Thursday, January 31, 2008

Diary of a Queer Shut-In

So, it's that time of year. Nesting season. It's cold out, so we tend to be in. And instead of your house being a summertime drop-in-centre, a place to eat and sleep between mass-doses of Vitamin D, it's a place where you quiver in corners, afraid of frostbite and slush stains on your new jeans. Inevitably you take a look around and realize things are out-of-place, or a once-charming bit of clutter on a corner shelf now wakes you in the night, begging you to reorganize, simplify, re-arrange. Or maybe it's just me. Somehow I don't think my boyfriend spends a lot of time worrying about the distance between glassware or their proximity to the salt-and-peppers.

Well, I do.

In my first entry I wrote about the changes afoot in my living room. Well, our trip to Mexico scored me some of my desires. The sparkle, and some rustic country. I also spent the better part of a day tearing apart my 500-strong CD library, cataloguing the artwork, filing all the discs into large binders for easy access. I replaced the horrific CD shelves with that pencil sketch - My dear friend Kris drew me as a pirate as part of a series he did a few years ago. I've loved it, but never knew where to put it. I think this is the perfect place.

We collect boxes. Every time we go somewhere, our mission is to find a box. This one was $60, which is, by far, the most expensive we have ever considered. The man in the little shop, though, let us have it for $40 because we looked nice and had no tattoos or piercings. Luckily Jeff's nipple was tightly wrapped beneath his shirt.

A day earlier we'd gone snorkeling, and the first bit of real marine life we saw was a tiny little sea turtle bopping along the white sand of the ocean floor. When I saw this little guy made of pewter (with a removable shell for storage!) I knew he was just the sparkle I needed. Next stop: Antlers!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Mexican't Feel My Toes

We had a fantastic time in Mexico. It was hot and sunny and neither of us contracted traveler's diarrhea.

Our hotel provided us with complimentary slippers - A nice touch! In a room with one king-sized bed, the staff (naturally) assumes there will be one fat American man, and his one fat American wife. Slipper-size-distribution follows this logic. After the first day I decided to leave a note (and a dollar) asking for a larger pair. Our maid (I can use that dated term - She was dressed like Ann B. Davis, for Christ's sake) was lovely and soon my feet got the vacation they deserved.

Monday, January 28, 2008


With this, I'll start a series.

The people who make up my life. The ones who run deep. Really, it's a short list; I've never been one to have 1000 people in my circle. Always a select bunch. If I could choose groceries as organically as the people I surround myself with, I'd be the healthiest person ever. These will run in no particular order. Like Part of Our Heritage commercials, just a tidbit about the people in my heart.

Becky. My sister.

I lucked out. I've met a lot of people's sisters - Not all are created equal. Aside from the love that haphazardly develops, we've always liked each other. We had our moments; I once kicked her very hard in the vagina with a winter boot on. She told me recently that I bruised her vagina. I am not proud of this. If ever we fought, and actually made some sort of damaging contact (such as the Vulva-Boot Debacle of '92) we'd immediately start crying, devastated that we'd actually hurt one another. It was totally cute.

Equally cute were my sister's attempts at engine noises while she played dinky cars with me. Suffice it to say, I was much better at Barbies than she was at boy toys.

She has two babies. Jack (2½) and Ben (nearly 6 months). She is the greatest Mom I know. She just knows how to do it. She loves them like most people love themselves. She cries all the time, marveling at the great privilege it is to have them. She's emotional. Perhaps moreso than me, which puts her just past Oprah on the Heart-Sleeve Meter. She's also nicer than me, sometimes, I fear, to her own detriment. She is warm in a way that I am not. She is sarcastic in a way that I am. We're talkers. We'd sit for hours on her bed, side-saddle, across the twin mattress, our heads against the wall, talking and listening to Joan Osbourne or Lisa Loeb. We'd play Match My Pitch, a game we created where one of us would hum a note, and the other would have to . . . well, you know. While, objectively, I know that's absolutely the geekiest thing, I feel no shame, because it's one of my purest memories, free of doubt or wonder as to whether I've made it up, or if I'm remembering correctly.

And that laugh. A full-face laugh. I wish you could hear it.

I've thought about it, and I think I'm just the person to lay down the law on theatre etiquette. Not only am I the Front of House Manager at a performing arts centre, I spent my teenage years working at a movie theatre. I've seen it all - From cups of urine post-Titanic and used condoms to the basic, low-rent disruptions like candy wrappers and talkers.

Below is a list of things you should not do when you're in a theatre. Or several other places. Use your discretion and learn how to behave yourself when you leave the house.

1) Talking. Talking is wrong. Don't whisper your plotline predictions to your partner. Don't ask what the last line was if you missed it because you were checking your text messages. Move on and catch the next lines. Don't say a word. Just shut up. Sit and be utterly silent. If you're worried about your parking meter, keep it to yourself, jackass. What is your wife going to do about it while Romeo and Juliet are dying on stage? Nothing. Get over it. Pay the ticket. Also annoying: Inappropriate laughter. If you're uncomfortable with a show of emotion on-stage or screen, it is not acceptable for you to laugh. See a mental health professional. Loud, obnoxious laughter even when things are funny is also not helpful.

2) Breathing. While I understand the need, I think we all should consider how we do it. I shouldn't hear you breathe. From 30 meters away, or even from the seat next to you. Unless you're on oxygen, there is no reason for heavy breathing. Stop it.

3) Eating. I once found a woman sitting in the balcony with a tray of sushi resting on the railing. She was paying close attention to the show, but slightly more to her tuna roll. Candy, nuts, or your doggybag from dinner: None of these things should make an appearance during a live theatrical performance. No one wants to smell your leftovers. No one in your vicinity wants to hear you crunching on hard candy. And yes, theatres sell these things, but that doesn't mean you get to eat it whenever you want. Just because the Home Depot sells lawn mowers doesn't mean you can start one up and have a go around the store. Have some respect, for Christ's sake. I speak to actors on a daily basis, and they CAN HEAR YOU. If you want a piece of gum, have one before the show starts. And for the love of God, it doesn't help if you crack your Excel from its blister pack s l o w l y. It just prolongs the horrifying distraction. Pop it and chew, if you must. And no, you cannot take liquor inside. Almost everywhere. In life. That's how it is. Why are we not accustomed to this? Get over it. If you can't sit through one hour of theatre without a beer, I am not the one you should be upset with - You should call a therapist and figure out who fucked you up as a child.

4) Moving. You should not be shifting. You should not be moving loud fabrics around. You should not be tapping your knees or clicking your heels or creaking your chair. If you get a creaky chair, that's unfortunate, and I do sympathize, but once you discover that it's creaky, you should make it your business to find the position at which the chair is silent and stay there. You seem to be able to do this when you're lazing around on your sofa, immobile for hours on end, why not here? Do not kick the back of the seat ahead of you. Do not grab the back of the seatback ahead of you to lift your own fat ass up and out of the theatre. Do not touch anyone else. Do not tap your programme or rustle its pages. If you have to go as far as to leave the theatre, think long and hard. Those actors can see you. The people around you don't want to be seen because you can't hold it. What are you, 9? Hold it. The show will not go on forever. Is it really an emergency?

5) Blackberry-ing. Do I even have to say this?

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm Obsessed

The Sartorialist is a blog I read. Scott Schuman is the quintessential Manhattanite - attractive, presumably wealthy, extremely well-dressed: everything you'd ever see on Sex and the City. He takes photos like these of regular people walking the streets of, not only, New York, but all the most-fashionable cities in the world. He really celebrates personal style, clever commentary accompanying his excellent environmental portraits. He's never bitchy. He's refreshing and talented and a fantastic advocate for individuality. I love it. Visit, would you?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Me, If I Were a Chair

That first photo of my living room is slightly deceiving. There is one corner I am truly, madly, deeply in love with. It is where my favourite chair sits ($35, St. Lawrence Market), next to my record player ($99, the 400 Flea Market), atop which you see my vintage camera ($30, Kings' Court Flea Market) and old family photos (Priceless). You'll see a medium-sized tin box, on that ottoman there, that my boyfriend found in Italy. It means the world to me.

When I saw that chair, sitting there in the street, I gasped. It will be too much! I said to myself, already knowing there was NO price too high. But, it's in mint condition! I began to talk myself down, sweat beading on my forehead. I'm a terrible shopper. I want it all. I want it now. Why did I come this way?! On outdoor-antique-market-day?! I asked the man, How much? $40. I nearly fainted there at Jarvis and Front. I got him down to $35, threw it over my back like a knapsack and walked it 5 blocks home. Clean lines. Firm, yet comfortable. Tidy and pragmatic, its wool a bit harsh. Sturdy. A bit gaudy to some, perhaps; a bit too green.

This is the corner I see when I walk in the door. It makes my heart swell. The bargains, the love, the utter green and brownness of it all. My favourite things; welcome home, they say.

Things That Aren't Pretty

We are leaving for a romantic, tropical vacation in two days. Amazing. Not amazing? The coldsore that's picketing my face.

Now, if you've never experienced Herpes Simplex I, you're a lucky, lucky human. Not only do you avoid the humiliation of having herpes! you also don't have to feel like the Elephant Man. Why don't afflictions have PR reps? I mean, really. Cold and sore. Two things no one wants to be, outside a passive aggressive, sexually satisfying relationship. And why didn't someone spin it out of the herpes family? That's just bad company. Anyway.

I had big plans for the days leading up to our departure. For starters, I was going to get a haircut and go spray tanning. The former necessary, the latter absolutely critical. (I'm three shades darker than Nicole Kidman's undercarriage, which puts me somewhere between death and albino.) And do you know what kind of activities are the least fun when you feel uglier than ever? Activities that require someone to stare at you judgmentally. Especially the kind of people who work at places specializing in spray tanning. I don't need someone named Chad, whose biceps are greater than the circumference of my waist, staring at me right now.

I just spent $20.99 on Abreva. You've seen the commercials, but if you're not genetically predisposed to coldsores and fever blisters, they probably don't give you palpitations like they do me. Every time the ad comes on, I turn into a 9 year old loser who had to endure the deluge of "What's wrong with your lip?" all through the cold months. I have learned how to control and reduce these outbreaks over time; it's really not that big a deal anymore, usually one or two a year at most. This one makes me feel like I had budget collagen lip injections. Fat and supple, but lopsided and throbbing. Now, I've always wanted fuller lips, but not like this. Not pretty.

I'm not sure why I'm writing about this, Day 2 on my blog about all the things we long to be. Just keeping it real, I guess.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2008, Year of the Blog

Not since the long-lost days of Livejournal have I had an official blog. And I'm so the blogging type. Where have I been?

Here is where I will post about lovely things. I am obsessed with housewares. I love a well organized desk drawer or thoughtfully produced CD art. A fashionable website or a well-presented dish of food. Ties, shirts, sweaters, and shoes. Katie Holmes, of late.

I like pretty things.

I will begin with myself. Wait, I don't mean I'm a pretty thing. I mean that I think, before you can judge and appreciate others, you must first investigate yourself. Below is a photo of my living room:

There are things I love and things I hate.

1) I think I've done a nice job with the drapes - Dramatic! The window is actually quite tiny. Smaller than the white centre-area. I hung the drapes extremely high, and by hanging the brown ultrasuede panels over the surrounding walls, the window looks floor-to-ceiling.

2) But the couch. It couldn't be more IKEA. I hate it with a deep, sociopathic passion. And don't let that heinous, pointless coffee table get in your way. Gah!

3) Photos are always a personal element. Gallery-framed, they are high-impact, tidy, and interesting to look at. I stacked three (left side of your screen) along this strange jutting-out-bit, which, like the drapes, make the ceiling look higher than Britney. I prefer black and white, as they all, by default, match each other. I am a stickler for cohesion. If my photos were in colour, I'd be forced to coordinate them, which of course, would prove very difficult.

4) CDs. Cherish and respect them as I may, they don't display well. I'm a recent iTunes-convert, so soon these plastic cases will be archived in the basement. Welcome to the future.

5) The carpet. Another IKEA bargain. White, woven, typical. If it doesn't get out of my life soon, the stress of keeping it clean will kill me. I don't want to live in a house that doesn't allow me to skip around in my shoes, when necessary. I mean, I'm no Huxtable (all heels, hair and makeup all the time) but sometimes you forget something on your cube-shelf and crossing that carpet feels more treacherous than the Northwest Passage. That's no life.

Anyway. There are major changes afoot. Over time I'll update you. I have grand ideas of adding sparkle (through shiny silver items), warmth (a vintage Persian rug), comfort (a worn-in, cozy, leather couch) and rustic, country flavour (antlers and wood).

In the meantime, I'll talk about all kinds of pretty.