Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dramatic. Bizarre. Magical.

My sister is married, and my high school flame loves me. Ain’t life grand?

Most importantly, how did this all happen? Time to backtrack, I say.

Weddings come about when two very special people fall in love, and plan for the event. Duh. That’s how Oli’s wedding happened, and you’ve all been hearing about it for months on end.

But first, over a month before the wedding took place, Sandy and I had a very special date. Just a week after seeing one another in person for the first time in years, we met up at my loft, jetted off to India, and then jumped over to Australia for the finale.

Dramatic. Bizarre. That’s us.

We didn’t actually go to India, duh again, but we did order a dinner and a half from Dhaba restaurant. Shrimp shaandar, daal, naan, pakhoras and chicken tikka. Indian food isn’t the best date food, at least not in the beginning stages of anything, and to get rid of that spicy smell you practically have to burn the house down.

But when you’re with that special someone who likes trying new things as much as you; when you’re with that special someone who feeds you bits of it all just to be cute, and considers fenugreek as heavenly a scent as you do, it’s divine.

India was heavenly. We wrapped up our visit, and went back to the Land of Aus.

You all remember what happened the last time we’d downed a bottle of Bin 555 Shiraz. I’m guessing my couch remembers it even better. Well, Sandy chose the wine this time and, knowing how much I love Aussie brew, went back to Wyndham Estate with a bottle of Bin 444.

The grapes from the Wyndham Estate BIN 444 Cabernet Sauvignon are sourced predominantly from Wyndham’s premium vineyards.

I’ll say. The stuff goes down smoother than air. The bottle was gone before you could say, “dead tipsy.”

Selected Cabernet Sauvignon parcels are matured in a selection of new and old French and American Hogsheads for 14 months prior to blending, stabilizing and filtration.

Hogsheads, hogsheads, hogsheads. Say that 10 times really fast. Do they actually age wine in a hog’s head? Meh, who cares. By then we were all over each other and maybe, just maybe, a piece of clothing or two flew off. I was caring about that a lot more.

The wine is medium to full depth, purple with vibrant crimson hues and has distinctive ripe blackcurrant and cassis fruit supported by a subtle savoury oak background on the nose.

I wasn’t thinking too much of his nose, but plenty about his lips, his eyes, his smile, his hand in mine as we pathetically made our way up the stairs, doubled over in laughter all the while, tripping and helping each other up. We eventually got to the top.

Medium to full bodied on the palate with ripe blackcurrant and Cabernet flavours combined with delicate chocolate & smoky oak.

Did Sandy taste like blackcurrant, chocolate and smoky oak? Maybe. He just tasted delicious, and I didn’t want to stop kissing him. Or maybe the flavours were just in the air, because I couldn’t get enough. And he, it seemed, was walking down the same path.

Grape and oak tannins are harmonized to provide a lingering, but soft, structured finish.

Harmonized for a lingering, soft and structured finished. Or you could just say, Magical. That’s us.

It wasn’t like anything I’d imagined it would be.

Somehow, that was the nicest part.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sandy it is. But before we backtrack into anything just yet, let’s have a little taste of the present.

I let Sandy know just how popular he was becoming in blogland, and tonight, asked him to write an entry with me. Here’s what we came up with:

Me: So, you’ve caused quite the uproar. What have you got to say for yourself?

Sandy: Oh, boy. I didn’t mean to.

Me: Not the point that you didn’t mean to, it just happened. You’re quite the... Mr. Congeniality?

Sandy: You started it!

Me: Moi? NO!

Sandy: Yeah, you! Who e-mailed who?

Me: Okay I did, but technically if we look at how things really started a zillion years ago, it was all you, baby!

Sandy: That’s because I always loved you and I still do. Can I kiss you now?

Me: (melt)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dear ones, my sister is married. My big sister, my best friend, my shopping buddy and #1 fan is married. How do you like that?

It was a beautiful day full of perfect moments, capped off by an awesome party. I sincerely look forward to telling you all about it.

But I must ask, which would you like first, the wedding play by play, or a Sandy update?

I can assure you that any and all comments are appreciated. Cheers.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I’m a writer, not a speaker, so bear with me!

I was originally going to write a long and sappy speech, until my sister told me that if I made anyone cry, she would wring my neck.

No pressure. So, we’re going to try something a little different. Not many of you know this, but when I was in the seventh grade, I actually won a contest for a speech I wrote, entitled, “My older sister.”

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, so I decided to go with Version 2.0 of the same idea. I present to you, for your listening pleasure, the top ten stupidities committed by myself and Olivia, my sister, partner in crime, and the lovely, lovely young lady here before you.

Oli, if you want to hide in the bathroom for this, I’ll completely understand.

#10: I’m twelve, you’re seventeen, and we are sparring in our taekwon-do class. Unfortunately, we’ve brought our personal vendettas into class, and start fighting over something that had happened earlier. I mean, really fighting. I punch you in the stomach so hard it knocks the wind out of you, at the exact same moment that you punch me in the face, and dislocate my jaw. An assistant has to come and walk you around the room, helping you breathe, while the instructor is busy knocking my jaw back into place. When my mouth is properly working and you’re standing up straight again, our scary, black belt instructor is so mad he makes us both do two hundred pushups on our knuckles in front of the whole class. Don’t worry, we forgave each other, but to this day, my jaw still squeaks when it rains.

#9: I’m twenty-three, you’re twenty eight, it’s a lovely Saturday morning and we are in the medical lab for blood tests. The nurses don’t like us too much there, because we are known as “difficult patients.” They can never find my vein, and you’re a fainter. Sure enough, while I’m arguing with the technician over where to stick the damn needle, you see some blood, and go down like a ton of bricks. I have to spend the next hour with smelling salts and wet cloths trying to revive you, all while our mother is in the waiting room, shrieking, “Where on earth on my daughters? They’ve been in there forever!”

#8: I’m thirty, you’re thirty five, and we are on the prowl for a wedding dress. Just for kicks, we decide that you should try on a twelve thousand dollar gown that weighs forty-five pounds. The dress is so heavy that when you turn around, it completely throws you off balance, you go flying through the air, and fall face first onto the ground. Here comes the bride, indeed. You’ll all notice that the dress Olivia is wearing today is very airy and very light – she learned that lesson the hard way!

#7: This one started when I was five and you were ten. It’s December, Christmas is around the corner, and we are staring very wide-eyed at the glittering tree, and all the presents underneath it. Boy, do we ever want to open them. It eats away at us so much, that we give into the seductive temptation, and open all our gifts two weeks before Christmas! We are SO happy with our presents – for about ten seconds – and then the realization of just how much trouble we’re going to be in hits us like a blow. Our delinquent minds working in overtime, you grab the scissors and an exacto knife, I get the tape and a ruler. We study every crease, fold and mark, rewrap everything in its original paper, and restore each gift back into exactly what it looked like before our greedy little hands got to it. We did such a good job that mom and dad were none the wiser. And, it didn’t stop there. Every Christmas after that, well into our teen years, we’d wait until we had the house to ourselves, attack the presents, and then doctor them back into their original packaging. If you’ve ever received a gift or even mail from Olivia and have wondered why it’s taped to death and takes a half hour to open, this was where the neurosis began.

#6: I’ve never completely forgiven you for this one. I’m four, you’re nine, and you know that my hero is Wonder Woman. Every week I faithfully watch Diana Prince spin around, and with a flash of lightning, transform into the brave and beautiful superhero. You tell me that I too can be Wonder Woman, all I have to do is spin around just like her. But because I’m so much smaller, I have to faithfully spin for a very, very long time. While holding my breath. And I can’t stop, or I’ll never become Wonder Woman. I don’t remember how long I lasted, but I do remember mom yelling at me that I was going to get brain damage.

#5: I’m eleven, you’re sixteen, and you’ve just gotten your driver’s license. You promise to pick me up from school one day, but our dad’s friend is blocking the car. Instead of moving, he lets you take his to come and get me. This man is six foot six, and drives a gargantuan 1984 Lincoln Town Car. You can’t figure out how to pull the driver’s seat up and even worse, it’s really plushy. Until my dying day I’ll never forget you steering that boat into the school parking lot, and all I could see over the dashboard were your eyes.

#4: I’m twenty four, you’re twenty nine, and we have decided to take up snowboarding. It’s healthy, it’s fun, and it will impress boys. We get cute outfits, reserve lessons at Horseshoe Valley, and are all high hopes that in a few hours, we’ll be effortlessly breezing down the hills. We impressed the boys, alright. We spent more time plowing snow with our faces, then boarding on it. We impressed the boys so much, they couldn’t breathe from laughing. We kept impressing the boys all week long too, with the big, purple bruises on our necks.

#3: I’m twenty three, you’re twenty eight, it’s late at night and you’re out jogging. I’m on my rollerblades to keep you company, and while skating some distance away, I see a really big dog running down the street. As I skate closer, I notice that it’s not a dog at all, but a coyote. It’s huge, and it’s coming straight for us. I speed back to save you, and together we come up with the brilliant plan for you to jump on my back, while I roll us out of harm’s way. It’s hard to carry an Olivia on your back when you have rollerblades on, and we were both panicking so much that I kept falling. We only made it about half a block, but very luckily the coyote wasn’t hungry, and went down another street.

#2: I’m six, you’re eleven, and we are baking peanut butter rice krispie squares. We are doing this while our parents aren’t home, because we are not allowed to bake. Mom was sick of the messes we always made, and banned us from the kitchen. You’re measuring out the rice krispies and I’m spooning peanut butter into a glass measuring cup, when we hear the garage opening. Mom’s home early! This freaks us out so much you spill all the cereal onto the floor, and I spastically fling the measuring cup, shattering it into a million pieces. We know we’re going to be in big trouble and there’s not much time to clean up, so we start picking up the cereal, peanut butter and broken glass with our hands. When mom walks in the kitchen is spotless, and we are looking as innocent as possible. We are also holding our hands behind our backs, to hide the blood.

And #1 stupidest stupid: I am so not proud to admit this. I’m twenty nine, you’re thirty four, and we are eating rotisserie chicken at home. I have the thigh on my plate, and I notice a hole in the middle. Any idiot knows this is from the rotisserie sword, but not you and me. No, no. Together, we come up with the brilliant conclusion that this is a bullet hole, from where the chicken was shot to death. Not our finest hour.

Now, Oli made me swear I’d keep this speech to two or three minutes max, but I’m going to pretend that I’ve just won an Oscar because I have a little more to say. So if anyone wants to wave their stick at me to hurry up and finish, please go away because it’s not going to work.

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted a brother. Oli went above and beyond the call of sister duty when it came to beating up playground bullies, but I still wanted a brother anyway. There are no more playground bullies, at least I hope not, but at the ripe old age of 31 I finally have a brother.

Corey, today you have married my best friend. What makes this so great is that we all know you two are best friends with each other, and that is the strongest foundation any couple could ask for. Of course, it never hurts to have your own list of stupidities, because a life without laughter is no life at all.

You have your whole lives to create those moments, and we know they will be good ones. Enjoy each other, love each other, trust and talk to one another, and the rest will fall into place. If I always wanted a brother, our parents can finally come clean about always wanting a son. Or in their words:

Corey, ti si sada u nasoj familiji, dobro doso u nasu familiju. Otvorili smo nase ruke I nase srce. Mi smo sa tobom u dobru i zlu. Volimo te puno, i bolje ga sina nismo mogli naci.

Loosely translated, Corey, you are now our family, and we welcome you to it. Our arms and our hearts are open to you. We are with you through all the good, and all the bad. We love you very much, and couldn’t have asked for a better son.

And another message for the both of you, courtesy of mom and dad: Mnogo vas volimo obadvoje, zelimo vam sve najbolje u vasem zajednickom zivotu. Uvijek ste sa nama, i zelimo vam sve najbolje.

We love you both very much, and wish you all the best for a happy future together. You are with us always, no matter what. Congratulations.

Just one more thing and I promise I’m done. Oli, only you can appreciate the extent of feelings behind what I’m about to say. You’re the best sister in the world, dumbass! And Corey, there’s no one else I’d have picked to be my older, wiser brother. If I need anyone’s knees broken, I’ll give you a call!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wedding Countdown, Day 1

Your big sister is getting married tomorrow.


Get every nail on your body done. You have to look good, you know. Smudge your nails. Well, you tried.

Survive rehearsal. It's not so bad, really. Thanks heavens to Betsy for wedding planners who really know how to get people moving. Thank heavens to Murgatroid for little Joy, who runs around the entire time passing people grapes.

Survive the rehearsal dinner. Especially survive frozen lasagnas that take over two hours to bake. Damn things.

When all is said and done, give your sister a Links London bracelet. Just a small sister to sister gift.

Watch her cry. Do some crying of your own. She's getting married tomorrow, after all.

Go home to put the finishing touches on your speech. It didn't come out so bad, you don't think. Just say it from the heart, and it will all be just fine.

Wedding Countdown, Day 2

Go for your last bridesmaid gown fitting. Your dress is taken in for the fifth time. Do a victory dance in your head.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Not where you want to be just yet, weight-wise that is, but damn girl, you look good!

Unfortunately, your girls are not doing so great. They are sad. They are drooping. Damn those deranged chicken cutlets! Damn every other possible method that failed you!

Fly to expensive lingerie store with 20 minutes before you start work, to buy expensive Italian corset with ample padding. Happy, happy breasts! Just be careful how you hug people. Flying cookies are a no no.

Go to work. Type like the wind. In your spare time, go back to the speech.

Words begin to come out. Hope they are good ones.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Weddings, weddings, weddings. Love is in the air, and everyone is getting married. In fact, as I write this, my (younger) cousin has called to announcement his engagement.

Am I green with envy? Seething that I’ve seemingly been left behind? Well, I won’t lie. Part of me is a teensy weensy bit jealous that I don’t yet have the great love of a great man who will want to take that step with me, but on the other hand, I am so not ready to walk down the aisle.

Emotionally is the first reason. I like where I am now.

Laziness is the second reason. Just watching Oli go through the motions and neverendingly inane details gives me a headache. Remind me that if and when the big day comes, to hire a wedding planner. I just don’t have the patience for that crap.

Wedding #1 was a few weeks ago, during a most hectic period, and so I’m just getting to it now. Rest assured that I had a fantastic time; my Diary of a Hangover attested to that beautifully, I think.

That wedding, which was initially supposed to belong to Raj and James, ended up being for my cousin David and his blushing bride, Rose.

At first I didn’t want to go. Chalk that up to family politics. We have had our differences, as all families do, over stupid little molehills that managed to become mountains.

Until I was at the ceremony, and saw my cousin’s face. He held his bride’s hand, dutifully listened to the priest, and wore the crown of the Orthodox ceremony, radiating happiness.

It is a humbling thing, to see your family so happy. I acquiesced.

Ceremony done, man and wife, doves were released and we thus headed to wine country for the reception.

Unfortunately, there was an uninvited guest. The tail end of Hurricane Ernesto blew in, did some major damage the night before, and left plenty of wind and puddles for us to trudge through. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it was an indoor deal, but outside, on the lake shore and in a tent didn’t bode so well.

Every woman left that party with ruined heels. But then, seeing as we were at a winery, all was made better with fermented grapes.

Leaving wine out, I have a pretty high tolerance for alcohol. To wake up in the morning and pray for death, I had to do some pretty serious guzzling the night before.

Here was my personal menu:

1) Two glasses of red wine.

2) An entire bottle of white wine. This was the waiter’s fault. I kept asking for a new bottle of water, seeing as one per eight guests goes pretty fast, and he ignored me for a half hour. I was thirsty, thus I downed the white.

3) Four sea breezes. My other cousin’s girlfriend, who I call Leather (she reminds me of Leather from “Leather and the Suedes”), kept dragging me to the bar and making sure my cup was filled.

4) A shot or two of homemade Plum Brandy. Really, this was practically forced down my throat. We’re Eastern European, and this is the custom.

5) A few lemon drops. Have you ever had those? A vodka shot followed by a chaser of sugar and lemon. Cold medication gone wild. Disgusting.

6) A cigarette. Me and Corey were craving.

7) Other smokeables, if you know what I mean. Shh! Don’t tell anyone!

After said list and before the comatose sleep that took me to death’s door, I had a lot of fun. A LOT. I ran around, I socialized, I laughed my head off, I almost broke my neck on a spilled drink on the dance floor. I tickled me pink.

Moms, however, was less than thrilled. The next morning, “You can’t drink like that at your sister’s wedding.”

Me, trying my absolute best to ignore the pounding headache: “Why not?”

Instead of answering me directly, she redirected to Oli, who was over. “Honey, she can’t drink like that at your wedding.”

Us: “Why not?”

Her: “People will talk!”

Me: “About what?”

Moms sighed most dramatically, stirring her coffee and adding two lumps. “Your behaviour wasn’t proper.”

Hoo boy. I knew it was coming. “Last night, did I throw up everywhere?”


“Did I fall?”


“Did I yell, scream, insult people, throw drinks or make a total ass of myself?”


Point made! “Then could you please tell me what exactly I did that will make people talk?”

Leave it to my mom to think of something, even in the face of the impossible. “You were bubbly.”

Once upon a time, being a happy person was a good thing. Oyvey.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wedding Countdown, Day 3

Listen to your sister bitch. Your sister has wedding stress. Listen to your mother bitch. Your mother has wedding stress. Listen to your best gay friend bitch. You're just used to doing that.

Go through your date list. That's right, you're Miss. Uber Popularity for this wedding because you have not one, not two, but three dates!

Date #1 is Vicki, fellow bridesmaid in combat. Vicki is freshly single & fabulous. She is also super sexy, and has flaming red hair that is long and curly just like yours. Talk to Vicki about the first half of the night. Ponder doing a dirty, bisexually inspired dance together just to shock the gourds off everyone.

Neither one of you is into that. You just want to shock the gourds off everyone.

Date #2 is Raj. Unfortunately, James has to chef a big event and will not be available for the wedding. Raj cries. Sympathize. Make him feel better by pondering doing a threesome dance, just to shock the gourds off everyone.

Date #3 is Sandy. He will be showing up later in the evening for cupcakes and the pizza buffet.


Wedding Countdown, Day 4

You know what you need to look great in a sexy bridesmaid gown? You need a tan. A tan makes you look healthy and full of life.

Go to the tanning salon near work. It is convenient, it is nice, and a the sexy Argentinian boxer who works the counter always gives you discounts.

Have a 12 minute nuke. Sunburn your ass. Fuck.

The heat radiating from your behind is enough to permanently screw you up at work. You trip on the extension cord, almost break your computer, fall off your chair and then, the piece de resistance, whack your head on the door so badly the entire class does a simultaneous "oooo!"

That hurts. Go to the bathroom and stare at the bruise in the middle of your forehead. You have a bruise in the middle of your forehead for your only sister's wedding. Fuck!

Go shopping. This isn't retail therapy, this is necessity shopping, a la spare makeup and, extras just in case the deranged chicken cutlets fail you. The extras are all those tape-on bra cup things that click to your chest like possessed jellyfish. Double fuck!

Last stop, shoes. You need backup just in case it rains, and your dyed glories pull a Wicked Witch of the West. Realize that not one pretty shoe in the entire mall will fit you, and you are reduced to the wastelands with the other shoe freaks: Tall Girl.

Well, they do have shoes that fit you. Not half bad ones, either. Get three pairs. They will tide you over until you find out where the drag queens shop.

On the way home, unload the Tall Girl bag just long enough to turn it inside out, and then put everything back inside again. Sure you have duck feet, but the whole world doesn't have to know.

Go home to your speech. Write a paragraph.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wedding Countdown, Day 5

You are in charge of rehearsal dinner. Knowing you will shrivel and die if everything is left to the last minute, make two lasagnas.

One is meat and cheese, but you scoff at the idea of a four cheese lasagna. Anyone can make a four cheese lasagna, so make five cheese instead: ricotta, provolone, mozzarella, romano and parmesan. That'll show 'em.

Carry the lasagnas down to the freezer. Thanks to Mario Batali's high-tech, heavy cookware, quickly realize that each one weighs more than your dog. Your dog weighs 30lbs. Datsa some bigass lasagna.

Help your sister make place cards. Yay! You've *always* wanted to make place cards, just like you've *always* wanted herpes. Grin and bear it. This is your sister, after all, and part of your maid duties. Go blind peeling the backing off the sticky paper over 100 times.

Run out and purchase some breasts. Your dress is low cut, so you need those skin coloured suction things that hold your girls in place. Try your very best to ignore the salesgirl feeling you up to better determine your size. Try even harder not to laugh when you look at yourself in the mirror. It looks like psychotic, deranged chicken cutlets are trying to eat your boobs.

Remove breasts/deranged cutlets. Shriek when it feels like your nipples are being ripped off. Check to see if they are still there. Phew.

Go home and sit your pathetic self down to write a speech. Nothing comes to mind.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Wedding Countdown, Day 6

You have to give a speech for the wedding. Did you know that? Of course you did. Did you start writing it? Of course you didn't. Think really hard and realize you have nothing to say. Either you're beyond caring, or you have gone totally insane. Panic.

Stare at your ass in the mirror. Smaller, yes. Charlize Theron-sized, no. Growl, kick something, then run out and buy yourself some Spanx.

Collect your shoes from the dye lady. Stunning. Read the warning dye lady has enclosed with shoes: get these wet, and watch them melt mauve puddles all over the aisle.

Check weather forecast for Saturday: storms.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Wedding Countdown, Day 7

Realize that your sister's wedding is in one week. Also realize that you have so many things to do, you won't possibly finish in three weeks.

Oi. Have some wine to soothe your shattered nerves. Enjoy the silence, because you're not going to be seeing any for awhile.

Things are about to get *very* interesting.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Later that day, our wedding errands took us to Izakaya restaurant.

What on earth could a restaurant have to do with wedding errands, you ask? Are they catering the affair? No. Were we tired & hungry, needing some lunch and a sit down before going on our wedding bells way? No. We needed a drink.

We needed lots of drinks. Apparently, part of having a funky wedding these days is having a signature cocktail. They are tasty, they are fun, and your guests will go home talking about the amazing signature cocktail.

Oli wants a signature cocktail. She doesn’t want to throw her bouquet, but she wants a signature cocktail.

The visit to Izakaya (and accompanying restaurants & bars) is necessary because professional bartenders are just so much better at designing these contemporary, newfangled drinks. Why have a plain old olive martini, when you can have a dragon fruit banana cilantro mint julep echinacea whatever-tini?

In other words, we were on the prowl for ideas. And while Oli did bartend in university, serving beer to hordes of perverted teenagers hardly qualifies her to dabble with exotic ingredients.

Izakaya, hello baby. Fabulous restaurant around the corner from work, in fact, which was how I’d discovered it to begin with. Gorgeous bar right in front and if I may say so, a bar staff that’s really easy on the eyes. The drinks menu is superb, exotic New York Asian chic. If there is such a thing.

It is two in the afternoon, and I am getting loaded with my sister, in the name of her wedding. Carlos the feisty bartender is our host this evening. Carlos is bald, tall, and getting a kick out of the fact that we are each triple fisting.

Drink #1: plum wine, vodka, ice.

Drink #2: Fuji apple, pineapple liqueur, ginger, vodka, ice.

Drink #3: Aloe juice, vodka, ice.

The first drink was quickly voted off the island. Too plain.

The second one, now there was something else. Fuji apple, I tells ya, with a snappy ginger aftertaste. Went down cool, finished off spicy. Just my kind of martini. I was tickled pink when Carlos added, “This is the most adventurous of our drinks.”

That made me sassy and cocky all at once. Imagine! Moi, adventurous! Adventurous in life, and adventurous in alcohol! Get me another!

While Carlos was making me another, we tried the aloe drink. Oli tasted first. I watched her eyes light up after the swallow, and then she dished her famous, jubilant line: “I LOOOOVE it! Try this, you-are-going-to DIE.”

I tried it. I liked it. It tasted somewhat like paper flavoured jello, but it did the trick. Oli’s enthusiasm over it far outweighed mine, though, and hence began the Aloe vs. (Fuji) Apple debate. In the meantime:

Carlos: “Indecisive?

Us, in unison: “Yes.”

Carlos: “How about a second round, just to make sure?”

Us, in unison: “Okay!”

Carlos: “And to make it all go down smoother, would you like to some premium sake?”

Us, in unison: “Okay!”

I knocked over a bar stool on the way out.

Oli wanted the aloe drink. Well, it *is* her wedding. Alas, it was not to be, as she searched for aloe liquids to no avail. She still fared well though, and after several more “business trips,” has finally made up her mind on a signature cocktail.

Plural. Signature cocktails are so intensely fabulous, she will not have just one, but four.

1) Blood Orange Mandarin
2) Kahlua Espresso White Cream
3) Pear Frangelico Cream
4) Apple Brandy Vanilla Cinnamon.

While my sister knows very well that four cocktails doesn’t make it so signature anymore, rest assured that she traveled the high road and acquired a signature shot: Irish cream, vodka & crème de cacao.

Methinks this wedding will be a tasty one.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The nostalgia question I’d quickly answered on my own, but there was another nagging thought pulling at me.

My head gets in the way like that. My thoughts, that is. Sometimes I think and I think and I think so much that my head feels like it’s going to explode, in which case, I go to Voice of Reason #1.

It is a weekday afternoon, and Oli and I are in her car. Wedding errands for her, pressing matters for me. Sister opinion required.

“Hey sis?”

“Yeah, sis?”

“You know, I really hate when we call each other sis.”

“Yeah sis, that sucks. Let’s stop doing it.”

“Okay sis. I have to ask you something.”

“What is it, sis?”

I really have to appreciate my sister’s smartass-edness. But then, that’s why we have so much fun. “Am I jumping into something too soon? With Sandy, I mean.”


Well, that was quick. “You sound very sure of yourself.”

“I am.”

“Eerily so.”

“Cause I am.”

“But how do you know?”

“I just do.”

“As if that tells me anything.”

“Of course it doesn’t.”

‘And you know I have to justify myself anyway, and explain this whole thing ‘til I’m blue in the face.”

She snorted. We both snort. Our parents must be so proud. “Go ahead.”

Deep breath. “Here’s the thing: everything with Sandy feels fantastic. Amazing. I couldn’t ask for better. I just don’t want to screw anything up because I’m so freshly broken up with Jess.”

Another snort. “Oh, please. You broke up with that asshole years ago.”

“What are you talking about? It was just a few weeks….”

“Look,” she cut off, “I want to tell you something. I wanted to tell you a long time ago, but you wouldn’t have listened. I’m going to tell you now.”


“Do you know when you first broke up with Jess?”

“Yeah, that was last Febru…”

“It was two years ago.”

My turn to snort. “No it wasn’t.”

“Yes it was.”




“Yes it was. Remember what you said to him, the main reason why you had to give up the apartment and go back to long distance again?

“Yeah,” I said a little bitterly, because I remembered my reasoning very well. “I said that among other things, I just can’t afford you any more.”

“Right. I knew you were done, but you just needed some more time to admit it to yourself.”

“But we stayed together.”

“Yeah, you did. How many times did you see each other after that, was it three times?”


“And everything was super smooth and hunky dory? Even when you were apart?”

Ha. We fought more than ever. “Hell, no.”

“Did you keep fighting?”

“You know we did.”

“Did you cry?”

Not proud to admit this. Not one bit. “All the time.”

“You’ve spent months, years, mourning his loss. You just needed to admit it to yourself.”

This is why my sister is really up there on the voice of reason list. Leave it to me, though, to toss in another neurosis. “What if I’m not over him, and just don’t know it?”

“You’re over him.”

“How do you know?”

“Cause I do.”

“Yeah well, you’re stupid.”

“Yeah well, you’re an idiot. You know when I knew you were over him?”

My ears perked up. “When?”

“A couple of days after you gave him the boot, the very last time, do you remember what you said to me?”

Of course not. How on earth am I supposed to remember everything? I’m not an encyclopedia! “Remind me.”

“Well in the beginning, for years actually, you would tell me that Jess was a really nice guy with moments of jerk. After you told him off that last time, you said you’d finally realized that he was a big jerk with rare moments of nice. Do you remember now?”

Oh, yeah. “I did say that, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did. That’s when I knew you were finished with him, for good. And you know that, too. Do you miss him?”


“Are you sure?”

“Big time.”

“If he was a totally changed man and wanted you to take him back, would you?”


“Why not?”

“Because I’ve had enough. I’m done.”

“Exactly. So you did the right thing, then, ending it?”

Once again, this is why my sister is my top voice of reason. I smiled. “Yes. I can’t remember the last time I felt so good.”

Oli smiled right back. “Point made. That’ll be $500, please.”

“Kiss my ass.”

“Bite me.”

“You know sis, you’re pretty smart when you’re not busy bossing everyone around.”

“Thanks, sis.”



“You’re the best.”

“I know.”
From that Saturday night when we first met up, in person, Sandy and I started seeing each other regularly. As regular as you can get for one week, that is: five nights out of seven.

I was so happy. Cloud nine, really. I can’t lie when I say that I had a horrific thought for all of a minute, though: was this nostalgia? Could it be that I’d projected sweet 16 onto unsuspecting 31? After all, it’s different with him. We have a history.

But then equally quickly came the No. Oh, no. There weren’t hundreds or even dozens of boys and men before and between Sandy, but they were there nonetheless. I could pass by any and all of them on the street and really not look twice. Other than to criticize wardrobe choices, anyway.

Besides, after those kisses, I was crazy positive. Sure we’d kissed once before all those years ago, but then quick teenage peck in front of a library doesn’t even begin to compare with SUV and soft green lights on a summer’s night at two-something AM, in heavy lip lock.

Or how they make you feel half a lifetime later.

Our other dates that week were very nice. Very sweet. We took walks. We held hands. We saw horses, pet their noses, and chilled on my big couch, his arm around me. A couple more pecks here and there. Totally PG-13.

And then, the Australians came into our relationship.

I love Australians. My fascination with them first began in seventh grade history class, when I was informed that the entire island of Australia had first been populated prisoners. Imagine! A land full of cons that not only a) survived amongst each other, but b) in a land full of creepy crawlies worthy of the Pixar imagination, and c) modified their Shakespeare accents into something bordering on the reckless and exotic.

Meeting my first Australians, now that was something else. I was freshly 20 and on a tour of Europe with Oli, inhabiting a big yellow Cosmos tour bus that was chock full of Aussies and Kiwis. A fantastic lot they were, spouting jokes and bottomless renditions of, “Tie me Kangaroo down, Sport.” And, best of all, they never failed to make the poo poo Parisians recoil in horror with their slaughter of the French tongue.

For instance, trying to track down the Champs Elysees. Many a scoff and sideways spit did our group get when asking directions not to the Shans Elizay, but the Champs Eleez.

Shits and giggles. I keep in touch with some of them, still.

Furthermore, a trip to the land of Oz is high up on my travel goals. I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want to go to Bondi Beach and pop their first, “G’day, mate!”, or, “Crikey!”

(R.I.P. Steve Irwin)

Yes, in my limited knowledge of the country and its people, that is my affinity for Down Under. However, thanks to our wide and wonderful world of imported goods, I can appreciate Aussie products for all their guts and glory.

Aussie Bum underpants. Cheezels. And my favourite product of all: Australian wine.

I love Shiraz. I mean, love it. The stuff is deep, gritty and full in ways a delicate Bordeaux could never pull off. Better yet, it’s red, which I’ll take over white any day.

I am a connoisseur of fine Shiraz, and a bigger fool for it. Anyone who knows me in person knows I can’t handle wine. Not at all. For instance, recall the New Year’s Eve entry where I woke up with half my clothes missing. Or, the flight to Amsterdam with James where I, in a fit of hysterics, ended up spilling my Travel Scrabble tiles all over the plane.

This is totally ridiculous to me seeing as I can take Rum and Vodka quite easily, and their alcohol content is a lot higher than wine. It makes no sense at all, really. But then, when you think about it, have I ever really made sense to anyone?

It was a few days after we’d met, and Sandy was coming over for dinner. My loft, that is, definitely not at home with Moms and Dad. That would have been weird.

I hadn’t moved any of my stuff in yet, meaning there were no major utensils available to cook, so I picked up some food instead. When in doubt, dear ones, and when in locale, go to the Whole Foods Market. Their moniker is, “World’s leading natural and organic foods market,” and while I don’t doubt that one bit, it’s the prepared foods section that keeps me coming back for more.

Your usual prepared foods counter is all about mac & cheese, and cold schnitzel. Whole Foods has yummies like Sonoma chicken salad, braised lamb shanks, sweet potato mash with ginger, and arugula fennel salad. Not bad, huh? Healthy, tasty, AND impressive. A girl can’t go wrong.

I bought a bunch of little heres and theres and, for the sake of completion, a bottle of Wyndham Estate Bin 555.

If you’re looking to be a hostess and a half, you can’t go wrong with Bin 555. The online description says it “offers bright fruit-forward flavours of plums and strawberry, followed by a dash of pepper and a touch of black licorice.” I really have no idea how wine tasters come up with these descriptions, but then maybe if I tasted as opposed to gulped, I’d probably appreciate the whole range, too.

Anyway, point being, whether or not you can taste those things, it’s delicious. And, it’s cheap. Cheap cheap. Not to be a miser, but after a shopping extravaganza at Whole Foods, one needs to watch their wallets.

Sandy came over, we settled onto my couch, food was on the coffee table (no dining tables or chairs at my place), and dug in, He poured the wine.

Half a glass, I was relaxed and happy. I figured I’d keep my head and sip the rest of the glass, slowly. Tell that to Mr. Thang, who kept pouring. Okay okay, I didn’t exactly complain, but that definitely set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Here is my wine scale, in glasses:

1.0: Happy

1.5: Happy, Giggly

2.0: Happy, Giggly, Klutzy

2.5: Happy, Giggly, Klutzy, Horny

3.0: The Magic Glass. Inhibition flies out the fucking window.

3.5: Happy, Giggly, Klutzy, Horny, Adventurous

4.0: Happy, Giggly, Klutzy, Horny, Adventurous, Stupid

4.5: Don’t ask.

One bottle translates to three glasses apiece. We finished the bottle. Read Glass 3.0 on my Wine Meter.

We were sprawled all over my huge sectional, Sandy said something, but I was laughing too hard to take it all in. In fact, looking back on it now, the whole scene is a total haze. I said something back, maybe he replied, we bantered back and forth both laughing our asses off and then…

And then… in all seriousness… we made out with the fire of a thousand suns.

I may have been in stupid mode, but I remember most of that quite clearly. The slow sweetness we’d had in his car was there, but quickly gave way to two people really enjoying each other. Especially each others’ lips. Oh, his lips. I could write about them for days.

Never underestimate making out. It may seem trivial to some, but it’s a very powerful thing. After all, it makes you feel sexy. It makes you feel wanted.

It is an amazing thing, to want someone that bad. It is even more incredible to be wanted. That bad.

By the time he left a few hours later, I was, to be polite… ahem… thoroughly disheveled. Huge grin on my face; ear to ear. But the nicest part of all was, so was he. About the disheveled part, that is. And so he was he. About the grin, I mean.

Way to go, Australia. And the best supporting actor Oscar goes to my sectional sofa. Comfortable, yet practically oversized for such… surprisingly wonderful happenings.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Great compliments come in many different forms.

Milosz arrived for Driving Lesson #6 parking, as he always does, right in front of the house. I walked out to meet him, and noticed something different: the sign on top of the car, blaring METROPOLITAN DRIVING SCHOOL, was gone.

After good mornings were exchanged, I asked Milosz where the sign went.

“Eet ees een trunk. You already hef your license, so we don’t need eet.”

“But it was on the car for all my other lessons.”

He shrugged a bit awkwardly. “You are goot driver. You just needed to get your confeedence bek. No more sign for you.”

I needed to get my confidence back. For many things, I think.

I said it once and I’ll say it again: great compliments come in many different forms. I got into the driver’s seat, turned the key in the ignition, and motored off.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

To introduce or not to introduce? That is the question.

Actually, it was more like, to re-introduce or not. Sure my family knew I was speaking to Sandy again, sure they knew we’d gone out the night before, and sure they knew we were going out again, but did I dare let fish swim in new waters by asking him to pick me up at the house?

It’s a weird situation. Second date is *not* the time to be bringing someone in to meet ma and pa, but then again in this case, everyone had already met a zillion years ago.

Asking him in felt strange. Asking him to pick me up around the corner felt strange. Luckily, my inner turmoil and choosing the worse of two evils was quickly solved by my mother’s busybody friend, who’d dropped by for an impromptu visit. I wasn’t about to let Sandy face the satellite of the Eastern European community, thus, around the corner it was.

It was still daylight when he pulled up, not in the convertible this time but in his everyday SUV. When I opened the passenger door to jump in, the first thing I saw was a big blush on that smiling face, and a stuffed bear in my seat.

"For me?" I squealed, then jumped in and gave him a big thank-you kiss. On the cheek.

"I had to do something high school. It’s not too cheesy, is it?"

No, no, no. Never. Every girl likes to feel special and if it was cheesy, it was in all the right ways. How sweet, though.

Tonight’s agenda was dinner, and Sandy let me pick. I’d been craving sushi forever, and so that was our direction. I love sushi with its many forms and subtleties; I love the taste, I love the atmosphere of a great sushi restaurant, and I love that sushi is fabulous man-testing material.

To properly gage a man’s worth and know how he *really* feels about you, believe me, nothing works better than a good gross out. Sit in front of him with a piece of cold, dead, sea urchin between two chopsticks, then go to town. Chances are he’ll be so appalled by your actions that he’ll totally quease up, order a teriyaki bento box, then avoid making eye contact with you for the rest of the meal. Child’s play.

I ordered a sashimi plate. Hardcore raw fish, straight up, no rice. Guess what? Sandy ordered the same thing. Talk about a great start.

Now, what did we do during dinner, you ask? We talked. We caught up. But then, how much talking and catching up can you possibly do after a week’s straight of hours long phone calls?

In my sprite old age, here’s what I’ve learned: when you’re with someone you actually like to talk to, there’s always plenty to say. And plenty of fun to be had, too; we kept slipping bits of everything onto each others' plates

After sushi, we were at odds for what to do. Sunday night in the semi-burbs isn’t much fun since everything closes super early on a school night, even in the summer. So, when in doubt, go to the park.

I am not a woman of the wild, but parks and me have something going. And this isn’t just any park, but a great big sprawl of green pretty close to the city. I guess it’s our version of Central Park. Nothing near as glamorous, mind you, but I love it there all the same. I remember going to birthday parties there as a kid, and Sunday picnics with the family. It’s where I still take Blue to play on the infamous, off-leash Dog Hill, and where I went so briefly on my 31st this year.

And what did we do at the park? Well, we walked for a good while, down a dark winding road with barely any lights. He held my hand, I held his. Butterflies, butterflies. We kept going until we found a little nook surrounded by landscaped gardens and neatly trimmed trees overlooking a handful of benches.

We settled there for a bit where we, you got it, talked some more. Being a landscape architect and urban planner, Sandy impressed me with his thorough knowledge of trees and foliage. In turn, I told him about the time I got searched at gunpoint on the German border. He laughed, and he put his arm around me, too. More than once I caught him turning to look at me with those sparkling blue eyes that sent my sweet, flitting butterflies into a raging vortex.

Kiss me dammit, before I turn into a frog.

But alas, it never came. He might have, I suppose, if I hadn’t kept smiling, turning beet red, then looking away.

Well, what would you have me do? This is the one guy in the world that can take me back to study hall, bubblegum and "Do you think he likes me?" notes being passed during Biology. Habitual shyness from those days can still prevail, you know.

Between us, I think he was habitually prevailing, too. Call it a hunch.

It started getting cold; Sandy noticed I was shivering and so we left the park. Again at odds for what to do, we wound up back in the burbs, parked on a narrow street in the pitch black of two-something in the morning.

Sandy turned the engine off, but left the music on. I don’t remember which songs were playing, but I do recall perfectly the alien green lights the radio set off, giving the whole ambiance a very X-Files feel. Minus that whole, "the truth is out there" thing.

My cheeks were crampy from smiling so much, my heart was pounding, and my brain was buzzing with exhaustion from not sleeping more than three hours per night the past week, and the excitement of where I was and who I was with. Never a more perfect time to reenact our very own Inspiration Point.

The frog, the frog!

I knew he wanted to kiss me. It was all over his face. It was in his eyes, and his slow smile, and the way he was leaning up against the car door, hands resting loosely on his lap.

Was it all over my face? I can only assume. I don’t remember ever wanting to kiss someone so badly.

Take the bull by the horns, already.

Nuh-uh. Ah yes, our good friends Catholic Right and Orthodox Left. Back with a vengeance.

You’re not a kid anymore.

Sure I am. I’m immature and ridiculous and I want him to kiss me first!



Shy, this boy is.

Tell me about it.

He’s so cute.

Yes, he is. Just as cute as when he was 18.

More so.

I wonder what 16-year old me would do right now?

Blush and giggle it off.

What should 31-year old me do?

Not that.

Needless to say, I love it when Orthodox Left wins.

I leaned over, one hand on the console, the other on his cheek, and kissed him.

We were like that for five, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes; I’m really not sure because I wasn’t keeping track. I was too preoccupied with his lips, his breath, his face against mine. His hand on my neck, his eyelashes tickling my nose.


How on earth can I explain the emotions coursing through me then, a whirlpool that I dove into, headfirst? How unbelievable I was finding this all, or how giddy I was?

After all, I got to make out with my prom date.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dear Lancey,

You are the absolute bestest. The bester bestest best everything in the whole wide world, and I consider myself very lucky to have your number in my cell phone directory.

As if it wasn't enough that you give the most orgasmic head massages AND transform my hair to a state of diva-like perfection, you were actually wonderful enough to think of me when one of your other clients just happened to mention that her company needed a writer. My interview is tomorrow at 3pm.

Even if nothing comes of this, I'm so glad to have the opportunity, and so glad to have YOU, sweetcheeks.

I just want you to know that you're loved, totally hot, and since you got a part-time job at that awesome store, I shall be groveling to you for discounts.

You are the cutest chachka in the world and I look forward to squeezing you very soon!

Love always,


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh wow.

Wow, wow, wow.




As in, really. A gently aged version of what I'd seen last in blue jeans and a black shirt, leaning up against his car and waiting for me. He turned to look my way, and so I said the first words that just happened to come out of my mouth: "Hi, Sandy."

He laughed slightly and walked over, the smile on his face now just as big as mine, arms outstretched with a big hug for me to disappear into. Oh, my. Those eyes, that hair, that voice. 14 years melted away into nothing on a quiet suburbian street, and I can honestly say that I loved every minute of it.

Hug ended, smiles stayed, and Sandy showed me to his car. Not just any car either, but a 1971 dark green Fiat convertible with tan leather seats and the top down. Otherwise known in my personal vocabulary as a) roadster, b) speedster, c) drool. I have a serious weakness for cool vintage everything, and he was raking up some *major* brownie points for most interesting ride I've ever been picked up in, or ever been in, period.

Until he started up and I realized just how windy it was. Let me tell you about curly hair and convertibles. They don’t go. While all you straight haired goddesses would come out of this situation looking windswept and divine, I knew I was bound for the finger-in-the-socket look.

There is, however, one huge exception to the rule: have too much fun to care. For the love of everything holy, I was in a ’71 Fiat on a Saturday night with Sandy. Messy hair be damned! I did bunch it up to hold it in back though; didn’t want to look like a total freak when all was said and done.

We didn’t make plans, not exactly, just took the evening in stride and let the car punt along. Besides, it was still too fresh, all of this, to set anything in stone.

Looking back on it now, I still find that night a crazy one. There I was in a seriously cool car with, to pardon the cliché, my first love, who I hadn’t seen in half a lifetime. What can possibly go through your head on such an occasion? What do you do exactly, what could you even begin to say to each other?

Well, you get nervous, I can tell you that now. This had been a long time coming and in many ways, might not have even come at all. You don’t say much, because you can’t believe it’s even happening. You look over every now and then just to make sure he’s really there, and then you pinch him slightly, just to make sure he’s real.

He smiled and looked over when I did that, knowing exactly what the pinch meant. And then, he took me for coffee.

Interesting place it was, very, "My name is Fabio and welcome to my disco coffee house." Ultrasuede booths, mirrored bar, girls in flared pants with teased hair. Sandy got an espresso, I got a tea, and we chatted. Here and there stuff: our lives, our jobs, his son, my dog. How we looked. He remembered my expressions, he said, my laugh too, and that once again led into how absolutely mental this all was.

Not fifteen minutes into our rock the base drinks, he leaned over and said, "This really isn’t my kind of place."

No surprise. He hadn’t been into this stuff before, and I’d never for a minute expected him to become Rico Suave. Sandy explained that he’d been here awhile back, pre-Fabio renovations, and had liked it much better then. He also said that there was no place really private around here where we could talk without interruption, except maybe his house, which wasn’t far away?

Had it been anyone else, I would have said no or at the very least, played cynically stupid. "Sorry sugar, I’m feeling extra crampy. Do you mind if we call it a night?" Nutty though I may be, first date/meeting + his domicile is a no go, ever, and any straight male diverting to his place right off deserves to squirm.

But Sandy is never anyone else. It wasn’t just that his intentions were honourable, but that the intention to do more was never there. Back into the Fiat.

Sandy had a very nice house, spacious and neat, well trimmed in all the right places and a far, far cry from my little city shoebox. How ridiculous is it that I felt a surge of pride at how well he’d done for himself, at so young an age? Or even that I had expected nothing less? I always knew he’d go places. Didn’t tell him that though; I was still walking through a dream that I was in his house at all.

He asked what I would like to drink and I asked for some water, because that’s what I usually have. That’s all I would have had anyway, I was far too knotted to go for anything else. We settled onto his couch facing each other, cross-legged and perma grins, both.

It wasn’t long before we were making out on his couch with the fire of a thousand suns.

Nah, we didn’t do that. Never take me seriously when I say things like, "fire of a thousand suns." But we did talk, for hours, and the reality of just how glad I was finally began to sink in.

Ask me how much I’d missed this, over the years. Ask me how many times I’d thought of doing what we were doing then, just talking to him in person or on the phone, being able to relate to him now as totally as I did years ago. Ask me what it was like to finish each others’ sentences again, or even tell stupid jokes with every confidence that when the punch line came, he would laugh. And he always did.

Very much. A million times. Amazing.

To say the least.

Even just to be so close to him again, to look at him and see those twinkling blue eyes looking back at me; shorter, lighter hair where the thick crop used to be, and a goatee on his once baby face that thankfully, did nothing to hide that charming, full of mischief smile. A smile that hadn’t changed one bit.

It had "After School Special" written all over it, let me tell you.

But there was one part of the night that did stand out the most. We were talking about something or another, and Sandy said, "You know, not too long ago I decided that I didn’t want to do relationships anymore."

Uh oh.

"I was sick of them."

Oh my.

"I was sick of how badly they always turned out, and so I closed everything off."

Closed heart? Oh well. Unexpected, I’ll admit, but then I’d be lying if I said I didn’t respect that, either. In my adult mind I reminded myself that it was better to know now, in the beginning. I could deal with this.

"But for you, everything is open."


Oh *my*.

I looked down and smiled when he said that, blushing to the roots of my hair, feeling very much the 16-year old again.

But then thank goodness for non-teenage me who, in a moment of inspiration, squeezed his cheeks and took his hand. And then I kissed him, and we made out on his couch for an hour.


Nah, that didn’t happen. I’m just addicted to fooling you. But I’ll be completely serious when I tell you that hearing that was… absolutely glorious.

To say the least.

Time flies when you’re having fun. All too soon it was into the wee hours of the morning, and we packed back into the car so that Sandy could take me home. Such a gentleman.

He took the main road to get there, a long stretch of 20 kilometers that just happens to show off our history quite vividly. My first high school, where we’d gone to that one dance. The rotisserie chicken place Georgia had worked at, where we’d met just outside. The library where he’d yanked me towards him, by surprise, for that first kiss. Driving by it all now over a dozen years later, very grown up but beside each other once again, was very surreal.

And it was very nice.

Time flies faster when you’re in a fast car, at 3am no less, when there are barely any cars and all the lights are green. In no time at all we were in front of the house, and about to say goodbye.

I gave him a kiss on the cheek, and a huge hug; he obliged me with a hug back and said, "Someday, ask me to tell you what I'm thinking right now."

"What are you thinking right now?"

"I can't tell you!"

Bloody hell! "Then tell me what it has to do with at least!"

He sighed, he smiled, he feigned exasperation. It was all very cute, I can assure you. "It has to do with what I was thinking when you turned the corner tonight."

Juicy. "You can tell me now."

"No, I can't. But I can tell you that as a rule, I don't kiss on the first date."

Silly, stickler Sandy. "I know. This isn’t exactly our first date, though."

He laughed. "Just so you know, I was about to break that rule for the first time ever, but you turned your face at the last minute."

DAMN! Smartass! My chin dropped and I made a shrieky noise that just made him laugh, and hug me harder. "Well if you're going to be like that, at least tell me what you were thinking when I turned the corner?"

"I can't!"

I pouted and sulked. Just a bit, mostly because I really wanted to find out. "Sure you can. Please?"

Sandy acquiesced, then very reluctantly said, "The first thing I thought when I saw you was... damn, she's still beautiful."

Oh my.

I kissed him on the forehead, we hugged again, and then he walked away. No disappointment for no first kisses, or first after a long time kisses tonight. There was too much of now to enjoy, too much of everything else, and what was supposed to happen, would, in its own time.

There was tomorrow, in fact. We'd already made dinner plans.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What do you wear to a meeting with destiny?

Clothes. Duh.

But to be more specific, if there is such an outfit in your closet that makes you feel comfortably kickass, that's the one. Ask no further questions, just put it on and spend the rest of your prep on face and hair.

Better yet, just go as yourself. That's what he remembered best, no?

The last time Sandy saw me, I was probably in jeans and a t-shirt. My hair was insane, my eyebrows weren't plucked because I hadn't started doing that yet, and I was most likely clammy and nervous. Hell, I was always clammy and nervous when I saw him.

Time for some comfortable kickass, meaning the Punk Royals stayed on. Sure they're baggy, industrial, dark green and showcase choice words on my bum, but I love them. I love them, and I love me in them. Done.

But heavens to Betsy, what to match? Easy: long white tank top bunched up in all the right places, and shorter, sheer white blouse on top of that. Middle Eastern silver stayed on, too.

Makeup, simple. Yes I know I'd had that incredible session with Sassy Sandra that made me see the errors of my ways, but I didn't want to look too overdone right off the bat and so, stuck to my holy cosmetrinity of liner, mascara & gloss.

Hair, down. Thank you to the makers of Modern Organic Products C-System Reconstructing Treatment for this positively swell hair day. Luscious, flouncy curls aplenty.

Flips flops, leather bag and *plenty* of perfume sealed the deal. Bulgari Red Tea, I do believe. I'm a sucker for a good smelling man, and like to think that at least some men out there appreciate the same in women.

It was 10 something when Sandy texted that he was in the neighbourhood, and I suggested he pick me up at the corner. Not that I'm one to be waiting on street corners in the dark, but I wanted our first hello after all this time to be private. I mean, could you imagine if I'd asked him to pick me up at the house?


Moms: SANDY! (suffocates him in a bear hug)

Me: Uh, mom, it's my turn now...

Nada, no thank you, there will be none of that mess today. Street corner it was.

It was a chilly night, unseasonal for mid-August, but gorgeous and clear. Our house is fourth from the sign, and so the walk wasn't very far. Only a couple of minutes to ponder, contemplate, and (attempt to) ignore the gigantic knot in my stomach. I could see a hint of car from where I was, but a pine tree blocked the rest of my view.

Was I nervous?

Oh yeah.

But I was even more excited, and picked up the pace. Turned the corner, and there he was.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Diary of a Hangover

Wake up. Wish you were dead. Go back to sleep.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sorry Miuccia, but my outfits didn't turn out to be brown.

It is a rainy afternoon, and it is the day of Wedding #1.

Here I stand in a long black skirt, white blouse and heels. The skirt is made of swishy fabric and thin strips of velvet; the blouse is a snug wrap. On my feet are super sexy 3.5 inch black strappys, and my bracelet and earrings are cobalt blue stones set in metal with an antique gold finish.

Today is a day of luminescence, because I am one-third of the way there. Since I started writing this blog, I am a total of 20lbs thinner.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oli's bridal shower was a handful of Saturdays ago.

Mine and Oli's lack of "the dream" of a perfect wedding extends to the typical bridal shower. We don't dream about those, either. In fact for the most part, we find them rather boring.

Typical bridal shower = finger foods, non-alcoholic drinks, loads of tissue paper and silly games. Throw in presents, wrapping paper monogrammed with champagne glasses, a lot of "oohs" and "aahs" and you have exactly what we've been trying to avoid for the better part of our natural lives.

Sure, some people will tell you that it's a big cash wagon, getting that pile of gifts and all, but then we're not about that.

What irks us is the gigantic division of sexes in wedding duties. We really don't care that boys have higher tolerance to alcohol or get to pee standing up, but we find it incredibly unfair that they do get wild, rambunctious bachelor parties while girls play Toilet Paper Bride.

So imagine my great shock and utter surprise when I found myself actually wanting to throw one of these things for my darling sister. I mean, you only get married once, right? Why not immerse her in that domestic quagmire of doilies, frills and pink bridal goodness?

With some amendments, that is. First: no games and/or stupidities. Absolutely, undeniably none. No toilet paper bride, no bingo, no penis pasta and definitely no "don't cross your legs or you lose the prize" jazz.

Second: no pink. Pink sucks. Luckily, Oli & Corey had just booked their honeymoon in fabulous Hawaii, and so a tiki theme seemed to fit the bill.

And third: be as normal as humanely possible, for the sake of ourselves and all guests. In the face of such events where it's just so easy to get carried away with cuteness, normalcy can be a blessing.

Thus, a carload of us, close to the bride that is, packed into mumsy's car for the three hour drive south to Corey's hometown. Besides moms and me there was Vicki, Salome and Raj. While Raj is in possession of male plumbing, he gets free tickets to all girl events. We just can't imagine doing something like this without him.

City meets Country, Sign #1: pulling into a country gas station, getting out to stretch your legs and noticing that not only are you in the middle of a gynormous field, but that every single eye is fixated on you and yours.

Vicki leaned over to me and said, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," and even though I laughed I could see her point exactly. In the sea of Dockers and company logo golf shirts was me, all Punk Royal and Middle Eastern silver; Vicki in solid black with Dior accessories and ballerina slippers; the gypsy princess that was Salome, and splendid Raj, bedecked from head to toe in D&G. Definitely not your standard, small town attire.

City meets Country, Sign #2: instead of appreciating the extra long sprawls of green lawns, you discuss property taxes and guesstimate the annual amount of hours wasted on lawn-mowage.

City meets Country, Sign #3: tottering around drunkenly, double fisting bucket pina colada mix while posing for silly pictures on the pool table with your bestest friends in the world.

Okay okay, I hate bridal showers, but this one wasn't half bad. In fact, it was pretty fun, mostly because it was for my sister. Part of me never thought I'd see her like that, in the seat of honour, opening gift after gift. Not that she has such bad luck with men or isn't the marrying kind, but just because I'd gotten so used to her flying solo. My sister is a superhero, she is, but when the time is right, it's right.

Her time is right, and I'm glad. I was also glad she liked my gift, the Mario Batali matching pot and lasagna pan. I'm a huge Mario fan and know quality when I see it, despite the fact that together, the pot and pan must weigh at least 30lbs. Very unpractical to drag all the way to the country only to bring it back again. Instead, I took a picture of Blue posing his ass off beside them, slipped the photo in an Italian cookbook and brought that instead. My arms thanked me.

I'm also glad Oli got her share of funny stuff, like the studded collar and leash from one of Corey's cousins, and pink undies with "Fell in love with Couture" written across the ass. From Raj, naturally.

All in all, a good party. Definitely made better by the absence of games. Definitely made better by the text messages pouring into my cell phone throughout the day.

Sandy was on the other end. Naturally I'd been texting back, running to and fro from the guest bedroom, where my purse + phone and all other belongings where, and then back again to the hub of the festivities. Little messages here and there that made me smile, because I knew he was thinking about me.

That was a good thing. I was thinking about him, too.

Our fractured conversation picked up a bit during the long ride back home.




Not being totally clueless, this is the part where the lightbulb over my head switched on.







After 14 years and some change, I was going to see Sandy again.