Monday, July 30, 2007

100% Real Juice: Countess Zsa Zsa

Note: Apologies to anyone who may have read a truncated version of this last week. I was working on it and hit the Publish key by accident, instead of Draft. This one's the real thing.

One of the channels courtesy of my awesome cable package is Deja View, which shows nothing but the Hollywood goodness of yesterday. If you want to see Brenda and Dylan lock lips again, Bo & Luke Duke getting into trouble, or Ricky bellowing, "Luuuuuuuucy!", Deja View is the place to go.

I was flipping channels randomly last week, when a very blonde hair toss by Lisa Whelchel caught my eye. If that's not familiar, think 80's kitsch and you just might arrive at The Facts of Life.

I grew up on this show. Decades before troubled youth were having emotional breakdowns in Orange County, I was getting my weekly goodness from private school girls Jo, Blair, Natalie, Tootie and their den mother, Mrs. Garrett. It was a happy go lucky show, now cheesy at the best of times, but my memories of it are fond nonetheless.

The episode on last week was one I'd had faint memories of, so I stuck around to watch the rest. Blair becomes a salesgirl for Countess Calvet Cosmetics (a fictionalized Mary Kay, if you will), and is later on visited by the Countess herself, in a guest appearance by the fabulous Zsa Zsa Gabor.

The Countess is talking to the girls about natural beauty & vegetables, telling them how important it is to get your greens. Tootie makes some sort of grip about Zucchini, and the Countess replies with:

"Vegetables make you glow. You eat junk, you look like junk. Right, dahlink?"

So true, so true. A nice little play of You are what you Eat, spoken by none other than the mentor of drag queens everywhere. If you eat junk you look like junk. Or, have you ever seen someone who ate greasy foods all day look great? You don't even have to be eating anything for it to show, better put by, have you ever seen an addictive smoker look terrific?

Our bodies are a canvas, manipulated by what we do to them and put in them. And if we put the best things in them, they become works of art. Right, dahlink?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Feeling nostalgic for my youth, I added the Magic 8 Ball application to my Facebook page. We’re all familiar with that gigantic black snooker ball, that you can only ask Yes or No questions to. I shook it up for the first time today, my question being, Will I have a better job soon?

Reply hazy. Try again.

Very funny. Will I have a better job soon?

Better not tell you now.

What, think I can’t handle it? Will I have a better job soon?

Concentrate and ask again.

Right now I’m concentrating on kicking your sorry ass through the window, if it was possible. WILL I HAVE A BETTER JOB SOON?

Cannot predict now.

What, is this too difficult? Shall I fetch some champagne and caviar while you focus? Stupidhead!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I figured that today would be a fantastic day to start working out again. Great weather, a few hours to spare and, it’s a Monday. I figured it would be an even better day to take my inline skates for a whirl again, and an absolutely awesome day to explore a new trail I found. Good things all around, right?

I am now back from my skate, and have learned three very important lessons:

1) Check out the trail first, on foot, before you skate it.

This is very important, as not all trails are created equal. There’s pavement difference, smooth vs. gritty, distance, ups, downs, and external factors. Family places, for instance, are a pain in the ass. Quality workout skating does not include maneuvering around biking children and their training wheels.

This trail, I found out much too late, is covered with shitty pavement, gravel in places, sand in other places, tons of families with toddlers in tow, a wooden bridge, and scores, scores of Canadian goose poo.

2) Being an experienced skater means nothing if you’ve taken a two-year hiatus.

Taking long breaks from your inline skates is never a good idea. Unless you’re an absolute pro at it and always have been, lacing up after 365 days and then some, begets shakiness, uncertainty, and accident prone-ness.

3) Not experiencing a fall in over a decade does not, by any means, make you impervious to future wipeouts.

Ah, my first ever inline skate wipeout. I remember it well, since I was in the store at the time, buying my very first pair. I’d wheedled and whined to my parents for a set as my 18th birthday present, and despite my cautious mother’s better judgment, I convinced them both to join the dark side.

I was sitting on the bench in the store just after lacing them up. I stood, then whammo! Flat on my ass. I laughed, the store employee laughed, my dad laughed, and moms shouted warnings of revelation: Oh my God! You’re going to kill yourself! You’re going to roll straight off a cliff! And etc.

The second was a few weeks after. Improved somewhat, I was going down a hill at top speed, then turned into the parking lot of a high school. Going much too fast, I found out much too late that there was a hose lying across the entire lot, and there was no way I could avoid it. My options were either to go right over it, or jump. I jumped, and flew straight into a brick wall, face first.

My third and last colossal wipeout was a couple of years after that. I was 20, in school, and skating through a national park. On a dare I went down a really steep, narrow path that turned onto a tiny bridge. A second after starting, I knew there was no I’d make it safely across, and would most likely end up in the creek. To avoid this, I turned roughly into the woods, where I slammed into a tree then rebounded onto a sand patch. I was so freaked out by the whole mess, I walked back uphill in my socks.

Twelve years between wipeouts is a very long time, and the older you are the more they hurt. I discovered this not five minutes into my skate today, trying to go through a big scrap of gravel on the trail. I went down like a ton of bricks, falling right on my butt.

Sonofabitch. Children everywhere laughed and an old man asked, “Are you alright?” I told him I was, that my ego was bruised a lot more than my behind. And with everyone watching, I collected myself and went along my (not quite) merry little way.

Everyone says that when you fall, you’re supposed to get right back up, brush your knees off, and keep going. This is not true for me. When I fall, I need a good hour or so to collect myself, and then I can forge on. Not doing so results in Shaky Knees Syndrome, making more falls pretty much inevitable.

Do I know myself, or what? About 15 minutes after that spill I took another, crossing the wooden bridge that connected one half of the trail to the other. Back on my ass. Who the fuck puts speed bumps on a wooden pedestrian bridge, anyway? Do people walk so fast they need slowing down? Are there jogging speed limits? Does Superman exercise here?

While I can totally laugh at myself for one fall, I get mad as heck at two. Two falls. I’ve never fallen twice during a skate, ever, and I haven’t fallen in over 10 years. Even more, I get ticked at people asking, “Are you alright?” I know they mean well, but do I look alright? Do you think I like picking myself up off the ground, again, and dusting the dirt and dead leaves off my butt, again? Think, people!

I’d had enough at this point, so I took my skates, and walked my way over to a tree stump where I sat down. Definitely time for a pep talk, even if it’s just to get my legs to stop shaking. So there I sat for the longest time, while bicyclists and bird watchers alike passed me by, wondering why my skates were leaning against the stump instead of being on my feet, while over and over I repeated to myself, Get a grip. Get a motherfucking grip.

While I was doing this, a text from Oli came through. All it said was, PLEASE GO HOME. I’d been telling her about my journey, see.

So, after my pep talk and a sip of water, I walked barefoot back across the bridge, and all the way uphill. It’s not so bad when you pretend you’re on pilgrimage. Millions of people have done this for much longer distances and in worse conditions, right? At the top of the hill I got my skates back on, and bladed all the way back without incident, avoiding scores of goose poo all the while. When I got back to the gravel patch near the beginning of my journey, I took my skates off again, and cut through a big field to get back to the car.

I unlocked the trunk to throw my skates inside, then got into my driver’s seat quite painfully. How ironic that I’d come here to make my ass hurt with workout grease, not pavement pain. Feeling myself up for what I knew would be big, big bruises in a couple of hours, I watched all the happy, happy park people, sitting, tanning, walking, running, biking and stroller-ing. Then, something clicked.

There wasn’t a skater in sight. Not a single one. And, I hadn’t seen any during my whole time there, either.

So what then, children, is the moral of this story?

Learn from the mistakes of others. If you’re wearing wheels and see none of your kind, turn thine ass around and go home before falling on it. Twice. And, beware of goose poo.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to sit on a bag of frozen peas.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Decorator's Handbook: Project Bedroom

“One Day at a Time” is the doctrine for Alcoholic’s Anonymous, thus I have made “One Room at a Time” the decorator’s philosophy. My unprofessional decorator’s philosophy that is, and definitely one that suits me well. I can multitask just fine, but home décor isn’t something I’m so terribly comfortable with, that I’ll just up and bedeck everything right off.

So, one room at a time. Besides, seeing something done, even if it’s just one little thing, gives me the boost I need to keep going. I’m just weird that way.

To make this whole project a simpler one, I have cordoned my space into sections:

1) Bedroom
2) Bathroom
3) Office
4) Stairs
5) Living Room
6) Kitchen

I’m starting with the bedroom, because it’s a great place to start. I’m also starting on the bedroom because of all my rooms, it’s the most completed.

I love my bedroom, because it’s where the “loft” part of the loft comes into play. It’s tiny, as are all my rooms, made much larger by the half-wall that overlooks the steps, and my almost floor-to-ceiling windows. I don’t have to buy anymore furniture for this room, which is just fine by me, as it’s already stuffed to capacity with my bare essentials: bed, chair, candles, and hatbox.

We all need beds to sleep on, and mine is fantastic: dark espresso wood with a chocolate ultrasuede headboard. Being totally addicted to all fabulous linens, I’ve got some fantastic bedding, too: 1,000 thread count white sheets, bought on sale of course, and chocolate corduroy duvet covers & shams. I also have a white ivory quilt, made from some awesome fabric that feels like a cross between fuzzy peaches and Teflon, folded in half and on top of the duvet.

Bed, sweet bed.

Going back to my half-wall (I really do hate calling it that), and you’ll see where I’ve placed my candles. Five chocolate leather votive holders in a line, about a foot apart, which I think make a nice touch. Keep going to where the wall turns inwards, and tucked into that is my chair. It’s opposite my bed and was an awesome find: a cream, ultrasuede art deco dealie from a store moving sale that fit my taste and budget. And on that chair is a white cushion, silk screened with the handwriting of Franz Kafka. I’d tell you what it says but I don’t speak Czech. Even if I did, his penmanship was terrible.

My hatbox is next to my chair. It comes up just past my knee, making it far too big to be a hatbox for any of the hats I own, but it’s gorgeous all the same. Chocolate brown leather, and a big, metal Asian-style fastener. A turn of the century Chinese box, according to the lady at the store. Oli got it for me as part of a birthday present a few years back.

I’m not 100% happy with this space yet; the carpet is just alright, that light beige condo issue, and the plain white closet doors are up there on my “s’okay” list. Lord knows the light fixture isn’t anything special either, but for now it will have to do. Even so, of all the rooms I have, this one is the most Me. This room feels like home.

It still needs something else though, something kitschy, yet classy. My room needs Audrey.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I know I said that today would be all about decor, but I've decided to push just one more business day, and wait for Monday.

Today isn't about boring you with a meme (which incidentally, will happen below), but it is about goodbyes. Harry Potter, boy wizard and one of my biggest literary vices, makes his most awaited and final appearance tonight. I first fell in love with this series right after the publication of book 4 (which was tremendously stupid since J.K.R. made us wait three years until the next one), and am tremendously sorry to see the journey come to an end.

I'd drown my sorrows in firewhiskey if I could but until then, I'll take comfort in the fact that millions of my brother and sister geeks all over the world tomorrow will be doing the same thing as me: neglecting all duties and chores to bury their noses in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Aaaaaand here's the meme:

1. Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice? Butterbeer, definitely. It has a very nice ring to it, sounds warm and inviting. Pumpkin juice sounds great too, but in the back of my head I'll always think of drinking pies.

2. What's your wand? Almond, 14 1/8, Phoenix Feather. (I did not make this up for myself either, go to, then click on Virtual Tour for the wand game. It's actually pretty fun)

3. What would be your Hogwarts house? Scary enough I actually took a very detailed test on this pre book 6, and the person who'd devised the test made me take it an extra time, then answer all kinds of other questions, since apparently I'd scored dead centre between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. In the end I got the Gryffindor badge.

4. If you were an animagus, which animal would you be? How about a slug? Just kidding. Not that the choice would be mine anyway.... horse? Wolf? Falcon?

5. Which character do you resemble best? Easy. Hermione, to the point where I actually dressed up like her for a kids Halloween birthday party years back. The party was last minute and I needed a quickie getup, decided that since the screwed up hair was natural (also Hermione's trademark), all I'd need was a cape (purchased at drugstore), a school uniform (my old private school uniform), and a magic wand (thank you, tree outside my building). The minute I walked in a 6-year old dracula yelled, "It's Hermione!" And, to this day, even James calls me Hermione and he never saw the outfit...

6. What position would you play at Quidditch? Either Seeker or Chaser, I suppose. I associate beaters with big, strapping boys, and I've been a shitty goalie my entire life.

7. Pet? Pigwidgeon. Imagine having an owl the size of a tennis ball deliver mail packages 50 times his size....

8. Which teacher is your favourite? Professor Flitwick. C'mon, he's a charm-casting midget!

9. What would your patronus be? Killer goldfish?

10. Which disgusting Bertie Bott's every flavoured bean would you be willing to try? Probably the puke flavoured one, only because I can't see how puke ever would taste the same. You're hurling different foods out all the time, right? I mean, would that bean taste like MY puke? Of course right after eating it I'd have to really puke...

11. Which Hogwarts room would you love to visit? Definitely the Room of Requirement. Or that awesome bathroom with the singing mermaid.

12. Favourite Harry Potter moment? I always get a kick out of the scene in book 4 where Harry and Ron are coasting through their Divination homework, and making up all this bad stuff that's going to happen.

Dedicated and tagged to all Harry Potter fans, in and out of the closet!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hey kids,

This morning I was going to regale you all with more decor tales, alas, I was called away last night and didn't have time for a decent write up.

Tomorrow you shall see it, but for now, we again resort to meme-lane. While I totally hate the word "meme" because it sounds like something someone with a serious stuttering problem would say over and over again, right now, here, is the perfect time for it: rainy and gross! Enjoy, and Airam, consider yourself tagged. Only because I don't know anyone else who would do this!!!

(However if you would like to do this consider yourself tagged too, then I'll know for the future).

1. You can press a button that will make any one person explode. Who would you blow up? His middle initial is W. Do the math.

2. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Which one will it be? Definitely, without thinking twice, New Kids on the Block, a.k.a. the pox of planet earth.

3. Who would you really like to just punch in the face? Ben Mulroney. Seeing that idiot on TV makes me want to pull an Elvis and actually shoot the tube. That total dimwit, the son of a former (also dimwitted) prime minister, thought that Che Guevara was a musician. Would you not want to punch him too?

4. What is your favorite cheese? The stinkier, the better! Though I am partial to an edgy 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? A Montreal bagel, toasted & slathered with a real, great quality cream cheese, and smoked salmon. Nice and simple.

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. Oh Eric Bana... I promise I won't tell... if Eric is indisposed, then Christian Bale...

7. You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. Who do you pick? For some reason, Chad Kroeger, the lead singer of Nickelback, has been mighty appealing lately.

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?
Wow, the whole hundred, huh? Seeing as I need some nice Ikea shelves right now, I'd put it towards that.

9. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go? Morocco, hands down. That's my dream trip.

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? Well duh, I'd go to the bank and get it changed to dirhams. Then, off to the spice market!

11. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. It is...? I'm not a hard core drinker, so I'll have to be boring and say red wine. It'll save me a lot of money for all those dinner parties.

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? The Dark Ages. I'd like to know, what exactly made them so dark? :)

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. Anyone wearing one gets thrown to the sharks.

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? Didn't I already answer this at some point? Gay Survivor! And by that I mean the most diva girly boys you could think of, living in total squalor without their makeup. Quality television, my friends.

15. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck, hands down. Anyone who knows me can attest to this.

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? Take strong hold of one end of dangling fabric, and pull...

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 cameras.

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? I'd be all sombre and say, tell everyone I love them, but this is a meme for Pete's sake, so I'm going to say, have a half hour of the best sex EVER!

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? Everyone wants to fly, and I'm no different. Harry Potter, eat your heart out.

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? The prom, dancing at the top of that boat with Sandy. I know, too cheesy for words...

21. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be? (the answer "nothing" doesn't count) One particular ex-boyfriend, no surprise.

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? London England, to my nice little townhouse in Notting Hill. Oh I do love it there....

23. This question still counts, even for those of you who are under age. Check it out. You have been eternally banned from every single bar in the world except for ONE. Which one is it gonna be? The funkiest pub I could find.

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!"? David Copperfield. Nya Nya, I can float without Photoshop...

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? Beethoven. Then I'd chain the maestro to a living room chair and force him to give me piano lessons until he dropped dead again.

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 grandparent I never met, my dad's dad, but just for an hour or so chat.

27. What's your theme song? It changes all the time but today, it's Icky Thump by the White Stripes.

Icky Thump
With a lump in my throat
Grabbed my coat
And I was freaking
I was ready to go!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

If there’s only one question in the world more grating than the infamous, “When are you getting married?” it’s definitely, “Why aren’t you married?”


When you’re a single girl, everyone wants you to have a boyfriend. When you have a boyfriend, everyone wants you to have a fiancée. When you have a fiancée, everyone wants you to have a husband. When you don’t have kids everyone wants you to have a baby, then a brother or sister for the baby, then a house for the children to grow up in with fancy hotshot cars in the driveway and savings bonds in the bank.

I currently live in Box B, which is Yes Boyfriend, No Fiancee. As you’ll notice, that’s just the second rung on a very tall ladder. While my immediate family is fantastic enough to never bother me, knowing full well I’ll come to them with wedding news when the time is right, it’s the greater count of extended biology, also known as Annoying Ass Relatives Really Only Seen During Special Occasions and Reunion Picnics, who have become unbearable.

They can’t help themselves, really, it’s just a part of their busybody code. Unfortunately for me though, these vultures have descended with a fury. You see, of all the close cousins I have, I’m the only who isn’t married, or engaged to me married. Uh huh, that’s right. Moi.

Worse yet, I don’t have any immediate plans to get married, thus making my lifestyle a bacteria slide underneath the microscope of scrutiny. It’s been a cesspool of scandal so far, resulting in what you see today as the 32-year old She with a really well moisturized, ringless ring-finger hand, with nicely bitten down nails.

Not having a ring on my fourth left is one thing, but I wonder what everyone would think if they knew that I don’t like wearing rings?

Anyway, the point of all this is that you can imagine and perhaps even understand that two of the questions I’m most frequented with, ever, happen to be, “”When are you getting married?”, and “Why aren’t you married?” And you can imagine, perhaps even understand that after years of hearing this, answering oh-so-politely and being very accommodating in general, it’s all become quite irritating.

All that said, I don’t think it would surprise you to learn that I’ve begun to deal with this in a more creative fashion.

One must always distinguish between, “When are you getting married?” and, “Why aren’t you married?” There’s a huge difference. Relatives who ask when I’m getting married often mean well, at least in the beginning, and so I humour them accordingly. In the beginning, that is. Should they persist and let the inner harpies through, it’s time to get even.

Definitely the most effective reply to this question ever, was “Very soon, if the result is positive!” followed by a wide smile and belly pat. Oh, how mouths dropped. This one spreads like wildfire, but also takes no prisoners. If you have parents that actually give a shit about standing within their social circle and you don’t want to take a First Response test in front of your mother, don’t toy with this one too much.

The more standard smartass answers were, whispered loudly, “The very minute he’s cleared of all charges. Really, it’s just a technicality!” and, “Right after the family give their blessing. It should come any day now.” Associating one’s would-be fiancée with crime is always a dangerous game, but at the very least, shuts people up for a little while.

I had the most fun telling one aunt, “Shh! He still hasn’t willed everything to me! But I’m this close!” knowing full well she’d get a good laugh out of it. And seemingly the most innocent retort, but really the most cutting, went to one bitter, distant relation with a penchant for gossip bigger than the hairy mole on her upper lip: “Oh, as soon as possible! I just can’t wait to be as happy as you!”

Slightly damning, yes, but some noses just need to be pinched. And finally, the one that I would absolutely love to use but haven’t yet dared: “After the herpes clear up.”

Moving along: “Why aren’t you married?” is a lot more fun to deal with. You see, when someone asks the question that way, it’s a lot more insulting than, “When are you getting married?” Asking When insinuates that one day you’ll be walking the aisle. Asking Why You’re Not pokes the theory that no one has popped the question because something is wrong with you.

That may seem extreme, but you’ve never met my family.

The most fun answer to use in this case, hands down, is, “Because there’s just too much of me to go around!” This one can be taken two ways: sheer cheek, or pure trampy. Stick-in-the-mud relations usually choose the trampy route, but then I find that those kinds of people are usually jealous of trampy, whether they’ll admit it or not, and whether you are or not.

The silver medal goes to, “There’s no point, I’ve already gotten the milk for free.” The mouth-drop factor on this one alone is quite shocking and shoves point-blank in their faces that you are, indeed, having SEX. Sex is quite the dirty word/act/notion in the immigrant household.

And finally, the grande nacho supreme answer to end this argument forever, in fact, the answer that will not only shut up your pokey relative but pretty much ensure you’ll never see them again:

“Why aren’t you married?”

“Why aren’t you thin?”

Maybe one day, I’ll actually have the nerve to use it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

100% Real Juice: John Lennon

It’s one of those gorgeous summer Sundays, where the weather isn’t too hot and puffy white clouds accentuate a stunning, icy blue sky. Sandy and I are in his study, and we are working. It’s not the ideal way to spend half the weekend, but it has to be done and so, here we are. Sandy is working on his desktop computer and I’m opposite him with my trusty laptop. And, as usual, the radio is set to our favourite stations, and belting out a variety of songs.

Sandy is a huge John Lennon fan, and has every single piece he ever recorded. He actually sold me on Lennonism back when we were in high school, and I’ve become an admirer since. Not as big a fan as Sandy, but a fan regardless.

A few minutes ago John Lennon’s Working Class Hero came on, and the lyrics intrigued me enough to write them down.

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
‘Til the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class her is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
‘Til you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you really can’t function you’re so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

There’s room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me

For the greater part it’s bleak, so bleak. And in too many ways, oh so true. We are swallowed up very young into the machine of Order, schooled, conformed into particular ways of thinking, then churned out upon the earth, expected to have all the answers to make it work.

It’s a lot of pressure for anyone, and the realization of all this “stuff” usually hits us later on, and not under the best circumstances. Sometimes, it’s when you’re floundering that the philosophy of life hits you square between the eyes.

All that said, I didn’t intend to write all this down just to depress you. My point doesn’t rest with the dreariness of the song’s message, but in the fact that it was written by John Lennon.

John Lennon is the god of music or at the very least, one of its top contenders. Though tragically taken from us before his time, he accomplished so much in his life, and touched millions of people. I’ve never heard of anyone not liking John Lennon.

John Lennon wrote this song all by himself, and we all know that the best songwriting is taken from life’s experiences and thoughts. In that case, it’s nice to know someone so artistic, famous and influential had the regular, scared thoughts of us little people, too.

Many of us get lost in the great blender of life, but the way to the martini shaker is always open and clear. Inside each and every one of us, there is a creative genius.

Friday, July 13, 2007

There is still one more line I have to draw.

I was at a subway station in the city last week, just walking across the platform and taking my time, when I saw her. She was running down the stairs, her heels clip cloppeting on the concrete, in a hurry to catch the train before it left. She looked very smart in her pantsuit and shiny black hair cut to a shorter, more fashionable length. She was carrying a sassy leather briefcase, and I saw her flick her wrist right before getting onto the train, to check the time on her gold watch.

She didn’t see me. I preferred it that way.

“She” is Gisella, and she was my best friend. That declaration was never made, but for a long time we were pretty tight. The beginning of the end for Gisella and I was during the start of the new me, back when I lost all that weight. Instead of one of my dearest friends being supportive, which I’d stupidly assumed would be the natural route, Gisella started making snide little comments every chance she could, and became more distant altogether.

I knew we were done on my 25th birthday. She didn’t even call me, but showed up three days later with a present I knew had been re-gifted. A few weeks later, she stopped calling altogether.

Seeing Gisella after some seven-plus years affected me in a way I can’t quite explain. She looked very put together, all business and clean cut, a far cry from the grunge girl I remember from our school days. She was sophisticated, she was polished, and wore a look that screamed, I’m doing well.

You may be tempted to ask how I know this, being out of touch with her for so long, but when I spoke with her last she’d just accepted a job with a national corporation. A small, fresh-out-of-school job with lots of potential to climb the corporate ladder, which I’m guessing she’s doing as we speak.

It’s safe to say I don’t like Gisella, not after the way she treated me, and the bottom line is that I don’t want her to be doing well. Or at least, I don’t want her to be doing better than me. Is that bad? Yes. Is that jealousy? Yes. Do I deserve to be whipped? Big time.

I know I’m being awful, but I’m only human. Do the people who are cruel to us not deserve to do well? I suppose if that were the case all the bitchy cheerleaders would never become prom queen, and all the boys who bullied us in grade school would flunk out of college. Lord knows I haven’t been an angel my whole life so maybe someone out there is gunning for my failure, too.

There’s more to the story, though. The enigma of Gisella isn’t just about what she did, but what she’s like. That said, how could the dullest crayon in the box get so far?

You’ll be tempted to think my bitchy head is talking here, but I couldn’t be more serious. This is the girl who almost ran over a blind man, knocked the side mirror off her new car the first day she got it, and sprained her ankle in a revolving door. She stalked the lead singer of her favourite indie band for years because she wanted to marry him, and actually set herself on fire while lighting candles. As I recall she was wearing an acrylic sweater at the time, and it went up like a torch.

So you might understand how I felt then, watching her run for that train, checking her gold watch. You just might accept that going through my mind was, You set yourself on fire and still got the business suit?

I can do as good as that, and I can be as good as that. Line I’m drawing for myself: New job. Must get new job. Not to show people up or display my gold watch for passerby, but for myself. I want better, and I want to do better.

There is another reason for this line, but that’s more a labour of love. When I was just an infant one of my cousins from overseas came to stay with my parents, and ended up looking after me. Lucia was the child of my mother’s oldest sister, so the age difference between them was only four years. Biologically she is my cousin, but I consider her more of an aunt.

She stayed with us for the better part of a year and as the story goes, I was very attached to her. I don’t remember any of this, I was too young, but my family always tells me that after she left I waited at the front door for a week, hoping she would come back.

Lucia has never returned since, but will be touching down on our soil in a couple of months, as she and her daughter are confirmed guests at the wedding. It will be her first time back in just over 30 years.

She is very excited to be making the trip, and we are all excited to welcome her. As fate would have it, Lucia is one of those fabulous relatives we all agree on. She was on the phone with moms he other day and after going over the details of their tickets, said that her dream has always been to return here to see how I’m doing.

This woman used to carry me everywhere, sing me to sleep, and dress me in pink jumpsuits with matching pom pom hats. She wanted great things for me.

I want great things for me too. At the very least, I want her to know I’m okay. Is that such a bad thing?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Decorator's Handbook: A Swift Kick in the Ass

My body isn’t the only thing I’m drawing the line on.

A few days ago I went to my loft, threw the door wide open and proclaimed to my half-baked space, “Let’s get ready to ruuuumble!”

After I (failingly) assured myself that my neighbours don’t think I’m a complete jackass, I shut the door and took a good, long look at my space. Concensus: Great idea. Great start. Must finish.

I officially moved into my loft last August, “officially” standing for, This Is Where My Bed Lives Now. These days I live sometimes in the loft, sometimes with the parental units, and sometimes with Sandy. It’s been a happy arrangement so far, made much easier by the fact that Joey takes me wherever I like. But, no matter where I lay my head at night these days or any day, the time is ripe. My abode screams for completion.

I’ve had this on my list of goals for over a year now and have started plenty of times, only to drop the ball for whatever reason. But now, now is different. This time, it’s going to happen.

I’m tempted to let you think I’m all naturally gung ho over the matter and I am, but one thing I haven’t told you yet is that it’s going to happen this time because it has to. As you may or may not recall, my cousin Seth is getting married this September. As part of the wedding package, he and his lovely bride have decided to invite several relatives from overseas.

As luck would have it, those overseas relatives are also related to me. I was talking to them a few days ago and they’re all really excited, these scores of cousins on my mother’s side, and over a crackling telephone connection I heard them say, “We your rooms must see!”

Translation: Can’t wait to see your place. And, we might be sleeping there, too. Bugger. It’s safe to say the fire’s been lit. Not a little one either, but a seething fury of a blaze that is intensely scorching my butt cheeks.

I have six weeks to make this all happen, which in anyone’s right mind should send them running for the hills, but my foundation is good. I wasn’t lying before when I said that everything is half done, and so I’ll just have to take it from there.

In truth I’m RELIEVED that this will all be done very soon, but then again, I’m in for one crazy summer, no?

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place
Even your emotions have an echo
In so much space

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Legend has it that mothers were the first to colour eggs, in order to make breakfast more fun for their children. Only later was the practice incorporated into Easter.

Sometimes, small things make the ordinary extraordinary, or at least more pleasurable, especially for the palate. Since we’re talking about eggs, let’s talk hard boiled. I don’t like them. Unless they’re devilled or between two pieces of multigrain bread in salad form, total ixnay.

Chinese tea eggs, on the other hand, are fabulous. Hard boil some eggs for 20 minutes, gently crack all the shells, then simmer on extreme low heat for two hours in a soup of water, soy sauce, black tea leaves & star anise. Continue marinading them in the fridge overnight, and in the morning you have gorgeous, marbled eggs with a taste of the slightly exotic.

It makes all the difference, these small touches that keep us sane. Another thing I’m not a fan of is salad dressing, for the most part that is, but then the concoction that Sandy and I discovered just tickles my senses. In a plastic bottle or jar, mix together equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a few drops of sesame oil and a generous dollop of honey. Shake shake shake, pour over some salad, and be taken away.

Little things. Water is wonderful, but flavour is easier to drink. I don’t like bottled or canned stuff, much less powdered anything you can add to H2O for a sweeter taste. Good quality tea though, that’s something else. Bearing in mind that the summer is too hot for hot drinks, making iced tea, proper iced tea, with good quality green leaves, is superb.

Two Chinese tea eggs, a handful of blueberries, vegetable stew, a baby green salad with dressing, and a pot of white ginger iced tea, equivalent to six cups of water. Thus far, this is what I’ve eaten today. Healthy whole foods, eaten in moderation, with the intent to proceed slowly but surely, in the hope to make a difference.

I’ve been dabbling for a long time now, losing a bit here and there, but it’s not enough. These body issues of mine, this crisis, is stopping me from being me.

I miss me. I’m drawing the line.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

They say that blood is thicker than water, but I say that love is the greatest binding force. Strength and emotions don't lie in blood, because biological ties don't determine the people you choose to be your family.

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine suffered a great tragedy. No one has died or been killed, but the news is devastating nonetheless.

I love my friend and his family with all my heart. That said, my mind is with them, not my writing.

Please forgive my absence over the next few days.