Monday, June 29, 2009

Hello, Muddah.

I've lost track of how many rainy days we've had lately, but if you count the wine bottles in the recycling bag I just hefted out onto the curb, I'd say we've had more than our share.

But gimme a break. Working at home is a self-motivating bitch at the best of times. Toss in a recession and an otherwise-active, now bored teenager and you've got a scene from Days of Wine and Roses.

"Look at me! Look at you. You're a bum. Look at you. And look at us. Look at us. C'mon look at us! See? A couple of bums". That's my best Jack Lemmon.

Things came to a head this weekend when I suggested Jack turn off XBox Live and read a book. His reaction had me lurching for the broom closet so I could beat him to a pulp and not ruin the $200 goalie stick within reach; but then I realized we don't have a broom closet, so I did the next best thing.

I decided I'd send the lethargic little fucker to camp.

That's right. Camp. Algonquin Park. Urine-stained bunkbeds. Hazing rituals. Mosquitoes the size of Timbits. Camp Counsellor's named Chip who themselves got sent away from the comfort of their Rosedale enclave eleven years ago, for playing too much PONG.

That'll teach him. If my kid thinks he can't survive one hour without Call of Duty, texting, or maid service, let's see how he makes out cooking dinner over a fire and wiping his ass with a fern frond after pushing a canoe through brackish water all day.

I emailed an old friend, Hugh Statten and told him it was an emergency and Jack was fairly normal, athletic, makes friends easily, but, he was bugging the shit out of me. Hugh's family own Camp Ahmek, on Canoe Lake, in Algonquin Park – Tom Thompson's old hangout. I worked there many moons ago driving the barge from the boy's camp to the girl's camp, so I figured I'd have an in. We'd leave immediately, and Jack could wait on the dock until the other campers arrived. July 6th.

The sad thing is, Jack would love camp. So screw that. I've decided to send myself to camp instead. Wine and Roses camp.

That's right. When I get a chance I'm off to a cabin at Milford House. Just past Keji park, on the way to Annapolis Royal, Milford House is the closest thing a girl will find to an Algonquin Park type camp experience east of Rivière du Loup. It consists of a main lodge that looks a bit like Green Gables (with a liquor license) and a lake dotted with little cottages – the perfect combination of rustic and rustic comfy. Sitting on the cabin porch, you'd swear Tom Thompson will paddle up to the dock for cocktails.

Jack and I stayed in a Milford House cabin a few years back before our mountain bikes got stolen. We biked all day in Keji park, then headed back to base camp. The bonus is, the Milford folks operate on the Modified American Plan which means rates include breakfast and dinner.

Hey, I said I liked camp, not camping.

So Jack, the bum, has dodged the first camp bullet. And we've since laid down some summer ground rules: No drinking before The Young and the Restless. Do not invite friends to stay for dinner while they are standing there, because dinner is yet to be determined and could be soggy crackers and cheese or something I scrape off the freezer wall. Daily outdoor exercise is mandatory, as is, reading something other than Sports Illustrated every day, and not just while sitting on the toilet. And XBox Live is limited to an hour, or two, per day. Unless it's raining, then drinking can commence with Regis & Kelly.

Oh, and if you roll your eyes at me, even once, in that teenage way, you'll be sharing a soggy sleeping bag and singing Frere Jacques around a campfire at a Bible camp for bums who stutter and wet the bed, somewhere deep in the Ozarks, until Labour Day.

And I mean it.

Milford House is 21 km (14 mi) south of Annapolis Royal on Route #8, in South Milford, on Nova Scotia's Evangeline Trail. Check out their website at Or call Toll-Free 1-877-532-5751. I cannot tell you how much fun it is there, rain or shine. Even with the little bastards tagging along.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oh, that explains it.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the typical symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) include; depression, lack of energy, increased need for sleep, a craving for sweets, starchy foods, revenge, spicy foods, salty foods, President's Choice Smokin' Ribs, boxed wine, sparkling wine, holy wine, Gilmore Girl reruns, sending child off to live with cannibalistic Bible-thumping hypocrites (Catholics), Cheesies, calling old boyfriends and hanging up, Peanut Buster parfaits, ethnic foods, margueritas, Rueben sandwiches, coconut cream pie, an unyielding desire to kick small children, oh, and weight gain.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's all relative humidity.

I have never done anything gracefully. Take for instance, aging.

Long, curly gray hairs are popping out in the strangest places. They're like rogue, senior citizen pubic hairs, only on my face. Not that I have ever seen a senior citizen's pubic hair, but a girl can always dream.

Their ghostly gray, and my failing eyesight, make these Betty White hairs tricky to spot. I'll be driving in the truck on a rare, sunny day, glance in the rear view mirror, and the next thing you know I'm weaving down the road, steering with my elbows, plucking my chin, or my eyebrow. I really need to keep a set of pliers in the glove box.

This humidity isn't helping. Even Dottie's hair is all poodley pubic like.

It would help if I were handy. Take last week – I was lying on my back on the living room sofa when I noticed all these big wet spots on the ceiling. Either someone was having a great deal of fun in my attic, or the roof was leaking.

Then, I went downstairs like Clarice in Silence of the Lambs, only to find water coming out of my circa 1972 furnace. I think I saw the same model on the Antiques Roadshow, so it doesn't owe me anything. But the timing sucks.

And if that wasn't enough, my beloved dehumidifier broke. I don't know how anyone lives in Havenot without a dehumidifier. I am obsessed with mine to the point I'd rather have a dehumidifier than a stove, or a man – unless he was handy with pliers and could shingle a roof, fix a furnace, and make perfect Yorkshire pudding.

I bought my dehumidifier the first summer I lived here when I realized all those photos taken of Peggy's Cove were fucking Photoshopped lies, because it's only sunny one day a month from November 'til late August.

Knowing the time had come, I tried to order a cheap model online, but I couldn't wait for delivery. I even played the "my child has severe allergies" card in Sears to see if I could get a discount and a quick delivery. Jack blurting out, "I do not have allergies!" didn't help. Kids can be such assholes when you're trying to pull off a big fat lie.

Being a recession and all, I decided to take the old Kenmore dehumidifier to Sears small appliance repair. I asked Jack to bring it up from the basement but he went all rubbery on me, so I hefted the thing up the stairs and on to the back of the truck myself, all the while tripping on the cord and cursing at life's misfortunes. By the time I was on my way to the Home Comfort repair shop, I was sweating like a fat girl at a dance, and sprouting hairs the texture of piano wires.

The parking lot looked promisingly empty, because I hate line ups almost as much as I hate Bayer's Lake and Celine Dion. I hefted the tired old moisture machine out of the truck and up the front stairs. I kept yelling at Jack to "get the door!" but for some reason he was thinking I meant the car door so he got all confused and did nothing. I managed to kick the wheelchair button with my foot, staggered into the repair place, and plopped the machine on the linoleum.

I looked up and saw my worst nightmare. One underpaid staffer and at least a dozen senior citizens standing in line with nothing else to do but get their toaster fixed and chat about incontinence, and the weather. The digital sign said they were on customer 95, but I think that was his age. I went over to the red number dispenser and pulled a paper number, only they were all stuck together so I got 113, 114, 115 and so on. I'd be there all day, unless a few of them dropped dead before lunch.

What happened next I am not proud of, but it did give Jack something to talk about at my funeral. (As if the "What are you looking at, asshole" t-shirt I'll be wearing in my coffin wouldn't be enough.) I decided life was too short to wait, so I grabbed my dehumidifier by the power cord and headed for the side door like a caveman. "Come on", I muttered as I kicked the wheelchair button and headed down the ramp. The dehumidifier's little wheels were trying desperately to keep up, but I was going too fast. It kept ricocheting, slamming into the wall and the metal railing.

I wheeled the dehumidifier out into the parking lot and up into the receiving dock. It was like playing crack-the-whip with a drunk five-year old on roller skates. The dehumidifier gained so much momentum the water collecting container blew out and tumbled across the parking lot. It finally crashed to a halt at the loading dock door where I gave it a quick pat and walked away, never looking back.

When I got in the truck Jack was laughing but he didn't want to make eye contact. Best not stare into the eye of the beast. Just then I heard a "ping".

Another hair.

I found enough room on a credit card to purchase a new dehumidifier. It's whirring down in the basement, next to the exercise bike and the tool box full of rusty pliers.

Oh, if you do happen to see me lying in a coffin, or on a beach chair somewhere, and you see a rogue, gray pubic hair popping out of a nostril or a beauty mark (cancerous mole). Give it a tug, will ya.

Bremners Plumbing and Heating (453-4800) came and looked at the furnace. Maders Roofing (492-2868) looked at the roof. 'Seems there was nothing wrong with either. Humidity maybe. Good news is, there was no charge for friendly, quick-response, old-fashioned service. Maybe I charmed them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

If hockey be the food of love, play on!

The boys got a quick lesson in irony of situation this weekend.

We were walking in the rain after one of their Play On! road hockey games. As we passed a group of non-hockey kids hanging out by the port-a-potties in the Commons, one girl, about the same age as Jack, stepped away from the pack to express herself. She was clearly making a statement even before opening her potty mouth, although she had so many piercings it's a wonder she could talk at all. Dyed, spiky black hair. Dirty, ripped black clothing. She was a menacing, 100-pound accident looking for a place to happen.

"You're fucking wasting your lives!" she yelled at the boys, as she stamped out her cigarette and spat on the ground.

"That", I said to the boys, "is irony."

They had no idea what I was talking about, and my explanation missed the net, so I am thrilled to see Shakespeare by the Sea is cranking up for another season in Point Pleasant Park. I'm embarrassed to say I have never been. It's one of those situations where you never fully explore your own backyard. Jack and I have been to the Globe Theatre in London, twice, but never to a performance right down the road.

I plan to change all that, as I see they are doing Macbeth. And, at least this summer, if you don't like the play, you can scoop some plastic tampon applicators off the beach and hurl them at the stage.

I am determined to go because Jack studied Macbeth in school this year, only they didn't read the play. Or act out any scenes. I think I've mentioned this before but it still has me frothing at the mouth. The teacher told them Shakespeare wasn't meant to be read, messing with their already foggy 13-year old heads for any future Shakespeare assignments. They watched the movie and the cartoon instead.

But, never mind. That chapter of his education is over. He made the Honour Roll somehow, and I hope to instill in him the love of Shakespeare. Or, get him to appreciate the language. Or, at least get him to like it. A tiny bit. Oh, hell, keep him awake during a performance in the park.

The one-act play, performed by the lovely, young lady in the park this weekend gave the boys a chuckle. But her soliloquy had all the makings of a drama, not a comedy. A tragedy even. Where the hell were her parents on Father's Day?

Shakespeare by the Sea is also doing Love's Labour's Lost and Jack and the Beanstalk. Maybe we'll start there. A haggard single mom with a limited wardrobe trying to make a living in a recession, all the while raising a boy. At least the plot will be easy to follow.

So as I play on, searching for my golden egg this rainy Monday morning, I realize being Jack's parent makes my life far from being a waste. It makes me the richest woman in the world.

How fucking ironic.

Shakespeare by the Sea opens July 1st in Point Pleasant Park.
The 2009 schedule is online at

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Now, sweetheart, look at the camera and say "frozen cheese burritos". And can you suck your cheeks in a bit. Now hide behind the door. That's it.

I had to laugh when I saw something in this morning's Horrid. No, not our new NDP Premier doing his best Barney Rubble on the front page. That made me cry actually. The ridiculous thing I saw was in Section F.

On the front page of Section F is an article about fashion retailers finally embracing curvy women. (Anyone with breasts and hips.) The chosen photo for the article shows a very pretty, and pretty normal looking, "plus" size young woman wearing a trendy, feminine-looking frock. No big deal, only they have her posed next to a giant refrigerator in a grocery store. Why a grocery store? They've even captured her posing with the fridge door open. And she has a glazed-over expression on her cherubic face, like, if no one is looking she's gonna lean in and start scarfing back frozen french fries like a pig rooting for truffles. Apparently F is for fucking stupid and insensitive. Who was the size 0 art director on this photo shoot?

Yep, they are embracing curvy women all right. Embracing so hard they're squeezing the self-esteem right out them. Er, us.

I was a curvy woman, embracing all things South Shore yesterday. We headed home via Chester, where I had yet another "meeting", only this time with Elaine and Derek, owners of The Rope Loft.

We arrived at prime time and I slowed down just enough so the boys could scramble out and grab the last table out on the dock. This is the coveted seat for Rope Loft dining, not only because dogs are welcome out there, but, when seated at this comfy table for 4, you are so close to the water, the next table over is on a boat.

The Rope Loft, while one of the prettiest spots in the province, has never been known for mind- blowing food. Well we can scrap that old news. They have a new chef and he is my new hero. The food this year is as spectacular as the scenery. No shit.

I have been craving mussels for weeks now, so I was thrilled when Jack's friend Chief said he'd share some with me to start. Soon after they arrived, I wanted to shove Chief into the harbour so I could eat them all myself. The mussels were fresh and plump, but the sauce they were swimming in was orgasmic. A tomato base, with garlic, fresh herbs and chunks of spring onions. There wasn't enough bread to soak it all up, so I used a spoon. It was that good.

Jack of course wouldn't try the mussels, and he stuck to his beige food mantra, ordering fish & chips. I wisely followed the mussels with the Seafood Crepe.

Hang on for a moment while I mop up the drool just thinking about it.

There, that's better.

My crepe arrived, and it wasn't one of those tubular crepes with a teensy little shrimp curled up in the fetal position. This was a hefty, plus-size crepe folded up and over bulging fistfuls of fleshy, big-girl scallops, hunks of lobster and size 14 shrimp. All accessorized with a wonderful, creamy curry sauce.

I'm no food writer, but I eat enough crap to know when my taste buds have been truly enlightened. The portions were so chubby, we didn't even have room for the praline pecan/dark chocolate combo that Chief and I were going to go sharesies on. If dessert was as good as the main attraction, that kid would have been swimming for sure.

I am trying to think of an excuse to go back down there for another round. I should have left something behind. Like my child. Or the dogs.

So here's to curvy women who eat. If being model skinny means skipping lunch at the Rope Loft then pass me the plus-size panties.

F is for "who fucking cares, life is short, flabby is fabulous, and I am starving".

Take my picture while I am eating though, and I'll chew your arm off.

The Rope Loft is located in Chester's Front Harbour by the Tancook Ferry Dock.
For hours and a peek at the new menu go to 902.275.3430.
Take a sweater, it can get breezy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hot flushes.

I wasn't going to bore you with anything today, being Friday and all, but then I got a call from Tom Murphy, the new guy slumped in Jim Nunn's old La-Z-boy at CBC.

'Seems it was a slow news day because they wanted my take on the Halifax Harbour Sewage fiasco. I told them I look like Burl Ives on camera, and anything I would have to say would be censored, so it was a waste of time. But I gave him my "what fer" anyway.

It was pre-cocktail hour and I was in abnormal state of bliss having been in "meetings" at White Point all day, so he got off pretty easy. I did say, while as much fun as it is to point a finger at Peter Kelly or the Homer Simpson character they had watching over the poop plant, I place a great deal of the blame for the stuff washing up on the beach, on women.

Yes, you heard it. I am not going to wave the asshole flag at men today.

Oh don't worry, we can still blame men for everything else, and we can blame our kids for stretch marks and the subsequent lurching toward the wine coolers midday, but ladies, when it comes to the plastic tampon applicators rolling around in the surf, the finger is pointing straight at us. And it's the middle finger.

I know, I know, every 28 days, I get a little cranky too. And by this stage in life you may have brand loyalty. But I don't see corporate Mr. Playtex or Ms. Tampax Compact frolicking on the beach in Point Pleasant Park. They're up in Toronto making tidy little salaries creating those bad ads where Mother Nature brings you a monthly "gift" all wrapped up in red paper. When they flush, it doesn't show up down by the water at Ontario Place. I say, lets gather up all the plastic party favours on the beach and send them back to Proctor & Gamble, or Playtex, with a big fucking red bow.

Oh, I am so excited to have something to "rag" about.

And maybe if, okay when, I get really hopped up on crantinis and hormones, I'll call Sobeys and Superstore and Shopper's Drug Mart and say, "what the fuck". Pull those little plastic pocket rockets off of the shelves until Peter gets his groove back.

In the meantime, if you really need to shove something plastic "up there", make it vibrate and rock your mini van world.

Or recycle. Or use cardboard applicators. Or, your finger. Or, here's an idea: Everytime you feel the need to flush a plastic applicator down the toilet, toss it on your lawn instead.

Oh yes, that's right sista. I am mad now. And it's not even the "time of the month".

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The serotonin South Shore.

When I moved here in 1989 to attend the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, I had an old Toyota cargo van and a clean slate.

I had never stepped foot east of Quebec before, so everything was new. And exciting. My heart was freshly broken and by moving East, I managed to leave alot of emotional baggage back on the curb in Ontario. That was what I kept telling myself anyway.

When I wasn't at school, or slinging beer at the Granite Brewery, I would toss a duvet and a few pillows in the van and head out. I had no clue where I was going. Ever. But I didn't care. Sometimes I ended up in Cape Breton. Outside of Tatamagouche at a Jost tent event. In Annapolis Royal. In a bar that used to be an oil drum somewhere on the foggy Eastern Shore. Maybe I dreamt that one. In Petite Riviere. At a Gaelic College. I was like a baby discovering toes.

What really struck me as odd was how many Haligonians stuck around the city most of the time. Oh sure, some went here and there to cottages, or "down" to Cape Breton to see family, but I was accustomed to the mass evacuation North that happened every Friday in Toronto, all year round. Why stay in any city, unless it's Venice or Paris, when you don't have to.

Which is how I felt yesterday as we wheeled out of town toward White Point and this sunny porch I am now sitting on.

The boys, of course, were hungry the minute the car started to move and they were leaning toward a Not-So-Happy-Meal at McD's. But I had other plans. The truck normally heads to Juliens, or the Rope Loft in Chester but again, my mind was already racing toward Mahone Bay.

It's a fact: nothing cures a broken heart like a warm blueberry scone. Or mushroom paté. Or a butter tart. Or a cinnamon bun. Or those peas you can shell while driving, tossing the pods and your bitterness out the window.

I was heading to JoAnn's Market in the heart of Mahone Bay.

Having owned Wholly Mackerel for several years, I knew I would find peace amongst the familiar flowers and raspberries and coconut cream pies. At the market, I also found my old neighbour Racheal Whynot, all grown up and gorgeous, home from her first year at StFX. Time flies. The last time I looked, she was eight.

With one glance, the boys quickly got over their Big Mac attack, ordering custom sandwiches, cupcakes and sucking back Propeller root beer like college freshmen. I couldn't decide whether to go healthy or head straight to the bake case, but in the end I opted for spanikopita and some mushroom paté. I drove down the coast dipping my Julien's toasts into the creamy paté, happy as a pig in shit. As a bonus, Jack hates icing, so I got to eat the top of his cupcake, proving once again, he is indeed the love of my life.

We arrived here at White Point slightly before tee time. The lads made it very clear, very nicely, that I was not necessarily needed on the golf course.

I got dumped. Kicked to the curb. Not even an "I'll call ya".

Having been dumped before, I knew solace was easily found on the South Shore.

I found Doug and Danny up at the Lodge and quickly tucked in to some lively banter and a little Jost Muscat. A business meeting. Doug and Danny and I have been in a three-way work relationship, getting on one another's nerves, going on 14 years now. The longest relationship I have had with anyone.

The Resort is doing well these days despite record numbers of Americans staying at home staring at their own financial statements. It seems locals are sticking close to home as well, opting for a trip to the South Shore of Nova Scotia, instead of the south of France. Looking out at the beach and the clear blue sky I think, why would anyone want to be anywhere else.

As I sit here nursing my 4th coffee, I think the weather man is a drunk, as it may already be too hot to golf. I hope the boys try and dump me again. This day has "take your big fat ass to beach" written all over it.

The sadness and bitterness about canceling my own trip home to my beloved Georgian Bay is fading away. Besides, I might have bumped into the asshole who dumped me and what fun would that be.

Rumour has it, he still loves me. Or maybe I dreamt that.

JoAnn's Market in downtown Mahone Bay is well worth the drive, just for a coffee and a blueberry scone.
White Point is a 90-minute drive from downtown, or 100 minutes if you pull off the highway to mend a broken heart with a slab of asshole pie.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Does dating assholes qualify me as a proctologist.

First of all, I'd like to examine the asshole who invented golf.

And just to save you ladies time and money, an "Executive" course does not mean a parking lot full of hot looking, successful executives looking for a little fun on a Tuesday afternoon. I wore my best sports bra for nothing.

To summarize golf in a nutshell – it is stupid. The ball is too hard and too small. The cup is too small and waaay too far away. A net would have made more sense. The drink chick driving the John Deere hauling cold ones doesn't take credit cards. Or, at least my credit card. Five holes is enough already. There's too much bending over with no reward. And there's nothing to do between swings, or in my case, between hitting the turf repeatedly with a over-priced stick. And for this you pay money. Lots of money.

But the clothes are no longer frumpy, in fact they are really nice now. And I cleared the lake on the 18th. And my kid LOVES it, so I am sticking with it. So be prepared for more musings from the 19th hole.

And I promise not to say asshole for an entire week if you do a couple of things: If you are a man, bend over and take one for the team by having a prostate exam. If you are a woman, make sure the man you love finally succumbs to having something shoved up his hole-in-one for a change. Then, please sponsor me in Sunday's Father's Day Run for Prostate Cancer. Click on the image of the fat ass humped over in the garden up to the right. It'll take you straight to my pledge page. I know it's a recession and you already gave to whatever, but how often do I ask for anything except a little lovin' now and again. Besides, I have a beautiful boy who, despite his insistance on wearing the same boxers for several days and being a goalie, well, I'd love for him to live forever.

And, let's face it. Women already outlive men by about ten years. That's ten long years of no chance of ever having even bad sex again (hey I am already there!) and a decade of listening to old women whining about book club and hot flashes. And besides, mens' nose hairs are so cute when they get older, about the time when their pants finally start to rise up instead of down.

And as we all know, most men are assholes, so if prostate cancer weeds out even a few of the good ones, then what will we be left with.


Prostate cancer is the number one cancer threat to Canadian men. (Besides women with sharp knives who refused to sign a pre-nup). Please support me by making a secure online donation. Click on the link below:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In hindsight, I could have earned my tourniquet badge.

You know you really have nothing to say when you begin with, "I read an article once...".

I read an article once, a few winters ago, in Esquire magazine. Written by a man, the article was about women. (I could say here it was a short article but I won't. Too predictable.) In it, he wrote about a sort-of test he gave women on first dates. It tested their sense of humour, or lack thereof. He also used it as a measure to see if he had any chance at all of getting lucky.

The test was a joke. If his date laughed, things were looking up. If she didn't laugh, he'd likely be going home alone. Soon.

The joke, more of a statement really, went like this: Never trust an animal that can bleed for 5 days and not die.

He was of course, talking about women.

I admit, I laughed when I read that joke. I thought it was clever and funny. But keep in mind, I have often been accused of behaviour more in keeping with a man, than a woman. I was, after all, Grade Nine shot put champion. Looking back, that moment of brute strength pretty much ruined me for ever being considered desirable. Men lust after cheerleaders, not shot put champs that could laugh at a crude joke.

Am I betraying the sisterhood when I say love being with men? By being, I mean hanging around, even fully clothed. I like their simplicity. I like their suits. I like their five o'clock shadows. And except for that post-hockey, pre-shower, dead muskrat aroma, I like the way men smell. I also like the ease with which men hang out together. Watching football. Playing golf. Fishing. Growing up as a tomboy, and until this very day, I love being one of the guys.

Maybe it's because women are too complicated. We have too many holes. Too many emotions. We read too much into things. Or maybe it's because I loved my Dad. Who the hell knows. I know you reach a certain stage in life when it's not cool for a single woman to just hang out with guys. That's called being a slut, even though that may not be the intention. I really did want to play pool! But then at the nursing home, it'll be cool again. Especially when there's only one guy left.

I played in a women's doubles tennis match this past weekend, and it made me realize I actually should have been a man. I like to hit the ball hard. I like to sweat, get the job done, then go home and have a few cold ones. I don't need to hang around and cuddle.

This weekend, one of our opponents arrived quite late, then had to leave the court mid-match for a good 15 minutes. She didn't have equipment failure. Or an urgent message from Bernie Madoff. Nor did one of her children fall off of the jungle gym and break a limb. Our opponent left the court to take a feminine hygiene break.

This would never happen in a men's match. Men would stick to the rules. Besides, if a man was bleeding so profusely he had to leave the tennis court, he would die. Or he would seek the comfort of a comely nurse with a heaving bosom. Then he would go home, take a Midol, crack a beer, and then die. Simple as that.

At the time, I was sympathetic, and of course, gracious under pressure, all the while gritting my teeth, thinking my usual, "what the fuck". Had the tables been turned, would this ultra-competitive woman have allowed such a breakage of the rules? By the time our stigmata-inclined opponent made it back onto the court I was so mad I couldn't see straight. I started swinging at the ball like I was the one with the raging hormones, a big red zit, and serious blood loss. In hindsight, I should have reeled off that joke before play resumed. Just as a test.

Let's remember, this wasn't Wimbledon. Was the need to prove oneself so great? Some folks might congratulate this woman for forging on regardless. Folks that don't know the rules of the game. Some bra-burning, Birkenstock-clad, no scents freaks might even say, "good for her".

I say, it was bloody rude.

Look at the calendar. Geezus, by the time you are old enough to play in the Women's "Never Going to See 29 Again" category, you should know your body. You should know a light day from a fucking tsunami. Even Jack knows to stop, tuck and roll when the big blue box arrives in the bathroom. Be prepared. Why do you think the Boy Scouts of America have that as their motto! Every 28 days a man needs to be just as ready as we do. To run.

Fifteen minutes or more, of my time, on a sunny weekend, was wasted. Fifteen minutes I'll never get back. Time that could have been spent climbing trees, or riding a white horse in a white bikini, or at home with my feet up, watching the game, scratching my tennis balls.

I know I am supposed to be talking about small businesses but I really couldn't think of a business to tie in here except for maybe the NSLC or Shopper's Drug Mart or the Boy Scouts and they all seem to be holding their own (!) in the recession.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I scream Sunday.

Rolling from addiction to addiction is hell.

My obsession with seeing Sidney and Marc-Andre Fleury hoist the coveted punchbowl is over, leaving me trembling with every possible symptom of withdrawal.

As a result, Saturday night at our house without Don Cherry or Hockey Night in Canada was pure hell. We sat on the couch sweating, staring at one another like two virgins on an awkward, sober first date.

Gone were the chips, the dip, and the giant-size bottle of Mountain Dew. Gone were the fabulous highs and the gut-wrenching lows. Even Murphy crawled out from under the sleeping bag and headed home.

The party was over. What ever would we talk about if not hockey? Jack doesn't give a rat's ass about tennis, finding me an affordable nursing home somewhere in a Tuscan vineyard, HGTV, back splash tiles, art, fabric, bankruptcy, Prince Harry, or cellulite.

I don't care about paintball, X-Box, the Lakers, NASCAR, golf, UFC Undisputed 2009, street hockey, poker, Wipeout, football, wearing the same socks for 12 days, boxing, or McDonald's 10-piece nugget meals.

We were clearly at a crossroad in a once perfect, 13-year relationship.

Waking up Sunday all crusty-eyed and rested up after a good night sleep, you could already cut the air with a knife. The silence was deafening even to the elephant in the room. And I needed a fix.

Good thing I knew exactly where to go. To the waterfront. Where the Mayor's raw sewage meets the underbelly of society in search of instant gratification.

I needed ice cream. Big chunks of nuts or fudge in a vanilla base. Some caramel maybe. Too much chocolate makes me thirsty and we were out of Dew. I needed ice cream in a bad way. And I needed it in a waffle cone.

Little did my unsuspecting roommate know, I'd been sneaking off to Pinky's in Point Pleasant Park for weeks now. Walking the dogs. As if. Fuck the dogs. They'd been sitting in the car with the windows up – drooling – watching me scarf back waffle cones so fast the minimum-wage summer help sprouted heat-related stress acne trying to keep up.

It wasn't long before Jack too was worshipping at the altar of all things summer. With green eyes glazed over, he was frothing at the mouth, following the scooper like a puck on a Sports Centre recap. I watched his face as he headed toward the truck, smiling, with a double waffle cone, half- mocha, half-Grizzly Tracks. "Mom, we can't go yet, Pinky's has fries."


Suddenly, we were sitting together looking at the water, chatting about old times like long-lost lovers. The conversation was lively and moved from the benefits of vinegar (for holding on the salt), to how the ice cream drips out the bottom of the waffle cone, signaling time to pass the puck to the dogs waiting patiently in the cheap seats.

Screw hockey. This is ice cream season.

Pinky's is locally-owned and has 5 locations in HRM including Point Pleasant Park and the Dingle. I met the owner and he must be a pusher, because Pinky's is even at a couple of local rinks.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Giddy up.

One nice thing about middle age is, by now, most men I know have finally succumbed to bending over so a doctor with fat, hairy fingers could probe their asses like a homeless guy trying to get a quarter out of a pay phone.

About time.

Can you imagine the whining if men had to endure a prostate exam and a mammogram? (Fellas, if you want to know what that feels like, go outside right now and slam your dick in the car door. Twice.)

By 40, most women have had more metal objects and foreign fingers up their orifices than Heidi Fleiss. And Heidi probably got the occasional Cartier tennis bracelet. Or dinner.

Add florescent lighting to the humiliation of having your spider-veined legs in oven mitt-clad stirrups, and you can pretty much see why women eventually want a magnum of wine, candlelight, jewelry, dishes done, a nanny, a new husband, a trip south, granite countertops, Grand Marnier, new stainless steel appliances, or a Colin Firth movie before caving in to any form of post-Hockey Night in Canada intimacy.

Then there's the speculum. You know. The shiny, metal car jack doctors keep in the mini bar right up until they shove it where the sun ever shines. Is it any wonder we get jumpy when we see white paper placemats, or hear the words, "scooch down a bit".

But, enough. I am here to tell you that there is relief. In Bedford. And it's not the Chickenburger. It's, Best of Being, Wellness Studio + Spa.

My friend Michelle enlightened me about Dr. Alison McCallum's softly-lit oasis for the over-probed and under appreciated multi-taskers of the world. I love the wise Doc just for thinking of a warm, inviting, Oil, Lube and Filter pit-stop for women. Imagine being able to get a bikini wax and a blood pressure test at the same time.

Or... wait for it... a Pap & Pedi!

Yes ladies, those of us who have had to breast feed while driving and phoning your boss to explain why you will be late, all the while applying lipstick, now have another way to kill two birds with one stone. A gal can now lie back in a soothing spa environment while MSI covers the Pap smear part. Then a licensed esthetician whips out the "See ya later, Sailor" red polish and pampers your tired old dogs until your toes are tantalizingly perfect. All in the same appointment.

The list of services at Best of Being reads like a healthy Baskin & Robbins menu. Things you need. Things you want. Things that will leave you begging for more.

Now, if they added pizza to the Pap & Pedi, life would be swell. Or a drive thru! You could just pull up, roll down the window and stick your legs in the air.

Did you want fries with that?

Best of Being Wellness Studio & Spa is at 30 Damascus Road in Bedford, Unit 113
Phone 835-BEST (2378) or check it out online at:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What's love got to do with it.

I spent most of Sunday humped over in a near doggie position. I was playing tennis, so nothing juicy to report on that dismal front. My butt cheeks and thighs are sore today though, even after letting my partner do most of the work.

Come to think of it, tennis is a bit like sex from what I can remember. Hot. Repetitive. Hard on the knees when done properly. And "love", well, that's just another word for 'somebody's going down here and it's likely going to be me'.

We were in a mixed doubles tournament. Like having Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean on the same side of the net. Sort of, except Billie Jean wore the big boy pants in that match up, if I recall. Anyway, it's hard to tell whether men who willingly play alongside – or opposite – a member of the "weaker" sex actually like women, or secretly loathe us, and it is their intent to step out onto the court to humiliate (or woo) with manly power serves and beastly grunts.

I wonder.

But I don't really care. I was doing some beastly grunting myself. In fact, my partner told me to stop talking during the point. I think, by that, he meant stop swearing like I was giving birth to a big Tonka truck, when on the extremely rare occasion I missed my shot. I think I have what is commonly known as Tennis Tourete's Syndrome. It's a temporary, yet uncontrollable urge to yell things like, "sonofabitchbuggershitpisscrapfuckshit" all the while wearing a short, white pleated skirt with matching panties. (My apologies go out to Betty Hall for my for my drunken sailor language.)

Which brings me to tennis attire. To say I am a huge fan is, well, true. Any sport that encourages big-boned, "athletic" women to wear bullet-proof bras and stretchy skirts with built-in girdles is alright with me. I am waiting for the winter line of tennis pants, and tennis evening wear.

I managed to make it though five matches without a court violation, or a fist fight, but I doubt my partner will ever play with me again. I think it's from having to look at the back of my thighs and my ass humped over in his face all day. Even from a few strides away that must have been enough of a shock to to send the poor bastard running back to men's doubles. Or singles. Or badminton. Or worse.

Which makes me think of Renée Richards. Remember her, er, him, er, her. Lovely person. Her legal hissy fit after being banned by the US Tennis Association did wonders for transsexual rights. Renée would have been the perfect doubles partner. Cute outfits, but whacked the ball like she still had a pair under the matching lace panties.

I'd better run. It's election day in Havenot. The ball's in my court. Can't help but thinking no matter where my ball lands today, it'll be game over.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I particularly liked the part where Macbeth's head blew off.

Taxes, a pair of pamphlet-toting Jehovah's Witnesses and a tainted, shrimp cocktail ring had me thinking about the end of the world this week. 

The Jehovah's came to my door last Friday and invited me to their "Survive the End of the World" shindig. I told them I didn't go out much and I had nothing to wear and it sounded a tad gloomy even for my party tastes, so maybe they put a curse on me. I saw the female half of the couple jotting something down as she walked away in her scuffed-up, crepe-soled Clark's muttering about the devil and Mark 13:37.

Anyway, I blame those drip-dry doomsayers for my subsequent marathon worshipping of the tile grout on my bathroom floor. Fifteen hours of shrimp cocktail flashbacks and I didn't lose a pound. There is no God.   

And, just to wrap up this miserable week of income tax preparation and tummy troubles, I am in exam hell. Moments after the sea of bile subsided, Jack arrived home from Quebec hockey just in time to torture me with two weeks of exams.   

Now, explain this: here's a bright kid who can rhyme off stats for every player and team in college basketball, the NFL, major league baseball, cricket, rugby, hockey, ping pong, lesbian ringette and darts. Ask him to cough up ten French vocabulary words or the three colours in the additive colour model and he is suddenly Forrest Gump's stupid cousin with the lazy eye.

To make things worse, Jack will do anything to avoid studying. He turns into the ADHD poster boy at exam time. He'd mow every lawn in the neighbourhood. Unload the dishwasher. He'll even play tennis with his mother. Anything to avoid cracking the books. 

But here's the real bile buster. Yesterday, "we" were studying for English. Macbeth. Only, he hasn't read the play. Oh, not his fault this time. The English teacher told them Shakespeare wasn't meant to be read. So they watched the cartoon in class instead. They studied Macbeth without reading the book. In Grade Eight. In private school. I am so mad, those three Macbeth witches look like virgins by comparison. But I am too tired to fight Catholics. They're as crazy as the Jehovah's.  

So that's been my week, cooped up and cranky as all get out. And there's been so much going on! There's the local election bullshit, and another freak show, the Cirque Du Soleil is in town and I was too cranked up on Pepto Bismal to talk about how I hate freaky circus acts and the mistreatment of circus bears and elephants, and how skinny little French circus people really piss me off. 

I missed an entire week of frothing at the mouth because I RSVP-ed "fuck off" to a couple of door-knocking Watchtower floggers.

I even missed taking a stab at not-so-Natural blonde Resources Minister Lisa Raitt for offing her underpaid (and better looking) assistant for not picking up her dry cleaning, er, her Atomic Energy documents. 

But don't let me stop you. Go have some fun. I'll be okay. I have soup. Go join the Halifax V-Day happenings and help the global movement to stop violence against women and girls. Start by going to see “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer”. It's a follow up to the Vagina Monologues at Neptune Theatre, June 8. 

Guys love vagina chit chat, so be sure to take a date and watch him squirm.

I'm feeling better already.

For more V-Day Festival Information and Events go to
If you want to know if the end of the world is near; vote NDP; answer your door; or pick up a shrimp ring at Sobeys and thaw it in the fridge for a few days. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

You don't look a day over thirty six.

Damn you Marilyn. Of all people to share a birthday with, I of course, get stuck with you. 83 years old and still fascinating. I walk in a room next to you and I may as well be the dead one. Those lips. That voice. Those gravity-defying breasts. Ah, hell, had I been blessed in the looks department, I'd keep my kisser in that perpetual blowing motion too.  

We share this day, you and I. Well, you and me and thank god, Andy of Mayberry. Only, you probably never scarfed back birthday cake like Matlock and I plan to. Andy and I will be fighting over the big corner piece with all the roses while you sit there nibbling seductively on a maraschino cherry humming "Happy Birthday... Mr. President". Betcha JFK didn't get any sugar from his First Lady after that birthday surprise. But who needs the confectionery satisfaction of  a grocery store cake when you are drop-dead gorgeous. Perhaps a bad choice of words.

No, when you get right down to it, we're just a couple of flakey Geminis. Happy. Sad. Happy. Sad. Happy. Who in their right mind could keep up with that much unharnessed emotion? Marilyn, you may have actually out crazied me. You lost to sad. 

But, unlike me Marilyn, you epitomized sexy. You're still workin' it at 83. Vivacious even as a Norma, girlfriend, you oozed feminine charm like a festering boil and even smart men swooned like idiots. Presidents. Baseball greats. Playwrights. They didn't even notice you weren't a real blonde. Hell, they didn't care. Apparently you even dyed your pubic hair blonde, although I am sure when you got right down to it, no one would care if your drapes didn't match the carpet. Hell girl, you got more roses after you were dead than I have received in my lifetime. 

My dogs like to lick my legs when I get out of the shower. Mind you they also lick the toilet seat. Never mind. I can't compete.
You will always be young and beautiful, Marilyn. 

But today, I get to eat cake.