Monday, March 29, 2010

Les Internets

I booked all my travel stuff. I'm a goin' to California for a wedding in a month and a half! Wooo-ee! And due to saving up 90,000 Visa travel points equalling $450, I got a return plane ticket for $115. And then I booked a hotel room for $89 a night, after tax totalling $195 US. I can't believe how affordable this is.

Now, I've been on a message board for about three and a half years. I've been on less and less as fewer of the friends I've made are frequenting it and more are on Facebook. But in the earlier years, it was a lifeline for me. We all shared everything and got to know each other on this amazing personal level, and we argued with each other full force and then laughed about it later. Such is the power of the Internet.

I've met four of these friends in person, one is a Canadian in a neighbouring city, whom I get to see every few months. She's fantastic. Another is a professor in California who I've seen twice along with my fellow Canadian boarder on his academic visits to the city. Another is a good friend I got to meet in California (lots of Californians on this board) September '08 and we got on great and I wished we lived closer. And the last, who I actually met first when he was on a business trip he'd taken to Toronto, is getting married to a woman he met on the boards, and that's whose wedding I'm going to. I'm looking forward to meeting her in person too.

And as though it wasn't awesome enough to see these two get married (the groom is a really great guy and I've heard wonderful stuff about the bride from those who know her in real life), and being able to see my good friend again, I'll also get to meet more people from the boards.

I was 23 when I started meeting all these people. I'm in many ways a different person than I was, in the sort of way people are after a few years of personal growth. This board was in many ways a part of that growth. As I was adjusting to a new life and new apartment, new single status, new and rediscovered friends, I was connecting with these people. They know nearly all my personal secrets and feelings. And being in their company in real life has been a very calming experience because of that.

Most people in my life who know about the boards don't really get it. And I couldn't expect them to, really. They chuckle and shake their heads, possibly thinking I'm a little nuts. Maybe I am and maybe we are. But come May, we can all be nuts together as we celebrate a couple that the boards brought together. Like it or hate it, the Internet changes people's lives.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Here I go

My plans today revolve almost entirely around making travel plans. I've done this before, plenty of times. And yet every single time I do I feel nervous and unsure of myself. I've been to Cuba and the Dominican, which were easy because I didn't do it alone at all, and all-inclusive resorts are no-muss, no-fuss.

I've been to Ireland, which was through Contiki a few year ago. Awesome time, by the way. You buy the tour package, a plane ticket and then figure out a way from the airport to the hotel you need to be at. Then you're done.

I've been to San Francisco to meet up with a good friend who lives in California. That entailed buying a plane ticket and finding a hotel and getting there from the airport.

And then my ultimate trip was the three-week backpack through the UK when I was 21. This was a work of art, minus the fact I left my wallet at home, whoops. That's an entirely different story.

I had to book the flight, buy a rail pass online, research and reserve hostels and bed and breakfasts, research the directions I'd need to get from the train stations to my accommodations, and look into all the things I'd want to do beforehand so I wouldn't miss anything after the fact. I spent three weeks on this. I was also fresh out of college and an internship and unemployed, so I had nothing else more pressing to do.

And travelling alone for weeks in a foreign country when you're a single woman means you can't just wing it either. Your safety could be dramatically compromised. It's either plan, plan, plan or face the prospect of having to wander alone late at night with no one you know aware of where you are, looking for a place you can afford to stay, bogged down by all your travel gear.

And even with that behind me, something as simple as booking a flight and hotel for a two night stay in California for a wedding makes me go, "Eeeeeeek!" Not sure why. I'm excited and happy about going.

I remember when I was in college and I was taking the Go Train from Oakville to Toronto for the weekend to see a friend. I didn't have to ask permission or anything. And as I was sitting on the train I felt so grown up. And feeling like a grownup made me feel like a little kid. Kind of a reminder of how adult you felt about finally going to high school only to realize how young you were. Being excited about personal freedom only serves to show you how new it all is.

So I'm going to make some calls. I've got a plane and a hotel to book.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I don't get no, dun na na, satisfaction

I had a poor day of work today. I won't get into it too much, because I don't want to reveal my company or whathaveyou, but it was a trial. The subject matter of the show I worked on was painfully boring and obnoxious. Most days my job makes me happy. But today I entertained thoughts of sweet, sweet death. And tomorrow is to be more of the same, only a larger quantity of awful.

My evening has been spent napping, eating chocolate, watching shows I missed this week and feeling crabby. I regress a little when I'm grumpy or have had a bad day. Actually, I regress a lot. I really wanted to kick my feet on the ground like I did when I was a child. That would have felt great.

The day wasn't meant to be a good one, though, not even from the moment I woke up. Smokey got me out of bed early this morning with incessant meowing. Turns out he took exception to a dirty litter box. I took exception to the mess of poo he left on the floor. And just last Tuesday he missed the litter box and urinated all over the floor in the bathroom.

Basically, it's been a rough day. I'm pretty sure tomorrow I'm not going to want to wake up. If I were a bad employee, I'd call in sick. Blarghgh.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I am a vibrant, energetic young woman. Seriously, I've been tired for so long I don't remember what it's like not to be tired. I get enough sleep each night, about eight hours. I'm eating better than I ever have in my life. Fruits and vegetables were not a major component in my childhood, but they are now. I get my weekly exercise via dance class and wherever I go, I do plenty of walking. There are no personal vehicles in my life. My weight is normal.

So what the hell? I'm exhausted. I feel like I need a nap. I feel foggy. Yesterday, for example, I got up after a full night's rest, had a shower and drank a tea. I still needed a nap before I went out after work. I was just too tired. I find it hard to wake up in the morning.

Maybe I need more fresh air? Maybe I'm lacking in certain vitamins? Maybe I'm missing something?

So I called the doctor for an appointment. They were going to see me in a few days, but then I realized I was due for a physical and I didn't want to have to make two trips. And then I wanted it on my day off because I don't like rushing around with my work to make appointments if I don't have to, particularly since I've been needing naps. So I have to wait a month.

Man, I could go for a nap right about now.

My cousin sent out her destination wedding info, so now the saving and paying can start. $1,500 a piece to go to Mexico. Is this what the Dude and I really should be spending our money on? Probably not. But we're doing it anyway. We've never travelled together. Funny thing, I've gone on tropical vacations with two other boyfriends in the past, and within months of those trips we've broken up. And on those trips there were beefs about how to spend the time.

I think the Dude and I would be fine, as we're happy and comfortable leaving each other alone, doing our own thing, and don't need an activity together to enjoy each others company. I could see him wandering about on side trips to take photos while I lounge by the pool with a drink and a book.

I wouldn't mind being tired in Mexico. Then my napping would be called a siesta.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Still Alice

And at last, the chronicle of the bathing suit is over. It's home, it's cute, it fits and I'm done paying out money for this to happen. I did a happy jig at the tailor's. Of course I won't know how truly good it is until I wear it swimming. But so long as I'm standing up dry, I look pretty darn cute in it.

Last night I read a book cover to cover. It was so powerful I could not put it down. It's called Still Alice and it's told from the perspective of an early on-set Alzheimer's patient as she begins to deteriorate. It's a terribly melancholy book, but well written and gripping.

I don't know anyone with Alzheimer's. No one in my family has ever had it. My grandparents are all dead now, and with the exception of my maternal grandmother, they all lived into their 70s, and with reasonably good mental facilities.

And yet I am somehow convinced I'll get it. That or cancer. Some people feel invincible, like nothing will ever happen to them. Not me. If anything, I think I'm overly aware of how random and unfair life can be when handing out health. I mean, I've had a number of ailments in my life that had I been born 75 years ago, I'd probably be dead by now. I just kind of feel it in my bones that I'm not going to become an 80-year-old some day. I could see living to 70 with some sort of dementia. But mostly I think something commonplace like a heart disease or cancer will get me before retirement.

How's that for doom and gloom?

The Dude, on the other hand, will outlive us all, and will likely attribute living so long to regular diet of bacon. I've never seen such an orderly body. Everything with him is like clockwork, his metabolism is fast, he never has trouble falling asleep and even the slightest workout adds muscle to his frame. And it's not like this is temporary. I've met his father.

His father drinks coke every day, eats what he wants and at about 5'6" probably weighs about 140 pounds. This same man fell down a flight of stairs while wallpapering, had the chair he was standing on tumble after him and puncture his lung, and the guy got up and finished the wallpaper job before driving himself to the hospital.

All in all, those are some enviable genes. The Dude doesn't like when I say I'm sure he'll outlive me. Some people don't want to even think about dying, but it doesn't upset me. Frankly, though, I find the idea of going first to be comforting. I don't like being left behind.

Yes they can.

So they passed healthcare reform in the United States. I'm not as familiar with American political systems as Canadian, but I understand this a huge deal. A vote went down and the Democrats pushed it through. Sounds like it goes to the Senate and then vrooom. Some change goes down.

I'm pretty happy for them. I can't actually fathom living somewhere I couldn't rely on being medically treated if necessary. I mean, I was out of work for six months after college. I didn't worry about healthcare even once. It was just a given. I know Americans aren't going to be given the same great deal we have here, but I'm comforted as a fellow human being that over 30 million people, a population the size of Canada itself, will no longer live without covered access to medical treatment. Cheers to that! Cheers to our neighbours!

I love when common sense and decency win out in the world.

And I found this cartoon, which is all nifty and relevant.

Though I'm pretty sure Smokey does feel this way.
Most house cats, probably.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Breathe Me

In my last post, I was saying how I figured I'd spend my tax refund on my Mexico trip in November. Pfft. Probably not. It'll likely get spent on Smokey. Little tub's breath smells like a motherfucker. I think he's having tooth and gum pain. Dollars to doughnuts he'll need a tooth pulled in the near future. What can you expect from an animal who's spent the past 16 years of life with questionable oral hygiene? I haven't exactly been brushing his teeth. My poor sucky kitty. Worry for him sometimes keeps me up at night. He's at my feet right now meowing at me.

I ordered in Chinese food tonight. The Dude left me with some of his spaghetti sauce in the fridge, but I was in the mood to be self indulgent. It's better than the ice cream I ate last night.

Ridiculous. But really, I've just given up thinking and worrying about certain things, like cooking. I've taken on other domestic tasks in turn. If the Dude and I were to part, I'd go back to eating three servings of Kraft Dinner a week, and he'd manage his finances into a living in a cardboard box condo. Funny how much you grow to rely on each other.

Though I miss him when he's gone, this is a good opportunity for me to enjoy unrestricted use of the apartment. The TV is mine. I can play the Wii. It's completely silent and I'm peeing with the door open. I can play any music I like, and my tastes are generally very mainstream top 40. The music I like that doesn't fall under that category tends to be on the depressing side.

Exhibit A: Hero, Regina Spektor.
Exhibit B: Breathe Me, Sia
Exhibit C: 9 Crimes, Damien Rice

I've always liked depressing stuff. It feels authentic and in its own strange way, uplifting. The melancholy makes me feel comfortable. I think I like songs and stories that evoke a feeling that feels true. And that makes me happy. But it has to have a sweetness to it. It can't be aching hollow pain for the sake of pain. Movies like, say, Requiem For A Dream are enough to make me want to throw myself in front of a bus.

If I were to sit here with the Dude and listen to sad songs and watch sad movies, I think he'd get concerned for my mental health. But as it is, I'm indulging in some sweet, sweet sadness. It feels calm and soothing somehow. It doesn't have to make sense.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tax season

The Dude is in our hometown, living it up with his mom and his best friend. And I'm home alone, hanging out with Smokey, doing some of my laundry, watching TV shows he hates and eating ice cream for dinner.

One of my many wonderful aunts (I'm a lucky woman in the aunt department) called me today to do my taxes. Incidentally, this is the aunt in particular who, shall we say, facilitated my relationship with the Dude in its earliest more sordid stages. And God love her for that.

Anyhoo, we went through my life, such as it is, and looks like I'm getting a refund between $600 and $700. Yay! In one pessimistic respect, it's a bit of a bummer I'm still in a stage of life and wage bracket that I'm getting refunds, but in another much more happy respect, I'm getting free monies from the government.

It's going to take will power not to blow it, though. I'm good with my income. I'm not so responsible with windfalls.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We will choose

I read a lot of blogs. I've mentioned this before. The subject of abortion never fails to capture my attention and interest. I'm a pro choice woman. I don't leave any doubt about that when the topic arises. I don't know how I feel about abortion, as a moral stance, other than that I feel is best left up to the consciences and hearts of the women who face that prospect.

I've had one pregnancy scare and I've taken two pregnancy tests in my life. Once was when I was 19 and the other was last year. The more recent one I was 95% sure I was not pregnant, but I wanted confirmation. When I was 19 I was more nervous. I was young, inexperienced in adult life, in college and living in a family's basement.

And while I was worrying, I realized then that I considered abortion a valid option. Not one I was ready to commit to, but one to consider strongly. I was on the pill, but in my whole history of taking it, I never got the hang of keeping it to a strict schedule.

I remember crying in bed, praying (I was still a Catholic in my heart in those days, if not a practicing one) and asking God to forgive me if I had to abort. I went home and while at my father's I went to the local drug store, bought a test, took it home, and disposed of it in the trash can at the neighbourhood park. It was negative and I had my life back.

I never forgot the fear, though. And knowing a taste of that fear, which I only truly experienced in the hypothetical, has stayed with me. I don't look at abortion as right or wrong, but rather if it's the right or wrong choice for a woman as an individual.

I came across this today, which broke my heart and spurned me again to touch on this topic. It's a tragic story involving a woman's choice, and one can only imagine the further grief she would have endured had her right to choose not been available to her. I think we as women, along with being born able to make babies, are born with an innate ability to choose and make the right choice. We have this gift because we need it. Even a very pro-life woman who gives birth to an unwanted baby has made a choice.

Without choice, our bodies aren't our own. Without lawful choice, our bodies belong to the governments that regulate us. We are not our uteri. We, as gatekeepers of all human life that enters this world, will decide when the time is right. Not our governments, not religious leaders, not men, not lobbyists. Us. It's a grave responsibility to bring a new person into the world, but it's not an obligation.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Giving Spa

One thing about going to the spa four four hours is that the next day you're ready to go back again. If I could somehow spend my entire life getting massaged, I don't think I'd consider it a life wasted. I came home with the nicest hands and feet I've ever had and very soft skin.

And now back to real life. I have dance class tonight. I'd been trying to build up callouses on the soles of my feet to help with my dancing. Soft feet means pain during certain moves. Considering I had a paraffin treatment on my feet (and hands), I'm back at square one. But I don't care. My feet feel like I was born last week. My hands, which were peeling from what I suspect was from washing too many dishes, are no longer flaking away and are more supple and pretty. So pretty in fact, I can't be expected to use them to wash any more dishes for the next couple days. The spa is the gift that keeps on giving.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reading Rainbow

Tomorrow I'm a lady of leisure. Spa day. I've been looking forward to this for a month. I got a gift certificate for a day at the spa for Valentine's Day and the earliest I could book a Sunday was tomorrow. I'm going to be rubbed, scrubbed and polished. Bliss.

The Dude and I went out on a "date" last night for Indian food and Shutter Island. The movie was pretty damn nifty. Not scary, but psychologically thrilling and the plot and character development was really good.

Between dinner and the movie, we went to Chapter's to browse children's books for a 3-year-old whose birthday is tomorrow. This little girl has a crush on the Dude and wanted to invite him to her birthday party. How can you say no to that? Well, you can't, and we discussed what sort of present to get her.

We settled on a book or two, because you can't go wrong with books for any child ever. I really believe this. Kids can have too many toys or clothes (though some don't have enough, but this child happily doesn't have that problem), but no kid on Earth can ever suffer from having too many books. There just is no such thing.

We perused the kids section of the bookstore and lingered over our childhood favourites. And unaccountably while reading The Giving Tree and The Velveteen Rabbit my eyes welled with tears. Mostly from happy memories of being read to, but also because of the genuine quality of feeling behind the stories.

And I felt the old tug from my uterus aching to have children to read to. And I took stock of all the books I'd read as a kid and had happy thoughts that someday when I become pregnant, my first trip will not be to the doctor, but to a children's bookstore.

I plan on giving my cousin's daughter Goodnight Moon for her first birthday, which is coming up Easter weekend. You just can't go wrong with books. The Dude settled on a collection of Little Mr and Little Miss books. Another classic selection.

Books I will read to my children:
Goodnight Moon
The Giving Tree
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Little Prince
The Bearnstein Bears
The Little Mr and Little Miss books
Where The Wild Things Are
Beatrix Potter
The Little House books
Curious George
Robert Munch

Friday, March 12, 2010

Figure Happy

So I saw Alice In Wonderland 3D today with McPal and his boyfriend. We had a delicious time. The Cheshire Cat made the movie for me, particularly his attendance at the tea party. It was nice to get out. In particular it was extra nice because a new dress came in the mail today!

This dress is a work of art.
It's the things dreams are made of. *swoon*

I pretty much adore this dress like no one's business. It makes me all curvy 'n stuff. I threw on some brown fishnetty knee socks, black heeled Mary-Janes and hit the town like a sexy secretary. 'Tis also perfect for the height-lacking short-torsoed woman. Life is good.

Every month I treat myself to a new online little number. I'm thinking this one next, which is so very different from all my other more floofy dresses. But it's still mod and retro:

Plus it's got a high waist. Very promising.

Or potentially this adorable cardigan below. You can't see them too well from here, but in the cuffs of the sleeves are thumb holes!
You know, when I stopped fighting my body and trying to wear things I liked on the mannequin or the model, I became more more enthusiastic about fashion. My fashion. My style. I never really paid attention to my figure's quirks, other than the small breast part, because that's not something that escapes your attention. But actually taking a good look at my shape, the one I was born with, my frame, my bones, everything, makes me feel better.

I mean, it's the control thing, right? You think you can manage your appearance totally and so you try. And you invest emotional effort in it, physical effort and time, and denial and tears and worry. After taking stock of everything, most of the stuff I realized I had a beef with was out of my control. Most was nothing diet and exercise would fix for me. Short of drastic or impossible surgery, this was it. It was actually kind of freeing.

I've become a much better shopper for it over time, and a happier woman. That's not to say I don't use clothes to create an illusion about my body. It's just now I know what to buy to create said illusion. You know, rather than being trendy or lazy and hoping for the best and moping over the worst.

My bathing suit is still in the works. Round two at the tailors. It's now the right length and the cups are inserted into the chest, but... the neck strap is too long. Which means the cups are not sitting pretty at my boobies, but weighing heavy on my ribs just below my boobies. I told the seamstress that I was too young for my breasts to sit there. It was a glimpse into the distant future, actually. Grandma tits.

Soon. Soon it will be wearable. And then I can hurry up and wait for summer to come so I can actually wear it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ask me

So because I'm on the bandwagon of various things, I thought I'd give formspring a go. I have a link to the right at the bottom where you can ask me any question you like, anonymous or not. I somehow doubt anyone has any pressing questions for me, but you never know, do you? I'll answer them here if I get any and all will be hunky dory.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscar Night

I like having parties. Since moving to this place a little over five months ago, we've had about three of them, and guests over for dinner as well. I like it. Entertaining makes me happy.

Last night was an Oscar party. It was a dressy night and I made up ballot cards for everyone to make their picks. We ate hors d'oeuvres, and hooted and hollered when one of us got a pick right. The Dude and I had a prize handy for whoever won: a domino trophy he found in Value Village titled, "Monte Carlo Superstars 1990". Oh yeah. It was '80s style tacky kitsch, blue and red metallic shapes sitting on a fake marble base with a gold-painted domino seemingly riding a wave out the top of the trophy.

It was quite possibly the most ridiculous looking award I'd ever seen. McPal won and, boy, was he excited to take the thing home. I love my friends.

There was a lot of wine downed last night, by my standards anyway. About three glasses for me. I'm feeling a little groggy and sluggish. I also know I consumed potentially two days worth of calories last night. I went to bed with a distended stomach. Since I have to go to the tailor's to get my bathing suit and try it on, that may pose a problem to my self esteem.

Oh well. Still worth it.

Who caught the Kanye moment of the evening? This woman, Elinor Burkett, jumped onstage while the director for Music By Prudence (documentary short) was giving his speech. She then took over the mic, talked over him and dude was just barely able to thank his wife before the music began and they were ushered offstage.

This woman was a producer who had removed her name from the project, and apparently the director, Williams, had not been taking her calls. Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure the director whose name is on the project should be the one to accept the award, and that once she saw him up there, she could have had the grace and manners to leave it be.

The funniest thing about this, I think, is just like being a hog is now called Bogarting, interrupting people's moment to shine onstage is now called a Kanye.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Happiness is a fish you can catch

I'm hosting an Oscar party with the Dude on Sunday. It's going to be a dressy affair, with wine, appetizers, and a prize for the person with the most Oscar picks right. I've done up little cards for everyone who's coming. I'm pretty jazzed. I do so enjoy entertaining in this little apartment. It's so cozy.

Unfortunately we have to clean tomorrow. Like hardcore. Have we cleaned since the 13th when the cleaners came? No. No, we have not. Why? Not sure. Sigh. So we have our work cut out for us, and we're currently in the market for an inexpensive maid service because clearly we're total slackers.

So the Dude and I watched part 1 of This Emotional Life. We downloaded it. It's hosted by the same guy who wrote Stumbling On Happiness, which isn't a self help book, though it sounds like one. It's a social study book on human happiness: what makes people happy or unhappy, why we're so bad at predicting what will bring us happiness and that sort of thing. I read it years ago and it actually changed my way of thinking about my life.

Anyway, part one was about the importance of human relationships, be it family, friends or lovers. Interesting theory put out about family being practice for the real world. Like, first you learn how to negotiate emotions within a family, and that prepares you for the bigger picture. The show went on about the importance of attachment in babies, the way oxytocin surges through your body when you have physical contact with someone you love, which creates a bond. We're wired to connect and to desire connections and to feel lost and lonely without them.

Tell us something we don't know, right? But still. Science backing up that we as human beings need love and need to feel connected, and then experience health and emotional problems if that need is not met.

It's a funny thing, the whole happiness question. It's become some sort of entitlement people feel these days. I've come to realize that I have all I need to be happy, and I do things regularly that increase my good feelings by small increments. It works. A grande green tea latte just because. A manicure. Offering a hand to someone who I can see needs help. Snuggling Smokey. Dancing. Beading a new necklace. Getting a hug from The Dude. Lady Gaga on my iPod on the subway. I've really begun to savour the small things.

And sometimes I feel loneliness or sorrow or boredom or resentment. And that those things can co-exist with happiness because negative emotions are part of the human experience.

There was a time I didn't believe that and every negative emotion overwhelmed me and caused me anxiety. I used to react to my sadness with worry and dark imaginings instead of just allowing myself to feel it.

Though it's not a self help book, just understanding, I guess, the rules of happiness or the science behind it set me free. There's no magical mystery I'm missing if I have periods of negativity. I'm happy. Occasionally I'm not because I'm human. Sounds simple enough. But in my early 20s I couldn't have told you that.

Before I go, here's some whatthefuckery.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pregnant... no, not me

I have this thing for watching 16 And Pregnant. It's an MTV show for teenagers, real life teen girls dealing with their pregnancies. I can't exactly relate to it, having A. never been a teen mom, B. Not a teenager anymore, and C. Being a virgin through nearly all of high school.

It's just never something that came up. But I find it fascinating. The girls are either very mature and ready to do their best, or they're ridiculously naive, several fries short of a happy meal. The one thing they all have in common is that they didn't use condoms or the pill to prevent pregnancy.

Sweet mother of holy crap. I don't get it. I went to a Catholic school that refused to talk about birth control methods and my mom didn't sit me down for a sex talk, yet I knew the deal. Have sex = get pregnant. Have sex + condom and/or birth control pill = Tiny chance of pregnancy.

And it's not like these girls didn't know either. They didn't hear about contraceptives afterwards like, "What? Connn...doms? Pills? You mean there's pills to stop this from happening? And I can just buy condoms in the store? WHAT? They're FREE in various health clinics? Fuck!"

No, they knew. They just for some reason figured that they could have unprotected sex and still manage not to conceive. I don't know how. Perhaps they fancy themselves Jedi. "Sperm, you will not travel to the fallopian tubes..."

Crazy. I knew of a few teen moms in high school. Never inquired about how it happened. I always gave the benefit of the doubt that their methods failed, the condoms broke, regular human error. I thought that in this day and age it's not likely anyone would risk unprotected sex when so many options are available and the stakes are so high. Wrong!

I'll go on watching it. It's become a guilty pleasure. I'm too old to be warned about the perils of teen pregnancy, but that just means the seat on my high horse is especially cushy.

Monday, March 1, 2010

With Glowing Hearts

I have one small regret about the gold-winning men's hockey game, and that is the Dude and I went home instead of going to Yonge St, which was shut down by the crowds as they celebrated well into the evening.

For a video, click here.

For a selection of photos, click here.

But the Dude had to get home and use the bathroom, and we were both worn out from the day. Like old people. But we got to the pub to secure seats for the 3:30 game at 1:30. And we tried to get into Pauper's in the Annex neighbourhood, but there were already people lined outside trying to get in. So we settled for the James Joyce Irish Pub just down the street. The Joyce is a key spot if it's St. Patrick's Day, being Irish to the nines and all. But with its lacklustre food and pitcher-free beer service, it was mostly empty when we go there, not being the first place everyone wanted to go.

But that all changed, presumably as people were turned away from other pubs and started piling into the nearest they could find with open seats. Some showed up at 3:15. I will never understand that. When an event is about to take place, whether it's a movie premiere or a huge game and seats are first come first served, why wouldn't you show up early?

The Dude and I are both firmly in Camp Early and we scored three tables for six people, at which we eventually seated nine. And I drank beer for the first time. And by drank, I mean a pint rather than a sip of someone else's beer, which I wrinkle my nose at. There was little to be had at the Joyce, so I had a Mill Street Organic. No, I had two. In the name of hockey, I drank our nation's favourite drink, something I usually can't stand. I felt like I drank two loaves of bread.

Overall, the atmosphere was playful and excited and you could feel the electricity in the room. An enthusiastic fan was running around having everyone rub his lucky loonie. People's faces were painted, jerseys were on, Canada flags and merch all around. I channelled all my nervous energy into my leg, tap-tap-tap with my heel.

I loved being surrounded by fans as they cheered "Luoooooo" for all Luongo's saves, which sounds like "Boooo", so that at first last week I was confused why Canadians were "booing" his awesome goal-tending. Luuoooooo!

And then Sid The Kid took the game all the way home and the crowd, to borrow the most appropriate cliched phrase, went wild. The crowd went ape shit. The crowd then piled into the streets and I've never in my whole life seen the entire city covered in smiles, with such fellowship towards each other and unrestrained patriotism and unbridled joy.

And when I woke up this morning I was kind of bummed the party was over. Our Olympics were done, and we set a new world record for most gold medals won at a Winter Games ever. And I feel proud. I always carry my patriotism and love for my country with me, but how often do I express it? How often do we all toot our caribou horns? The outlet we as a country had these past two weeks to express our feelings for Canada was rare. Even on Canada Day we usually celebrate politely and with a quieter sort of laid back attitude. "Ahem. Go us, eh?"

Somehow these games brought us together in a way nothing else ever has. We're always there for one another through our healthcare system, which doesn't discriminate. We afford equal rights to all to become employed, vote, marry and have families-- or not have families. We're generally a happy and low-key bunch who don't always know who we are, but are hunky dorey with doing right by each other.

But as we cheered on the best of our best, partied in the streets and sang our anthem, boldly wore the maple leaf and looked our neighbours in the eyes as we celebrated our victories, we experienced a new way to be Canadian, with the glowing hearts we've been singing about for years and raving jubilation. And fucking eh, was it awesome.

I hope it lasts.