Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

My darling readers,

I hope you have a lovely holiday season.

I'll catch you all in the New Year. I think it is going to be a good one.

Home with the family,


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dad, Your Boat is Showing

Are you freezing yet friends?

As you may recall, the Parentals flew in for the holidays. For those of you who are not aware, the lucky buggers spend their time floating around the Caribbean on their sailboat.

I guess that is their reward for raising three children.

Never one to disappoint, Mother Nature was there to welcome them with a wallop of snow.

A full frontal shot of the house.

That black bit is the dog - my full grown Newfoundland, aka The Beast. He digs snow.

The darling Mini Cooper. We left it clean and cozy at midnight.

Never to disappoint the neighbourhood, my father ventured out in the subzero weather to snap these pictures. While he was outside he chatted with a couple across the street. The catch? He was wearing nothing but a bathrobe.

Thank goodness the wind wasn't blowing and the garage was full of liquor.

I missed you Dad.

Check out his blog for the full sized shots, sailing stories and anything else suspiciously screwy.

Spawn of the strange,


My Christmas Card Carol

After a very long night with pen in hand,

I've just finished my Christmas card demand.

You may snicker, you may sneer,

But I've beat my record from last year.

In need of a stiff drink for my stiff hand,


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Music Monday: Tighten Up

Good morning my readers!

Today we have a submission from Jake, the badass bartender (and my little brother).

The two of us have holed up together, waiting for The Parentals' to arrive home for the holidays (I know, my family is a tad backwards - believe it or not, it is our detention that keeps us groovy).

So far we have not been successful in our wait. It seems the Parentals' have gotten themselves stuck in Pittsburgh, apparently due to the snow (I blame a reluctance to leave sun, sand and lots of rum).

I will give them a stern talking to tomorrow, provided they actually show up.

In the meantime, Jake has suggested a fab song to start your week. This is the official music video.

So, my crazed compadres, please have a listen to "Tighten Up" by The Black Keys.

I think I'd go for the geek in the glasses. I like the way he winks. Do you have a favourite?

The original music video was a low budget clip starring a puppet dinosaur, Frank, and a plant, name unknown. Apparently they had the dino dance and mime some words.

It doesn't sound like the dino did much, but I know the feeling.

Have a wonderful week!

Waiting on the weather,


Friday, December 10, 2010

Blown Apart: Chapter One

My eyes cut across the dance floor - I was enamoured by a funny shaped fellow in what appeared to be a Hawaiian shirt. It was unfortunately, a horrible Hawaiian shirt but it fit this fellow perfectly.

He had no fashion sense. He had a pot belly. He definitely couldn't dance, but oddly the strobe lights didn't seem to do him justice. I wanted him.

Earlier that night a friend, Stacey, had blindsided me with a request to go drinking. It had been a full day at the Rib Fest and after packing half a rack of ribs, mashed potatoes, corn, buns and ice cream into my body, I had put on the stretchiest pair of pants I owned and retreated for the evening.

"LIND-say!" Stacey whined over the phone, "I reeeeeally want to go! I'll pay for a cab!". I hated it when the whining started. I especially hate that everyone who has ever known me has the ability to whine "LIND-say!" at the first opportunity.

"Fine," I shot back. "But we are starting with margaritas here. I spent all my cash on pig, pork and pistachio goodness earlier. I don't have the moolah for an extended night on the town."

Half an hour later my hair was slicked back, my makeup was done and my bra was back in its drawer. I was ready to rock.

Always a source of bubbly goodness, Stacey and I threw the margaritas back and posed for some photos with my RibFest swag before leaving my apartment. These are the only photos I have left.

Stacey and myself. Yes I am wearing a pig hat made of felt, and yes, I like it.

Stacey and myself: she is sporting a roller derby flag, picked up at Rib Fest earlier that day.

We were drunk, dressed and ready to dance.

I knew Stacey had somewhere she wanted to be - it wasn't like her to randomly hit the bars. Stacey always had an end goal in sight, I was merely along for the ride.

What a ride it was.

After half a block (in heels!) we met a group of boys. Being the end of July it was warm, so we flirted. We had time to spare and no escorts to tell us otherwise.

The boys had ordered two cabs and offered to share. I had jumped in to decline, when I noticed the girls staring from a living room window. "Those yours?" I asked, nodding toward the furious females.

"Nah, you be imagining things baby;" the leader of the pack answered "Share a cab with us." I could tell he was working those little brain cells hard.

"Didn't the the busty blonde just call your cell phone," I retorted, seconds after the mumbled rap starting blasting from the big boy's pocket.

"I don't have a busty blonde!" some redhead piped up. "You know you want me, and I know I want to leave. The blonde has him whipped;" he snorted, clearly at the big boy's expense.

"How many of you have busty blondes?" I asked the group of five or six guys. Two stuck up their hands, one gave me the finger. That left the redhead, the leader and two other cute guys who appeared to be neither attached nor assholes. One can never know.

"Sure! We don't know where we're going, but a ride would be great!" Stacey chimed in. The bars were all relatively close together, and besides, if she saved cab fare she'd have at least another round of change in her pocket. The leader of the pack rolled his eyes. The busty blonde, now on the front porch, fumed and fretted and furiously strapped those heels to her feet.

When dropped off downtown the redhead sauntered over, slapped my butt and said "Thanks for the ride." I haven't seen him, or his group, since.

"Where to Linds? I've got to get my drink on!" Stacey blurted out. "I mean, your margaritas were really, really good, but…." she trailed off as we stood on the street corner. Stacey was drunk and didn't know what her next move was. She had been nervously checking her phone all night, obviously waiting for a heads up from someone. This top secret text message was obviously going to determine where we went.

Until it arrived, we had some time to blow.

We wandered into a pub, searching for a drink and familiar faces. Stacey knew half the city's regular bar crowdand I knew half the bartenders. While Stacey actually went to bars, often, my "in" was my little brother. He happened to tend bar at the chicest club in town, and it had a cover charge to kill.

Suddenly, some guy put his arm around me and a drink in my hand. A little taken aback by his boldness, I looked up to find Stacey snuggling his partner in crime. It was obvious that we were not going to be moving for quite some time (what your mother told you is true, there are reasons to stay together). After receiving two fresh drinks from the waitress it was announced that these boys were NHL players.

As if.

I assume they weren't very good (despite all the hockey talk there was very little mention of their showing on the ice) but I guess it was kinda obvious: one had scraggly blonde hair and was missing a couple of teeth. The other had short brown hair and a bloodshot eye. They were both built like steamrollers and had bottles surrounding them. We spent an hour sitting with these guys, watching how men in the big leagues roll. They were okay, but insistent on refilling our glasses with thick brown liquid.

They liked their girls drunk.

This was not my scene and the more I drank the more I wanted out. I had a delicious rack of ribs in my stomach and didn't want to waste them on good whiskey and bad discussion. Then, out of the blue, "Sorry guys, we have to go! It's been fabulous, but we really must go." Stacey chirped. "Why don't you meet us later?"

We wouldn't be meeting them later - Stacey had gotten her text message. Now we were on a mission.

"Some of my friends are meeting up at the Tap House. I really want to go."

Ahh, the Tap House. The infamous bar where baby brother bartended. On a Saturday night we could expect to spend $20 each in cover charge and still wait an hour to get in.

"Let me call my brother," I offered, knowing that our stash of cash, although untouched, would not carry us through a massive cover charge and drinks at the Tap House.

"Jake!" I yelled into the phone, trying not to sound drunk. "I need a favour, I'm a party of two!"

Always the calm, suave kid, Jake answered with one word "Done."

I have had a lot of decent breaks in my life: amazing parents, a wonderful childhood, an education like no other, but one of the best breaks I have ever had was the luck of my younger brother tending bar at the hottest club in town.

When given the green light I could show up at the Tap House, breezing past the line and waving to the bouncers (mind you, at this club, the bouncers were called "hosts" - they still did the dirty work of dealing with the angry drunks though). Once settling myself on a second floor sofa some manager would magically appear and ask what I wanted to drink.

This was always the best part. I knew that Jake had told the manager what I would be wearing, but the feeling of having a man in black, complete with headset, seeking me out with the sole task of taking my order had me on cloud nine. It always did. Once my request was placed, the man would jump up, snap his fingers and drinks would appear. With his first free moment, Jake would wander over and chat before heading back to his stage.

It was a luxury I dare not use and abuse. Not only did I not want to lose a privilege comparable to a Black American Express card in a country liquor store, but I wanted to make my little brother proud. I wanted to be cool, commanding and utterly breathtaking just like him.

It therefore seemed appropriate that I call this favour in tonight. Stacey had something important to attend to, and I was dying of curiosity. Was it a guy, an impenetrable social circle, or a bad day that needed to be attended to?

In hindsight, it also seems appropriate that I met him that night. After receiving more attention from males in one night than I had the last three months it seems perfectly fitting that I met this funny shaped, horrible-Hawaiian-shirt-wearing man at the coolest bar in town.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Music Monday: The Logical Song

With all of this snow, it can only mean one thing: it is time for SUPERTRAMP!

Always one to brighten my day, Supertramp is a delight, using both standard and contemporary sound effects. Sure you can hear the keyboards and castanets, but can you also pick out the Mattel electronic football game or the Trouble "Pop-o-Matic" bubble? They are there, I promise.

We both know you remember the board game "Trouble". Don't deny it. If you don't, I sincerely suggest you jump back into the eighties and have a go; it's pleasure is ranked slightly above "Hungry Hungry Hippos".

This song tells the story of a man who was ripped from his childhood, educated for adulthood and realizes that his future is expected to be lacking in any spontaneity.

Sound familiar? It gets better - the man feels constricted in his freedom of speech, feels the pressure to conform and ends up confused, without a clear self-image.

See if you can pick out the story (or just dance madly around your room, as all snowy Monday's should be spent).

Obviously not the official video, these girls do a good job of keeping the words onscreen to help my ailing brain. It's a generational thing, I think.

I don't know what my generation has been dubbed, "The Mini X's" maybe, but we are certainly walking around confused.

Here's hoping you start your weekend on a roll.

Kinda cold and certainly confused,


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Awkwardly Amazing: My Dinner Date

Friday night I travelled to Peterborough for dinner and a night of trouble with an old friend.

It was an amazing and awkward night. We must do it again soon.

We began with a dinner date - hooking up on a cold cement sidewalk and searching for an establishment suitable enough for two girls to enjoy a delicious dinner. We needed something that offered an atmosphere entirely encouraging of comfortable banter.

We slid into our seats and dove into conversation. It has been well over a year since this girl and I had connected alone and without influence. It confirmed that we were still as friendly as ever, but also that we have grown older. Our conversation also concluded that while we had desperately spent the last two years denying our age and slowing the inevitable leave from a careless time, our life had done what lives do; they had moved on. New insecurities, new problems, and a new desire for a friend and female companion. We both wanted someone to spill to, someone who would appreciate our plight and tell us what to do.

That was awkward.

The social stops and starts, the little pauses between deciding a decision should be made and actually making it. The conversation, too excited and lopsided one sentence, pulled back, nervous, hesitant even, in the next.

There is something that occurs between two people, something that allows them to form a relationship and hold onto it though years of turmoil and triumph, but did we still have it?

This girl, Alena; she was front row and centre when I became me, complete and full fledged, and now that we don't see each other as much as we would like, we still have this innate ability to meet and pick up exactly where we left off. It's as if I just stepped out of the room for a minute and jumped right back in.

That was pretty amazing.

We met in my second year of university. My first year of studies had not gone as planned. Separated by over 4200 kilometres (almost 2500 miles) I missed my parents. Joined by my high school boyfriend I was miserable, and my studies had not engrossed my attention as I had hoped.

The daughter of my landlord upon my return to Ontario, little Alena and I became fast friends. We were together constantly, and alone often. Our studies gripped our passions and parties filled our weekends. When things happened the other was consulted. When down time was needed we would curl up on her bed and chill, together, for hours. Somehow we could read each other like a book - painful topics were avoided, alcohol was poured and silence prevailed when our minds rode heavily with contemplation.

She was the small, quiet girl who was scrappy to a tee. Always one to stay small and keep quiet Alena had a tendency of going along to get along. Oddly enough, she also had a way of getting what she wanted, no matter the cost. Everything was negotiated to a decent fee. It didn't happen very often, but it was brilliant to to watch when it did.

I, on the other hand, was the louder more domineering part of our pair. Always with a new idea and some neon accessory I stood out and wrote my essays the night before they were due. My employment experience swelled and I was always involved in the social circuit. I stood out and I stepped out.

But we were both there, watching, waiting and wondering. We encouraged when needed and agreed to keep our dirty laundry a secret - to my knowledge it still its in its smelly basket.

Our unsaid motto "you can do better than me, and I can be better than you;" defined us and propelled us forward until here we sat, across a pub table from each other. After years together, would a noticeable separation break us? Was the geography too much? Were we too different now, with husbands and fiances and careers to plan?

I popped the lemon garnish on my glass of water into the cold liquid, nervous for the waitress to bring my wine. The wine I had ordered certainly didn't match my dinner but it would taste good and go down easily. It was calm the nerves that were silently exploding under the pressure. Alena eyed up my water glass, and noticing her lemon sat still propped up on the rim, pushed it into the water swirling below.

Our glasses, and now our mindsets, matched.

After sleeping the night off on her couch I awoke at a comfortable nine thirty in the morning. Comfortable considering I had yet to befit the hour and a half drive home, but oh so early for a girl who didn't set down her glass until three thirty the night before.

Despite my lack of sleep and excess of alcohol, I awoke serene and comfortable. Her home smelled familiar and calm. It was cold and blowy outside but not enough to slow the Saturday morning traffic.

I stood to use the bathroom, just in time to hear the bathroom door shut and the invader begin to fumble with taps and toothbrushes.

It felt like home. It was where I was supposed to be.

I just love mornings like that.