Making it up as I go along

There are times when I think to myself, “Will I ever grow up?”

IMG_20130323_134606

Sometimes it is when I am speeding along the highway blasting some terrifically terrible pop song du jour, or buying sluprees at midnight, or laughing so hard that I snort.

Snort repeatedly.

(Because it’s either that or pee my pants.)

Will I ever grow up?

I don’t know.

And what does this even mean?

For all intents and purposes, I live a relatively “adult” life.

I am married.

I have a mortgage.

I have a BA and an MA (although I am missing the PhD to complete the trio.)

I am gainfully employed.

I pay my taxes.

But then again, do any of these things actually constitute “adultness”?

Or is it just evidence that I am, on paper at least, a compliant citizen?

And in the end, isn’t it this all [picture me gesturing about the place] just play acting?

When we were little girls, my sisters and I lived in worlds of make believe.

While Jessi and I got to inhabit the kookiest of characters, Kate, being the eldest, was always saddled with the most vanilla of roles, which usually included “Owner” or “Nanny Kate.”

(For whatever reason, our otherwise shockingly powerful imaginations seemed to run out of steam when it came to her parts and their accompanying monikers.)

In one iteration of our fantasy world, Jessi and I played Shampoo (pronounced Shaum-poo) and Squirt, two extraterrestrial creatures who lived with Owner.

Shampoo (in my imagination at least) was part bulldog, part Tasmanian devil, part vacuum cleaner. He was a little ball of fury, always tearing about the house, and to the best of my knowledge, foaming at the mouth.

Jessi (who never had very complex speaking roles with any of the characters she portrayed) mostly just made crazy guttural gnashing sounds to communicate Shampoo’s feelings.

Squirt was long, blue, and strangely collapsible. As we walked to school in the mornings, Kate would press down on my head, and I would chirp, “SQUIRT!” before crumpling down into a low squat.

(I always pictured his body as the middle part of an accordion.)

Squirt was from a pacifist alien tribe, and never wanted any trouble. Thinking back, I’m pretty sure the only thing I could say whilst in character was also just, “SQUIRT.”

A couple of budding linguists we were not.

Now Shampoo hated Squirt, and was always trying to eat him. So as you can imagine, most of the game involved Shampoo running after Squirt, with Owner every so often stepping in and playing intermediary.

(I think this was Kate’s genius idea to let us play 90 per cent on our own, tire ourselves out, and then step in when the time was right for a brief hang out.)

And what can I say?

It worked.

Let’s flash-forward to grade five.

I really liked Sailor Moon.

Like, a lot.

After watching the latest episode on YTV (best Canadian youth television channel EVER), I would dress up in my highland dancing outfits, and then creep upstairs to my parent’s bedroom.

There I would sneak into their closet, and dig out my Dad’s old tai chi swords from behind my mom’s many shoeboxes and Hudson’s Bay Company shopping bags, (and other miscellaneous OLD PERSON detritus that was lying about).

Then I would choose between the long, thin blade and the fat, curved sabre.

I normally went with long and thin.

Fatty Curve (copyright) always seemed like something the bad guys would use.

From there I would race about my house, pretend-battling alien evil-doers, and then quasi-make out with my hand (in lieu of a real-life Tuxedo Mask.)

This was the main difference between my world and the television show: I never needed a man to come and save me at the last minute. I did my own butt-kicking, and saved the disguised suitor for kissing (and other general pretend-boyfriend duties.)

Jump ahead twelve years.

I am twenty-two years old and I am walking home from the gym.

It’s summer, and therefore quite warm. I can feel the sun baking down on my sweaty, salt-licked skin.

I am listening to my “I JUST FELT LIKE RUNNING” playlist, which basically consists of any and every song that makes me want to get up and dance.

Pretty much anytime I am going anywhere listening to music I imagine that I am in a movie, and whatever song I am listening to turns in the de facto score of Miramax’s newest release: MY LIFE – THE FILM.

As I near my apartment building, Metric’s Poster of a Girl begins to play.

I try everything in my power to not dance.

I kind of shuffle a bit, and maybe side step once or twice.

I even try to speed up my pace, thinking that the sooner I get home, the less likely I am to break it down in the middle of the Ukrainian church parking lot.

No dice.

My body is physically incapable of not dancing to this tune.

So I just give in, and dance like I am in the credits of some absolutely ridiculous teen comedy, (probably titled “Gym Nuts!” or something equally as trite.)

After a little while, I manage to regain my composure and continue my walk home.

That is of course, until I realize the painters working on the building next to mine have been watching me the entire time, and burst into spontaneous applause after I finish.

I am torn between pretending nothing happened and running away.

Instead, I curtsey.

And then I run away.

Now I’m pretty sure that I am still all three of those people – SQUIRT, Sailor Moon, and mad-dancing gym nut.

And I don’t think any number of “adult” qualifiers will ever change that.

I mean what, my friends, would be the fun in that?

I only wanna be your one life stand

Warning: excessive use of hyperbole ahead.

Also, falling rocks.

(Just kidding.)

THIS PAST SATURDAY I WENT TO THE BEST CONCERT OF MY LIFE.

And yet I feel tongue-tied trying to communicate how absolutely earth-shatteringly awesome this experience truly was.

As such, everything inside of me is screaming USE YOUR SWEARS USE THEM ALL USE ALL THE SWEARS.

But I won’t.

So it’s hard.

But the question remains – how do I get you, dear reader, to feel that same exhilaration I felt stepping into that club?

How to make you feel that same energy, coursing the length of my body?

Tingling the ends of your fingertips? The dips of your earlobes?

Tickling the backs of your knees, slipping down into the folds of your shoes?

To hear the murmur of the crowd, a beehive of anticipation?

A vibration.

How do I make you crackle and snap with the electricity of it all, the flash of the lights, and the intensely, indescribably, intoxicating sounds careening off of the stage, permeating every last crook and cranny of the sweat-slicked, pulsating room?

How do I make you dance until your blistered, blisters cry nay command you not to stop, never stop, your mouth a perma-grin, a high school smirk stained with salty secrets, and the knowledge that all of this is so good, and all of this will never be so good.

So if I cannot do this, I will just say – GO TO HOT CHIP.

Go.

Elsewhere in the cosmic kitchen:

Zen.

Brunch.

Weirdo.

Cat.

View.

Tell me where you’ve been to
Nowhere that you shouldn’t do
Tell me what you’re good for
I can tell you something too.

Let’s give them something to talk about

It’s Friday friends! Put on your smoking jacket, pour yourself a snifter of brandy, and take a load off. Today’s fry-up will take care of the rest.

Dancing queen.

DUDES.

Do you have gangnam style?

I DO.

No joke, I love this song so much it is destroying my life. Because you see, while I cannot STOP listening to it, I also cannot JUST listen to it.

Oh no.

Whenever I hear the blasted tune I must, MUST boogie down for all of my life.

A couple of days ago I actually tried to make a video of just me dancing to the song, but then I scared the crap out of my cat during the first take and then on the second realized I looked CRAZY breaking it down.

So no video folks.

JUST KIDDING – I would never do that to you! Here it is:

So now you can take my word for it when I say that I am a dance maniac and no one can stop me.

NO ONE.

Further proof:  when I was in Russia partying my wretched vodka infused-butt off until 5 in the morning every night, I had a Russian chick come up to me and ask me: “Excuse me, but – where from?” “Ya Canadka,” I responded. “Potomu?” (Why?) “Ohhhhhh,” she replied back. [motions to my dancing] “VEEERRRY interesting!”

And I thought her country men and women were the craziest dancers I had ever seen!

So yeah. MANIAC.

Fall is here. Ring the bell.

Autumn is nipping at our heels here on the West coast of Canada. And it sure is lovely.

Last night the sun was a ball of flaming red fire, and the sky was a melting mixture of pinks, oranges, and yellows – like a solar Shirley Temple for the thirsty space traveller.

Because the weather in the morning has taken a turn for the cooler side of things, I was forced to call my bluff and finally go and buy some tights.

In the process, I picked up some other fall must-haves, including these sweet, sweet kicks:

Joe Fresh baby – it is a truly wacky (said in the voice of Michael Kors) store at its worst, but goodness knows if it doesn’t know how to score me a deal at the best of times.

I am also crunching fallen leaves like a loon – going out of my way to get every last one of them. A man walking to skytrain a few paces behind me this morning actually burst out laughing after watching my manic trajectory down the sidewalk.

But hey, JUDGE NOT RIGHT?

There are worse things I could be doing than stepping on crinkle-cut leaves.

Goodness knows.

Clean eating, clean living.

I have cut out all processed foods from my diet, and most grains and sugars.

Urg, I feel like such a broom admitting that for the next eight weeks I will be paleo-ing it (with the best of all the other paleo brooms) but alas, it is the case.

So remember – NO JUDGING.

Now, I must stress, this isn’t anything to do with losing weight.

This is an attempt to regulate my (pretty well documented) sugar addiction, and I figure it’s a pretty good way of making sure I cut out all junk food from my diet.

Now, the paleo diet traditionally means no grains; however, because I am running a half-marathon on the 30th of this month, there is no way I can do this, as that would be ridiculous and foolhardy. So instead, I am eating less than what I would regularly consume, and then will cut them out completely once I am finished the race.

So far I have completed four days and I am surprised at just how easily it has been. No chocolate. No candy. No chips. No brake-down.

What’s even better is I have been cooking up a storm, and I am so, SO excited about coming home and preparing amazing meals. This, along with curbing my sugar intake, is definitely the best result so far of the program.

So bring on the next fifty-six days – I WILL OWN YOU ALL.

What’s shaking in your neck of the woods lately? Let’s dance and you can tell me all about it.

Paying you lip service

My first French kiss was in France.

With a French boy.

His name was Julian.

I was in grade nine, on exchange in Dijon. As a French immersion student, I was one of the lucky few who, because of my fluency, was picked to spend a month oversees studying at the lycée.

The trip was a pilot programme – the school wanted to “try it out” and see if it was something they would consider implementing on a permanent, yearly basis.

Believe me when I say that my time in the city as a student was a total trip.

First off, my home-stay parents didn’t seem to grasp the concept that I was a vegetarian. Every day for lunch they would make me these amazing baguettes filled with salami, or rotisserie chicken, or roast beef – seriously, you name the viande and it was packed up for me every morning, between two slices of bread.

I felt so horrible the one and only time I binned my lunch, that from that day onwards I would gift them to one of the other Canadian students whose parents didn’t think to send them off to class with anything at all.

It was a pretty sweet trade off in the end, because in return, whomever I had gifted the sammie would give me a couple of francs, which I would then use to purchase a crepe from the creperie down the street.

A replica of one of the many crepes I ate in France.

Come to think of it, I pretty much ate my body weight in Nutella during my stay.

(Whoever owned stocks in that brilliant, hazelnut-chocolate nectar of the gods that month must have done very, very well.)

My classes were great, though some (re: computer science) were a complete write off because not only did I understand nothing of which was said (alas, I learned much as an immersion student, but the inner workings of PCs was never a topic included in our weekly dictées) but the boys in that class were so darn funny, I was too busy concentrating on keeping all my urine inside my body to really focus on anything else.

Other notes of mention: French schools have super long hours, way crazy math, and the multi-storied, multi-buildinged campus made our school back home look like a pre-kindergarten.

Okay, back to kisses.

It was Friday night, the end of our second week of study.

All of the Canadian students were invited to attend the school’s senior dance.

Point: high-school dances are complete gong shows, and a completely ridiculous explosion of drama, hormones, angst, and hilarity the world over.

Teenagers – doing it like it’s the most important thing in life, since time immemorial.

Anywho, so myself and my home-stay gal Charlotte showed up ready to get our tip-top grooves on with the rest of the senior grades.

As we walked into the gymnasium I couldn’t help remarking to myself, for what was probably the (rougly) two thousandth time since touching down in France: HOLY CRAP FRENCH BOYS WEAR TIGHT PANTS.

My immediate follow-up thought was (of course): I wonder if any of them think I’m pretty?

And so it went on.

We danced to Will Smith and Ricky Martin, and a TON of crazy French rap and R&B. At one point the DJ played a rap song that had bagpipes in it and everyone went completely batshit crazy, dancing like complete madmen and singing like banshees, which both cracked me up but also made me really happy.

It was at this point, as I moved off to the side, just to watch the carnage unfold – a slightly loopy smile flickering across my mostly shocked visage – that a boy about my height (pretty good for 14 years old, because at this point I had already reached five foot ten) came and stood beside me.

He had sandy brown hair, in the style of Chris Klein from American Pie. Freckles dotted the bridge of his nose, and his front teeth were crooked, but only slightly so.

Same hair. TOTALLY.

He was a bona fide hottie.

Bonjour, he said.

Bonjour, I said.

My heart nearly exploded out my chest right then and there. A boy!? Talking to ME!?

It was almost a real Alien moment.

Voulez-vous sortir avec moi? Juste pour quelques instants? He asked.

He wanted to go outside!? With ME!?

HELL YES I WILL ACCOMPANY YOU OUTSIDE I wanted to yell.

Instead, I remembered to smile coquettishly and simply nod. Also, the less I spoke, the less likely I was to barf all over my shoes.

We walked outside and sat on top of a picnic table in the middle of a covered courtyard. We talked about school, and Canada, and France, and good grief, I’m pretty sure we talked about Will Smith’s latest CD, and then – WHAM.

Julian, of the freckles and the tight jeans, was kissing me.

Kissing ME!?

Yes.

And honestly, it wasn’t good.

Dude was a smoker and as much as half of my brain was screaming THIS IS THE MOST ROMANTIC THING EVER!!!!1!!1!!, the other have was screaming THIS IS LIKE LICKING A BLOODY ASHTRAY MAKE IT STOP.

Like kissing one of these it was.

Also, French kissing may look glamorous and sexy as hell to all those young, impressionable kidlets at the movie theatre, (aka me) but in real life, for the first time – EGADS.

Do not want.

Especially with Monsieur Marlboro.

Anyways, the long and short of it is, we made out for a good hour (you think just because the guy tasted like a tobacco leaf I didn’t want to keep kissing him? DREAM ON!) before returning to the dance for one final slow jam.

We met up the next day, ate at McDonalds and walked around the old town.

On Monday, after spending about half an hour looking for him after class, Julian’s friend Tony came up to me and let me know that he was really sorry, but Julian had just been using me to get back at his girlfriend who had cheated on him the week before.

This was the second time in a very short period that I felt as though I was going to have a real alien moment.

Or barf on my shoes.

But I didn’t. I sucked it up and moved on.

But only until of course I arrived home, opened a jar of Nutella, listened to Everybody Hurts on repeat six hundred times, and wept like the silly, angsty teenager that I was.

So there you have it.

I had my first French kiss, with a French boy, in France.

Which is why of course I married a Swiss man.

Down in London town, I’m dancing by myself

Hi Friends!

Well, it’s all come to pass.

We have a sparkling, new, beautiful shower, and I managed to successfully attend a concert for the first time whilst flying solo.

Kaiser Chiefs are top-notch groovemeisters, so I pretty much just showed up, danced like a mad woman for an hour and a half, and then hit the road.

Oh my god, I can't believe it.

(The four glasses of wine I consumed before heading downtown may have had something to do with how easy the whole thing seemed. I’m normally a two-glass max kind of gal, so take this as you will.)

The one thing I will say was that I was a little bummed out about the fact that they hardly played any of their new material (or really anything from their catalogue post-2008.)

I've never been this far away from home.

They have so many fab songs other that those featured on Yours Truly – Angry Mob and I had been eager for the chance to hear them live.

For instance, I was gutted that they didn’t play Man on Mars, a tune that I have been pretty much listening to on repeat for the last two weeks. Seriously, it’s the first thing that finally managed to knock The Decembrist’s Calamity Song off of my top jam list.

Ch-ch-check it:

Ricky Wilson told the audience that Vancouver was their last stop on their tour, so they were probably pretty exhausted and burnt out and didn’t want to take on anything too taxing.

But overall, I must say I had a great time period, and there is always something to be said about going to a concert where you (and every other person in attendance) knows every lyric to every song that is played.

I’d give it a solid 8 out of 10 cats.

Ju-on girl dancing her heart out!

On my way home, sitting on the metro, I was trying to concentrate on anything other than the dull ringing in my ears, when a very young man sat down next to me.

The fellow was just a little too eager to strike up a conversation, so my spidey senses immediately started tingling.

Because I am a crazy weirdo, I did what I am often do in awkward situations – make them even more awkward (this time by speaking in a really terrible accent.)

This is hilarious to me, but probably insanely disconcerting to the other parties involved.

If I could muster up the appropriate amount of compunction I would, but then I always ask myself, what’s life without a little flare? A little intrigue?

So, egging myself on, I sometimes try out mein deutsche, and other times moya ruski.

This time I was from jolly old England.

Bah.

[adjusts monocle.]

Unfortunately, the dude was totally undeterred.

Even after I told him I was seven years older than him, he still asked me out.

Youth these days, I tell ya.

Either deliver my paper on time or get off my lawn!

I will give him props for gumption and guts, but needless to say, I will not be seeing him again.

(Until my next late night train ride, goodness knows.)

The next morning, I was moving a little slower than usual, due to the after effects of my solo dance party, finishing the bathroom, and the eleven kilometre run Mr. M and I completed during the previous day’s afternoon.

I figured the best thing to cure my Sunday sluggishness, was homemade crepes with fresh fruit, nutella, walnuts, whipped cream, and tea, devoured on our porch, basking in the warmth of the (long lost, and now finally found) sun’s rays.

Yum.

Edit: for one bloody day at least! It just makes me want to yell out: Come on Biscuit you can do it!!!

Erm.

I mean spring!

Come on spring, you can do it!

But at the time, it was, for lack of a more poetic descriptor, absolute bliss.

Bliss!

Then, M and I tore about our place, vacuuming like a vacuuming things, dusting, washing, scrubbing – wiping away all the dust that had accumulated over the course of our reno, encrusted in our corners and nestled in all the often missed nooks and crannies.

Seriously, nothing is as good as clean feels.

A friend of mine remarked, after reading my post from last Friday, that I would probably pick up a ton more traffic to my blog if I posted photos of myself doing mad cleaning in my underwear.

I’m not going to lie – I briefly considered this as I tore about our place, but in the end I decided it just wasn’t worth it.

That, like my English accent, should not be encouraged.

Not without copious amounts of wine, anyway.

Isn’t that right, guvnah?