Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Back to the drawing board means going back to basics. Going back to basics means, once again, going back to where it all fell apart.

If my body was that important to me, if this better health and well-being thing was at the top of my list, why did I let it happen? How could I have let it go?

I’d accomplished at least part of my goal for Oli’s wedding. I didn’t get down to where I wanted to go, but I was decently satisfied with the September 23rd result.

After that, things just got busy. I had work, I had school, I had dashing to and fro with minutes to spare, grabbing whatever I could in the meantime, just for the sake of having a meal.

And then, I had Sandy. Breakfasts in bed, downtown lunches, afternoon cafĂ© stops and romantic dinners with Sandy. The fact that we’re both food snobs doesn’t help; neither do his exceptional kitchen skills.

With Sandy, a meal isn’t a meal so much as an experience. We have excellent times, he and I, excellent times laced with gorgonzola cheese with cherry preserves on walnut crackers; parmesan drizzled with aceto balsamico; baby greens with radicchio and honey vinaigrette; homemade prosciutto drowned with glasses of amarone, and some candied ginger for extra snap.

Giggling, we feed one another, then share a shot of chocolate grappa before moving on to the next experience: each other.

It’s quite the drug. When two people are as much a part of the moment as the food, it’s a hard thing to give up.

Fall flew into winter, which flew into the holiday season, which was office party after brunch with friends after dinners upon dinners upon dinners with family. January, back to work, back to rushing, back to here.

So, here we are. Here I am. It’s funny in one way, that after I’ve listed every excuse in the book, I find that I really had none to begin with.
But it is what it is and, that said, the one thing I can proud of is that while I did loosen my grip, I didn’t let go. I haven’t gained any extra weight.

Then again, when I look back on the past few months, it was exactly the amount of time that I needed to get this finished once and for all.

Sigh. Dieting sucks. So does Inventory, which I’m going to have to do again. Is there any better way to remind a girl of her shortcomings, than standing buck naked in front of the mirror?

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Like Maya, I debated over it for a minute. Not that he wanted me to change, but that he was totally, 100% happy with the way that I am.

No matter how I look or ever feel about myself, I'll never forget that he said what he did. Acceptance is a beautiful thing, especially when you know how bad rejection feels. Trust me on that.

But in the end, this is my conclusion: If I'm not happy, I can't really make others happy. If there's anything this man deserves, it's all of me.

If there's anything that I deserve, it's all of me.

Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Is it possible to be totally happy with yourself, if your significant other is totally happy with you?

During a couch potato phase a few years ago, which clashed with my limited cable only getting nine channels, I got addicted to reruns of Just Shoot Me. I couldn’t recall every character’s name if you paid me, never mind the running plots of the show, but one episode stuck.

Maya, played by Laura San Giacomo, is one of the main characters. She’s a very good looking and well-built woman (translation: hot body), and in this particular episode, she’s dating a smart, attractive man. They talk, they have fun and great times in general, but there’s one problem: he’s always shoving food at her.

After gaining a few pounds in record time, Maya gets the nagging suspicion that this new boyfriend is trying to fatten her up. Of course she dismisses this idea as ridiculous, until they run into one of his ex-girlfriends at a restaurant. Go figure, Ms. Ex is obese.

Maya corners her man and gets him to admit that yes, he’s got a thing for really large women. He likes Maya a heck of a lot, thing is, he’s attracted way more to her mind than her body. What he wants her to do is start racking on the pounds.

Maya is disgusted by this, until he says something on the lines of, “Think about it. You’re 100, 150 pounds away from being super hot. You could eat anything you want, never go to the gym again, and I’ll adore you.”

For a moment, this makes her stop and think. But in the end her answer is no, and fetish boy is cut loose.

This is a bit of an oxymoron in that dude is trying to change Maya, but the question still applies since the change isn’t one you anticipate. How often do our significant others want us to gain weight instead of lose it?

If you were overweight and unhappy with yourself (as Maya would undoubtedly have been), yet your better half was just crazy about you, would you still lose the weight? If you did have a hot body but were always under pressure to keep it, then along comes Mr. Most Understanding Man on Earth and he just happens to love his women rounded out, would you throw caution to the wind? Would you be happier, fatter, because he is?

After all, a huge part of the reason women do the things they do, is to attract fairer members of the opposite sex. Coco Chanel reinvented the hemline, but it’s mostly men that lust after the shapely legs defining it. To have the attention of your beloved, emotionally and physically, is a big thing.

Then again, we still have ourselves to look at in the mirror. Is his happiness enough? Will it convince you that you were all right all along, or would there still be that pull to do better? Would you still do it for yourself?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

After my second to last gown fitting this past August, I was so happy with my slimmer waistline and all the progress I’d made, that I rewarded myself.

Nothing makes a girl feel sexier than lingerie. Not just any lingerie either, but Princesse Tam Tam. It’s not terribly healthy for the budget, but a small price to pay to look and feel so… provocatively alluring, to say the least.

It wasn’t a planned purchase, but moms needed some special underthings for her own wedding outfit, and we made a stop at a boutique lingerie store that day. The second I saw the matching bra and undies set on the mannequin over the cash, I knew it was coming home. No matter what the tag said.

I liked it so much because it wasn’t like the standard, assembly line sexuality showcased in shopping mall lingerie store windows. This set was different: Daisy Duke meets Memoirs of a Geisha over Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I imagine they’d be having Brie and honeyed fig sandwiches with martinis for that breakfast.

Fiery yet sweet. I knew it was for me, and so I bought it on the spot. I also bought it a few sizes smaller, because that’s what girls like me do. Big(ger) girls wanting to become small(er) girls buy littler things, because we want something to look forward to. After all, we have that grand vision of, “one day.”

Here’s my grand vision in a nutshell, edited for your own good: Me, Sandy, Princesse Tam Tam. Throw in some pearls, and I watch his socks fly off. Romantic escapades ensue.

In my ideal world, the past four months have been time and enough to finish what I started, and I am now my dream size. In this ideal world I am the sexy bombshell who’s worn Princesse Tam Tam lingerie for her boyfriend, and made his socks fly off.

In the real world, I am at a standstill.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

People do stupid things to find themselves. I am no exception. In fact, I’d say that my canonization as Saint Whosit Whatsit, patron of all things confusing, is just around the corner.

In a perverse, vain hope to find myself and my path in life, I have recently embarked on several ventures: Back to school, art dealer, entrepreneur of first class doggie products to city savvy pooch lovers. I took these ventures so seriously that this past June saw me at Woofstock, canine festival extraordinaire, peddling over 2300 dog biscuits, made from scratch, by yours truly.

It had seemed like a good idea at the time. I was swept up in the glamour of being my own boss, even for something that would start out so small. After all, my friend LouLou was backing me up with her awesome products and together, we couldn’t go wrong. It was an awesome partnership begat through awesome ideas. We would take over the world.

That fateful Saturday morning, I started out full of pluck. I was going to sell sell sell, and become a doggie biscuit making marvel.

By Sunday night I was left with my own frustration, and thousands of biscuits to spare. I couldn’t understand where I had gone wrong. Which dog wouldn’t love these biscuits? Which owner wouldn’t want to provide their beloved with the best, tastiest treats in the funkiest of flavours? Sweet potato maple? Honey banana oat? Strawberry pecan? Strawberry?

Nursing a bruised ego and wanting to get rid of my humiliation (and imminent failure), I did what people in denial do best: sweep the evidence under the rug. Whatever biscuits didn’t go into the freezer were rained upon my very happy Bluetooth, and whenever I got the opportunity, gave bags upon bags of them away to friends with dogs, and friends who had friends with dogs.

One of these friends was Lee. Lee was the seamstress of my maid of honour gown for Oli’s wedding, and she also has a gorgeous Hungarian Vizsla dog named Abigail. Every time I had a fitting I’d go armed with heels, strapless bra/corset/deranged cutlets, and a sack full of treats for Abigail. In turn, Abigail would lick my face, devour my biscuits, then steal my shoes.

Our visits tapered off after the wedding, and then soon after, Lee landed a job in China. I’m not sure if Abigail will fall in love with Shanghai, but I’m betting she becomes a huge fan of Kung Pao chicken.

So that was that with Lee, Abigail and my biscuits, or so I thought. I got this message a few days ago:


You don’t know me, but I’m a friend of Lee’s. She passed your email address on to me, because I wanted to thank you.

My Dalmatian, Kingston, recently passed away. He was old and very sick, and his death was very hard on all of us. The last couple of months were the most difficult, especially when the sickness really took root, and he refused to eat.

I tried everything, all his favourite foods and treats, but nothing worked. He lost so much weight. Then Lee brought over those biscuits you made, and to our amazement, he loved them. Up until he died, those cookies were all Kingston would eat.

So, thank you. Really.


From the looks of it, I will never bake dog biscuits for a living. I won’t pretend I’m too broken up about that either, actually I’m pretty relieved. In fact, if I ever do get into the dog business, I’ll just provide someone else with the recipes. Let them slave over the hot stove and dent their fingers with the cookie cutters.

But I made someone feel better. And I made their dog feel better. Even if it was just for a few minutes, some fire hydrant-shaped strawberry biscuits were a touch of relief.

Dog biscuits aren’t my path in life, that’s for sure. I’m no closer to finding myself today, than I was last June. But it’s good to know that just maybe, I went through that for a reason.

Rest in peace, Kingston.

Monday, January 22, 2007

In a few weeks, it will be Valentine’s Day. I’ve known this for a long time now, as have we all. The stores have been reminding us since that infamous date, January 2nd, when its down with the Christmas trees and reindeer, and up with the hearts and Cupids.

It’s still a ways off, but the weeks are flying. And yes, it’s all commercial crap when you think about it, and not my style at all. I don’t want to buy the store out, write sappy poetry or throw rose petals on the bed, nor do I expect any of that in return.

But I do want to do something just a little bit… dare I say it? Special.

Sandy and I are going strong. Five plus months, one international vacation, two lunches with the parents later, and here we are. We’re enjoying each other, there is nothing to be fixed, and the relationship buzzing in my head has come to a standstill.

I am not used to feeling like this. What I’m used to is tension and frustration, not surprise dinners, serenades, and slow dancing at 10am on a Sunday. It’s a very good thing, feeling floaty. Being calm.

So sue me if I want to do something a bit wacky and off the wall on that great, commercially driven, propaganda filled day of love.

There’s another reason, too. It’s a bit more selfish. My track record for good Valentine’s Days isn’t exactly stellar. In fact, it downright sucks. If you don't believe me then just judge for yourself.

February 14, 1975: In the womb. I don’t know what my own toes are, let alone Valentine’s Day. Sainted bliss.

February 14, 1976, I am almost 8-months old and full-fledged citizen of the world. Struggling to walk and throwing fistfuls of baby food at various family members; still blessedly ignorant about Valentine’s Day.

1977-79: Too young to give a shit.

1980: Kindergarten. Cut 23 hearts out of construction paper, and scrawl my name on them with red crayon. Distribute them to everyone else in the class because the teacher tells me to. Don’t know the full meaning of Valentine’s Day. Don’t know that red crayon on red construction paper totally clashes.

1981: Recognize Valentine’s Day as belonging to the she-child who gives out the coolest store bought cards ever. Pester moms to get the pricey Care Bears pack. Cry when she brings home the generic Cupids brand.

1982: Recognize Valentine’s Day as belonging to the she-child who gives out the coolest store bought cards ever. Pester moms to get the pricey Smurfs pack. Cry when she brings home the generic Cupids brand.

1983: Recognize Valentine’s Day as belonging to the she-child who gives out the coolest store bought cards ever. Pester moms to get the pricey Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends pack. Cry when she brings home the generic Cupids brand. At least they change them every year.

1984: Recognize Valentine’s Day as belonging to the she-child who distributes not only the coolest store bought cards ever, but the tastiest store bought chocolate cupcakes ever. Moms doesn’t believe in icing. Give out the generic Cupids and keep my mouth shut.

1985: Recognize Valentine’s Day as the popularity contest belonging to the prettiest she-child who gets the most cards and candy from admiring boys. Really, was there ever a chance? I read Blubber instead.

1986: Read The Cat ate my Gymsuit.

1987: Read Johnny Tremain.

1988: Read The First Woman Doctor. Elizabeth Blackwell, you fascinate me. Mooned over the poisonous peacock that was Gabriel.

1989: Read To Kill a Mockingbird. Mooned over Jules, my best friend.

1990: Read My Sweet Audrina. Mooned over Chris.

1991: Read Jane Eyre. Mooned over Chris. My unlikely, punk he-friend Willow, notorious for skipping class and smoking in fire escapes, picked a flower and put it in my hair.

1992-94: Read The Odyssey, The Scarlet Letter and The Fountainhead respectively. Mooned over Sandy.

1995: Hatched a twofold plan with my single roommates in university. First, the underhanded scheme of sending each other big, sappy, romantic cards signed with guy’s names. Fictitious guys. Sure we were all alone for Valentine’s Day, but no one else had to know that. We just let everyone else think we were sultry objects of desire, besotting the world’s available men.

Second: To celebrate our brilliance, we went to a pub and got drunk off our asses. I felt better that so many of my roommates were single. We all felt better being drunk off our asses.

1996: Mooned over my first post-secondary crush, Bruce. To ease the pain, I instead go club hopping with Raj and some girlfriends. Original plan wasn’t to hop, but the sight of every club full to the gills with clinging, kissing couples was a little more than we could stand. Ended up at a gay strip club, where straight, roses-selling bouncer at the door says that tonight, no women allowed.

I snap. Multitudes of crap Valentine’s Days come raining down on me, and I deliver a rather pathetic monologue, repeatedly using the words “men” and “assholes”. I spin around to leave, friends in tow, but barely walk ten steps when the bouncer spins me back around, smile on his face and two roses in hand. He hands me one, saying, “Not all men are assholes.” He hands me the second rose and says, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

1997: Still mooning over Bruce. I collect the one single friend I have left, and we spend Valentine’s Day cabbing throughout the city, going to as many restaurants, clubs and pubs as we can, with the sole purpose of downing one drink per establishment, and collecting matchbooks. By the end of the night we each had two generous handfuls.

1998: My bodyguard boyfriend of three months, Jack, is away protecting the world. I open up his Valentine’s Day email and read that the first thing he’s doing to do when he gets back is propose marriage. I spend the first minute letting the happiness course through my system. I spend the next 20 with my head in the toilet, retching.

1999: In the mailbox is a card from my good friend Martin. It has, I like you, you big silly! written across the top. Good friends are good to have. Too busy with grad school applications to do anything else.

2000: My first Valentine’s with Jess. We are long distance. He puts up a website with his picture in a heart, and a few sappy paragraphs devoted to his love for me. I gush. Two days later he takes it down. Perhaps that was a sign.

2001: My second Valentine’s with Jess, and we are still long distance. He sends me an e-card. My real gift is waiting for me when I visit a few weeks later: uber sexy lingerie. I get squeamish about putting it on for the first time, as no one has ever given me uber sexy lingerie before. Jess gives me grief. Perhaps that was a sign.

2002: My third Valentine’s with Jess. We are living in Prague. I drag him out for a boat cruise on the Vltava river, a stroll the Charles Bridge, and ice cream sundaes. I foot all bills, because Jess isn’t working. Perhaps that was a sign.

2003: My fourth Valentine’s Day with Jess. We are living in my city. Excited, I go all out on a big surprise: expensive suite at a romantic inn, pampering at the adjoining first class spa, and a limo to take us there. I even have champagne for the ride. Wanting to keep this a surprise, I tell him the night before to be ready at noon the next day, and not ask questions. He flips out. No one should tell a man what to do, see. He yells, he screams, I cry. In addition, all I get in return is a card, because he’s not working. That was definitely a sign.

2004: My fifth Valentine’s Day with Jess. I remember a bouquet of flowers, bought with money borrowed off a relative. He’s still not working. I remember nothing else about that day because obviously, it was so memorable. A sign.

2005: My sixth Valentine’s Day with Jess. We are long distance again. He sends some downloaded songs to my inbox on the 15th. Signs, signs.

2006: Seventh, but not with. The night before Valentine’s Day I, in so many words, told him to drop dead. My permanent Valentine is now my dog, as Jess and I are officially done. All signs have come to pass.

La list. A few shining moments, I’ll admit, but all in all, no wonder I call it V-Day. Not V for Valentine, but for the day the Allies stormed Europe in WWII. Massacre and carnage.

But apparently not all is lost, because upcoming is 2007: Good lord, girlfriend, I’m having a Valentine’s Day with Sandy. Sandy Sandy Sandy. What would me, circa 1992 (and thereafter), have to say about this?

Back then, besides open-mouthed shock, no idea. Nowadays it’s giddy steps, childish frivolity and raw, unadulterated panic.

Valentine’s Day is coming. What on earth am I going to do?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

No post yet, no post just quite yet.

But would it make you feel better if I told you that very soon, within hours in fact, you're getting a reeeeally long one?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Starbucks cup, Starbucks cup, wherefore what have you to say, Starbucks cup?

Went for a visit with my mother and sister today; lattes for me and Oli, regular drip for moms. The post-seasonal cups are back, and with them, numbered wisdom:

The Way I See it #147:

Change the world, but be careful how you change with it.

That was on the side of moms' cup, and is truly something to ponder. If I become Queen of the Universe, will it go to my head, or will I still be Jenny from the block?

The Way I See it, #59

Having two older brothers is a healthy reminder that you're always closer to the bottom than you are to the top.

Oli's cup, ironically enough. No older brothers, but Oli reminded me every day that it was I who fetched the remote control, but was never permitted to change the channels.

And at last, on mine:

The Way I See it, #47

Wild salmon are the canaries of our world.


I either need better patience to decipher these things, or seek out ye superior coffee house. Moving along, then.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Why I Hate My Job, Reason #68: Being cowed into scheduling changes.

Why I Love My Job, Reasons 20&21: Food and Sex

After endless semesters of computer, art and oh-so-special classes, I have finally been vindicated with two most interesting courses: Nutrition, and Human Sexuality.

Anything that can teach me more about healthier eating and better screwing is, in my opinion, gold.

Due to scheduling conflicts (see above reason #68), the sex class will start late. My outstanding performance in the shrine de l’amore, a.k.a Sandy’s bedroom, will just have to wait. But Nutrition, I can talk about that.

Nutrition Class The First

Assemble in class. Mia looks nervous. I can understand why, she’s out of her design element. Reassurances all around. Enter, teacher.

Muscles di Fazio (why am I surrounded by so many Italians?) is soft-spoken, balding, and has biceps to spare. Think the impossible lovechild of Colm Feore and Mr. Clean.

After the obligatory introduction, attendance and curriculum skip through, class began with Muscles’ personal mantra: Health is the mental, social and physical well-being in the absence of disease.

It was easy to assume this was his mantra. He wrote it on the board three times. It’s easy to accept, too, that we are healthy inside and out if the sickness is not there.

Next, nutrients. For quick and easy explanation, Muscles said that A nutrient is something in food that we need.

Now, what exactly is it that we need? Micro and macro nutrients of course, stuff like protein calcium, carbohydrates, fats and iron. All necessary in certain bits and pieces for one’s DRI: Dietary Recommended Intake.

Bla bla bla. Oh yes, and, coconut oil & herbal teas are delightfully good for you. Just not together, unless a chef has inspired something dramatic to combine the two.

To be honest, the whole lecture was a jumbled mess. First classes usually are. Figures here, vitamins there, this is bad and this is good and just make sure you don’t yadda yadda.

Talking instead of really listening didn’t help, and never will be – part of my job, see – but I’ll get it soon. I always do. And, Nutrition Class The First wasn’t a total loss.

Take, for instance, what Muscles said halfway into the lesson: Man cannot live on bread alone.

Aha. I believe I said something on the same vein in a Calorie Chronicles episode. Leading nutritionists and myself agree that if you’re going to be a healthy bug, skip off the straight lettuce.

If you’re going to be a healthy bug, skip off the lettuce diet. Actually, just skip off the diet, period.

Just a few days until Nutrition Class The Second…

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fortune cookies make me laugh.

A novel idea, when you think about it: bedpan-shaped Asian cookie sought after for the tiny piece of paper contained within, possibly containing your life’s kismet, or lucky lottery numbers.

The funniest thing of all is that they aren’t actually Asian, but Californian by design. And, I have to admit that every so often I’m tickled pink when my cookie contains not just one cathartic slip of paper, but three or four that are closely stuck together.

Now, if only they actually said cathartic things. Or better yet, fortunate things. More often than not, those little pieces of paper are wise old anecdotes starting with Confucius say, or complete bull, like You live near the ocean.

Nice try, no cigar. And, no ocean. But at least it was better than, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. How about telling me something I don’t know, wiseass cookie.

Friday night, Sandy and I ordered Chinese from the Lotus Flower restaurant. We were too lazy to go out, and/or prepare anything on that greatest night of the week. Rice noodle satay and Kung Pao beef for me; orange chicken and sweet ‘n sour spareribs for him.

We share, though. We always do.

Post Chinese takeout is the ritual of the fortune cookie, or in this case, eight or nine of them. The Lotus Flower was quite generous in that department. And, no matter how stuffed I may be, I always end meals like that with a fortune cookie.

There are rules, too. First rule is, just one cookie. Second, I break it in half while it’s still in the package. Third, I unwrap it, and fourth is to eat half before reading the fortune. I have this nutty feeling that just in case that piece of paper says something auspicious, I already have to be crunching the cookie power so it’ll come true.

I cracked, unwrapped, crunched and unfolded my paper. Here’s what it said:

Someone from your past will have a profound affect on the future.

That upped an eyebrow. I looked over at Sandy, who’d fallen asleep on the couch, and playfully tickled his navel. He smiled and caught my hand, then pulled me over for a kiss.

Definitely my past. Positively my future.

The next morning Sandy and I took that blessed opportunity to sleep in, and do what we always do on lazy weekend mornings when there are a couple hours to spare: watch documentaries while having breakfast in bed.

Chinese takeout is always better the next day, and we sat cross-legged at our little boudoir picnic. Sandy stuffed pieces of sparerib into my mouth; I responded in kind with the orange chicken.

While bringing it all back downstairs, I noticed the still significant pile of fortune cookies. Chose another, went through the motions and was rewarded with:

Look around. You have much to be thankful for.

Freaky. Especially since that’s another certainty in my life these days, having much to be thankful for. I so do. I finished my cookie, meandered my way upstairs and slipped back under the covers with my lovely, wrapping my arms around him and resting my head next to his.

Now, what’s the lesson in all of this? Confucius say that maybe, just maybe, there is a wise old sage at the fortune cookie factory, thinking of you as he writes your fortunes.

Or, that life’s important messages come to you in the most unexpected forms. How fortunate.

Now, stop reading this and go look around. You have much to be thankful for.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Late summer, wine flowed. Late fall and this winter’s birth, it was champagne.

I brought my car Sgt. Joey Pepper, or just Joey, home on a blustery, late November evening. I hopped the streetcar straight from work, got to the dealership, and signed the papers that made her mine.

Specifics at Mini and the car tutorial took about an hour; power windows, heated seats; which switch did what, etc. etc. And then, the salesman handed me the key. It was a big black laser cut thingamajig, with a MINI crest in black and silver hanging from the ring.

Mini doesn’t call them keys. Keeping in touch with their idiosyncratic customer base, Mini calls them Wings. The salesman put the wings into my outstretched hand, smiled knowingly when I squealed and then said, “Welcome to the family.”

Welcome to the family, he said. The quirky, charismatic car I’d been wanting forever was finally here. And it was all for me.

Baby I will drive my car
Yes I’m gonna be a star
Baby I will drive my car
And yes I will love it

Beep beep’m beep beep yeah!

The Mini dealership, or at least this one, lets their cars go from inside the building, opening a big glass garage door after you start the engine . And then, out you motor. On my own, here we go, driving my very own auto-mobile at that.

Oh, that first drive. I was ecstatic. I was jubilant, elated and skipped seventh heaven while bounding straight to eighth.

I was also a wreck. Over and over in my head flashed Joey’s price tag, a bill my parents had (most lovingly) footed; that five-figure statement of doom that takes me from responsible driver, to squirmy mess.

I can’t bear to disappoint my parents. You can call it a tick or you can call it paranoia, it’s just me. My hands were shaking on that smaller-than-usual steering wheel the Mini is known for, making it seem more like driving in a video game, than driving a real car.

And, wouldn’t you know it, when I was halfway through the drive “Blitzkrieg Bop” came onto the radio. I took that, Joey’s first Ramone, as a clear cut sign that I was right where I was supposed to be.

Somehow, I got back to the units’ house (in one piece), where everyone proceeded to appropriately gush over Joey, and cast some Eastern voodoo.

My family is full of oddities. Mom’s gave me a pouch with a piece of bread, some salt, needle & thread inside that she told me to keep in the glove compartment. It would bring me luck, she said. Her best friend tossed a few blessings in the car’s direction, and Oli hung a super funky St. Christopher medallion from my rearview. St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, drivers and surfers.

I’ve traveled, I’ve driven, but that last ticker I’ve never had the chance to try. Note to Self: surfing lessons. One day.

My own voodoo started before I got back into the driver’s seat to get back to my loft. I did what I do before I set foot on every plane I’ve ever been on: I kiss my right thumb, and touch it to the fuselage before stepping inside.

Joey doesn’t have fuselage, but she’s got one heck of a nice body. I kissed my thumb, touched her roof, got back inside and drove off.

It was a smooth journey. Smooth is good.

But we weren’t done with the good luck charms just yet, she and I. Sandy came over that night, with a bottle of champagne which we poured into a couple of glasses, and enjoyed.

No, we didn’t. Not exactly like that, anyway. That bottle wasn’t for us, so much as it was for Joey. See, Sandy’s family has this tradition where every new car that comes onto their driveway gets a bit of a christening. With champagne.

Sandy handed me a bottle of Asti down in my parking garage, and when I popped the cork it flew a good 30 feet. And then, I poured some champagne over each of Joey’s four tires.

Welcome to the family indeed, little pepper white car. May all our journeys be smooth, perfectly uneventful, and totally Rock ‘n Roll.

I look back on that day with a smile. It was a lot of fuss to make for a car, I know. After all, it’s just a car.

But I also know it’s more than that, and everyone who was a part of that day knew it, too. It’s the beginning of something different, no?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

100% Real Juice: The Donald

Did you ever think one of these would come from The Donald? As in, Donald Trump?

As if the hair wasn't enough, he had to go and get philosophically correct.

"You must think positively. Think about how fortunate you already are and how much you have to look forward to. You can better your best day at any time. Very surprising things can happen, but you must-and I repeat must-be open to them. How can you fly if you’ve already clipped your wings?"

Alright, he was talking real estate. Big shocker. But read between the lines, and that can be applied to a heck of a lot of things, especially in everyday life.

Warning label of our times: Do not clip your wings. All too often this can happen before you know it. Well said.

Now if only The Donald would get a haircut...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Permeated with character, I tell you. Reeking, in fact. Doesn't it look like she wants to say something?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I am driving Joey, and at a four-way stop with my sister. We are turning left off a one-way street, onto another one-way that leads to a highway ramp. To my right is a car, to my left is another car, and ahead of me is a cable service truck.

Oli likes how I drive, but being the (extremely bossy) lovechild of Mario Andretti and Michael Schumacher, she also likes to direct. Never argue with Oli if it’s driving related, or she’ll run you down. “Dude to your left came first, so you have to wait.”

Duh. “Yeah, I figured. But what about that guy to the right?”

“What about him?”

“We both got here at the same time.”

“So what, just go.”



Holy forceful. I take my turn, but still have to ask, “Why did I get to go first?

“Because you did.”


“You go first because you’re the girl, and fuck it.”

Well, then. Who am I to argue with sound advice?

Monday, January 08, 2007

It was a good holiday. Holidays are always good, just for the sake of being holidays, but this one had that touch of extra sparkle.

There was a tree. We always have a tree, even if it is a fake one, bedecked with the pastel coloured baubles that moms just adores. There were lots of presents underneath that tree, and we tore into them, as we always do, on Christmas Eve.

I love watching my family open their presents. Like most shopaholics I put a lot of care into who gets what, even if I don’t do most of my own wrapping. I have ten thumbs, so that’s Oli’s job.

Oli didn’t get her Furla bag just yet, but I think she was happy with the bevy of perfumes I’d chosen. She’s one good smelling girl. I’m pretty sure Corey loved his autographed hockey puck, Dad his movies, and moms her gigantic book of world satellite photos. She’s a geography buff.

We all love watching Blue open his present. Christmas is for everyone, after all, even our pets. He fights with the wrapping paper, digging at it with frenzied barks, ecstatic about what’s inside. In this case, an Orbee ball, organic cotton teddy bear with a built in squeaker, and bone-shaped tin full of yogurt dipped biscuits.

I had my own little gift pile too, of course: a flatiron, gift certificates for the local, independently run coffee house; a seahorse tree ornament, and a Mini vest from one of my cousins. As in, the Mini car dealership where I got Joey; not a teensy tiny vest.

Christmas morning at home, we went through our traditions with the best of them: slouched to the table in our pajamas, and ate breakfast with mulled wine. And later on, in the dining room with Moms, Dad, Oli & Corey, Raj & James, all the Eastern European holiday delicacies you could think of, along with meatballs made with currants and port. Thank you, chef James.

Later that night Sandy collected me, and swept me off to his house for a night of kisses, a box of truffles, and a black iPod with Merry Christmas Cheech! YOU ROCK! engraved on the back.

For me. How lucky am I?

In the days that followed, we had together time, sleep-in time, and breakfast in bed time. We watched documentaries on the Discovery channel, and had dinner soirees with friends almost every night. We shopped the post-holiday sales in almost empty stores, drank lots of wine, and fed each other stinky cheese. We talked and talked some more, then rented movies we never finished watching, because falling asleep on the couch, tangled together, won out.

I rang in the New Year by myself. There were plenty of invitations to go out, to party, to do this or that, but I crave solitude every now and then. Especially on that night, of all nights, when I want to look back at what I’ve done, and forward at what I still have left to do.

What have I done? It was an exciting year, can’t deny it. I slimmed down, saw incredible things in more incredible lands; discovered new love in an old one. I got rid of that albatross around my neck, and I’m driving my very own car.

Now, what is it exactly that I want to do?

So much more, really. New Year’s Resolution: one foot in front of the other. Keep going.

My first kiss of 2007 wasn’t delayed that long, and came to me in the early afternoon of New Year’s Day at Sandy’s house, right before he whisked me off to meet his family.

I met a boy’s parents. That’s a big thing. I met my boy’s parents, two lovely and charming people who raised the wonderful man I’ve given my heart to again. True to Italian form, they treated me as my own mother and father would have, and fed me more than I could possibly handle. I also met his sister, brother-in-law and nephew, and the hours passed like minutes to our nonstop chatter.

It was an otherworldly experience, almost. I felt at home.

Back at Sandy’s that evening, drunk on each other and my Christmas box of Godiva truffles, we celebrated each other with that first bottle of Veuve.

One down. Three to go.

It was a good holiday.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

We have been lost to each other for so long...

...is the opening line of one of my favourite books. That's The Red Tent, for future reference.

Not quite lost, but away. Breathing. Doing my thing, if you will. Someone asked in the previous post if I was on vacation, and I have been, in a manner of sorts. I didn't leave home or get on any airplanes, but I did take a step back. From absolutely everything.

I humbly ask your forgiveness for recent lack of posting, and thanks much for your patience, as always. It's been a great holiday and, very soon, you'll get to read all about it. I'm looking forward to the New Year, and getting my hands dirty again in the writing world.

Also, if I ever deviate again for weeks at a time without the "not in the country" excuse, you can kick my ass.

Tomorrow, tomorrow. It all comes tomorrow. Cheers.