Friday, October 27, 2006

En Route

Somewhere between Texas and California
American Airlines flight #1537
30,000 feet

Me: So, here we are. I’m stuffed in this stupid seat worse than any sad little sardine.. How are you doing?

Him: Reasonably well. Being of, umm, somewhat smaller stature, I feel less sardinish.

Me: That is due to one of two things:

1) You’re barely two inches shorter than me, for Pete’s sake! And stop using that against me. It’s not like I chose to keep growing after high school.

2) You’ve apparently failed to notice that the moron in front of you is a bit more courteous than the moron in front of me, and hasn’t tilted his seat back as far. Thus, extra leg space for you.
See? All better now!

Him: I suppose it has nothing to do with the fact that you let me have the aisle seat on both flights so far?

Me: I don’t give up the aisle for just anyone, you know. I also forgot to add in the above that being two inches shorter reflects absolutely nothing on your… extracurricular performances. Rest assured that you make up for any difference *very* well. Remarkably so, in fact.
See? All better now! Again! At least I hope.

Him: Is it getting hot in here or is it just you?

Me: It's always me, darling. The restroom sign says VACANT. Shall we go join the Mile High Club?

Him: I’d love to, but have you seen those things? There is barely enough room in there for a guy two inches shorter than me!

Hey, guy behind me… please stop reading what I am writing. It is not only rude and unwelcome, but you have just made an ass out of yourself.

Me: Wow, that is so just the rudest thing. Now if we do want to join the Mile High Club, he’ll see and report us to the sexy stews. We’ll be seeing San Francisco through the Alcatraz windows.

Him: Hmmm… what is the elevation above sea level at Alcatraz?

Me: I have no idea, but I’ll bet that you do.

Him: Nowhere near a mile, I bet.

Me: Just about *everyone* is a member of the Mile High Club. We can be different with Alcatraz and join the… Former Maximum Security Club.

Him: Wow… you badass!

Me: You so love that.

Him: I can’t believe that badass made spell check.

Me: Your mind is only ever on one thing. Punctuation.

Him: That’s right. By the way, you’re not planning on posting this are you?

Me: For surely.

Him: No way! Had I known that I would have been more suave, eloquent and astute.

Me: Always time to remedy that. The VACANT sign is still on.

Him: Well then, look at who has the one track mind. Remember the Little Johnny joke?

Me: The, “I like the way you think” one? That means that despite all the attempts at remaining calm, civil an PROPER, you like the way I think.

Him: Yes, they say that opposites attract, you know?

Me: Yeah, but in our case that’s not true. You’re just putting on this act of eunuch-ness because you’re shy of the blog people.

Him: Me?? Shy??? Noooooo!

Me: You blushed this morning when I said you were cute.

Him: It was the wine from the night before, and lack of sleep.


Him: Okay, now I’m blushing.

Me: Know what?

Him: What's that?

Me: I’m glad you’re here.

Him: I’m glad I’m here too. By the way, have I thanked you yet for taking me to San Francisco? I never would have taken the time to get away if you hadn’t suggested it.

Me: You don’t have to thank me, I know it’s all there. I have a feeling we’re going to have a fantastic time, too. I knew that for sure this morning, when the pigeon crapped on my suitcase. That’s supposed to be good luck.

Him: So I hear. Well, let’s hope it holds true. You know what I think? I think we will have a fantastic time and credit it all to the pigeon crap. If nothing else, it makes for a good story.

Me: That it does. To San Francisco and pigeon crap.

Him: Indeed. Here’s wishing that the proverbial lucky pigeon shares a bit of crap with all of us.

Me: You have the prettiest eyes. Gush.

Him: Jay Bondrock, you’re wonderful! …I know.

Me: So modest! You must be Italian. Or short.

Him: No, just me….

Me: You have nice ears, too.

Him: You really think so? Wow, that’s swell of you to say. I really try to keep my ears looking pretty for you. I’m glad you noticed. You have pretty ears too. I notice them when I’m not staring into the sun.

Me: You devil, you!

For enquiring minds, see Seinfeld archives for the meaning of "staring into the sun."As for wanting to know if we made it into the Mile High Club, to paraphase Brittany Murphy as creepy unstable girl in the movie Don't Say a Word.... I'll never tell!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tomorrow, Sandy and I are going to San Francisco. It will be his first time there; it will be my fourth.

Why, you are saying, WHY am I going somewhere I’ve already been so many times? To ask such a question means, you’ve never been to San Francisco.

The final choice came down to Frisco and London; I’ve been there three times already, too. Well, only once substantially; the first two times were a couple of days apiece, and the third was for a few hours between flights. Sandy has been to neither, and asked me to make the choice.

A toughie. On one hand is easily the most colourful city in America; on the other is the most diverse city in Europe. How to choose?

Budget, that’s how. Our wallets won out, as did the shorter flight, and soon we will be seeing sunny California.

Apart from the Airport Neurosis that I can feel settling in, I’m bouncing up and down with the sensation of it all. Not only that, but I feel extremely blessed to be making a trip for the second time this year. Every journey is miraculous, because no two journeys are ever alike. If nothing else, it is always a great adventure unfolding before you.

What about Sandy? “I’m absolutely giddy about this trip,” he said to me, making sure to use “giddy” because we’re both such vocabulary freaks. Note to Self: pack Travel Scrabble.

Life is a funny thing. Years ago, I had to lie to go to the prom with Sandy. Now, under full parental awareness, we’re changing time zones. You know you’re grown up, when.

But enough said, because there is packing to do, errands to run, and hyperventilation to be had. I’m getting on a plane, remember? It just wouldn’t be fun without a little paranoia from yours truly.

Once again, my darlings, for the second time this year my gloved hand bids you adieu. He and I will be sure to wear some flowers in our hair. After all, we are untervegs.

Oli gets Married, Chapter 7

A wedding is not a wedding without dancing. A couple is in love, and everyone has gotten together to celebrate that. A great meal’s been had, a few drinks have gone down, and the atmosphere has sufficiently loosened up for mingling and some grooves.

Sandy arrived after dinner, right when Corey was closing off with his speech. I’d invited him for drinks, and the cupcakes and coffee that would be served later on.

But, you may ask, why hadn’t he been my date for the entire night?

Because it was Oli’s night, that’s why. Your sister’s wedding isn’t the best time to have a new man on your arm, introducing him to rounds of family. That night was her glory.

It’s also definitely not the time for that man to be under dozens of scrutinizing, eagle eyes. Dance floor time is best; everyone’s a little tipsy, and no one pays too much attention.

Sandy was wearing a black suit, and looked mighty sharp. And the first thing he did when he saw me, was to tell me how ravishing I looked. Yes, that got him one sucker of a kiss. I put my arm through his and we made our way to the bar, for one (or some) of those delicious signature cocktails, when he asked me if I wanted to dance.

“Really?” I know dancing isn’t Sandy’s favourite thing to do.

“Yes,” he said. “It’s been too long since we’ve danced.”

I’ll say. The last time we went for a turn was at the prom. We each had a martini, then Sandy took my hand, and led me to the music. A slow song was on, and ours for the taking.

“So how do we do this?,” he asked me. “Do we put our arms around each other, like in high school, or the one hand out thing?”

“Definitely the hand bit,” I laughed. “Things get more complicated as you get older. It’s like sticking out your pinky when drinking tea.”

So, we did just that. My right hand was in his left; my other arm was around his shoulder, and he held me at the waist. Cheek to cheek, in the most grown up fashion. Though I hate using this word, it is the best descriptive one that comes to mind: lovely.

The last time we danced like this, we lasted over three hours. This time, we lasted just minutes. The song was barely over and I was still in my reverie when, quite suddenly, I was literally snatched and spun like a disco diva.

Who on earth could have done such a thing? Lance, naturally. My darling Lancey had chosen to do something very stupid that night: Drink & Dance. Anyone who really knows Lance, knows he should never Drink & Dance. The results are comedically disastrous.

The look on my face must have been priceless; Sandy just about buckled over, and everyone else started to howl. That sultry Pussycat Dolls song was on, and once Lance had finished spinning me, I got his sexy thang shimmy up and down my backside.

Lance swung me left, he swung me right, then he leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Can I dance dirty?”

In my vocabulary, dancing dirty means the 80’s moves popularized by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. “Sure,” I told him.

The next thing you know, the spirit of every single backup dancer Cher has ever had, throughout her entire career, possessed Lance’s body. He was no longer Lance; he was the showgirl Lancene. He was on his knees, he was break dancing on the ground, his face was in my chest, he was swinging around the wooden columns like a stripper; he was whipping off his tie and roping me with it. I was laughing so hard I almost split my dress.

Once Lancene finished her routine and I finally managed to calm down, the dancing continued for a while longer. I danced with my cousins, I danced with Raj, I danced with my sister and new brother-in-law, the other bridesmaids, and one extremely drunk uncle.

Once I’d sufficiently danced my gourds off with everyone available, and once Lancene was off the ceiling, Sandy and I looked for a spot to have some alone time. We went out back, where the ceremony had been, but it was crowded. We went in front, to the bar area, but was crowded. Outside near the door seemed fine at first, but people kept coming out to find us.

We settled for the small water tower that was a few yards away. If we were looked for we’d be found, but otherwise, it was the best privacy manageable for the time being.

What do you do when you’re all dressed up, a little tipsy, exhilarated from dancing; exhilarated from the whole day in fact, and under a water tower in the dark, with someone you really like?

Most likely, everything we did. Sandy and I kissed, and laughed, and enjoyed each other in the way that only we can. We talked a lot, we always do; we bantered back and forth, and cut each other up.

It was around this time that I asked him to say something in Italian to me, because I was dying to hear it. If you’ve never heard a man speak in soft Italian tones to you, I highly recommend you go out and find a Wop immediately. It’s a beautiful language, smooth and flowing, and so sexy it makes you want to rip all his clothes off (insert growling noises here).

I had my hands in his, and he thought briefly before saying something. When he was done, I squealed, “What did it mean, what did it mean?”

He smiled softly at me, and his eyes twinkled. “I said, ‘What did you do, to make me fall in love with you all over again?’”


Sandy looked right into my eyes. “I love you, Cheech.”


Half my lifetime ago, I stood in front of a boy, wearing a pretty dress and hoping for a kiss goodnight. Now, I was standing in front of this man, wearing a pretty dress, expecting absolutely nothing, and instead listening to the ultimate outpouring of his heart.

An outpouring that was all for me.

What does a girl say back, in such a case? I traced my finger down his nose. “I love you too, Ace.”

And then we kissed.

My sister’s most special day; My very special day.

Who would’ve thought?


Since the wedding, I have been living out of suitcases, tote bags, gym bags. I have been going back and forth from my parents house, to Oli’s townhouse, to my loft, and the odd sleepover at Sandy’s.

Last weekend, I was looking for something to pack in my overnighter when mumsy looked at me and said, “Oonterveggs.”

Moms lived and worked in Germany before she was married, and still knows the language well. She swears at me in Deutsch to this day, but I’d never heard that word before. “Say what?”

Unterwegs. You’re always rushing, always going somewhere.”

These days, too true.

I looked up unterwegs online when I got home that night, and its literal translation is, “on the way.”

Even more true, these current days especially. I’m on the way, and I’m not alone. This Saturday, Sandy and I are going to California.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Oli gets Married, Chapter 6

Not just yet for me, though. I still had a speech to give.

When I was 16, I was in a public speaking competition at my new high school. It was only two and a half weeks into the school year, and getting up on a stage to face hundreds of people I barely knew was a daunting prospect.

I can talk pretty fast. When I’m in the banals of teenage-dom and nervous, I talk really really fast. Warp speed. The last thing I remember before getting off stage was the sea of blank stares and open mouths. That bad.

To be totally cliché, that scarred me for life, and while things have admittedly gotten much better since, it doesn’t mean I jump for joy when faced with a presentation.

Well, at least I’d be speaking first. The wedding planner wanted to break up the meal with speeches before, during and after dinner, and thought it would be best if I paved the way for everyone else.

Fabulous. Cue clueless girl music, here. I pave for nothing and no one, dammit! But then, it’s always best to get it over with.

My cousin Seth was the emcee, and was gracious enough to take me by the hand and lead me over to the podium. He was even more gracious enough to let me imprint nail marks into his fingers, announce me as “the unforgettable,” and stay beside me during the first minute into my speech.

Shakin’ in my heels, I tell ya. Here were 95 people hearing me out, many of whom I knew personally, and my darling sister the bride, my biggest supporter, and best friend.

Who wasn’t listening to a word I was saying.

The first time, I chalked it up to atmosphere. It was a busy time, the food was coming out, and everyone was a hell of a lot more interested in the grilled root vegetables and caramelized walnut and stilton salad then anything I could possibly be saying. So into the microphone, I just said, “Oli, pay attention!” That got some laughs.

The second time, she was talking to someone. Again I said, “Okay Oli, my heart is bleeding for you up here. Listen up!” More laughs, and she shouted, “Sorry!” across the room.

Third time she was talking to Corey. This time, I was a little more drastic. “Do you know how many hours it took me to write this speech, and how many sit ups it took to get into this dress?”

More laughter, but I got Oli’s attention this time. I think she caught the tail end okay.

Dinner was marvelous, as it should have been; we’re talking about my sister and her now husband, after all.


Freshly baked breads, Italian breadsticks, flatbreads and foccacia served with babaganoush, hummus, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Roasted Vegetable & Antipasto Platter with bocconcini and parmesan drizzled in balsamic syrup.

Signature Salad with crumbled stilton cheese dressing in a delectable pear vinaigrette.

Beef Medallions encrusted in peppercorn and served in a fragrant demi-glaze

Roast Turkey Roulade rolled with traditional stuffing and served with gravy and cranberry sauce.

Roasted Purple Potatoes

Roasted Root Vegetable Platter

Cheese and Fruit Platters: A tantalizing selection of both local and imported cheese, and fresh seasonal fruits.

Specialty Coffee Bar: Cappuccino, Espresso, Mochachino, as well as regular coffee, made to order.

After the Cake Cutting, Chocolate Banana Cupcakes and Green Tea Cupcakes.

And later in the evening, an assortment of thin crust Pizzas.

We enjoyed this to the fullest, every last one of us in the room. And then, when the plates were cleared away and every last speech had been said, the floor was opened for dancing.

Fast Forward: The day Oli and Corey left for their honeymoon to beautiful Hawaii, I came back from work to find an envelope with my name on it, on my front steps. In it was a card with a ringing telephone on the front, and the moniker, Advice Hotline. I opened it up to find this:

There’s nothing better than knowing you’re just a phone call away.

My dearest Pookie!

Even though you think I wasn’t listening to your speech, I was.... Thank you for absolutely everything! But most of all, thank you for being the most AWESOME sister that ever was. And regardless of where we are, or how married we may be, we will ALWAYS be sisters, and NOTHING will ever change that. I love you and always will, cause you’re the bestest little big sister in the WHOLE WORLD!

Love always, your big little sis,

I may have shed a tear or two. But don’t tell anyone.

Oli gets Married, Chapter 5

It was only a few minutes’ journey from the last picture spot to the brewery, our place of destination and the place where my sister would tie the knot.

You might be thinking that a brewery is an odd place to get married, and indeed, it sounds just so. This place though, has a certain charm.

For one, you don’t actually have your guests standing near crates of bottles or vats of beer, though I’m sure most wouldn’t complain at the prospect. The way it works is, there factory is in back, there’s a bar through the main doors, and to the right of the bar is the events room.

It’s a beautiful room that Oli and Corey chose for their celebration. Slate floor, dark, rustic wood finishes, and the look and feel of an old train station from days gone by. Better yet, everything smells like cookies made from barley and hops.

Oli’s impeccable taste, combined with a little help from a wedding planner, made the room even more stunning. Dark wooden folding chairs matched the chocolate brown tablecloths with harlequin stitch; white plates and napkins matched the pillar candle on glass rounds, and glass cube vases filled with green freesias. Jazz was on the sound system, and guests filtered in and out between the main room and the bar, waiting for our arrival.

Plan: get married outside on the terrace; dinner, speeches and dancing inside.

The bus dropped us off a small distance away because of the crowds. The brewery is a short distance away from the dome, which was hosting a baseball game that day. Us bridesmaids, that being me, Vicki and Carrie, the sister of the groom, collected our belongings and started the five-minute walk to the brewery.

If you’re wondering what belongings we could have possibly had, you should never be a bridesmaid without an emergency kit, darlings: band aids, perfume, extra makeup and flip flops for later, to say the least. Armed with our totes, our troika of mauve plus two little flower girls led the way.

We walked through those doors, and like Moses, parted the Red Sea of our guests. Just kidding. It was quite the arrival, though, and certainly paved the way for Oli and her groom to grace us with their presence. I didn’t stick around to chat, though, was too busy in the restrooms with Vicki and Carrie, doing our last minute touchups

The next little while was a blur of events: after the restroom we stashed our bags in a cranny in the main reception area; the guests were ushered outside, the priest called me over to pre-sign some wedding contract stuff (to save time, he said), and then we stood obediently in a line, waiting to make our walk down the aisle.

Henry Purcell’s Trumpet Voluntary started to play, and Carrie was the first to go. Then Vicki, and then me.

The knots in my stomach were tightening, big time. What can I say, I don’t like being the centre of attention, especially when it comes to large groups. Even though it wasn’t my wedding day, I could totally relate to Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride when she tells Richard Gere that she wants to get married on a weekday, when everyone is at work.

I took a deep breath, turned around and wished my resplendent sister good luck. Then, clutching my simple bouquet of symbidium orchids, tied with a ribbon that matched my dress, I made my way down the aisle.

It wasn’t straight, rather, it curved around in a U, ending at the altar and the waiting priest. I remember walking and praying that I wouldn’t trip, or that a downpour would start at any moment. It was starting to get really overcast. Blissfully, I made it in one piece with all my dignity intact. Phew.

Last before the bride were the flower girls. Jinny, as it turns out, is much more shy than her 2-year old sister. She blushed deeply and held back when she realized how many people were watching her, while two-year old Joy, huge smile on her face, forged onward, tossing a maelstrom of rose petals in her wake. That got a good crowd giggle.

And then, my sister. Handel’s The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba played, and the crowd got to their feet to watch Oli on her short walk, which she did with grace and style. She also did it with happiness mapped all over her face. I was very thankful she wasn’t crying; she’d worn non-waterproof mascara.

The ceremony was your standard 20-minute schpiel, with its shining moments. Salome did the first reading, and the look on her face was priceless when she was interrupted by an intense foghorn blast from the nearby baseball game. Lacey did the next reading, and brought on the waterworks when her tears started halfway through.

I must admit, I had a few tears of my own. Hey, how often does my sister get married? But that was quickly remedied when Corey said “Trush” instead of “Trust” during his vows.

The rings were exchanged, I signed yet another document with the best man, and the priest announced Oli and Corey, husband and wife. They kissed to Thunderstruck by ACDC, and the audience showed their appreciation with a standing ovation and thunderous applause.

We toasted the newlyweds with glasses of sparkling champagne and pear liqueur that the wait staff was passing around, posed for more rounds of pictures, and walked back up the aisle, partnered with ushers.

My sister was married. Time to party.
Starbucks Cup, The Way I See It #170

There are many times when dancing is the most unsupportable, ridiculous, unexpected and necessary action. Life should be spent finding those moments and tap dancing through them.

Christopher Hermelin
Starbucks Customer

I don’t tap dance. I do club floor, semi-salsa, the waltz, the chicken dance, sometimes a belly dance, and I can even cha-cha. But I won’t tap dance. Nothing against Sammy Davis Jr., but I know my limitations.

I like the above quote, because I think that dancing during those moments in life are all that is necessary to keep us happy, well adjusted, and sane.

But then a lot of times, dancing through moments doesn’t mean you literally have to dance, you know. For instance, take this conversation Sandy and I had a couple of weeks ago:

Me: Hey Ace?

Him: Yeah Cheech?

Me: I get a week off at the end of October.

Him: That’s great, Cheech. Wanna do something?

Me: You read my mind! Shall we get on a plane?

Him: Sounds great, Cheech!

The end of October is almost upon us. In a few days, Sandy and I are going on a trip.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Oli gets Married, Chapter 4

Goin’ to the chapel and we’re
Gonna get me-heh-herried

But not before taking some fantastic pictures, for surely.

Pictures are what drive every about-to-get-married couple. Some would argue that it’s all about the video, but I totally disagree. Unless Oliver Stone and his Panavision rentals are a part of your guest list, the majority of wedding videos are dated and sad. Do you really want to watch dozens of desperate women trample each other for a bouquet, over and over again?

Oli and Corey didn’t have a videographer, but instead spent that extra dough on a great photographer. And, they (thankfully) decided to eschew the traditional route of only taking pictures together during and after the ceremony.

This meant that Corey got ready at our house that morning, and that yes, he did see his bride before the wedding. I’m sure many of you are clapping your hands to your mouths in horror, the horror at the bad luck that could only entail, but we’re not talking about traditionalist people, remember?

Besides, think about it. Does seeing a woman in a white dress before a priest is in front of you really mean you’re doomed to a lifetime of bad luck? Preposterous. We don’t think so, either.

After zipping Oli into her gown, I got my own heels on and followed the entire wedding party, parents, and all associated relatives and beings present out of the house, down the driveway, and onto the waiting bus.

A bus? Yes, darlings, we were carted to photos and the wedding by bus.

Wait, you’re saying, where’s the limo? Aha! Non-traditionalist! Oli and Corey rented a city bus!

Not being a car owner, I take the bus. A lot. I really hate it, too, the bloody things moves slow, gets stuck in traffic and on hot summer days, is a really crappy means to get around.

Now, imagine having a brand-spanking new, freshly cleaned city bus just for you and some of the people that you love best, complete with Awesome Eddie, certified bus driver, at your service. You’re dressed to the nines, everyone is chatting away, you and a couple of flower girls are waving at passing traffic and laughing at everyone’s bewilderment because you just know they’re all thinking, “Why on earth is a bride taking the bus?”

It’s a more efficient limo alternative, you can fit a lot more people, it’s seriously cool and let me assure you, a heck of a lot of fun.

What wasn’t fun were my undergarments issues, because it was somewhere here that I realized what a pain in that ass that La Perla corset was going to be, or as I fondly nicknamed it later on, La Piece of Crap. Well to be fair it wasn’t the corset’s fault, but more the combination of La Boobs and La Dress working ineffectively with La Perla/Piece of Crap to make me not a Marilyn Monroe, but a very sad Madonna fan.

To be frank, about an inch of black was peeking above the lines of the dress, so everyone could see it. If I didn’t want to look trashy and easy in the pictures, I had to keep pulling the flippin’ thing down.

First stop, the Music Garden. This is a fancy name for a patch of downtown property with inordinate amounts of grass. Hard to find that in the city, you know. There was also a gazebo, some gardens, and music references posted on signs here and there. We posed our asses off, and took pictures. I pulled my corset down. We got our heels stuck in the mud, had to make room for a second wedding party, and tackle down Jinny and Joy when they saw their father arrive, screamed, “DADDY!” and took off running through a mud pit. I pulled my corset down.

Second stop, funky downtown glass sculpture. Walked in and out of the maze-like panes. I pulled my corset down. Did not cut any of my fingers on the edges, but whacked an elbow. Thanked my stars it wasn’t my head. I pulled my corset down.

Walked across the quad, to funky copper and steel sculptures. I pulled my corset down. Arranged ourselves creatively, and smiled away. I pulled my corset down.

Walked over to fountain across the street. I pulled my corset down. Huffed, “This fucking thing is driving me mental!” without realizing that little Jinny was behind me. Upon hearing her gasp in shock at her auntie’s unabashed mention of the F-word, talked to Jinny about the importance of keeping secrets.

Posed prettily by the fountain. Wanted to rip my corset off and drown it in the water, but settled for pulling it down. Got back on the bus. Pulled corset down.

Laughed when I saw my sister pull her own corset down. Neither of us is talented in the chest area.

Motored off to the brewery. Now it was time to get married.
Try though I might, I could not find the script for the movie In Her Shoes, which I just had the pleasure of watching over the weekend.

The bit I wanted to include was where Simon is telling Rose that the law, the Sixers and good food drive him. Drive him in that, those are the things that keep him going. Everyone needs something to drive them, he says, or some things.

That bit made me think quite a bit. What drives us? More importantly, what drives me?

It took me the rest of the weekend to come up with this:

My family (too obvious?)
My dog (very obvious)
Writing &
The written word (would you ever have guessed?)
Good food (borrowing that from Simon)
Good wine (that’s all me)
Good music (so’s that)
Good friends (that too)
Road trips (soon)
World Cup
Spiffing up my own home

Needless to say, I’m much more complex than Simon. Or I’m a lot more simple. Either way, these are my life force.

What drives you?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Oli gets Married, Chapter 3

I woke up that Saturday morning with Blue walking over my legs. He does that every now and then. Less fun is when he falls asleep on my face.

I showered, lotioned, and did the general girl thing before going upstairs to greet the family, and the day. The house was buzzing with my parents and a couple of friendly early bird arrivals; pretty soon we were swarmed with family, a bridal party, beauty crew, dog sitter, and more food than any group could possibly finish.

I have been on one bridal party before this, and breakfast at the bride’s house consisted of cheap oatmeal cookies and stale chips. I really have to hand it to moms for pulling everything off as beautifully as she did, and for the mountains of edibles available to us. The sandwich table alone was a sight to behold; think 40 rolls and assorted bagels, and one pound each of cheddar, havarti, smoked turkey, roast beef, prosciutto cotto, the list goes on.

As much as I would have loved to snack and schmooze the morning away, there were preparations to be done. First dining room station: hair. That’s right, Lancey Pantsy was at my place of residence, doing what we all know him to do best. He pulled a chair out for me, and I sat into it, ready to become beauty queen that only he can turn me into.

I’d picked up this gorgeous hairclip from one of my favourite jewellery designers, Danny Pollak, and just had to have it in my curls that day. I’d pictured something simple; the top of my hair pulled back and clipped, with the rest loose around my shoulders. Alas for poor Lancey, my Airport Neurosis overlaps onto, My Sister is getting Married, Dammit!, I’m quite sure I drove him bonkers with my constant shitpicking and endless whining: “Laaaance! When's it going to be my turn already? I want to get dressed!”

As always, Lance rose to the occasion. He twirled my tresses and pulled extra hard when my squeals hit too high a pitch.

Second dining room station: makeup. Shana, the makeup girl, looked like an avant garde Thora Birch, and packed more eye shadow palletes than Ivan the Terrible had mistresses.

We agreed that smoky colours were best, being that my dress and shoes were mauvy, and so she dabbed, lined and brushed away.

For someone that's never even had the (dis)pleasure of meeting me before, she did a job and a half. My lids were dreamy and my lashes batted ferociously with that, “maybe I'm born with it” vibe. Way to go, Shana.

Dining room stations were over, but there was still plenty left on the agenda. For one, I had to prep the flowergirls of terror, Jinny and Joy. Dressing two giggling five and two-year old sisters, then making sure their hair stays intact and their dresses clean, is quite the job. I won't say I handled it quite swimmingly, but they did make it out the door in two immaculate pieces. Thank you, thank you very much.

For two: allocate ushers to various changeroom locations around the house. A few of dem big boys used my room. Fuck. So much for me being ready on time.

For three: Check on the dog. My good friend Alfred was gracious enough to come and look after Blue for the day. Somewhat paid, naturally. My heart needed to rest assured that he'd be well looked after on a day when we all happened to be indisposed. What can I say, I'll do almost anything for my baby. The dog, that is.

Finally, for three: I had to dress myself. My room was finally free, and so it was just me and that mauve wonder. And the La Perla corset, which, little did I know right then, would become the bain of my existence.

I put on my dress, zipped it up, slipped on my heels and carefully walked over to the full length-mirror in the entrance hallway. I just stared at myself in shock, the average girl who'd suddenly been transformed into a Cinderella, and in semi-trance said to my reflection, “I'm pretty. I'm really pretty.”

You didn't just believe that, did you? Who are we kidding? I so didn't do that. I'm sure I looked fine and all, judging by the compliments everyone was throwing around at each other that morning, but I had something a lot more important to do at that moment, then just gawk at myself.

I had to help my sister. Oli'd been doing the chicken dance all day, and there was only one more item left for her to tackle. Her wedding dress hung on the back of my basement bedroom door, and it was finally time for it to come on.

There is no such thing as fuss in my sister's life; none that she would create herself, that is. Oli is not about the extras, but more about the simple features made spectacular by her sparkling presence. Of course, she would never put it that way. That's why I'm here.

Oli put on her own white corset, while I unzipped the fancy garment bag with the baby blue grosgrain ribbon on top, and took out her gown. White silk taffeta, empire waistline, spaghetti straps, and a full fortuny skirt with a slight ruffle peeking out from the extra layer underneath.

Her makeup was smoky too, and her chin-length black hair was simply done, held back with a rhinestone clip. I zipped my sister up, smoothed down her skirt, helped her into her heels, and watched as she turned around.

I'll have my Cinderella moments in the future, I'm sure, but this one was all Oli. She was breathtaking.

We looked at each other, and smiled. No tears here; this was a happy day, and we would have many more to come. “Ready, sis?”

Oli took a deep breath. I handed over her bouquet of white flowers, which she took. “Ready.”

And with that, we left my room. It was time to get married.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


It’s great to hear back from you! I’m glad to hear you’re already a fan of Eloise!

I will send out the Me, Eloise and Eloise Little Miss Christmas DVD’s to you for review. I can send out the DVD’s as soon as you email me your address. We would like for you to post the review on your blog and myself, Anchor Bay and possibly the creators of Eloise will view it.

Once you’ve posted your review please send me the link to where I can read it. It would be great if you could post your review as soon as you receive the films & view them. Thanks for helping out!!

In the meantime, you can find the press release, along with other Eloise stuff like banners, images, and a video clip at

Please let me know if I can be of help in any way.

Hi Mel,

Thanks for reading my blog, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I'd be very interested in writing reviews for the Eloise movies - could I ask for some more information? How long they will be, when you're going to need them by, and where the reviews will be published?

On a personal note, I've been a huge fan of Eloise for years, and read the books often to my little cousins!

I look forward to hearing from you again,

I believe it was just a few days ago that I mentioned screwy moments and opportunities. Get a load of this:


I enjoyed your blog entry where you mentioned The Wizard Of Oz, and thought you would be interested in a project I'm working on.

I'm reaching out to you on behalf of Anchor Bay Entertainment and M80 regarding the DVD release for the children's animated movies called Me, Eloise and Eloise Little Miss Christmas. Since you mentioned The Wizard Of Oz, I thought that you might be interested in writing a review of the movies or posting the press release on your blog? I think your influential writing skills would be a big help to us!

You can check out the banners, press release, video clip and more here:

For your help, I would be happy to send you a copy of Me, Eloise & Eloise Little Miss Christmas on DVD.

Please let me know if you're interested!Thanks!

Mel, M80

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The fifth floor janitor of the college I work at is deaf.

I don’t know his name but he’s a very nice man, always saying hello whenever we pass in the halls, and he never fails to unlock the classroom doors early for me when I have those abominable 8am shifts. He signs, gestures and lip reads to my speaking.

I’m not on the that floor as much this semester, and so our chance meetings are down to a minimal. A few days ago I went up to the fifth to enjoy my lunch in peace – it’s the quietest floor – when he passed me by, and said hello.

It was the first time we’d seen one another since April, and right off he made the hand symbol sign for excellent. You know, the one where you put your thumb and forefinger together to form a circle, and leave the other three fingers up. I didn’t know what was so excellent though, but nodded and gave him a thumbs up anyway.

Have you ever seen a man or sex-fixated teenager do that thing when describing a female figure? Two hands in the air, outlining a nice shape. He did that next. Aha. He was telling me I’d gotten smaller over the summer. I laughed and said, “Thank you.”

And then, he zipped his mouth shut with an inquisitive look. “Yes,” I replied, “I’ve been eating less. I haven’t stopped completely eating, though!”

He laughed, gave me the excellent symbol again, and went on his way.

Whoever said a random act of kindness, or in this case, a mere notice, couldn’t make a girl feel her very best?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Oli gets Married, Chapter 2

The Friday before my sister's wedding I did have off. I woke up, I fretted, and then set about my scheduled activities that would help make the next day possible. Not hard to guess what some of those could be.

Point of Order #1: Primp. Men are heinously lucky in that their marital grooming is on the down low. Shower, shave, gel, amen. We girls not only have to go the mile looking *fabulous* in all elements but worst of all, primping usually has to start days before.

I'm not one to sit in the stylist's chair and be happy about it. I get antsy being confined for that long. Who on earth could sit still for hours when it's a gorgeous day outside?

Anyway, Lancey Pantsy had already dyed my hair the week prior, so that was a no brainer. Hands and feet, now those were the first memo for that morning. Why wait until the day before the wedding to do some nails, you may ask? To reduce chippage, of course. If you're ballsy enough to go the French mani pedi route, those prim white lines don't last terribly long, unless you have a French maid tending your every whim and selfish desire.

We don't have maids. And thus my sister, my self, our mother, the mother of the groom, the sister of the groom and Vicki, extra bridesmaid, traipsed down to the spa for a group nail session. With wine, crudites, rosemary crispbread and dip. I still think the quiche would have been better.

Oli did the French thing, I did the mauve thing, moms did the pinky nude thing. All was going splendidly well until moms smudged a finger and had to have it redone. Then I smudged a toe. Then Oli scratched up her entire right hand. Are we related, or what? Maybe not being girly girls is imbedded in our genes.

Point of Order #2: Deliverables. These were the props that had to be taken to the brewery the day before, in order to make the whole shebang a most glittering affair. Candles, amenities baskets for the bathrooms, centrepiece vases, and these strange, rectangular columns that Oli found at a Mango store sell-off. She thought they would look nice during the ceremony with some flowers on top. Whatever you say, sis. The wedding planner found a cart, and we thudded the whole lot into the brewery with all the style and panache of the city's finest homeless.

Point of Order #3: Rehearsal. A rehearsal is about as fun as cutting grass with miniature scissors. By hand. Nah, it's not that bad, it's just... teasingly dull. It's kind of like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey's nose that you know he'll never get. Here, let's pretend it's your wedding, but it's not actually. Walk down the aisle in your street clothes with everyone staring at you, but you’re NOT getting married. See what I mean?

The dull part is the walking. Back and forth, up and down, count your steps and smile for the crowd that isn't there. Oyvey.

Point of Order #4: Rehearsal Dinner. Ah yes, the simmering boil of the evening, akin to life altering experiences like inhaling gaseous fumes, or wrapping your car around a tree.

Again, I digress. As you well remember, I was in charge of rehearsal dinner. The whole thing. My teeny loft-concept space would play host to, oyvey again, 20 folk feasting on my lasagna, salads, dessert and spirits. Spirits as in alcohol, but really, that whole fucking night drained my spirit anyway.

First, the clan showed up an hour early. An hour, I tell you. The whole 60 minutes that I super badly needed to thaw out the pre-made freezer bound lasagnas, which had to be baked right from arctic state. One was in my oven and one was around the corner in Oli's townhouse, which in the end took a total of no less than three hours to finish.

You read right: three hours, during which time all those people languished in cramped body heat exhaustion, having third helpings of salad and scraping clean the dip bowls with crackers and tortilla chips.

Where was I during all this? Running to and fro burning my hands through the crappy oven mitts, clucking more than any paranoid mother, slicing through layers of icy cheese and solidified sauce with Corey, escaping every now and then to call Sandy and whine.

He: “How’s it going?”

Me: “It’s not worrrrrrrkinnnnnng…”

He: “Come on, I’m sure it’s not that bad.”

Me: “It’s awfulllllll… Everyone hates meeeeeeeee…”

And etc.

By the time the lasagna was *finally* ready and *finally* served, everyone got their slices, devoured them with the gluttony of malnourished livestock, and left.

Normally I would be insulted if guests ate and ran, but in this case, sanctimonious relief. I had a lot of cleaning to do, panic to get to, and a lousy attempt at sleep before my sister’s big day.

And, to top this all off, I was going to be in pictures. Did I ever tell you how much I hate being in pictures? Oyvey.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Dear Pinky,

You must be surprised to see a letter up here for you, given that I never forewarned you of it. And, being that I'm so seemingly lazy at times to bridge our four hour distance. Just remember that you're one of my very best friends, and always in my heart. I've said this so often that I'm hoping it's drummed into your head by now, in which case, I'm glad you know that.

When I saw you last week, you looked marvelous. The best I've ever seen you, in fact. But you also looked sad. Heartbreak is not easy; I know this all too well. And in knowing what I do, what can I possibly tell you to make it better? That it wasn't meant to be? That everything will happen when its supposed to? That every time your heart snaps in half, you're just one less away from real happiness?

Small mutterings, smaller comforts, but all true. You'll find that out one day, and soon.

The real reason I'm writing this though, is because I'm a little bit worried about you, and I think it shows. You and I have a bouncy relationship like that, though I think in the past you've spent far more time worrying about me. Hell, the times I called you with Jess troubles alone could fill a book.

You have experienced small closeness and intimacies with men, yet have always been far too busy to really dive into something serious. This I know. I'm worried about you because I know you want something a little more serious, and we both know you're ready for it, but I also think that wanting it, and not having it right now, is putting you in a bad place. Am I wrong?

Lord knows you've waited. This I can attest to. And I can hardly blame you for wanting what you do. Men are wonderful creatures, after all, and I find it next to unbelievable that no matter how independent a woman you are, having a good man in your life makes all the difference.

But having a bad man in your life makes all the difference, too. I could go on and on about the horrible things they can do, but I'm not here to sour you on relationships. What I'm here for is to say that I want you to want these things in a different way. If you think the best of yourself and your heart is in a good place, happiness will come to you. I know this, because it happened to me.

If you are down on yourself and your heart is in a bad place, difficulty will come to you. I know this, because it happened to me. It's the rule of physics, after all.

You're a big enough girl to know that men, relationships & sex are not the answer, and so I won't lecture you about it. But sometimes life tricks you, and wraps the blindfold around your eyes before you even know it's happening. That's why it's so important for you to find yourself & be yourself on your own, before welcoming anything so important as a relationship in your life.

Be the Pinky we all know and love, and love will come to you. Sooner, not later. I promise.

In the meantime, you know I'm always a phone call away for absolutely anything that's on your mind. The good, the bad and the ugly - just like you've always been for me.

Much love, Pinks.

P.S.: Next time you're in town, let's do this over lattes and biscotti.

Where do the Mermaids stand?

For those of you who have never seen this, it is adapted from a Robert Fulghum story, and is one of my greatest inspirations.

Organizing a roomful of wired-up gradeschoolers into two teams, explaining the rudiments of the game, achieving consensus on group identity--all this is no mean accomplishment. But we did it with right good will and were ready to go.

The excitement of the chase had reached a critical mass. I yelled out, "You have to decide now which you are--a GIANT, a WIZARD, or a DWARF!"

While the groups huddled in frenzied, whispered consultation, a tug came on my pant's leg. A small child stands there looking up and asks in a small, concerned voice, "Where do the mermaids stand?"

Where do the mermaids stand?

A long pause. A very long pause. "Where do the Mermaids stand?" says I.

"Yes, you see, I am a Mermaid."

"There are no such things as Mermaids."

"Oh, yes, I am one!"

She did not relate to being a giant, a wizard or a dwarf. She knew her category. Mermaid. And was not about to leave the game and go over and stand against the wall where a loser would stand. She intended to participate, wherever Mermaids fit into the scheme of things. She took it for granted that there was a place for Mermaids and that I would know just where.

Well, where do Mermaids stand? All the "Mermaids"--all those who are different, who do not fit the norm and who do not accept the available boxes and pigeonholes?

Answer that question and you can build a school, a nation, or a world on it.

What was my answer? Every once in a while I say the right thing. "The Mermaid stands right here by the King Of The Sea," says I. (Yes, right here by the King's fool, I thought to myself).

So we stood there hand in hand reviewing the troupes of Wizards and Giants and Dwarves as they roiled by in wild disarray. It is not true, by the way, that Mermaids do not exist. I know at least one personally. I have held her hand.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Screwy moments happen in the blink of an eye. So do opportunities.

This morning, on my way to work, I stopped by the ATM to curse my financial predicament and lack of a decent career. I took my handful of bills from the machine, ripped up & tossed out the receipt, and started taking my shortcut (by the fountain) to the college when a blonde chick came running up and said, “Excuse me, do you have a minute?”

Not really, but she had been seemed nice, and definitely wasn’t homeless. I assumed she needed directions. Not so. She wanted more.

Blondie wasn’t dazed and confused, she was a reporter with 24. Did that sound familiar?

Indeedy so. 24 is a local, very small paper put out by one of the city’s dailies in direct competition with the worldwide Metro. It’s mostly geared at city folk and subway travelers. What on earth could she want with me?

Plenty, as it turned out. “Well, the paper has a section every day where we ask someone a question…”

Uh oh. I knew where this was going.

“…and we publish their answer…”

Shit shit shit.

“… along with their photo. Would you be interested?”

Lord, no. I hate having my picture taken. Hate. I’m not one for dazzling smiles and striking poses, much less put myself at the photographic mercy of the five million plus citizens of this town. I begged off saying that I was late for work, and prepared to go on my merry way.

Blondie was persistent. “Please,” she said, “I’m on deadline. This won’t take long, I promise.”

I hesitated. I know what it’s like to be on deadline and deal with difficult, asshole-ish people (in this case, me), who absolutely refuse to help a reporter in need. But still, I just didn’t want my picture taken.


An idea started to take root. If it worked my face would be splashed throughout thousands of papers, but this was definitely worth it. “Okay, I’ll let you take my picture. There’s one condition, though.”

“Name it.”

“Is 24 hiring?”

I expected her to be taken aback or insulted, but instead she grinned. Maybe she’d tried networking like this at some point, too. “Not at the moment. But management doesn’t know that a couple of people are soon leaving, and others are in transition.”


Blondie made deadline, 24 got my face & opinion, and I got an inside e-mail address, the promise to keep in touch, and notifications of job opportunities, should they ever arise.

Fingers crossed.

Oli gets Married, Chapter 1

Some of the most important times of the actual wedding day are the days before it. Last minute errands, girls begin to primp, the walk through is performed, and then the largest monstrosity of all, known to the general masses as Rehearsal Dinner.

A rehearsal dinner usually isn’t a monstrosity; just leave it to me to make it one.

But, I digress. Let’s take it from the top.

Pre-Wedding Thursday, I requested the day off. I did not get the day off. I did get extra hours, and would be stuck working until almost 10 that night. To get an accurate idea of my mood that day, carefully sound out the words, “piss and vinegar.” Not a happy camper.

It was a marathon. Got up extra early for my final dress fitting, and did my own personal cartwheel dance when the seamstress took it in one last time. Not much, but what a difference from months ago. I actually looked at myself in the mirror too, something I’d refused to do the first time I was acquainted with that dress, and - dare I say it? - I felt glamorous.

My boobs did not feel glamorous. They felt limp and weak. My deranged psychotic jellyfish were providing no pick me up at all, but instead just stuck to my girls like deadweights.

Solution: expensive Italian lingerie. Believe me when I tell you that there is nothing good lingerie can’t fix. Nothing. Even if all you’re wearing is that wonderful combo of sweats and sneakers, lacy under things will make you feel like a diva. Trust me on that.

My sister was getting married, I was going to be in a stunning gown, and my breasts would be hanging down to my knees. Which of these three just doesn’t belong? I admitted defeat and, a half hour before starting work that Thursday, jetted across town to a fabulous lingerie shop.

Fabulous means fine, gorgeous creations enhancing your best features to make them better. Fabulous also means expensive. Oli tossed an amazing La Perla black corset at me and wouldn’t you know, it looked devastatingly sexy *and* did the job. My girls breathed a collective sigh of relief, and my low cut dress sang glory hallelujah!

My budget didn’t. Price tag of Italian corset: $260


Glamour and cleavage certainly aren’t easy on the wallet. Well, your sister only gets married once, right?

My Mastercard wailed like a screaming banshee in heat, but my inner glam consoled me: La Perla is not only great for evening gowns, but extracurricular bedroom activities. Note to Self: dig through drawers for matching sexy black undies.

After a very long day at work, I traipsed my way back home, (very gently) tossed my computer bag to the side, then tried on my corset, shoes, jewellery and finally, maid of honour gown. All shimmied up, I clopped my way to a full length mirror.

Wowsers. Who was that girl, looking back at me? Not the same one who started writing this blog, that’s for sure. Moms passed by, did a double take and said, “Oh sweetie, you look gorgeous!”

Gorgeous wasn’t the first word to pop into my head when I saw myself like that, but not bad at all was definitely up there. Way, way up. And while I can’t say, “I did it” just yet, I can definitely say, “I’m doing it.”

What’s more, I’m loving the ride. Truly.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Let's take a little break from the conventional, shall we?

1. One book that changed your life - hardest question first.

But it was the easiest one to answer. The Little Prince is full of life lessons that we should all keep. To this day, the tone of that book is almost like an urging haunt. Not to sound cliché by using the word “haunt,” but if you’ve ever gone through it you know exactly what I mean.

2. One book you’ve read more than once.

When I was a kid, the Ramona Quimby series. I still read them to this day for a pick-me-up.

3. One book that you’d want on a desert island.

Just one?! Okay, I’ll partially cheat. The collected works of Shakespeare. All the blood, murder, sex and lust I’ll ever need to keep me occupied with all that sand.

4. One book that made you laugh.

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress. I swear, that book is all about me.

5. One book that made you cry.

Charlotte’s Web, when I was nine. I read that thing to rags.

6. One book that you wish you had written.

I’m putting two in here: The Neverending Story and Balkan Ghosts. DO NOT judge The Neverending Story by the 80’s movie and that horrific flying dog; it’s actually a gorgeous book about one’s journey through life. And Balkan Ghosts for the unbelievable history I learned about the lands of my roots.

7. One book you wish had never been written.

The future book that I just know George W. Bush will write about his glorified days as president. Scum.

8. One book you are reading at the moment.

The Prestige. The movie trailer gave me chills. So did Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman.

9. One book that you’ve been meaning to read.

Claudius the God. I've been halfway through it for a year now, but Lord, his British campaigns are boring!

10. Tag five others that you’d like to do this meme.

Lance, Common Girl, Tormented Girl, b, and Mood Indigo - not to mention anyone else who'd like to jump on the wagon - you’re up!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Just yesterday, I got a few texts from Oli:









Her: SO?



Me: AND?









Sunday, October 01, 2006

It’s 3am on a Thursday, and I am lounging on top of my covers with Sandy. He is slowly playing with my hair, and I am sleepily tracing a finger down his arm.

This is the time that I like the best. We are busy people, he and I, and so this undisturbed moment is blissful.

“Hey, sexy.”

I love it when he says that. I buried my face in his neck. “Hey.”

“You know what?”


“I’m really glad you looked for me.”

Me too, me too, me too. My record has been stuck on Cloud Nine. “So am I.”

“Keep looking for me, okay?”

Oh, you beautiful man. There are almost no words. “Just keep wanting to be found.”

We wrapped our arms around each other, and stayed like that for a long time.
Before every girl gets married, she at least deserves a bachelorette party of some kind. Free flowing alcohol, naughty things, strippers, whatever floats her boat, she’s gotta have it before the nuptials.

I’d do almost anything for my sister (except date a carnie), and so she got a low key stagette. Low key because that’s her style, and definitely because both me and Oli don’t think much of strippers. Every package may be different, but they are all packages nonetheless.

What was it, then? A simple dinner, flocked by her bestest girlfriends (and Raj), lots of martinis and a maelstrom of lingerie. Thus, it was a Naughty ‘n Nice stagette. Oli may not like strippers, but she’s a huge fan of lingerie. Huge. You didn't hear it from me, but she's got a three-drawer chest bursting with the stuff. Corey is a lucky man.

The night was set for Izakaya restaurant, a dozen friends, and a all a surprise for my sister. Oli's one hard girl to fool. It's not that she's difficult to trick, it's that she's always finding a way to put her nose where it doesn't belong.

For instance, when she decided to call me right as I was about to get on the streetcar. There I was a few hours before the dinner reservation, stuck in the financial district in the pouring rain, with a gigantic bag in one hand, full of pleather goodies, nylon thigh highs and a black feather boa.

Oli calls me right that second; she's in the area, she doesn't think I have an umbrella, and she's coming to get me. She won't take no for an answer, and hangs up. How do you explain a bag full of goodies and a black feather boa to your sister?!

Boy, did I have to run my way out of that one. Thankfully Oli was none the wiser, and I made it back just in time to receive our cousin Maggie, sashaying her way to my loft with a bottle of wine in her right hand, and a pack of cigarettes in her left. By the time we had to leave my terrace was full of cigarette butts, and my carpet was dotted with red wine stains, surreptitiously removed with Goo-Gone.

What can I say, our family sure knows how to party.

Sped over to the restaurant, surprised the heck out of Oli (who assumed she and Corey were going on a double date with myself and Sandy), and then we all showered my dear sister with all types of perversions and nasties. Handcuffs, penis sippy straws, and someone even got her anal beads. Shock of shocks, those weren't from Raj.

Of course, she also got some nice stuff too. Satin thongs, feathered nighties, a camouflage teddy and a hot pink tank top and g-string with “The Divine Mrs. M” embroidered in black, courtesy of her kid sister. That would be me.

Post Japanese noodles, presents and martinis the night was still young and so, we headed to the Beer Market. Fantastic place, that is, a restaurant with over 100 kinds of imported beers, a dance floor and stage area for live concerts.

Beer Market by name, Meat Market in reality. If you leave there without a phone number, you have problems. I wasn't looking though, not one bit, because on my mind was the best someone of all.

Sandy Sandy Sandy. If you say his name a few times in just the right way, it sounds like the boings of a pogo stick. Now that the dinner & lingerie portion of the party was over, the boys of our group were starting to trickle in, and Sandy was one of them.

I'd worn low slung jeans that night, topped with a long, empire waisted blouse, and the most daring fashion anything I'd done in years: a super wide, braided belt that sat on my hips. I was smiling for the evening, smiling for my sister, relieved that plans had gone off without a hitch, and looking forward to the arrival of my high school turned present day sweetheart.

But before he got there, it seemed there was a moment to be had. My cousin's fiancee Lacey chose right then to pull me aside and say, in all seriousness, “I've never seen you look so beautiful, you know that?”

Wow. That meant a lot. I've been thiner, I've been better dressed and more made up than that moment, and Lacey has seen me through it all. Yet, she chose right then to tell me that. “Thanks, Lace.”

“What's your secret?”

I answered back in the most truthful way possible: “I'm trying something different. I'm being happy.”

Enter, Sandy. Not 100% of my present happiness, because I'm a firm believer that everyone should make their own happiness, but a big part of my sunshine nonetheless. Big. He was looking very sharp in a black shirt, and smelling even better. My heart ka-thumped as he made his way over, slid his arm around me and said, “Hey, Cheech.”

Sandy calls me Cheech. It just came out one day, but I was curious how he'd gotten it, and so I asked him where it came from. He told me that it's short for Ciccio, Italian slang for kid and/or cutie, and usually refers to a boy. He just uses Cheech a lot, he told me, and so it stuck.

I don't mind the boy part, because in short, I just really like it when he calls me Cheech. “Hey, Ace.”

In turn, I call him Ace. It's one of those nicknames I've always wanted for myself, the perfect word to round out “ace reporter,” I think. Even though I've always wanted Ace for me, the next best thing is to give it away to that special someone.

In short, I just really like calling him Ace. He manuevered over closer to me, an ear to ear grin plastered all over his face, leaned over and said, “You're pretty.”

“Thanks, Ace.”

“Really pretty.”

“Not too bad yourself, Ace.”

“Can I steal a kiss?”

Indeed, he could. And just for posterity, I let him have a few more. He's a great kisser, too.