Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 24, 2012

Today, while shivering in a cavernous train station deep underground, a tall thin boy with a plaid shirt (wasn't he freezing cold?) walked up to me and said Hey, we have the same shoes.
And we did have similar shoes, brown suede desert boots, but not exactly the same. Why he came out of nowhere two seconds after I arrived and approached me I do not know. But we got to chatting, as you do, about our shoes and Government workers having no souls, and Peter Pan, and working 7-5:30, and pipe coding, which I still am not very clear on understanding.
He had a soft, breathy voice, and it was very lilty, if you know what I mean, as in it was Irish-sounding and almost song-like. I noticed his voice the most, and his pale blue eyes. I think his hair was dyed black. Maybe it was natural, but his eyes in contrast were almost silver, and combined with his voice he was a character from some ancient epic literature. He belonged in Ireland though, of that I am sure, and in Ireland he would be a half-Fairy prince.
I am awkward at making small talk with boys I don't know, and I swing between the extremes of over-the-top flirting or complete and utter disdain. I think this boy thought I was a bit insane. Maybe he liked it. I don't care. I think he had a funny eye; one may have looked in a slightly different direction then the other. But his voice! It was amazing.

We took the train together for two stops, then we got off at the same one. I swear I am not a stalker, I said, I honestly live here too. He laughed, and said, Well, I'll tell you to close your eyes when we get to my house then, so you don't know which one it is. We parted with exchanging names. Nathaniel, he said, or rather sung. I'll probably see you around, I said, Since this is the closest train stop to my house. We smiled and waved good bye.

I think he was interesting, but perhaps he will turn out to be completely boring. I can never tell. But this random interaction with a stranger just made my entire day better. I love humanity sometimes, and how you can make friends when you least expect it. Sometimes a half-smile or even a meeting of eyes is all it takes to make a connection. To be honest I doubt the chances of me seeing Nathaniel the Fairy Prince again are high since even though we do go to the same station I normally never catch the train I did today. I had coffee with Linds after class and that's why it was later than usual.

Linds just posted this video she found on youtube of us from the summer of 2010 when we were on an archaeological dig in Narthaki, Greece. Well, it's mostly music, but you can see us dancing! (I am the taller than anyone else around me blonde). Insanity. I am half dying of laughter and half super embarrassed, since I can remember that at the time I thought I was quite a good dancer.... maaaaaaybe not so much. See? I can laugh at myself. And maybe yes, I am a little insane.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Catch Up

I have two things to say today. The first is funny. I am taking a 17th century art history class this semester, and my art friend Heather asked who my teacher was. Some beautiful, middle-aged, terrifying woman I said. Oh! said Heather, that must be Lianne. She has a blog. Sometimes she writes about students. My eyebrows almost flew off my face. I have to see it, I said.
So Heather sent me the link. And today, while sitting not 6 feet from the Ice Queen herself while she lectured (don't judge me, I like to sit in the front row of this class to see the slides better), I read through the blog for the first time. HILARIOUS. She is potty-mouthed, hyper-self centred, super-intelligent, dryly humourous, and ABSOLUTELY FRIGHTENING. And so now I am huge follower of this blog, and I haven't quite made peace with myself yet about why I like it so much- is it because it's awful? I want to hate her because she is cruel. Or because it's actually really well-written and I admire her? I don't know. Here is the link, you can decide for yourself.

The second thing is, my darling friend Postman wrote a gorgeous post about the first time you heard a song that really affected you. Check it out here, and while you're reading it be sure to listen to the song at the same time because the writing and the music go together like PB and J. Like crackers and cheese. Like wine and cheese. Like pickles and apples with cheese. I want to write about a song too, and I will someday soon.

I guess I have three things to say. The third is that Sunday afternoon my two besties and I went out to Sunday Brunch in the Empire Ballroom. The Empire Ballroom is in the Hotel MacDonald, the oldest, fanciest, most recognizable feature on the E-town skyline. And it was incredibly wonderful. An afternoon that will stand out in my mind as perfect for the rest of my life. I'll write more when I have some time, but as of right now I am swamped. Teaser: beautiful people, beautiful ceiling, beautiful mussels!

Monday, January 16, 2012


It was -27 degree's celcius this morning when I walked to school. There was frozen moisture in the air, not quite snow, smaller than snow, but falling in a sort of frozen fog. And it was the kind of cold that hurts your forehead, and makes you ball your hands into fists inside your mittens, tucking your thumbs in to keep them warm. And you wear a toque, pulled down to your eyes, and your hood up, and a scarf around your neck and pulled up to cover your mouth and nose. You have to be especially careful with your scarf, to make sure the triangle of skin exposed by your coat collar is covered, because that is one of the commonest places to get frostbite.

And so layered with wool long-johns under your jeans and wool socks and moccasins and sweaters under your winter coat the cold is beatable.

But when you breathe out for a few minutes, covered with your scarf, your breath freezes on the outside of the scarf, and drifts up the sides of your face and freezes the tiny bit of hair there, and you can't wear mascara because your breath also drifts all the way up to your eyelashes and freezes there too. And then when you start to thaw out on the train the water mixes with the makeup and runs.
And finally when you do get inside a building, or train, or bus, and pull the scarf off your face, you need a Kleenex to wipe away all the moisture on your face and it's kind of gross.

The cold makes everything red and swollen and chapped-looking, turns people's faces ugly. You keep your eyes to the ground, straining to differentiate between snow and ice while walking so as not to slip. It's all white, of course, but the ice often has some brown mixed in, is a little smoother and slicker-looking, not as many shadows. But there are hardly any shadows at all anyways, not when the sky is heavy and uniform with grey snow clouds. So it's a guessing game.

And it's kind of exhilarating to come in from the cold to a warm place, and feel numb and dizzy and slightly sick from the fast temperature change. And to feel your face start to thaw, and your thighs tingle, and you wiggle your toes until you can feel them in your boots again and they aren't just wooden lumps. And sitting in class, or at home, I pretend that my red cheeks and flattened hat-head-hair and woollen sweater are all there because I am living in Sweden, or Finland, or the North Pole. There is a kind of mystery and magic that comes from this very cold; trolls and dark pine forests and wolves and spirits. Like a Jann Brett book, the kind we got every Christmas when we were kids. That kind of magic. Not Christmas magic, but more elemental.

Winter is finally here I think.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I turn down dates and dinners and movies because NOW IS NOT THE RIGHT TIME. Honestly, you tell them that and it's like a challenge, a red flag waving. Just leave me alone. Just be my acquaintance. Let me slip to the back of your mind; I don't want to be a person of importance in your life.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Going out never fails to make me feel terribly lost and almost frightened. You reach a point in the night when you have had a couple of drinks, and are tired, and bored, and don't want to talk to anyone, and yet you have no way of getting home. In these situations my strongest inclination is to grab the nearest stranger and bolt. 
It doesn't hurt if he is good-looking and charming, in a characterful, from a novel sort of way. But you want him to be able to drive all the way to Mexico. Or Alaska. With you. On the spur of the moment. 

I have never done this of course, but I always spend time trying to quell the thought. I tried to explain this to Chris, Chris of the travelling in Turkey and him falling in love with me and him driving me insane (not in a good way), that Chris, because he asked me for a ride on Sunday and so we talked. He said that he had never heard of anyone who wanted to do that every time they found themselves in a bar or pub, and he said that if I ever did end up asking some guy to leave with me that he would think it was all about sex. I told him no, it wasn't about sex, it was about driving far away from the city and anything familiar and probably sleeping awkwardly and chastely in the car. Chris said he didn't get it. He wouldn't, though. He's not the kind who romanticizes and over-thinks things. 

There is nothing I want to do more than take the nearest interesting young man by the hand and get in a car and drive far, far away. Leave behind school, work, family, if only for a few weeks. And it's important that the passenger be a stranger because it's only with a stranger that you can imagine the potential character traits and flaws, only a stranger can be placed so insecurely on a pedestal, only with a stranger can the story unfold in a completely novel and unexpected way, a way that I crave. The worst thing that could happen would be if he turned out to be cliche. Or mean. I couldn't deal with mean; I'd kick him out at the nearest truck stop and pick up a hitchhiker instead. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Going out and S.F. pics

 A beach at sunset in Carmel.
 On the edge of our roof.
 Me, Paisley, D, Heather, Riley on our roof
J, D, me, our very first day in S.F.

It's always such a struggle to go Out on the weekends. I am sleepy after dinner, and want to curl up with a  single malt whiskey and a book or movie, not put on make-up, dress up. But I never regret it when I do, and so in a few minutes I am going to get off the couch, and put on some Florence + the Machine to get my energy going again.
I will wash my face, brush my teeth, and sit cross-legged on the bench in front of my dressing table. The light on the side table will be turned on, providing a subtle glow, and then I will put black eye liner on my top eye lids, smudging it to soften the harsh line. Then dark grey eye shadow, never used in daily life, but in the night it makes my eyes look huge and slightly sunken. Next comes the torturous appearing eyelash curler, and after that, mascara, carefully applied to even the small lashes in the corners, but NEVER on the bottom lid. That makes you look like a doll, and that is creepy.
Then some concealer for under the eyes, because at sometime during the night the eye shadow will fall down and give you racoon eyes, and when you've had a drink, and are tired, and have racoon eyes, you are very much A Mess, and if an ex-boyfriend were to spot you looking like A Mess it would be disastrous. Such is my train of thought.

Now, to get dressed. How do I want to present myself? How SHOULD I present myself? If it's the Black Dog or the Pint, then a dress for sure. But if the Wunderbar Pub is mixed into the night sometime then a dress makes you look try-hard, and jeans are the coolest way to not look like a prep. I think a dress for tonight. I am going to Black Dog first, for Kerry's birthday, and D is coming, and S may be potentially meeting us there. Then I promised to stop by Filthy McNasty's to see Crysta (my old T.A. from Kallithea and Rome) because it is her birthday too, and she is here for a limited time before she goes back to England. Then the Wunderbar, to see Hannah and listen to some awesome local rock bands, and last I am destined to end up at The Pint, because it is Alanna's birthday, and K will be there, and S wanted to go there too, and that was the very first thing I committed to going to. So a dress I think it will have to be. My new red one from San Francisco that I've never worn before. With a big wool winter coat and scarf and tights and boots of course, because this is the North and I'll be walking.

After getting dressed, it's time to deal with The Hair. It's short now, but still out of control. Go with the flow, I guess. Then a spritz of Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, and it's off I go.

The dark and the first bar always energize completely. The music, the crush of humanity, the smell of spilled beer and cigarettes. It's good to just let go and not try to control everything, you know? In some sick and twisted way it is relaxing.
Ok, I have to go get ready now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

S.F. Day 7, Day 8

Yesterday we rented a car, a crappy Chevy with lots of leg room. My dad complained that it made him feel as though he was driving an old man car, his father's car, and we all pointed out that since he had just turned 49, he WAS verging on being old. 6 more years and they'll let him into a Senior's only living residence, if he so chooses.
We drove South, our destination being Carmel, but on the way we passed through a gloriously strange little place known as the artichoke capitol of the WORLD. My fam is weird; from a young age we've all adored steamed whole artichokes, dipped in melted butter with lemon juice, and so for us, this was some strange version of heaven. We bought some fresh, for dinner later, and ate lunch at a BBQ place with sawdust on the floor and heavy farm boys hunched over their ribs in the corner.

We stopped at some beaches, played on the sand and clambered over some rocks. The water was cold, icy, not the mellow temperature of the Mediterranean and the Agean such as I've been used to the past few years, but the numbing cold of my childhood in Vancouver. Carmel though was beautiful, with white sands and adorable tiny cottages probably worth millions. As the sun was setting we drove for another 45 minutes south on Highway 1, revelling in the twists and the turns and the sun reflecting off the sea.

We got back into the city in the pitch black evening. That, too, was special, because we found an Oldies station on the radio (hits of the 60's, 70's, 80's), and my mom and dad knew all them, and us kids knew most of them, so we sang songs for an hour driving along the dark highway. And then we had artichokes for dinner and they were spectacular, way more meaty than the old things we get shipped to us now, and the best flavour and the biggest hearts. So tasty.

Day 8

And then this morning we woke up at 5 a.m., tugged on cold clothes and shivered our way to the airport in the dark before dawn, foggy minded and quiet. On the flight home I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's on my ipod for the 20th time, and vowed to try and be more like Holly Golightly. Graceful, flippant, kind, and the host of the best parties. The snow on the ground over E-town was shocking, but now I am home in my clean, art-filled basement with a load of laundry in, new clothes hung up, and the fireplace roaring. Finally, on my own! I think tonight I will watch Harry Potter, eat chocolate, and go to bed early. My mind is too filled to write much more coherently than that.

Monday, January 2, 2012

S.F. Day 6

Yesterday was beautiful- sun shining, clear skies, warm- and my family biked across the Golden Gate Bridge.
I, of course, stayed at home. I DO love to cycle, don't get me wrong, but I could tell that this would be a trip filled with my whining, and complaining, and I didn't want to put the fam through that.
So I lay on the couch in our apartment by the bay windows, covered with sunshine, and I read a book. And napped. And took a long bath. And then walked over for Thai take-out for my mid-afternoon meal. And that, my friends, was my glorious day.

Later, when they all got back, we went for dinner at a hip Mexican fusion place just a couple blocks away. Delish!