Sunday, February 25, 2007

50 People

I couldn’t just up and leave again for a few days without a parting gift, so, inspired from another’s blog (thanks Emma!) is this little ditty. 50 people I know, many of whom are somehow connected to this blog, and even some who aren’t. Care to guess which number is yours?

1) Punch buggy blue, no comebacks! More like 50 comebacks… oops, there we go again, beating up on each other in the back seat of mom’s and dad’s Oldsmobile.

2) Gouda, Gorgonzola, Gruyere. That’s the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it.

3) With the tiniest little twist on what I said about you before: She has an inner strength she does not quite realize. Yet.

4) Although I love your writing and your blog, you never bothered blogrolling me. And, you turned your comments off. What can I say except, your days here are numbered.

5) My hair, thankfully, has never been the same. Neither has my taste for inappropriate jokes.

6) We grew up together, and have always lived within 10 minutes of each other. I’m always glad to hear from you!

7) I was never one for gossip columns until you came around. Your comments on that Ricky Martin, Mark Anthony & J Lo photo had me in stitches.

8) I never thought I’d be reconnecting with a cousin I never even knew I had, halfway through my 29th year. I also didn’t expect we’d make such great friends!

9) We have been friends for years, and reconnected awhile ago during some of the worst times of our lives. We cried on each other’s shoulders, and have done our best to provide inspirational pep talks. You are everything to your daughters, and their rock in this time of confusion. Your strength astounds me. Keep fighting the good fight.

10) I am told you bake excellent pies, but we have yet to schedule a bake-off. March? April?

11) You haven’t written since November. Where have you gone?

12) Your thirst for activism and human rights inspire me to do more.

13) You call yourself tormented; I call you fabulous. You’d be my first choice for a martini date.

14) You were one of my first regular readers, and we even had the pleasure of chatting once. I’m so glad your life is heading in the direction you dreamed it would!

15) Our 12th grade Science Fair project melted into oblivion, but we still managed to bullshit our way into third place. And yes, I’m the most delinquent caller on the face of this earth!

16) I have never met you, but you are friend of #15. She told me once that you come here to read, and I want you to know that I very sincerely appreciate that. Cheers!

17) You are truly a wonderful person, and will be a huge success in the doggie business. I couldn’t be happier for you.

18) Even though we’ve never met, we both must have fabulous hair. And while you’re a wonderful writer, honey, your blog can be a bitch to get to!

19) We’ve been best friends since that fateful frosh orientation many years ago. Although you’ll probably never see this because you keep forgetting the site address.

20) You were brave enough to begin the process of rediscovering yourself, starting with the adventure of a lifetime next month. Savour every single minute, for it is a Great Beginning.

21) A mutual friend introduced us a few years ago, and we’ve gotten along famously ever since. We have yet to meet in person, but it will happen someday. I’d like to know though, where have you gone? It’s been ages, and I hope you’re doing well.

22) We work together three hours a week, and I must say, you’re a heck of a lot of fun. May we always have our Ipods and health & trash mags to entertain ourselves with – but only when the internet signals go down!

23) You’re family, and I’ve asked you to read here many times. I’ve got a feeling you’re not quite telling me the truth about being a faithful reader – we’ll know after this, though.

24) I really did want for you to be the one, even as I was writing the letter. May you find your heart someday, and may it be soon.

25) I’ve always wondered, is that wig & lipstick photo on your template really you?

26) Five words: Gym class with Miss. Casey. Good Lord.

27) You have been through more in the past few years than most people go through in their whole lives. You’re one of my bestest friends ever, though you must think me one of the crappiest friends on earth. I’m so sorry I haven’t called.

28) You’re a fireman, and tall enough to withstand me in my Miu Miu heels. Say hi to #21 for me.

29) I love your blog for its pictures and quirky nature, but have to wonder: do you ever come here to read, and if you do, why do you never comment?

30) You were my father’s friend and business associate first; despite my lackadaisical nature at writing actual letters, I have and will always consider you a very important person in my life. I truly look up to you, and hope to learn much more from you in the years to come. I hope to someday be a big an inspiration to another, as you have been to me.

31) We have shared many lives together, you and I, as many different people and in many different places. You have always been there for me, and though I didn’t know it at the time, you picked me up when I most needed it. Always, thank you.

32) Listening to you talk about her makes me giddy with happiness for you. At last, and, how wonderful. Enjoy each other.

33) You tried to destroy me. Tried. Never come near me again.

34) Magnificent hair, your trademark.

35) I love your writing and linked you long ago. Why did you never do the same for me?

36) Culinary genius. You will be the toast of this city someday.

37) You were the first ever to comment on anything I’d ever written here, but our correspondence got lost in the shuffle. I wish you the best of luck in your far away homeland.

38) Twenty-something, teacher-ish, witty and crazy fun. I’m very glad you’re here!

39) You live in one of my favourite cities, and always have the most interesting musings. Your comments make me evaluate myself, and your lyrics get me a-thinking.

40) You tried to step between mine and his short time together, but it didn’t work. It’s none of your business who I see or don’t see, or in what context I see them. Sure you’re in love with him, but do you forget you’re married? I told you about this place when I was truly in sympathy for you during your illness, and I’ve regretted it ever since. Never come back here, ever again.

41) I’m sorry for never replying after you sent me those wonderful jam recipes.

42) You’re hilarious, you have a puppy, you had surgery and now I must ask, where did you go?

43) I read your story in a book last year, and your blog was very inspirational. You were one of the first people to ever link me, and that tickled me pink. You haven’t written in months.

44) We are great friends and will always be. One of the great parts of our friendship is how you humour me and my verbal skills, so to speak. May your path be prosperous, and may you find your dreams.

45) You’ve been devotedly reading here since the very beginning, almost, and seeing your name in the comments box always makes my day. Your girls sound cute as pie.

46) You are a marvel, and a great supporter. One day, we will have a tea party in the land Down Under.

47) You’ve just started coming recently, and I love reading your stuff as much as I love seeing your name in the comments box.

48) All the one timers, you people who have dropped in here and there to let me know you’re around, thank you.

49) You are the reader(s) who come here every day, yet I never seem to hear from you. I’d love to know what you think.

50) After all these years, we found each other again. You are my forever.

See you all in a few days!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ruby Tuesday, my partner in crime from our high school days, taught me how to play Blackjack. We were in our senior year, and devotedly played the game during the blank space on our schedules otherwise known as Study Period.

Honestly, who uses that time to actually study? And besides that, I’ve never seen any dealer shuffle cards with the speed or efficiency of Ruby Tuesday. She explained the entire game to me with all its little intricacies, and its been a fascination ever since.

I’m not a die hard gambler, though, so a Las Vegas trip is a safe bet for me. I was there once before several years back, but right as I was coming off a serious bout of fever & food poisoning. I didn’t do any drinking, slept in the air conditioned hotel room while everyone else was at the pool, and came out pale as death in all the pictures.

Online, the Vegas deals run aplenty, so it wasn’t a hard decision to finalize. Sandy has never been and, needless to say, we’re both getting more excited as our departure date gets closer. We’ll have a few days of warmer weather, spas, shopping, sightseeing, fabulous dinners and, best of all, uninterrupted each other time.

Maybe we’ll even manage to play some Blackjack on the side.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Me and Sandy, a few weeks ago:

He: Cheech...

Me: Yes Ace?

He: Want to go somewhere?

Me: Always!

He: Where do you want to go?

Me: Nope, I picked San Francisco. Your turn.

He: Welllll I’ve always wanted to go to Sin City, but you’ve already been there.

Me: Did you know I had food poisoning at the time?

He: You did?

Me: Yeah, it sucked.

He: I imagine it would.

Me: Ace?

He: Yes Cheech?

Me: Would you like to go to Vegas?

He: Okay!

Again, unterwegs. We leave Monday.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

100% Real Juice: Hanging Up

Hanging Up was filmed several years ago and stars Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, and Lisa Kudrow. It’s about the relationship three sisters have with their father and each other, and focuses on a rather turbulent time in their lives.

I didn’t like it. Your classic case of good acting, bad writing; a bland movie at best, with characters and a storyline not quite fully developed enough to impact the audience in any real way.

However, there was one unforgettable part, and here it is.

(Just for some background, Eve plans parties, Maddy is an actress, and Georgia works at Vogue. At this point in the film, Eve and Maddy are on the phone).

***

Maddy: No wonder they’re firing her if she’s running articles like that.

Eve: They’re firing her? What are you saying?

Maddy: Carlo knows this fashion photographer, and he said ad revenue is way down.

Eve: Who’s Carlo?

Maddy: Someone who happens to be important to me. Anyway, he said she’s history.

Eve: That is terrible. I really feel bad for her.

Maddy: No, me too.

Eve: Georgia. Fired.

Maddy: She’ll be devastated.

Eve: Does she know?

Maddy: I don’t know. Should we tell her?

Eve: I don’t know, Is that bad, coming from us?

Maddy: I’m not telling her. You should tell her.

Eve: Why do I have to do everything? I’m not going to do that!

(There’s a beep on Eve’s line; she’s got another call)

Eve: This is like, the umpteenth call this week. Hi, Dad.

Georgia: Eve?

(Eve going back to Maddy)

Eve: It’s her!

(She goes back to the call with Georgia)

Eve: How are you?

Georgia: I have some news.

(Eve jumps back to Maddy again)

Eve: I think it happened.

Maddy: They fired her?

(Back to Georgia)

Georgia: Are you sitting down?

Eve: Oh, God!

Georgia: Guess what? I’m starting my own magazine!

(Back to Maddy)

Maddy: What?

Eve: oh, my God!

Maddy: She was fired!

Eve: How is this possible?

(Back to Georgia)

Georgia: And guess what I’m calling it. Georgia.

Eve: Really.

(Back to Maddy)

Maddy: Didn’t I tell you?

Eve: So, she was fired.

Maddy: Well, probably.

Eve: Let’s just be happy for her. We didn’t really want her out on the street or anything.

Maddy: Did we?

Eve: She’s going to be more famous than ever.

***

Sure enough, she is.

What is the moral of this story? Woman has top notch job, woman gets fired from job, woman doesn’t miss a beat and goes to start a better, more amazing job. One she created for herself.

Let this day be full of luck, ideas, and amazing opportunities. Ones we have created for ourselves.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Oli got a gig with Australia. She will be importing textiles in the form of clothing, lingerie, accessories and socks from Down Under, and selling them to the higher end boutiques of our fair city. She’s very excited, and so am I. Fantastic work for her, and fashion at cost for me. Better yet, there could be visits abroad in our future. How cool is that?

To be dubbed worthy of this position, Oli had several meetings at the Australian consulate here. She passed each and every test with shining colours, and is now a certified Australian products wholesaler. Moreover, she got lots of free tickets and had to be in attendance for several events at – are you ready for it? – Australia Week!

Australia Week was designed to promote the products and tourism industry of said country, in other countries like this one. It was really cool too, a big tent set up with Aboriginal performers, baby crocs and Australian Cattle dogs we got to pet, samplers of wine, and a batch of really tall, really good looking rugby players.

When I look back on it now, yes, asking one of the rugby players if I could touch is ball was definitely being too forward. But hey, I was curious. I’ve never been up close and personal with a rugby ball before. Or rugby players, for that matter.

The front-and-centre spectacle of the day Oli and I were there was Mick of "Mick’s Whips". Mick is an expert whipper, cracking and flailing with astonishing accuracy. Indiana Jones ain’t got nothing on Mick. Mick’s so good at whipping he even paints with his whips, and that was the big event: with a whip in each hand, Mick created a work of art.

Australia had thought ahead, and put Mick in his own gigantic plastic bubble, just in case a whip flew astray to poke the eyes out of innocent bystanders. As Mick cracked and painted away, I noticed three girls on the other side of his bubble, early 20’s, dressed very casually and carrying lots of equipment. They were setting up a tripod and video camera, and about to film Mick.

This all seemed a little too familiar to me, especially the massive battery belts they were plugging everything into. I remembered those battery belts well, because they had weighed a ton. A quick glance of the tripod’s label, Manfrotto, took me deeper, and the fact that it was a Thursday morning confirmed everything.

These girls were Journalism students on assignment for their weekly Broadcasting class. Not only were they Journalism students, but students from my Journalism school. Six years ago, I was wearing those battery belts, and lugging those cameras on subways for the weekly Thursday newscast, every 5pm on the nose.

I hated that class, because I’d always known I was never meant to be a broadcaster. Radio was fun enough, but TV? Ugh. I’d enjoyed the filming bit, but I was definitely never meant to read from a teleprompter.

In our very Broadcasting first class ever, we were each given the task of writing up a story and then reading it to the camera, a la true anchor person style, then critiquing our performance with the entire class. I was first that day, wearing a bright green blouse, and reading my story about the skier who’d been horribly decapitated in the Rockies. Unfortunately, I’d chosen to take the, “Smile, smile, smile!” advice of the teaching assistant a little too literally, and showed my pearly whites all the way through the piece.

There I was, at a news desk, smiling my ass off and saying things like, “horrific accident,” “tragic death” and “body found in pieces.” When the assistant played the tape back for everyone to nitpick, he stopped right where I was happily saying something to the effect of, “when the skier’s head flew off”, hit the PAUSE button and asked the class,

“Now, what’s wrong with this?” And watched 29 hands fly up in the air.

Bugger.

After these girls were done filming Mick, they would wrap up their equipment and head back to the editing suites at school, to spend the rest of their day patching together a 30 second to one minute piece, complete with voiceovers. Then, they would take it to an assignment editor, who would give it the green or red light for the evening newscast, which would air live.

I watched these girls very carefully. They set up about 10 minutes into Mick’s routine, and filmed away.

Dumbasses. You weren’t here for the beginning intro. That’s when he introduced himself with two whips and flair.

They filmed for about three minutes.

That’s it? This is a half-hour demonstration. Get the really noisy whip cracks in there. You don’t even have enough for some decent B-roll, just in case.

Then they started to pack up…

Don’t be stupid. Stay, get a fucking parting shot.

… started walking to the door…

Wait for him to finish and then do a short interview on camera, what’s wrong with you?

… and left.

Idiots. Your story’s being cut.

Either I just got it back when I was a student, or I had better teachers.

Not a few minutes after witnessing the three stooges of obtuse journalism, I came across another ghost from my past: a young woman with shiny dark hair, professionally dressed and questioning the Aboriginal performers. I didn’t know her, but I knew her press pass very well; after all, hadn’t I worn one just like it a long time ago?

Europe was my second journalistic internship, my first was a 6-week gig with a very popular national news site. An internship in the industry was one of the necessary requirements before they handed you the degree.

I loved that internship. They were running low on reporters when I got there, and my superior editor gave me free range on the Lifestyles section. I covered openings, product launches, fashion shows and events all across town, meeting a lot of people and doing a crazy number of write-ups every week. When my time there was up, that editor wrote such a glowing review of my work that I almost cried.

I didn’t know if this woman was an intern or full-time reporter; they never differentiated there. She was questioning the Aboriginals and writing everything down on a sparkly notepad. “So, did you enjoy performing here? Did you enjoy your stay? Do you feel Australia will benefit from having this exhibit? Thanks, buh-bye!”

Half-ass. You didn’t even ask them any cultural questions. Why are these songs important? What are they at hoping to achieve by showing Australia’s native side? Did you know these people are the last of their kind to sing these songs and perform these dances? I do, because I saw a documentary on them last week. You didn’t connect with them at all.

Seeing all those women doing what I used to do bothered me to an extent I couldn’t even begin to describe. The students, that was one thing, but the reporter was something else. How could she have been so lackadaisical about it all? Didn’t she even care about the story? Did she know how lucky she was to be doing that at all?

Moreover, how was it that she was wearing that suit and press pass, doing lousy at such an awesome job? Meanwhile, there I was not three feet away, in my regular work clothes of jeans and a blouse, computer bag slung over my shoulder, ready to be at my job in an hour. A job I hate.

So, how did I get where I am? I settled. I got here because I settled. I was tired of rejections and getting nowhere fast in my field, therefore, I took a job “for now.” Just for the time being, I told myself. The money is good. I’ll be out of there before I know it.

Almost three years later, and I’m still in. Sure the money’s still good, but there comes a time when that doesn’t matter anymore. Especially when you see a yutz doing a monotonous job, at what used to be your job. A job you were fantastic at.

In terms of what Missy was doing, I knew could do better. In fact, I did do better.

So just maybe, I can do better. And with that in mind, maybe again... I will do better.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Once upon a time there were four girls, captured in a photograph on a beautiful June day, several years ago. They have gigantic smiles on their faces, those girls, and are all wearing identical blue graduation gowns, and holding up crisp white diplomas.

The first of the girls is small, with big brown eyes and dark brown hair. A tiny body, crowned with a perfect broadcaster’s haircut. The joking pixie of the class, and she was going to be a famous anchorwoman. These days she is well on her way as a live reporter for a top TV news station.

The second girl is taller, with glasses and long blonde hair. More of a serious girl, but just as much a joker. She was going to amaze us all with her work in the magazine industry, but instead, found her calling in another direction. That girl went back to school, and is now an attorney.

The third girl is the same height as the second, her black Asian hair styled into a bob. She just wanted to write, and stay true to her roots. Sure enough, she is a staff member on a Singaporean magazine.

The last girl of the group is the tallest, her then very red hair an explosion of curls. She was a success story of the class, that girl, landing a prize internship and on her way to live in another country soon after graduation. She was going to be a photojournalist or foreign correspondent, a household name, traveling and writing about the important stories of the world. She was going to make a difference.

Now, she just types really fast.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Oli is getting a new car. The lease on her car is up next month, therefore, it’s time for another.

Oli’s first car was a black Beretta GTZ, fully loaded, rear spoiler, and windows tinted to maximum darkness. She loved that car, but their time together was cut short by one bad incident too many: it was prone to bad karma. First it started leaking green slime, then a rad cap blew off, then the brake pads fell out. This doesn’t include a certain road accident in small town America; the time her hood blew backwards and broke her windshield thanks to a dimwitted customs official, or when the teeny bopper across the street backed into the passenger side, full force.

Her second car was an Acura Integra, which was stolen right off our parents’ driveway. It was later found on blocks in Little Italy, stripped to the bone and a sad, forlorn mess, a far cry from its glorious racing days with my sister.

The same time this happened, our Dad was in the market for a Benz, and took Oli to the dealership with him. She kept walking back to this gorgeous silver C230 that she thought would cost a fortune, but thanks to our Dad’s seniority, ended up being very affordable. Baby’s first lease.

The German’s know their autos, and her three years passed without incident or complaint, So much so, that she continued on at Mercedes with a little number flip and a pewter C320.

(Pewter, silver… I don’t think there’s much difference between the two, but don’t tell Oli. She swears it’s something special)

The C320 came home to another three more happy years, but the lease is near over, and it’s time for a change. And so, Oli took me along to the Mercedes dealership just this last Saturday, where she test drove two cars.

First was the B200 turbo. Smooth ride, tons of trunk space, but it looked like a cross between Mork Ork’s space egg, and a Bavarian ambulance. I joked with Oli about the backseat having enough room for three baby car seats.

Second was the C280 Avant Garde Edition. Avant Garde is French for funky, cutting edge, dazzle your senses, and probably sounds a lot better than the German counterpart, “Uber Coolhausen!”

She liked the car. I liked the car. We left the dealership with prices to ponder.

Oli called me today, after the salesmen called her. Gotta love salesmen and how they hound you to the ends of the earth. But she didn’t call me with price options, she called to divulge what he’d said about me.

Apparently, dude asked if I’d be interested in a Mercedes. Again, gotta love salesmen. He’d seen my new Joey in the parking lot. Oli reminded him I had a Mini. “And then he said, ‘Your sister looks like a rebel. I can see her really booting around the city in that car.’”

Wow. Me, a rebel. Me, booting around the city in my car. All around, again, Wow.

What is the point of this story? For me to gloat over a nice compliment? For me to bask in my own rebel-ness?

The point of this story is that someone said something really cool about me about Oli. Do you know what they were telling her last year?

“Why does your sister look so sad all the time?”

“She has a nice face. She should smile more.”

“Is she okay?”

And etc.

Now, I’m a rebel hightailing in my car. At least according to a middle-aged Mercedes salesman.

Today was a good day.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Men, the Boys, and One Dog

I was packing up my laptop in class a few days ago, when I overheard two students discussing their love of cats. Cats are soft. Cats are smart. Cats are just the cat’s meow.

That’s all fine and dandy, children. Love your animals. I resumed zipping up my bag, and then I heard one of them say, “Dogs are dumb. They’re just loyal.”

To which the other responded, “Exactly.”

Comments like this make me fume. Dogs are dumb, huh? How many seeing-eye cats do you know? How many cats are on the police force? Hey, did you ever hear the one about the airport drug-sniffing cat? Or the burglar that fled in terror from the tabby at the door?

It’s not that I hate cats. I don’t, though I did for years, after a particularly bad clawing incident when I was a kid. But, thanks to the love of a sweet kitten with Spina Bifida, I got over it. And just because I’ll never have a cat doesn’t mean I hate them, either. They make me sneeze.

But I love dogs. I truly love dogs. I always have, and I always will. I know some very smart dogs, too. I know a dog who goes down park slides by himself. I know a dog who knows over a dozen people by name. I know a dog who gives hugs and kisses when asked, and yet another dog who let his family know when someone was in trouble.

Craziest of all, I know this one dog who, as a tiny puppy, made a mountain of toys to climb so he could reach a coffee table laden with Chinese food.

Actually, that’s not a bunch of different dogs, but just one dog. Mine.

Growing up, I always wanted a dog. The parental units were against it, but I knew I’d get my pooch one day. Not when I lived in the dorms at my university; pets were forbidden. Not when I was in Journalism school either, I was just so busy. Certainly not during my internship in Europe; adjusting to life in a different country was enough to deal with at the time.

I’d been home from Europe for almost a year when it happened. I was in your standard pet store at the local mall buying some crickets for Oli’s lizard (that’s right, girlfriend’s got a lizard), when I saw a litter of four puppies in one of the windowed kennels near the door.

Pet stores are smart. Puppies are near the entrance for a reason. They were all adorable, as puppies usually are, and all doing very different things. Two were fighting tooth and nail. One was in the back eating poop. And the fourth, he was sitting all by himself right up against the glass, quietly watching the people walk by.

He was everything a puppy should be. Small, not much bigger than a guinea pig; big brown eyes, floppy ears and a stumpy tail. His fur was brown and black, and he had four white socks. He was half Schnauzer half Poodle, the store employee said, otherwise known as a Schnoodle, and all the rage in the new world of puppy hybrids.

I didn’t care about that. I was too busy staring at this little dog, and noticing him stare right back at me. For years, I’d heard canine owners say things like, “We didn’t choose our dog, our dog chose us.” Despite my love for animals I thought their claims sentimental, biased for love of their pets.

But then something happened at the pet store right that moment. I put one finger on the glass in front of the puppy; at the same time he put one paw up on the glass, too.

I felt a tug at my heart. And then, I bought him. Could you blame me?

It has been almost exactly four years since that day, and what years they have been. Bluetooth, known to everyone who loves him as Blue, has added a spice to our lives we never knew was missing. He was a quirky puppy, that one, housebreaking himself in three days, and finding his voice to bark at pigeons from standing on top of my desk to look out the window.

He was tiny too, weighing in at 3.6lbs the day he came home. I remember having to shuffle my feet around the apartment for the first few weeks instead of taking real steps, because I was scared to squash him.

It wasn’t hard to get attached to this dog, not when he lavished me with kisses every morning, ran sideways, or when his butt slid out from under him on the slippery parquet floor whenever we practiced “sit”. It wasn’t hard at all to become partial to a dog curling up on my pillow while I’d be sleeping on the couch, and rest his head on my neck. It was downright easy to adore a dog that licked my forehead when I cried, or growled at people who were rude to me. It was a given that I would be devoted to a dog who waited by the door every day for me to come home, or who never, ever left my side. Even as I type this, he’s sleeping next to me.

We all know we love our dogs, but often it takes something awful to let us know how much. Shortly before his first birthday, Blue ran across an icy street in front of a sliding minivan, and was hit.

Very luckily only one of his front legs was cut & bloodied up, but I’ll always remember that day as one of the most terrible of my life. Waiting in the emergency room at the vet’s, hearing him yelping when the stitches were being put in place, then taking him home, all bruised and doped up, where he just lay on the couch and slept for hours.

I was a wreck, crying, moping, going through packs of cigarettes just to numb myself, when I barely ever smoked to begin with. All I could think was, what if this had been serious? What if the wheel had gone over his leg? What if he was killed?

And then I thought, how did I give my heart away so easily? When did I fall head over heels in love with this animal?

Therein lies the curse of all our cats and dogs alike: unless you’re in your 90’s when they come home, if the natural order follows as it should, you’ll outlive your pet. It is my heartache and sadness, because whenever I picture myself an old lady, Blue is at my feet.

My dog has taught me many things, simple rules that I think would altogether make the world a better place:

1) A kiss good morning

2) A kiss goodnight

3) A hug a day makes the bad stuff go ‘way

4) Time spent together is the best time of all

5) Cherish your loved ones

Cat people have their opinions on dogs and that’s fine, but the love in a dog’s heart is magnificent to behold. Awhile back, I made a trip to the market down the street and took Blue with me. I tied his leash around a pole outside, went in to do some quick shopping, then back out to collect him and go home. When Blue saw me he did his customary bark and happy-wag, but he wasn’t alone. An elderly lady was standing next to him and with a big smile on her face said to me, “So you’re the one.”

I replied with a, “Sorry?” while she bent over a bit and pat Blue on the head.

“You’re the one, the love of his life. I’ve been standing here and watching your dog for the last few minutes. Every person that’s come out of those doors, he was hoping would have your face.”

When Blue and I got home I cried, stifled him with hugs, and decorated his kibble with some steak.

Blue, no matter what I do or how many times I try to read this to you, you’ll never understand what I’ve just written. It’s not your language, though I suspect you’d consider some tug-of-war playtime a considerable substitute. But if I could somehow make you understand, I would thank you for the incredible difference you’ve made in my life. No matter what, you’ve loved me simply for who I am. Not for what I do or how I look, but just for me. And in doing that, you have shown me what love is.

Any of us should be so lucky to love, or be loved, that much. Of course if my significant other liked carrying chew toys in his mouth I would completely freak out, but the basis is there.

You are my blessing, my sunshine, and my heart. The inevitable day will come when we must be parted, but I will treasure you always, I will miss you forever, and I will never forget what you've taught me.



(Note: Never ask how much Kleenex I went through while writing this)

Friday, February 16, 2007

This moment was brought to you by my very good friend, reckless inspiration.

One of the stories I tell most often is of the time I was trying to cross the Czech/German border at midnight.

I was living in Prague and going to see my cousin in Frankfurt, Germany. The bus ride was an eight hour night trip with a security check at the border. When that time came, Mr. Bus Driver collected all our passports in a little box then handed them to the armed guards waiting outside. Five, six, seven minutes went by, and then the armed guards came back to collect one passenger and lead her away. Me.

Moms had come to Prague with me for the first couple of weeks to help me get settled in. We needed visas to get into the Czech Republic, nice big green bumper stickers glued into our passports, and along with those came a stack of Border Crossing forms. In short, you couldn’t use one without the other.

When moms went home, she took her visa and forms with her. She also took my forms with her, a fact I was painfully made aware of about three hours before boarding the bus. I called Oli in a panic, and she ran to the embassy at home to get me some new ones, but ruefully told me I’d have to wing it getting into Germany.

Ha. If she’d only seen me then, being led into a government building in the middle of nowhere by two very stern, very armed men, at the pumpkin hour no less. Now, try explaining in crappy, broken Czech to these trigger happy blockheads, fondling their AK-47’s, that your mommy misplaced your very important papers, and you’re illegally trying to get into another country.

It’s not easy. I remember saying prosim (please) and vizum (visa) a lot, until they eventually decided I was harmless enough to be let through. The incident had shaken me up so much that, once back on the bus, I immediately peeled open and ate a Babybel cheese.

It had also pissed me off enough to stick the red wax makeshift clown nose on and wave, “nya!” to the armed guard watching the bus pull away.

It’s a great story to tell, but at the time it was a nightmare. It came to mind today when I checked out my Starbucks cup:

The Way I See It #149

An adventure is never an adventure when it’s happening.
-- Tim Cahill, Outdoor Travel Writer


A lot of things in life aren’t adventures at the time. New relationships, new jobs, buying that first home, or becoming a parent. Starting high school, driving, blind dates, or jumping in a swimming pool for the very first time. Remember that? We were all scared, but that adult waiting in the pool reassured us that everything would be fine.

Boy, that first jump was hard. I remember holding my nose, closing my eyes and the nerves in my stomach tightening as my feet left the safe haven of poolside. I landed right in my dad’s arms, and the joy washed over me. Then, I climbed back out and did it again. I kept jumping into that pool all day long, because it was so much fun.

It’s easy for us to forget that life’s little adventures happen every day, often disguised as messes. So maybe this muddle of mine, these issues of body + career + love + d├ęcor + blogging about it all aren’t such bad things after all, but more like the motions I have to go through before becoming a better person for it.

Besides, as hard as losing a few pounds can be, it’s at least easier than having a couple of AK-47’s pointed at you.

But definitely not as fun as wearing the Babybel clown nose.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Valentine’s Day! One day late.

From the jist of my previous post on the matter, you all know I’m not insane on Valentine’s Day. At least I wasn’t up until now, and to be honest I still so have issues with it. Flower prices go up, the country mice flock to the city and steal the great parking spots, and being in this part of the world, the weather usually sucks.

But like I said, this was my first Valentine’s Day with Sandy, or at least the first as his girlfriend (still giggling, finding it insane, etc. etc.), and I wanted to make it memorable. So, after much thought on the matter, I’d decided on something more off-the-hook. All I would need was Joey, some gas in the tank, a blindfold for Sandy, and my own corny imagination. I couldn’t wait to surprise him.

On the other hand, Sandy had manufactured his own brand of special: reservations at a top notch steak house. We love steak, and I’d never been to this place, an establishment that I’d heard him raving over for months. He was excited about that too, and had decided to surprise me.

Alas, the surprise never came. Not for me, not for him. The night before Valentine’s Day, there was a major storm that blanketed the city in three feet of snow. While the roads were clear enough to make the drive to his place 50 minutes instead of the usual 25, there was more catastrophe: Sandy had the flu.

He felt really bad, but I thought his sniffly self sounded really cute on the phone. The reservations were canceled and I didn’t mine one bit. He can surprise me with steak some other time, and I can save the blindfolding & kidnapping for a future date.

(Dirty! But in reality it’s totally innocent, promise. I’ll keep you updated)

So, Sandy and I spent our first couply Valentine’s Day making soup. Soup is bowl food, soul food, feel better all around food. Great for colds & flu, and just what he needed. He whipped up a pot of vegetable turkey beef, served with thin noodles and wild rice; I made coconut red lentil soup with snow peas, mushrooms and baby corn. The red curry paste in the base gave it some extra kick.

He poured us some wine and we lounged on the couch with our bowls, watching Sopranos reruns before going to bed. We fell asleep holding hands.

And, that was it. When you look at it through an outside window, it wasn’t all that spectacular. But then, when you love someone and they love you back, every day is Valentine’s Day, no?

Just maybe there were some other surprises, too. When I got to his house and walked into the kitchen. There was a table full of goodies just for me: Hershey’s Kisses, truffles, a Snoopy card, and a dozen long-stem, russet coloured roses. He’d even rewrapped the roses himself, because he wasn’t satisfied with the florist’s patchwork.

As for my surprise to Sandy, it might have had something to do with the lacy red stuff underneath my jeans and black Ramones blouse.

But the biggest surprise of all wasn’t expected, or store bought. It came when I was slicing some snow peas and talking about Going the Mile.

That’s our code phrase for marriage. We don’t say, “You know, if you and I get married someday,” we say, “You know, if we go the mile…” and etc.

I don’t remember the point I was making, but I started it out with, “You know Ace, if we go the mile…”

To which he interrupted, over from where he was stirring his soup, “Cheech, when are you going to stop with the If we go the mile, and start saying When?”

It’s safe to say I almost sliced my thumb clean off.

It’s safer to say I gave him a huge hug and kiss, flu or no flu.

And it’s the safest thing of all to say that my heart, full of gladness, is bursting. One day, some day, this man wants to marry me.

Fancy that.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Inventory, Part 2

What is measured on the outside, doesn’t necessarily give measure to the inside. In other words, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Who am I to shitpick my outside, without dissecting the inside?

For starters, I must be harsh.

My eating habits are not great. They’re not bad, but they’re not great. I haven’t exactly been sticking to my super healthy way of life plan. I’m not eating overly large meals or snacking to excess, then again, I’ve also been eating after 7pm.

Let’s dig deeper into the Yucky hole. I haven’t been to the gym in months. Remember Tosca Reno’s fabulous Butt Book workout? Six feet under. My daily cup of green tea has dwindled down to a couple of times a week, and my coffee fast was fast. As I type this, there’s a cup of java on my desk. With cream. And sugar.

I should be shot.

But before I squirt myself to death with Jinny’s Buzz Lightyear water gun, I have to remember the important part of Inventory: being constructive. Always be constructive.

I’ve been dressing better, and that’s no lie. Every fat girl revolves around the very few precious items in her wardrobe that she feels make her look good, or at the very least, hide the bad parts. As every fat girl also knows, the majority of her wardrobe is “someday” clothes, while the clothes on her back get more worn and tired with each passing day.

I have lots of “me when smaller” clothes, and they’re fabulous. But I think I wised up and concentrated more on “me right now” clothes. I wear jeans a lot now, which I haven’t done in years. Blouses and tank tops layered with sweaters, and Puma sneakers. They’re so comfortable, those shoes.

I have started to do more with my hair. I wear it down all the time now. I even wore it up today, but styled differently, with some curls bouncing around here and there. And, ta da, I’ve had it straightened on the odd occasion.

I still stick with my holy cosmetrinity of lids, lashes and lips, but I dress them up a little more on occasion. Sandra’s lesson was not in vain: I wear colours just that much more often now.

I wasn’t going to talk about how fantastic I am, because I don’t do that. I don't think I'm all that fantastic. But then one of my dearest, devoted friends left a comment just the other day that got me *right here*:

I was planning a comment on the fact that you are doing your inventory just on your exterior (which by all means is absolutely gorgeous as it is), and that you are completely not mentioning your inner beauty, your inner persona, YOU! In fact, have you ever talked about it in the past 15 months of Blogging? I'm not sure that you have.

You are a truly beautiful person (Inside & Out) and you have a great group of friends and a fantastic family. You are always smiling and you always make the entire salon laugh when you come in. You are positive, excited and fucking talented. Yet you never write about that.

Yeah... I was going to comment about that, but then I read your last line and I'm hoping that your next post is going to be an "internal inventory"... and don't worry... my comments are not copyrighted so you can just cut and paste.

-- Lance


Wonderful friends are wonderful to have, because they see in us the things we often can’t.

Thanks, pookie.

So all in all, I’m not so bad. But if I want my outsides to start matching my insides, there’s plenty left to do.

First things first: more tea, less coffee. And start exercising again, stupid.
February 13 is an important day in history.

Good things happened on this day, there were many birthdays. Composers with long mouthfuls for names share this day, like Domingo Miguel Bernaube Terradellas in 1713, and Valentin de Zubiaurre y Unionbarrenechea in 1837. The first American quintuplets were born on February 13, 1875, as was Omar Torrijos Herrera in 1929, future president of Panama.

People died on this day. In 1542 Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, lost her head. Marvel Comics cartoonist Jack Kirby passed away in 1994.

Momentous events have taken place. The first sign of cholera in London was today in 1832. There were riots in New York over the high price of flour in 1837, and Jesse James held up his first bank in 1866. King Tut’s tomb was opened in 1924, mysteriously cursing all those who entered, and the first Barbie doll went on sale in 1959.

I have my own momentous event to celebrate, an anniversary, if you will. February 13, 2006, sometime between 7&9pm: after a barrage of insults from my boyfriend Jess, I tell him to go to hell. Our 6+ year relationship is ended on the spot.

I once got this email forward full of destiny-driven sayings, one of them along the lines of, “remember that right now is exactly where you are supposed to be.”

There are times when that’s a load of hooey. February 13, 2006, I honestly thought to be the worst day of my life.

That was then. Now, I know it was the best day of my life. The wheel of change started to turn.

If there are such things as time machines, if Bill and Ted had something going with those excellent adventures, I’d go back to that night and tell that shattered girl, take heart. Everything’s going to be okay. Everything’s going to be better than okay.

Truly, it is. Now, if I could just fit into smaller jeans…
Like a lot of cell phone owners, I refuse to answer calls that come up as Number Withheld. My contacts list is bursting with everyone important, and those important people know me and my quirky ways. If they want to get a hold of me, their names and numbers shine forth.

Usually, Number Withheld means telemarketers, or people I don’t want to speak to. And lately, I’ve been getting a record Number Withhelds, meaning a record number of hang-ups. Last week, I got four in one afternoon.

This might be premature to say, but I’ve got a got feeling.

Jess.

Stop.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Starbucks cup
The Way I See It #152

Perhaps people who think, “the sky is the limit” haven’t heard of Yuri Gagarin. We live in a limitless world, but if we aim low we’ll surely miss the target.


I looked up Yuri Gagarin. He was a Soviet cosmonaut, the first man in space, and the first person to ever orbit the earth. In his photo on Wikipedia he's smiling, in full military dress, and bedecked with medals and other honours. It's not hard to see why.

It's easy to understand what the author of that coffee cup quote is trying to say: aim for the stars; nothing else will do.

It just seems that sometimes, getting into space is easier than fighting the good fight to improve one's self.

Of course, in such cases, it never hurts to find other bits that will boost you all the more, like that memorable moniker from The Girl Next Door: "The juice was worth the squeeze."

Some fresh OJ sounds really good right now, too. And I mean that in the most metaphorical possible sense.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Inventory, Part 1

A few days ago I was walking through a Home Depot with Sandy, when my cell phone started to buzz. Raj. I let Sandy take the call, and after the obligatory hellos and how are yous, I heard him say into the phone, “I’m great. I’m walking through the store with the sexiest girl in the world.”

Thanks, gorgeous. But, I don’t feel like that just yet. It’s inventory time.

I was planning, with all good intention, to take care of the inventory deal on the first day of every month from here on in. The first of the month is known as pay the piper day: rent, mortgage, insurance, bills, yadda yadda, so why not make it a, “pay the everything” day?

Thus, from now on, when I pay my mortgage and Mastercard is the day I also pay my vanity and health dues. Right. Moving along, then.

After I made that decision I realized that we’re already a week into February, and guilt got the better of me. I really shouldn’t be waiting for tomorrow, so I took a few spare moments, locked myself in the bathroom, and stripped down.

A girl’s reflection can be her worst nightmare. We live in modern times, after all, and there are no mirror genies glorifying our very existence, reassuring us that we are indeed the fairest of them all.

Sucky. Then again, no mirror genies also mean we’re not evil queens hell bent on killing our teenage stepdaughters with poisoned apples.

I find myself avoiding mirrors all the time. When I look bad, when I think I look bad, when I look good but think other parts of me look bad, etc. Worst of all are those circular mirrors in convenience stores, up in ceiling corners to easily spot theft. No one ever looks good in those.

Anyhow, I digress. Time for the gritty, but not before the rules:

1) Look at your reflection. Really look.
2) Be constructive.

Bad everything doesn’t exist. Be aware of that.

Alright, I’m buck naked in front of my mirror, again, and staring at myself, again. Overall I’m finding that I have two conclusions, and they are the same as last time: I’ve improved. That's the goods news. I've improved Qquite wonderfully in fact, and that makes me glad. Not so good news is, there’s room for a lot more.

Last time I started from bottom to top. Why give up a good thing?

At the very bottom are my feet. Oh, my feet. Poor, awkward feet. Looking at you makes me sad, and then ask the high heavens above, Why, oh why, was I born with duck feet? I know they’re so big because I’m vertically gifted, and I’m totally fine being the same height as Christy Turlington. But why are they so awkward that I can’t ever wear the same stylish shoes as Christy Turlington? Sigh.

My feet are looking a little sad these days. It’s been months since they’ve been pedicured or even looked after properly – seasonal slacking; thank you very much – and while I know I’ve got some of the tools for the job, I’m not exactly a professional.

It’s easier to work on a foundation then to build something from scratch, and the very least my piggies deserve is some happiness, so I booked a pedicure. I actually booked a pedicure while naked. Eww. Well, at least they at the spa will never know.

Traveling north, my ankles, which are now a lovely matching set. They’ve been sprain-free for 16 months and counting, sweet relief, so my bone structure down there is back to normal. They still swell when it rains, though. My knees and ankles have become seniors before the rest of me.

My calves, strong as always. Thanks, Dad. Again, they’ll be fantastic when I reach the ideal me, minimal exercise required.

There go my knees with their scars and cracking tendencies (oh, the sprains), and we get to my thighs. Sighs, thighs. Definitely what you’d call a problem area. Smaller than last year, thank goodness, but not significantly so. At least not significantly to the standards I’d like. So, old pointers remain: target exercises, cleaner foods, loofah and maybe a firming cream.

Do firming creams actually work? I’m not too sure, but if they do, boy, would they be great for my butt. Still the bane of my existence, but happily, just that bit less baneful. Good work, girlfriend. Keep working. Again, target exercises, cleaner foods, loofah and firming creams that might or might not work.

My stomach. Last year it was a spare tire; now it’s just a l’il training wheel. While that makes me very happy, a nice, flat stomach with a line down the happy trail will make me happier. Situps.

My chest. Greta and Chloe, my darling girls, you’re uber fabulous. And that’s not even my opinion (giggle). Sadly though, my bras are looser. Swimmier. The transformation has begun; only one thing to do now. Note to Self: visit Victoria’s Secret. Lacey told me about the Very Sexy bra; maybe that’ll very sexy my girls right back up again, and keep them sexy throughout.

My arms need work, that much is obvious. They’re not bad, just not at their prime. My neck is my neck, and she goes right to my face.

I don’t look as tired as I used to, but when I do, it’s usually from all the running around I’ve been doing lately. That’s a good tired; not stress or depressed tired, like it was before. I’m happy with that.

My features are still the same, thankfully so, and even though I’ll never be crazy about my nose, I think it’ll look nicer on a leaner face, crookedness and all. I also need an eyebrow wax.

My skin isn’t bad. Matches the rest of me, at present: better, but not best. Hone up those eating skills, make a trip to the face mask store, and for shit sakes, woman, moisturize! You’re not 20 anymore.

I’m not 20 anymore. All the more reason to keep going, no?

Finally, my hair. Still my dark crowning glory of long curls, currently with deep red highlights. And there’s one big, big difference from last year: the clip is gone. I wear it loose all the time now.

I started doing this to free myself, and even though I’m not all there yet, I have experienced a freedom of sorts. I’ve let my hair down, and put my chin up. I want to look at the world now.

That in itself is one form of freedom, I think.

I cherish that victory, but it’s not enough to open a bottle of Veuve. Thus, the solution is the same as before: take this knowledge, learn from it, and get to work.

While I’m relieved to get my clothes back on and start to count inventory as being over for the month, I don’t think I should consider myself finished just yet.

I’ve decided to dig a little deeper this time.
Here it is. Naked day. It's here. One of my most unfavourite things in the whole world to do is here. Shitpick, critique, lambast. This is it.

.............

.............

.............

.............

Maybe I'll do it tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It’s that time again. Inventory.

Ugh.

I dread it. Wouldn’t you? Standing butt naked in front of a full length mirror, shitpicking yourself up and down, for better or for worse? It’s enough to send a girl straight to Godiva for the triple XL truffle box, then to the couch for a gorge session to Babycakes.

No, it’s definitely not the most enjoyable thing in the world to do. How sucky is it then, that inventory still remains, and will always be ever-so-necessary for goal making, goal meeting, and overall best-itude in general?

But then that’s just my opinion.

As many of you recall, I did inventory almost one year ago. A sobering experience, it was. What I’ve come to realize is that inventory can’t just happen once; I think it’s more of a monthly thing. How else will I keep track?

Inventory also dictates that once I’ve completed said shitpicking, eating better will be in order. Organic, greens, vitamins and an overall caloric drop.

If I’m going to be eating that well, I have therefore also decided to go out in style. No better way to do that then with a trip to Raj and James’ place.

Chef James isn’t just a chef, he’s a bon vivant, a master, an aficionado with food. We’re talking about a guy who goes about town on his days off, notebook in hand, collecting inspirations and recipe ideas from the atmosphere around him.

When you get an invitation to this house for dinner, you don’t turn it down. You accept, bring wine, and show up hungry, tastes buds sharpened and ready to go.

I wasn’t disappointed. Starters alone were caramelized dates stuffed with chorizo sausage, miniature mozzarella smoked turkey quesadillas with spicy salsa dipping sauce, and Shiraz.

The main course was rabbit. I have qualms about eating Bugs or the Easter Bunny, but then being professionally trained, James knows exactly what to do with everything, and how to make it spectacular. And, spectacular tasting. He served leg of rabbit, bone sticking up and paired with three grilled parsnips, also sticking up, stuck into creamed barley risotto with grape tomatoes and wild mushrooms, topped with a green herbed mousse. All served on hot round plates atop square chargers, ice water and Chardonnay.

As if that wasn’t enough, dessert was panna cotta decorated with a frangelico-dipped ladyfinger, homemade chocolate ice cream, caramelized bananas and a dark chocolate square.

That’s what I call going out in style.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

100% Real Juice: Mary the Jewellery Fairy

Awhile ago, I was at your local overpriced department store in search of fortune. Quite literally, too. I was looking for a fortune cookie keychain.

I'd seen it in a brochure for the store, and knew I had to have it. It was small, it was shiny, and perfect for my house keys. Best of all, it was a fortune cookie that actually opened. Something small and stupid that had my name written all over it.

Said local overpriced department store is a large, crowded place at the best of times, digs that Posh & Becks would frequent if they ever came to town. And so it was crowded that morning when I walked through its impressive, gilted doors, picture in hand and idea in mind.

This isn't typically the place one goes to for keychains. It's the place one goes to for $5,000 blouses, and exfoliant at $200 an ounce. Thus, asking for that $20 fortune cookie keychain not only garners a) contempt from most employees working on commission, but also leads to b) a total disdain for your very existence, and a complete lack of help.

After a half hour of asking here and there, I was shuffled off to the jewellery counter. I was fully prepared to give up right then and there, leaving the store without my fortune, when a fabulous, bespectacled, "my hair is auburn, not red" saleswoman greeted me with a huge smile. She was bedecked in vintage clothing, and glittered with baubles and personality from head to toe. Eyes sparkling, she looked right at me and said, "Mary the Jewellery Fairy at your service."

My stint in the retail world was short, and I do not miss it. You wouldn't either if you were paid minimum wage to act like a zombie. Standard intros were, "Can I help you?" or, "What can I do for you today?" This jewellery fairy stuff was completely left field, and from that first second, Mary had my attention.

I showed her the keychain picture but it was nowhere in jewellery, or anywhere in accessories at all, for that matter. I'd been in the store long enough at this point, or so I thought, and bid Mary adieu. No fortune for me today.

I turned and made my way out, but Mary caught me by the hand and said, "Just a few more minutes. Let me see what I can do."

This is when Mary started to make calls to this department, that department, the stockroom on the second floor. I tried to say that she needn't go to all that fuss for something so small and insignificant, but she wouldn't hear it. Twenty minutes later, a stock boy in jeans and a t-shirt gave Mary a small white box, which she in turn handed over to me.

In the box was my fortune cookie. I thanked Mary profusely, especially for going to all that trouble. Really, this wasn't exfoliant at $200 an ounce. Not even close. But then Mary looked me dead in the eye and said something I'll never forget: "Never take 'No' for an answer. A woman never should."

When I got home I took my keychain out, and opened it up. Inside were two tiny dice, with inscriptions on every side like, "Wash the car," or Polish my shoes."

Love dice, or in this case, servitude dice. Not my style. Since I had no intention of making my beloved roll dice to serve me, I threw them away.

I still kept the fortune cookie though, but something else is inside it now. After tossing the dice, I got a small piece of paper and wrote down on it, Never take No for an answer. A woman never should.

It's folded up and inside the cookie, dangling from my house keys. I carry it with me every day.

Fairy godmothers are scarce in this day and age, but when you meet one, take her advice. Thanks, Mary.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I’m wildly ticklish, and Sandy takes full advantage of it. It’s not as bad as when I was a kid, I’d practically be in hysterics if someone looked at me wrong. But it’s still pretty nuts, especially since lover boy knows every which button to push.

There we are, lying in his bed, peacefully watching TV. Out of the blue Sandy rams two fingers up my armpit, and it’s all downhill from there. I shriek and try to fend him off, but it usually ends with him wrestling me down and blowing raspberries into my navel. That alone doubles me up so badly, I’m practically in tears by the time he’s done.

Yesterday was a longer session than usual, and even though I’d managed to wriggle out of his grasp, I was so drained from laughter that he easily caught me time and again. After a little while when we were mostly still again I asked him, totally out of breath, “Whytheheckdoyouticklemesomuch?”

Mischievous grin, sarcastic cackle. “I love to hear you laugh. I like to think it means you’re happy. “

So much. I still can’t believe you’re here. Let’s always be like this. Don’t change.

“I’m very happy. Please stop tickling me now?”

He complied. For 10 seconds. Then out of the blue, shouted, “Never!” and wrestled me down again.

I ended up falling off the bed. Shits and giggles.