Thursday, December 31, 2009

Visualize this.

Apparently my attempt at business commentary fell flat, with several people kindly suggesting that in the rapidly approaching new year, I stick with what I know. Themes like: cellulite, celibacy, dependency, cake, insolvency, lunacy, rage, spite, revenge, bloating, overindulgence, Catholic bashing, havoc, feelings of inadequacy, lechery, adultery, sloth, pride, lust, envy, men, gluttony, alcoholism, gravity, a desire to murder one's child, greed, extravagance, bowel irregularities at inopportune times, and not-so-divine interventions.

That should take me into mid-February, when fucking Valentine's rears it's ugly cherubic head, and I wake up face down in a pool of half-priced ganache, tears, and vomit. 'Plenty to talk about when it comes to love.

In the meantime, I am ripping a page out of Alex Rodriguez's play book and utilizing the art of visualization as I slide into home plate and 2010. I figure if it works for A-Rod, it'll work for me – in fact – I started last night.

Somehow a half mickey of vodka escaped my household purging, so yesterday I tossed a jug of diet (!) tonic water and a few limes (for scurvy) into my shopping cart loaded with tater tots, chicken strips and all things beige. First of all, you know it's been a bad year when the Christmas bar was stocked with mickeys, but we're movin' on. I went home, threw some beige slop at the little bastard, sliced up a few limes and poured myself a vodka and tonic on the rocks.

Next, I cleared a space on the couch and sat down to begin the art of visualization. Since the only other time or place I'd be idly sipping a vodka and tonic would be on a airplane, I closed my eyes, took a sip, and visualized myself in first class, next to a handsome, witty man who adores me.

Visualizing. Visualizing.

My companion is wearing a well-tailored suit and he smells like vanilla and money. My hand is in his lap under the cashmere blanket, and we are cruising at 36,000 feet, heading someplace warm with a pool, and a tennis instructor named Juan Carlos. The little bastard's back in canoe class watching a movie, because for some reason, I am stuck with him even in my visualizations.

I was about to ask the sky pig for a glass of champagne and a pillow, when the dog barked and my eyes flew open to find me not joining the Mile High club with Alec Baldwin, but very much at sea level on a couch covered with dog hair and boogers (never buy a green couch), wearing filthy sweatpants because my jeans are too tight, sipping a 4-ounce vodka and tonic from a chipped coffee mug, wishing I could, once again, afford a cleaning lady.

New Year's Resolution #1: Work on the whole A-Rod life visualization thing. Picture myself happy and healthy, surrounded by people I tolerate and interesting, profitable work. Picture myself traveling more, laughing more, and stressing less. Visualize playing more tennis, a smiling child, kitchen counter tops that match, and a plumper bank account.

Visualize how fucking businesslike and boring I'd be with nothing to complain about.

Happy Next Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pressing the flesh. Or as I like to call it, a hand job.

The recent pulling out of the Cat ferry service from Nova Scotia to Maine has left many tourism operators with their legs in the air.

Bus tours, resorts and local businesses, despite what anyone says, will all feel the pinch from what the NDP described as, well, who gives a shit what the NDP said. It sucks.

2009 has been a year of sucking for many businesses in and around Havenot. To survive this crude form of natural selection, many – including my own – have had to adapt, or die. In my world, traditional advertising has been pushed aside rather rudely, making way for social marketing – like this blog, as difficult as that is for some to swallow.

Gone are the frequent, full-page glossy ads heading to publications south of the border. Gone are seasonal newspaper campaigns – slashed through budget cuts – and the dilemma of cost vs. return. Who is reading? I, for one, now read the National Post and the New York Times online. The Post because it is packed with great writers and (gulp) informative, funny blogs – and besides – the paper version in its recognizable form no longer travels this far east. How fucked up is that? I read the NY Times online because the anticipated heft of clever ads and stylish weekend magazines is now a shadow of its former self – but their website has more layers than a hockey mom at the Devonshire arena.

I sit and watch as Kindles attempt to replace books, and my beloved newspapers and magazines grow thinner and thinner, fighting the cancer that is change.

But change is good. Change is exciting. Change sucks – but only if you let it.

Knowing after a steady, 8-year run that business wasn't just appearing at my door meant I either had to get out more, go work for someone else, or adapt – a more appealing option since the thought of attending rubber chicken dinners and making small talk was like swallowing bile. And as they say, "specialization is for insects". Fortunately, I work in a industry where clients can be around the corner, or around the globe. Good thing. I watched with amazement and horror recently, as a significantly better business quote I brokered was shoved aside, because the job was handed to a friend of a friend. I had nothing to win or lose in this transaction, but it was a wake-up call. The best man doesn't always win, especially if the other man went to school with your Dad's second cousin. Some things, it seems, will never change.

I arrived in Yarmouth by ferry from Bar Harbor in 1989, and I still feel like a foreigner "from away" despite living here, off and on for 20 years. I say, if Nova Scotians want the world to arrive at our door in 2010 and beyond, then we need a welcome mat that can be read from afar, not just by the guy walking by it everyday.

Fuck the Cat. Didn't anyone's uncle's sister-in-law sleep with a shipbuilder?

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's not all that complicated, but it's funny.

Yesterday, seeking asylum from deep thought, children, and all things Christmas, we went to the latest Meryl Streep movie, It's Complicated. We, meaning me and two girlfriends, whose combined weight equals mine, but nevertheless tucked into their individual, large bags of buttered popcorn like starving, premenstrual wolverines. One even poured a large bag of peanut M&M's onto her popcorn, which is why they are my true friends.

Forever leery of people who enter a movie theatre and don't make a beeline for the concession stand, I ask, "what do you do with your hands in the dark, whilst staring at Alec Baldwin, a pre-Letterman Joachim Phoenix, Colin Firth – or if you are so inclined, Angelina Jolie – if you aren't busy eating popcorn?" I would be afraid to find out.

Once nestled all snug in our seats, the trailers may as well have been ads for hormone replacement therapy, because except for maybe the woman with the moustache two rows back, there wasn't whole lot of testosterone happening in Theatre #7. Pity the poor, whipped bastard who would succumb to such a blatant chick flick, with Invictus and Sherlock Holmes rolling just a few doors down.

As usual, the grand dame of all things wonderful, Meryl Streep did not disappoint. And of course, I LOVED Alec Baldwin, who played the charming, successful cad of an ex-hubby in a well-tailored suit – once again proving I am, if nothing else, predictable as hell.

I won't spoil the movie, but go for the popcorn, the set design, Alec Baldwin's wonderfully middle-aged cheatin' hairy chest, and the scene stealer, John Krasinkski from The Office.

More important, go for the hormone replacement therapy one gains from spending a few hours laughing with girlfriends without hearing, "Mom, that's lame" or "ASAP" or "What the fuck have you been eating?" or "Did you ..." followed by a "because" and a request. We stopped at the Lord Nelson Hotel for a glass/bottle of wine on the way home. Neither of the stick chicks had ever been in the gloriously dark and welcoming Victory Arms Pub, despite having grown up in Havenot. My popcorn-laced gut says they'll be back.

My arrival home at 8pm from a 4 o'clock showtime didn't even phase the little bastard. He had been sitting in the next theatre over, watching Invictus, happily farting and scratching his balls, eating a $9 dollar chocolate bar and a large, buttered popcorn. Or as we call it: dinner and a movie.

Why complicate it.

For showtimes:
For drinks:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kicking the habits.

Boxing Day. Having to explain to the plumber why there was a large, partially eaten, dark chocolate Toblerone bar lodged in the toilet would have been embarrassing enough – but the temptation to eat it, even after it was fished out of the pipes would have been overwhelming – which is how I came to flushing it down the toilet in the first place.

Once again, Santa, the prick, failed to deliver me willpower.

Although, as I type this, I am like Gandhi – fasting – which is to say I haven't eaten anything since 10am, except for the candy cane stuck in the dog's fur, which was totally fine after I rinsed the hair off. I'm fasting because we are going to see a movie this afternoon and I need to be hungry for popcorn, or there's really no point in paying $25 bucks to be bitterly disappointed in the dark for an hour and 45 minutes, not including the 50 or so minutes of trailers.

Why do they call them trailers if they come before a movie?

So, as I eagerly await showtime, I have purged our home of all evils of the festive season. Like an Exorcist I have flushed, garburated and pissed all over bobbing shortbreads, egg nog, Clamato, cashews, rum, rum balls, rum cake, Schmirnoff, Absolut, Rondele cheese, cheesies, Swiss cheese and not to discriminate, devilish gingerbread men and women. Our fridge is now back to its pre-season vacuous state of mold, mustard and nothingness. Gandhi would be proud.

If only I could purge my bloated, Mrs. Claus-esque body quite so easily. This next decade I am determined to get back into some sort of shape – preferably not a circle – that doesn't have me shying away from mirrors like a middle-aged vampire. I have a membership waiting to be activated at Palooka's Boxing Club and so far have fabricated an excuse for not attending every class time offered in 2009. Yesterday, I was all geared up for a four o'clock Muay Thai class, but then I realized it was kickboxing, not Polynesian bartending. I don't think I could raise my leg in the air even if I was lying down with Andy Roddick.

The Courtyard Tennis and Fitness Club have also planned a timely, 2-day tennis Boot Camp, January 2 & 3rd and barring a tsunami, alcohol poisoning or an unplanned pregnancy, I am going. Unless of course, there's traffic, something good on TV, cramps, a northwest wind or solar eclipse. Space is limited, so hurry and sign up, because I can't go if there aren't any spots left.

But first, it's pop, Nibs, and large popcorn with real butter time. The movie rating says: Not Recommended For Children, and Substance Abuse Topics, which is perfect because the little bastard isn't going and I think I can rescue a few ounces of vodka from the recycling bag.

I'll take a few procrastinating swings at health and fitness tomorrow.

Palooka's Boxing Club offers classes for men, women and children in everything from kickboxing to Boxercise.

The Courtyard Tennis & Fitness Club have drop-in tennis lessons, regular lessons and a large fitness and weight-training facility.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gold, frankincense, and crispy bacon.

Whipping up a tradition from scratch is proving to be a real son of a bitch.

Seldom home on Christmas Eve, this year I decided to stay put, and get a traditional Christmas Eve ritual of our very own – and by ritual – I of course mean food, booze, and something to do before, during and after. A tradition. You know, like sacrificing a lamb while doing tequila shots, then setting off fireworks after the fist fight. That kind of thing.

Christmas Day brunch is covered. I always crack open some bubbly, crank the Christmas tunes and make my labouriously layered asparagus bread – whereupon Jack routinely picks out the green onions, asparagus, cheese and ham – so his brunch is basically warm bread, but who cares. It's a tradition.

But back to Christmas Eve. We sometimes head down to St. Matthew's Church for their rollicking rendition of Bethlehem on Barrrington, but it's indoors this year, and being stuck inside a church without a dead body or a bride, kind of makes me jumpy.

So, since we are winding up our "Mommy needs a fucking break" retreat at White Point, we will soon be passing through uninsured Ford Topaz and lobster country on our way back to Havenot, so I naturally suggested picking up a couple of lobsters.

No. Said the little bastard. Not lobster.

Okay, how about scallops? No. Smoked salmon? No. Tortière? What's that? Nevermind, it's French, what about sushi? No. Fondue? No. We could barbecue some steaks. No.

Okay, asshole, you decide. And since this will be your tradition, that you will in turn inflict upon your own family someday, choose wisely.

Without hesitation, and sporting a big grin, he said, Baconators.

Left to my child, our new Christmas Eve tradition would be Wendy's Baconators, washed down I suppose with Bud Lime, followed by flicking cigarette butts at the pit bull chained out back behind the trailer. I think not.

And, so, our yet-to-be-born tradition remains up in the air this Christmas Eve. Just as the Magi were guided into Bethlehem by a Star, so shall we be guided back to our own little manger by the Golden Arches, a glowing bucket of KFC, or an Anne of Green Gables look-a-like packing a premium bun filled with three 1/4 lb. fresh, never frozen patties, piled high with Applewood smoked bacon, mayo, ketchup, and sliced American cheese.

"Merry fucking Christmas!", shouted Franny, from downstairs.*

Merry fucking Christmas, indeed.

*From John Irving's Hotel New Hampshire. The book, not the movie. Now there was a family with traditions.

Bethlehem on Barrington is 6:30 tonight at St. Matthew's Church, 1479 Barrington Street. It's worth the trip even for Catholics or heathens. Livestock, rock 'n' roll, and a real baby Geezus. Toss some coins into the pot and support their Out of the Cold homeless shelter.
To give:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A cottage of one's own.

Virginia Woolf left a note for her husband, placed a large stone in her pocket, and drowned herself. Had it been late December, instead of March, that note might have said, "Fuck Christmas, Leonard. You deal with it."

I thought of Virginia yesterday, after I wisely swapped picking though the clearance rack at closing time, for picking through White Point beach rocks at low tide.

Placing a large, interesting rock in my pocket, I thought, wouldn't it be my fucking luck to slip and hit my head, accidentally drowning, two days before Christmas.

A tragedy, yes, I look terrible with wet hair – but the good news is – I can swim like a fish, or at least better than Virginia Woolf.

Besides, now that everything is wrapped, Adopt-a-Family looked after, teachers' gifts done, house decorated, groceries purchased, gifts shipped west, coaches gifts homebaked then delivered, bills paid, floors scrubbed, a backlog of work completed, furnace half filled... why the fuck would I kill myself now?

Monday night was a different story.

Monday night found me dropping Jack at hockey practice, leaving 2 hours to run around looking for perfect last-minute gifts with a drained bank account, an egg nog ass, and a deflated spirit. I dashed into strip mall after strip mall, until I finally saw the light. A neon light.

It said Princess Nails.

I wandered into a warm sea of masked Korean faces. Language barrier aside, they took one look at me and pointed to a row of pedicure chairs.

Within minutes, my feet were soaking in warm, soapy water and I was flipping though People magazine in a vibrating chair. It dawned on me that I hadn't done anything nice for myself in a long time. I hadn't treated myself to a pedicure in over a year; a manicure in the last decade; and I haven't had the time or energy to hit a tennis ball, or the gym, in months. I was fat, tired, pale, old, and feeling like a broke and broken loser in a deep, ugly rut.

It was about then, a tiny, masked Korean man wandered over. He picked up my hand and said, in broken English, "Too much stress. You must relax the mind."

No shit Jackie Chan, I thought, and started to cry.

He walked away, returned with his manicure instruments, and proceeded to carve away my cuticles, buffer my jagged edges, and massage my dry claws with warm lotion. I sat silent as he went about his job, speaking in a quiet voice about a book called "Life Before Death" or "Live Before Dying" or something like that. He said I should read it. He went on to say that money kills people because we waste so much time and energy worrying about never having enough. He said I needed to calm my insides. His kind eyes cut through my soul. I hadn't said a word.

I left Princess Nails a bargain $35 dollars (plus tips) lighter, with pretty toes and the weight of the world shifted off of my shoulders, ever so slightly.

Raising the internal white flag and heading to White Point is my Christmas gift to myself. The tag said: You cannot do it all, all the time.

Sometimes you just have to pull the goalie, fill your pockets with interesting stones and keep walking. You should go.
Princess Nails
is at 278 Lacewood Drive next to Nubody's for Women in Clayton Park. 443- 9992. Ask for Shawn, or he'll just find you.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A birthday wish.


I promised you I wouldn't work today, so before you wake up I just need to say something.

You bring me joy. And fear. And laughter. And the smelliest laundry ever.

You caught me off guard, and taught me how to love. And how to be a parent.

I feel your pain, and your happiness, and I'm sorry it took me a month to figure out that the penis goes "down" in the diaper.

I'm sorry I get road rage. And burn your food. And make you go to bed before it's truly dark out.

And your lovely nanny Linda just called from Australia. I'm sorry for that time she almost hit the school bus head on, driving on the wrong side of the road. And the time she lit your beach towel on fire. But she taught you how to play cricket, and how to pop a cork, and the lyrics to "Shitty, Bugger, Bum".

I'm also sorry I took you backpacking to Italy instead of Disneyland. And to Wimbledon, instead of Disneyland. Actually that's a lie, I am not sorry. Someday you'll understand that Disneyland sucks. Trust me.

Trust that I will also always, always be there for you. No one, or no thing, will ever stand in the way of your happiness. Even money, and a career with nice clothes, and the hope of ever dating again.

Oh, I hear the pitter patter of size 12 feet.

Fourteen. Oh my God, two more years and you'll be driving.

Be safe, and healthy, and happy, my beautiful birthday boy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Losing your maraschino cherry.

Oh my God try this.

No thanks.

No, really. Just taste it.

No thank you. I'm not hungry.

Who cares, it's homemade for chrissakes.

I'm not hungry.

What does hunger have to do with it... it's fucking chocolate covered peanut brittle?

I'm not hungry. No one eats when they're not hungry.

Oh yes they most certainly do you little turd. How do you think those fat asses on that Biggest Loser show you watch got to be 356 pounds.


And with that, the little bastard just walked away, all skin and bone leaving me with half a decorative plate of holiday treats and a big fat load of guilty pleasure.

So begins the portion of the festive season we can safely call, bingeing.

Holiday baking for me would be a last-minute trip south to an all-inclusive. I lean toward salty and savoury, and the little bastard leans toward Wagon Wheels and anything beige smothered in Swiss Chalet gravy. But when the meals on wheels arrive at our door in the form of holiday sweets for shut ins, I tuck into it like a diabetic sliding into a coma.

This week I ate the icing off two cupcakes, 12 rum balls, the aforementioned peanut brittle, a box of pistachio baklava that was better than sex, and 47 shortbreads.

And, while it's nice to have things on hand for when guests drop in, that's why God invented alcohol and Cheesies. And stollen.

Okay I confess I had no idea what stollen was until enlightened by Laura at Julien's Bakery. I did a little research to find the original holiday fruit cake/bread was fashioned to mirror a swaddled, colic-ridden baby Jesus by the good folks who invented the Holocaust – but nevermind – today it is a heavyweight of sheer deliciousness sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Julien's also flog gorgeous, handmade dark and milk chocolates with orange peel, or ginger, or who cares if there's a fucking bandaid in there, it's chocolate! While you are there, pick up plum pudding, real gingerbread men, Bûche de Noël and fruitcake you'd actually want to eat – then pass it all off as homemade.

Sure, it's loaded with sugar and butter and freakishly coloured cherries, but nothing says Christmas like sticking your finger down your throat.

Try it!

Julien's Bakery is in the Hydrostone Market on Young Street in Halifax and also in downtown Chester, and also at the Saturday morning Farmer's Market in Halifax. Call ahead to avoid the inevitable disappointment that comes with the holidays. 455.9717

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tinsel town.

With an hour to kill between depositing the little bastard and the puck drop, I had this brilliant idea to do a little pre-game holiday shopping.

My time tolerance for shopping is approximately 18 minutes, but I was having a 70's flashback and tinsel is rumoured to be quite lethal to cats. I have plans to festoon my shrubbery until it looks like Liberace's living room, with hopes it will put an end to Mr. fucking Furball using my garden as a litter box – or as my dogs call it – the all-you-can-eat-cat-shit-buffet.

There was no way I was going near the mall, so the tinsel would have to wait (Canadian Tire 1.99 a box) but there's a cluster of great independent shops within a few blocks of the rink, so off I went. Almost merrily.

Let me just say something. Walmart is currently open 24 hours a day. It's founder, Sam Walton died a very, very wealthy man. It's a recession. Store owners are constantly whining. So why in the name of Christ were all the small, independent shops closed at 6:45 pm, ten days before Christmas?

The Hydrostone mini mall was in darkness, with the exception of the Chrysalis Spa and Skin Care Centre. I was going to head in – just because – but I couldn't think of who would appreciate me getting my blackheads squeezed as a gift. I drove around the block and down another street where I knew a few designer-type places had settled, thinking surely to God people with that much good taste would have the sense to be open.

Darkness. Not even festive window displays. Even Jack's beloved fly fishing store was shut up tighter than a duck's ass.

Oh, Havenot, you charming, colonial asshole of the Earth.

So I retreated back to the rink parking lot where I sat listening to the financially-strapped, federally-funded, commercial-free CBC, watching the windshield wipers go back and forth, back and forth, merrily thinking of all the money I saved, and all the cats I could kill for $1.99.

The Chrysalis Spa and Skin Care Centre is located in the Hydrostone, 5521 Young Street. 902.446.3929. Go get your blackheads squeezed or order up some gift certificates, just because!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The resurrection.

The water cooler in my kitchen sends forth large gurgling bubbles from deep within, similar to the sound my golden retriever makes just before he pukes up a squirrel, a diaper, or the entire carcass of – I'm guessing – a nice two pound lobster, like he did this morning.

Yesterday was garbage day in Havenot and I am not sure who enjoys it more, me or the dog. While he loves to binge curbside, I love the purging of all things no longer needed on this voyage. Freezer burnt Pizza Pops. Gray bras. Suspicious mustards. Defunct Christmas lights. And holey socks.

The gurgling is less noticeable by day, what with the constant clicking of the keyboard and house sounds; dogs puking, washing machines churning, bills mounting. Yesterday though, I stuck a Christmas CD in the television DVD slot and Charlie Brown's Christmas tunes drowned out the water cooler. I never would have thought to play music on the TV but upon discovering my trusty ol' mini stereo had suddenly kicked the bucket conveniently before garbage day, I was about to have one of those hissy fits brought on by circumstance, when the little bastard merely glided a CD into the TV, mixed my first nog of the season, Mom, say when... Mom... say when... and without further incident, we set up the tree.

The Venetian gondolier. The Beefeater from the Tower of London. The rasta Santa. No, sadly, not global sexual conquests – Christmas ornaments. Jack and I have have been picking up ornaments on our travels since he was tiny, although he noted we haven't gone anywhere this year. Thanks for reminding me. Rising from the ashes of the Tupperware storage box came an Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and an olive wood crèche from the Christmas Eve I spent drinking holy wine in Bethlehem, long before I gave birth my own miserable little Christmas miracle.

This year, as we were going down memory lane hanging ornaments, I told Jack that someday, when I am dead and he is married to some miserable bitch that reminded him of his mother, NOT to toss the ornaments away on garbage day. Instead, give them to Simone, my BFF.

My best friend forever and I have been exchanging ornaments since she was passing through a thankfully brief David Bowie phase, and I wore painter pants and braided pigtails. Jack isn't as sentimental about her button angel or the portly ballerina with one broken wing, but they symbolize a precious friendship that has endured time, distance, and rare differences of opinion. Simone and I spoke last night for the first time in way too long and she commented that this ridiculous blog makes her feel like she is in touch, and how it feels like our lives are somehow in synch. Poor bitch to have a life in synch with mine.

We had agreed not to exchange gifts this year for financial reasons, but after hanging up the phone I thought, fuck that. Nothing else matters more.

Damn. Had I not been so hasty tossing out that gray bra, I could have fired up the glue gun and added a little sparkle to the stray elastic. Or reconstructed the lobster with twist ties, bile, and a ribbon for hanging it on her tree.

So today, everyone who wants something done by noon can fuck off. I am heading down to Frame-it, or Thornbloom to search for this year's perfect ornament.

Simone, you look great. I got an email from Amanda. Say hi to Arielle. Go hike in Loree for me. Everything will be fine. I heard about Fred. What's with your hair. Don't forget our Mother's birthdays this week. I love you.

Our checkered past will soon be in the mail.

Thornbloom, if you haven't been this year, is like Santa's workshop full of gorgeous ornaments ranging in price from bankrupt to break the bank.

Frame-it have tartan bears, skiing beavers and glamourous fairies – all worth a trek to their 3 locations. www.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Breathing sweet life into a Saturday, mourning.

There's a bitter bitch of a wind rolling off the ocean this morning, making the walk seem more like skiing without a hat. That's good by the way, skiing without a hat. Plus, the sun is shining and am happy to say I'm one leg up on H1N1 after switching from cough syrup to mulled wine with lemons, even though breathing is still a bit of a chore.

I just wanted to apologize publicly to Alex Weld who had the misfortune of seeing me in a towel. A small towel. Alex personally delivered a large, glass jar of kimchi soup that looked like a lab experiment and smelled like a Korean whorehouse – not that I've been to one. The jar sat on the counter for a while because it even looked intimidating, but I eventually succumbed to exotic aroma of hot peppers and cabbage. It was like eating liquid fire, and cut though the clutter in my lungs like hot knives. Thanks Alex, I'll chip in for the therapy required to erase the image of my less than whorish Korean figure from your mind.

Thank you as well to the anonymous gift giver. The Obama action figure was warmly received, although not as much as a life-size Obama blow-up doll would have been. If you squint and imagine him with his pants around his ankles, he kind of looks like Tiger Woods.

I saw Obama and Jesus and Godfather action figures at Sweet Janes last night, when I went in for a dose of happy. I wasn't looking to buy anything in particular, but Sweet Janes has an exciting Korean whorehouse air about it and you'd be hard pressed not to leave there with a big grin on. I did manage to pick up a few gifts and I also learned something about barley candy – apparently a much-loved tradition if you grew up in Havenot. I sampled a piece of a broken Santa lollipop, still made locally. It tasted like cotton candy mixed with happy.

I hope Jane Thompson left here happy. Jane is the "sweet" and the Jane in Sweet Janes and was one of the most beautiful creatures ever to grace this Earth. Jane and her brother Robbie both lost their battle with Cystic Fibrosis, putting truth to the phrase that only the good die young. Jane was the founder of Sweet Janes and I thought of her this morning as I often do in the park, more so as I struggled to breathe in the bitchy wind. And, I most certainly thought of her last night as I entered the whimsical store that is a living, breathing testament to her zest for living.

Tomorrow, December 13th, you can do your bit for Cystic Fibrosis and possibly win a trip to see 3 NHL games just by purchasing a $10 ticket at the Tim Horton's Hockey Jamboree. Tickets will be on sale from 10:30 am to 2:30pm in front of Tim Horton's at the Metro Centre, or you can get them from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Atlantic chapter.

My little bastard was in the Timbit's Jamboree way back when, and it was there I realized that above all else, he wanted to be a goalie. In every single photo I have of my reluctant little defenseman, he is standing in front of an empty net, just as he did this morning.

Looking at the pictures, I thank my lucky stars. I can almost hear him breathing in and out, in and out, happy as a kid in a candy store.

For tickets to the Cystic Fibrosis Hockey draw being held in January, you can email or call 902-425-2462. They will deliver.

For a dose of happy and some awesome gifts and stocking stuffers, head to Sweet Janes on Doyle Street, conveniently located by the Port of Wines. Sweet Janes will also deliver happy to all the miserable people on your list.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ח' נרות והלכה כבית הלל

We're into the double digits of December, which means it's okay to drink egg nog before noon. Alcoholism from now until January 1st is considered acceptable "holiday cheer". It also means time to crank up the other spirit.

Easy enough for Zero Mostel to dance around singing the praises of Tradition!. Zero was Jewish, and smart Purim cookies that they are, Jews have it all over and done with in 8 tidy, fire-retardant days. Plus they get to eat fried food and jam-stuffed doughnuts.

We pagan Christian agnostic cynical atheist sentimental Gemini single mothers are not so lucky. We have to drag this thing out from the first flap of the mandatory cardboard advent calendar until January 1. And since I have been known to toss the tree out into the yard on Boxing Day, I ask, why does our NHL advent calendar has 32 waxy chocolate days?

Most of our traditions were lost in our move to Toronto-and-back last year, and while I have been scrambling to replace our mantle Santa and handmade stockings, it occurs to me that many of our fucked-up family traditions centre around being too far away from loved ones, hockey, and food.

Now don't start picturing Martha Stewart getting down with Norman Rockwell because for starters we don't even have a table. My first tradition is to crank up the oven and make the traditional Bits & Bites, or as I call them Burnt Offerings. (Jack calls them, "Mom, no one likes those but you.) I lay these tabasco, salt, butter, and more salt treats on the neighbours, the local senior shut-ins and the hockey coaches, and while I usually pick out all the cashews and cheese thingies before I load them into empty cigarette cartons and stick on a bow, the occasional burnt Shreddie does escape. But it's a tradition.

Next is the holiday shopping downtown. I avoid the mall at all costs because I hate the mall as much as I hate shopping, but I do find a hearty hour of shopping downtown is bearable when followed by a boozy two-hour brunch at The Lord Nelson Hotel. For instance, renting art for someone special and art deprived means you can can be in and out of the Art Sales & Rentals at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and seated in a dimly-lit, comfy booth in under 15 minutes. David Lacey is December's artist of the month and his landscapes trump a new toaster any day. Plus the Gallery Gift Shop is loaded with local handiwork and beats the hell out of sweating it out in Future Shop.

The post-shopping brunch at The Lord Nelson is a tradition for us, and now that the little bastard has discovered Eggs Benedict I can't wait to introduce him to their Lobster Eggs Benedict, or as I call it, The Lord Nelson's Prayer. Brunch at this fabulous old hotel comes with a complimentary Caesar or champagne. Deliver us from extra-spicy evil.

I made a turkey dinner once when we lived in San Francisco and what a fucking absolute waste of time that was. I slaved for the entire day beginning at dawn. I made pies, and cranberry sauce that didn't come in the shape of a can, and I stuck my hand up a raw ass, and for what? My kid ate a slice of white meat and some mashed potatoes and left to go play with his new toys, leaving me stuffed and alone to clean up. Screw that.

And while I have always maintained that the only thing worse than spending Christmas with my own family is spending it with someone else's, this year I have been saved. Enter Cousin Sarah.

When Cousin Sarah first mentioned Christmas dinner with them, I imagined screaming, exhausted children, not being able to leave when I felt like it, and helping with dishes. I broke out in holiday hives just thinking about it. Then, Cousin Sarah said she was making something extra special for Christmas dinner:


Yes. Reservations. This year, we are going to test out a new tradition by eating Christmas dinner at the Westin Nova Scotia. I was a little skeptical at first, but now all I can think about is a plate full of shrimp and stuffing, and snapping my fingers so some poor bastard making minimum wage will come up behind me and take it away. No fist fights, no drama, no cleaning up, no one giving me the stink eye for eating just skin and stuffing – and technically, I'll be with family. And here's the kicker: no guilt. Not even a smidgen of Jewish guilt.

It's a fucking miracle.

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is at 1723 Hollis Street. The Sales in Rentals is just inside to the right.

The Lord Neslon is at 1515 South Park Street.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I slept with Tiger Woods.

No point in being all hush hush about it now. Tiger took me in the rough, right off of the 15th hole. I have the grass stains on my panty hose to prove it. Mind you, it was over before I could yell "fore", but he was an animal, and a gentleman. Yes, he deflowered me right there in the woods. Sweet Teddy. He caddied for Daddy. I remember it like it was yesterday.

But never mind, it's Christmas, and I have to buy myself a little something for under the tree. The little bastard gets upset thinking Santa stiffs me year after year. I slept with him once, Santa. It was egg nog induced – not worth making the naughty list for. Oh, the way he used to yell, ho, ho, ho right before he came down the chimney.

I've been thinking I'd buy myself a sewing machine ever since I saw that Sarah Richardson and her sidekick Tommy, whipping up Christmas stockings on HGTV. I went to third base with Tommy before he came out of his mother's closet wearing her best dress and pearls. I recall his skin being a tad clammy.

I used to sew a lot as a young girl. Crafty I was. I made cowboy shirts right after I slept with Willie Nelson, and I was getting all excited about sewing until the little bastard said, "Mom, what exactly would you sew, besides name bars on my hockey jerseys?" and I responded, "sans-a belt slacks and a matching vest for you, you unappreciative little prick". Or maybe a nice flannel nightie for me – one that will get all twisted, as I toss and turn thinking about the night I bedded down with Ben Cartwright, or was it Hoss? Nighties can be so irritating, and I'll wake up naked except for the moist noose of flannel tucked under my breasts.

So I am asking Santa for a sewing machine and a smoke detector, because the little bastard says I put the oven on higher to make things cook faster, and as a result I burn everything – but that's what Gordon Ramsey taught me just after we made love in Tuscany. Crank it, bitch, I believe he said. Oh, such a fabulously foul mouth, maybe I'll ask for a new Gordon Ramsey pot from Thornbloom, since I burned the fuck out of my only decent pot making hot cider and rum last week. Flames were licking the ceiling before I realized the blue smoke wasn't coming from the ashtray. It'll be like a souvenir of our lovemaking, and much better than the herpes I picked up from Julia Child.

If you're heading downtown to see that adorable boy at the Port of Wines, the one who used to drink Armagnac out of my belly button, Mills Brothers have a lingerie department that makes me blush just thinking about it. Besides, with that Darrell Dexter denying seniors heating assistance – I never should have slept with him – I am drawn to Mill's Bedhead pyjamas in cozy flannel. There's a saucy leopard print that would suit me just fine. And they have silky, sexy Bedhead pyjamas, just like the pair Picasso ripped off me right before I posed for Nude Descending Staircase. Or was that Marcel Duchamp?

Oh the mind is a wonderful thing, and Christmas brings back so many special memories for me like when my great grandmother Edna used to say, "Jimmy, go fetch me my purse so I can give you a little something" and it was usually an Avon-scented handkerchief, wet with the residue of geranium pink lipstick and snot.

It's hard to believe some mornings I wake up and think, where am I?, and I have absolutely nothing to write about, but then I think, it's the thought that counts, Teddy.

Mills on Spring Garden Road have a lingerie section that will make you blush (or get you out of the dog house).
Thornbloom in Spring Garden Place have cookware that will make you warm all over.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Angry doodles and hairy asses. So, how was your Monday.

Imagine my thrill at being handed a small, paper number one (#01) by the medical receptionist, only to walk around the corner all smug to find they were on number fucking four.

I quickly learned there are perks to uncontrollable coughing fits because no one wants to sit anywhere near you – which was fine – because I was in a sea of unattractive strangers wearing hospital gowns. Plural. With the exception of the man wearing a hospital gown. Singular. Thank you for that. The image of your fat, hairy, zit-covered ass ass is now burned into my retinas for eternity.

So that was my Monday spent "in the system". I then drove the boys to Cole Harbour for hockey, and finally stopped to let the dogs take a crap in the park, only to have some big, stupid, uncontrollable Doodle named Ellie, take down my 10-pound Dottie – not once, but twice. There I was, chasing after my dog – coughing, peeing, coughing – thinking I wish I owned a gun so I could plaster Ellie all over the ball diamond, and thinking last year at this time I was on my way to Cuba for a week of tennis, sun, salad, and hopefully traveller's diarrhea – and how life can turn on a dime.

One day you are a standard poodle – already one of God's most despicable creatures – and the next thing you know you are being violated by an inbred golden retriever. Your offspring will then go on to suburban neighbourhoods across North America where, for $800 bucks, they will live in a crate until the dog walker comes and releases them for $25 bucks an hour, so they can attack or dry hump anything within a 2km radius.

I finally arrived home last night, rinsed the blood off of my dog's paw, then called for backup. I had no sooner hung up the phone when my neighbour arrived like a beloved St. Bernard in the snowy alps, carrying a handle of amber rum and a box of Neo Citran packets. It was like an assisted suicide. Just what the doctor ordered.

What the doctor really should have ordered was a ticket out of here. Maritime Travel have a deal to Mexico ($758 plus tax) where I could likely pick up a gun, so I could come home with a tan and blow Eliie's inbred brains out. The flight leaves Sunday, December 13th for the 4.5 star Occidental Grand Xcaret in the Mayan Riviera. If you haven't been to the Mayan Riviera, trust me, they have margarita machines and what else do you really need to know.

Nothing like a trip to the hospital though, as a reminder that things could always be worse. I could have been dry humped all night by the man with the hairy ass.

Or worse. I could have woken up to find my golden retriever and my poodle had puppies.

PS. Just for the record it was NOT Cindy Wheeler's dog Ellie that needs a kick in the hairy ass.
Check out the Hot Deals button at
Kim Cole & Lynn MacKinnon of Bark Busters will come to your home and train that fucking Doodle.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bats in the Atticus

Oh dear. Day 7 of swine flu and I'm so sick of coughing, I switched from cherry cough syrup to Grape flavoured wine syrup and now I am going to bed to pull a Karen Carpenter, or was it Karen Ann Quinlan, whatever, I'll die happy because we just watched To Kill A Mockingbird – again – and I am going to bed, I think I already said that, where I will pretend I am Scout sitting on Atticus's lap.

Why not pretend there are no big, nasty, big-box stores, and shop at some amazing galleries, markets, and small independent boutiques this Christmas. Victoria Bell will be custom-stamping Suetables silver baubles tomorrow at FID, from 3 until 5 (reeks of cocktail hour) and Studio 21 has some great artwork and never mind, it'll all be even better in the morning. Don't you just love Christmas syrup.

Oh, Atticus, say, "you're licked before you begin" again.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Here, kitty.

Yesterday, a man called to see how I was feeling.

Doesn't that start off really nicely?

I barely had "shitty" out of my mouth when he said, "Oh, too bad, I was kind of hoping you'd drive my kid to hockey."

No shit.

As I watch this ridiculous Tiger Woods scandal unfold, I bet two things: Tiger's popularity will rise among men. And more women will take up golf, just so they can swing like a super model.

Bottom line is, the male species cannot be domesticated. Sure, you can teach a cat to shit in a lavender-scented litter box, but the second Mr. Fluffy is outside, he's pissing all over the rhododendron, mutilating songbirds, and fucking the neighbour's tabby.

I hear the tabby is a real slut.

All I'm saying is wild things are wild things. Placing a bell the size of a Kobe diamond on a cat will only announce that the cat is coming. He's dangerous, he's wearing a shiny bell. He's successful. Someone owns him. Nice bell. 'Wonder if he's been neutered. Who cares. He's wearing a shiny bell. Look at the size of his paws. Puuurrrrrrrfect.

Gentlemen, I love you. You should all live together in a big cave with a big screen TV, but I do love you. But even if you can afford to peel off millions in an attempt to heal wounds, it's too late. The wounds are there. Think before you accidentally place your penis in a cocktail waitress. Or before you say things like, "Oh, too bad, I was kind of hoping you'd drive my kid to hockey." Try this instead: "Could I perhaps help you in any way that won't benefit me?"

I know, Sweetheart, evolution is hard, isn't it. It takes practice. Here, let me get you a beer and the remote.

Duly Noted on Quinpool Road have a great selection of cards. Funny cards. Note cards. Sentimental cards. Blank cards too, just in case you want to write your own greeting like: "Sorry I fucked the cocktail waitress" or "Sorry I spoke to you like you were stupid, even though you make more money than me" or "I love you, will you do that thing you did to me on our wedding night?" or "I hope you are feeling better soon, because I really need you to do something for me".

There's that word again. Me. Add an "n" and sometimes you'll get a asshole-in-one.

Duly Noted is at 6224 Quinpool Road and 1459 Brenton Steet in Halifax.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bluer than, well, that's between me and Harvey.

Harvey Parks died last week at 80. No big news compared to the Tigeress keeping her head down and swinging, but it set off a wave of nostalgia that echoed from where I sit, back to a 13-year old girl skiing up to the chairlift to be greeted by a devilish grin, a wink, and a "No school again today huh, you ugly lil' bitch."

Harvey Parks had the bluest eyes, the foulest mouth and the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. A lift attendant at the ski hill where I grew up too fast – Harvey was a seasonal fixture in my youth. I could quite possibly owe my colourful vocabulary and eloquent delivery entirely to Harvey, and his terms of endearment.

It was from Harvey I learned that rye is best served warm in a dirty, styrofoam cup; that appearances are just that; to protect the things you love; to be yourself and speak your mind; and a really cold, windy day was best described as "blowin' like a whore at a Legion convention."

The last time I was home, I paid a visit to Harvey and his long-suffering wife, Iona. A chain smoker, I had to chuckle when I saw the miserable old prick hooked up to an oxygen machine in his living room. Permanently tanned from summer farming and winters spent loading uptight city asses on to the Minute Mile chairlift, Harvey's face was criss-crossed with hard work – and come to think of it, he looked a bit like a cross between Alfred E. Newman and Paul Newman – but it was those blue, blue eyes of his that will twinkle for all eternity. That morning, he greeted me and my cousin with a hearty, "Would ya look at what the sonofabitch of a cat dragged in" and gave me a warm hug that bordered ever so slightly on a grope, but it wouldn't be Harvey if he didn't try.

In that small town where I grew up under the watchful eye of men like Harvey, I can almost hear the 8-track playing Elvis's Blue, Blue, Blue Christmas over and over through tinny outdoor speakers perched above the Osborne's Electric sign. Makes me want to grab my best friend Simone, a six pack of Lonesome Charlie and go back roading, just thinking about it.

I've been thinking about blue Christmases since I was in Sobeys last week. A woman behind me starting loading bottles of Van Dyck's Blueberry Juice onto the checkout belt. She had cases of the stuff in her cart and at $10 bucks a 500ml bottle I figured she was either addicted, or crazy, or both, so I said with a Harvery-esque wink, "Soooo... a little vodka and blueberry back at the ol' assisted living facility?" The uptight ol' bitch avoided eye contact and said she was a supporter of shopping locally and was giving Nova Scotian blueberry juice as gifts.

Fair enough. I am all for antioxidants and shopping locally, no need to get all pissy about it. Toss in a sexy martini glass and some cocktail napkins from Thornbloom and you've got a blue Christmas worth singing about. In fact, once I get rid of this fucking swine flu, I'm heading downtown for a little holiday shopping myself. I guarantee there won't be Elvis Christmas Carols piped in on Spring Garden Road, but Onyx makes a wicked Blueberry vodka martini with sake, blueberry tea reduction and passion fruit. Twilight they call it.

A couple of those and my green eyes will be twinkling all Harvey Parks blue, blue, blue – just in time for Christmas. Cheers! Harvey, ya lovely ol' bastard.

Onyx is at 5680 Spring Garden Road in Halifax.
Van Dyk's Blueberry Juice is available at Sobeys and health food stores across Canada, or by contacting Randy MacDonald at 902-542-4405, or

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I was kind of hoping for the pre-Christmas colon cleansing strain of H1N1.

Being sick when you're a self-employed, single mother sucks. There's no lying in bed with a stack of new magazines and the flicker, flipping from Ellen to The View to W, barking orders for fresh flowers and hot Neo Citran with a splash of rye.

There's no one to bark at, and even when the little bastard gets home, I could be lying in a pool of blood and stool samples on the kitchen floor and he'd ask me to fetch him some chocolate milk and Fudgee-O's.

Life goes on pretty much as it always does, only I pee my pants when I cough, so I'm sucking back cough suppressant like Tonto on a Friday night, which is making for some award-winning creative heading out to clients.

And this was going to be the start of my Christmas crafts season, beginning with DIY instructions on how to fashion festive wreaths out of cigarette butts, spray paint, wire coat hangers and maxi pads with wings – but that will have to wait.

I did manage to get my annual narcissus (Paper Whites) bulbs planted before the piggy plague descended. Halifax Seed sell the big fat bulbs that even I can't screw up. If you plant them, like, now, they should be perfect by Christmas Eve. I love the idea of forcing things at Christmas – like compassion, love, and spring flowers.

Here's hoping the gut-wrenching diarrhea and vomiting commences soon, because I have the swine part of this swine flu down pat, and as a result, the only thing beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here is me, and I'm Mrs. Claus.

Ho. Ho. Fucking Ho.

Halifax Seed is at 5860 Kane Street in Halifax.