Thursday, December 28, 2006

100% Real Juice: Baci

We have the Calorie Chronicles, The Men and the Boys, and now, inspired by the summer encounter with Miss Universe, 100% Real Juice. Important little life lessons that I pick up along the way, since these days they always seem to be flying in my face.

Bacio, translated from Italian, means “Kiss.” Taken one step further, Baci chocolate, made by Perugina, are chocolate hazelnut confections wrapped in silver foil dotted with blue stars. Open it up for the delectable experience, and the little love note tucked inside.


The seasonal slaughter of fats and sugar, a.k.a. Christmas, just wouldn’t be the same without some Baci, and so I picked up a generous helping for friends and family alike. I had one tonight, biting the chocolate in half before reading this wisdom:

There is only one passion, the passion for happiness.

That could be pondered in a hundred, thousand, million different ways. It could be debated even more, especially by those full-of-poo folk who argue that happiness isn’t necessary, and of course they’re not on the prowl for it.

Sure. If that was the case, why should a billionaire be miserable? Or why would a famous actress kill herself? Because unhappiness is a powerful thing, naturally.

I want love in my life, a new career, a healthier me. Why?

Because that will make me happy. Or at least, I think it will make me happy. The progression of said elements to this point, needless to say, has brought me more satisfaction than I’ve had in a long time, and you can quote me on that.

We all want to be happy, and are tireless in our pursuit of it.

The defense rests. Grazie, Baci.

Friday, December 22, 2006

And on a more personal note...

Sandy baby
Just sit your cute butt under the tree
For me
Been an awful bad girl
Sandy baby
Just hurry to my front door tonight

Sandy baby
A big fat bow atop your head too
Sky blue
I’ll wait up for you, dear
Sandy baby
So hurry through my front door tonight

Think of all the fun we’ve missed
All those years we never kissed
Next year I’ll be full of spice
If you’ll check off my Christmas list….

Well, seeing that this is about to take a very interesting, non-PG13 turn, I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

Happy Holidays everyone!
Santa baby
Just slip a new job under the tree
For me
Been an awful good girl
Santa Baby
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby
A super hot behind for me too
Thank you
I’ll wait up for you, dear
Santa Baby
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I’ve missed
That to you I must insist
Next year I could be just as good
If you’ll check off my Christmas list

Santa baby
I want world peace and really that’s not
A lot
Been an angel all year
Santa Baby
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey
One thing that I really do need
Totally tame-able hair
Santa baby
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie
Fill my stocking with Sephora
Just give them your Visa
Santa cutie
And hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With happy pills of vitamin B
I really do believe in you
Let’s see if you believe in me

Santa baby
Forgot to mention one little thing
That’s me, forever bills free
Santa baby
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I have a lot of cousins. Scores. And, like all families, I am closer to some than to others.

My cousin Brandon has just announced his engagement. I've always liked Leather, his fiance. She's full of spunk, and a lot of fun to be around. Her short stature and small features are a total contrast to lengthy ole me, but we always manage to have a great time together.

I am very glad for Brandon. He is all of six weeks my senior, and has seen more ups and downs than many of us could manage. One of those downs was a divorce, a messy affair at best, and I hated seeing one of my closest friends always hurting.

But he's happy now, and there's every reason to be. There is a another person, a wedding; a new future. His beginnings are taking root.

I watched them sitting together last night, all smiles and hand holding. They are on the brink of something wonderful, and can't wait to start their new life together.

As for me, the late blooming, emotional tortoise sitting to their left, let me tell you that I've had better days. Because ever since my darling cousin let it leak that he's getting married, I've been nothing but questions, doubts and upset.

Is it possible, in any sense of the word, to not believe that once you've broken up with someone, you've just flushed years of your life away? I was 24 when I met Jess, and wish from the bottom of my heart that I'd learned my lesson at 25, not 30. And even after that, my still bigger wish is to have been strong enough, way back when, to let him go, instead of always playing L'il Miss Fixit.

What would I be like now if I'd never met him? Would I be a happier person, more open to all the experiences that love has to offer? Would I be engaged or married? Would I not have gotten depressed, and have an amazing job right now? Would I still be thin?

Would I not have so many questions? Would I not whine so much, because of course I know that everyone's had their hearts broken, anyway, and that what I have to say on the subject is really nothing new?

I hate myself for having made that mistake.

Facing life is one of the most difficult things in the world. But facing yourself is even harder.

And, as if all this wasn't enough, I was very nicely reminded this morning that in our family, there is only one unmarried generation X-er left.


No pressure.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Earlier last week, on the phone...

Me: Hi sweetie, how are you?

Raj: Where have you been?! It's been ages! I miss you!

Me: I know! Can you believe it's been SO long since we've seen each other? I have no one to bitch with!

Raj: Pfft honey, don't even go there. Work is hell, the house is hell, life is hell, I could bitch until I died. But enough already, how are things with you, what's new?

Me: Well, I finished my course, you know about the car, and oh yeah, I'M GETTING MARRIED!

Raj: WHAT?

Me: Sandy popped the question a few days ago, isn't that so exciting? We're engaged!


Me: Raj?

More silence

Me: Raj? Hey, I'm totally joking.

Yet more silence

Me: Bunny do you honestly think I'd get married after such a short time? Where are you already? Talk!

Raj: If you get married before me, I'll kill myself.


Raj: I'm serious!

Me: Do you think I'm so emotionally bereft that I can't bag a husband before you?

Raj: That has nothing to do with it!


Raj: Well what do you fucking expect! And I got engaged first, it's not fair!

Me: I am so not speaking to you ever again.

Raj: Don't be such a stupidhead! I've been waiting and waiting and waiting and I want to get married, you know! You can't get married before me!

Me: Well then maybe you shouldn't have bought a house that was sinking into the ground and had your dream Martha Stewart wedding first!

Raj: You're such a moron! You take things so seriously!

Me: When my friends think I'm a romantic failure, yes I do! Beeyatch!

Raj: Whatever! I don't understand the point of us speaking to each other if all we do is fight!

Me: I know, we're worse than a grouchy old husband and wife. Maybe we should end everything right now.

Raj: Yes we should.

Me: So are you still coming over for Christmas?

Raj: Of course darling, James and I are there. You know you're our family.

Me: Fabs, I'll tell the units. We'll talk more about it later.

Raj: Okay kookoo, have a nice night. Love you.

Me: Love you too.

Raj: Stupidhead.

Me: Beeyatch.

Raj: Whatever!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Every December, I buy a Christmas present for myself.

This might seem a little high and mighty but hey, ‘tis the season. If I’m going to make a commercial fool out of myself, I may as well focus part of that energy on me.

Last year it was a sweater. The year before, a necklace. This year, alcohol.

I once heard a disenchanted young lady proclaim, “Liquor is just the most impersonal gift EVER!” While everyone has the right to their own opinion, sweet cheeks, I am so not agreeing.

Wine for the wine lover, Armagnac for the connoisseur; 40-year old rum for a prized bar collection. Rose liqueur for the person who has everything, and seriously expensive champagne for celebratory purposes.

I have cause to celebrate, or, at least I will have cause to celebrate. I bought myself some champagne.

I don’t love champagne. Truth be told, I don’t even like champagne. Blame that on experiencing my first official hangover at the tender age of five, where 300+ wedding guests thought the little girl taking her first sips of bubbly was just the cutest thing. They offered, I took, they kept offering, I kept drinking, and whammo, I was talking in Technicolor.

Needless to say, champagne and I haven’t been on the best terms since. Oh sure, I take my obligatory New Year’s glass, but steer pretty clear of the stuff until the next January 1st.

There is, however, one huge exception to my champagne rule: Veuve Clicquot.

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is the crème de la crème of the champagne world. Over two centuries of history, nifty orange label, atrocious price tag, bubbles aplenty, and we have a formula for success.

I bought my first bottle of Veuve last year, after closing on my loft. I figured my first real estate needed some kind of celebration, and what better than the finest spirits, apparently seen in the liquor cabinets of celebrities everywhere. A first for a first; I dented my wallet with the Veuve, chilled it, then popped the cork across the furniture-less living room and poured myself a glass.

It was… so-so. Why did I convince myself that I could like champagne again, after all these years? I drank the glass down, toasted my grown-up home purchase, put the bottle back into the fridge and let nature take its course.

In this case, nature was going to make the carbonation disappear. It’s not that I don’t like the taste of champagne, see, it’s the bubbles. I know liking flat champagne makes me gauche, but I never considered myself a conformist, anyway. That’s what having curly hair does to you.

Two days later, I enjoyed the remainder of my Veuve for breakfast. With toast.

I honestly thought that was to be my last real adventure with champagne, but as it goes with many things in my life, I was totally wrong.

Last week I was in the liquor store with Oli, when a gigantic orange paint can caught my eye. Those masters of marketing, Veuve Clicquot, had done it again: a paint can slash ice bucket, with not one, but four bottles of champagne inside, each at 200mls apiece.

I said the involuntary, “Yuck!” that comes out of my mouth every time I see champagne, and then I walked away.

Then I walked back to it.

And then I walked away.

Back to it again.

And so on.

Over a dozen times I walked back and forth to that orange paint can. While I can appreciate that I don’t like champagne but do have an affinity for interesting containers, I was starting to get an idea.

A really good one, too. I bought the Veuve can, and all bubbly within.

Why, you ask? Because even though I don’t love champagne, I do recognize it as the celebration beverage of choice. Celebrations are important; they make us happy, they keep us sane, and they denote a goal accomplished.

Celebrations are victory, and there’s something I want to celebrate. Not just one thing either, but four.

I went back to my loft, set the can down and opened it up to find all the 200mls intact. Excellent. And then I called Sandy to say, “Ace, I just got a buttload of mini champagnes, and I’m going to open each one after a landmark success. I want to open the first one on New Year’s Day with you.”

“What’s the landmark?”

“Us. I want to celebrate us, and the amazing year we’re going to have together.”

Is it possible to hear someone melting over a phone? “Aww, Cheech…”

“Yeah I know, too nauseating for life.”

“And the rest? What are those for?”

“Bottle the second opens up when I get a new job.”

“Sounds good. Next.”

I paused before this one, because I knew what he was going to say. “Bottle the third, for when I meet my physical goals.”


“I know you think I look great this way, and you have no idea how happy I get hearing you say that… but I have to do this for me. K?”

I sincerely believe I am in love with the most understanding man in the world. “Okay. Any more?”

Just one. “Yes. Bottle the fourth, when I finish writing down everything I have to say. That fourth and last bottle, we drink when I finish this blog.”

I could hear him smiling over the phone. I’d say that he hummed the theme song to Rocky, but that would just be too corny. “Go get ‘em, Cheech.”

I think I will. No, I know I will. And each of these victories, I will celebrate with Veuve.

Not that I actually like the stuff, but that isn’t bothering me too much. I can always drink it flat. With toast.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

1942, the Silver Screen:

As he pours the water into a glass, Renault sees the Vichy label and quickly drops the bottle into a trash basket, which he then kicks over.

He walks over and stands beside Rick. They both watch the plane take off, maintaining their gaze until it disappears into the clouds.

Rick and Louis walk slowly away from the hangar toward the runway.

RENAULT: It might be a good idea for you to disappear from Casablanca for a while. There’s a Free French garrison over at Brazzaville. I could be induced to arrange a passage.

RICK: My letter of transit? I could use a trip. But it doesn’t make any difference about our bet. You still owe me ten thousand francs.

RENAULT: And that ten thousand francs should pay our expenses.

RICK: Our expenses?

RENAULT: Uh huh.

RICK: Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The two walk off together into the night.


2006, My Life:

Sandy and I are in our pj’s and on the couch at his place, doing what we have been longing to do for weeks now: nothing at all. Something is on the television, won ton soup is on the table, and we’re slouched back, head to head, very relaxed.

HE: Hey Cheech?

ME: Yeah Ace?

HE: I think you and I are going to be together a long, long time.

ME: Really?

HE: Uh huh.

Kiss kiss.

ME: See, every now and then Bogey *does* get the girl.

HE: What?

ME: Never mind.


Someone actually wants me to be part of an Us. A sweet, kind, wonderful someone.

I have begun to count my blessings every day.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Lance told me yesterday that I should get an honorary degree for receiving, in a manner or sorts, yet another education.

It’s true, in a way. I have learned about many things while being at this job. I’ve gone into the intricacies of Photoshop and In Design. A know how to most effectively place Type on a page. I can give a debate on Mass Market vs. Trade Paperbacks, pull up sections of the DSM-IV, discuss the absence of Human Rights on native reserves, properly administer an epi-pen shot, and do a Venn diagram.

The only problem with that is, what degree could you possibly give me? I’ll probably just have to draw it up myself and add to the, “Jack of all trades, master of none” pile, currently accumulating within the inner recesses of my brain.

Professor Moira Banks teaches a morning class called, “Children with Exceptionalities,” and it’s one of the more interesting lectures of my haul. Every week at least one exceptionality is discussed, and the class is always fully attended.

It’s because Professor Banks is just that fascinating to listen to. I even find myself forgetting to type, because I’m so absorbed in what’s being said. When a person loves what they do, as she obviously does, it reflects in every corner of their lives.

Today, Professor Banks is discussing the exceptionality known as Autism, and something she’s just mentioned has struck me. This has been happening, it seems, more often than not in the past few weeks.

What the good professor said, word for word, was, “You get as much out of life as you put into it.”

You get as much out of life as you put into it.

Seeing as she was discussing Autism and not any generalized form of Self-Help, I could take this in one of two ways:

1) Lecture notes. Nothing but.

2) Hidden messages are everywhere. Chalk it up as serendipitous, and use what you’ve learned.

You get as much out of life as you put into it.

Clearly an oxymoron. It’s one of those things that’s so bloody evident from the get go, the meaning that is, and yet you have to ponder it for eons to really get its full meaning.

How much am I getting out of life, and how much have I put into it?

This could take years. But for now, the day was too gorgeous to be denied. I turned my cell phone off, and took Joey for a spin.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The holidays are just around the corner, and with them, the guarantee of mad rushing and empty wallets.

Commercialism at its finest, that's what the season is about. Fine and dandy when you're a kid, but unless you have people to do your day job for you, really tiring as an adult.

It should be mandatory for everyone to watch the original cartoon version of How the Grinch stole Christmas every December 1st, I say. If we won't listen to priests, fables and homeless bums preaching the true spirit of the holidays, maybe Cindy Loo Who can set us straight.

Nevertheless, the situation is what it is and therefore, spend we must.

I love Christmas, and I love buying gifts for my loved ones. Fortunately, I love a lot of people. Unfortunately, that gets expensive, and so I have to get creative with my shopping. Outlets, warehouse sales and off the beaten path gifts are a big thing for me this time of year.

One of my favourite magazines recently featured a contest to win a Furla handbag, retail value $700, that just happened to have Oli's name written all over it. It was green, it was designerly gorgeous, and I knew my sister's chin would hit the ground when she unwrapped that on Christmas morning.

Contest rules: write about your niftiest time-saving tips.

Determined to win that handbag, I spent a week thinking about the 15 absolute coolest ways to save time. I wrote it all down, tweaked it, and on the morning of the contest's last day, had it all ready to send. Oli would have that Furla yet.

I went back into the magazine to get the e-mail address needed, and this popped out at me: Send your best time-saving tips for getting out the door in the morning with grace and style (or at least without the back of your skirt tucked into your hose).

Well, then. That certainly wasn't the question I remembered. It wasn't the topic I'd written about, either. And, that being my busiest work day, I didn't get anything else out in time to make the contest deadline.

Sorry, Oli. No Furla. Not for free, anyway. I shall have to trudge my way through Christmas hell with the rest of the general populace. But hopefully you'll have fun with what I did write, even if it doesn't look good on your arm.

I'll just add one teensy, tiny amendment. The biggest time saving tip of all is to READ THE QUESTION CAREFULLY THE FIRST TIME AROUND, no? Other than that, here's the rest:

15 No-Fail Tips for the Time-Strapped & Utterly Fabulous

15. Rip out the Snooze button on your clock radio. Deal with waking up right away when the alarm goes off.

14. Speaking of clocks, buy a small, waterproof one for your shower. This keeps you on your toes.

13. Use moisturizing soap. Your skin doesn’t have to suffer when you’re on the fly, and don’t have time for lotion.

12. Get thy reading done on the subway. It makes the journey faster, and it’s educational. Plus, your evening can now be written-word free.

11. Have punctual friends. Nothing is a bigger pain than watching your clothes wrinkle, because you’re waiting for someone to finish primping.

10. Give up one TV show. If you’re strong enough, give up TV altogether.

9. Make it a point to finish ALL your Holiday shopping in November, or by early December at the latest. If you don’t think this saves time, go and scope out a mall parking lot the week before Christmas. Every year you do this, you’ll be adding hours to your life, as opposed to wasting precious time on road rage and cashier lineups.

8. Every Saturday or Sunday, pre-plan your lunches for the week. This saves daily time, money, encourages you to eat healthy, and does away with extra workouts at the gym.

7. Own a top notch iron, with fabulous steaming features. Do you really want to waste a gorgeous spring day at the ironing table?

6. If you don’t have a crock pot, get one. Coming home to a waiting, hot meal is a huge plus, and saves you from last minute gorging on junk because you’re too hungry and lazy to make anything from scratch.

5. Get on the mailing lists of warehouse and outlet sales sites. One-stop shopping at these places saves you time AND money.

4. Don’t shave, wax.

3. If driving, know thy side and one-way streets. Main roads spell disaster for rush hour gridlock.

2. Read a computers book, or take a course. Yes, this is time consuming, but it saves you *a lot* of headaches and dollars in the long run. And, it makes you technologically independent.

1. If he’s an ass – and deep down, you *always* know if he’s an ass – dump him. This will save you minutes, hours, days and years. What could be better than that?