Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year: Grow the Hell Up

Welcome to 2015, the year of the Angry Inch.
I stayed in last night and watched Die Hard. Meanwhile, in communities everywhere in Canada, people were doing this.

Grow the hell up.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Canada 2014: The Year of the Bad Boy

While other nations were celebrating their achievements in 2014, Canada was being mocked as a country of drunkards, rapists and yahoos.

Rob Ford

Was it so long ago that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was being snapped on the Danforth, speaking in Jamaican patois, wobbling in his sister's basement threatening to punch the lights out of top coppers and smokin' the peace pipe with thugs?

Even though he has garnered sympathy for having a tumor, the size of a grapefruit, Rob Ford stands alone as a beacon of ridicule. He may be gone, but it will be centuries before Toronto lives him down.

Justin Bieber

The pride of Stratford, Ontario, young Biebs has been following in the footsteps of other great Canadians, like Kiefer Sutherland, by spending more time on the police blotter than in the public eye. Drunk, high, belligerent, the Biebs has been our number one export for bad news, getting such a bad rap that Americans actually started a petition to have him sent back.

No, thanks, America. He's yours.

Jian Ghomeshi

What is left to be said about the former host of CBC Radio's Q and serial abuser, L'il Jian Ghomeshi, known now at "The Persian Predator".

Once the darling of the fashion and film set in Toronto, Jian has become the stinky kid in the playground, and is now spinning his old Moxie Fruvous records in his mom's basement.

Really puts a kink in his love life having to bring girls back to the 'burbs. To ensure he is well behaved his mom leaves the girls a baseball bat in the powder room.

Ma! The meatloaf!

Seth Rogen

He's the lovable schlub from Vancouver who brought tasty new phrases to the vernacular of pubescent stoners everywhere. Now he and his sidekick James Franco are responsible for the near takedown of Sony Corporation by hackers because he decided to make a faux-snuffie about taking out the leader of North Korea. Well done, sir!

We wouldn't care about boring and racist emails that have been made public, but dude! You are responsible for hackers taking down the Sony Playstation website for the entire Christmas vacatio

Oh, well, Seth is laughing all the way to the bank.

You're welcome, America!

Dumb Sun Reporter (nobody needs to remember his name)

Finally, an honorable mention to the intern from Sun Media who nearly go into a fist fight with Anderson Cooper who was up here in Canada to cover the shooting of Corporal Nathan Cirillo. The kid asked Anderson for a selfie, and the White Lion turned on him and asked what kind of news organization would hire someone who had no respect for a fallen soldier. What organization indeed?


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Hey oldsters! Welcome to the Pre-Seen Years

At the end of February, my beloved Scott will turn 59.
He will tell you that he will be turning just short of 14, as he was born in Leap Year 1956 when his mother's doctor decided to induce her just so the doc could say he birthed a Leap baby.
Scott only gets a birthday every four years, which is good for me since I have time to save up, but also bad for me because he keeps reminding me that he is, on the record at least, just past the wet dream stage.
Fifty-nine is that magical year, the grey zone between having nothing and getting in on the Canada Pension Plan. You are also eligible for some discounts, not very good discounts, such as ten percent off at First Choice Hair Salons, but you don't get a senior's discount on the bus.
The good news is that, after 50, you've already qualified for Grey Power insurance, but are not yet eligible for a reversed mortgage which involves the slow sucking of all your money out of your house so that you can go on a cruise but so the kids are stuck still having to bury you. (Good one!)
I, too, will be turning 59 the day after Canada Day, and I'm getting ready for it.
I found myself a part-time job so I won't starve over the winter. I've brought in a peck of Metamucil, two boxes of Peptol Abysmal and I'm dutifully watching my poo circle the toilet to determine whether its shape would be "Oz Approved".
I've already booked my appointment with Dr. Ben, the ancient, re-upped Belgian doctor to whom the Ontario government inexplicably gave a licence to practice medicine. I believe Dr. Ben was a pharmaceutical rep, specializing in blood pressure medication and anti-depressants, in a previous life but I have no proof of that other than what I've read on RateYourMD.
He's the type of doctor who takes a first look at a patient and writes a script for any number of drugs, especially blood pressure and water pills, even before he tests your urine or takes your vitals.
I've been fighting the blood pressure fight, but this year, I will agree to medication if for no other reason than I have finally qualified for extended medical coverage thanks to Scott's crappy car job.

Being a Pre-Senior, or Pre-Seen isn't as bad as it used to be.
Our role models are no longer big haired, high titted matrons in girdles.
Today, there is Jane Fonda and Bo Derek, whoo!
When my mother was my age, she was a white haired rabbit with belly rolls and a bad perm. Her face looked like the Niagara Escarpment after a mudslide and she was seriously in need of dental work.
Today, we have benefit of gold standard hair dye in colors other than Gatineau Red.
We also have Botox.
And veneers.
Remember old folks back in the day when everybody's teeth looked like an ashtray or Joe Biden's, depending on their economic status? If you had crap teeth, you just had 'em pulled out!

Now you can actually simply whiten your teeth by sleeping with a tray of white goo. I don't know if it works or not, but I'm willing to give it a try now that I have extended medical benefits. If you have extended medical benefits all the dentists are jonzing for your cash and offer "free whitening" along with a trip to Calabogie for your business.
The modern era has also ushered in many, many positive measures designed with the Pre-Seen in mind. There are gyms that offer aqua fit classes with pool noodles, thereby allowing non-swimmers like myself to participate. (In the old days, I'd be found dead on the pool bottom with my hair circling the pool drain.)
There is yoga, though not recommended for the intestinally-challenged, and there is spinning, which is awesome for oldsters who have accumulated fat pads around the nether regions.
So there is simply no excuse for being rolly-polly or flabby.
We also have the benefit of a wide assortment of anti-depressants that are all the rage amongst family doctors. Zoomers, my late friend Roger used to call them. So we can blissfully exist and do our ghetto jobs without getting fired for going apeshit when somebody leaves a picture of his butt in the photocopier. Nothing bothers us, we simply smile sweetly thanks to our daily update of serotonin. Once again, not available to anyone without extended medical benefits.
And finally, we have whole clinics full of chiropractors, massage therapists, physiotherapists and kenesiologists who are just waiting to gel, freeze and burn our nasty bits that are riddled with arthritis. The only thing that's change in that department, between my mom's generation and mine, is that thanks to Zoomers, we simply don't care anymore
I'm predicting that 59 won't be so bad for me, unless Scott loses his benefits before I can get my veneers, and assorted therapies, or he loses his job and I can't go to the gym anymore.
But that's not going to happen.
We'll be working well into our 70s thanks to bad marriages, poor investments, near bankruptcy, kids still living in the basement, a dependency on Scotch and red wine (not covered by benefits but should be), too many late nights at the press club and an economy that has left us making the same amount of money we made in high school.
Don't despair, we'll be too stoned to care, and looking good in the process.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Boxing Day Pukerama

Boxing Day is one of my favorite holidays.
It's not because of all the shopping. I only went out yesterday to get chips and dip with my last five bucks.
Nope, I like Boxing Day because we always have a barbecue, no matter the weather. There's nothing like a rack of ribs and a pile of homemade baked beans after a week of blond, bland food. They wake up the tastebuds like nobody's business.
Last night, we invited a couple of my old friends from high school, a couple I hadn't seen in 20 years. I was the maid of honor at Ed and Wendy's wedding 37 years ago. Thirty-seven years! That was over three husbands ago for me.
It was like old times. We talked about the old gang, reminisced about the good times at my mom's apartment jiving to the eight tracks. We even had a couple of spirited arguments with Ed who Wendy finally let out of the basement where he's been working as a mad scientist over the years.
All in all, it was a great time and I managed to score three excellent bottles of wine.
Then we went to bed.
It started with a gentle heave-ho, the sound that leaves me bolt upright, a reminder of my post-traumatic past with a dozen or so canines. Then the wondrous sound of projectile vomiting, not once but at least four times. It left me yearning for hardwood floors.
After we turned in, Finnigan decided to have his own after-party knocking down the recycle and upending the trash, and had a feast of rib bones slathered in hot sauce along with a side order of jalapeno-laced taters.
It must have gone down good at the time, but what came up, not so much.
Piles of the stuff.
"The jalapenos probably saved his life," Scott said, as he took his underwear to the door to let Finnigan out. Then he cleaned up a doggie bag full of Finnigan's leftovers.
Happy holidays!
Today, Finn is right as rain. He was chasing squirrels a few minutes ago.
Scott says Labs are great dogs if they live to see their third birthday.
Finnigan turns three in January.
Could have gone either way.

Friday, 26 December 2014

The Boxing Day Bounce

My adrenal glands were fully depleted by about 8 o'clock on Christmas night and I repaired to my bedroom, with a glass of fizzy water and my iPad.

I couldn't see straight, thanks to a toddler dose of Benadryl, which I took an hour earlier after my eyes got so itchy, I wanted to gouge them out.

I was stricken with a nasty allergy to something -- maybe all the cat fur the kids brought in, maybe a sudden bad reaction to date squares. In any event, I was knackered.

Scott had prepared a lovely Christmas dinner just for us last night which included an over-large ball of poultry, potatoes, corn and stuffing. All the Christmas food groups. I could barely eat it. I was clearly down a quart of oil and I needed my bed and my canine bedmates.

Sophie snuggled under the covers as I skimmed the latest offerings on Netflix. I was absolutely done with Christmas and looking for something to soothe my pain body which was a concept that Oprah Winfrey planted in my psyche so many years ago.

Eckardt Tolle, you ruined my life.

Through my cross-eyes, I spotted Eat, Pray, Love and clicked on it, intent on letting Liz Gilbert's perky spirit wash over me. I've seen this movie fifty times and can't get enough of it. It's one of my favorites.

I might have picked Jon Katz' A Dog Year, which I like better because it's all dark and twisty, with furry, smelly redemption at the end.  But it's been banished from my house because Finnigan won't stop barking at the Evil Devon.

Perhaps Devon is Finnigan's Spirit Dog.

Really, Finn is mad about any dog movies -- literally mad. He's like a dog in heat. Whenever there is a dog on a commercial or movie, he tears into the room and goes insane. He might be in the backyard and as soon as he hears the breath of a dog or a scratch or a whimper, he literally knocks down the door to become one with them.

Nutty, nutty Labs.

Anyway, there are no dogs in Eat, Pray, Love because someone has already eaten them.

So EPL came on, and I promptly fell asleep, not deeply, but in trance-like state not unlike what Brody might have experienced on Homeland after being waterboarded by elves. That's how I feel about Christmas, tortured by silly commercials, Christmas specials and new songs by Michael Buble.

God, I long for Rita MacNeil and the Men of the Deep (a strictly Canadian reference, for my American friends to a Maritime legend and tea maven whose special ran for fifty-five years until she met her maker somewhere below in a Nova Scotian mineshaft).

But at least Rita was about spirit and love, along with her special guest host Patti LaBelle.

And where are all movies about the real meaning of Christmas? Have they been banished to the History Channel?

I long for news of the Baby Jesus and for just a small glimpse of the wise dudes who bring cool presents that make him smell nice.

Instead, all I could find was an Elf on a Shelf, which is a toy and shouldn't be a holiday movie!

I like Eat, Pray, Love because it's all about finding your jiggy spirit in the middle of a nervous breakdown. If I had money, I would get on the first plane to India, then Bali, but wait. The movie fails to warn of flash flooding, and snakes and spiders, to which I am allergic, both spiritually and physically. And I'm wary of swarthy Brazilians with mixed tapes. And Italians. Don't get me started on Italians. 

I like the notion of meditation.

Ha! The spell correct actually changed it to "medication," which is the other option the doctor is pushing and I'm against.

Meditation feels safe and comfortable, like a big bed full of pugs or a bagel and lox.

The trouble ( many would say, the advantage of) meditation is it always makes me fall asleep, which I did during the Indian part of Eat, Pray, Love. I didn't even get to the Brazilian, and Liz's subsequent urinary infection, or the cute old crazy medicine man who resembles a few of the crackheads on my street.


Today, I woke up refreshed and got on to the business of resetting the house for our annual Boxing Day Super Special Barbeque, which is really just an occasion for Scott to stand out at the grill and toss around some pork. He's like the mailman. He'll barbeque in any weather: sleet, snow: sl-rain.

The nice thing about Boxing Day is the house is still clean from Christmas except for the recycle.

And there is plenty of recycle. Boxes, turkey carcass, and blond leftovers.

By the time the Boxing Day Super Special rolls around, I am so tired of turkey, I could eat a peck of pickled herring and drink one of those Joe Cross green drinks.

Hey, maybe we could have a "white" sale and invite the neighbors to eat all the bland food that has been clogging up my refrigerator and my arteries for the past five days. Nah, I'm simply too tired.

Anyway, I'm feeling much better. The "mood" is gone. My pain body has been repaired and I'm looking forward to another year, one in which I make more money than I did in high school.

Happy Boxing Day everybody. A special shout-out to my son Nick, who had to get up at the crack of dawn to tell grumpy Target shoppers that the free televisions were all gone.


Thursday, 25 December 2014

My Christmas hormones

We've all had them, those Christmas Eves that blew chunks, ones we would truly like to forget.

For some families, they involve drunken brawls or fist fights, for others they might feature stone-cold pending divorce silence. And of course, there are the Christmas Eves where people are really, truly, life-threateningly sick.

Like most folks, I've had my share of bad ones.

On Christmas Eve of my 12th birthday, I got my period.

Gave new meaning to doing the Christmas rag.

I tried to hide it from my mother, who had already given me the talk. Not the nice talk about becoming a woman. The talk about what happens when you go to Girl Guide camp and one of your two pairs of shorts gets ruined.

Vera was, after all, a glass half-empty type of 50s mom.

So I did what all girls who have complicated relationships with their mothers' do. I didn't tell her. Unfortunately,I hadn't thought through the fact my mom would notice that some of her pads were missing and would be found later, smouldering, in the garbage can near the peach orchard, as if I had become some kind of serial Kotex murderer.

My first two serious relationships ended at Christmas. The first, I left. The second left me. The worst part of the second was that my husband was leaving the day after Christmas to be with his lover in Bermuda and I had to endure his relatives, his cheap Christmas gift of a watch that never worked, and the Amex bills that revealed that he had bought much more expensive jewelry for his new lady.

I still have nightmares after watching Love Actually.

Another highlight was the year, the very next, when my beloved Black Lab, Mandy, dropped dead at the kitchen table, thanks to a babysitter who left oatmeal chocolate chip muffins on the counter. I spent a few dreadful hours trying to get rid of her carcass   the dog, I would later fire the babysitter -- before the kids came home from their school Christmas party.

Because I've had bad Christmases, I try to be grateful when things go smoothly as they have for more than a decade. The Scott years have been wonderful, and, if not memorable, at least catastrophe-free.

This year started out with promise. We had prepared a hearty feast, all the children and their significants were in attendance. Even, my little grandson, the puppy Beau, was on hand to keep Finnigan and Sophie in their places.

Everything was terrific until an hour in, when I began to sweat. I'm not talking about perspiration, I'm talking buckets of saline pouring out like a cloudburst. It's not like I was doing much, just stirring the pot with the rice for the tangy, spicy meatballs. And I couldn't exactly blame the alcohol, as I'd had exactly one glass of red wine.

Regardless, I was a sweaty, hair stuck to my forehead, drenched like a Japanese tourist at Niagara Fall, mess.

I opened the door to let in some much needed chilly relief only to be told to close it because the partiers didn't want to get frost bite. So I decided to join the smokers, undressed in t-shirt and sandals -- me, not them -- outside for nearly a half hour.

Truly, I felt as if I'd run to the gym, got on the treadmill, had a swim, taken a sauna and run back to tend to the meatballs.

"Mum, are you alright?" Marissa asked.

"Rose, do you need to go to the hospital?" Scott asked, watching his hand slide off my forearm.

I smiled wanely, sat in my chair, and closed my eyes.

I tried to talk to Sara, Nick's girlfriend, then watched in horror as Sophie jumped on her and let loose a bucket of pee.

"Thanks, Beau," I sneered at the cute puppy who had spent the previous half hour sowing his oats, mounting her, biting her and trying to make Sophie his bitch.

While the girls were chowing down on enough Toblerone chocolate fondue to turn all the Swiss milkers dry, I practised medication.

Then it was time to open presents.

Scott opened a large box brought in by the children, which I will call the Widowmaker.

It was a brand new PS4 video game console, and it meant I would not be seeing my husband for at least a fortnight. Instead of watching funny Christmas movies, we all sat around and watched him try to remember his Sony password for three, count 'em, three hours.

In the end, I was thankful to the Sony Corporation which apparently had found itself, aside from being threatened with "death to all" by the North Koreans, having had its server crash due to the huge volume of folks trying to download The Interview and big kids who got their PS4s early.

It meant everybody at my party went home at 9 p.m.

And so it was, on Christmas Eve, 2014, I crawled into bed and fell into a fitful sleep without benefit of wine, but with the assistance of some Ibuprofen, only to be awakened by a huge mother fucker of a windstorm that was blowing trees and lights down our street. Man, I thought, Santa is in for it tonight.

You know those storms that are so intense that they, literally, take your breath-away?

I found myself jumping up, after holding my breath for three minutes. My heart was pounding, my eyes were bugging out. It was like Inspector Clouseau being ambushed by Cato, if Cato had been a windstorm shitshow.

Scott was blown awake as well.  He padded out to find me shivering in the dark and decided to show me how to log on to Netflix, which was the last friggin' thing I wanted to do. I climbed on my chair and cranked up my brand new heating pad and tried to calm the fuck down.

Then I went to the bathroom to wash my face and discovered that I had pink eye.

Won't I be popular with the kids today?

Just a little Christmas story to ease you into your day.

Well, nobody died, did they?

I don't know about you, but I'll be spending the day on the couch in shorts.

Oh, and by the way, I lost five pounds over night.

I shit you not.

Have a Merry one.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas from our hounds to yours

Whaddya mean there will be NO snow at Christmas?

Does this parka make me look fat?

Grandma's little boy
Thirteen and still a baller