Nov 30, 2010

A Goodbye Letter

Dear Jim,

It had been so long and here we are once again.

Your eyes are the same; they are kind and deeply soulful but are sad, tired and reflect an injured heart.
You have been through a lot and had not much luck in love over the years; I wish that could have been different for you.

Your lips are the same; they are reserved and elusive but remain hypnotic.
Your talk is small but still wonderfully comforting to hear. It’s been so long since I’ve heard it.

Your hands are the same; they are soft and caring but have matured.
You hold your daughter with love and unwavering affection that is both endearing and admirable.

Your life is different; it is complex and multifaceted, but I can find the simplicity through the chaos.
Looking towards the future and being hopeful for what is yet to come.

Our lives have gone in different directions but in a parallel universe, sporadically converging.
We are now worlds apart and have lived 2 lifetimes since the last we met.

Distracted conversation, a shared focaccia and a milkshake... and then goodbye.

Still, a shag would have been poetically superb.

Nov 25, 2010

My Journey Home

As I sit on the plane waiting to arrive in Sydney in a few short hours, I cannot help but have all the memories cycle through my mind; ones that I have spent the last year recounting in this blog. Of course I immediately think of my first love – the country itself, and then come all the other memories like a tidal wave, both good and bad, of friends and moments that I can remember as if I had just left yesterday.

I am listening to Powderfinger’s Wishing on the Same Moon on my iPod and it has all become too much and I’ve begun to tear up. Dammit! No tissues!

What people, especially my family, do not understand are all the little reasons why I love this place so much, and if I had been presented with different circumstances, in an alternate universe, I would never have left. They draw the conclusions that I just miss my mates, but I do have great mates in Canada as well – ones that I love very much; it’s all so much deeper than that.

My mother angrily remarked at one point years ago that I must have been an Australian in another life – and I think she was right. From the moment I stepped off the plane it was an indescribable feeling, like I was finally coming home – and that was even before I met anyone or fell in love.

Australia was the first place that I really felt like I belonged. Before then, I had been so wrapped up in competitive sports that I really didn’t have time to be a part of a solid ‘group’ of friends and I dreaded situations where having one would have come in handy. Although I know she thought I was a little crazy when she first met me, Kayla was the first person I met that went to my new school and still to this day is one of my best mates.

Now The Whitlams’ Melbourne has come on. Fantastic! Where are the God damn tissues, Quantas?!

It was also the first place that I really got to explore who I was as an individual and as a young woman. It was where I got into some serious situations – ones that I do not regret but definitely apologise for, with all sincerity. It annoys me when people say about themselves, “I was a different person back then.” I don't really see how that's possible. For me, I was the same person then as I am today – just a whole lot wiser and a little bit fatter. That young woman is a part of me – and she had a big role in helping me learn from my mistakes and grow up.

When I returned a couple years later, I rented my first flat in Melbourne and except for a little financial assistance, it was where I truly became responsible for every aspect of my life as a young adult. Before that, I had lived either at home or on campus in nice little protective bubbles.

Machine Gun Fellatio’s Unsent Letter has just started. Seriously? Who picked these songs? Oh yes, me. :)

That song brings me to my final point that it was here where I had lost my heart for the first time. I have never met anyone else that had quite the same intense experience that I had with Jim, and perhaps that is why it is forever etched on my heart like a treasured battle scar.

Maybe when people remain in the same place whilst growing up and having all these ‘coming of age’ experiences, geography doesn't usually play a factor – but for me, they were mostly all experienced in a separate location from where I lived; all these memories are all wrapped up with a perfect little bow, and is why I cannot separate the country from the experiences – they are one, and always will be.

Melbourne, baby, I’m coming home!

A Mother Life

Nov 23, 2010

Ode to Melbourne

I love your sun that shines upon my face;
Like a long-lost lover’s warm embrace.

I love your gum trees across the terrain;
Their scent is crisp after a cool winter’s rain.

I love your trams that glide down the road;
They rush towards Finders Street to unload.

I love the noisy birds that warble and chatter;
As I watch the tiny geckoes as they scatter.

I love the Bottle Brush that hangs from the trees;
Their silky red bristles dance in the breeze.

I love the rush from an exciting footy match;
The fans roar and cheer after a great catch.

I love the sea salt that blows in the air;
It makes my skin glisten and bleaches my hair.

I love my mates that I haven’t seen for a while;
Their sense of humour always makes me smile.

I love the Southern stars and your rabbit moon;
It won’t be long now ‘til I see you all soon.

Nov 19, 2010

My Man Catalogue (Part 2)

It had been just over a year that I had been using my ‘Man Catalogue’ as I grew to call it and I had had some good experiences and some bad ones. I had some short-term relationships that lasted a few dates, or even a couple months, and I had also managed to get some rompin’ one-night-stands from it as well; it was all good. I was finding myself logging on less and less and I came to the conclusion that it had served its purpose for a while, but it was close to the end of its natural course, and I had gotten out of it as much as I could. Since the website functioned a lot like real-life chivalry and it was usually the men that paid to contact the women, I hadn’t spent more than 15 bucks the entire year – pretty good, I’d say. I had about 5 credits left and I thought I would do one last ‘advanced search’ based on the criteria that I looked for in a guy and would spend it on 1 last contact request – after that, I would probably cancel my account.

I came across this one particular guy that fit my basic requirements: He didn’t live with his parents? Check. Has his own car? Check. Steady job? Check. OK... then for the physical part – he was like a teddy bear – which is the kind of guy that I have always liked. I hated when my boyfriends were wee men, so if it was cool out and I didn’t have a jacket, I couldn’t wear theirs. It’s a small thing, but it meant a lot to me. He also had a photo of himself in the UK – so he liked to travel; that was a big ‘Check’ on my list as well. Lastly, one of his photos that he posted was himself with his grandmother – awe, cute. So, he appeared to be a family man, which was another big ‘Check’.

We hit it off online and had some great back-and-forth emails, revealing more and more positive attributes about himself. After a few weeks, I agreed to meet up with him. Our emails took place over the time period that included my birthday, so when we met up a couple weeks later, the first thing he did (after our initial introductions) was he went to the counter of the café and as a belated birthday gesture, he bought me a giant cookie. It was adorable and right then, I knew he was a keeper. I did end up cancelling my account shortly after that day... and we got married 4 years later.

Nov 15, 2010

My Man Catalogue (Part 1)

Adventures in Online Dating

The wild and strange world of online dating was a daunting and intimidating thought at first. I toyed with the idea for a few weeks before I decided to take the cyber plunge. I realize that many girls can become self critical of themselves with this method of meeting guys, especially when it really can be superficial – at least to begin with. The services can all ‘claim’ to connect people on various levels of compatibility, blah, blah, blah... but at the end of the day it’s the photo that is the deal maker or breaker. It would be naive to think that it’s not – and if someone told me that it wasn’t important, I would guess they were lying – to me or to themselves.

I think we have all heard the horror stories of online dating when people basically pretend to be someone they are not and then when they meet for the first time, it’s a big shocking letdown. Because I am who I am, I wanted to insure that this wouldn’t happen with me and when I finally posted my profile, I was as honest as possible about who I was, and what I looked like. I posted about 6 photos – from all unflattering angles and candid party shots. There was even a drop-down selection for body-type and I had selected the “Queen Sized” option; I didn’t want to create any false representations whatsoever.

What I found the most frustrating, which was something I totally didn’t expect, was that I would constantly get contact proposals from guys that I knew wouldn’t like me. I would check out their profile and under their preferences they would have written “Skinny girls only”. I didn’t think less of them for that – you like what you like and that’s fine – but then don’t be sending someone like me invitations. When I would ignore their emails, some weirdoes would even get upset and email a second or third time asking why I wasn’t replying. Hello?! Have you seen all my photos? I’m not your type – and I just wanted to save both of us some time and effort.

After I had surpassed this odd twist and had made some good initial connections online, but even then some in-person meetings went well and some others I could tell they were disappointed with the ‘live’ version of me. It threw me the first time and my self esteem took a bit of a hit – but I surprisingly got over it after a couple more times. After the first dozen meetings, my new attitude was: Screw it! It’s not like I would see them ever again anyway. It was pretty fun and slightly addictive – like what social networking is like today – that’s what this site was like back then. I would log on at least 5 times a day to check out the latest ‘talent’. There was one guy I contacted that was my ultimate bad-boy dream; he was the lead singer in a punk band... Yum! Although we had a fabulous time together, once again, I knew early on that he didn’t have romantic feelings towards me after his initial 'once-over' and I wasn’t the least surprised when he never asked me out again. O well... everything happens for a reason.

To be continued...

Nov 11, 2010

Poppy Pride

My grandfather lived a full life and was always telling me incredible stories from his past; I’d like to think I get my love for story telling from him. Sometimes, I often wondered how one person could have done all the things he had done – but I guess you can accomplish a lot in 83 years, or at least we would like to think so. He loved hunting, fishing and yelling at the Montreal Canadiens – but as far as occupations went, (just to name a few) he had been a professional football player, a type-setter, Customs officer, and a soldier in World War II.

It was during this time period that he didn’t actually ever divulge too much information. Perhaps he didn’t want to scare me, or perhaps it was too painful for him to recount. He had only told me one story: After they arrived in enemy territory close to the end of the war, his battalion had come across some abandoned Nazi camps and found some of their weapons. He was excited to have found a rifle and for some reason he checked the barrel before sending off a shot in the air. The Nazis must have tried to sabotage these abandoned weapons because it was jammed with what looked to be a ring. If my grandfather hadn’t checked, it would have likely backfired in his face and probably not survived to return to Canada and marry my grandmother... and so on. Talk about a tiny pebble making big ripples!

That same day they found a Nazi base and overtook it. My grandfather ripped down one of the giant Nazi flags that hung out the front and kept it. He had shown it to me – and a few other remnants from the war that he kept safely in a beat-up old cylindrical tin, which also included a newspaper from June 6, 1944 (D-Day). When he took the flag out of the tin, I took in a big gasp – but it wasn’t of shock or horror of seeing that terrible red, white and black symbol – but rather it was my chest filling with pride. Pride for my grandfather, and I almost started to cry. It was at that moment that it all became real for me. He had risked his life with the belief that he was fighting to make the world a better place for... well... me.

I still have that flag, but I know there would be no way I could ever put it on display because of what that symbol represents to the rest of the world. I see far beyond the symbol and see it as an object of victory – my grandfather’s victory and my country’s victory, but I realize I have to appreciate that sentiment on my own and leave it inside the tin.

I think about my grandfather a lot and I miss him every day since he passed on February 14, 2004, but every year on November 11, I think about him as a Canadian soldier and what he risked for all of us. It is for him that I wear a poppy today.

Nov 8, 2010

PreSchool Passion

Whether it was because my babysitter had me second-hand watching soap operas from the time I could walk or perhaps because I was just born with an over-active libido – but either way I knew I had a special and early developed love for, well... love.

I remember taking Scotty behind the toy shed in the playground during PreSchool. I enjoyed re-enacting scenes from whatever soap I had seen the day before, and he was a willing participant – which I might add as a side note was extremely rare for a 5 year old boy to be up for. There was also another girl that insisted on coming with us for our secret activities. I wasn’t overly impressed about sharing Scotty, but I let it slide. She was cute with loosely curled red hair and a tiny cluster of freckles across her nose – and I knew that she had a crush on Scotty too. Why wouldn’t she? He was hot stuff – as far as 5 year olds go.

The 3 of us would sneak behind the shed and we girls would take turns kissing Scotty and I was in charge of directing the re-enactments as I remembered them from TV (from what a preschooler could grasp of the plot, anyway).

If you have ever experienced small children role playing to be like adults, you would know that they can be overly dramatic. Although it was close to 30 years ago, I know that our little ‘love scenes’ were completely ridiculous. I also know that it was during the fall, because I can remember Scotty and I rolling around in the leaves while switching our heads from side to side, doing what we thought was passionate kissing. I’m sure the gods were watching from above, shaking their heads thinking, ‘This girl’s going to be trouble!”

Nov 4, 2010

My Heavenly Essay

Most of O.A.C (which was essentially grade 13 in Ontario before they scrapped it) was a breeze and I didn’t overly assert my intellect even at the best of times. One needed 6 O.A.C. credits to get in to University – and that was basically the only 6 results they looked at; the average of these 6 results pretty much defined your tertiary schooling aspirations. I had already done 3 of these credits the year before, which meant I had only 3 to complete in an 8 subject timetable over 2 semesters. Needless to say, I had a lot of free time which was spent mostly in the coffee shop down the street smoking my brains out (ah, the good old days when smoking was allowed in coffee shops) or in the months where the weather was agreeable, we spent hours across the high school in the soccer field brewing bottle tokes and listening to someone playing guitar; not exactly the stressful year of a senior that I expected it to be when I was younger – not that I was complaining.

I decided to take Writer’s Craft for my last credit – Imagine that, me enjoying writing! We were given a choice of the 3 different writing genres for our major assignments (Narrative, Expository & Persuasive). Since I had just spent the majority of the last 4 years writing expository essays, I left that one for last. Even though I thought I would be dragging my heels though it, I decided on the topic “Heaven: Does It Exist?” It was deep and heavy and I’m still not sure why or how I came to that idea, but I got 100% enveloped in my research for this essay... like I said before, I had a lot of spare time. Maybe it was also because it was practically the last piece of written work I would be doing for high school, so I thought I should make this one count.

When I was done, I knew it was awesome.

I was so proud of it that I even got some of my friends to read it – I don’t think any of us read any of each others’ work – we usually didn’t give a shit, but I knew this piece rocked and I wanted to show it off. I estimated that it was at least at a 2nd year University level, if not higher.

I should also mention that since I was a passionate teenager, I had extreme hot and cold relationships with many of my teachers; I LOVED a lot of them and HATED others and most of the time the feelings were mutual. About a week had passed since I handed it in and my teacher asked to see me after class. I approached her desk, which always was buried underneath piles of books and the particular pile closest to her caught my eye because they looked familiar. Rightly so! It was the entire collection of books that I had mentioned in my bibliography. What the hell was going on?

“Stephanie, I can’t seem to find any proof of plagiarism but I cannot, with my conscious, award you the grade that this essay is worthy of; I just cannot believe that you wrote this essay on your own.”

I was stunned and utterly insulted. It wasn’t as if I was a D student that suddenly pulled a diamond out of my ass – I was an A student – low A’s, but still A’s nevertheless. I don’t know what came over me, but for the first and only time in my high school career, I swore at a teacher,

“Are you fucking serious? So what you’re really saying is that I’m not smart enough to have written this essay?!”

Up until that moment, this teacher was probably one of my favourite teachers – I had had her in grade 9 English as well. She was mild mannered, kind and easily approachable – until that day, anyway. Lucky for me, she let my potty mouth slide. I flustered her; it was not like it was my normal behaviour. She essentially replied,

“I don’t want to put it that way, exactly, but I’m sorry to say that I just cannot shake this feeling – so I’ll be taking off 15% from the original mark I gave it – it’s the best I can do.”

Well... I guess that meant I got a 100% because my final mark was 85%. See, I knew it was awesome! So, yes, I still got an A, but that really wasn’t the point. I was still hurt, annoyed and insulted that my teacher had appeared to have spent hours sifting through a dozen books to try and prove that I was a cheater. It was gross – and I had no choice but to strike her from my “Teachers I Loved” list and swap her over to my other list.

Nov 1, 2010

The Ecstasy & the Agony

I was watching Desperate Housewives last week, and although I watch it regularly, there is not a hell of a lot that I ever empathise with; it is usually for pure entertainment purposes only. When I want to watch something that I can relate to, it’s more along the lines of Location, Location, Location. Desperate Housewives is so ridiculous that I cannot help but love it, along with the other simulacrum worlds within Young & the Restless and Days of Our Lives. I can’t deny it – I’ve always been a sucker for this kind of fantasy story lines that ooze with clichés and hyper sexual characters.

Even my friends in high school would refer to my own personal life as the ‘Soap Opera of Stephanie’. It wasn’t because my personality was dramatic – because I wasn’t, by any means, but I somehow always managed to get myself into odd situations that vaguely followed some sort of plotline... so I’ve been told. In my head, I always thought my life was fairly boring – which is why I enjoyed the escapism that shows like Y&R and Housewives provide. Although my husband might argue this point, I actually am aware of the ridiculousness of these shows, honestly, I am.

Desperate Housewives, ABC Sundays
So, yes, I enjoy these shows and usually have zero going on in my own life that could even come close to compare with some of these outrageous storylines, but I caught myself relating to Bree Van De Kamp for probably the very first time in 7 seasons. She has recently hooked up with her handyman – a slight recycling of Gabrielle’s affair with the gardener, but nevertheless, at least this time around Bree is single. He is at least 20 years her junior, tattooed and smokin’ hot! (Green has sure come a long way since his geeky teens, that’s for damn sure.) Along with his tight youthful body, she is also enjoying the stamina that comes with it... for all of 1 day. After the second day, she is so sore that she has to walk around like a rodeo cowgirl. She had to invent exhausting tasks for him in the hope that he would be too tired to go for a 3rd straight night of a sexual marathon. Oh lord, I laughed so hard!

My experience wasn’t with someone 20 years my junior, but he was definitely the cool tattooed bad boy. I had met him online and he was the bass player in a Punk band. I had stars in my eyes for this guy, for sure – and I wasn’t an idiot not to notice that the feelings were a bit lopsided on my side. After a few dates he invited me back to his ‘bachelor apartment’ which literally consisted of a day-bed, bathroom, kitchenette and a small TV unit. There really wasn’t much else to do but have sex – for the majority of the evening. That went pretty well and I enjoyed holding on to his thick tattooed arms while my legs were spread high in the air.

A couple days after that, we arranged to spend the night in a hotel in the city. From the moment we arrived, it was a continuous screwfest. I couldn’t believe that he could last for so long – maybe now I think he might have taken a pretty blue pill, but who knows. I hadn’t really recovered from the last time we were together so my lady bits quickly became dry and sore; it felt like I was literally on fire – I guess friction will do that! We had to migrate to the shower to help things along – which it did with the heat, but not with the pain. A smarter (and less selfish) lover would have switched to a more oral activity for my pleasure and relief, but this guy was only interested in 1 singular motion.

I had to get up early for school the next morning – and he had to go to work – so luckily, no sunrise surprise for me. Thank god! I tried to walk and it was excruciating! I was walking exactly like how Bree walked after her sex-a-thon. I couldn’t even hide it or force myself to walk normally – it wasn’t possible – a wheelchair would have been a fantastic solution.

Of course, my friends at College noticed right away and proclaimed, “The Rockstar?” I responded with an injured “Yyyyes.” And they just proceeded to mock me for the rest of the day – and I couldn’t even laugh along with them, mainly because any sudden muscle movement from the waist down was almost unbearable. Even just sitting in class I could feel my thighs throbbing and I could have sworn they were emitting heat. I got 2 text messages from him that afternoon – and I ignored them both; I needed a break. Just like Bree, the next time I saw him I needed to say, “For heaven’s sake, put that thing away!” Thank you Desperate Housewives for reminding me of that memory that only now can I truly laugh at.

A Mother Life