET with a quickety quickness.

Hello, Scarsdale. Primo 80's regurgitation, still alive and kicking in the kitchens and minds of those who want a quick fix. The Scarsdale Diet is a two-week low carb, low calorie, low taste and low energy plan that promises the loss of one pound per day. Uh huh. Three square meals with the usual meat, vegetables, fruit and water water water. Here's what I can remember from my time with Scarsdale: Lots and lots of cold cuts, corned beef mainly, the whole millimetre of fat trimmed off with the utmost precision. There was a day where you got two eggs for breakfast, oh glory hallelujah, but the rest of the time I was pretty grumpy with all that water and protein in the almost solitary form of cold cuts.

Here's the other thing that stuck out with the Scarsdale Diet, at least according to my agent. Treat yourself, she said. If you're going to be eating next to nothing like a good little model, treat yourself with something sweet at the end of the week.

Of course, under her breath she also suggested extra exercise to work that sweetness off.

And that's just what I did. I ate my fat-trimmed cold cuts, drank my water, and walked to the plaza every Sunday afternoon for a Skor. In total, a two-mile walk for a fucking chocolate bar, what kids my age were devouring everywhere, guilt-free, and I didn't even have a weight problem to begin with.

I lost a few pounds, but Salmon didn't let up. I didn't expect her to, I mean I wasn't exactly her favourite person to begin with, and she didn't cut slack for anyone else anyway. But I didn't really care. By this time I was bored of her ranting, bored of the other girls, bored of flashbulbs and clothes hunting in mouse-hole changerooms, walking up and down, up and down, turn left, turn right, up and down the runway again and again.

Little by little, I phased maw-delling out of my life until it was dead and forgotten. There was no fuss. I was starting high school and getting busier with academics, to which my parents had no complaint. I was more of a loner in grade school and very few people knew what my free time had been dedicated to; I liked it that way, and kept the silence when I started ninth grade. Word somehow got out though, and I was taken aside a few times by students wanting to know, "Is it true that you used to model?"

I could have had my five minutes of high school fame, but I was not that girl. So I told them No.

What have I learned from this? First, to always reward myself, and you should too. If you have been a shining example of physical excellence for a week, it's okay to have a chocolate bar, no matter what the meal plan says. It's what keeps you human.

Second, enviable though they may seem, every beauty queen has a Salmon to answer to. And perfect though she may look, that beauty queen usually sees herself as fat. Don't you ever forget that.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I'll tell you. Let's start knocking these little suckers off.

1) I have not gotten a new job. What I have done is buy the complete directory of job recruiters for my city. I don't believe in e-mailing for employment anymore, since I've done it all of ten million times and gotten nil responses. What I do believe in is "It's not What you know, it's Who you know," but since I know absolutely no one in my desired fields of work, I was suckered into buying the recruitment book in the first place.

2) I have not lost 60 (odd) pounds. If I had managed to lose that much weight in less than two months it means I would have more than enough money for liposuction, stylists, personal trainers and a nutrionist. Instead I have this blog and all of you (weep) to suffer with me through this life-changing, albeit sometimes cold and miserable vehicle. Thanks for the shoulders, y'all.

I did manage to loosen up a bit over the holidays though, and considering what a sugar fest it was, that's a tidy little accomplishment I think.

3) Ding ding ding, we have improvement on this one! Debbie Travis has not come to her senses and made her way to my loft, so I have brought her to me, or more specifically, I got the "Debbie Travis' Facelift: Solutions to Revitalize your Home" book. What can I say, she offers some very helpful hints for wall patterns that I think will look marvelous, in very limited moderation, and I put my vintage laundry signs on the bathroom door.

AND I got furniture which I think is a huge step forward. I am now the proud owner of a 1920's vintage French black... cabinet, I think. It's got four legs, two doors, and looks like a piece Louis XVI would own if back issues of Vogue were next to his chamber pot in Le Commode Royale at Versailles. In short, it's marvelous, and there will be no peasant revolt.

4) Still not official, though I have been assured that the ring has been ordered, and we did go wedding dress shopping. More on that later.

5) CANCELLED! Or to be more specific, postponed in favour of buying a house. Raj and his teddy are still together and still engaged, but have delayed matrimony and shifted said wedding reception cash towards the real estate market.

Don't be fooled into thinking that something has been knocked off my list, darlings. I now have a house purchase, decoration/possible remodeling and housewarming party to experience, and - are you ready for this? - a possible trip to the Middle East with my two chachkas. Also more on that later.

6) I have not written one damn thing for my cookbook. However, among my Christmas presents was the "Joy of Cooking" daily desk calendar, for my better motivation and inspiration. Maybe tonight I'll open the box.

7) Emotional and romantic peace. Is there such a thing? I'm not sure, meaning that I certainly haven't achieved any. We had a great visit though, which I will expand upon - you got it! - later.

8) Okay, let's see. My foot hasn't hit a gas pedal in three years, and you expect me to get back behind the wheel in the dead of winter and slide into who knows how many trees? If we lived in Need for Speed land where car & driver self repair after flying off bridges I'd say Sure!. But since we are in reality, I don't fucking think so.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I will never forget that, not for the rest of my life. But it did get easier, and continues to do so. And I managed to have a great rest of the holidays too.

I normally hate New Year's, but this one was a blast. I mean, it's just another DAY, people, do you really think it's a whole new chance to forget the past and start fresh? The crowds drive me nuts too. Every soccer mom and yuppy dad from the burbs just HAVE to spend New Year's Eve in the city and watch that stupid apple come down. Puh-lease.

Our crowd decided to go a little different, so we went to... drumroll... Benihana! Yes I know it's a franchise and exists just about everywhere, but none of us had ever been and decided to take the plunge. Once you got past the 80's floral mauve & teale wallpaper and the shamisen soundtrack on perpetual loop, it was really very nice. The food was excellent, even if dessert was pre-frozen and the chef was kinda tired and lacking. Isn't dinner supposed to BE the show at Benihana? I mean the onion ring steam volcano was cool and all, but that "let's bang my wooden salt grinder and pepper mill together lackadaisically for 20 minutes" deal didn't exactly thrill us to no end.

After getting thoroughly loaded off red wine and learning that the restaurant closed way before midnight, we convinced a limo to take us back to my sister's house for five bucks a head, and made it just in time for midnight. Jess and I, Raj, my sister and her (still not official) commie fiance brought in New Year's with love, good wishes and store bought shots, which they all handled just fine, but I managed to spill down my top. Happy New Year! So while everyone was kissing and singing that stupid Auld Lang Syne song, I was lamenting my $80 lace and velvet bra that was now covered in cream and strawberry liquor.

The next morning my sister called. My hairpins, necklace, socks and blouse were thrown all over her living room, so I'm positive I had a fabulous time.

And now for the real business of New Year's: the resolution(s). Aha, I made mine way before this, remember? Just to refresh your memory

1) get a new job

2) lose sixty (odd) pounds

3) decorate my loft without Debbie Travis

4) survive my sister’s wedding

5) plan & survive my best friend’s wedding

6) finish the cookbook that has been idling for 1148 days (and counting)

7) achieve emotional and romantic peace, if there is such a thing

And the informal 8) that I added later on was, get back behind the wheel, get used to the road and get a car, dammit.

So, to this point, how much have I achieved, and how far have I gone?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

You could argue with me that I hadn't technically seen him die. I did not see him take his last breath as he left this world. But let me assure you that watching what takes someone's life unfold in front of you, in the most unexpected and tragic of ways, feels pretty damn real.

When I look back on it now, I can only remember snapshots.

That's the way it is with all the truly frightening moments of my life. I'm scared into forgetting any joining parts so they can't be sequential, flowing memories. The car beside Jess' window. Head on into the tree. Car in the air. Upside down on the road. Call 911. The construction workers. He's dead.

Everything after that is clear. Calling my sister, waiting for the police, giving my statement, license and phone numbers. Watching the yellow tape go up, going through the what ifs and alternate scenarios. Thank God there were no oncoming cars. Thank God for the tree or he would've ended up through a living room window. Thank God we weren't going faster, or we could have been part of it.

I noticed that Bluetooth, who is usually antsy & whines when left alone in the car, is lying down in the backseat not making a sound. I saw that my cup of tea, still in the holder and now cold, had spilled all over the car from when Jess hit the breaks. I hadn't even felt anything.

We left over an hour later, when the police gave us the okay. I held my boyfriend's hand and told him that life was too fucking short, and we weren't going to fight anymore.

The next few days were obsession. I didn't want to write. I didn't really want to do anything but watch the news and surf the internet when it was up, looking for something, anything that would tell us about who it was, and why he had been driving so maniacally.

Unfortunately, single car accidents don't lend enough drama to become front page anything. What we had seen got lost in the shuffle, with a couple of exceptions. In sympathy with my madness, a friend of mine managed to find a police report stating that auto fatality #59 of the year had claimed the life of a 19-year old male, further information withheld at the request of his family.

Nineteen. Practically a baby.

And a few days later, in total silence, when forcing ourselves to drive back that way we saw that someone had placed a white wooden cross with blue flowers in front of the tree. I didn't want to, but I made myself get out of the car and stand in front of it.

A name had been written down the side of the cross. Nicholas.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Jess, myself and our dog were driving through a residential area in a rental car, on our way to have lunch with my parents. It was a few days after Christmas, and it was wet and slushy outside.

My family has been using this shortcut for years. You could just jump off the highway and into Mom's and Dad's neighbourhood, but getting off one exit earlier and driving through one of the finest areas in the city saves a few minutes, and is very pictureseque. The massive Tudor and Victorian houses are nearing the one-century mark; the trees tower above you, dads make homemade skating rinks on the lawns for their kids. If you were to ask me of a place where nothing ever went wrong, if such a place existed, I would think of this.

It is postcard perfect, with limits. The speed limit is 40 kilometres per hour. There's a Stop sign every 100 metres or so.

We had just passed a stop on one curved street, and there was a red car behind us. Jess was steering with his left hand, coffee in his right. I'd put my tea in the holder and was singing to a Green Day song on the radio. Bluetooth was in the backseat, looking out the window.

I've never wanted to use the phrase "all of a sudden" in any of my writing, but in this case, I can't avoid it. All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, this beat up old blue car passes on our left and cuts right in front of us. The driver is going at least 150. He's going so fast, he can't get the car to straighten up on the road in time, and loses it on the curve. Before me or Jess could get out a complete "what the hell," the blue car barrels head on into a tree, and flies a good 20 feet up into the air. It crashes down on its roof.

Jess saw the driver's legs as he was catapulted through the windshield, and figures the car landed on top of him. I am thankful to have missed this. I am also thankful for Jess' quick thinking when he saw the wreck start to spark and pulled out of danger's way in case of an explosion. Yet another thing I am thankful for was his yelling, which jolted me out of my shock. I called 911, and tried to ignore a construction worker who'd run to the accident recoil in shock and scream, "He's dead!"

The dispatcher on 911 had asked us to stick around and give a statement, so I called my parents to let them know we would be late.

Then I called my sister, and started to cry.
Alrighty then, shall I go on to explain my absence? I think I should.

Lack of internet connection is pretty obvious. I refuse to subscribe to anything before I fully move into my loft, meaning internet, phone etc., so Jess hooked us up with wireless. My sublet-ee agrees to leave whenever he's here, which is brilliant. You didn't think I'd shack up with my boyfriend in my parents' basement, did you?

As for the signal, it's shamefully bouncy and temperamental at best. It shone through in the bathroom however, but then sitting on the floor and surfing the net beside the toilet bowl, where the most unglamourous moments of my life have taken place, just wasn't appealing. I think you can appreciate that.

I forget which of the seven deadly sins Sloth is, but I'm a champion of it. Does this mean I'm damned? As if I didn't have enough to worry about. Anyway, being that it was the holidays, Jess was here, the weather was gorgeous, I didn't have to go to work, managed to sleep in for the first time in over a year... you get the picture.

Circumstance. Now this is the real fucker of the group. I saw a man die.
Bad, lazy, dirty girl. And bad, bad blogger.

We have been lost to each other for so long. Well not really, but that was the opening of "The Red Tent," and I thought it was the most gripping first line ever.

365 days, one post per day, didn't quite happen, so let's change that to 365 posts within the space of 365 days. So yes my darlings, I'll be double-posting for awhile to... catch up. Such filthy words!

What took me away? Well, a few reasons, mainly

a) lack of internet connection
b) circumstance, and
c) sloth

And what brought me back? I always meant to come back, but something hurried me along. You. I had no idea there were so many of you until I checked my e-mail a few days ago and found it topped with good comments and wishes, including this one:

"Hi SimplyX, i'm one of those silent readers of your blog. Just wanted to say Happy New Year and I hope you blog soon!!"

Happy New Year to You too! Let's start with leaving no business unspoken for, and a little post-holiday cheer:

After the Twelfth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me
Phenomenal Health
A fully furnished Penthouse
One winning lottery ticket
A Trip around the World
Emotional Stability
Timeshares in Notting Hill
A Black AMEX card
An extra-loving relationship
My dream career
A Victoria's Secret body (with a little extra thigh)
And a Mini Cooper with leather seats!