Monday, March 31, 2008
Who's with me?
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
My dear readers, I have been drinking so it's possible this post is riddled with typos and/or idiocies.
Today is someone's birthday who is very special to me. And with all special people, there is always a soundtrack. This one is outdated but still pertintent. Regardless of time or circumstances, this track will always make me think of the birthday boy.
This clip is rough. It is also from the BR concert in Montreal on my 30th birthday that I wanted to attend but was unable to. Youtube has also disabled the embedding function so you'll have to bear with me.
Regardless, Happy Birthday, my special friend. You are loved.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Turns out that yes, her eye is infected but applying my newly acquired ointment 3 times a day for 1 week would clear the situation right up. There were a few delays during the consult, namely the fact that some of the equipment couldn't be accessed right away as there was a euthanasia being performed in the next room. The vet displayed a certain sensitivity to the matter, saying she would obtain the equipment when the "deed was done." I felt kind of sad but put it out of my mind.
When I came out, one of the vet techs was collapsing a cage that had belonged to a newly departed kitty. The cage, along with fluffy blanket, was being shoved into a garbage bag, their tenure as home and bed, now terminated. I then saw the red and swollen face of the owner. She had come in with her dear cat and left with a garbage bag. The whole thing damn near broke my heart and I was struck by the notion that the cage and blanket could easily have belonged to Monkey or Minou. Those sad and swollen eyes could belong to me. I had to get out of there.
Once outside, I saw a casket being carried to a hearse by 8 pallbearers, throngs of mourners streaming out the door of the funeral home.
I am immediately transported through time. It is 3 years ago and I am sitting outside Princess Margaret Hospital, 30 minutes after my mother has died. It is a beautiful spring evening. The trees are blooming, the tulips and crocuses are out, optimism runs rampant throughout the streets. People are rushing home from work, dinner, family and friends on their minds. My life had just changed forever, my heart has broken, the impact of what has happened has not fully set in. These people rushing about do not know what has happened to me, what I have lost. The tulips and sunshine do not reflect the reality of my situation. I find it soothing, this hustle and bustle, this "life goes on" sentiment makes me feel less isolated.
My world had ground to a halt - yet the clocks kept ticking, the sun shone and people met their friends for dinner. What was tragic and life altering for me was just an ordinary spring night for someone else. There is something comforting in that notion.
Today I looked at the woman who lost her cat and the mourners who had lost someone dear to them and I thought, yeah, today is a horrible day for you. But they will only get better. I too had that horrible day and it got better. It continues to get better.
A few years ago I was watching an episode of Scrubs (love it!) where Dr. Cox loses a dear friend and doesn't fully realize the extent of his pain until the last scene. It speaks volumes to me about the power of grief and the eventual power to heal. It too, gives me comfort. As do you, my dear readers.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Perhaps I'm optimistic this week as I'll be making my way to Toronto to see some of my favourite people. It shocks me to think that I've been back in Montreal for two and a half years now after having lived in the Dot for 3. Big chunks of my life are starting to add up creating a total number of years that is getting staggeringly high. I met some pretty awesome people there and even though my heart is firmly grounded in La Belle Ville, I make the trip down the 401 every couple of months. This trip is extra special.
I grew up as an only child and when I was 18, my mother married again, thus giving me 2 step sisters and a step father. I had never grown up with family (apart from my parents) and was suddenly awash in family dinners and all things family. Bonds were slow to form, intimacies forged over years. Letting someone in is often a slow process, especially when you plan to keep them there forever. And I do.
And so. One of my dear sisters has decided to leave Toronto and try her fortune out in London. She leaves a week from today. I was looking at some of her wedding photos earlier and came across this one of her father watching her say her vows. He knows she's leaving, she's getting married, she's leaving him behind.
This photograph brings something up inside me that I am unable to process. Maybe it is the sad truth that my father won't look at me that way at my wedding. He won't walk me down the aisle or weep at the thought of me starting a new family. His heart won't break at the thought of me moving away from him. I love this photo because there is no question as to how much he loves her. You can almost touch it.
So I'd like to wish my sister the best of luck and try to express just how much I'm going to miss her. How her place in my heart has changed my life, how the experiences we've shared have bonded her to me forever. When you leave Tuesday I shall have the same look on my face as your dear dad. And I will eagerly await your return.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Being this white isn't all bad. I make a good living moonlighting at the local haunted house and my photo has graced the cover of "Albino Weekly" on more than one occasion. Problems arise, however, when my milky white Canadian flesh comes into contact with a UV ray higher than 5. And, even worse, Caribbean and/or tropical sun.
A few years ago I decided to go on vacation by myself to the Club Med in Turks and Caicos. A great idea in theory - I had a terrible time. Not because it wasn't serenely beautiful, which it was, but because I was horribly lonely. I also underestimated the ferocity of the sun. After a languid morning of pina coladas and cigarettes, I took a little nap (no I did NOT pass out) in a hammock which I thought to be in the shade. When I woke up I was pretty sure that I had made a horrible mistake - the full impact of what I had done wouldn't be revealed to me until later.
Shortly thereafter the sunburn finally revealed what it was made of. So much so that the aloe vera I applied felt like boiling acid. Boiling acid. That's right. People would stop in their tracks and give me a "Oh my God....jesus.....shit.....you got some sun" while backing away, pity and revulsion in their eyes. I had to visit the clinic where I was met with much of the same sentiment and sent away with various ointments. I spent 2 days in my room. After which, I looked like this:
It went away, of course. But I learned my lesson.
On a positive note, I took a walk along the beach and was accosted by one of the locals! You see, I have what can only be described as an hourglass figure, one that is generally appealing to men of African descent. I was told by "Whitey" that I had "more cushion for the pushin'" - so the whole trip wasn't ruined. Just really, really awkward.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Can I get a hey oh! for the number #1 team in the east? Hey Oh!!!
This is an exciting time of year. With playoffs looming and a number 1 team in town, methinks these next few months are going to be all sorts of awesome. There is nothing as exciting as a full pint of beer, a bar full of hockey fans and a winning team. Just thinking about it makes me want to do something foolish like smashing out all my windows with a sledgehammer. The fact that I am usually a pretty reasonable person makes this feeling somewhat alarming.
Montreal is Hockey Town by nature. Our baseball team is gone and while football garners some attention, all eyes are generally glued on the Habs. It defies class and language, uniting one and all towards one common goal: the Cup. Habs fans are loud, the are fickle, they are merciless and passionate. It is quite something to be wholly united with someone you have nothing in common with, someone with whom you share a soul crushing desire for victory. Hockey fan or not, nothing can compare with the spirit of camaraderie that exists at every Habs game.
And so, tomorrow night I will be out at the Old Orchard Pub, pint in hand, cheering for my beloved Habitants as they face the Senators here in La Belle Ville. Bring it......
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Folks, I have successfully lived through the weekend despite blizzards and hangovers. And here we are.
I was invited to a friend's 17th birthday party Sunday afternoon. Even though I was having the time of my life with the vacuum and mop, I decided to dust off my dancing shoes and join the celebration.
I use the term "dancing shoes" loosely as I am not one who usually "cuts the rug" at dancing affairs. I dance when forced, i.e. two weeks ago at Chez
But I digress.
I suppose it's odd that I have a friend who just turned 17 given that I am now 30. To be fair, and not creepy, her mother and I are friends she she and I have become friends as a result. If I were a scientist, I would say that her mother is the catalyst in our relationship. As I am not, I will refer to her as "The Facilitator" for clarity's sake.
As I was getting ready I was struck with a horrifying thought – she and her friends would think of me as “one of the parents” at the party. Now that I am no longer in my twenties and certainly not in my teens, I have fallen into some sort of vague parental age regardless of offspring, husband or RRSP contribution limit. And, because I am still young, I can easily remember what it was like to be 17, to spend time with “adults”, to find them impediments to my sneaking off to smoke cigarettes and weed. Shit.
Oh man. Seized with panic, I tried to think of certain things I could say or do to seem hip and/or youthful.
1) Bust out some cigarettes and start smoking
2) Casually drop in, “I got so hammered last night I blacked out”
3) Swear a lot. Adults don’t say “Fuck”, right?
4) Offer to buy them beer
Then I realized that trying to be hip or cool (by doing lame things, I might add) would only make my stock plummet further. When did this happen? When did I become old enough to begin worrying about this kind of ridiculousness? I had never felt old until just then because, when I really thought about it, my lifestyle hasn’t changed that much from when I was 18. Sure, I can drink more (I would love to have a drinking contest with 18 year old me. I would annihilate her) and I’ve got more money. I’m also more educated and “street wise” than I was then thus giving me good material for drunk and/or stoned talk. But I still go to a lot of the same bars. And I’ve been known to drink too much….and smoke too much and make bad decisions. Which is what I did at 18 and still at 30. Oh dear.
So I guess there’s no answer to this one. Just be and don’t worry too much about acting your age. All those 17 year olds are trying to be older anyways.
I did have a good time at the party, although I hid in the kitchen for most of it since I didn’t know anyone. Perhaps that’s what drove me to cooking, a deliberate desire to flee the crowd. Most cooks I know are anti-social and awkward by nature thereby relying heavily on the drink to facilitate conversation.
Check in with me again in 10 years – hopefully I won’t be trying to impress a bunch of 30 year olds with my bong making abilities…..
Friday, March 7, 2008
Tomorrow we are due for another snow storm, which means lots more people bitching about being cooped up in their houses and unable to drive. Personally, I enjoy a good storm. Anything that takes a bustling metropolis and brings it to its knees is something I can get down with. I think we often forget that nature is indeed a force to be reckoned with and all our fancy technology and opposable thumbs really mean nada in the face of the elements.
However, even I am blown away by what's on its way. Tomorrow we are due to receive 50cm of snow. That's right - FIFTY. Which means we will most likely break the record. Which means, and this really astounds me, that this will be the snowiest winter of my lifetime. And I'm not that young either - 30 winters all leading up to this point.
But 50cm - has sort of an apocalyptic feel to it, no? What's next? Horsemen? Locusts?
Now, all I need are a few good movies and some warm bodies to hunker down in front of the fire with.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
In no particular order, we have:
1- "To Build a Home" by the Cinematic Orchestra
A good friend of mine presented a slide show during her wedding featuring various photos of her and her newly betrothed. Separate shots of them as children, their friends, then shots of them together, buying a house, photos of their families and loved ones, essentially telling the story, through photos, of their coming together. It was wonderfully touching - and set to the above mentioned song. Take beautiful pictures, set them to beautiful music and I'm done for. I do remember thinking that there's a fine line between joy and sorrow as that whole bit would have fit in just as well at a funeral. Lovely, lovely.
2- "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzalez
I had recently made the acquaintance of a young gentleman with whom I only spent a few hours but who left an impact on me. He was, as you might imagine, on my mind. Shortly thereafter, in the throes of my daydreaming, a good friend of mine introduced me to this gem, which I listened to over and over. I cannot hear this song without thinking of those few hours with aching fondness.
3- "Do What you Have to Do" by Sarah McLachlan
Speaks for itself. "I know I can't be with you, I do what I have to do." Makes me think of a great love of mine who is no longer here.
4- "Angeles" by Elliott Smith
Come on. This guy knows angst - he stabbed himself in the heart thus ending his life.
5- "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell
I am transported to that scene in "Love Actually" where Emma Thompson realizes her husband is having an affair and struggles to regain her composure. You can see her coming apart but unable to give into it.
6- "What Happens When the Heart Just Stops" by the Frames
An Irish group, they are better known as the musical talent in the brilliant Irish film, "Once." This tune starts slowly and builds to a crescendo with Glen Hansard, the lead singer, finally saying, "and i'm disappointed. I'm disappointed." It just rings so true.
7- "Jolene" by Ray LaMontagne
Hard for me to narrow down my Ray pic cause he's just such a melancholic genius. I also give a nod to "Empty" from his latest album. His lyrics are gut wrenching.
8- "Breathe Me" by Sia
"Six Feet Under" fans will agree with me on this one. The "Six Feet Under" series finale left me broken for a week or so.
9- "Brothers on a Hotel Bed" by Death Cab for Cutie.
I really think DCFC deserves their own section here. But this song takes the cake. Here are some others:
"I'll Follow you into the Dark"
"What Sarah Said"
"A Lack of Colour"
10-"November Rain" by G 'n'R
OK. This was the original "ouchie in my heartie" circa 1991. The video with the red wine spilling, the symbolism, the coffins. Ugh.
For the longest time I couldn't listen to Ben Harper's rendition of "The Drugs Don't Work" and I can't hear "Brick" by Ben Folds without a stirring in my gut. And, of course, a shout out to "Wheat Kings" by our own Tragically Hip. Timeless.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I've always responded very well to Romance. Not romance but Romance, capital R, no less. And I don't mean surface Romance sundries such as flowers and love songs. I scoff at the “Romance” put forth by John Mayer, Celine Dion and Sophie Kinsella. My Romance is a much more brooding kind, one that exists in your bones it runs so deep.
Romanticism, by definition, was a literary movement that took place between 1780 and 1848. Some of its most prolific writers were as follows: Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelly, Byron, Keats and the Bronte sisters. It is a difficult concept to define, because, much like its name suggests, it resists the urge to be defined, to be corralled or controlled. It thrives on uncertainty, the indefinite, the boundless. Romantic writers eschewed balance and order while favoring the value of spontaneity, wonder and emotional self-expression, often at dire costs. They did not identify with social order, the “man”, if you will, and as such their writings were rife with suffering, emotional pain and an “us against them” mentality.
Anyone who has ever been head over heels in love can certainly attest to the fact that you and your beloved are one united against the world. The depth and soul of your love knows no limits, resists definition, keeps evil at bay, turns back tides, parts seas and walks on water. In short, divine providence now resides in your very being. This love, akin to Godliness, (excuse me, dear Christians, for such blasphemy) is the church you now worship.
I have come to believe, however, that what I respond to is not Romance but the pain that comes with it. The yearning, the heartbreak, the pain and the horror, the horror. You see, for someone who identifies so strongly with something so universally understood and sought after, there has been very little Romance in my short life.
There has, however, been a fair amount of pain. Even Pain, if you will.
The sadder the song, the more heartbreaking the film, the more tragic the tale, the more I respond. A girlfriend of mine pointed this out to me the other day, posed more as a question than an observation. Why do I flock to these tales of woe, these heartbreaking ballads?
I think I know the answer. I think these purveyors of pain have somehow tapped into a part of my soul as yet untouched by another human being. In the absence of Love (notice the capital “L”) I have allowed for melodies and prose. And it is not enough.
Let me clarify. I have had my fair share of love. I am showered with it daily from more sources than I can even count. I am not even sure I can count that high to begin with such is my lucky lot in life. Alliterations aside, I am well aware of the pure and honest love offered to me by so many in my life. But what for Romance? Or Love, for that matter?
I remain an optimist. A wealth of untapped joy resides within me, spigot in hand, at the ready. I am undeterred by space or time, preferring to bend the continuum to my will. I believe there is no age, shape or form to life’s most simple goal: to love and be loved. Or Loved.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Here's where I get into trouble. You see, there is a lot of shit food out there posing as good food. And I don't mean greasy burgers or grilled cheeses with bacon or even cans of chef Boyardee. It's not haute cuisine but it's honest, it doesn't pretend to be good. It's dirty and it's good for hangovers or inducing diarrhea, whatever you require. What I'm talking about is a meal that is supposed to be good, supposed to be cooked well, flavourful and tasty, but is actually really, really shitty. Take for example the salmon tartar I had the other night. Small cubes of salmon mixed with equally small cubes of avocado. Should have been tasty. However, it was dry, underseasoned and badly presented. It needed salt, it needed oil, it needed to taste less like avocado and more like salmon. It needed to stop posing as good food. It was bad food masquerading as good food. This I cannot abide.
So, when I comment on food such as this, I'll usually say something witty like, "This is crap" or, my personal favourite, "this is really poorly done, someone in the kitchen needs to be fired." To which I am met with, "You're such a food snob." Hell NO my friends - what I am is someone who knows better, knows how easy it is to achieve decent flavour and taste in even the simplest dishes.
I don't need truffles, foie gras and lobster with every meal. And I don't need people fussing and fretting over garnishes and "accoutrements" - I just need something honest. And tasty.