Wiener Schnitzel: A Recipe for Disaster

Dear friends, strangers of the internet:

This is gonna be a long one – and it has nothing to do with cooking.  Sorry.  Desolé.  Entschuldigung.  

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve made more bad decisions about men in the last five years than I have since I started dating at 18, almost three decades ago.   It’s as if I had all this repressed stupidity building up over the years and, suddenly, I’m having these intermittent eruptions of dumbassity in volcanic proportions.  Is this my mid-life crisis?  

Let’s go back in time a few months, shall we?  Picture it:  a rainy day, the first day of April – April Fool’s Day.  A day of pranks.  A day of fools.   I had recently given another go at OkStupid dating.  I know, I know!  I know I said that my online dating days were over.  But I had Spring Fever, I was excited by all the possibilities that Spring  brings:  yellow crocuses popping through the soil, the sight of new, crisp green leaves pushing through twigs, clear blue skies… and who knew, maybe even some romance?  (Can you spot the dumbassity here, kids?  That’s right:  having hope. )

When I first went online, it was actually fun.  I got to talk to men from all over that I’d never have the guts to chat up normally.  Most of the fellas I tended to get along with were either from New England or (old) England.  It was refreshing since most of the locals here are, well… arguments that Plan B should be dispensed from vending machines.  

It was during the summer of 2013 that I met someone I will call Schnitzel.  Why Schnitzel? I’m glad you asked.  His parents were from Austria, and that’s the first thing that popped into my mind: Wiener Schnitzel.  I could have used Wiener, but most people will think ‘hot dog’ (or, let’s be honest: dick), when really, Wiener means ‘Viennese’ in German.  Hot dog = die Wurst.  This German language lesson is brought to you by a 90 credit undergraduate degree.  

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Now, despite the fact that Schnitzel didn’t have an up-close photo of his face on his profile (due to a stalker, he claimed), he was very funny and I quite enjoyed messaging him.  That’s why I remember him so well – he made me laugh.  Men think that all women are interested in a six figure salary, a fancy car, six-pack abs, and expensive dinners and gifts… but I think that a man who makes you laugh, who can see the humour in life despite all of its bullshit, is a man worth more than the sum of his parts.   Even THAT part.  Of course, there are those women who are only interested in a man’s money, and they’re called hookers – with only one client.  They’re really no different from the prostitute who charges 10$ for a quick hand-job… except that the street prostitute has more integrity because she’s being upfront and honest about what she’s doing.    All this to say: he was witty.  I like witty.  Witty is attractive.    

At some point, being the curious person that I am, I put on my imaginary detective hat and did a google image search using the photos he had posted on his profile.  This is quite easy to do:  simply save the image to your desktop, then go to images.google.com, click on the little camera, upload the image and voila – it’ll bring up any and all related/similar images.  Then you can click on the image and see what site it’s on.  NB:  you might not want to do this from your work computer because you never know where you might end up :/  

cuffsThis brought me to the kinky sex section of a website called sevendays.   Unrelated to the Seventh Day Adventists, to the best of my knowledge.    Lo and behold, there were the same two photos that were on OkStupid.  After reading his profile there, I was a little nervous- keep in mind that I was used to nine years of bad sex with a guy who couldn’t find a g-spot if he had a GPS strapped to his member.  So, anything that wasn’t what’s called ‘vanilla’ seemed like uncharted territory at the time.   When I teased him about it,  he denied it – of course.    It was simply a remarkable coincidence, I guess.  He piqued my interest precisely because he was ‘wild’.   At the same time, I had the feeling like despite being 30 pounds lighter than I am now, he seemed the type to be more into girls who look like Ralph Lauren models.  So I shied away, we stopped messaging, and I went on to other romantic disasters.  Same old, same old.  

Fast forward three years – we are back in 2017, and I was flogging that dead horse… err…trying my luck online… again.  One day, I noticed that he had visited my profile.  And this time, he had a face.   He was cuter than I thought he’d be – I do like a man with brown eyes.  So I sent him a message and that opened the lines of communication.  He didn’t remember me, of course.  Guys like that never do.  Of course, by the time we started messaging one another,  I was already fed up with the aggressive messages from guys who were clearly insulted that their lame, monosyllabic messages were not being responded to.   I hadn’t even been online for one week.  So I sent Schnitzel my cell phone number, told him I was deleting my account, and, if he wanted to stay in touch, he could text me.  

What followed were some pretty entertaining texts.  When asked what type of work he did that made him have such a stressful day, his response was that he did dental work on exotic snakes.  I bet that line works on every single woman, every single time.  Why?  Because it’s fucking funny.    It was a Friday, and he asked what I was doing that weekend.  Was he asking me out?   “Perhaps.”

(try NOT to think of that song whenever you hear or read the word ‘perhaps’ – you’re welcome….)

 

There was talk of him driving up to Montreal on the weekend.  There was also some naughty banter.   He said not to laugh when he dropped his pants.  That would be mean, I replied.  (I’d never laugh at a guy’s junk… unless his penis told jokes -then it would be rude NOT to laugh.)  It was flirtatious and fun.  

So when these plans were being thrown in the air, I was like, ‘…yeah, you can park in my driveway, it’ll be easier for you…,’    ‘…you can stay over at my place if you’re going to drink….’  I even brazenly joked that if he were to come up, it’d be better on Saturday because I’d like to be able to walk by Monday.  What’s the harm in offering some Canadian hospitality to an American who won’t show up?   Who in their right mind would drive 1.5 hours and cross a border to meet someone?  

Schnitzel, that’s who.  

It was late afternoon,  and I was walking the dogs after their dinner.  It was sort of raining and very damp.  I hadn’t showered, my hair was super greasy and I might have looked a little homeless.   The text came: he was getting ready to drive up.  WTF?!?!?!?

 There’s nothing like a stranger calling your bluff to make you feel like you just might end up on the next episode of Forensic Files.  My gut said he was okay, but people also said that about Ted Bundy… and look where that got them.  That’s where my years of watching crime shows came in handy – always leave a trace.   Whenever I’d  meet someone,  I’d  let a friend know where I was going and then let them know I got back home okay.  It’s always been in a public location with a lot of people around.   But I had actually invited this guy to park his car… at my place… and stay over.   So I had to think fast.  I came up with the idea of taking a photo of his licence plate and texting it to a friend.  I wasn’t planning on doing this surreptitiously, either; he’d know, and if he had a problem with it, that would be a red flag – proceed with caution, or not at all.

The wait was nerve wracking.  How does one prepare for a long-distance date?  Did I look okay?  Would he be disappointed?  All these little insecurities and  anxieties came up and bit me on my middle-aged kiester.   That’s what happens when you don’t date – your shell becomes thin.       

He arrived, met the dogs and cat.  Henry, my litmus test for character, warmed up to him fairly quickly.  He seemed very polite, and as we were walking down my walkway, I asked him if it’d be okay to take a picture of his licence plate and send it to a friend. Yes.  In fact, he even offered to let me take a picture of his driver’s licence or passport.  thumbs up

 

The worst part of a date is figuring out where to go.   Especially a first date.  I’m the absolute worst person to choose a place to eat or a movie to watch or somewhere to go –  I have no sense of direction, I don’t go out much, and I’m not finicky enough, so I’m pretty content to just go with the flow.   Given the lousy weather at that time of year, and the time of day (around 8pm), there wasn’t much to do.  So we went downtown and got a bite to eat at an Indian restaurant near where I work – it’s a familiar area, it felt safe.  Overly cautious?  A bit.  But there’s no internet ‘on the other side’ and if I want to continue to share the useless details of my life with you, I gots to stay alive. He, on the other hand, told NOBODY where he was going.  I could have been some burly psychopathic murderer posing as a chubby secretary.     

Despite the awkwardness of the situation, I thought we got along quite well.  Really well, in fact.  I was surprised at how comfortable I was with him.  He seemed so nice and genuine, and the more we talked, the more I noticed just how handsome this guy was.  Not your stereotypical GQ handsome, but unassumingly handsome.  The conversation never seemed to falter and there were no awkward silences.  At least, not yet.  Yes… things get awkward.

After dinner, I had the bright idea of going to an arcade near work that I had been spaceInvaderswanting to suss out but wouldn’t dare go into alone.  I hadn’t been in one since I was a kid and I wondered if they still had the same feel as back then, with kids hovering around a game, their faces lit up by the bright displays, fully engrossed, lost in time and space for the duration of a token.   Could I catch a flitting feeling of being carefree once again?  Or maybe it would be like the dingey neighbourhood arcade I went to once and quickly left because the sleazy owner sat at the back, giving girls free tokens if they sat on his lap?   Either way, I needed to know, and this was as good a time as any to find out.  Except that I turned left when I should have turned right and we ended up walking two full metro stops before I had to concede that I had led us astray. Did I mention my terrible sense of direction?  Yeah.   He was freezing, the poor bastard.  

When we finally got there, the most exciting thing was getting the tokens.  It was all downhill after that.  Where was the Asteroids terminal?  Space Invaders?  All gone.  We ended up playing a creepy game where we had to shoot clown-mermen that were attacking us on a pirate ship.   It was very anti-climactic.  And a lot brighter inside than I remember arcades being.  I guess that’s so perverts can’t have young girls sit on their laps for tokens.   

I really could have just gone home at that point, but he wanted to do something else.  During the day, there’s a lot of things to do.  Go for a walk at the port, the botanical gardens, or my old favourite, the cemetery.  Don’t knock it – it’s a beautiful cemetery.  Apparently, it was designed by the same architect who did Central Park.    Of course, maybe it would have been too soon to introduce him to my parents.  It’s one thing to tell someone they’re going to meet your parents on a first date… it’s quite another when you bring them to a cemetery to meet them.  

So the only other option I could come up with was a bar or pub.  There’s this speakeasy-type cocktail bar that I wanted to take him to, but I had only been to it once before, and it’s hard to find in the dark if you don’t know exactly where you’re going.  So we settled on an Irish pub where the live band was really loud and the giant tv screens were showing footage of abortion protesters in New Brunswick.  Great ambiance.

pintsIn total, we each imbibed the equivalent of three and a half pints of beer that night (two bottles at the restaurant, and two full pints at the pub – the devil is in the details).  That’s a fair amount.  The last one, of course, was completely unnecessary.   Since he picked up dinner, I thought the least I could do is pick up the tab for the drinks.   Maybe that was emasculating?  Even if the American dollar makes our dollar look like a quarter, I just don’t like feeling like I might be taking advantage of someone.   And here’s why:

When my parents were dating, my father held down two jobs – he was a refugee and didn’t have two pennies to rub together when he first came here from Eastern Europe. He bought my mother some jewellry.  Growing up, she would brag that he went without basic essentials so that he could afford to get her that- and it disgusted me that she was so proud.  The superficiality of that barometer of love disturbed me.  He was a good man.  Not perfect.  But good.  He did what was right,  tried his best,  was honest, and had integrity.   It really hurt me that she didn’t seem to care that he had gone without.   It’s for this reason that I’ve always felt uncomfortable accepting expensive gifts from men or feel like it’s not fair to always let them pay.   Being like this has not served me well, though.  Men  seem to interpret this as me thinking that I’m not worthy, so they end up not bothering to do anything at all – they equate giving things with showing respect; and if they’re not expected to give things, they illogically conclude that they don’t have to show respect.  But that’s not it at all.  

Back at my place, Schnitzel was playful with the dogs.  But it was as if he were delaying going to bed – that’s a terrible sign.   Most men would have their way with a warm watermelon if you drilled a big enough hole in it.  They’d even whisper sweet nothings into it’s… well… orifice.  

We eventually made it upstairs, and I don’t know how it came up, but he referenced his below-the-belt piercing and asked if I’d like to see it.  Mais oui!   I figured that if he’s willing to drop his drawers to show me his piercing, maaaaybe he’d be willing to take care of my lady parts.    And that’s when I POUNCED!  But a drunken pounce –  so, in actuality, it was more of a slow-motion, sloppy climb.   I tried to kiss him, but he wasn’t receptive – it was like he was like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman… kissing is only for special people.   

Now, I had some bloody nerve getting naked with this guy.  I mean, he was fit.  Since I’ve let myself go, my biggest fear about slipping and falling in the bath isn’t the possibility of brain damage, it’s the possibility of cute first responders finding me naked.  The beer, whilst rendering me sexually retarded, definitely helped with my inhibitions.  That said, it sure was lovely to feel the warmth of a man’s skin.  He was like a hot water bottle.  We don’t realize how important human touch is, how soothing it is, until we lack it.  It’s like being dehydrated.  And I was positively parched.  

I won’t go into any of the awkward details, but suffice it to say that I should have done some stretches beforehand – there’s nothing like the feeling of a charlie horse coming on to make you rethink your physical fitness, or lack thereof.   Unless it’s within a well-established relationship, drunk and tired sex is just never a good idea.   But I wasn’t willing to pass up on the opportunity.  And he was probably thinking: ugh… let’s just get this over with.  He would stop crying in a week and, after a few showers, he could put this incident down as ‘cross-border charity work.’  Say what you like about Americans, but they are a philanthropic people.  

The more regretful part of this story is having kicked Henry out of the bedroom.  My wee henryman… my guy… my faithful companion who rests his head on me at night and lets me have just enough room so that I don’t fall off the bed.  He barked.  Then he started letting out the most mournful wail –  it broke my heart.  I went to console him.  He didn’t understand what was going on, why he couldn’t be on his big bed.  He was so used to sleeping next to me every night.  I told him I was sorry that I kicked him out, but he’s a major cock-blocker… and momma needed some alone time.  As a guy, I hoped he would understand.   I gave him some pets and kisses, and told him to be a good wee man and let Schnitzel get some sleep.  Being an understanding fella, he complied.    

 

The next morning, the kids were up early, with Sir Meows-a-lot providing the soundtrack.  I fed and walked the pups, and when I got back, I went straight back to bed.  I was feeling rather rough – not sick, but rough.  That’s when he made signs of life.  

He didn’t sleep well, he said, because he kept thinking about things he should have done the day before.  Ouch.  That smacked of regret.   I think he also tried to accuse me of having made him drink too much.  Because, you know,  my invisible gun does that all the time – I’m wanted in three provinces for grand theft dignity.  

He got up, got dressed, and made his way downstairs.   Whatever was said at the time is a blur, because the instant I realized that I would never hear from him again, all I could smokebombhear was the blood rushing in my ears.  That’s what humiliation sounds like.  If he could have dropped a magician’s smoke bomb and disappeared, he would have.  And I  would have done the same –  except I was already home, I had nowhere else to disappear to.

 

What changed?  Did he peek into my KonMari room while I was walking the dogs and think that my place always looks like that?  Did he go through my drawers and find the motherload of condoms* I found the day before as I was trying to sort through my komono in aforementioned KonMari room?  (*: those would have been the on-sale condoms I stockpiled when I was dating… err,  I mean,  apparently just ‘hanging out’ with Vlad for five months.  They’ve been collecting dust since we went our separate ways over a year and a half ago.)

He asked me what my neighbours would think about seeing him leave.  I didn’t know how to respond – I hadn’t really thought about seeming like a whore until he woke up that morning.  :/   I suppose that my elderly Italian neighbour, who once told me that I couldn’t expect men to just ring my doorbell to ask me out without any effort on my part,  would probably have thought, “bene… it’s about fucking time!”  He swears a lot – you should hear him go on about the stray cats ‘sheeting’ in his vegetable garden; he’s a riot.  

Schnitzel patted the dogs and cat, but could barely look me in the eye as he left. I was confused, and I felt stupid and ashamed.  What did I do wrong?  Was he that disgusted?  Did he feel like he batted below his average?  

A couple of hours later, I texted him.  Stupid, I know.  In retrospect, I wasn’t so much trying to convince him that I wasn’t a slut, as much as I was trying to convince myself.  I’ve been on many dates where nothing happened.  Maybe I behaved sluttily with him, but it doesn’t mean I’m not a generally ‘respectable’ person.    It just means that I really liked this one guy out of so many that I’ve come across, and I was very enthusiastic… not unlike a cat spotting a mouse.  Meow.

I’m pretty sure he blocked my number.  Which is a good thing because that’s when my lame sense of humour kicked in and I started to send him texts that only made me laugh.  And there were maybe one or two heartfelt messages about how it’s not very nice to treat women like that.  He has a daughter… how would he feel if some guy did that to her?  My father raised a good girl, and I did something stupid.  I hope she never has that kind of experience.  But I don’t think there is a woman alive who hasn’t felt like this at one time in her life.  And I’m pretty sure there are also men who have gone through something very similar.  

At first, I thought that I had ruined everything by sleeping with him.  But that was extremely naive.  I realize now that Schnitzel’s intention was never to make any kind of connection.  He was just in it for sex.  Which isn’t a bad thing, in and of itself.  But why the charade of a date?   Why did we even bother going out?  We could have saved time and just gone right to it and probably had a much better time, as well. He could have made it back home to wake up in his own bed and thought about his to-do list there, and Henry could have resumed his usual spot and slept contentedly, all stretched out… snoring, kicking, and farting.  

In theory, that would have been simpler; in reality, I wouldn’t have been able to do that as I actually have to like the guy.  It would be great if I could, because if I didn’t get to like the guy,  I wouldn’t feel like I had lost anything.  Of course, at that point, I might as well charge for it and pay some bills… except I’d be a broke call girl because I would refuse to do a lot of the things guys seem to be into.  “Nah… nope… don’t do that… sorry….”

I’d like to believe that he’s not a bad guy, that he just doesn’t want to be connected to women because he has children and doesn’t want to complicate his life.  Part of me wants to believe that the reason he left so quickly was because he was experiencing  cramps on account of the curry the night before, and didn’t want to have ‘digestive issues’ in someone else’s house.   But the reality is that he just wasn’t interested and had some major regrets.  

I’d like to believe that he was genuine, but I’m sure he tells the same stories, with the same charm, to every woman he meets.   And we all fall for it.  Because we want to.  We want to believe that he, and others like him, are a cool drink of water in the desert wasteland that is online dating.   But despite what we want to believe, the only connection men on dating sites are looking for is the one with their internet service provider.

That said, there’s a tactful way of being with a woman the morning after, even if you’re just in it for the sex.  People have lost their compassion for others.  We forget that we are all on this planet together, that we’ve all shed tears and shared laughter, that our time is finite, and that our hearts are not just muscles that keep us alive – it might not be where our emotions stem from, but it’s certainly where we feel the joy and the pain.   Querido, for example, understood this.  Maybe it’s a Spanish thing?  There was no future with him, but he was sweet.  I wasn’t his type, but he liked my mind.  He said that I was the best thing in his inbox and that I was wasting my brain.  He’d make coffee in the morning.  He kept a bottle of water by his bed and always offered me the first sip.   He’d give me a kiss at the door before I left.  He was a gentleman that way.   I think that, of the men that I’ve met in my life, he’s probably the only one that I don’t look back on with any sort of bitterness or regret.  He was honest and insightful and funny.  He was kind when he told me that it wouldn’t work, that he couldn’t give me what I wanted.   How you treat people makes a big difference in how they will remember you.   As Maya Angelou said, “… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  

Do I regret my encounter with Schnitzel?  I do.   People like to say that you shouldn’t have regrets.  Edith Piaf even sang about it.  But I think regrets are good to have – they’re lessons, and hopefully they’re lessons about mistakes you’ll think twice about making in the future.  The important thing is to remember the regrets, without letting them control you.  This is where I sometimes have a difficult time – making peace with them, and letting them go.  

At the end of the day, I suppose things have a way of working out for the best.   It’s probably a good thing that nothing came of this because, despite what people think, falling in love isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be.  I actually don’t like the feeling of being excited to get a text or call or looking forward to seeing someone with anticipation.  I don’t like daydreaming about someone or feeling my heart quicken at the sound of his voice.  It makes me feel dizzy, like I’m sliding on ice and heading towards a cliff.  It’s intoxicating – but scary.   Being in love is the closest thing I imagine to being clinically insane.  

I do hope that the goodness I sensed in Schnitzel wasn’t just imagined.  And I hope that he doesn’t wait until his kids are grown up before he finds someone to share his life with. Being in a loving and nurturing relationship is the best gift you can give children.  And if things don’t work out, they’ll learn that there are no fairy tales, that things don’t always last forever –  but that you do your best and, when needed, you exit gracefully.  That’s invaluable.

While these thoughts have been ruminating in my mind, an ex-boyfriend texted me the other day while I was painting the insides of my bedroom closets.  He was at the Western Wall in Israel and said a prayer for me – he prayed that I would find peace and happiness.  This reminded me of a quote by Hunter S. Thompson that I had jotted down when I was living in Germany:

Ich habe sozusagen zu leben gelernt, als mir die Einsicht kam, daß ich niemals Glück oder Frieden finden werde. Aber solange ich weiß, daß die Chancen, das eine oder das andere von Zeit zu Zeit zu erwischen, nicht allzu schlecht stehen, gebe ich mein Bestes zwischen den großen Augenblicken.

(In English: … I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either.  But as long as I know there’s a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots.)

From time to time, I  read this quote as a reminder to not feel so hopeless or defeated when life tosses me a curve ball – life is in a constant state of change, and while I might feel disappointed/rejected now, I know that I haven’t always been, and I know that I won’t always be.  So, for now, “I do the best I can between high spots.”

*****

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Open Letter to Sasha, My Dog

Happy 13th birthday, Sasha!   

 

 

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I know you’re disappointed that I took the day off to be with you today because you hate it when I’m all over you.  But I’m a selfish person, and I don’t know if this is the last time I’ll be able to put a party hat on you.   So when the Doodle was sent last week to schedule a meeting, and today was the day when everyone else could make it, I said, fuck it, no.  

Because you’re not ‘just a dog’ to me.  

From the moment I held you, and you nibbled my ear, I was in love.  I had read that puppies that struggle when you hold them will grow up to be stubborn and dominant, and that they are likely to give you grief.   You struggled.  But it was too late.  I got your Ex-Daddy (henceforth: Mindf*cker) to call the landlord to see if he could make an exception on the lease, so that I could bring you home.  That was on Friday, June 11th, 2004.   We waited and waited and waited, and finally, we had to go home.  Because, at that point, we were technically loitering.

The landlord finally got back to him late in the night, and I could hear Mindf*cker say, “listen, Brian… if you don’t let her get this puppy, she’s going to start talking about babies….”  I could have taken that as an insult, but I didn’t care…. as long as that lame joke between men meant that Brian would waive the no-pets clause in the lease.  

It worked.

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early and made the coffee.  I was giving Mindf*cker the evil eye because he was being sloth-like (but not cute), and told him to hustle it.  We arrived early and my heart soared when I saw that you were still there, that nobody had taken you home already.  You were loose and following one of the guys around as he prepared to open up, and it was as if time had slowed down.  But you were there, and I would soon be bringing you home, so all was well with the world at that moment.  

When we got you home, you were a little explorer, into everything.  I remember the sun shining through onto the hardwood floors, and you just lay down and fell asleep.  So I lay down next to you for a cuddle.  And then you got up and moved away.   I was crushed.  That was the first indicator of just how independent you were.  

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First week at home

You were my first little girl; all my other dogs had been boys.   I naively thought that we would somehow be even closer because of it, but you had your own personality and your own ideas.  Mindf*cker cruelly exploited this, knowing how much I loved you, teasing me by saying that you liked him more than me, knowing that would hurt me.  He said that maybe if I tied a porkchop around my neck, you’d come to me.  Jerk.  He was the more ‘fun’ human (mostly because I’m pretty sure he had ADHD), I get that.  

Soon, I learned to respect your space and let you come to me.  And when I would scold you for being naughty, I’d threaten to hug and kiss you if you didn’t stop.  You were so naughty!  Despite telling Mindf*cker not to leave important things lying around on low surfaces, he did.  And then he’d lose his shit because you chewed it.  Like the $150 SD card (when SD cards were the new, revolutionary technology), the arm on his glasses, etc….  What I hadn’t counted on was that you’d chew the corners of walls. :/   Hiding that from the landlord was trickier than when you peed on the floor just as he was walking into the flat to check on something – that fleece toy I bought you really came in handy that day.  

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The Toy That Soaked The Pee

For a couple of months, after you were able to jump on the bed, you would try to wake me up by nudging my head with your wet nose, and, when that didn’t work, you’d sit on my face.  On.  My.  Face.    It was quite a surprise at first, but it soon turned out to be my favourite way of waking up – because you made me laugh.   As you started to get bigger and heavier, it suddenly stopped – maybe you instinctively knew not to smother the face of the hand that feeds you.  

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After you were ‘fixed’ – despite being the responsible thing to do, you would have been an amazing mother

The mischief you got into!

There was the time we were moving into a new flat so that you could have a yard and you bolted up the back stairs into the landlady’s open kitchen, eating the hamburger out of the pan and  the guest soaps in her bathroom.  You stole her tomatoes and ran off with an adolescent pumpkin, small enough for you to run off with, yet heavy enough that it meant you were dragging it as you ran.  You stole an entire quiche off the kitchen counter as it was cooling off… which resulted in having to clean projectile diarrhea at the end of the day.  When we brought you to a lake in Magog to let you experience swimming, you went after the ball, dropped it at our feet, then bolted into someone’s cabin, stealing freshly made cookies off the counter – the wife found it funny, the husband… not so much.  

And how can we forget the time that I thought you had escaped out the yard when the absent-minded landlady left the gate open, and I ran through the entire neighbourhood in tears, shaking a bag of baby carrots, shouting, “Bunny Luv! Sasha, come get your Bunny Luv!”… because that was the brand, and that’s what you usually responded to… only to come back, exhausted and red-eyed, to find that you had been hiding in the landlady’s compost box the entire time, eating fermented crap… which resulted in more projectile diarrhea.  

There was one time when I let you down.  We were invited to Mindf*cker’s father’s farm to see his dog’s new puppies.  We only found out after getting there, that his dad said you couldn’t come into the house because his dog might see you as a threat to her pups and get aggressive.  So Mindf*cker tied you outside.  And then it started to rain.  There was nothing more heartbreaking than seeing you sitting in the rain and having a house full of people say you were fine, that Labs are made for water.  Eventually, Mindf*cker saw that I was really upset and he put you into the barn/garage to appease me.  What I should have done was grab his car keys, and sit in the car with you until it was time to go.   But I knew the grief I’d get for doing that – because he cared more about what his family would think, than about how I felt.  So, I didn’t make a fuss… but the guilt of not having stood by you that day has stayed with me all these years.   

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A rare, precious cuddle

Despite the fact that you’re not exceptionally cuddly with me, you’ve always been there for me when I’m upset.  Always.  While Henry runs away, uncomfortable (men, am I right?), you make a beeline towards me.   You won’t necessarily let me hold you around your shoulders, but you will direct your bum towards me and let me cuddle and/or cry on it.  A lot of tears have been shed on your bum, haven’t they little girl?  

Even when you had your cancerous tumours removed, two years in a row, and you came back all stapled up, like Frankenpuppy, it was you who comforted me because the shock of seeing you like that made me weep.  While Mindf*cker was freaking out about the vet bill, we were busy taking care of each other.  And this time, I stood by you when Mindf*cker tried to bully me into going upstairs to bed, knowing full well that you’d try to follow despite the surgeon saying you shouldn’t climb or try to jump for a while.   So we slept on the floor together – at a comfortable distance for you.  And when he dumped me on the love seat, two days later, two days before Valentine’s Day, 2012, my first thought was:  is he going to try to take the dogs away from me?  That was mixed in with a lot of other toxic emotions that had built up over the nine years we were together, but the thought of losing you and Henry scared me (he never cared about the cat, so I knew I’d be keeping him).    He ended up leaving to stay at a friend’s before he moved his stuff out because things were just really awkward.  Once the agreement to transfer the deed of the house completely to me had been signed, and the cheque I cut to him to get him the fuck out was handed over… I was safe.  I could fight back.  

And then the conversation about you and Henry came up.  He wanted shared custody.  He wanted you on the weekends.  Except for when he wanted to go away or something came up, then I could keep you.  So, you know, he wanted you… when it suited him.  I refused.  He said he’d sue me.  I called my notary and he said that because animals in this province were (at that time) still considered property, by leaving the dwelling, he abandoned his ‘property’, so he had no legal claim.  And, legally,  I could also throw all of his belongings to the curb, since that was now considered abandoned property as well.  When I told him to go ahead and sue me for his ‘abandoned property’, he realized that maybe he hadn’t been dealing with a dumb woman all along, that maybe he just treated me like one.  So you were mine.  All mine.  Still, the day he and his friends came to collect his things (I didn’t toss them, as much as he deserved it),  I boarded you at the veterinarian’s – that’s how scared I was that he would just take you.  Not because he really wanted you, but because he knew that that would be the one thing that would devastate me, one last kick while I was already down.  

And the last five years we have spent, just the four of us, have been amazing.  You’ve been there when I started dating again and making mistakes, you were there for me when mum died and I had to take care of everything myself because my sister is a self-absorbed, lazy coward.  You’ve helped me to keep my shit together and, more importantly, you’ve helped me to FEEL something on those days when I sometimes feel dead inside.  

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Is there anything cuter than a puppy’s belly?

You’ve made me laugh so much over the years, and you’ve recalibrated my priorities and my perspective in life.  Because of you, I’m less selfish.  Because of you, I have more courage. Because of you, my darling little scavenger, I see how much garbage people toss on the ground.   And I’m writing this today because I know there will come a day when I won’t have you in my life- and I want to preserve this now, because I might not be able to later.  I can never adequately express what you mean to me, and, there are so many more stories that I’ll remember later on that I wish I would have mentioned here. 

When I think about not seeing your sweet face and wiggly bum when I come home from work, I feel a hollowness inside that echoes with sorrow.  So I try not to think about it.  Maybe I’ll wake up one morning and find you cold; maybe it will be when I come home from work.  I’m hoping you’ll go on your own terms, peacefully.  But I’m prepared to do the right thing by you if I have to, at home, where you can be in your familiar surroundings.  Where Henry and Harley can also say good-bye.  Where I can wail freely, and loudly.  I’ll stay with you until the end, just as you’ve stayed with me all these years.  You won’t be able to see me because of your failing eyesight, but you’ll sense me.  And I hope that, as you drift away, you’ll somehow know that you were the first greatest joy of my adult life, that you have made my life so much better because you were in it.  

 

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Love you forever, my beautiful girl….

****

Pengasm

Dear Friends, Strangers of the Internet:

I should be working right now.  I really should.  But this just arrived in the post:

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I’ve always loved fountain pens, and I do already own one (a rather ugly Sheaffer that I settled on about 10+ years ago and kinda scratches the paper… as with men/women, never settle just because there’s nothing/no one else available), but I’ve had fountain pen fever recently.  I hesitated, but then I recalled the famous words of Oscar Wilde:

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.”

Now, I’m pretty sure that he was talking about sex, and I’m just talking about a pen.  And there are no monstrous and unlawful things about pens that I know of – unless a fountain pen was used to stab someone, at which point it would be an assault… probably not murder, unless the perpetrator managed to have a firm enough grip on the pen for several goes at the victim, which would be highly unlikely as the blood would make the surface of the pen too slippery to grasp, pull out, and stab repeatedly.

What was monstrous, however, was the price of the pen I had a little pengasm over:

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The Premier Luxury by Parker: this panty-dropper is too expensive for this gal :/

But CAD$575 plus almost 15% of taxes on top of that?  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I would love to be able to fork out that kind of money, but that’s about three months worth of dog and cat food (it’s expensive, but they’re so worth it).  So I decided that the “Premier Luxury” would be my porn pen – the one I think is hot, the one I’ll fantasize about, but the one I know is completely out of my reach.  Fellas, you know exactly what I’m talking about, right?  I thought so.

“But I thought you said, ‘as with men/women, never settle just because there’s nothing/no one else available’?” you ask.  Damn you for actually paying attention!  Well, unlike with the Sheaffer (there really was only the one model at Staples back then), I had way more of a selection at stylo.ca   So it was more like having Gregory Fitoussi in the same room as some equally attractive, but far more attainable fellas with some very good qualities who actually live in my neighbourhood and like the same things as me.

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I can’t have either, but a gal can dream….

 

 

img_2161As it turns out, I’m very happy with the commitment I’ve made to my IM Premium.  He’s dignified, smooth, feels good, and I know he’ll make me happy for many, many years to come.   And if I cheat on him, I think I’ll keep it within the Parker family – I really like the way they write… and did I mention how great the ink is?  (And no, that’s not a euphemism for anything naughty… not everything is sexual, you know… y’all have really dirty minds… *sigh*)

 

 

 

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This song is dedicated to my new Parker – because you don’t have to be fancy or be considered a ‘luxury’ to make a girl super happy…. xox

 

 

 

 

Wine Whine

When life hands you crappy wine, make Gluehwein.    That’s exactly what had to happen this evening when I decided to match a wine with my Netflix programming.  There aren’t that many opportunities to do that, so when I saw a bottle of “19 Crimes” at the liquor store conveniently situated near my place of employment, I couldn’t resist – it’d be perfect for binge-watching Forensic Files.  Or so I thought.

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Reading between the wines: my cheeky Chocolate

Dear strangers on the internet, once again I have been disappointed by having tried something new.  Trying new things is overrated.   This wine should be called “20 Crimes” – the 20th crime being that it leaves a rancid, dry, vinegar-like aftertaste.  To add insult to injury, it was more expensive than my old faithful, Apothic Red – to the tune of about a dollar per crime. 

So into the pot it went, with a couple of cinnamon sticks and enough sugar to cause a diabetic coma.   I’d normally add some cloves and a bit of orange peel, but I think, subconsciously, I was mad at the wine – “You don’t deserve the effort it would take to harvest some orange peel, you superficial wine with your fancy penal colony marketing gimmick!”  After about a 5 minute boil, I sipped what can only be described as Glueh’meh’wein – any self-respecting German at a Weihnachtsmarkt from Munich to Berlin would spit it back up into my eye if I served it to him/her.   

Between the unsatisfying wine and the lack of dismemberment* in the episodes of Forensic Files I watched, I could say the evening was a bust.  But the fact that it’s Friday night, that I can actually afford to buy a bottle of wine and, more importantly, that I’m not currently being dismembered, makes this a pretty damned good end to a rather frustrating work week that had me waking up this morning not to an alarm clock, but with cramps so painful, I thought my ovaries were declaring mutiny….

*:  when you watch enough true crime shows, a story about a run of the mill drive-by or fatal head injury doesn’t shock you like you wish it would… because you are now a monster.  It should be noted that results of the Myers-Briggs and Strong Inventory tests that I took while at university indicated that my top two compatible career choices were: librarian, police officer.  I like to think I’m somewhat living out both of those options in a very abstract way – by watching how crimes are solved from a very safe and quiet distance….

 

 

CTRL + N (Open New Window)

 

Good-bye 2016… don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!   

Despite the fact that I have had many thousands of thoughts I’ve wanted to purge over the last several months, the act of committing them to words seemed laborious and pointless. How does one recount the trauma of dealing with contractors without reaching for the bourbon?  How can one convey the irrational urge to punch people in the throat without sounding like you haven’t been taking your meds?  How does one bitch about pain without making it sound like a suicide note?  You don’t.   

That said, there were some truly profound shifts in perspective I experienced these past several months.

The first and most significant was that something I thought would make me happy, actually makes me quite unhappy – and arguably crazy.    These things are confusing and exhausting, and they are masters of disguise, initially appearing as humble and sincere, but inevitably metamorphosizing into sociopathic cads deserving of further study by PhD candidates in Psychology.  They are commonly known as “Men I Seem to Attract”.  For a while there, I was attracting a few incompatible men (thanks, internet dating circus), and then, after deleting my account and going it old school, I wasn’t attracting any AT ALL. Imagine the sound of paralyzed crickets, that’s how quiet things got.  

Having been single and celibate for more than a year now, I spent the first chunk of that time wondering what was wrong with me, why nobody would chat me up.  I was feeling ugly, fat, old, dorky, unwanted.  Granted, I am all of those things, so that doesn’t help.   But this is where things got interesting: I came to realize that what I mistook for the feeling of being lonely, was, in fact, peace… emotional peace.   That’s when the feeling of misplaced sadness became one of calm and contentment.  I realized that I did NOT like the feeling of being ‘in love’ (or even just being attracted to someone) because my interpretation of being in love has been skewed my entire life.  Anxiety and pining are, like me first thing in the morning,  horrible things.  I don’t like wondering if I’m going to get a call or where things are going.  I hate the excitement of it all.  It’s disruptive and delusional.  It takes control of my senses and makes me a slave to my feelings.  I hate it.  I like this new feeling and, quite frankly, I am afraid of losing this tranquility.  

 

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Handsome Henry

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My Jellicle Cat – seriously the cutest, sweetest cat on the planet

It turns out I’m not lonely at all.  Not only do I have three awesome little animals that fill my life with companionship and inspire me to be a better person and hone in on what’s important, but I don’t like being surrounded by too many people.  Everybody bandies about the term ‘introvert’ these days – like the mason jar, it’s just another thing appropriated by hipsters.  But very few of those people can truly relate to the energy-zapping, soul-crushing experience of over-exposure to ‘people’.  That’s not to say that I’m anti-social or hate people – I just prefer to be by myself.  That’s when I feel most at peace.  Having my dog Henry fall asleep with his head on my chest as he’s looking at me is more fulfilling than most encounters I’ve ever had with people.

 

Could I just be psychologically justifying this so that I don’t feel unworthy of love and attention?  I guess anything is possible; however, I’ve done that before and I was fully aware that I was doing it.  I really wish I was one of those people who was clueless about my motivations, I’d probably sleep better.  But I’m not.  The feeling was completely different when I was lying to myself and others, there was bitterness and resentment.   The feeling I have now is: safe.  I feel emotionally safe and stable.  I yearn no more.  To me, that’s freedom.

The second thing that had a great impact on me this past year was reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the sequel, Spark Joy, and the parody, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck.  Now, some of you might be rolling your eyes at the mere thought of the konmari method and how it’s a bunch of hoopla, but I’m here to tell you that the shift from deciding what to throw away, and what to keep because it makes you feel good, was HUGE for me.  The jerk I wasted 9 years of my life with only kept practical things and would rant and rave about how much stuff I had; sometimes, I would throw things out simply to appease him.  But those impractical things were things that made me happy, so I would be left feeling anxious and sad.  I would panic at not knowing what to get rid of, and then get rid of the wrong things.  If he had had it his way, there would have been no trace of ‘me’ in the house.  But that’s another mentally exhausting story that I would rather not get into.  Suffice it to say that when people roll their eyes at battered women for staying in abusive relationships, I do understand them, the psychology behind the dismantling of The Self.   It’s not easy.  It’ll be five years this February since I was ‘liberated’ from that toxic arrangement, but I still have bizarre dreams about him.  Just last night, I had a dream that he stormed my house with a crowd of his cronies  and wanted me to pay for his new girlfriend’s income tax and that he was getting lawyers and would take my dogs away from me.   The subconscious is one fucked up realm, amigos.  But I digress…

I had started the process last summer, but was then sidetracked by water infiltration in my upstairs windows, the terrible decision to have all windows changed, and a non-stop stream of work and expectations thrust upon me.  Not to mention trying to catch a lost Husky, finding a dying blackbird on my front step, and, then there was the pain and general malaise that medications control, yet do not eradicate.  I was depleted.   But psychologically, I was ready for this purge.  

Being a somewhat sensitive person, I really like the idea of seeing how an object makes you feel and letting go of those that make you feel ‘heavy’ and keeping those that make you feel happy.   I’ve been notorious for keeping things for sentimental reasons – someone gave or made me something, and throwing that thing away was like rejecting that person. I really did feel sad for the lamp when I saw this commercial:

:/

I started with clothes, as is recommended.  I still kept some ‘meh’ items because they fit, and if I got rid of everything, I’d be wearing a dollarama tarp to the office :/  I’m not brave enough to post photos of the before and after, so just imagine a bunch of useless clothing being pared down to a semi-manageable amount of clothing, which I will, no doubt have to redo because I don’t think I was fully committed to the process.  

Next: books.  That was tough.  I’ve always loved books; a passion I inherited from my father.  My first memory of holding a book was watching my parents read, as I sat in the hallway holding one of my father’s books, mimicking him, pretending to read – I didn’t know it at the time, but the book was upside down.   I still have the last book my father was reading before he died, a spy novel by Len Deighton, with a piece of toilet paper as a bookmark.   Relax people, it was clean.  

When I rifled through my books, I had no compunction about getting rid of specific books I purchased because my 9-year-jerk had convinced me that ‘twas not that he was a lying, cheating, sanctimonious piece of shit, but rather that I was insane and needed ‘help’.  At the time, a psychiatrist actually kicked me out of his office because I was wasting his time, so he was pretty much gaslighting me.  I then held my other books, whether read or not, and asked myself how I felt as I held them.  If I didn’t feel comoforted, or excited or any other positive feeling, out it went.  I had asked around if anyone wanted them for book sales, but nobody did.  So, yesterday, FOUR bags of books went to the recycling.  And instead of thinking about it as a waste, I thought about those books as being on a journey to becoming a new book, or copy paper.  Or toilet paper.   I haven’t done the basement, yet, though.   I know you’re supposed to do them all in one shot, in one place… but I just don’t have the energy or sometimes even the strength in my arms to gather all this shit together, so I’ll be doing a modified version of the konmari method.  The main concept is the same: spark joy.  

I haven’t started any of the other categories yet, I’ll save that for the new year.  But I did start purging ‘people’ who no longer sparked joy in my life.   NO MAS!  That’s where the book, The Live Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, came in – I initially got it for a laugh, but it’s quite insightful.  I only have so many fucks in my fuck budget and I’m saving them for people and things that matter.  I don’t want drama or duplicity, and I don’t need people pointing out how negative I can be, or that I swear too fucking much, or that I’m being socially unacceptable… all that flattery will just get to my head, and I think humility is my best quality.  

Also gone: my facebook account – completely, not just ‘deactivated’.  I had thought about it for a while, but it wasn’t until I saw the episode ‘Nosedive’ on Black Mirror that I thought, yeah, that’s what it’s become, what we’ve become.  That was on Hallowe’en, and I haven’t missed it at all.  I keep in touch with a few people either by gmail or by text, and that’s about it.  Despite the decrease in frequency, the exchanges are deliberate and genuine.   I’m good with that.

 

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My beautiful girl… my heart bursts with love when I look at her

The whole purpose of getting myself organized and getting rid of ‘things’ is so that I can have the energy to devote myself to what brings me joy.  I don’t want to waste time organizing or cleaning or whatever; I want to focus on my dogs and cat and being as present as I can be with them, because I don’t know how much longer I’ll be lucky enough to have their loving souls in my life.   I want to free up space in my head to write utter bullshit and start drawing again – do creative things. Essentially, I want to be able to escape… and the only way to do that is to remove the physical things that remind me of life outside my inner sanctum, where unhappiness and bullshit are ubiquitous….  

*** Happy New Year, World Wide Web…***

 

Bitches, Puhleeeeze….

I’m annoyed.  By feminists.  And I have a vagina.   I’m in the very low minority of people who calls bullshit on this sort of thing.  Mostly because many feminists these days are of the “you’re either with us or against us” mentality.   I’m a strong woman, who just happens to think that a lot of these women are full of shit.

Case in point:  This annoying AF meme hitting facebook:

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The caption here is: “100 years later women’s bodies are still being controlled by men”.

Really?  Is that what feminists really think is going on here?  Then they are fucking stupid. Because this has very little to do with sexism (except that which we, as Westerners, perceive to be sexist by our standards) and everything to do with xenophobia and religious intolerance.   There were many women surrounding this particular woman on a French beach who did sweet fuck all to voice their disgust at what was going on.  They could have protested.  They could have shown their solidarity with her and put their clothes back on.  They could have said, “fuck this beach, we’re going to leave this beach with you, all of us clothed, because we are incensed that your dignity is being stripped.  Let’s go somewhere together and make you feel safe again.”

They did NOTHING.  Because it wasn’t about feminism.  It was about fear and it was about religious differences.  The only reason this turned into a meme about sexism is because those particular police officers had dicks.  And because they weren’t of the same beliefs as this lady, those women allowed, tolerated, probably even agreed with, this humiliation and violation of her religious beliefs and preference to dress modestly.

There’s a topless demonstration taking place in my city this Saturday.  The point of this stupidity is beyond me.  So you want to show your tatas off in public because men can show their nipples in the summer by going shirtless?  And that is ‘equality’?  So why aren’t all these liberated feminists showing their tatas off to grandpa during Thanksgiving dinner or at a friend’s bbq or New Year’s Eve party?  Not enough people to see them?  Is this just to make a statement and then pull their tops back on after the media go away?

Why not demonstrate against something more important, like female genital mutilation?  Or the honour killings that take place in countries like India and Pakistan?  Not to mention the violence against women here in North America?  Having the ‘right’ to show off your tatas is more important than that?   You can’t have it both ways, ladies – desexualization of female breasts by insisting on the right to go topless because men do it, but simultaneously making your breast erogeneous by wearing sexy bras and low cut tops and rubbing glitter on your cleavage.   On the one hand, they don’t want people to ogle them… on the other hand, they do clearly do.  Men also pee standing up, against trees… do we also want to do that?

Make up your mind already, ladies.  This is confusing, even to me… a woman… with breasts.

****

This song is dedicated to the policy makers in the South of France:

 

 

 

 

Muffin Butt

Despite antihistamines, my sinus cavities hurt like the Dickens this summer.   Not sure what’s going on, but I suspect there’s a correlation between them being constantly agitated and the inflamed blood vessels in my right eye.   So I’m boiling water to steam my head over hot water and a dab of VapoRub, that seems to help.
While I’m waiting for electricity to work its magic on the city’s water, let me just share the last thing I’m thinking about before I hit the hay tonight: that is, how sad/disgusted I was this morning when I realized that I no longer need a belt to keep up my pants… my loaf-top (’cause we’ve gone beyond muffins over here) has poached that job. And I really need to go knicker shopping because if I were to get into an accident, I would be mortified if a first responder had to see my loaf-top muffin-butt – see my definition below, which is COMPLETELY different from how younger people with perkier bodies define it.
muffin-butt: n. the spilled over excess of bodily tissue (a.k.a.: fat, flab, etc…) due to the compression of one’s size-too-small knickers on one’s size-too-big butt
With these petty thoughts disturbing my mind, I hear the click of the kettle going off – the water is ready.  I can only hope that tomorrow will be filled with happier sinus cavities and better dietary choices… or simple acceptance of how all this mid-40s body shit is going down, like a melted candle in the sun.