Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Phone Calls

Every so often I get phone calls from strange women. Often they have heavy accents and they all speak softly, barely above a whisper, as though they don't want anyone to hear their call.

They all ask for Natasha.

I had all these scenarios dreamed up about who this strange Natasha could be. A dealer? A spy? A babysitter?

But today, I discovered that if you mix up just two of the numbers of my phone number, you get a local women's shelter. The shelter is not called Natasha, so it must be a code word. As if my speculations weren't scary enough.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Bird Flu and Otherwise

Today’s writing was kick-started by Bird Flu (see below). I love this song. Big' ol cans on my ears, I stand in the middle of my living room (curtains closed) and actually achieve total ‘booty shake’. Or what I think might be booty shake.

(Note: this move will NEVER be assessed by a jury of my peers. By which I mean any humans. The cat, however, continues to be traumatized)

I couldn’t do my usual stomp, though, cuz Trev has the actual flu and is downstairs trying to sleep, hoping for miraculous recovery before his night shift starts. Poor man. The downside of freelance.

I wonder if Bird Flu would make a good belly dance song? Anyone?


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Friday, April 25, 2008

TTC Strike After The Party

Diane and I kind of gel at the party. Not that we have a whole lot in common, except we're both older than 24. And neither of us can pull off skinny jeans, let alone lycra leggings.

A guy named Lloyd drapes himself on me in that way that makes my sciatica scream. “Oh my god," he slurs, "taste this gin, you gotta taste this gin, it has, like, 12 ingredients. No, no, no, you guys don’t understand. Regular gin only has, like, 8.”
“I have to pee,” Diane says. Lloyd loses focus and weaves away from us.
“Are you going to the club with everyone?” I ask.
“Depends. Is it the Velvet Underground? The one from the 80s?” Diane asks.
“I dunno. I think it’s just called the Underground. It's on Peter.”
“Well, fuck it. I never get to go out now with the kids. I'm here, let's do it.”
“I’m in.”
"But I better pee first."

I wait for Diane by the downstairs bar where the staff is shutting down for the night. The owner says something about letting the staff go early cuz of the strike.
“What did she just say?” I ask the server.
“TTC. Transit. On strike as of midnight.”
“Tonight?”
“You bet.”
Diane emerges from the basement.
“Diane,” I say, “You have half an hour to get to Scarborough.”
Quick hug, no exchange of numbers or email. We don’t have time for that kind of thing. That’s probably the last I’ll see of Diane.

Twenty minutes later I’m on an eastbound streetcar. At one stop, a very loud girl with very big hair asks the driver, “you all going on strike at midnight?”
“Yes, I think so,” the driver says.
“So what happens? Do you just walk off of your streetcar? Do you just abandon it?”
“I don’t know,” the driver responds nervously.
“Well, I support you guys,” she says. "Fuck the police!”
The guy next to me laughs, “what do the police have to do with it? Is it the TTC versus the police?” But the girl is gone.

I catch my connecting bus at Carlaw.
“Hurry up, hurry up!” the driver yells. We trip over each other trying to get on. “I will get you as far as the subway station if I hurry. But then you are on your own. We are on strike in four minutes.” Then he floored it, sending some poor old Asian lady and her shopping down the aisle.

Fastest bus ride ever.

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On Writing'ish and a Party

In the first year of our relationship, Trevor and I decided to travel to Thailand with Trev's friend John. The trip was fun. I absolutely could not afford it. But a few quick credit card applications later, we were off.*

John and I got along. But really, Trev and John knew each other much better. John predates me. They used to hang out a lot before I came along. Probably a lot of beer was involved. They had the kind of dynamic that enabled them to quote "Glengarry Glen Ross", line by line, all the way across Thailand. And all the way back again.

John is such an interesting guy. He's single. He's a bit crusty, and very funny. He's deadly honest sometimes. He sunburns easily.

He also has a unique lifestyle. He works his ass off for a popular daily entertainment magazine-style show, saves up all his money, then takes off. Somewhere, anywhere, everywhere. He's the most well traveled person I've ever met in my life. You name it, he's been there, like he has this massive checklist. Hm, he might, actually.

Then he comes home with pages and pages of notes about the place, journals, anecdotes. Back in the Thailand days, he talked about wanting to be a travel writer. But like me, he could never make it happen.

Suddenly, we got this email:

John *****'s First Draft Party

Come celebrate the first draft completion of John *****'s debut travel novel!

Invite friends! Meet new ones!

Register for your own personal copy of one page from the first draft to keep forever! Pick a number between page 1 and 320 – and it’s yours.

Enter the draw to have your name appear in the novel!
Two male and two female anecdote characters are still unidentified.
Trevor is stuck in rough cut hell, which is such a tragedy. But I will be attending tonight's festivities alone anyway, because it's just so damn cool that John did it. I intend to leech off some of that good writing mojo.

*And then Trevor had to help me pay off all those credit cards in the great Get Out Of Debt Scheme of 07. Consider it my dowry, sweetie. You bought me a trip to Thailand.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Writing'ish Cont...

My computer went down this week. As in, my elbow knocked a shelf, sending all of its contents onto the desk, flipping a full mug of hot lemon water onto my open laptop.

I was upset in the sense of what an inconvenience, and now we have to spend money. But I've just read this quote, attributed to dancer Twyla Tharp, and realized it's how I actually felt about losing all my work:
I used to think that the luckiest painters were the ones whose barns burned down, with all their old paintings inside. That way, they had no past to be responsible for. They could get a clean start.
Unfortunately, my computer is unscathed by the whole experience. I can't avoid what I've written.

Trevor is also in mourning. He thought he was getting a new laptop (I get the hand-me-downs).

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Writing'ish

I decided to kick start my writing tonight by writing about writing. This is in part because I have meant to account for what I've been doing with myself these days (writing). It is also in part inspired by my cousin, Nicole, who is a fabu writer in her own right, and who emailed me today.

I’m not going to tell you what I’m writing about. I could say it’s because I want to focus the journey, not the end, because I’m all about the journey blah-blah-bull.

But the truth is I’m a bit superstitious about it. And it’s more than that; I’m one of those big talkers who tends to tell people all about my latest Really Great Big Idea. And I sell it so well that I can really see in your eyes that you have complete faith that I can actually pull it off (or you're just being very nice).

Well, be warned that my Really Great Big Idea will have a shelf life shorter than the 2% milk currently in the fridge. I’ve long since forgotten that old thing and moved on to the Really, Really Great Big Idea, which will naturally be followed by the Oh My God I Totally Mean It This Time Super Great Big Idea and let me tell you all about it and in fact, won’t you read the first chapter? What do you think? Be honest!

Meanwhile, you're understandably still back at the Really Great Big Idea, a little confused that's it's all since gone out the window. Especially because it was just last night that I told you about it over beers.

And now you're wondering if I'm not just more than a little flaky.

I'm discovering that there are a lot of reasons the Really Great Big Idea didn't make it to paper, and also why none of those reasons matter. There is one person who I have spoken to quite intimately about my writing process. Donna, my coach, an actual Writing Coach. Yes, I have a coach. 'Cuz enough is enough.

And what have the benefits been? Well, just now, this very instant, I freaked out about what to type next. My brain actually said screw it and I almost deleted this whole entry.

Instead, I took a breath, and finished this sentence.

It’s not stellar, but that’s not the point. Because now, suddenly, this entry is done.

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Computer Stuff

Trev untangles a lump of computer cables. "May I borrow your transfer cable thingy?"
"Yes you may. I always say yes. I'm that type," I reply. Implying, of course, that he is anal about his computer stuff and lends things to me only grudgingly. I'm not sure why he's like that. His mistrust is a burden I bear.

Five minutes later he returns, "see? I'm RETURNING your computer transfer cable. Because I'm that type."

I have no idea what he's implying.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Socks

I am sitting on the couch, innocently minding my own, sipping my espresso.

Trev walks by and comments, "those are the ugliest socks I've ever seen. They look like a 1960's toilet seat cover."

I believe the Welcome Back honeymoon phase is over.

(And I think he was mad that I left one of his precious Northern Exposure DVDs lying around)

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What He's Been Up To

The evening is warm and the Danforth is busy. It's the first weekend the business have erected the little fences and railings that mark off their summer patios. Essentially, the sidewalk space is halved while the crowds are tripled. Still, it has a nice, social feel.
"Wanna go to Auld Spot?" Trev asks.
"Sure! It's been awhile."

The first thing I notice is that the Auld Spot's renovated and moved the entrance to the opposite side. It's also busy, packed with mostly couples, mostly drinking pints.
The owner approaches with a big grin, "hey buddy, good to see you." He shakes Trevor's hand.
"This is my wife," Trevor says, as though he's finally proving my existence.
"A ha," the owner says as he shakes my hand, "Well, it's busy, but we'll find you a seat. The usual?" he asks Trevor.
"Yes."
"And the lady?"
"Er... a Steamwhistle?" I ask.
"Coming right up!"
And soon we're sitting out on the patio sipping our drinks.
"So, I take it you've been coming here often?" I ask my husband.
"Once or twice."

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Friday, April 18, 2008

My Day On The Danforth

I had the weirdest Shiatsu treatment today. Pressure good, breathing good. But he was all over the place. First the jaw. Now the feet. Now one arm. Oh, back to the jaw. And now the wrist.

Then at the end he told me to use more makeup.
Excuuuuuse ME?! "Er, what kind of makeup?"
Apparently "the kind that moisturizes. It will help the nerve bundles."
That's as much as I understood, so I did the ol' smile and nod and took my leave.

Dr's office was the same as it always is; 2 1/2 hours in a small waiting room packed to the brim with elderly Greek people who apparently all know each other. I've been trying to see if I recognize any words but I have yet to pick out a single one.

Oh, wait, that's not true. I recognized this one: Φαρμακείο. (I really hope that means "pharmacy", 'cuz that's what I thought I heard).

And one lady gave me shit in pseudo-sign language because my toe had caught the corner of the carpet. I guess she saw it as a tripping hazard. So I turned up my iPod and rocked out, complete with head bob and loud sipping of my skinny vanilla latte, just to show that I was indeed a Punk-Ass Kid.

Until, that is, my Dr reminded me again that I'm 32 and my ovaries are aging by the day.

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Time To Admit

Today I'm back to using my much safer travel mug with the snapable lid. And you know what I just realized? It's really just a sippy cup for adults. For me. Yesterday I went back to a conventional mug and spilled coffee all over my Revenue Canada tax forms and Trev's magazines.

In other news, a big fire down the block at about 2AM last night. Flames leaping as high as the sky. At least nine fire trucks showed up, that we could count. No mention of a thing on today's news.

And a transit strike looms, which means Trev has no way to get to Scarborough other than to take our car. And since he's working nights next week, he'll be hitting the DVP and the 401 right at the peak of rush hour....

Poor bastard.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Film Race 2008

I just watched 24 short films in a row at the Bloor Cinema. I have a headache. In my opinion, the best performance was given by a group of boys who still have pimples.

Half of me wants to crawl under a rock for being old and washed up already. The other half of me wants to ask those boys if they need representation.

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Morning Marital Conversations

“I’m gonna go shower.”
“Whoop-dee-do.”
“Hey, don’t make me come over there!” He actually puts down his coffee again and moves towards me. We’ve already hugged, so….
“You’re stalling, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I am,” he says sheepishly and picks up his coffee again, turning towards the bathroom, “That’s why I’m always late for work.”

I don’t really blame him for stalling, though. He has to commute to Scarborough and his edit suite looks out over the 401. Totally depressing.

P.s. Darling, if you're reading this, don't be depressed! Remember the screening tonight! And maybe fish 'n chips on Bloor!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No Really, I'm Back

Okay, somehow I signed in the once and then forgot all my usernames and passwords associated with this blog. *shrug*

I am suddenly back home in Toronto, sitting in the silence, the only sounds consisting of the dog barking, school kids shouting, TTC buses passing by, and Nick-the-neighbour yelling hello to the other Greek neighbour. Actually, that's rather a lot of sounds.

Today, I took the car in to the shop. It's the wheel bearings. So in a way, Trevor was actually right that it did have to do with tires. But I'll argue that wheel bearings are actually separate from the tires. So I still win.

Except, apparently the tires need changing too, dammit. Rendering the wheel alignment and balancing I just had done a week ago in the prairies completely useless. And we just paid taxes. And bought a house. Money is pouring out of our bank account at alarming speed. And yet, I'm in no rush to find work.

This is mostly due to needing some recovery time and wanting to focus on a new project. Writing went well today. Actually, it sucked monkey butts when I first sat down at the computer and tried to 'hush' my brain. My brain staged a full-on teenager snit, screaming obscenities at me before flipping the bird and stomping off in a petulant huff.

Writing Part Deux, which took place after a nap on the couch, went much, much better.

No workout today, but yesterday I did the 100 pull-ups, push ups, sit ups, and squats workout a la Crossfit. Besides, I'll burn enough calories cleaning up for the next few hours. This place is a total disaster.

I like to think that that's how Trevor truly knows I'm home....

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