Tuesday, June 27, 2006


June 24 marked my 2 year anniversary of being a non-smoker.

So how did I celebrate my hard won, relentless struggle against the evil, insidious demon nicotine?

Why, by having a smoke of course!

Sometimes I'm such a contrary little thing.

Why would I do that!?!
Hey, don't ask me! I hardly understand myself at all.


I didn't inhale!
That counts, right? You believe me, right?

Anyway, the next morning I awoke on my cousins couch at 5:30am with the most vile stench on my person.

The stink alone has reinforced my desire to be a non-smoker! *

So, despite the fact that I 'fake-smoked' a cigarette, I still like to consider the 729 days that I didn't as high achievement!


(I think I still need a smack though.)

* Well, that's not quite right. My desire to be a non-smoker hasn't wavered, but after all this time it's almost like I sort of take it for granted.

Thus the nicodemon-taunting...
"Neener-neener, I've been quit THIS long no way you can get me now! I'll just have this one and show you!!


We know THAT doesn't work.
It's a slippery slope straight to tar-lung hell, and it's not a trip I care to pay to take.

So perhaps I ought to say that my RESOLVE is stiffened! My choice to NOT smoke is deliberate and firm!

No more of this "teasing the beast".

He haunts and skulks and looks for opportunity everywhere. I've fought him for too long to be so careless.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

For sale, cheap!

Well, I'm garage saleing (that word looks so wrong) on Saturday with Kimber.

She's moving far away, so she believes (as do I) that selling some of her voluminous amounts of 'stuff' is a better idea than hauling it around.

I, for my part, am not vested with a lot of 'stuff'.

Pack-ratting has never been a problem for me. If I like something, I use it, display it, eat it, read it or wear it.

If I don't, it's gone.
"Chuckaphobia" I do not suffer from!

I looked around my little place the other day to see if there was anything I could contribute to the garage sale; aside from a few books that I have more than one copy of, and some old electronics crap, I LOVE everything I own.

(Okay, well I don't LOVE everything in my place, but something like my couch isn't easily packed up and sold at a garage sale.)

So, I'll pawn off my little collection of 'junk' and be happy for the extra $10-$15 I hope it'll garner.

Wish us a sunny day and many acquisitive customers!

(P.S. Anyone want a terribly ugly brown couch with a gaping great hole in it? It's really comfy!
For the incredibly low price of $20 bucks and the promise that you'll be able to wrestle it out of my apartment without destroying anything, it's yours! Must provide own muscles and vehicle.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Another year in my life.

If anyone would have told me when I was 12 that I would make it to 34 I would have been astounded.
Frankly, I thought 26 was plenty old enough for anyone!

Fortunately, I remain firmly on this planet as it spins around on it's axis for yet another year of my life and I'm DAMN glad of it!

33 was a great big year; full of wonderful things and growth and sometimes hard things and sadness.

I expect nothing less of 34 now that it's here!

So. Coming along for the ride?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Colour me squeamish.

I've eaten a good many 'odd' things in my day...alligator, bear and snake for instance.

But I believe I will have to draw the line at the recipe I recently came across in M.F.K Fisher's "The Art of Eating".
(The book itself is so divine though. I recommend it strongly for anyone interested in some of the most beautiful prose I think ever written about food and love and travel.)

So here it is, in all it's congealing glory; pictures NOT inlcuded for which I think you'll thank me.
(Really, if you have a sensitive constitution...turn back now!)


Bone, blanch and trim a calf's head, cut it up into large scollops, keep the ears whole, neatly trim the pieces, and toss them in the juice of a lemon; put them in a stewpan, with carrot, onion, celery, half a bottle of Madeira or sherry, and two large ladlefuls of good stock; cover with a well-buttered stiff paper, and put on the lid; set the whole to braize on the stove for about two hours.

When the pieces of calf's head are done, drain them on a napkin, and afterwards dish them up, in the form of a close wreath, round the base of a fried bread croustade; place the ears at the ends and on the flanks: if the party be large, two extra ears should be procured, as the four make the dish look much handsomer: next, place the tongue, cut down it's centre, and spread out on top of the croustade; on this put the brains, which must be kept whole and white, and round these, on the croustade, should be stuck six ornamental silver skewers, garnished with a double cocks-comb, a large mushroom, a quenelle, a truffle, and a large crayfish; sauce around with a well made sauce a la Tortue; garnish the dish round between the spaces of the ears with four larded and glazed sweetbreads, and eight decorated quenelles, and send to table.

I was sort of okay until the bit about the brains. *

Now, I do realize that tongue and brains are recognized members of some very important dishes.
But something deep inside me rebels at the thought.
(Truth be told, it's not that deep inside me. It's right at the surface in fact.)

Oh, and if anyone knows what a cocks-comb is for sure, please let me know. Extra points for the explanation of a 'double' cocks-comb.

*This reminds me of the one and only time I watched an episode of "Fear Factor".
The participants had to eat a cow's muzzle.
That was promptly the end of my contribution to the ratings for that show.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

To read a poet.

"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light!"

Familiar, yes?

It's Edna St. Vincent Millay's.
One of the most famous poets of the Jazz Age...she smoked in public, had affairs with men and women, and generally rocked the early 1900's all the way through to 1950 when a tragic fall ended her life.

I don't know a lot about poets...and though it could be said that I like poetry, it's a rare occasion that would find me purchasing a book of poems.
Thus, when I came across a biography of a modern poet at the library I thought, "Well, I've got nothing else to do."

What a wonderful, moving surprise of a book.

It's Nancy Milford's "Savage Beauty."

I don't just recommend it as a book about a poet, or a book about an interesting women: it is unto itself a fascinating look into the world at that time; perched as it was between wars that engulfed the world.

And Miss Millay didn't just write within her time, she wrote for all of our times.

This book was so artfully written, I really do recommend it based on that alone...and I'll leave you with this:

I had a little Sorrow,
Born of a little Sin,
I found a room all damp with gloom
And shut us all within;
And, "Little Sorrow, weep," said I;
"And, Little Sin, pray to God to die,
And I upon the floor will lie
And think how bad I've been!"

Alas for pious planning--
It mattered not a whit!
As far as gloom went in that room,
The lamp might have been lit!
My Little Sorrow would not weep,
My little Sin would go to sleep--
To save my soul I could not keep
My graceless mind on it!

So I got up in anger,
And took a book I had,
And put a ribbon in my hair
To please a passing lad,
And, "One thing there's no getting by--
I've been a wicked girl," said I;
"But if I can't be sorry, why,
I might as well be glad!"

~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Not bad for $40 bucks!

This was it. The 'before' pic of my balcony garden. Truthfully, it's just a few leftovers from last year.

Not much too it!

So I bought me some plants. This here pitiful little thing was the last of a sale for Clematis...the saleswoman actually just gave this to me; so poor are it's prospects. I've never grown one before, but 'free' is a hard bargain to walk on by!

I put down some cut-open garbage bags to make the potting mess a little more containable.
Once you're finished, it's short work to pick up the bags and toss them; loose dirt and all.

It's really not a very big space to work in...that wee island of uncluttered black plastic was just enough room for me to sit crosslegged to pot everything up.
I decided to do a succulent 'mini-garden'...I've never been overly fond of sedums until recently so this is rather new to me. I think this looks alright, the small white rocks sort of add a structual element too the over all look. (ooh, don't I just sound like I know what I'm talking about!)
I took the wee snapped off bits and made an even minier mini-garden. It might not take, but that's okay.

Et voila! Okay, you're right. My balconey is stained. But darn it all, can't I continue to live in the fantasy that time has worked it's magic and given my balcony a fine patina?

I planted Nicotiana, geraniums...some lovely pink and white cosmos and something else I don't remember the name of.
Oh, and the succulents of course; one of the varieties is called 'Edge of Night', which is lovely.
There's also a 'wind flower' (Japanese Anenome?) that's not in bloom yet; it has delicate pink nodding flowers.
When I get around to it, I'm going to put in some night scented stock as well, for it's delicious perfume...and maybe some herbs.

It's not exactly the 'Tuileries', but it's mine!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Blogger Issues.

Well, that was irritating wasn't it?

On the other hand, it gave me perfect excuse to be lazy for the last few days; provided a perfect alibi!

And still does.

I'm going to blame the blog problems directly for the fact that I don't have anything exciting or witty to write about.

I'll toss in a random picture.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Don't EVER speak to me again!!

Last year I had a strange and uncomfortable encounter with a man from my neighbourhood.
I wrote about it at the time under Safe and Sound.

After that particular incident I continued to see him off and on around the area.
It sure felt like he was just circling around looking for me.

When he did just happen to see me, he would just stare and stare.
And I don't mean a quick glance to 'check me out', or a querying look as if he knew me; no this was a full on gawk.


Over the winter he seemed to have disappeared (I had hoped for good), but an evening stroll tonight proved me wrong in an even more annoying and alarming fashion.

As I set out on my evening constitutional (does anyone ever call it that any more?) I noticed the man in question driving in the opposite direction.

And staring at me.

Of course.

Trying to think nothing of it I continued along my way, turning right at the corner.

I managed to get half way up the street when SCREEECH!

There he was.

Blocking my way!

He had just rocketed around the block to find me, and was now PARKED halfway in a driveway deliberately blocking my way!

Pulling down his sunglasses he gazed over the top of them, "Do I know you?"

"Just from the neighbourhood." I replied; my dark sunglasses hid the daggers I was shooting him.

"Oh, 'cus I thought you gave me a big smile as I drove by."

'You wish'. I fumed silently.
Out loud I ever so cleverly replied, "Oh."

I started to go around the back of his vehicle just as he asked, "What's your name?"

"Tai." I answered instinctively, then promptly cursed myself to all the ends of the earth.

Why oh WHY did I say that???
Why couldn't I have said "None of your freakin' business" or pretended I hadn't heard him and kept walking?

Damn damn DAMN!!!

"I'm Brad. Nice to meet you." He simpered on, "Sure is nice to have neighbours like you."

"Okay, have a nice evening." I finally marched my inanely polite self* around his vehicle (which was still firmly parked in my path) and didn't look back.


There it is.

A creepy man is following me around MY neighbourhood and doesn't have any qualms about pulling his vehicle to an abrupt halt in front of me to FORCE me to stop.

I'm a little worried.

But here's something that he doesn't know.

Last year I was concerned enough about his actions to have made note of his license plate number and the make and model of his vehicle.

I also pointed him out to a friend of mine who would have no problem making very short work of him indeed.

Am I nervous?

A little.

But frankly?

He's got a lot more to be worried about.

*So what the HELL was I thinking??

What held me rooted to the spot, unable to channel some good old righteous indignation at having someone force me to do something?

I'm surprised I didn't just give him my damned address and invited him over for tea!

What the hell WAS that??

Years of being instructed to be polite, no matter what the cost.

I'm really going to have to unlearn that.

The hard part is, being polite comes completely unbidden.

When put in a situation that I'm unsure about I resort to being polite.
Oh sure, I can invoke some cold icy politeness, and even a solid tight-lipped smile to indictate (barely) my disapproval...but that's HARDLY the effect I'm going for.


What I should have done would have been to say in a loud and imperious tone, "Get your filthy car out of my way, and NEVER speak to me again."

Ah well. Wait till next time.

No...on second thought...
I hope there isn't a 'next time'.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Just say "Hi."

I was thinking about shyness today.
Pondering what value it has; why it seems so prevalent today; how much it affects peoples life (in a generally negative manner).

I'm not talking about the ubiquitous feeling of nervousness at interviews, or being reluctant to address a large group of people assembled in front of you.
Hell, if you don't feel a little anxious about those things then you are a super-hero and need to be immortalized immediately!

What I'm referring to is a cold-sweat-panic-inducing fear of meeting new and unknown people in what most would consider a relatively harmless gathering.
Like 'a friend of a friends' birthday.
Or you know, when a date invites you to a big going away party for his old roommate?

Unfortunately, I didn't come up with any great insights to my questions.

Being shy never occured to me.
I had a black time of it socially in school, but that didn't stop me from talking to people...and it didn't prevent me from meeting my very best friends. (Whom I still proudly count as my best friends to this day, 20+ years after the fact.)

After the hell of school ended, being even more out there and open just seemed like the only way to be.
"The world is so much bigger than this little town; there must be more people out there like me!" That was my general philosophy and what I took with me as I ventured forth.

It wasn't strange to me to go alone to places, eat out at a restaurant alone, talk to strangers, or sit and chat with people for hours after I had just met them (Hmmm. I didn't stop to think if they enjoyed that or not. Ooops!)

My heart really goes out to those who feel that people are judging them poorly; staring at them with distaste or suffer with thoughts that they aren't good enough to engage this crazy world.


You are.

You are enough.

And who knows.

Maybe that person you decide to bravely chat with at the next 'required work function' might be a person like me.
And who's to say...we might end up the best of friends!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"I'd like to thank the Academy...."

It appears that QueenieCarly has nominated my post "Fear and Loathing at Age 33" for May's "Perfect Post Award."

It never occured to me that my ditherings would be considered worthy of award!

Thank you Carly, I am flattered indeed!