Thursday, October 30, 2008
"This is a bubble bath inside of an e-mail. Seriously. Yeah! I'm just about to take a bubble bath, and I thought of you, and I wanted to tell you to close your eyes and imagine the loveliness, the true sheer unadulterated happy-relaxingness of a bubble bath. Whether you're at work, at home, wherever you are... know that one day you too will enter a warm, frothy, cozy place of nothing but your own slippery body and some soapy fun."
This email comes from the same person who, two years ago, told me to close my eyes, handed me a sharpie, and then led me to his kitchen table where two pumpkins sat on a bed of newspapers awaiting our creativity to be carved into them. Want a girl to swoon? Surprise her with pumpkin carving. And then make salmon and fries. Do laundry. Watch The Incredibles and eat zucchini bread. Take a bubble bath. Fold laundry.
To this day, I still remember it as one of our best nights ever, and probably the best Halloween-related activity I've done in a long while. Despite the fact that we broke up over a year ago, we still turn to mush when we reminisce.
"Thank you. How is it that you always know how to make me smile?"
"I have never wanted to make anyone smile more than I have always wanted to make you smile ever since the moment I met you."
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A Day In The Life Of -Or- How I Know Travelling Alone Is Finally Getting To Me -Or- Simple Pleasures
This morning got off to a better start than yesterday simply because the alarm went off properly and I was awake when I had to be awake (compared to yesterday when I awoke to 7:02AM glaring red in my eyes, the time when I was supposed to be in my car and driving away to Deep River instead of being mostly naked under the bedsheets in my hotel room). So I had time to hit the snooze button a couple times, do my eye make up a little more carefully and grab a quick breakfast before I headed out to chilly winds which did not turn to crusty frost on my windshields like it did yesterday morning.
Being earlier than yesterday, however, did not necessarily mean that I was "on time" so while I was hoping for a leisurely morning drive, I ended up speeding past a school bus that had stopped to pick up a student. Note to everyone: DO NOT DO THIS. When school buses stop, they flash their red lights and the STOP sign pops out the side because THEY WANT YOU TO STOP. If you do not stop (like I did not) you will get honked at (like I did) and you run the risk of KILLING A SMALL CHILD who is on their way to learn and educate themselves. I felt guilty the rest of the day. Well, that is until I ran a red light and then I felt guilty about that instead. I deeply apologize to Renfrew County for all the infringements on traffic laws that I have committed within the last 48 hours that I have been here. If you see a small, dark blue car going 30 to 40 over the speed limit, that's me too. Sorry. *hangs head in shame*
It's only because I was running late. And then I forgot to veer right towards the highway and ended up going north when I should have been going south. And then! then! my directions told me to take Hwy 5 when there was no Hwy 5 and then I turned onto Hwy 9 and prayed to goodness that it would take me somewhere right. Hwy 9 ended 7kms later. So I sat at this four-way intersection having to choose between going back up Hwy 9, going onto Hwy 8 or onto the 60 East or 60 West. I did what any professional Recruitment Officer would do: I called the school and asked for help. "Hi, I'm coming in for a presentation and I'm not sure where I am - where the 60 meets the 8 and the 9. How do I get to your school from here?"
"Is it a 4-way stop with a store on the corner?"
"Yes, there's a gas station."
"Oh, perfect! You're just down the road from us! Just go up the hill and you'll see us!"
"Up the hill? Well... I'm sitting at the end of Hwy 9, so should I turn onto the 8, or the 60 East or 60 West?"
"Hwy 9? The 60? Well, I don't think we're on the 60... just go up the hill honey, it's right there, you can't miss us."
"But which way onto the hill? Left, right?"
"Just go straight, straight up the hill."
"Straight up the hill. Okay, so I don't need to turn?"
"There's a store at the corner, you said, right?"
"Well, yes, it's a gas station."
"Okay, good. Now just go straight up the hill."
"But, I- okay! Hopefully I'll see you soon!" *insert cheery smile*
I looked around for a hill. Turned right and went straight. Straight up the hill. Just like she said. About a kilometre later I was back on the phone with the same lady.
"Hi there. I don't think I went up the right hill. I mean, I looked for one, but to be honest, all the roads look pretty flat."
"Did you go up the hill, honey?"
"Well, yes, but I don't see the school, so should I turn back? I'm on the 60 West now. Are you on the 60 East? Or the 8?"
"Oh dear, I don't know... There's a store at the corner right? And it's a 4-way stop? You should really just go up the hill and you'll see us!"
"OH MY G- Okay! I'll try this again and hopefully I'll see you soooon!"
WHAT FUCKING HILL?? WHAT'S WITH THE FUCKING STORE?? IT'S A GAS STATION FOR FUCK'S SAKE!! FUCK THE GODDAMNED HIILLL!!
I had to get it out of my system. I swore pretty much the entire way until I found the school. It was on Hwy 8. There was a little hill.
Also, sometime during the day I found myself talking to myself in the car. With a British accent. I think I was running through scenarios in my head and what I would do if I got pulled over. If I pretended I was a foreigner, would they let me go because of my cute accent? It worked once in a bar. Should I go for the refined, educated Londoner, or the rough, street smart Northerner, or the Kate Winslet? Personally, I liked the Kate Winslet one the best because it had sass. Seriously people: talking to myself, alone in the car, with THREE different accents. I need help.
I think this accent business was before the whole wrap-in-shoe incident. I managed to gather enough time between schools to stop in at a cafe I had passed by yesterday and figured I'd get a chai to go or something. But the friendly behind the counter guy enticed me to stay for a quick lunch, so I had a soup and half a sweet chili Thai wrap before taking the other half on the road. While speeding, I came to either a red light or a stop sign (can't remember) and didn't time it well enough which led me to step on the brakes HARD - things in the backseat were everywhere and my wrap? it tumbled out of it's plastic box home and landed in one of the shoes I have piled on the passenger side of the car (a girl needs selection - keeping a collection in the car and changing them before stepping out is easier than packing three pairs every week). I looked over mournfully. Sweet chili sauce and beans were in my blue tweed pumps. "My shoe. My wrap is sitting in my shoe. My WRAP is in MY SHOE. Great. It's in my shoe. Fucking hell." I couldn't reach it from where I was so the damn thing just sat in my shoe the whole way to my school. Now my car has the slightest hint of sweet chili scent to it.
After my last school visit I tried to be all hardcore and go for a little hike/walk in the woods nearby. A guidance counsellor had done this trail before and told me that it would take about an hour to finish. On my way there I admit I felt like wimping out - the winds had picked up and I didn't have a hat, and the sun wasn't really out so it might get dark sooner... and I realized that I had forgot to pack my casual shirts that day, but there was no stopping me. I wanted to be Hardcore Miss Outdoorsy Independent. I parked and put my camping pants over my new grey slacks and pulled my sweatshirt over my blouse. I didn't have socks, so I kicked off my kitten heels and just wore my stockings with my running shoes. I wrapped my scarf around extra carefully.
Off I went to explore a little trail that took me to a river and a dam. Okay, not bad. This is nice... I told myself. I wondered about wild animals. I saw signs for deer crossings earlier. I heard there were bears around here, up north-ish. But on I went and I found another trail. Goody. Crunch crunch went the leaves under my feet. I wondered if the noise was disturbing anything. Gosh, this would be far more enjoyable with someone else. Someone who actually knew something about the great outdoors. I told myself to suck it up and just keep going. An hour isn't that long, really. The sun will still be up. For the most part. And then I realized I had no flashlight, no compass, no protective weapon of any kind. Just my clothes and my key in my pocket. Keep going you pansy, don't wimp out on me now. If you need to, run a little and you'll finish the trail faster. Remember the guy who fought a bear with a pen? You can do that, just stab the thing in the eye with your car key. On I went. And then I heard two distinct KNOCK KNOCK sounds to my right. I froze, took one look in the general direction of the sound, turned on my heels and bolted out of there like a bat outta hell.
Panting in the driver's seat, I looked at my watch. It had been 15 minutes. Okay, okay, so Miss Hardcore Outdoorsy Independent didn't fare too well in the woods. WHAT. I didn't know the area and there was no sun and the wind was so cold it gave me a headache AND next week is hunting week which means the woods must be chock-full of animals at this point. So the sound could have been a woodpecker, I get it. But it also could have been the antlers of a big moose knocking against a tree as a warning to me that if I get any closer it'll charge and I've heard stories about those things when they charge - they can kill you, alright. So, would I rather save my flimsy pride and say that I went down fighting a wild moose (or bear) with nothing but my car key, or just make sure that I actually stay alive by going for a little jog OUT of the woods? I think we all know what's best for me in this case.
Worn out from my exertions, I went shopping. I kid - I just had a $7 credit note that needed to be used and I didn't find anything anyway. I went for a walk downtown in search of a tea room and followed signs that took me to the Recess Cafe, a tiny little thing tucked into the corner of a community centre. And there I found the peace that I had been looking for all day. Every city, every little town, no matter how bland it may seem has a place just like this, a haven. I took a walk around and settled in a red chair by the fireplace which warmed my cookie so that all the chocolate chips became gooey. I flipped through nature books and marveled at the world while sipping on hot chocolate. I chatted with the waitress (who turned out to be a student at one of the schools I'm visiting tomorrow). I watched little girls in floofy dresses come in with their mothers. I imagined my own cafe, if I'm ever to own one, and how I would make it just so, so it would allow those who walked in, regardless of whatever it was they were feeling that day (in my case: homicidal road rage), to feel exactly like I did then: simply content.
Somehow, between that lovely experience and making it into my hotel room, I managed to drip cold chai latte from this afternoon all over my pants, shoes and coat, have the wind blow so hard that I could hardly walk from my car to the hotel front doors, and when I made it to my bathroom mirror I found myself looking like a harassed wild turkey.
And that was my day. How was yours?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I dreamt that he wrote to me. It was short and simple - and truth be told, it was fuzzy at best because I was dreaming after all and couldn't really read it - but it was written in that way that only English majors can write. In the way that only he can write. Really, I can't remember what he wrote - he may have apologized, he may have been funny, or sweet. It didn't matter. Whatever it was, it was a sigh of relief and a breath of fresh air. It was exactly what I had been waiting for. It felt so real, as though, in the middle of my slumber I actually relaxed and settled into a happier sleep. I might have actually smiled.
Waking up this morning, it took me a minute to remember that it was indeed a dream and with that realization settled in, I slumped back into that sigh of heaviness that I've been living with the past little while. He didn't write to me. He probably never will (and though I'll be disheartened, I won't be surprised). Even though it's been this long without a single word from him, the fact that I dreamt about it last night has been sitting on my heart all day.
Amongst the hundreds of emails that he and I sent to each other during our few months 'together', I really only cherish one, the one that he took some time to think about and actually write. The one in which he might have sort of- kind of- recognized my role in his life, however small and brief it was. For the tiniest moment in time, he almost let me know that he cared about me and maybe that he missed me too. But I was never sure.
One morning in the springtime, upon waking next to each other, tangled in his sheets, I told him that I had had a dream. "I dreamt about you," I whispered sleepily into his neck.
"Really." An emotionless reaction, as always. "What was I doing?"
"You were writing."
"What was I writing?" I thought for a second. I couldn't really remember what exactly it was that he was writing. And it wasn't the subject that was important, it was who he was writing to. I took a breath, a risk.
"You were writing to me."
He said nothing. A second later and he had changed the subject.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Wanting To Lay Like Broccoli
I cut my nails today for the first time in what must have been two or three weeks and my lordy - it feels good. Every now and then I try that 'feminine look' by growing out my nails so that they elongate my short, stubby fingers a bit, but they inevitably get in the way of everyday activities like lifting cardboard boxes, putting my arms through wool or tweed sleeves, and typing fast. I'd like to think that I still have the ability to choose practicality over aesthetic. Good example: my shorter, but still cute, strappy heels that I wore out to the club on Saturday so that when 2:30am rolled around I was still able to walk rather than hobble, like most of the other girls.
Today was the first time in a long while that I spent the entire day at home; the only time I left the house was to move my car to another spot in the driveway. As home-body-ish and depressing as that may sound to some, there was honest-to-goodness nothing more that I wanted for myself other than to lounge around in my comfy clothes and hang out with my family. Besides, I think a day off from the world is exactly what I deserved after the week and weekend that I had. I spent everyday last week driving to and from and back to Toronto (I live about 30, 40 minutes NE) doing school visits and meeting with people for lunches and dinners. Driving in Toronto at any time of the day, nevermind during rush hour, is a horror that I wish on very few people of this planet. I feel like my road rage has grown at least two inches and that I've worn out the brakes on the car. Parking was a whole other expensive ordeal. I only had dinner at home one night the whole week (Friday) and I felt terribly guilty about blowing off another dinner (downtown yet again!) for it.
And though my weekend was just as busy, it was also just as lovely. On Friday I got my hair cut by Greg's sister who I haven't seen in about 7 years. It was really neat to chat and sort of catch up. By the time I was done it was 3pm and I had eaten an apple all day so while Tanya got a trim, I headed out onto the Danforth to find a snackie. I ended up right next door to the hair studio at a place called the Detroit Eatery, a hole in the wall burger shack devoted to the Detroit Red Wings. I walked in because it looked different and I try my best to not eat at chain restaurants anymore and ended up surrounded with hockey memorabilia and middle-aged single men chomping on greasy burgers and fries and downing Coke, or beer. Sure I felt vaguely awkward, but I was already there and I'm up for any gastronomic experience, hockey fanatic or not. When my hot turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies came to the table, I realized what scene I had just created for myself: one of those sad movie situations wherein I, as the lone female, have a Thanksgiving dinner by herself in a dimly lit, dingy restaurant because I have no family nor friends or something. And then I walk home. Alone. In the snow. Of course, that totally wasn't the situation given that my best friend was getting a hair cut next door, it was beautiful weather outside and I was just jonesing for some hot turkey and gravy. I sat there and enjoyed every single, lonely bite.
(And yes, Happy Turkeyday, Canucks. Hope you enjoyed devouring your various types of fowl, or Tofurkey for the veggies out there.)
Saturday was spent doing one of my all time favourite fall activities: apple picking! My friends and I drove way out to an orchard that hadn't yet been picked out of apples (PS: it did not occur to me previous to Friday evening that an orchard could be picked out aka run out of fruit) and spent our time climbing gnarly trees, exclaiming "OOH! Look at that one! Get THAT one! It's huge! And SHINY!", and taste testing crispy, sweet Cortlands. Cruuunch. Yum. We browsed the markets and also found our way through a giant, 8-acre corn maze in just 56 minutes! We even found all the clues, answered every question and solved the mystery word at the end! Aren't we just the coolest 24-year olds that you ever met? To top it all off, we spent the afternoon counting apples, peeling apples, and slicing apples to make apple pies and apple tarts. Apples apples apples. At $14 for a bushel, we picked 72 apples which made 5 pies, 12 tarts and we each had more than 15 apples left to bring home to our family members. I think we're all going to be pretty sick of apples in just about three more days. At least they'll keep the doctors away!
I could use more apples because I'm still fighting this damn cold. I've been not 100% healthy since I left Chicoutimi the first week of August and this go go go schedule isn't helping. I didn't get home until almost 4am on Sunday morning for the sake of a friend's birthday at an ultra-cool club downtown which turned into a 1:30am food fest at the local 24-hour diner joint. I got 5 hours of sleep before I was up to get to me and my mum's facial appointments and I WISH that I could have fallen asleep during it like my mother. I don't know how the woman does it - snoring and everything! Then it was an hour and a half drive to the Loo where I spent an hour and a half doing paperwork in the office before driving back an hour and a half to meet my starving family for dinner. I almost fell asleep in the car on the way home.
That night I had several good chats with my brother and discovered that he 1. has met his life goals at 22 years old, and 2. watches Jon & Kate Plus 8 religiously. I couldn't help but gawk in shock and awe when he told me how disappointed he was that he didn't score perfect on the Twins Quiz (he scored 9/10 - he got their left-handed-right-handed-ness mixed up, poor guy - how well do YOU know Mady and Cara?). He told me all the times during the day when the show airs (two times every day with Wednesday being a marathon day - Monday used to be one too but they got rid of it those production bastaaards!) AND he schedules his work day around them. I guess working from home will let one do that. He eats specifically at 10:30 to catch the 11:00 episode, and he looks forward to 5:00 more than any other working person I know because that's when a whole HOUR of J&K+8 comes on (dinner comes right after). On marathon days he'll take the one-hour breaks between shows to shower and eat. So, that's my brother ladies and gents, having met all his life goals at 22 being a freakish cult follower of a reality tv show, in addition to owning a car and having his dream job. I'm proud of him, I am.
Speaking of which, the new episode that came on tonight at 9 (that I missed!) is airing again in 15 minutes....
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
You Can Always Be More Ninja
Just got home from hanging out with one of my favourite people, ever. Greg and I go back about seven years to when we met as adolescents in high school, and since then we've run the gamut of possible relationships that one can have with another person. From dating and being in love to not speaking to each other for years to now being wonderful life companions. When he told me that I was one of his "lifelong companions" I told him it made me sound like his dog. It was funny, and we laughed.
Every time I'm with him a few things invariably happen: I always manage to reminisce about the time we spent together as a couple (because it was awesome); I learn something about Islam; I remind him of how he's influenced my life, even down to little details like how I obsessively dry in-between my fingers after I wash my hands like he does; we tell each other how awesome we think the other person is; he always teaches me something new and reminds me of important things that aren't so new; I eat weird hippie food and hear about his crazy hippie friends; I always leave feeling uber grateful to have him in my life. Oh yeah, and we have fun.
Tonight I tried amaranth in grain form for the first time (prior to tonight I had had it in a raw cacao drink). I learned about apple cider vinegar and cod liver oil and omega-3 fatty acids (and omega-6s and 9s). I heard about a girl named Radish, who is now the second person I've 'known' to be named like an actual fruit/vegetable (the first person being a girl in high school named Apple). He showed me a live demonstration of how to kill someone in slow-mo with a wooden T'ai Chi sword. I've been wanting to go to a drum circle dance with him for months now (we almost did tonight) and I might be able to join him for Hip Hop Karaoke on Friday. That's right, Hip Hop Karaoke - how awesome is that going to be?
He's one of the people who's fought to keep me in his life, and I'd do close to anything (just to keep this realistic) to keep him in mine. There's a lot to be said for those people, both the kind you want to keep around and those who want to keep you around in return. They're far and in between, like really good movies.
Every time I ask him how he is, he - without fail - replies with, "I'm fuckin' awesome!" because he is. He's one of those people who I've shared so many wonderful moments with that we can't remember them all (it's a nice surprise when one of us brings one up that we haven't thought of in a while). I want to introduce him to everyone I know because he is that awesome and associating with him makes me feel that much cooler. I feel refreshed when we part; like I can't wait to start the rest of my life being awesome like him. He said to me tonight, "Most people operate below the Ultimate Level of Awesomeness and I don't know why. It's my job, my duty, to bring people up to that higher level of awesomeness because that's where I live. And rule." I also remember: "You can always be more ninja." He's right, I can.
I'm a big fan of all things Greg. Even if it means listening to some crazy every now and then (he once had a two-hour conversation about flying pirate ships (...I don't know how either)). I've got enough of my kind of crazy and I like his brand of the stuff. It sounds fuckin' awesome.