Sunday, February 28, 2010

Smells like February.

My hands stink of money.

The fact that I can smell anything through my clogged nose is incredible, and I just now horked up something that resembled Susan Boyle. I am sick. Of winter.

Copper – pressed into a penny and passed from hand to filthy hand – smells like homelessness and old ladies' Kleenex and bile. I hate pennies more than Melanie from Rogers Wireless, and I just spent precious moments segregating gangrenous pennies from the real coins in our loose change bowl. Now, even after scrubbing my hands with the lemon soap purchased with my last Euros in Positano – they still reek of poverty and dirty hair and public transit and vomit. With just a hint of Amalfi lemons.

Used to be, pennies would purge themselves annually, into the cardboard Unicef boxes hanging around the necks of socially-conscious trick or treaters, – but after 50 years and millions of dollars, those lazy bastards at Unicef decided having their hands smell like urine and head cheese all the time wasn't worth it. They cited "safety issues" because whacked-out parents voiced concerns about sending their little darlings door-to-door with cash. Sending them door-to-door begging for candy from pedophiles and people who voted for Stephen Harper was fine – but don't dangle a cardboard box around their necks. Pennies are jailbait for Conservatives and old men who jangle loose change in their pockets as a cover up for rubbing their saggy balls.

So, I am stuck with a Ziploc bag of smelly pennies and a bowl of shiny dimes, nickels and the occasional Loonie. I should roll the pennies and cart them to the bank, but then I'd never get the smell out. I could go out to the railway tracks and lay them down one by one, then wait for a train to come by. I'd get that childhood thrill from wondering if the pennies will derail the train – but VIA's already doing that without my help – and the thrill from placing a warm, freshly flattened penny in the palm of my hand, hardly seems worth going outside.

I could donate the pennies, but the bell-ringing Salvation Army Santas are in Florida in February, along with every other RRSP hoarder over the age of 55.

I could give them to Dalhousie's Molly Appeal fund for medical research. I hear that's how miserly ol' Molly Moore got rid of her stinky pennies year after year – and look what that started.

I could place them in a pillowcase and raise it above my head, swinging it around like Bruce Lee the next time someone with 16 items steps into the 1-10 item aisle in the grocery store.

Or, I could plop them on the travel agent's desk at Maritime Travel and let her deal with them. I say her because travel agents tend to be hers from my experience. And, while I am on the subject, how many people have to lose their hard-earned pennies booking through fly-by-night businesses like Go Travel before they wise up and shop locally for Christ's sake. Spend a few more pennies and book through someone who isn't going to go tits up before your 1968 Boeing takes off for Margueritaville. Maritime Travel have a great deal for $989 (taxes in) leaving March 8th for Puerto Plata and the 4-star Victoria Golf and Beach Resort. Maritime Travel will not only be there before you go and when you get home – they'll be on the end of the line 24/7 for when a hooker named Yonaidys takes off with your passport, your new Nikes and your pride.

This being the last day of February – a month that brought us one day of sunshine and 17 days of fucked-up television – I am going to usher in March by confessing that I have 500 pennies riding on Team USA for hockey gold. Go ahead, call me the Pete Rose of hockey moms, but with any luck some sucker of a 14-year old kid is going to win a Ziploc baggie of coins that smell worse than the little bastard's boxers on wing night.

Go Sid.

Go south.
To give your pennies to the Molly Appeal and medical research go to

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Did I say that out loud?

The blow came from behind.

Nevermind that the man wielding the tome of mass destruction saw every high school assembly as an opportunity to don his wife's pantyhose and morph into his alter ego "Miss Southhouse" – he was bloody strong by cross-dressing, Bible thumper standards. And apparently, he'd been pushed to the limit.

On that day, Mr. McEachern, my grade nine English teacher, raised a hardcover textbook over his head and brought it crashing down on my dome of adolescent insolence and revelry. The blow, while shocking me into a moment of silence, resulted in the kind of laughter one cannot suppress. His tempestuous act of discipline backfired so badly, I went from wise cracking to rolling in the aisles between the desks, laughing so hard I almost peed my Lee overalls.

Which is why, I find it ironic, after a lifetime of being told to kindly shut the fuck up, that people are suddenly interested in what I have to say.

In recent weeks, I have been interviewed, called upon for so-called wisdom, and asked to speak in front of a bunch of women with way more smarts than I'll ever have. Winning an award for blurting things out suddenly qualifies me as an expert. If only Mr. McEachern could see me now – eloquent and soft spoken – a mere shadow of the former troublemaker with verbal diarrhea.

Actually, that last bit is total bullshit. I am forever the young woman who was once told, I'd have better luck with the guys if I kept my mouth shut. Happy. Sad. Mad. Glad. My emotions are so close to the surface I couldn't suppress them with duct tape and a shovel.

I remember hearing the expression "inside voice" when the little bastard was in daycare. Together, we learned that using one's inside voice meant lowering the volume and being respectful of others. I always thought one's inside voice was the heckler inside your head – the one prompting you to blurt things out. Like a Tourette's sufferer on tequila. My inside voice is the devil, and he wants to come out and play. I figured the daycare teacher telling my kid to use his inside voice was just asking for trouble. He'd be flat headed and unconscious before circle time.

Having said that, there have been occasions of late where – sensing I was on the brink of hysteria – the little bastard put up his hand and said, "Mom, don't say anything. Please." He is the new little voice inside my head – the annoying one that makes me zip it up and walk away, suppressing a chortle and a rollicking retort. His teenaged censorship of my freedom of speech is beginning to piss me off. He is kind, and wants to fit in. I want to rock the lifeboat.

A question popped up in a recent interview that made reference to my penchant for political incorrectness. Actually, it was more of an observation than a question. "You are politically incorrect". To which I replied, "Thank you, yes, yes I am. I love poking fun at things perceived as untouchable. And those who take themselves too seriously. What some hold as sacred I find quite ridiculous really. Like God. God's left himself wide open. Life is funny. Sad, tragic, unfair, heartbreaking, and very fucking funny."

Society forces us to make small talk, strap down our floppy bosoms, and behave in a politically correct manner. We also live in a colonial, conservative part of the world. But oh, what a boring world it would be if we all passed on an opportunity to lighten things up, or celebrate an Olympic victory with champagne and cigars. At this stage in life, the only thing that will shut me up will be a debilitating stroke, or a mouthful of food.

Kitchen Door Catering Co. is a kick ass catering company relying on word-of-mouth in a town where Junior League hors d'oeuvres often fall out of the freezer at M&M. Patty Howard is a Wolfgang Puck/Spago-trained chef with a flair for organic, class-act entertaining. Think mini Nova Scotia Lamb Burgers with Goat Cheese & Red Onion Marmalade. Roasted Eggplant Caviar on Parmesan Crostini. Lobster Bisque Shots with Parmesan Crisps. Or, Wild Mushroom Palmiers with Goat Cheese. Fucking fantastic I say, with a mouth full of Texas-style Six Hour Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Caramelized BBQ Dipping Sauce. 'Beats the hell out of pigs in a politically correct blanket.

As for Mr. McEachern, he likely retired and locked away Miss Southouse forever. Too bad really – she was far more interesting, and way more of a man than he ever was.


Kitchen Door Catering is located in Havenot. Check out the sample menus on their website at or call 476.6729.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Exercise caution while driving, parenting, or operating heavy machinery.

One would think with all the U Weight broccoli and vitamins flowing through my veins, that a cold and flu bug would find somewhere else to land. Like Buffalo. Or Amy Winehouse.

I'd phone in sick but my boss is a temperamental bitch with a Nazi work ethic, so staying in bed surrounded by fresh flowers, a stack of magazines, and Scotch-laced Neo Citran is not an option.

Besides, with sobbing ice dancers and curlers pre-empting captivating-to-the-feverish daytime television – even Sue Thoman FBEye, the Can-con, federally-funded, feel good to the point of nausea show that was cancelled six seasons ago, except the lead actress didn't hear she was no longer supposed to show up for work– will take a backseat to lesbian bobsleigh. Just because Marlee Matlin can act doesn't mean any ol' blind guy can run for Governor. How's that for a Nyquil-induced, run-on couple of politically-incorrect sentences.

The old me would have zipped down to Pete's Frootique by now, for a jug of freshly squeezed orange juice and some wasabi with a side of sushi – but I'm watching my salt/sugar intake. Instead, I'll catch the travel bug, and dream of brand master Pete's escorted tour of Siracusa, Sicily. The Flavours of Sicily with Nottingham's melon squeezer Pete Luckett, will be 8 boozy nights holed up in the medieval hamlet of Ortigia, Italy. Follow Pete as he fondles every tomato from Zaffarina to Catania – tippling all the way. This tour is limited to 14 lucky foodies and leaves November 10th – a great time to say "toodle loo" to a gray, and student-loan-fueled, vomit-encrusted Havenot. Check out Maritime Travel's Escorted tours for the scrumptious details.

I have to go. The little bastard is late for school, glazed over on the couch watching TSN, claiming he can't figure out what pants to wear. I just croaked out, "You only have one fucking pair, how tricky can it be!?"

There will be a self-pity party at my house in approximately one hour. BYOB.

Book Italy and have something to look forward to: or click on Pete to the right.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The answer is time. And an absence of back fat.

It was standing room only for Terry O'Reilly's speaking engagement in Havenot last night. I dragged the little bastard off of the sofa to spend and hour and a half in a library, surrounded by CBC types with nose hairs and sensible, crepe-soled footwear from 1972. I believe the evening – a jolly marketing and branding ballyhoo – was sponsored by Clark's Wallabees. Or Coronation Street.

O'Reilly rolled into town on the apron strings of one mother of a snowstorm, so I was surprised and disappointed to see such an amazing turnout. I selfishly wanted him, and his genius, all to myself so I could beg for a job and roll words like Baldwin Street Chinese buns and "when I worked at Publicis in San Francisco" off of my tongue, like one does when infatuated and clamouring to make a connection.

The post-talk lineup for book purchase and signing was lengthy and very L.L. Bean outlet, so as much as I wanted a copy of The Age of Persuasion, How Marketing Ate Our Culture, I opted for an early exit, much to the delight of the little bastard. As it turned out, we stood in line anyway, behind some dipshit with a Ph.D driving a K-Car that couldn't make it up the 3º slope out of the library parking lot – despite the efforts of his wife pushing and sweating all over her cat-emblazoned Tabi sweater – because his Canadian Tire all-season radials ran out of tread during the last season of Magnum P.I.

I was just about to send the little bastard out to help, when the K-car hit a dry patch and off they went to their sidesplit in Upper Stewiacke for a mug of Postum and some intellectual banter before bed. Pushing a K-car would have been better than listening to me wax on about how much I used to love sound studios and directing voice talent and writing scripts and having nice clothes and a life that didn't include wearing my pyjamas under my sweat pants like I am right now, because upon arrival home last night the motor on our furnace went the way of the Ford Pinto.

Sparks, accompanied by dangerous smelling blue smoke had me throwing extra blankets on our beds, and wishing I lived in an urban high rise, or knew of a manly electrician I could sleep with to get a deal on a furnace that wasn't like ours – the first model that didn't require shoveling coal to get the mercury above freezing your balls off.

The little bastard sensed the evening had fallen off of the rails from my first glimpse of a well-tailored Toronto blazer to the sparks and ensuing fishwife monologue emerging from the basement – so he wisely retreated to the sanctity of his bed – and I flopped on the sofa with the mail and a mug of Postum because I am one fucking nose hair away from subscribing to WGBH Boston.

And that's when I saw it.

Glossy, and packed with youthful advertising, 20-year old stomachs, and pull-out flaps for men's cologne that would have the scent-free fanatics of Havenot gasping for breath – was the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. Wedged between the Nova Scotia Power bill and my Baby Bonus cheque from Stephen Harper – both #10 envelopes larger than the bikini bottom staring at me in a room quickly dropping to below frigid bitch – the 2010 issue of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue sat there like the last slice of pizza in a room full of Weight Watchers.

I resisted temptation for a nano second then snatched up the magazine and flipped from Brooklyn Decker rolling in the surf – to gold medalist Lindsay Vonn rolling in the snow – marveling at how much younger and more beautiful these women get every year. With ice cold hands I went from bikini to bikini thinking about the unusual tan lines I get attempting to read in the sun. Horizontal white stripes across a burnt belly, and sometimes a strip of pale under my chin if I don't set the book down and lie back for a moment or two.

I thought of the great deal Maritime Travel have to the 5-star Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya in Mexico leaving March 17th, and how lucky Brooklyn Decker was to be married to Andy Roddick and really, what does she have that I don't have?

I glanced at the vodka, auto, electronics, and beer ads wedged between the bikini models and their target audience of men aged 14 to Larry King. I smelled the cologne samples and thought of the XXL golf shirt laced with sweat and Ralph Lauren Sport that lived under my pillow for nearly three years.

I took one last whiff of Armani's Acqua Di Gio and closed the magazine. Pulling up the covers under the little bastard's chin, I took a long drink of his smell – a combination of hockey helmet, Old Spice Red Zone, chocolate milk, Crest, and love – then headed to my bed.

Scent, according to O'Reilly, triggers a response in humans that savvy marketers have been banking on for decades. The smell of my baby's hair trumps the smell of regular paycheques, success, freshly dry-cleaned power clothes, and Future Bakery pastries at an all-night brainstorming session – every time.

I wonder what a new furnace smells like.

Bookmark Book Sellers at 5686 Spring Garden Road have Terry O'Reilly's book. If you're lucky, you may even get a signed copy.

To book your place in the warm sun, click on the beach photo to the right or call Maritime Travel at 1-800-593-3334.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not so fat Tuesday.

My Mardi Gras memories are fuzzy at best. While other five-year olds were happily vomiting on the teacup ride at Disneyland, I was spinning on a barstool at Pat O'Brien's – home of the original Hurricane – and the most sought after souvenir cocktail glass in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday signals the beginning of rigourous purging for the pious – or Lent – as it's known in some circles. After a big load of pancakes, hypocrites around the globe endure 40 days without a variety of vices, such as; dark rum, chocolate, buggery, Bingo, beastiality and so on. And, with the exception of Sundays, Friday nights, and the occasional Wednesday, those crazy alms givers stick to it like Christ on a cross.

Fat Tuesday marks the sixth week of my own agnostic, self-imposed giving up of all things sinful and delicious. Six weeks of protein shakes, salmon, vegetables and U Weight miracle vitamins. Six weeks without wine, popcorn, chocolate, bread, butter, buggery, vodka, cake, salt, fun, chicken wings, hangovers, cookies, crack, and coffee.

Today, a lesbian in the park stopped to tell me how great I looked. Okay, so she wasn't a lesbian but I haven't given up my snide and cynical bitter twist on reality. I also haven't had anyone tell me I looked great since I was five and spinning on a New Orleans barstool in a dress.

Six weeks is the difference between feeling like a lump of shit and pulling on an old pair of Levi's – so I'm going for six more. What the hell. I'll join the pious for this grueling stretch until Easter, when Jesus rises from the dead and sees his shadow – whereby, we get six more weeks of fucking winter.

And hot cross buns.

Friday, February 12, 2010

30 minutes later, I was hungry for more.

Frigid by nature, the female porcupine is in the mood for love 8 to 12 hours – annually. This narrow window for courtship is likely due to low self-esteem, or the male porcupine's penchant for spraying the female with a stream of urine, just prior to rocking her world.

I thought about porcupine sex the other day, while lying on my back under a heat lamp with a dozen or so acupuncture quills poking out of my arm. Afraid to move for fear of fucking up my Qi – which is Chinese for energy flow and pronounced chee as in Cheesies – I was enthralled by the weirdness of it all, and the poster of the naked man covered with the TripTik of meridians and points.

During my initial consolation with Vivien Yuan, I asked if acupuncture was like Santa Claus, in that you have to believe to receive, and perhaps it works better when you're not dealing with a cynical old bitch such as myself. Vivien said reassuringly, that acupuncture treats the whole person – which was Chinese for, "you crazy".

Escorted into a warm, hospital-clean room, I volunteered to remove my shirt, but not before warning her about my really ugly sports bra that I've been meaning to toss out for ages. I went on to say I was wearing new Hello Kitty! underpants, which is a Japanese character, but likely manufactured in Korea by her 5-year-old relatives. I just threw that out there to make conversation because petite, quiet, smart people make me nervous as hell.

Vivien, whose real name I had discovered was Wei, asked if needles bothered me, and I told her I had a ten pound baby with an enormous head, so she could likely shove a shrimp fork up my ass and I wouldn't flinch, so no, I'm good with needles. Actually, Wei, it's long black hairs in the bathtub that bother me, so just stay out of my bathroom and we'll be fine.

Acupuncture was recommended to me by my physiotherapist after diagnosing lateral epicondylitis – which sounds way cooler than tennis elbow. Truth is, I likely developed lateral epicondylitis from pounding on this cookie crumb-filled keyboard, self-gratification, or hoisting a bucket-size wine glass steadily for 30 years – but let's blame my manly forehand.

I knew exactly where to go for acupuncture because the little bastard and I have been marveling at their sign for years. I STOP PAIN Acupuncture and Chinese Herb Centre. Bloody brilliant marketing I say – if only all businesses were so forthright. Imagine signs like: I SUE YOUR ASS or I MAKE POOR PEOPLE FAT. The list is endless.

I STOP PAIN is operated by Registered Acupuncturists, Tom Tian and Vivien (Wei) Yuan. The couple arrived from China via a saturated acupuncture market in Vancouver. Havenot, it seems, is just beginning to reach out to the 8000-year-old healing philosophy – but what do you expect from a place that still has door-to-door milk delivery.

Acupuncture is proven effective for treating headaches, gas, hip pain, bed wetting, PMS, skin problems, sinus problems and a host of other ailments, hangups, addictions and diseases. I'm up for anything that doesn't involve a prescription pad, stirrups, or a 45-minute wait in a room littered with decade-old magazines, seniors taking their last breath, and children with undiagnosed ADHD.

My treatment took an hour, and at times, caused pain – contrary to the sign. All I know is I left I STOP PAIN feeling more relaxed than I'd been in 8000 years. Maybe my cheesies were aligning, or maybe it was just nice to step out of my dreary comfort zone and be stroked by a total stranger. If Vivien gave pedicures my visit would have had a really happy ending.

The male porcupine has a ribbed penis which almost makes up for his pre-coital golden shower. As for the female, when you're a loveless, reclusive creature prone to shooting off harmful barbs as a defense mechanism, you take what you get.

Real pricks.

I STOP PAIN is located at the corner of Young Ave and Robie Street. Their website won't win any design awards, but it's very informative. For an appointment call: 444.3111.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Slipcovering the soul.

The contents of a website rattled me so severely yesterday, I took to my bed. Images so horrific, my spirit melted, and I succumbed to the mid-winter blues.

I am of course, talking about the Sears ready-made slipcover website. A conglomeration of the ugliest fucking, soul-sucking textures, colours, and fabrics known to humankind – all with a common thread of Addams Family-esque elasticized pleating – the likes of which one only experiences prior to the undertaker lowering the lid on Aunt Barb's box.

I was so depressed that something as insignificant as a slipcover display would depress me, I turned to my pillows, and Oprah – the kiss of death for productivity in a home office environment.

Oprah, as it happened, was interviewing nuns. The slipcovered women of a polygamous God.

The common thread among nuns – evident after watching the show – was happiness. Happiness, and really unruly eyebrows. For these women – heartache, money worries, and looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places, took a back seat to chastity, poverty, and obedience. (I would be a shoe-in for nundom if not for the obedience bit.) Happiness, it seems, is rampant among the dwindling number of nuns in captivity today.

So desperate are nuns to beef up their flock, a few have resorted to the most godless career calling since the Republican party: advertising. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie have hired marketing guru Terry O'Reilly, of radio's Age of Persuasion fame, to bump up recruiting. The campaign, with a reported budget of $24,000, rolled out last week, featuring radio spots, and ads on the Sistine Chapel of public transit: buses. Smart cookie that Terry is, advertisements are posted on bus ceilings, with the headline: "If you're looking for answers, you're looking in the right direction."

I sat next to a happy nun once, on a crowded bus in Rome. I recall asking her many of the same questions Oprah asked. Stupid questions, like: Sex... Overrated, or better with God? And the really big question: Why?

I also recall – while engaged in conversation with my nun – a young, Italian man began grinding his crotch on my knee. I repositioned myself discreetly, before realizing that his salami on my exposed knee was no accident – and the wife of God sitting to my immediate left had no bearing on his advances, whatsoever. Nothing, it seems, is sacred to an Italian dog with a boner. Had I been looking for answers on that particular bus ride, I likely would have looked up, simply to avoid making eye contact with Romeo's instrument of passion.

Oprah and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist saved me from my veil of depression, and my thoughts quickly turned to my own nasty habits and the amourous young man on the Roman bus. Would my rheumy knee, fleshy and scarred, attract his devotions some twenty years later?

Maybe I'll find out.

Maritime Travel have a Italian adventure designed for those with a "taste for life". The Taste of Tuscany escorted tour pulls out of Havenot for arrival in Florence on May 7th – just before winter sets in again, freezing the pussy off dreary Canadian willows. For 8 days and 8 nights, you'll wake up hungover, with purple teeth, in a beautiful Tuscan villa in the heart of wine country. You'll endure FIVE cooking classes with local chefs, countless official and unofficial wine tastings, plus local market visits, and side trips to Florence and Siena – where, with any luck, some swarthy Latin lover will find your dimpled knee worthy of his affections.

This food and wine-lover’s adventure is graciously hosted by chef and bon vivant, Jeff Ferguson – also known as “Giopetto” after a few swigs of Brunello di Montalcino. Having gone it alone, and also with the little bastard several times, traveling with a male escort in Italy would be a refreshing change. After a few Campari's, Italian men are like pit pulls on a geriatric poodle.

Thank God.

For details on the Taste of Tuscany Tour call Maritime Travel at 1.800.593.3334, or click on the ad to the right.

To join the nunnery, go to:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Confucius say.

It was either Confucius, or some old basketball guy who said, "Sports do not build character, they reveal it". Let me add to that by saying, "How you walk past four boys selling fundraising raffle tickets, also reveals character". I have never wanted to shout "asshole" so many times in my life.

Since I am attributing wisdom to others – it has also been said, that a true test of a man's character is how he treats restaurant wait staff, and how he treats his mother. Once I stopped playing with Cleve's NFL paraphernalia and took off the Green Bay Packer's cheesehead hat, the little bastard wasn't as embarrassed to have me along supervising their fundraising efforts. And, I only let an audible "asshole" slip out once. Or maybe twice.

If you've never worked in the service industry, then it's safe to say, you likely under-tip and have, on occasion, called a waiter, simply "Waiter". If you've never had to raise thousands of dollars for minor sports because MLA's are buying $800 dollar coffee makers and $8000 generators, then you've also likely said "no" or walked past, eyes down, when approached by a child in a jersey, politely begging for money to keep him off crack and out of juvey.

Service-with-a-smile is an art, in a world littered with rude, impatient people not unlike myself. While there's nothing worse than a chit chatty bank teller, it is refreshing when someone making minimum wage manages to crack a smile and make eye contact when handing you the $6 latte they likely horked in out back. Or, similarly, when a busy shopper takes a moment to ask the boys about their season and hand over a $5 bill.

This week, with Chinese New Year fast approaching, I set out on a mission to avoid the mid-afternoon cookie cravings and experience something new: Bubble Tea. I have been driving by Bubble Tea shops with my head down, feigning disinterest, and completely ignorant of what bubble tea was – so, throwing caution to the wind – I decided to support a local business by finding out.

My arrival at the Bubble Tea Shop on Inglis Street appeared to startle the young man working behind the bar. I told him I was a Bubble Tea virgin and needed guidance, whereupon he claimed to have the best Bubble Tea in Halifax – made with "real sweet potatoes". He also said his name was George, and when I commented that George was a popular Chinese name, he said he was from Toronto. That explains it, but I was still a little confused about the sweet potatoes. I told him all I really knew was I wanted hot tea, because it was 30º below. George handed me a menu, which, even with my glasses was confusing and half Chinese, so I handed it back and asked for his most popular, hot Bubble Tea.

"Taro", he exclaimed, and went about his business mixing purple powder with white powder – at one point stepping behind a curtained doorway, likely to hork in my Bubble Tea or check on his little sister doing god knows what back there – only to emerge with a large cup of ice cubes.

So, why ice cubes in hot tea? I asked, naively.

That's when George snapped. He slammed the cup and contents into the sink and said "You ask for most popular, I make!". To which I calmly said, "I believe I asked for most popular HOT tea, Pokemon, and don't fuck with me because I am premenstrual, perimenopausal, and beginning to overheat in this hideous rink coat."

George once again set about his task, and I avoided the Chinese elephant in the room by making small talk, like, "Gee, George, seems Bubble Tea is quite popular these days... has it been around a while?". George then said, and I can't make shit like this up, "Have you ever heard of Toronto, or San Francisco, or New York?!"

"Heard of." This guy was beginning to piss me off.

Stooping to his level, I mentioned I had actually heard of and lived in Toronto, San Francisco, and New York but no, I had never experienced Bubble Tea.

"Bubble Tea everywhere in San Francisco! You no see?"

It was at that precise moment, when I noticed the bowl. The last time I saw a stainless steel bowl that large it was full of my warm afterbirth. The contents of George's bowl, didn't look much better, so when he turned and scooped up a ladle full, I couldn't help but risk my life by asking, "George, um, what was that you just scooped into my tea?"

"Sweet potato!", he cried.

George then slammed on a lid and shoved an enormous liposuction hose in my beverage. My uninsulated cup of Bubble Tea was very hot, and very purple, and scared the shit out of me. The bottom two inches had, what appeared to be fish eggs, snot balls, or puppy eyeballs, pressed against the plastic. There was no way I was wrapping my lips around the neon straw and sucking those fucking things up, so I removed the lid and took a cautious sip.

While not totally offensive, my Bubble Tea tasted like hot, liquid, Thrills gum.

If you've never experienced Thrills gum, with "... it still tastes like soap!" written right on the packaging – Sweet Jane's sells it. The purple-coated chewing gum does taste a bit like soap – but I like it. It's disturbing – like Family Guy – but I like it.

My Bubble Tea was also disturbing – but I liked it. I took a $5 dollar bill out of my wallet and asked George how much I owed him. He said, "I see you don't have more change, so $5 dollars will be fine."

That's when I snapped. "Listen, 章子怡章子, how much do I owe you, if for nothing else, the pleasure of your company?

"$5.50!", he smiled and handed me a tip jar.

I tossed in my fifty cents and headed to the car. I had mittens on, avoiding a McDonald's super-sized lawsuit from scalded hands. And, I wasn't quite sure what had just gone down back there in the Bubble Tea Shop but – a risk taker – I sucked up a puppy's eyeball to complete the experience.

Let's just say, I haven't had anything exit my body that fast since I blew a maraschino cherry out my nose following a Rusty Nail overdose in 1982.

For five dollars (and 50 cents) you can get a cold shoulder and a hot cup of Thrills gum. Or, you can lick a stamp and purchase a raffle ticket in support of the Halifax Hawks Bantam AAA hockey team.

Either way, it's character revealing.

To experience fully all that is Bubble Tea, head to San Francisco or, the Bubble Tea Shop at 5385 Inglis Street (At Victoria Road) in South End Halifax.

To purchase a raffle ticket, mail cash or cheque to Jack Flinn, 1589 Preston Street, Halifax B3H3T9. $5 for one, or 3 tickets for $10. You could win a Maritime Travel gift card, an HP Pavillion laptop from Datarite, a Lawton's gift basket, or some guy's smelly NHL jersey. Make cheques payable to Halifax Hawks Bantam AAA. In return, Jack will send you a lovely thank you note, a ticket stub, and a receipt if requested. The draw is March 8th.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Misery loves company.

There was a man with an accent and size 15 feet in my attic yesterday. The fact that he is presently not still up there is a fucking miracle.

Much like the random coarse hairs and memory loss that have coincided with every cashier or waiter calling me M'am – willpower appears to have surfaced like a boil on my ass.

Mae West's ability to resist everything but temptation is something I can relate to. My life has been one calamity after another, largely due to my inability to say the words: No. Enough. Or – I'd better not. Instead, my mantra has always been: Life is short. What the hell. What have we got to lose. One more. No one's looking. Come on... it'll be fun. Run!

Whether I was jumping off cliffs in Maui or surfing down the highway on the top of a VW bus, consequences – along with common sense – were seldom top of mind.

But I lived.

Sadly, consequences – like cellulite – creep up, until one day you look back and catch a glimpse of your dimpled, Kathy Bates past in the mirror. The fallout from credit card abuse. The backlash from eating and drinking like Henry the 8th. The heartache from putting up barriers. The misery of tennis elbow from going at it with gusto and a bent right arm. (Take "going at it" however you wish.)

But back to willpower. The attic is miraculously man free. I am on Day 26 of U Weight despite salacious invitations for Lemon Drop martini gatherings, bottomless Valentine's chocolate from Uncommon Grounds, Pinky's hand-cut rink fries, or this weekend's, Warm Winter's Glow Headache and Ice Wine Fair at Blomidon Estates.

What's worse are the attacks from the homefront. Siren calls from devilish neighbours for "just one small glass of wine". Just one... you've got to live... aren't you thirsty?

And now, I must also resist temptation to head over the bridge, where I could gorge myself on warm, buttery, prosciutto and cheese crossiants at Two If By Sea Bakery and Café in Dartmouth. Two If By Sea Café embraces indulgence. Those inconsiderate pricks say so, right on their adorable, puppy-in-the-window cute website – which is as close as I am going to get to those fat flingers, until I can once again pull on the Levi's from my archive. But go ahead, fill your face with the croissant of the day and Zane's Machiato Special. You are eating and drinking for two.

Hey, if I can resist locking the size 15's up in the attic, I can do anything.

Visit Two If By Sea Café in person at 66 Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth, or order online at

Visit Blomidon's winemaker Simon Rafuse as he takes you from vine to wine for this year’s Icewine harvest. Feb 5 to 7th and 12-14th from 10 am to 5 pm in Canning. Complimentary admission. For more info call 1-877-582-7565 or check out

Monday, February 1, 2010

February is look better upside down month.

As if feelings of inadequacy weren't already at an all-time high. Raise your arm waddle if Pink's performance on last night's Grammy Awards left you feeling somewhat awestruck, for lack of a better word.

Bewildered. Marveled. Envious. Amused.

What word could possibly do justice to a petite woman in a bedazzled, flesh-toned unitard and 7-inch heels, who morphed into an airborne, Cirque du Soliel lawn sprinkler, all the while belting out "Glitter in the Air" without missing a beat. All I kept thinking, as she was spinning upside down in a sheet, clutching a microphone was – fuck, she must be great in bed.

February is Spunky Old Broads month, as declared by self-proclaimed S.O.B. and professional speaker, Dr. Gayle Carson. At 70-something Dr. Gayle claims "Despite 12 surgeries, the loss of my husband and son, breast cancer three times, and daily pain, I'm getting such a kick out life. Complaining won't make things any better so why bother?"

Christ, just when I was about to complain about tucking into the little bastard's Christmas money to pay the mortgage, I have to go read something like that.

Self-loathing is my specialty, but I am far from alone. I found myself flipping from the undecipherable rap portions of the Grammy's to my new best friend – W Network's How to Look Good Naked. Every episode rips the sweatpants off a self-loathing, 40-something woman who drinks herself to sleep every night – alone – with a bowl of popcorn and a couple of mangy dogs curled at her feet. The ever-so-gay host then proceeds to help her out of her frump slump with body-image-revealing mind games, and a trip to the hair salon – all culminating in a semi-naked photo shoot. What's interesting to me – although perhaps dull as shit to those who have stuck with me thus far – is I thought the women looked beautiful, even before the gay guy started fluffing their pillows.

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I have to stop the self-loathing and self-pity for a moment to remind myself that February is also Heart and Stroke Month. And, since the odds of me having a stroke are far higher than ever receiving a fucking Valentine again, I have to get my priorities, my affairs, and my ass in order.

As I begin Week Four of my own personal U Weight journey toward not vomiting when I look in the mirror, I do so with reinforced determination. I'm not saying I'll ever be spunky, or look good naked or upside down – but goddamn it – I'm doing something other than complaining about it.

Think Pink.

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