Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Only as old as you feel

Forgive me for my lack of posting as of late but I've been super busy lately, in life, work and play. Hopefully that will ease off but I've had other priorities to deal with, aside from blogging - shocking, I know.

The first part of this post is a forwarded email I recieved from my "tres adult" friend AJ. The second part looks back on my Friday night last week. Both parts contradict each other. Perfect.

The 25 Signs That You Have Become An Adult

25. Your houseplants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.

- Um, no. I don’t have plants because I forget to water them. I have giant red tulips that just kicked the bucket, no matter what I did to save them. I guess it just wasn't mean to be. Can't smoke them either...I tried.

24. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.

-Sex is never out of the question, twin bed be damned.

23. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.

-True…but the food is old and moldy, so what does that mean?

22. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.

-This is a half-truth. I sure as hell don’t get up at 6, but don’t usually go to bed at that time either. Though it did happen a few weeks ago.

21. You hear your favorite song in an elevator.

-Cuz I just looove Micheal Bolton

20. You watch the Weather Channel.

-Hey! I’ve always watched the weather channel, even at age 15. I like to know things. Sadly, you don’t know much because they are always wrong. Why does 40% chance of rain always mean rain?

19. Your friends marry and divorce instead of "hook up" and "break up."

-Friend who sent me this is getting married. All others still hook up and break up. But that just might mean that my friends aren’t adults yet… and neither am I.

18. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.

-And how it sucks. But atleast I get paid for my vacations now...

17. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."

-They never have. Though, since the dress code at my office is casual, I have been wearing jeans and sweaters a lot. Interesting. The CEO of my company wore jeans and a hoodie to the office today, so...

16. You're the one calling the police because those %&@.. kids next door
won't turn down the stereo.

-I’ve always been this person. And even in my own home, I am constantly turning down my stereo to be mindful of the neighbours. But at someone else’s party? Up the volume goes! They aren't MY neighrbours. Wooot.

15. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.

-Ewwwwwww. NO. That is NEVER OK.

14. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.

-Mmmm. Taco Bell.

13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.

-Car insurance is as bloody expensive as always. And I don’t even have car payments because it’s paid off in full, so that must make me a Super Adult! But it's a Neon.

12. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald's leftovers.

-I’m not adult enough to have a dog. See question #1.

11. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.

-My couch was also my bed for 6 months…it’s a super comfy Ikea sofa bed. So, no, it doesn’t make my back hurt.

10. You take naps.

-I started as an infant and haven’t stopped since.

9. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of
one.

-What? What kind of date extends beyond a dinner AND a movie?
Oh….


8. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset,
rather than settle, your stomach.

-Everything upsets my stomach, but after a few pints I think it would definitely settle it. Or at least sober me up.

7. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and
pregnancy tests.

-WHAT? So, being more of an adult means you DON’T deal with pregnancy and safe sex? Who made this shit up? Personally, I think you go to the store to buy pregnancy tests, condoms AND ibuprofen and antacid to deal with the stress of thinking you are pregnant.

6. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good shit."

-There are $4.00 bottles of wine out there??? That IS pretty good shit!

5. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.

-Sure beats eating seafood linguine, caeser salad and a crème brule at breakfast, doesn’t it? Sheesh.

4. "I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never going to
drink that much again."

-I use both. What does that make me?

3. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.

-LOL!

2. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them
instead of asking "Oh shit what the hell happened?"

-How about, “Congratulations, you’ve fucked up your life”?

And the number one sign you are getting old is:

1. You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that
doesn't apply to you and can't find one to save your sorry old ass.

HA! Apparently not so old yet, my friend.


*******************

Then the opposite happened.

Last Friday, Leanne and I headed out to Commercial Drive for Kass's Bday dinner. She and her crew was SUPPOSED to follow us on to Crush nightclub but fate intervined and caused all cabs to ignore her. That was just as well, because....

Well, I had been to Crush before, and remembered that it was a swanky joint, a "champagne lounge" as it is billed.

Problem was, I went there when I was 21 years old. And guess what? Everyone there was STILL 21!

Scantily-clad and insecure girls tottered through the club on spindly heels, looking for guys to give them attention. The guys were giving them attention, young horndogs as they were. It was just one big, fake show, a venue for the young and horny to showcase their "talents" and feel validated.

Leanne and I sat in our lounge seats and literally did not move for the whole night.


"Boy, do I feel old," Leanne said in between sips of our high-school retro Bacardi Breezers. "What are we, like 30?"

It was true. We were definitely the oldest there. Guys didn't even approach us, not that we even looked remotely approachable as we lounged back in our chairs and surveyed the scene in amusement. Funny thing was, if we were 21, I would have been crushed by this lack of attention. But now we just found the whole thing to be funny. We were able to walk out of that place with our self-steem still intact.

Not that we didn't try to fit in and act like attention whores....






But alas, in the end, the only attention we got was from a fellow Oldie.


Bald and British, this nutritionist from Leeds was the oldest guy in the place and took solace in two little old ladies like ourselves. I think when our conversation turned from the clubbing scene to what vitamins we were taking and how were our careers working out for us, that we knew...it was time to go.

Plus it was getting late and we needed to get our required eight hours.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Things that are NOT ok to say...

1. "Smile, it's not that bad."

AAARRRRGGGGGGGGG!

I hate, HATE being told this one.

Listen buddy, I don't care if you think that I look a little down while waiting to cross the street, or perhaps I looked pissed off as I wait in line or maybe my face is just completely blank as I wait for a cab.

What gives you the right to tell me to smile? Ever think that possibly, just possibly, that when I am thinking or waiting or whatever, my face might take on a different look. Perhaps I look perplexed or maybe my face just looks all frowny when I am trying to sort something out.

Should I walk around all day with a smile on my face? Because frankly I think that would only make me look insane. I actually saw a young lady strolling down the street the other day, grinning to the high heavens and all I could think was how freaking plastered she must be.

So, next time you see a girl filling up her gas tank with a scowly look on her face, don't think it's OK to say to her: "Cheer up, it can't all be that bad."

I just paid an arm and leg for gas. Of course it's that bad!


2. "You look tired."

Fuck. Me.

I can't stand it when people say this to me.

Is this an acceptable, polite way to say "you look like crap"?

Because that's what I hear when you say it. I mean, let's face it, my eyes are puffy, I have indigo circles etched under my eyes, my skin has a pasty palor.

You don't think I know I look tired? Of course I know, why do you think I just spent 10 extra minutes on my makeup this morning trying to mask it up!

I look tired? Well, you always look like shite, at least I can cure mine with a good night's sleep.


3. "Wow, you have really small feet"

My feet are size 6. Sometimes I can wear 7, sometimes I can fit into a 5 1/2. They are small. I know there are small.

You don't need to tell me they are small. I walk on them each day. I buy shoes...many, many shoes.

So what if they are small? What is wrong with having small feet? They are more or less proportioned to my height. I can buy shoes from the kid's section sometimes.

After all, I'm not commenting on your giant elephant feet.


4. "Your hair is so fine/dry/damaged/unruly/wild/fill in blank."

Thanks. I'm glad you pointed that out to me. Otherwise I would have never known.


5. "It's whom, not who."

I can't stand it when people correct my grammar. Plain and simple.

I went to journalism school. Heck, I even remember grammar class in elementary school. I know what a verb is and what a noun is. I know what adjectives are. I do have an appreciation for all these rules but at the same time....fuck the rules!

I rebel against grammar!

I know it's vital and important for work and professionally related writing. But other than that, such as in this blog or in my diary or taking down notes or sending casual emails, I don't care.

I know when to use whom not who (and to quote Monica from Friends: "Sometimes it's 'who!'"). I know I spell certain words wrong and I get my whole "I before E except after C" thing mixed up." I know, according to Canadian Press Style Books, what words are capitalized, where the periods go and that I should balk against Oxford commas. But on the whole I am just not too picky or anal about it and it ticks me off that the anal and picky people (and I have a few of them in my life) have to use me as a some kind of punching bag.

People need not to point out my grammatical tragedies to me, I am fully aware of them. I'm not idiot. I just don't care.


6. "You don't need to lose weight."

OK, sometimes people really are being honest and kind when they say this.

And I can completely understand it if I was sitting around moaning, "I'm faaaaaaat" and just waiting for someone to compliment me.

I don't want compliments. I vent because I'm frustrated. It's not like I complain about how hard it is to lose weight, just so someone can say "you don't need to lose weight." Do they think I am just going say, "I don't? Oh, OK well, jogging was too hard anyway."

I know I don't neeeeeeeed to lose weight. I am not doing because I have to for my job or my health. I am doing it because I want to, for purely cosmetic reasons. I feel I need to lose weight and that is that. No amount of convincing that I look fine is going to change my mind until I am happy with myself.

And I'm especially of wary of people (ie, other women) telling me not to because they don't want me to get thin because then I would be too threatening or something.

That said, I do appreciate when people say nice things because they honestly believe so. But when I am talking about so hard it is to lose weight and how hard I am trying, I don't need discouragement, I need encouragement!


7. "Eat a burger, you are soooo skinny."

Obviously, I have never had this said to me. But I know that people do say this, commenting on how sickly thin someone is, like the person is supposed to take it in a good way. Most of the time, the person doesn't have an eating disorder (unlike the obvious - hello, Nicole Richie) and the person is just thinly built with a very high metabolism. I've probably said this myself to someone on the gangly side, but I know why I did...I was most likely envious. Therefore, I believe that most of the time when people make disparaging comments about someone's thin frame, they are jealous. And sometimes just genuinely concerned for the person's health.

But that said, it's not like saying "You have an awesome body, you are so thin." Instead it's said in a negative way. And there just is no need for negative comments, whether you are fat or skinny.


8. "That's really flattering on you."

My colleuge* brought this up to me and I have to agree. When I'm wearing a dress and someone says, "that really flatters your figure," I kind of cringe.

Does my body need flattery? Does it look unflattering most of the time? Isn't this just a nice way of saying, "You don't look as fat as usual"?


9. "You're soooo burnt."

I am? Oh, would you look at that! I am bright red, my skin is flaking and radiating heat like an inferno. I was wondering what was wrong with me.

Talk about pointing out the obvious. People, the burned person in question knows that they are burnt. They know they overdid it in the sun. They know they should have put on more sunscreen. They know they stand out like a lobster walking in the snow.

Your remark with the cringing expression on your face does not help.


10. "You were so drunk last night."

Am I the only one who gets embarrassed when they hear this? Even maybe a little ashamed?

That phrase is usually followed by:

"No really man, you were sooooo wasted. You were fucked up."

Again, if I was that drunk last night, you don't think I know that? Hello, I'm probably suffering through a mother of a hangover today.

So what if I was drunk? What's the big deal? Why is that a bad thing? Unless I drove drunk or puked in a cab or made out with your brother or lost my passport or started table dancing and stripped down to my undies or gave a mortifying speech at someone's wedding....who cares?


All right. Well, those are my two cents. Or ten cents as it is.

What do people say that drives you nuts?


*I realize that I spelt colleague wrong (Thanks. Dan.) but to fix it would mean that I am going back on #5

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A mother's chokehold...erm, touch

So, my mother got back from Mexico last month.

She had spent 4 months on a boat with my dad, sailing around the wild Pacific Coast, while I enjoyed a blissful 4 months of sporadic contact with her.

Now she is back in town - well, an hour away but close enough - and it's never been more apparent.

True, I've only made the way out to Tsawwassen to visit her once since her arrival but that doesn't mean that I am out of harm's way.

She calls me. At least once a day. Sometimes more. She knows that I don't answer when I hear her calling and regardless she still leaves a million messages.

I love my mom. She is the sweetest, strongest, most generous person that I know. Those of you who have met her and know her will attest to that.

But she drives me mental.

Like, meeeeeeentaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal.

I already miss those days when she would call me once a week, talk for five minutes (generally about the hot Mexican weather, the crazy Mexicans or what boat and people that they know is anchored nearby) before the satellite phone or the Skype would cut out.

I would rest in peace for the rest of the week, glad to know she and my dad were doing fine and reveling in our little contact. It was a similar thing when I was backpacking in Europe or when I lived in New Zealand.

But now I am bombarded with constant calls - usually complaints - and backhanded compliments, like: "At least you have a wonderful boyfriend, a promising new career and a beautiful face."

This was her response to my own complaints about my recent weight gain.

And then there was the most recent development that my parents are going to sell their townhouse (why does my dad have to live on a golf course anyway?) in T-Town and move out to the False Creek area.

Um, that's literally across the creek from me.

An itty bitty patch of water is going to be the only thing physically dividing us. At any moment, my mom can hope on the freaking water taxi and putt putt over here.

Thank God I took my spare set of keys from her and gave them back to Ross.

However, not all is lost.

The other day, I invited my mother over to my apartment since she hadn't really been in the city since I moved in last August.

I went to work, came back, and I had a new apartment.

She reorganized the place from top to bottom! Instead of tossing my 50 pairs of shoes on the floor she had ingeniously placed them in the laundry basket, neat and tidy and out of the way.

"How will I do the laundry?" I asked, freaking out that she upset my "system."

"Use a garbage bag or carry them," was her response, "It's just down the hall."

I moved onto the hall closet, "Where are my hats and scarves???"

"In storage, you don't need them anymore."

I looked at the kitchen.

"What happened to the garbage bin full of old wine bottles and beer cans?"

"The empties have been recycled and the garbage bin is in the cupboard, where you now put your spare plastic bags."

"What happened to my Audrey Hepburn clock?"

"It's hanging on the wall like it should be."

"Where are my hundred copies of old People, Allure and US Weekly?"

"In the bookshelf, where they belong."

"Where are my extra toilet paper rolls and paper towels?"

"In the utility closet."

"I have a utility closet?"

"Yes, the place you were stuffing your clothes when you were to lazy to hang them up."

And so on.

In all my 8 months or so living in my place, it has never been so squeaky clean.

And now, a few days later, my place is a sty again. Magazines in the cupboard, bottles in the garbage bin, shoes all over my floor.



I'm gradually starting to see the merits of possibly having my mother close by.

Very gradually...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Everything in Moderation

That is what my Trainer/Bootcamp leader/Yeller told me on Friday.

I talked with him after class, expressing my growing concerns about my growing waistline.

After hearing that I had lost 18 pounds last year by NOT excercising and by going on the South Beach Diet, he informed me that I most likely lost a bit of fat and a lot of muscle. By doing so, I slowed my metabolism and all the weight I have gained back (about 10 in total) has been in the form of fat.

Now my body is freaking out because I truly am packing on the muscle. I’m just not losing fat at the same rate, therefore I am getting bigger and gaining more weight. It will, however, eventually start to budge.

He told me to keep working out, perhaps try fitting in more if I can and to make sure I am eating the right things. Good carbs, fats and protein, basically The Zone diet. Everything in moderation and often.

I’m not a moderate person by nature, I am more an all or nothing type of gal.

So, I wonder if this will be the downfall of my existence. Yesterday, I came across my old “teacher, mother, secret lover:”

TIM TAMS!


For those of you unlucky enough to never have been to New Zealand or Australia, Tim Tams are like the national food of yummyness.

These chocolatey biscuits (a lighter version of the UK’s Penguins) are part and parcel of what lead to my weight gain when I got back from my first trip Downunder. And probably the second trip too.

I went nuts for these things. I ate them with coffee, slurping the liquid through the bitten off ends of the biscuit. I ate them in the morning and at night. I even started the “Tim Tam Diet” (patent pending) in which I allocated one box of Tim Tams to eat per day. The downside of the diet is that you are only allowed to eat the one box and nothing else. But I found that if you are really craving those highly caloric brown beauties that the best thing to do is eat the whole pack until you are so sick of them that you wont want one for at least a month.

Tim Tams haven’t been available in Canada…until now.

I was grocery shopping with Ross at the President’s Choice Superstore yesterday when low and behold I came across a huge Tim Tam display.

I think a few tears came to my eyes. I immediately cried out a bunch of garbled, happy obscenities and lunged at the packages of biscuits.

Thankfully, my trainer/bootcamp leader/yeller’s words resounded in my head, “Everything in moderation.’

And I only grabbed two packs.

I could barely wait until I was in the car to munch down one.

And then two (biscuits, not packages).

And then I felt sick. Huzzah.

Turns out that the Tim Tams didn’t really taste as good as I had remembered. Maybe you have to be on foreign soil to truly enjoy them? Regardless, it provided me with a nice flashback to my years in OZ/NZ.

Now all I need is Kylie Minogue playing on rotation with Madison Avenue and a steeming cup of Milo.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Don't mention the war

Last week I had the notion to invite my new neighbours over. Remember Stephanie, the one whom I got the massage from? Yes, her.

I sent her a text and invited her and her fiance down to my studio on Friday night. Nothing fancy, just some wine and cheese kinda thing.

She sounded excited but at the end of her text said:

"I forgot to mention that Cayden is my girlfriend. It's a guys name and for professional reasons I don't like to correct people when they assume I am straight. I am so sorry."

Immediately, my first thought was, "That is so sad that she feels that she has to apologize for being a lesbian. Why would I care?"

I told her no problem and said, "I would love to have you gals over."

Right here, at that gals remark, you will probably figure that I have very poor lesbian etiquette. Truth be told, I've never had any lesbian friends - even though it's about time - and wasn't really sure how to act. I didn't want to appear uncouth, uncomfortable or unkosher.

At any rate, I invited the "gals" over.

As Friday night approached, I invited Ross too.

Normally, if I invite Ross to come over and meet new people, he has to be convinced a little.

But spending the night with me and my lesbian neighbours sounded A-OK in his books. At the time, I was slightly surprised at how willing he was to meet new people.

Then the night came and my friend Leanne found herself with no place to party. I invited her over to mine. Why not, right? The more the merrier.

So after my bootcamp, I went home and Leanne showed up with a bottle of wine.

"I've never hung out with lesbians before," she admitted, opening the first bottle.

"Me neither," I said sheepishly.

"Are we making this into a big deal?" she asked.

"I don't know. I guess we have to act like we have tons of lesbian friends. But don't act too weird. I don't want to make them uncomfortable."

Ross showed up awhile later, not knowing that Leanne was over. He cracked open a beer and looked quite satisfied.

"What?" I eyed him suspiciously.

He grinned, "Where are the lesbians?"

"You are loving this aren't you?!"

"Of course! I am never going to stop talking about the night with you, Leanne and the lesbians. This is every man's dream."

It figured.

The three of us sat around, waiting for a text from Stephanie to let us know she was on her way.

"I've never hung out with lesbians before," Ross said, a gleam in his eye.

"Let's hope we don't say the wrong thing," Leanne remarked.

"It's like, 'Don't mention the war!'" I said, reaching for another bottle of wine.

For those of you who don't know the hilarity behind that line, then there is no use explaining it. All I will do is recommend you go and download the "Germans" episode of Fawlty Towers.

By the time Stephanie and her fiance Cayden arrived, the three of us were quite tanked. I suppose we were just all so nervous that we kept drinking and drinking. So much so that even Ross, who hates wine, was "enjoying" a glass, while we anxiously eyed the door, waiting for the party to start.

Luckily the conversation flowed like wine. Stephanie was such a cutie and Cayden was way cool. Like Angeline Jolie in Hackers...in boy's clothes. Either way, we drank and talked and laughed. We were all really enjoying each other's company.

Then I ruined it.

As we talked, all I could think about was "don't mention the lesbians, don't mention the lesbians, don't mention the lesbians."

So when Cayden started talking about partying and having wild, drunken nights in the town of Ucluelet (pronounced U-Cue-Lit), all I could say was:

"I love U-Clit!"

Ross started snickering behind me. Leanne hid her smile behind her wine glass. The poor girls were looking at me like I had a stick up my bum.

I pretended that I pronounced it correctly and said it again.

"I always go down to U-Clit....erm...I like visting U-Clit. Damn it! U-Cue-Lit. Yeah."

I think that sort of set the tone for the evening. Luckily, Steph and Cayden didn't see anything too wrong with my wording...and yes I pronounced it wrong again later, much to the stealthy giggles of Ross and Leanne.

We ended our lovely evening when we tried to get into a pricey gay bar, but had to say no because we didn't have the money and it was a 1/2 hour till closing.

All I could say was Thank God.

Seeing the herd of noisy drag queens that went in there, I shudder to think of how else I could have stuck my big foot in my mouth. Can you imagine?

Drag Queen: "Cripes, this bar is closing too damn early."

Me: "Yeah. What a drag."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Return to Oz....minus the Wheelers

All right, I've never lived in a place called Oz.

But I did live in a place called Bowen Island, and like Oz, it was a dark and disturbing time for me.

Like Dorothy, I was about 12/13 years old and it was the absolute worst time/year of my entire life. Unlike Dorothy, I didn't have a pet chicken (though I did have a horse) nor was I put in a mental asylum nor did I meet a witch who could take her head off and exhange it for another.

But it was almost that bad.

Bowen Island is a 8 km wide island in Howe Sound, off the coast of West Vancouver. When I lived there, about 3,000 people lived there, with 4,000 deer. Now the battle between deer and human is about even. Bowen Island is only a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland and a consequent 20-min drive from the terminal to downtown. It is a favourite hangout for hippies (I recall the school bus being filled with pot smoke).

It is also a favourite retreat for celebrities such as Robin Wiliams, Harrison Ford, Tony Parsons, etc. and a filmmaking mecca for such "works of art" such as The Fog and Double Jeopardy (Ok, so I really liked Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd together).

I lived in snooty, snotty West Vancouver for several years before my parents had enough of the rich bitches and decided to relocate and buy a ten-acre property on nearby Bowen Island. My mom would be able to design her dream home. I would get to have a barn on the property and my own horse.

It was frightfully indulgent for a pre-teen like me and, in hindsight, a terrible idea. But my parents were having some problems at the time, most notably with my then 16-year old Asperger's diseased brother who just started dabling with hard drugs.

They figured that by isolating my brother and giving me a horse, things would turn out OK for all of us.

Never mind that the we were moving us to a house that cost more than we thought to build, never mind that my father had to commute via ferry and then a 45-minute drive each day to work and back, never mind that I had to take the ferry to school, never mind that while trying to get my brother away from drugs we unknowingly moved into the pot capital of BC, never mind that I would end up getting a horse but that the barn would never get built and the horse would hate me.

To make a long story short, it was the worst year of my life. My family life fell apart, my brother stole and sold everything that was dear to my parents for drugs. Grade 7 in Junior High was terrible for me as I was tormented by the "cool" kids left and right, somethings that they said still affect my self-esteem to this day. I developed terrible stomach pains at this time as a way to deal with all this stress.

Did I mention my horse hated me?

Anyway, we left Bowen Island and it's 4,000 deer after a year or two. We were so eager to get out that my parent's sold our "dream house" without making any money on it. In fact we lost money. And my family problems got worse, combined with me moving to a new town and a new school in the middle of the 8th grade. But leaving Bowen Island was the best thing that we did.

I really wanted to make this a long story short but that's not going to happen...

At any rate, where I am going with this story was that on the weekend, I returned to Bowen Island for the first time since 1994.

A lot can change in 13 years.

But the same, lame old ferry is the same. The very same ferry that one day missed the dock and plowed through all the ferries in the Marina.


Ross and I came to Bowen Island because he was jonesing for a relaxing weekend away for the city and I had a hard time coming up with any sort of wilderness retreat that was cheap and close to the city.

But thanks to a few hours of googling I came up with:

Wildwood Cottages offered a few snazzy cabins amid artful words such as "foxgloves" and "verdant ferns."


We hunkered down in the "studio cabin" which was perfect for the two of us.




We did nothing all day. Napped. Read. Drank wine and beer on the porch and listened to far-off tribal drums in the darkness. Attempted to make pizza in a microwave.

The best part of the night was when we were soaking in the wee hours in the outdoor hot tub. The cloudy sky was a hazy shade of pink, which we later attributed to the lunar eclispe.

Our little getaway also consisted of me taking Ross on a driving tour of the island. We went past my old equestrian center where I used to take lessons.

Here I am, with my horse that hated me, Lady - 1994

I was delighted to find the center still up and running, with a Norwegian Fjord cross that was anamored with me...and my hay. Yay!


Afterwards, I took him (erm, Ross, not the horse) past my house. This was a big moment to me and I was surprised that it still looked relatively the same. Although, there have been some add-ons made so it's a lot bigger than when we built it. But hey, my mum's designs still ran through it, and as did my memories.


What also ran through it was a new road that went behind the property. I remember 13 years ago, filming movies with my rusty camcorder about dinosaurs (um, toy dinosaurs...stop motion...that kind of thing. Sigh. No wonder I was tormented in junior high) and all that was back then was an old logging road that no one used. Except for me.

The wilderness, wild-growing ferns and muddy terrain was my backyard, my livelihood, where I would eagerly escape my problems by exploring its depths each day, all day. Now it was reduced to a paved road that led to a golf course and condo developments.

At one point, as we followed the road and it curved around the small, forested hill behind the house, I remembered my days climbing into the forest. Sometimes I brought my dogs, sometimes it was just me. I remembered one day I brought up a small lunch box and wrote my own summary for a time capsule. I wondered if anyone had found it, the chicken scratch writing that stated "If you find this, you should consider yourself lucky because I am probably a famous filmmaker by now."

It's funny, the optimisim of youth regardless of the negativity that surrounded me.

We ended our stay in Bowen with long massages at a local spa, a tasty meal at the then-only coffee shop where I first heard the song "Linger", followed by a stroll around the town and waterfront.


Feeling adventurous, we climbed up a familiar hiking trail to a vantage point I used to frequent with my old friends.




The distinctive pink bark of the lookout's arbutus trees were still there, along with the scrawled names and initials of people that, until then, I remembered only in disjointed and unnerving dreams.



Which was just how I had remembered Bowen Island. Thirteen years had passed and it existed in my mind like some vague fog that you try and grasp as you wake from sleep. But now that I returned to the past, returned to the place that did so much to me and to my family, I am able to look at it, accept it and put it aside.



This weekend I created new memories.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

No pain no gain? You got that right.

So, I've been doing Cardio Core Bootcamp for a week now. I've realized there is now a routine to things...

On Monday we have Perky Instructor who shouts "Go, go, go!" and does false counts like:
"OK, three more seconds of jumping jacks... Three.... Two.... One.... One.... One.... One.... One... One."
She likes to work our legs until we puke (as I almost did during class on Monday - I actually had to excuse myself for a moment. Something about lactic acid makes us nauseous, I dunno). But she's sweet, if not a bit too energetic. I want to discover her secret.

On Wednesday we have Pushy Instructor who will shove you into the ground in order to demonstrate a move and doesn't take well to people who go at things half-way. She is unsympathetic and out to cause as much pain as possible. I get her tommorow. Yay.

On Friday we have Cool Instructor. He is a guy. He wants us to do kickboxing. We spend Fridays pretending to ram people's heads into our knees. He mixes stern military commands ("Suck it up, Ladies!!!") with positive reinforcement ("You guys are doing so awesome!"). He is my favourite so far.

I'm proud of myself for lasting a week and I do enjoy the endorphine high I get afterwards as I walk home through the cool, dark streets of the downtown core. But when I am in it, it is the toughest thing. It is pure hell. If I don't feel like puking, I feel like fainting and if I don't feel like fainting, I feel like I will actually collapse. It's never been a case of, "Oh I don't want to continue because I'm too lazy" (which, I admit, is what I used to say in the past), but it is instead one of "I can't continue because my leg won't physically move." It's tough and especially tough for someone who has never properly worked out a day in her life.

But I feel some benefits already. I feel like I have more energy. I go for walks almost everyday now, usually just running errands, but the idea of getting up and going outside doesn't phase me anymore. I actually like it.

And today, I ran to my therapists and ran back. It was the longest that I have ever run (jogged) without stopping and that alone made me feel like I was getting somewhere. I live in fear that jogging will never get get easier for me. I see women jog past, their iPods playing, their ponytails bobbing in their wake, they look like they are enjoying it.

Well, even though I feel like being active, jogging is still hell after a minute...finger's crossed that one day it I can do it without too much difficulty. But does it? Are all these jogger's secretly in pain, counting down the kilometers until they get to stop? Or does jogging actually become doable and enjoyable after a point?

At any rate, I have been feeling better. On the down side, I have been eating more. Now I am not pigging out, but I have become suddenly ravenous and wolfing down whatever is available. Luckily I am wolfing down things like salad and multigrain bread with cheese and carrots and chicken stir-fry and brown rice. But for the first time in my life, I am actually hungry. I'm not eating out of boredom but because my body is craving this stuff called FOOD.

So, I'm not sure if this extra eating is my wrong doing or not. After all, I understand that I need to eat to fuel my workouts, but in order to get the BEST results out of this bootcamp, I should be eating less. At any rate, I stepped on the scale today out of curiousity and...

I gained FOUR FREAKING POUNDS!

????wtf?????

I can understand if this was all due to muscle...today I noticed my shoulders were firmer than normal. But come on, I have been doing this a week, muscles don't just sprout out of nowhere, it takes time! Where did these four pounds come from? I don't want them, send them back!

So, a week into this effort, I am afraid that I feel a bit disheartened. I didn't expect to drop weight over this - and I especially realized that after I realized that working my ass off increased my appetite - but I certainly didn't think I would GAIN weight.

Therefore, there is going to be some drastic measures being made:

On Thursday, I am giving up my regular glass (or two) of evening wine.

I would start now but I just opened a beautiful Reisling from Germany and, well.....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Woman Seeking Bar - must like cheap drunks

Hi, my name is Wanderlusting and I am seeking a bar/pub in the Vancouver area that fill my weekends with glee and my wallet with only the faintest twinges of remorse.

I'm sorta new to the city. Well, actually I have lived here my whole life, except for stints at Universities in Kamloops (4 hours north) and Auckland (24 hours south).

But, I've only been living smack downtown for 8 months or so and am having difficulties finding the right bar for me. You would think that living in the action, surrounded by all these young, nubile, successful people would bring forth lots of opportunities to find the ideal pub, but that hasn't happened yet.

Some say I am too picky, but I don't think there is anything wrong with that. After all, these are my standards and there must be some alcohol establishment out there that seems made just for me.

I've gone and checked out a lot of bars in the area, each promising to be something different, but instead they all seem to run into some grey blurry haze of expensive cosmos, slutty chicks, aggresive older men and horrible music. These bars aren't anything special, so I don't understand why they get so much attention. I guess they give people what they are looking for, an easy time to get wasted.

But I expect more from a bar/pub than to just get me wasted. I can get wasted by myself in my apartment if I wish to. What I want from a bar is fairly simple, I don't understand why finding the perfect one is so difficult in a city like Vancouver. So, what do I want?

*A bar/pub that is hopefully within walking distance - walking distance means no more than a 20-minute drunken stumble home....preferably past a few pizza-by-the-slice places. I might be willing to do a short commute, which then would constitute of no more than a ten dollar cab ride home. Taking the bus is probably out of the question.

*A bar/pub with a great atmosphere. A place where I can be myself and, if after a long day at work, I craved a respite, I could sit at the bar with a book, enjoy the bartender's company and not be disturbed (ie hit on) by other patrons. This same place must also have a fun atmosphere on the weekends, where people come to relax and not get into fights/spill drinks/be sleezy. All fake-tittied, bronzed chicks who give you the up-and-down sneer are not welcome, as are the men who take accidental eye contact as an invitation to feel you up.

*The establishment must have good music. This can cover a whole range of things, but understandably hardcore techno will not work on a quiet Monday and Kenny G is not welcome on a Saturday night - or indeed any night. Jukeboxes are OK in my books but even better is to have a DJ. A small dance area would be magic but I know I might be asking for too much.

*The drinks can't be too expensive but must be good quality. Bartenders that free pour are rated highly, as are the ones who sometimes give free drinks "just because." Inventive drink lists are appreciated, as are a good range of beers on tap - and please don't let them all be from the Granville Island Brewing Company. There are other beers beside the local ones! Also, when you pay top dollar for a fancy martini, I expect it to be filled to the brim - not half way.

*Food is also very important. It doesn't have to be the best quality, but I would like to be able to have a munch or two as the night goes on. Chicken Quesadillas will always win me over. Chicken wings will not.

*There must be no cover. Last bar I went to charged $12 to get in (Ceilas on Granville, do NOT go) and for nothing. It was just a pub and a one that lacked everything on my list.

*There must be no line-up - or I have to be prepared to come early. Again, with Ceilas, which was supposed to be a laid-back Irish bar, there was an hour-long line up. I understand that places that meet all of the above (or close to it) will be popular but standing in line for hours is not cool. There should be enough room for everyone. On that note, the bouncers - if there are any - should leave their attitude inside the bar and not bring it to the door.

*Last, but not least, it should be consistent. I want a place I can go to time and time again and not be dissapointed. I want to see familiar faces, I want to know the bartenders and I want to have a favourite seat. I want to be able to ring up friends and say, wanna go for a drink, and they will know where I usually mean.

Over the last few years, I've courted some places that are OK...but I am not willing to settle.

The Rugby Club is cheap, chic and charming but across the bridge. The same goes for Nevermind and that's even further.

The Cambie is like visiting Amersterdam after a Metallica concert, but you have to be in the mood to sit at a picnic table with high people you don't know and have to be prepared to be in an insane and uneccesary line-up after 9:30PM (still, cheapest beer in Vancouver).

Many of bars in my neighbourhood are great, but since I live in Davie Village, the gay capital of Canada (hence the pink bus stops and garbage cans), I feel sort of left out since I am not a lesbian or a gay man. Many of the bars are quite cool but there is always the feeling that I really don't belong.

The Loose Moose is pretty cool and is Leanne's local (or pretty much so) but you have to get there early to get a seat. On the plus side, they play a lot of AC/DC and the best pizza is next door.

Balthazaar is probably the closest thing to my local, but lately I found it is starting to lack in atmosphere. Not to mention bartenders who act like they hate you.

So, as you can see, I have found a few places that "will do" for now but I'm gonna still keep looking.

And if anyone knows of a place that fits my criteria, or comes close to, please be a good friend and set me up. You never know what may come of it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Good, Old-Fashioned Tits and Ass


I haven't done one of these travel posts on my blog for awhile. Mainly because I forgot all about it and they do take a looong time to post (think it takes you long to read them?) . Then I remembered that Ross and I still had a few days in Paris after New Years Eve, days spent riding the metro, exploring, adventuring and spending the last of our Euros.


But keep reading, I promise I will get to the part about the succulent bare boobies and jiggle-free bums that paraded in front of my eyes.

(no, that's not it)


Those days were sort of uneventful, just pleasant milling about the city, taking in the sights and sounds and permitting ourselves to do not much of anything. We did a bit of shopping, looking at the holiday displays at the Bon Marche.


And strolled down the crowded streets of the Latin Quarter(it's New Years Day, shouldn't you people be sleeping off your hangovers? Crazy French).


We wound our way to the Notre Dame, where I had fond memories of being harrassed by a Tunisian man years before.



Where I indulged in hot mulled wine (mmm, public drunkeness makes you feel so warm).


We also went by the Hotel De Ville to watch people fall on their tres petite arses in the skating rink.


And walked along the Seine, attempting to be romantic and coupley.




Afterwards I found a bar dedicated to me.


And a metro stop.


The next day, we walked to the Eiffel Tower...



We were way too lazy to actually stand in line with all the crazy people, as you can see, so we just shot video and took pictures. Once again, second time in Paris and I still haven't been up the damn thing.




Then we went to a nearby cafe where we sat and drank for hours, taking a mirade of quality (read: trying to be artsy) photos, all while we killed time.




Killed time for what, you might say?


It was our 11-month anniversary and we splurged on a night at the Moulin Rouge.


The Moulin Rouge needs no explanation, but I will attempt to anyway. This cabaret "Red Windmill" is as dynamic as the seedy neighbourhood of Pigalle that it's located in.


Because it is so famous, there is a huge lineup, despite your required reservations.



And what really sucked was that you weren't allowed photos inside. Boo-urns! But they did have a professional photographer go around and we gladly forked over dough for our memento of the evening.


Being at the Moulin Rouge is a unique experience. You are seated next to people you don't know, in our case it was two old ladies. Well, one old and one REALLY old. From what I got from it they were niece and aunt and from Tel Aviv, but born in Russia and living in Paris. Or something. Whatever, the old woman had been living in Paris for 80 years. I think it was her 94 birthday or something crazy.

And to celebrate, she took her niece to see bare breasts.

It's true, the entire show the ladies proudly dance around and sing with their mammaries flying about the place. Luckily, most were petitely endowed so there wasn't too many thoughts of udders, though one voluptous blonde definitelty had some clout over the others. I was mesmerized watching hers bounce about, as was Ross...and probably every other man there.

But it wasn't just breasts! And bums! It was ponies and pirates and everything else I love.

And one insane, naked woman who got into a tank filled with live pythons and tried to swim with them. "Tried to swim," meaning that the snakes kept trying to swim away and she would literally pull on them and wrap the poor things around her body. Classic!

Here is a short video of the Ferie show that we saw:

Click Here (Opens a new window)

I should also mention that boobies aside, the food was superb. Pricey, yes - my "middle" meal was 97Euros, Ross's was...more - but so worth it. Was especially nice to have a bucket of champagne at your table and your own waiter who sneaks you glasses of Kir Royale for free. Plus there is something so decadent about ordering a three-course menu at the Moulin Rouge. You don't do that every day.

So that was the rest of our days in Paris, before the loooooong haul home with a looooong stop in New York.


And then finally our motel in Seattle, where we would stay before our drive back to Vancouver the next day.



Whew! That's all she wrote!

*****

Ok I lied. That's all I'm gonna write about my France/Scotland trip...at least on this blog.

In other news, it snowed today. Just when you think winter is gone, it pulls you back in!

Actually it was wacky pseudo snow. It was warm(ish) and sunny...and yet little white flakes were falling down from who knows where. It didn't settle or set on the ground, just made everyone look like they have dandruff.

What else? I've delved into more culinary artistry and just made myself butter chicken. It's so freakin' spicey I may just have to have another glass of chardonnay. I'm so glad I have these pre-chilled, emergency wine bottles at hand.

But hell, I deserve it.

Do you know what I had to do yesterday? Go back to freaking bootcamp! You would have though that they would have known my whole body was stiff and in pain and that I wouldn't have to go.

But I did. And this time, I had a different instructor.

This one likes to yell at you.

A lot.

"PULL THOSE KNEES UP HIGHER! YOU, YES YOU, THE FLABBY BLONDE ONE! WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS, A WALK IN THE PARK?! WORK IT HARDER! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!"

At one point I had to do push-ups only my poor, painful pecs couldn't handle it, not even the girly way.

Yet, she (Psycho Nazi Bitch) still had to come over to me, point out that I wasn't doing it correctly (ie, not going down all the way) and then proceeded to push me into the ground until I ate sweaty gym mat.

I'm not even going to get into what happened when I was handed a jump rope and was told to skip. When I was little I was never invited to jump rope...I was always the one twirling the damn things. This is why:

If I didn't trip over my own feet, get my legs tangled up in the cord or wasn't hitting myself in the face with the thing, I was hitting other people in the face with the rope as they tried (in vain) to sneak past me. None of this was on purpose though, I am seriously that uncoardinated. Although I did try a little bit when Miss Fit passed within reach.

I wonder how I will manage to embarass myself further and whip others with my inane clutzyness tomorrow?