Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Latest Addictions

The Mad Vortex

Postcards From Yo Momma

Five Star Friday

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Spring Has Sprung


It’s that time of year again. Awkward, ugly babies are careening out of nests all over the city, taking their first tentative flights towards adulthood.

In my yard, these two little bastards spent from approximately 5AM to 9AM screeching at what must be their mother. I thought Kiwi had sunk his teeth into one of them but no, that’s the sound they normally make.

They hopped around their mom, yelling and screaming, trying to get their greedy little beaks on anything she managed to pull from our freshly aerated ground. She’d peck at the dirt a bit, then turn back and peck at their beaks as if to say, “look, kid, it’s right there! Just make a little friggin’ effort!”

But no, the kids would rather whine and screech, no regard for any humans or dogs who happen to be sleeping nearby.

You know, they are not unlike the middle school kids who descend en masse upon the corner store every lunch hour. The store is manned seven days a week almost single-handedly by a tired looking middle-aged Italian woman. She’s sweet; I mentioned I liked Wasabi rice chips and she had them in by the end of the week.

In addition to carrying a selection of tomato paste and ancient Lady Bics, she also makes pizza in a big, industrial oven that takes up a corner of the store. Since she doesn’t have air conditioning, you can imagine how hot and stuffy it gets in there, especially at the height of summer.

The pizza isn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it’s generous and fresh and cheap, which is why the middle school kids love it. All hair and elbows and f-bombs, they cram into her store, counting out $3 worth of nickels and dimes for a can and a slice. I avoid the store at lunch hour because, well, frankly, screeching teenagers set my teeth on edge.

And yet, those lunch hours probably make her a lot of her money. Mixed blessing, I guess. Probably what the momma bird thinks when she gazes at her awkward progeny. Who, by the way, are standing on the fence screeching again because OMG! IT TOTALLY JUST RAINED!!

Screech away, little bird. You’ll soon learn that it attracts exactly the kind of attention you don’t want….

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Photo Catch-Up

I forgot we have a digital camera. On it I found this:


It's the little guy Trevor gave me when I left Toronto back in August 07. I was scared of everything; scared of flying, scared of leaving Trevor for eight months, scared of the new job. Trevor said this guy would hold my hand in his stead.

And now I find myself on the other side of that, as it turns out, entirely delightful experience, back home with my little family:

These are growing all over our yard:

What the flowers see:


And this is my new Tarot table:

Friend and artist Adrienne rescued the parts from two completely different tables and put them together to make the perfect surface for reading cards and, yes, computer stuff. I love this table.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Danforth on a Friday Night

It’s late. Trevor and I are walking home from the pub. We pass a young Greek kid in bright hip-hop whites, his arm draped around two short-skirted girls on cell phones.
“Oh, look at this,” Trev says. “That look on his face.”
“It’s like he just figured out what he wants to do with the rest of his twenties.”
“Chase tail.”
“Exactly.”
“How do guys like that end up married?” I ask.
“I have no idea.”
“How did you end up married?”
“I was in love…”
“Aw.”
“… or at least I thought I was.”
“Ha ha. No really. How did you know?”
“I knew the instant I saw you.”
“Really?”
“Really. You had an aura about you.”
“Aww.”
“I said had an aura about you….”
“Very funny.”
“I kid!”
"Mmmhmmm."
"Really. I was kidding."
"Too late. I’m blogging the shit out of this later.”

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On The Job

Yesterday, I rolled camera on my first day as Director. The crew was gentle with me. Meaning they suggested once or twice, “Are you sure you want to do that? Perhaps you want to do it this way, maybe? Just saying.”

They also ribbed me openly and mercilessly. This is a good sign. A quiet crew means they’re cursing you behind your back for your ineptitude. If they’re flat out pointing it out, it means the weaknesses aren’t so serious. And if they keep it out of earshot of the participants so as to preserve your dignity, even better.

As I sat across from the interviewees, grilling them about their personal lives, I could help but watch myself, too. The way I don't just listen to the story, but also calculate response and gauge sound bites, forming my questions so strategically, cheering a little inside when yup, we got tears! This questionable behavior has been paying my bills for years. Yikes.

But then again, I still tear up right along with them. Every time, I fall in love with the story telling side of it. Means I still have a bit of soul left, right? I wonder.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Breakfast In Montreal

To step through the door of a serveuses sexy joint is to enter a strange limbo land that hovers permanently between the night before and the morning after. There'’s something distinctly Made In Quebec about the topless breakfast experience, and Montreal has a few such eating establishments.”*
“"I dunno,”" Matt says. He’s been saying this for the entire drive across town.
“"It’'s up to you, man,"” Trev says again.
“"Let’'s just do it,”" Matt says.
The boys go first through the darkened door. When I follow, 20 or so pairs of masculine eyes turn to stare at me. Forkfuls of egg pause in mid-air. Yup, I am the only girl. Well, the only girl wearing a shirt.
From the outside, the windows of Les Princesses Super Sexy are dark and impenetrable, but banners boasting waitresses that are “'super sexy'” or “'très très sexy'” give you some idea what’'s going on. The satellite atop this boxy building competes with the semi-erect Olympic Stadium tower nearby.”*
“"Oh dear,”" I say.
“"Yeah, I saw that,"” Matt says.
“"What?”" Trevor asks, rubbernecking.
"”Somehow it’'s okay to see boobs at the breakfast table..."” I say.
“"But not that,"” Matt completes the thought. Even the hungover kid at the next table politely asks the server to pull down her ‘'skirt'’.

The eggs were just okay.

*Excerpt from Montreal Resto A Go-Go: 200 Cheap and Fun Places to Eat and Drink in Montreal 2007 by Sarah Musgrave. P. 154. Copyright 2006, Vehicule Press.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Murder Most Foul

I wake up a little when Trev walks past the bed. In the dark, it seems to me he is carrying something long, silver, and shiny. I struggle to focus and realize, with relief, that it’s just the reflection of streetlight off of the portable phone.

Working: Oh my goodness.
Trev: What?
Working: I thought you were carrying a knife.
Trev: A knife?
Working: It’s cuz of that book I was reading before I fell asleep. The murder one.
Trev: Oh Love, I would never come at you with a knife.
Working: I know.
Trev: I would come at you with a baseball bat.

(NOTE: It occurs to me that you might not know that this is how we joke around. This stuff makes us laugh. Please don’t call the cops.)

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Baby?

A commercial comes on, various baby parts shot in ways that are meant to make one's ovaries ache.
Working: (sighs) Ooooh, wittle baby toes. So cute.
Trev: Soon.
Working: Soon?
Trev: Soon.
(pause)
Working: Are you pregnant?
Trev: No. But my feet are shrinking.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Alyson Hannigan

Trev and Working watch Roseanne as they eat their lunch. Onscreen, Becky enters the diner with two of her girlfriends.
Trev: Hey that’s—
Working: Wait, I can get it…. Alyson Hannigan!
Trev: You got it!
Working: That’s the first one I’ve ever gotten right!
Trev: Congratulations!
Working: (starts laughing hysterically)
Trev: What?
Working: I thought you meant the girl on the left!
Trev: You thought the girl on the left was Alyson Hannigan?
Working: Yes!
Trev: And it’s actually the girl on the right.
Working: Yes.
Trev: So looking at the WRONG girl, you managed to come up with the correct answer, Alyson Hannigan.
Working: Exactly. I have no idea how.
Trev: There really is something wrong with your brain.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hummer

“Aw, look at these feckers,” Trev says.
I glance up from our game of Labyrinth. A Hummer has pulled up outside of the pub. “It’s your turn, Dougal,” I say, turning back to the game.
But Trev is more interested in what’s going on outside. “Look at them. Are they hailing a cab?” Sure enough, the large man with a goatee and his date step out of the Hummer and into a taxi.
“Maybe they’re parking so they can go clubbing and not have to worry about coming back for it until the morning.” I picture the man going to his Greek grandma’s for brunch.
“Still. Ostentatious. He better be driving 14 people back to Scarborough in that thing tomorrow.”
“I doubt it.”
“Let’s go key his car.”
“Bad karma.”
"Right. Let’s go key his karma.”

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Mother's Day

It’s that time of year again. The time of year I dread.

Taxes? Nope, not taxes. Taxes are in the mail. Well, Net Filed, anyway.

I’m talking, of course, about Mother’s Day. I hate Mother’s Day.

The short version: It’s the late 80’s, I am 12. Dad and Mom decide to divorce. Mom wants to go work in another province. Dad says no way, and they launch a horrible, messy custody battle in which Dad gets full custody of all five of us. Mom takes off anyway.

For the first few years, we would send Mother’s Day gifts and cards, funded by Dad, and there would be an awkward phone call in which Mom would laugh bitterly, “thanks, but I’m no mother,” launching into yet another tirade about divorce, paternalistic society and child custody (wash, rinse, repeat for the next 20+ years).

One year, Mom even returned one of the gifts my sister had made in high school shop class for her. We sort of half-heartedly joke about it now, but I know it hurt my sister profoundly.

And somewhat recently, I found out that she doesn't open any of our gifts, Mother's Day or otherwise. She says she can’t handle it. It hurts to much. Something about mocking a motherhood that never existed. So I just stopped sending anything.

I did start giving Mother’s Day gifts and cards to my step mom, but I’ll admit my attempts were half-hearted at best. They married when I was already grown up and to be honest, I did it for my dad than my step mom. He wanted to be reassured by that connection, so I guess I pretended it was there. No skin off my back. And she’s a nice lady. She tried.

But she never was my mother. And to be honest, this day still holds a tiny bit of sting for me. I don't look forward to it.

That said, people I really, really like have become mothers themselves in the last couple of years. This year, in particular. And I have a new Mother-in-Law who I like more and more as time goes on. And this all makes me very happy.

So, to all of you moms and mom-types out there, Happy Mother's Day.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Argument to Beethoven's 5th

Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabray, and I understand this was done live.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

The House Sold

I wonder if I haven’t been posting because I knew this was the next post I had to do?

It’s been a strange week. I have a cold or flu or something that turned into a sinus infection, the kind that makes me want to unzip my face and take an ice cream scoop to the cavity of it. Gah.

And then most of my siblings are currently being tortured horribly by various girlfriends and boyfriends and I’m 1700 miles away, so I can’t punch anyone in the face. It has me wondering if there aren’t two kinds of people in this world: decent people (us) and lying, cheating, hurting, lying (and did I mention lying?) sons-of-bitches.

(At this point my siblings are simultaneously dialing my number to give me shit for being so unreasonable. Too bad; this is my blog. I’ll keep it reasonable in person, but here, I get to say whatever I want to).

(Provided I don’t mention names and places or write about work)

Then there’s The House. My former parents have sold their house. I say former because one parent, my dad, of course, remains my parent. The other, my stepmom of the past 15 years, now becomes our Former Stepmom. My ex-stepmother?

15 or so years ago, our parents built a house from the ground up, got married, and moved in all eight kids; five Dad’s, three hers. I was the oldest of the eight, almost out of high school and readying myself for my first year of University (by sleeping with a man three years older than me. Soooo mature).

Lots of people didn’t think it could work and it’s true, those were hard years for the family. My stepmom had her way of parenting (attendance to every need in a desperate race to win some as yet unseen Mother of the Year Award) and my dad had his way (Are you dying? Have you been arrested? Did your carburetor blow? No? Then go away. I'm late for my double shift).

The thing is, it’s not like they adopted each other’s way of parenting, or met each other halfway. They just started to parent separately. And it was completely unsustainable; my stepmom started to resent any of my dad’s kids' needs and weaknesses. My dad, meanwhile, scrambled for any scraps of her attention not reserved for her kids, largely ignoring his own five in the process. Throw into it that we were mostly teenagers and mostly girls, well, it created a whole lot of chaos and resentment, not to mention the screaming, yelling shit-fits.

But the thing is, it wasn’t all bad. Not at all. I like my stepmom. She is the kind of person who gains your confidence instantly. And I think my step-siblings appreciated the reliability and steadiness of my dad. Plus, we kids all started to get along, even becoming friends.

The best part was that the house that the parents built with their own hands became an anchor for everyone. No one really drifted away for long. Especially at Christmas. Christmas was big. The parents were united on that front; they worked their asses off to make it special for everyone. After years of my father’s lonely single parenting, it was so nice to see him happy, to have that big family to come home to. And when the grandkids started to come along, it all really started to feel like a real extended family. The grandkids wouldn't know differently.

But there were cracks. Mostly things that are none of my business. But things that Dad says he thought it would all mend itself once the kids left home. Well, the first problem is the kids never actually did fully leave home. Hell, even I lived there when I went back these last eight months.

And it soon became clear that the cracks were not just about the kids. They were not just cosmetic, minor signs of shifting or wood contraction. These were foundation problems. The kind you can’t fix. Even if you take a caulking gun to it. Even if you brace and re-pour. Even if you lift the entire foundation, set it on pilings sunk into bedrock, re-pour, and dry-wall the whole bloody thing.

Um, okay, I digress. The point is, it’s over. They packed up the house, sold it (these days, one packs first, then puts it on the market), and they’re out by June.

The fact that the house is gone is more affecting than I can properly express. Part of it, I suppose, is that it means my stepfamily is really gone. The ideal has been shattered and suddenly we find we are now no more than acquaintances. Just more people with whom to make awkward small talk when we run into each other.

And I’m not very good at small talk.

So, it's a bit sad.

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