Monday, April 26, 2010

Ashes to ashes.

I've slept with a few tomcats, a silver fox, a selfish stallion, my share of coyotes, and more pigs than I care to remember, but this weekend was a first.

I spent the night with a lifeless dog.

After going down swingin' through the trap door of Canada Writes, I hopped in a rental car and headed north. My rental turned out to be a Toyota, so I matted it – figuring I'd play the uncontrollable acceleration card, should I be pulled over by the OPP.

Canada Writes was a nerve-wracking blast and I had mixed feelings about leaving it behind. The contestants, producers, singers, Judges and GO-host Brent Banbury were all terrific. Fuck what everyone says about CBC – this was a smart, dedicated crew of people who appeared to love their jobs. I told everyone the show was airing next week so no one would listen to me making an ass of myself. Pity though, those who whereby missed Chloe's absolutely brilliant deli-meat rendition of Feist's, 1,2,3,4. As it turned out, "putting myself out there" as a friend called it – was actually fun – although having to censor my natural irreverence was like suppressing vomit. (Tune in to the final, May 7th, live from the "Peg".)

One of the nicest things about being back in Toronto, besides being surrounded by energetic people who get paycheques – is getting the hell out. Leaving the mosques and constipation of the city behind – heading north on Airport Road is a free spirit's dream. I noticed with a twinge of ire, that the townhome developments stretch almost up to Caledon now – identical rows of depressing housing meccas with names like Housewife's Leap and Laminate Ridge. It pisses me off to see lovely century farms being plowed over, making way for such thoughtless developments – but once you get beyond that, it's all good.

My past came back to haunt me north of Alliston, and I almost swerved over to pick up a six-pack of Lonesome Charlie, but then I remembered I was pushing 50, and going 130km for a reason.

I was going to meet my man.

An hour or so later, that first glimpse of Georgian Bay took my breath away, and I got all verklempt. Georgian Bay is the lover you never get over. The first crush. Just looking at the turquoise flecked with navy blue makes me all happy/sad and I want to dive right in. (Judge, Arlene Dickinson said my writing had a schizophrenic quality, but this isn't Dragon's Den, so screw her, I'm sticking with happy/sad. What does a beautiful, self-made millionaire know anyway?).

Pulling in to the the ski hill where I grew up, I finally caught a glimpse of my man. He was in the arms of another woman – in a cardboard box. My beloved dog Hooey's ashes. I left Georgian Bay soon after he died and I was finally back to get him. My plan was to take Hooey for his final hike and scatter his ashes in the field. The field on top of the escarpment I was about to climb. The field where I'd like to be scattered someday, to the tune of popping champagne corks and the occasional sniffle, snort, or "woo hoo, the miserable bitch is dead!".

But I couldn't do it. I just wasn't ready to let him go.

Hooey came into my life by accident. I was pregnant, alone, and dying for an ice cream cone. I stopped at the local mall, where a sign in the pet store window caught my eye: "Lab mix pups for sale". I looked at the half-dozen puppies bouncing around, then spotted a really fat fluffy one, sound asleep at the back. I'll take that one. For a hundred bucks, I got a bag of dog food and 13-years of selfless, unconditional love.

We hiked to my field, then I headed back to Toronto with Hooey as my wing man. The two of us flying down the highway, just like old times. Mindful of an early morning flight and my concern over getting him through airport security, we ordered room service and watched the hockey game, curled up in the hotel bed like comfortable, faithful old lovers. Just me and my box. Falling asleep, I noted he doesn't fart as much as he used to – but he's still "the one".

He'll always be the one.

Peaceful Acres is pet cemetary outside of Havenot somewhere. When it's time, call (902) 499-9289 or try

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Queen size me.

I was drowning in a sea of toned biceps, high heels, skinny jeans, and sexy, sleeveless tops. Dressed like a puffy, 12-year old lesbian in Levis, Converse sneakers and a t-shirt, I pinched a layer of fat on my arm. Fuck. It wasn't a nightmare.

Where's the bar?

A party for a friend found me surrounded by drop-dead gorgeous women, one of whom was turning 40 and looked about 19. I missed the burning effigy of a man on the front lawn, but I knew goin' in – this was a Pilates-powered, penis-free zone. With no hope of getting felt up, I even left on my sports bra.

Why was I here again?

Oh ya. Birthday. Tough year. Shed the mommy costume, leave the kiddies with a pizza, a dad, and Hockey Night in Canada. Dress up for no other reason other than to feel like you did before you traded in the Rabbit convertible for a minivan. Celebrate friendship and survival. Gather the girls and get pissed.

I really need to sex up my wardrobe.

Men gather with purpose; Wage war; Conduct business; Watch a pole dancer; Sports. Women will gather at the sound of a kettle or a cork – if for no other reason than to share a laugh, or a bitch about babies, cellulite, money, men, books, meals, work, parents, husbands, laundry, teachers, teenagers, lack of sleep, lack of respect, lack of elasticity, lack of love. Fueled by financial freedom and white wine, women have the potential to kick ass. Fueled by a nature to protect and a will to survive – women are a force like no other.

Are they going to cut that fucking cake, or what? I want to go home.

Barb Stegemann kicks serious ass. Author of 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen, A Woman's Guide to Living & Leading in an Illogical World, Stegemann is a woman on a mission, and God help anyone who stands in her way. Stegemann's philosophy is simple, and leaps from the pages of her book: It is never too late to become what you envision for yourself. And, it is important for us to do our bit to empower others. Us, as in women. Others, as in those who can't afford shit, let alone $300 skinny jeans.

I envisioned a slice of that vanilla Chai icing birthday cake to soak up the gallon of wine I consumed in the name of sisterhood of the Chardonnay. I'll empower myself to go back on my healthy lifestyle tomorrow, so just wrap up a piece of that Sweetiecake's cake "to go" and let me get the hell out of here before they burst into a drunken rendition of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" while doing the downward facing dog in size 0 pants.

Stegemann's latest stroke of genius – Afghanistan Orange Blossom Eau de Parfum, was born out of the thesis of The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen. While women still don't wear all of the pants in politics or CEO positions – women own the North American buying power. So, according to the Philosopher Queen, we must harness that power to bring about change. "The more perfume we sell, the more crops we buy from Afghanistan. The more licit crops we buy, the stronger the economy of Afghanistan becomes and the people are less reliant on the illicit poppy crops that fuel the illegal drug trade. It’s important for us to do our bit to empower."

Is she a fucking pistol in pumps, or what? Save the world by shopping and smelling good. Cut the damn cake because she takes it.

Thanks to Barb, I have a copy of The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen and a beautiful (and rare) bottle of Afghanistan Orange Blossom Eau de Parfum to give away. All you have to do is go to, then email me one of Barb's virtues. Moderation is one, but I blew that one at the penis-free party, so choose a different one, because my head still hurts.

Send your email to, and you could win this beautifully-packaged bundle of fragrance and inspiration. I empower you. The winner will be announced next week.

The other winner will be an Afghan woman, who – with a little help – will find a way out of her nightmare, and something to laugh about someday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

While you were sleeping.

My bowels kicked in just as the Rogers technical support girl came on the line this morning.

They, my bowels, had been on hold for quite some time and became irritable much like the rest of me, waiting for Rogers, like I am forced to do several times a week until my contract runs out, at which time I will take my iPhone and, well, I haven't decided whose ass to shove it up yet, but I'll keep you posted.

My iPhone is constipated, and keeps sending the same emails over and over, yet the email remains lodged in the lower intestine of my Outbox like a block of Wisconsin cheddar.

While I was on hold, I had a desperate online cry for coffee cream from a fellow early bird, which was extremely cruel because I would normally have cream (or Baileys) for my coffee, only I am holding steadfast to my UWeight health regime and drink tea with milk or, get this: soya – while I am on hold with Rogers – instead of an extra-spicy Caesar, or my 1/4 cup of cream in my freshly-ground Italian espresso.

Soya. What the fuck? No one wants to borrow soya at 6am.

While I was on hold, I opened the front door to fetch the morning newspaper and was greeted by, not one, but two, tree-fucking Yellow Pages books which I immediately tore the plastic off and tossed in the blue bin for recycling – making a note to call the geniuses at Yellow Pages once I was no longer on hold waiting for a sign of intelligent life at Rogers.

If I wanted a tome of uselessness, I would order one. Like a Sears catalog.

While I was on hold, I scraped the little bastard's boxers off of the bathroom floor and did a load of laundry. He went to a Hedley concert last night, and I have no idea who Hedley is but apparently Hedley was on Canadian Idol so I figured no one would show up because Ben Mulroney was indirectly involved – so the little bastard, if he had a lighter, would be safe flicking his Bic all alone in the dark. I gave him my spiel about drugs and alcohol at concerts and then I remembered he wasn't me, and likely wouldn't end up half naked and unconscious in a motel room somewhere outside of Butte, Montana.

While I was on hold, I walked the dogs around the block and noted that my neighbour had a fresh load of mulch and black earth from Kel-Ann Organics, so I could steal some and fill the enormous holes my little dog keeps digging in the backyard. It's kind of creepy to have a hole in my backyard and makes me think I am not ready to die yet, but I could quite possibly have a heart attack and shit my jammies waiting for Rogers.

While I was on hold I responded to the 40 or so emails informing me they had received the same email over and over like I was repeating myself after too many Chardonnays in a cougar bar last night. Which I wasn't. I was waiting for my child to come home, flicking back and forth between Jamie Oliver's attempt to cure America of fatness on his Food Revolution, and Sidney Crosby's many miracles on ice.

Tired of waiting, I was just about to hang up when another miracle happened. My tea with milk kicked in, just as the "on hold" music stopped and a chipper voice on the end of the line said, "Rogers technical support, how can I help you?"

I leaned forward, rested the iPhone on the bathroom floor next to the bowl, and hit "speaker".

Have a nice weekend.

Kel-Ann Organics deliver mulch, topsoil and recycled poop and Yellow Pages that turn into composted garden stuff. Check out or call 835.7645.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

The nicest part of being a morning person is, I can usually get a fair amount of work done before some asshole rattles my cage. Ads get sent. E-mails get answered. Copy gets written in peace.

Once the little bastard has routinely flooded the bathroom floor and left for school – and while others arrive at their desks – I head to the park for an hour of calm. And, unless some peckerhead is "socializing" their otherwise caged and overbred Doodle, the park is generally a happy place.

Yesterday, heading home with my happy firmly in place, I found myself stuck behind a 1982 Skylark doing 7 in a 50. I could make out the top of a bald head poking above the steering wheel so I immediately pulled out to pass, leaving my happy wallowing in the dust. My Toyota accelerates uncontrollably all the time, but before I could swing alongside the Skylark, a liver-spotted, arthritic old hand flew out the window, whereupon the miserable old fucker proceeded to flip me the bird.

I chortled at his spunky defiance, but respectful of my elders, I proceeded to roll down my window, stick my arm up in the air and return his kind gesture. As I sped off, quickly reaching 70 in a 50 I kept waving my bird back at him, just to give him something to bitch about back at the Home.

Expressing myself has never been a problem. It has created problems at every juncture in my life, but keeping things bottled up is never the issue on my crazy couch. I seldom answer the phone, and avoid most social engagements, so, day-to-day interactions go fairly smoothly unless I encounter stupid. Rude. Or my favourite combo: stupid and rude.

My contact with the outside world is generally through tennis, hockey, or work and work-related emails. Lately though, I have noticed a higher frequency of these: . And if for some reason that didn't show up, it's a smiley face icon. An emoticon. I am not sure why annoying little smiley faces are popping up more often, but I hate smiley face icons almost as much as I hate ASAP. I had a client once who ended every email with ASAP, which loosely translated means: I am a selfish person and I fucked up, and because I have left everything to the last minute I now expect you to drop everything and prioritize my work so I can look good because my time is more valuable than yours.

The last P in ASAP does not stand for please, so every time I received an email that ended in ASAP, I made it my lowest possible priority, as soon as I possibly could. I also fired their ass as soon as I possibly could.

Which beings me back to .

A buried in an email makes me want to drown puppies. I don't mind the occasional :) from a friend, because :) is clever, but a lodged in the middle of a work email just pisses me off. What kind of person takes the time to put a fucking in the middle of a sentence?

So I did something about it.

I created a set of emoticons, much like the geriatric flipping of the bird. They are my own secret communication enhancers, but I will share a few with you today, because I am still in my happy place. Here it goes.

.l. means "fuck you". It is a period, a lower case L, followed by another period, and resembles a nicely flipped middle finger, don't you think?

–0–? means "suck this why doncha". Used sparingly, a dash, followed by a zero, then another dash, topped off with a question mark – speaks volumes.

0l0 means "kiss my big fat ass". It is a zero, followed by a lower case L, followed by another zero. I love how it it resembles a butt crack, and it brightens my day just tacking one on to the end of an email.

Oh, I could go on all day but I have to express myself in other ways so I can get paid. Besides, the Peter Gzowski Golf Tournament for Literacy is happening June 23 at Granite Springs Golf Club. What better place to let your emoticons fly than on the golf course, especially during a golf tournament where literacy is so strongly encouraged. I can hardly wait to tee off and show them how literate I really am.

And I am. I really fucking am.

To register and express your support for Peter and literacy go to or click on Peter's face to the right.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The perfect face for radio.

I love Ruth Hubley.

Last week, when headlines around the globe trumpeted Tiger's attempt at crawling out of the gutter – our CBC "supper" time news was following the latest in a string of random coyote attacks.

Which brings me to Ruth Hubley – a woman brave enough to answer the door when CBC came a knockin' with an armload of stupid questions – looking to fill the 90 or so minutes before Coronation Street. Or as they call it: News at 5, 5:30 and 6 pm.

Not only did Ruth boldly swing open her aluminum front door and speak her mind about the coyotes (kill the bastards), she did so without a lick of makeup and a head full of foam curlers. I'm guessing it was Bingo night and Ruth said "to hell with it". Or she was expecting CBC radio. Either way, here's to you Ruth Hubley – I wish I had your self-esteem. I'd rather face a horny coyote hanging on to his nine iron, than stare down a angry camera that does not lie.

You can bet your ass I'll be in full makeup when I stare down the microphone at CBC Toronto in the sudden future. Armed with a pen – and hopefully a bit of wit – I'll face my opponents in the Eastern semi-finals of Canada Writes. Making an ass of myself on radio wasn't my plan as I rattled off a few snippets of prose and hit "send" repeatedly, one evening a few weeks back. I'm a slut for free stuff, but I should have read the fine print. All I saw was "win a new MacBook" and my fingers started stroking the keyboard. It seems writing is the sober equivalent of the drink and dials. Had I known I had to perform like a fat stripper on a pole, I would have kept my laptop shut.

My plan is to temporarily blow my new UWeight health kick, by draining the CBC coffers and the hotel mini bar, the evening before. That way, I'll be as sharp, and as confident as Ruth Hubley when they crank open the airwaves – LIVE – the morning after.

As for the coyotes, they've checked into rehab, claiming a sex addiction for their irrational, beast-like behaviour.

And Ruth Hubley – I hear she looked smokin' at Bingo.

Read all about Canada Writes at

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rotten to the core.

Inch out. Inch out. Inch out. That's a bloody Toyota, aren't they supposed to accelerate uncontrollably? ... Inch out!

I was late, and stuck behind a driver who refused to initiate a turn by inching into the intersection. I was about to get out of my car, when I caught a glimpse of his face in the rear view mirror. Asian. That does it, I'll be here all day! I leaned on the horn so heavily the fucking steering wheel almost blew off.

Racial stereotyping. Guilty as charged. Asians cannot drive.

So, you cannot imagine how delighted I was to receive an invitation to experience a kettlebell class at Core Essentials in Dartmouth. Since I had no clue what a kettlebell was, I was delighted to hear kettlebells were weights, popular with the Red Army. Russians. Vodka swilling commies with no fashion sense. Count me in.

Now, thanks to Jackie Chan, I was miles from a head space that was "open to experiencing new things" and besides, anything with the word "core" in it was already intimidating. Thank Christ I had enough sense to take a friend I could toss to the lions.

Core is the new word for the area of the body located somewhere above your ass and below your boobs – although on many women, these two regions collide. Stomach, I believe the area was called before carbs became illegal. I confess, walking up the stairs to Core Essentials felt a bit unnerving. Like I was heading into an sobering intervention. Mine.

Before I rattle on, let me just describe to you my normal gym routine: Choosing a time I believe will be less crowded – and man free – I shower and shave, then apply eyeliner, mascara, and a touch of perfume. Upon arrival at the gym, I normally kill a bit of time in the change room, because I am already changed. Who wants to get naked in front of a bunch of sweaty, fit or fat strangers wresting their way out of a damp sports bra? I eventually head into the gym and over to the water fountain, where I bend over slowly to stretch out my lower back. Then I flip through a few of those free, healthy living magazines to warm up my lower arms. Next, I hop on the Stairmaster and immediately sink to the ground despite stepping as fast as I can while pushing buttons like a Vegas slot machine. I start laughing uncontrollably, pee my sweats and head back to the change room. Drying off my crotch with the hair dryer feels oddly soothing, so I linger a little. By this time my quads have tightened so I re-stretch over at the water fountain. Limber, I wander over to the weight machines with designated muscle target areas. I find the inner and outer thigh machine and get comfy. I get one leg in over to the left but the other foot thingie is a yard or so over to the right, so by the time I get my other leg where it's supposed to be I end up in a birthing position unable to move. Asking for help at the gym is not an option. Who really needs a 20-year old wearing Lulu fucking lemon speaking to you like you are a post-stroke patient in occupational therapy? Instead, I untangle myself from the thigh master and make a mental note to send hate mail to Suzanne Somers. I catch a glimpse of Oprah's bloated face on all 6 televisions, so I feel inspired. I head over to the treadmill and straddle the conveyor belt until I have it heading downhill at a brisk pace. I hop on and and attempt to strike up a conversation with the woman jogging next door. She is wearing a headset and appears to be in "the zone", so doesn't respond when I mention that despite being anorexic, she is packin' a fair amount of cellulite in the back of her mini van. I soon tire of reading the captions on Oprah, so I pull the heart attack rip cord and jump off before Lulu fucking lemon runs over with the difibulator. By then, I'd worked up a bit of an appetite and was bored as hell, so I pretend to take my pulse, grab a towel and head to the locker room. I throw the towel in the locker, toss a few clean ones into my bag, and get the hell out of there. A satisfying 20-minute workout.

Unlike most gyms, Core Essentials isn't packed with sweaty men born before 1963, looking at girls born after 1987. Mid-mornings are for personal training, so the coast was clear. The loft space is compact, with tons of natural light and a bakery around the corner. We were greeted by Laurissa Manning – a woman so fit you could bounce quarters off of her stomach, er, her core. Despite this, I liked her immediately.

After a quick chat, in which I told her I had tennis elbow and hated working out almost as much as I hated deadbeat dads and French people – we did some warming up on newfangled rowing machines that use water as resistance and made me want to pee. No nonsense, Laurissa then moved over to Russian army headquarters, picked up a kettlebell and started tossing it around like it was a hot bun from the oven.

The Long island Iced Tea of weights – kettlebells look innocent enough – until you pick one up. Before my mind could wander, Laurissa had us simultaneously squatting and swinging the 20-pound kettlebell back between our legs and up in the air like we were Maria fucking Sharapova.

What is it with Russians? They are either butt ugly (Ovechkin) or absolutely gorgeous (Anna Kornonthecobova). There are no in-between Russians. And there was no time to ponder this before we headed over to the sadomachochist department, where I proceeded to get tangled up in the ropes, and decided that Pilates and kinky sex weren't my thing. I really wanted to hop on the Real Ryder spinning bikes upstairs, but we were out of time. Besides, my legs were already wobbling out of control and I had to somehow get down the stairs.

The beauty of Core Essentials is Laurissa, her no-commitment policy, and an amazing website. You can go on there and sign up for a variety of spinning, kettlebell, and rowing classes and, if you sign in with a fake name like Nadia Comaneci they'll never know when you don't show up. They also have one-on-one training, boot camps, sport-specific training, a hot guy named Craig Guthrie, and sadomachochist Saturday nights.

We left there all high on endorphins, straight into the line-up at Two if by Sea bakery. If you haven't been there, the hip bakery is yet another reason for giving the shithole that is Dartmouth another chance. The tattooed youngsters that run the place certainly know how to crank out a fetching array of forbiddens. Sticking to my UWeight regime, I cooled down over a non-fat soya latte and salivated watching the skinny bitch at the next table pick at her almond crossiant like it was about to explode.

I almost snatched the croissant off her plate as I was leaving, but my arms were too tired from all that honking and rowing, and I think she was Swedish. Swedish people are naturally blonde, stupid, and likely suicidal from lack of sunlight.

Or maybe that's Norwegian. Never mind.

Core Essentials is at 50 Queen Street in Dartmouth. There's plenty of parking and reasons to go. Call Laurissa at 407.3338 or check out their website at

Two if by Sea is at 66 Ochterloney Street.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy week.

I just spent two days on the phone with Rogers wireless, which went something like this: Listen Genius, call me Ma'am one more time... click.

So I'm wound up like a fucking hormonal top.
But I had a thought, and since it is holy week I wanted to share it.

Why don't Catholic priests take the pointy hats off of their heads and place them over their dicks?

That's all I am saying.

Stand by, because after this week, I am about to blow.