Thursday, May 31, 2007

8 Random Things

I have another Men and the Boys in the works, but packaging supplies just got more demanding, so the next couple of days are lazy ones. You know what that means?

Yup. Memes. Forgive me, though I know exactly what I do.

My good friend Laural tagged me on this meme quite a while ago, but until recently, I didn’t even know she’d done that. She tagged me as her beautiful friend, a link I never even thought to click on because, well, I just didn’t think that was me!

Laural, kisses. Not just for the compliment, but because every time I think of you I think of the two of us giggling behind the back row of computers at our school’s newspaper office.

8 Random Things about Me

Every September, I get sad when I see the flip flop tan on my feet start to fade.

One of my biggest pets peeves is when people mispronounce certain words. For the love of Pete, it’s Nuke-lee-er, not nuke-u-ler. It’s Interac, not Interact, and Dr. Seuss doesn’t start with a Z. I’m sure Zeus would have something to say about that, if he existed.

Good writing inspires me to write good (however badly that was just written), so whenever a well-written bit from a book or article I’m reading strikes me, I save it in a desktop file. For instance, I stumbled upon this today in Kate Muir’s superb novel, Left Bank: “She tapped in the security code, but before she was through the door, Madame Canovas was upon her in a flurry of shawls, lamentations and halitosis.”

I’m addicted to stupid online games, like Motherload, Alien Abduction, and Crypt Raider. That’s Crypt Raider, not Tomb Raider. No Lara Croft. Remember that 80’s subterfuge, Hunt the Wumpus? I still play it. Every now and then I still do a search for Bouncing Babies, hoping I’ll get lucky, but nothing yet.

You will never see me eating fresh papaya. The pits remind me too much of rabbit poo.

Orange juice always makes me feel better. If there’s any problem that seems too big or some icky feelings just won’t go away, I have a glass of extra pulp OJ.

When I was a kid I once say this geologist displaying all his rocks, and he had a geode among the haul. A geode is a big plain rock on the outside, but hollowed out on the inside and beautifully lined with purple quartz. I not only thought this was one of the most amazing things I'd ever seen, but that every rock had something like this on the inside. I took my dad's hammer, went outside, and spent days whacking open every rock I found. No geode.

I always pack a roll of masking tape when I travel. Too many shampoo spills and important, broken things to travel without it. I have a feeling that if I ever make it to the wilds of Africa or South America, it’ll be duct tape.

I have worked in four housewares stores. So far I can carry nine cups and saucers in one hand, all stacked one on top of the other. That’s my record.

Now, I have to tag people. Let’s make this creative: EVERYONE! Go on!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hold your horses. It’s not as big as you think.

This is A job, not THE job. And while I recognize that a new job is a new job, and I may not necessarily be getting THE job anytime soon, this one here is just a little ‘un, a a from-home sensation, a sideline gig. Veuve bottle the second remains tightly shut.

Here’s what happened: a friend of mine from way back, currently running his family’s web design business, called me up. Web design and writing go hand in hand, he said. Clients are always wanting things like copy for their sites, or ads written up to advertise this or that. Writing had become such a priority, he said, that he was considering hiring an in-house writer.

He’d thought of me first because I’d done a few freelance jobs for him a while back. In terms of this job, what did I have to offer?

Plenty, as it turned out. We met up over coffee, and discussed lots of things: different kinds of writing, what he was looking for, my experience, prices. Then, he made me the company’s in-house writer. Their only writer.

It’s freelance, one step up. Contract work, as in every assignment is a contract, and I work from home. The company funnels me the writing they need, and I give them a percentage. Currently, I am writing a press release for a packaging supplies company.

Admittedly, not much. Not THE job, in fact, if nothing else comes my way by September, I’ll be back in the trenches taking notes for the deaf, while still doing this from home. But then, it is writing. Writing, not typing.

There is one huge pitfall to the timing of this though, and that’s no Ride for Heart. No 20k for me, at least not this Sunday, on the highway, for charity. I’m donating the little cash that I did raise to the Heart and Stroke Foundation

I really did want to roll down the highway, but opportunity knocked. I had to take it. As for my second mini bottle of celebration champagne, that stays properly sealed for something else. I’m not sure exactly what, but I’ll know when the day comes.

Back to packaging supplies. Boxes, baskets, bubble wrap. A goal’s still a goal, right?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ride for Heart is in six days. The 20K highway bike & skate-a-thon for charity that will raise money for all kinds of heart issues is in six days.

Have I been training for this event? Have I been skating, sweating and pushing myself past all limits to be victorious in this event? Have I been a terror on wheels?

No. I haven't done anything. I haven't been skating, sweating, or pushing myself physically past any limits. I haven't been doing any of these things because I am too busy writing my ass off.

I have gotten a job.

Friday, May 25, 2007

100% Real Juice: Nelson Mandela

Today’s juice is (almost) courtesy of one of the greatest presidents and orators of our time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. I heard him speak once several years ago when I was still a student, but the below was narrated by Laurence Fishburne in Akeelah and the Bee:

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
But that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
Gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

I strongly urge you to print this post, cut out that quote and paste it to your foreheads, immediately.

Nelson Mandela spent almost 30 years in prison fighting apartheid; that’s a lifetime. And while his position today is far more secure than it ever was in the past, I’m willing to bet his feelings of doubt and inadequacy were, at times, almost crushing. There’s something to be said for never giving up.

We are fortunate in this day and age to have so many examples of brilliant, compassionate, strong people in our midst. We are even luckier to already have hardwired into our systems the limitless capacity to achieve.

Just a little something to think about, the next time any one of us feels doubt pulling at our heartstrings. Be the light that is inside you, and you will never go wrong.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Calorie Chronicles: Jenny Craig

The first time I ever saw Kirstie Alley was on the 80’s miniseries North and South. She played Virgilia, a beautiful and fervent activist of human rights, a literal Cassandra of her times, and was the most exciting character in the series by far.

My family and I watched North and South religiously, never missing an episode, running back to the TV after commercial breaks if we heard that fiery voice on the speakers. “Go, Virgilia!” we cheered, as she triumphantly defied her family to run off with the African slave, escaping the Main family plantation in the dead of night.

Boy, were we ever sad when she was hung. I’ll assume everyone else was too; the show was never the same after that.

Kirstie’s career had its ups and downs after North and South, the most notable up as Rebecca in Cheers, and even though her acting hasn’t reached a high point in eons, she’s certainly not hurting for publicity these days. We see her all the time, you and I, dancing her way across our TV screens as the spokeswoman and living success of Jenny Craig.

She looks fantastic, a far cry from her Fat Actress days, all sumptuous and sexy and flirty with the young bucks. How many pounds has she lost now, 75 and counting? It’s an astronomical number on those lines that not only adds to the presence Kirstie always had, but makes her virtually unnoticeable. She now commands attention in true goddess form.

Recently, I caught my dad watching Kirstie at her finest in a slinky black dress, and he said, “Son of a bitch. She looks amazing.”

That she does. But dad, she’s not just a regular client of Jenny Craig. She’s also an ad campaign.

My own experience with Jenny Craig started almost a decade ago when I was 22, far before Kirstie Alley ever tried it, or was even fat to begin with. I’d just gotten back from Europe, and was on the comedown from the summer of eating disorders. I’d lost a lot through starving, exercising and puking, then gained it back being a normal human being, which left me right back where I’d started. Fat girl. Needing to lose. Lots of weight.

Why the Jenny Craig diet? Because it was everywhere. On television, billboards, newspapers, magazines, brochures dropped in the mailbox, and that catchy tune playing endlessly on every radio station known to man:

Dial one-eight-hundred
Ninety-four Jenny
That’s one-eight-hundred
Ninety-four Jenny.

It was safe to say that in the late nineties, at least on my corner of the earth, Jenny Craig had the weight-loss market in a handbag. That and their advertised claim of safe, supervised weight loss on the tastiest food possible had me sold. After that terrible summer the primary thoughts in my head were, I need to lose weight sensibly. I need reprogramming.

I signed myself up that September, tying in with the beginning of my fourth year at university, and threw myself into the Jenny Craig plan. It was easy, really, mostly because Jenny Craig was the only diet program I ever went on where the food was provided. Sure you had to buy the stuff, but it made mealtimes guesswork free, and 100% idiot proof.

The amounts are small but you’re eating between six and eight times per day, so you’re rarely ever hungry. And, the food is delicious – Kirstie ain’t lying about that. Chocolate, pasta, sauces and grilled meats, all in polite little amounts, served up in cellophane wrappers, or microwaveable black plastic containers. I remember my favourite was the blueberry pancakes, and I made sure to get plenty of those whenever I went to the center for visit, and once a week groceries trip.

My starting weight at Jenny Craig was 218, if I’m not mistaken, and during my time there I managed to get down to a little below 200. Then, I left.

Why? If the program is so easy, if you just eat what’s in front of you, if you’re losing weight and all that jazz, why stop?

Reason #1: Ta ta, social life. All meals are provided on the Jenny Craig diet, as in ALL meals, so a lot of “Sorry, not tonight,” and, “Maybe next time” are doled out to friends while you sit at home, microwaveable dinner perched on your lap.

Reason #2: Eat at least one supplement bar every single day. Sure they taste great, but tell me how you feel after a couple of months.

Reason #3: Cha-ching. There was barely a time where I walked out of the JC centre with less than a $100 bill of groceries for that week. Couple that with

Reason #4: Exceedingly slow weight loss. When you’re paying that much money to lose one pound a week, one pound a week, one pound a week and one pound a week, it starts to wear on your nerves and dimes. The first few weeks were great, I was dropping all kinds of great numbers, but that eventually trickled down to single numbers and even ounces.

I know weight loss is supposed to be slow. But if I can lose one pound per week stuffing myself with all their food, can’t I just lose one pound per week doing my own thing?

Jenny Craig and me didn’t last. I was young, I wanted to go out with my friends, and I was really, really, REALLY sick of supplement bars. I trickled myself off the diet, and watched every single pound I’d lost fly back on with a quickness.

I thought that strange. I mean, if you lose weight slowly, isn’t it supposed to stay off? Of all the programs, diets, fads, anything I’ve ever done (with the exception of the eating disorders, naturally), I lost weight the slowest with Jenny Craig, but gained it back the fastest. It’s a great mystery.

I highly doubt Kirstie will be gaining any weight back though, and if she does she’ll be years away from the Jenny Craig diet. Being an ad campaign, I’m willing to bet they’ve invested *plenty* into Kirstie’s success, and thrown in all kinds of extras to boot. You may get your microwave portions on the Jenny Craig plan, but the trainers and stylists are extra. I’m almost positive.

What did I learn with Jenny Craig? A few things, actually.

While many people have successfully lost weight on this program and happily kept it off, I am not one of them. All diets are not created equal, and this one was not made for me.

Losing weight doesn’t have to taste like shit.

And last, but never least, I never want to see a supplement bar again for the rest of my natural born life.
For weeks, Herbal Magic has been calling me. I haven’t been taking the calls or answering back because a long time ago I came to a decision, and I’ve been too much of a chicken shit to tell them.

When the fatties stop coming for their vitamins and don’t return the calls, they start getting letters. Mine arrived a few days ago, here it is:

Dear Client,

It is normal procedure for us to stay in contact with all of our clients. Most of the past clients we have contacted have successfully achieved their goal and are now maintaining their weight using the tools they learned throughout their program. It appears, however, that you stopped before reaching your goal.

No shit.

This is certainly understandable. Dieting is tough! We have helped so many clients attain their goal and we feel confident that we can help you too.

But what if I’m not so confident about that anymore?

Your file has been closed.

I won’t pretend that doesn’t sting, just a little bit.

Whether you have already reached your goal or would like support with maintenance, you may have a new goal in mind, we would like to take the opportunity to sit down and discuss all your options available.

There is nothing to lose by calling and booking a free re-evaluation!


Herbal Magic

I can honestly say that of every diet program I have ever been on in my entire life, it was with Herbal Magic that I showed the littlest interest. Lord knows they were patient with me and always treated me well, but I was never really 100% with them.

Why? Maybe it wasn’t for me. Maybe I’m cheap, maybe I’m lazy, maybe I just don’t want it bad enough. Maybe I’m sick of programs and weigh-ins, or, maybe I just want to change my life by myself, one day at a time.

I gained all this myself, didn’t I? Now, I want to lose it myself. I’m almost 32-years old, after all. If I can buy my own clothes and drive my own car, why can’t I take the wheel over every aspect of my life?

With a deep breath I pick up the phone, dial Herbal Magic and tell the answering service Thanks for being patient with me, but I think I’m better off flying solo.

Coming from a competitive home, I am now programmed to feel like a quitter. I can’t help that, it’s hardwired into my system.

But I’m tired of it, tired of people telling me what I already know. Eat right. Exercise. Respect yourself. It’s not Herbal Magic, it’s the icing on the proverbial diet program cake. I mean, I’ve done this so many times. Shouldn’t I know the formulas well enough now to do it on my own?

Up to this point, where I am right now that is, how far have diet programs taken me?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dear celebrities of the world,

If you are famous and you have become fat, can you please tell me how that happened?

It’s an anomaly, and I really don’t understand it. You have money, LOTS of money, to keep you svelte, stunning, and in tip-top shape.

You have money for people. You have money for trainers, money to buy Richard Simmons in fact, to keep you worked out. You have money for chefs, money to imprison Wolfgang Puck to be your gourmet bitch and prepare your bok choy in 2875 different ways so that it’s tasty from every conceivable angle. If you’re too lazy to get any food yourself, you have the money to bring it to you.

You have money for nutritionists, dietitians, swimming pools, spectacular home gyms. You have money to pay Mr. Universe to carry you to the treadmill if you’re too lazy to get out of bed, and money for Rodney Yee to personally show you the correct positioning of downward dog.

If you’re too busy to plan your diet, you have money for assistants to do that for you. You have money to station Rottweilers beside your fridge to chase away the midnight munchies. You have money for your very own drill sergeant to follow you everywhere, making sure nothing tainted touches your lips.

Heck, if you even go so far as to think regular, run-of-the-mill food isn’t good enough, then you have money to buy your own organic farms, complete with organic farmers and pretty brown hobby cows.

And, if all else fails, if you don’t have the willpower to make all of the above work or, if none of it works for you then you have the money to go under the knife, the very best cosmetic surgery knives on earth to nip, tuck, suck, slice and fold you to outstandingness.

I know that fat & fat loss is just as much an emotional issue as it is a physical one but my point is, you are blessed with ridiculous salaries. You have the gerbillions of dollars that make what’s really hard for the rest of us, that much easier for all of you. With that said, is there really any excuse?

Many of you will be tempted to scoff and that’s fine, but take a look at this quote by one of your very own:

"How can women be as thin as we are? We have personal trainers to work us out. We have specially prepared meals." – Sarah Michelle Gellar

While I’m on topic I have another question for the fat celebrities of the world, or at least that handful of overweight, fat-advocating glitterati who all of a sudden drop a landslide of pounds: if being fat is so great, why are you now thin?

I saw Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips fame on a talk show once doing a “Big is Beautiful” schpiel. Big women are gorgeous too. Big women deserve love too. Big women love sex too.

A few years later, her gastric bypass surgery was broadcast live on the internet. Now she’s just a teeny little thing.

I remember once reading a feature article on Sharon Stone after she went up a few sizes. Being more rounded out was fabulous, she said, because now she could eat more and be comfortable with it. She could make gigantic bowls of pasta, stick two forks in and share it with her husband. Skinny girls only look good in bikinis, she said, and who cares anyway because you only wear bikinis at the beach.

Enter Basic Instinct 2, and Catherine Trammell is as bony as she ever was.

I don’t care if you’re fat or thin or go up and down on the scale for the rest of your lives, but how can you go out in public with these holier-than-thou attitudes, then do the exact opposite? It’s not very respecting.

How ironic then that Camryn Manheim, the last actress you’d expect to be self-satisfied, should hold up her 1998 Emmy and proudly proclaim, “This is for all the fat girls!”

It is a refreshing reality, especially since she’s put into practice what so many of us are in denial over, that life isn’t about being thin, it’s about being happy. Happiness isn’t about being fat or thin, it’s about being yourself.

And so to those of you who have healthily maintained your figures, whatever size they may be, and glow in the skin you were given, I praise you. You set a wonderful example for the rest of us.

To the yo-yo dieters and champions of cellulite that’s actually being cut out next week, what can I say? You may be untouchable, but on some levels it’s nice to see you’re still human. And, if you’re not appreciating Wolfgang Puck preparing your bok choy in 2875 different ways then by all means, send him over. I could always use my own personal gourmet bitch.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

You know someone is a good person if they are good to your child.

That said, your child doesn’t necessarily have to be your biological offspring or even anything living; it’s what you love with your whole heart. Your child can be your work, your garden, or the car you redid yourself. Or, as is the case with me, your child is your pet.

Blue is my baby, the child I never gave birth to, but rocked to sleep anyway when he was just a tiny puppy, sad at being separated from his litter. I knew he’d made me his mommy barely a week into having him when, just like that, mornings became the time when he would smother my face with kisses. If kids are indeed in my future, believe me when I tell you that I’ll always consider Blue to be my first.

The list of people I trust Blue with is small. My family, Sandy; a very small group of friends. You don’t just hand over your heart when you’re not sure. Those who have mistreated my dog have gotten a piece of my mind (at least), and never saw us again. Those who have loved him, taken care of him, I’ve adopted forever.

A few weeks ago, our list grew. On a beautiful, perfect sky Sunday, I packed Blue into the car and drove over to a barbecue at Sandy’s house. His whole family was gathered there, and I was eager to introduce the furry l’il kid of mine they were always hearing about.

Even though he never does it with people he doesn’t know well, Blue kept tossing the ball at the feet of Sandy’s dad. And before his mom left later on that day, Blue approached her shyly, tail a-wagging, to lick her nose.

He rested his head on Sandy’s sister’s lap to look at her with those huge brown eyes, and Sandy’s brother-in-law got the five-star Blue greeting, as if he’d known him his whole life. Sandy’s nephew he just adored, running and barking in delight whenever a soccer ball flew up for him to chase.

But Blue’s favourite (paws down), was the teenage boy who got his undivided attention. Those two played for hours on end, to the point where Blue did all his tricks unprompted, behaving like the little angel I know he is. Blue followed Sandy’s son around in a way that reminded me of his puppy days, licking his cheek at every unexpected moment.

What’s it like to watch your favourite thing in the whole world, your dog, fall madly in love with your boyfriend’s son?

Some things are so good, they’re indescribable. Some things, you just can’t write about.

My life is truly a wonderful place.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

100% Real Juice: Designer Guy & the Goddess of Love

One of Mia’s required classes in the Graphic Design program is called Concepts in Design. The students look at art and design through the centuries and what makes design what it is, bla bla bla. In short, lots of design.

It’s actually a pretty interesting class made more fascinating by the professor, a swarthy Frenchman built like a sea captain, with a six-inch long bushy mustache that makes him look like a retired Pugwash. He’s hard to understand sometimes as ‘e talk like dis, but has great insight overall, and always makes interesting points.

Every class has a slide show of this art and this design, and during one class a huge picture of the Venus de Milo flashed onscreen. Daunting in a way, considering what class we were in, after all the Venus de Milo is a very classical work. Frenchie paused for a bit and then said, accent not included:

“The Venus statue that you see here, when she was made she had all her arms and attributes. But it was through the ages, after she lost some parts, that she became the epiphany of beauty.”

As a finished work, she was a jewel. But after she broke, priceless.

I like to think that applies to the rest of us, too. How wonderful to think that after time has passed, when we are no longer young and fresh, that the experience of life is what adds to our features. Our battles scar us, but not necessarily in a negative way. In fact, they make us who we are.

Every minute that goes by, every hour and every day, with every hardship and every joy, we become more human. And, more beautiful.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

First, a meme. Then, we have some fun.

This one I graciously lifted from "A Day in the life of a Terrible Mother," only because she's got the best memes. Thanks Emma!

1. You can press a button that will make any one person explode. Who would you blow up? Dubya, we never knew ya.

2. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Which one will it be? Ciao, New Kids on the Block!

3. Who would you really like to just punch in the face? Ben Mulroney. Seeing him on TV makes me dry heave.

4. What is your favorite cheese? A nice, sharp Gorgonzola.

5. You can only have one kind of sandwich. Every sandwich ingredient known to humankind is at your immediate disposal. What kind will you make? Nothing better than a fantastic veal parmiggiano sandwich, covered in roasted mushrooms, peppers, mozarella and tomato sauce. Defibrillator on a plate.

6. You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie celebrity of your choice. We are talking no-strings-attached sex and it can only happen once. Who is the lucky celebrity of your choice? I'm playing the threesome card: Eric Bana and Christian Bale

7. You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. Who do you pick? Toss up between Keith Urban & Gavin Rossdale. Nicole and Gwen, you're two lucky cats.

8. Now that you've slept with two different people in a row, you seem to be having an excellent day because you just came across a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk. Holy shit, a hundred bucks! How are you gonna spend it? Ice cream and balloons for everyone in the park! Including my baby boy Blue.

9. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go? My dream country, Morocco.

10. Upon arrival to the aforementioned location, you get off the plane and discover another hundred-dollar bill. Shit! Now that you are in the new location, what are you gonna do? Go to the soukh, of course.

11. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. Apple vermouth, I've just discovered it.

12. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there? Either Ancient Rome or the Ottomans. Both empires had profound effects on my parents' homelands; I'd like to see what brought their countries to what it is today, and the mixture that resulted in my family.

13. You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place? Toupees not allowed.

14. You have been given the opportunity to create the half-hour TV show of your own design. What is it called and what's the premise? Gay Survivor!

15. What is your favorite curse word? Oh, that's easy. Fuck.

16. One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by MUMMIES. The mummies aren't really doing anything, they're just standing around your bed. What do you do? Well, seeing as that's totally impossible, I also perform the impossible by opening a big ole can of WHOOP ASS and beat them back into their tombs just like in "The Mummy."

17. Your house is on fire, holy shit! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don't worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what's the item? My jewellery box. I have a lot of great vintage pieces.

18. The Angel of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it. Whatcha gonna do in that half-hour? Try to take the world's worst dictator with me.

19. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what's even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What's it gonna be? I always loved Storm from the X-Men, so I'd either want to control the weather, or fly.

20. You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again? Dancing with Sandy at the prom...

21. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be? (the answer "nothing" doesn't count). Jess.

22. You got kicked out of the country for being a time-traveling heathen who sleeps with celebrities and has super-powers. But check out this cool shit... you can move to anywhere else in the world! Bitchin'! What country are you going to live in now? I'd live in Notting Hill, London.

23. This question still counts, even for those of you who are underage. Check it out. You have been eternally banned from every single bar in the world except for ONE. Which one is it gonna be? Les Trois Brasseurs, Montreal.

24. Hopefully you didn't mention this in the super-powers question.... If you did, then we'll just expand on that. Check it out... Suddenly, you have gained the ability to FLOAT!!! Whose house are you going to float to first, and be like "Dude, check it out... I can FLOAT!"? I'd go to Gabriel's house and be all, "I'm the ghost of the girl you played jooooookes on.... Woooooo....."

25. The constant absorption of magical moonbeams mixed with the radioactive vegetables you consumed earlier has given you the ability to resurrect the dead famous-person of your choice. So which celebrity will you bring back to life? Queen Hatshepsut. I had an Egyptian thing in high school.

26. The Celestial Gates of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn't think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is actually a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person, etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back? The one grandfather I never met, just to say hello.

27. What's your theme song? According to the meme I did earlier this week, Gabba Gabba Hey by The Ramones. And, that suits me just fine.

Now, we have a bit of fun.

What's your stripper name? According to the old adage, you combine your first pet's name with the name of the first street you lived on. Unfortunately for me, Jane Royal York sounds more like a jilted 16th century woman biding her time before being sent to the chopping block.

Oli's is fantastic, though. Fishy Coxwell. Wow sis, bet you never thought I'd mention that!!

Thanks to the wonders of the internet and people who have way too much time on their hands, there is another way.

1. Use the third letter of your first name to determine your new first name:

a = Chesty
b = Fantasia
c = Starr
d = Diamond
e = Montana
f = Angel
g = Sugar
h = Mimi
i = Lola
j =Kitty
k = Roxie
l = Dallas
m = Princess
n = Heidi
o = Bambi
p= Bunny
q = Brandy
r = Sugar
s = Candy
t = Raquelle
u = Sapphire
v = Cinnamon
w = Blaze
x = Trixie
y = Isis
z = Jade

2. Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:

a = Leather
b = Dream
c = Sunny
d = Deep
e = Heaven
f = Tight
g = Shimmer
h = Velvet
i = Lusty
j = Harley
k = Passion
l = Dazzle
m = Dixon
n = Spank
o = Glitter
p = Razor
q = Meadow
r = Glitz
s = Sparkle
t = Sweet
u = Silver
v = Tickle
w = Cherry
x = Hard
y = Night
z = Amber

3. Use the third letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name:

a = hooter
b = horn
c =tower
d = fire
e = thighs
f = hips
g = side
h = jugs
i = shock
j = cocker
k = brook
l = tush
m = sizzle
n = ridge
o = kiss
p = bomb
q = cream
r = thong
s = heat
t = whip
u = cheeks
v = rock
w = hiney
x = button
y = lick
z = juicee

Are you ready for it?

I am Raquelle Leatherfire.

What's yours?
This isn't exactly a meme, but a heck of a lot of fun to do. It also answers the question of three people who've asked me what my tally was, but I never got around to answering.

Sorry kids, but rest assured that my shame is now available for your viewing pleasure.

How much do you owe?

It's simple, just take the values of everything you've done on this list, and add them up for your life's debt.

Smoked pot -- $10

Did acid -- $5

Ever had sex at church -- $25

Woke up in the morning and did not know the person who was next to you -- $40

Had sex with someone on MySpace -- $25

Had sex for money -- $100

Ever had sex with the a Puerto Rican -- $20

Vandalized something -- $20

Had sex on your parents' bed -- $10

Beat up someone -- $20

Been jumped -- $10

Crossed dressed -- $10

Given money to stripper -- $25

Been in love with a stripper -- $20

Kissed some one who's name you didn't know -- $0.10

Hit on some one of the same sex while at work -- $15

Ever drive drunk -- $20

Ever got drunk at work, or went to work while still drunk -- $50

Used toys while having sex -- $30

Got drunk, passed and don't remember the night before -- $20

Went skinny dipping -- $5

Had sex in a pool -- $20

Kissed someone of the same sex -- $10

Had sex with someone of the same sex -- $20

Masturbated -- $10

Done oral -- $5

Got oral -- $5

Done / got oral in a car while it was moving -- $25

Stole something -- $10

Had sex with someone in jail -- $25

Made a nasty home video -- $15

Had a threesome -- $50

Had sex in the wild -- $20

Been in the same room while someone was having sex -- $25

Stole something worth over more than a hundred dollars -- $20

Had sex with someone 10 years older -- $20

Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over 27 -- $25

Been in love with two people or more at the same time -- $50

Said you love someone but didn't mean it -- $25

Went streaking -- $5

Went streaking in broad daylight -- $15

Been arrested -- $5

Spent time in jail -- $15

Peed in the pool -- $0.50

Played spin the bottle -- $5

Done something you regret -- $20

Had sex with your best friend -- $20

Had sex with someone you work with at work -- $25

Had anal sex -- $80

Lied to your mate -- $5

Lied to your mate about the sex being good -- $25

Me = $570.60

Oh, man. I also love the two little bits that are only worth cents, so even if you don't know everything I did to incur that $550, you know exactly what I did for the extra 60 cents.

Yes, I kissed someone who's name I didn't know. I was a student, in a pub, drunk, and he was cute.

And yes, dadblast it, I've peed in a pool! But then at some point or another, doesn't everyone?!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

And the next one is, The ABC's of ME

A - Available or Single? Unless Single means unmarried, that's an oxymoron. Unavailably single.

B - Best Friend? Plural... my sister, my dog, my homo.

C - Cake or Pie? Cake all the way, especially making them.

D - Drink of Choice? Water for everyday. Cocktails: winter is all about martinis, and summer's for margaritas.

E - Essential Item(s)? Cell phone, wallet, Ipod.

F - Favorite Colour? Blue!

G - Gummi Bears or gummi worms? Oh, the bears. Biting their heads off is way too much fun.

H - Hometown? Wouldn't you like to know.

I - Indulgence? A trip to Sephora. Cha-ching!

J - January or February? Ugh, neither. Too cold.

K - Kids? 1 Dog.

L - Life is incomplete without… the moments and people who bring happiness to your heart. This has been brought to you by Kodak.

M - Marriage Date: 15/09/2067

N - Number of Siblings: 1 sister

O - Apples or oranges? Apples, but if I lived somewhere more tropical, I'm betting it would be oranges.

P - Phobias/Fears: My sister made me sit through Jaws when I was three. You do the math.

Q - Favorite Quote: "It takes 46 muscles to frown, but only 4 to flip 'em the bird."

R - Reasons to Smile? Right now, the absolutely gorgeous, sunny day it's becoming. In general, almost everything these days :)

S - Season? Toss up between Spring and Fall

T - Tag Three: Airam, Common Girl, OLI!. And, everyone else who'd like to do this!

U - Unknown Fact About Me: It took me a long time to get used to the hills of San Francisco. My first time there whenever I walked downhill my knees would shake. Uphill, I'd automatically have to pee. The first few days were very taxing.

V - Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals? I would love to be a Brussel Sprout, but as Laural says, I do love a good steak.

W - Worst habits? Nail biting, talking too much, laughing so hard I almost choke.

X - X-rays or Ultrasounds? Are you serious? Why would I choose either one? That's like saying, "blood test or tetanus shot?" But then having to drink 17,000 glasses of water while people PRESS DOWN on your stomach really sucks.

Y - Your Favorite Foods: I'm dating an Italian, need you ask?

Z - Zodiac: Cancer.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I discovered something today.

1) Writing deep shit about your former significant other is exhausting. Writing deep shit about the burial of the essence of your former significant other is exhausting. 3) Spending four days away does no good for your work ethic, in that it relaxes you way too much.

Thus, I am taking a week off to recollect my thoughts and come back to you with fresh literary meat, come Monday. Yeah I know, I'm a lazy ass. BUT, I don't like to leave people hanging, so welcome to.... wait for it...


Just because I'm not writing fresh material, doesn't mean I won't be writing. I'll do my best to put up the coolest ones ever, and you're all welcome to cut and paste for your blogs!

Our first one for the week is a music one:

Last seen at Slaves of Academe, the newest music meme: "Simple directions: use the shuffle function on your music player and see what you come up with in answer to the following questions."

This should be fun.

How does the world see you?
Cosmic Girl - Jamiroquai (hey, nice start!)

Will I have a happy life?
Laid - James (wow, I guess I will)

What do my friends really think of me?
Precious - Depeche Mode (okay really now, this is too much)

Do people secretly lust after me?
Voodoo Child - Jimi Hendrix (whatever that means)

How can I make myself happy?
The Real Me - The Who (things that make you go hmm...)

What should I do with my life?
Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz

Will I ever have children?
Piggies - Beatles (HA!)

What is some good advice for me?
A New Refutation of Time and Space - The Digable Planets

How will I be remembered?
Gabba Gabba Hey - The Ramones (oh, I like that)

What is my signature dancing song?
The World has Turned and Left Me Here - Weezer

What do I think my current theme song is?
Flathead - The Fratellis

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
Queer - Garbage (HA! again!)

What song will play at my funeral?
Keep Hope Alive - The Crystal Method

What type of men/women do you like?
Lovely Day - Bill Withers

What is my day going to be like?
Freedom - George Michael

Oh that was way too much fun....

Thursday, May 03, 2007

There is only one song left to play now, and I put it on right after this call.

“Hey, Cheech?”

“Yeah, Ace?”

“I have a business trip to go on and it’s pretty far out, so I won’t be around tomorrow night.”

Pout. “That’s cool.”

“Want to come with me?”


“Yeah, we can even make it a whole weekend thing, check out the sights, do some shopping, spend some time together. What do you say?”


Love isn’t easy, nothing about it is, but we strive for it anyway because of those moments that make us feel so good.

Love isn’t easy, but recognizing good love, a true love, is half the battle won.

It's the room the sun and the sky
It's the room the sun and the sky

I've been waiting
I've been waiting for this moment...

Funeral for an Ex-Lover, Part 3

Whenever things go bad with a man, I remember a conversation I had with my mother.

I was seven, eight years old, something young and innocent like that. We were talking about boys, and I proudly announced to my mom that no boy would ever make me cry. Moms looked back at me, somewhat sadly and in her own language, said, “My child, the tears you will cry for men will fill oceans.”

You were right, mummy. It is not a truth I like to admit. The tears I cried filled oceans but for this one, I don’t have to cry anymore. He’s gone now and with it, my idiocy over him.

My Ipod continues to blare its messages that I did, after all, specifically choose for this event:

I loved you but,
That was way back then
Now I'm alone outside
And I face the wind
The rain washes me thin

Knocked me down and I got back up
And I got myself back in the race again
Knock me down, and I'll get back up
And I'll get myself
Back in the race again

There’s only one thing left for the grave. I cover up the picture and papers with some dirt, and then before filling up the hole, completely, I scatter some seeds overtop.

Forget-me-not seeds, an entire packet patted down gently into the earth, that I water with the bottled supply from my backpack. If they grow, and they will, it will be a patch of blue in a tiny forest of green.

There are many legends attached to this flower, down to the drowning knight who threw his lady a posy, shouting for her to never forget him. I suppose all that armour weighed him down and he sank like a stone. Ever since, it is said that women wear the forget-me-not as a symbol of enduring love and faithfulness.

It is another symbol for today, one of love and remembrance. I must never forget what happened. I must never forget what I did here, and I will never forget that I’m stronger because of it. And, if there’s anyone who should own my enduring love and faithfulness before I give it to others, it’s me.

Speaking of all things Blue, I look over to my dog, who’s very busy sniffing a patch of moss. I call him and he trots over happily, all waggly tail and floppy ears. “Thanks for coming with me, kid,” I tell him, and he licks my cheek in reply. “Do you need to say goodbye, too?”

Blue just cocks his head in reply, and is quickly distracted by a chipmunk. It’s time for us to go.

It was a good thing to do, I think. This is what I think about as I walk out of the woods with my dog. It was a good thing to do, and a good thing to put to rest. If anything in my life needed to be put to rest, it was this.

Yet another song carries us home.

I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older, too
Well I’m getting older too

So, take this love and take it down
Year and if you climb a mountain and you turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well the landslide brought me down
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well maybe
Well maybe
Well maybe the landslide will bring you down

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Funeral for an Ex-Lover, Part 2

I say goodbye, I take my bow because lovers change, as did you.

Your construction
Smells of corruption

I don’t know what happened, if anything ever really did happen or you were always that way to begin with. I’d fallen for one person but moved in with two, a Jekyll and Hyde hidden underneath your skin. My love for you blinded me. I was a sitting duck.

I’ll manipulate to recreate

If I can’t take it back, I can use it to be better.

This air to ground saga

Is almost over. In a little bit, it will all be over.

Gotta launder
My Karma

If anything needs a run through the rinse cycle, it’s my karma. That’s where the list comes into play.

Gotta launder my Karma.

The list. My list, or, Mea Culpa. A list of things you said to me over the years, things you told me or yelled out at me or spat at me in fits of anger, and I usually answered back with nothing but tears.

Not anymore.

You’ve never been happy with yourself.

Not true. I used to be plenty happy, in fact, right around the time I met you.

You’re going to live in your parent’s basement forever.

Not true again. My official address now is elsewhere.

Will you get liposuction if I pay for it?

Will you get a lobotomy if I provide the sledgehammer? Wait, I’ll even do the hitting myself.

Fat hairy bitch.

Original. What insults were you using by the fourth grade?


Takes one to know one.

I don’t want people talking about my fat girlfriend behind my back.

Okay, let them talk about your little dick instead. Oops, I wasn’t supposed to say that.

I don’t want to deal with this right now.

I don’t want to deal with you ever again.

Only guys who like fat chicks look at you. I’ve seen them staring.

Who liked you, then? I never saw anyone staring.

Six years of misery, that’s what this has been.

It is what you made it. And that’s why you’re not here right now.

Why would I ever get into the fucked up institution of marriage?

Because you should only be so lucky to love and be loved in the way that I once loved you. I promise, you will never experience anyone as good as me, ever again. Count on it.

Do you know what your problem is?


Do you know what your problem is?


Do you know what your problem is?


I don’t want to be with you when you look like this.

Honey, I'd take one good, long look at those dipstick legs of yours before trashing anyone else's appearance. My stomach never had creases on it from multiple spare tires like yours did, and as for your personal hygiene... tsk tsk. Start showering daily, then we'll talk.

Jerking off is more pleasurable than fucking you.

Six years, six orgasms. Please, did you honestly think I never did my own handiwork?

I can’t be with a fat girl. That’s my choice.


I just want a hot girlfriend.

I just want a kind, tender, understanding man who genuinely loves & respects me, is great to talk to, and knows how to make me laugh. Ah, yes. I do have that now.

This is your fault.

No, it wasn’t my fault.

This is your fault.

It took me a long time to see that.

This is your fault.

The trademark of the abuser is to isolate his victim, after all.

Did you hear me? I said, this is your fault!

I don’t care, because I don’t hear you very much anymore.

Fuck YOU!

Fuck you too, asshole.

Yes, I was stupid. Nobody should take that, or feel they have to. Nobody should have to listen to their worst fears come to life, that they’re no good. No good, as spoken to you by your loved ones. I was stupid to have ever let you treat me like that.

But I can change too, Jess. I like to think I wasn’t so stupid as to keep you around forever. Six years come, six years gone, six years learned. I’m worse for the wear since you came into my life; there are worry lines and gray hairs coloured over, but I’m here. Im here, and I’m happy.

Part of me is going into that dirt hole with you, make no mistake. She was the one who was too tired to make the rest of the journey. The rest of me though, the one right here, only sees the way ahead. You’re not in that path.

I crumple the list up and toss it into the grave, followed by the poem I wrote, my eulogy:

Charming boy
Green eyes bright
I fell for you
Something stupid

Fucked up boy
Elephantine ego
You’re such a head case

I don’t hear you very much anymore, Jess. And after today, I will never hear you again.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Funeral for an Ex-Lover, Part 1

In the movie Crazy in Alabama, Lucille, played by Melanie Griffith, kills her abusive husband and gets rid of the body, but saves the head. She carries this head around in a big hatbox purse for the longest time, until one day, when it feels right, she dumps the head into the Pacific.

Actually, she gets stopped by police right before being able to complete the act, but the intention was there.

I’m ditching the head. The head is my stupidity. My guilt. Jess. I have no ocean to do that with, but I do have a patch of woods by my parents’ house. I often take Blue to play there and it’s a beautiful place for an everyday walk, or an impromptu funeral.

For this, there are two mourners: me and Blue; the ex-girlfriend and the dog. I never wanted to be the demented ex-girlfriend but here I am, might as well play the part. Blue is mine, bought with my dollars, but Jess and I lived together when he came home. In effect Jess was the closest thing to being Blue’s Daddy, and so he gets his chance to say goodbye too. If he even knew what was going on, that is.

There are some ingredients as well: a garden trowel, an effigy, a list, a poem, some seeds, a bottle of water and finally, an Ipod, bundled up in my backpack and ready to go.

I leash Blue up and we’re off. It’s a short walk, only 10 minutes or so, and Blue is very happy to go there. The minute we turn that corner he knows the woods are in sight, and plows me the last few yards. I unclip the leash from his collar – he’s a very good dog and never strays too far – and we make our way to a quiet little place where the sunlight streams through the trees, and the ground isn’t too thick with clover. I need some clear space to dig, after all.

I pull out the trowel and do dig, but not the traditional six feet. Could you imagine? I’d be there all day. I may not consider myself a girly girl, but serious digging ain’t my thing. Besides, I don’t need six feet, I need just enough to cover a few small things. Before long I have my hole, so I set the trowel aside to begin the ceremony.

I’d call Blue to sit beside me, but I think he’s happier mourning in his own way: sniffing around and chasing squirrels. Hey, he’s a dog. Follow your nose, right? We should all be so lucky to learn from that.

So I’m in the forest, I’ve dug my hole, and I can do what I came here for. From my backpack I pull out the effigy, a picture of Jess.

I took this picture when he came to visit for a couple of weeks for my 26th birthday. He’s sitting in a deck chair on my apartment balcony, wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt. He’s barefoot, his legs are loosely crossed, and his arms are folded over behind his head. Wisps of his wavy brown hair frame his face, and there’s a slow smile playing on his lips. He’s relaxed. He’s happy.

My heart pangs a bit when I see this. Does that make me a terrible person? I’m not sorry things are over and I know I don’t even remotely love him anymore, but I am sorry for the bad, awful turn we took. Not sorry enough to stop what I’m doing, though. The picture goes into the grave.

What do we do during funerals? We remember the good times. Even though I don’t want to remember the good times, any of them, I make myself do so. After all, I devoted years of my life to this man. I like to think I wasn’t completely devoid of reason.

Jess, Jess, Jess. When two people like each other it seems they have everything in common, and our attraction quickly turned to more when we realized that. We’d come from similar places in life, similar backgrounds, and had a world to conquer. We wanted to do that together.

I remember the first time you kissed me, and how that turned into a steamy, five-hour makeout. My face was red from your stubble, and lips pouty and swollen. I couldn’t stop smiling. I remember how my heart pulled every time you e-mailed me, called me, or picked me up at the airport with arms outstretched for me to jump into. You always lifted me up off the ground when you were extra glad to see me.

I remember traveling Europe with you, cooking all those dinners with you, and visiting you in LA, where we locked ourselves up in your apartment for days at a time. We couldn’t get enough of each other.

I truly did love you, with all my heart. No one can ever tell me that I didn’t. Maybe I didn’t always make the best decisions, but during our time together, I always put you first.

I don’t have to cry now because I’ve done enough of that, I’ve done more than my fair share of it. Besides, I don’t want to. What I do want to do is say goodbye.

That’s where the Ipod comes in and with it, some Madonna.

Your heart is not open, so I must go
The spell has been broken, I loved you so
Freedom comes when you learn to let go
Creation comes when you learn to say no

Man, could it get any cheesier? But cheesy songs often contain the messages we need, and this is one such time. All I have to say is, I did and I hope so. I really, really hope so.

You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress you had to burn
Pain is a warming that something’s wrong
I pray to God that it won’t be long

Sometimes, lessons are too hard to learn.

There’s nothing left to try
There’s no place left to hide
There’s no greater power than the power of goodbye

But if they bring us to places like this, there has to be some value to them. I take my bow.