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smartygirl

the chronicles.

from 2000.

Snow snow snow.

Doncha just love it?

This morning I checked a post on tor.general titles "a white world." it turned out to be a psychotic neo-nazi diatribe. I was expecting a posting on the lovely layer of snow which has blanketed our fair city this morning!

Ever notice how it's never really that cold when it's snowing?

Everything looks so clean and quiet, it reminds me of christmases in the country when I was a kid. I pass through a teensy-weensy parkette on my walk to work, just big enough to hold a couple of trees, but it's enough to make the walk picturesque. I even caught myself singing "let it snow" this morning (of course, I only know about a third of the words, so I was mostly just humming, but whatever).

I probably won't be so in love with the weather come friday, when I am driving a couple hundred kilometres through the drifts, fighting holiday traffic all the way, but for now, as I observe it drifting down gently from my perch high atop a climate controlled building, I think that there could be nothing more lovely in the world.

This is the season that typifies our country's spirit, that inspires the kind of camaraderie that can only come about when everyone needs to huddle together for warmth.

Here's to winter, Canada's season! Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver!

diary updated 18 december 2000. Thanks, Mum, for saving it when I lost it. As usual. permalink

Amazing how quickly the mel lastman controversy evaporated.
(for those of you non-Toronto-centric types, our mayor Mel cheated on his wife some forty years ago, with a married woman no less, resulting in a couple of offspring who are now seeking retroactive child-support.)

I'm not really that surprised though, I must say. The whole issue could best be characterised as a tempest in a teapot, blown massively out of proportion by a couple of self-righteous reporters. Followed quickly by a public chorus of "shut up" "who cares" and "leave Mel alone."

Yes, infidelity is bad. It's also a personal issue that has no real bearing on Mel's abilities as a politician. In fact, mel already did his duty by these boys almost thirty years ago, when he gave their mother a settlement of $25,000 - at that time, more than enough to buy a house* - plus legal expenses.

So why do reporters sound so petulant? The Globe & Mail's John Barber railed as though he were the victim here, as opposed to, say, mel's wife marilyn, or grace louie's husband. My guess? The fact that this story hadn't turned up till now - thirty years after the fact - makes it look as though our pressmen haven't been doing their jobs. They can't have raked the muck very thoroughly to miss this one. What a scoop it could have been if a reporter had found out on his own! But no, every journo on the city beat missed the story. No one wants to be shown that he or she is ineffectual at his own job. Sorry kids.

The truly disturbing thing about this misplaced indignation is the attitude the press has taken to Ms. Louie - they too quickly jumped on her poor-me bandwagon (perhaps that's another reason the press dropped the story - they were embarrassed to discover that their innocent victim was not only unfaithful to her own hubby with mel, but with another man as soon as mel left). Whilst I can understand the sons' point of view - it must be a shock to discover that a stranger is your true father - the idea that Mr Lastman owes ms. Louie herself anything is, frankly, a little... What's the word? Archaic? Anti-feminist? Dirty? One could argue that having fathered children, Mel should pay child support. But what would he be paying Ms Louie for, other than her, um, attentions? And isn't that what any amount above and beyond child care expenses would be paying for?

Grace Louie's suit is looking for damages for "provision of affection and emotional support" and "infliction of mental suffering and emotional stress." Whatever. Anyone who has ever loved and lost knows that that is part of the deal. If everyone started suing their exes for "emotional stress" we'd have a lot of really wealthy lawyers.

Much has been made over the amount of money Mel lavished on Marilyn and their children during this period, but that really has nothing to do with the issue. An unfaithful husband trying to overcome his guilt by spending money on his family? How unusual! Ask a florist how often that happens.

It's a matter of personal responsibility. Mel discharged his thirty years ago. To try to blackmail him now is unconscionable.

diary updated 11 december 2000 permalink

Romance is in the air...

Ah, weddings. The joy of two people declaring their love for one another in front of family, friends, and assorted buffet hogs. An excuse to dress up all pretty-like and pretend to be a grownup. And eat yummy yummy food (we started with warm baked brie in phyllo over arugula with a walnut vinaigrette, then moved on to char with a lobster and saffrom infused risotto. Yum) in the candlelit surroundings of charming old graydon hall.

Of course it is not all fun and games. First, there is the interpretation of the invitation ("black tie welcome?" what does that mean? Why can't they just make up their minds?). I tend to err on the side of caution/formality. A school friend of mine used to say that if you wear evening wear in the evening, you are never overdressed. Everyone else is underdressed.

This theory resulted in crawling around on the floor at a u2 concert looking for a lost diamond earring, but it's the *principle* that counts.
then there is the agony of shopping. Why can't people make up their minds about sizing? It's so easy for men. Measure your neck, and voila, you have your shirt size. Meanwhile I can go into a store, try on two dresses made by the came company, both size four, and one will fit and the other will be too big. And then the next store I go to, I wear a size eight? It must be some kind of conspiracy, some kind of psychological warfare. They're gaslighting us.

No matter. Once the gown has been chosen, along with jewellery, gloves, etc., one is rewarded with a lovely dinner, dancing, and an open bar. Everyone looks lovely, everyone is on (relatively) good behaviour, everyone feels so much more charming than usual.

Then off into the night, to irritate musicians and drink tasty and restorative caesars.

In the days that follow, one gradually recollects all of those memories-that-will-last-a-lifetime, from the beautiful woman who was gleefully snuffing all of the candles with her wine glass, to the brooding/bemused fellow who claimed to be making a documentary about "the dude" from the big lebowski, the embarrassing inebriated messages left on random answering machines.

Yes, the festivities have begun.

diary updated 4 december 2000 permalink

Ugh. I'm falling behind again.

I said I'd update this every monday, and I'm slipping already.

What can I say? It's the holiday party season. There are presents to be wrapped. Canapes to be munched. Frocks to be fitted and cocktails to drink. Of course I don't have time to fool around with my silly website!

The impending holidays fill one with a mix of delight and dread. Good grief, it isn't even december yet! And already the traditional solstice angst has set in! My instincts tell me "forget about the holidays. Don't think about it, you aren't even christian." as if it was possible to forget about it without becoming a hermit. As if every religion in the northern hemisphere doesn't have some kind of "thank god the days are getting longer again" celebration around the end of december.

And then of course there is the dirty little secret, the fervent hope that, against all odds, this year the holidays will be picture perfect in a norman rockwell kind of way.

Everyone will be happy! Every gift will fit! Charge cards will be magically paid off! A soft fluffy goosefeather snow will blanket the world in picturesque and pristine white, as we relax in front of the fireplace with mugs of cocoa topped with whipped cream and extra marshmallows...

Sure. Right. Whatever.

Last year, I ended up in a pool hall full of cute boys on christmas night. I should be so lucky again.

diary updated 27 november 2000 permalink

This has been the week of good deeds.

On wednesday I looked after young nick, but that was easy.
On thursday I gave blood, which always makes me queasy.

(okay, I'm out of rhymes now.)

Yesterday I managed to maintain a startlingly good mood despite the fact that I was pressie-shopping at the dreaded mall, retreiving errant balloons for young moppets and returning lost gloves to their rightful owners.

Funny. People are so used to rudeness, they often do not know how to react when someone is polite. People expect rudeness. Rudeness is the first line of defence in an overcrowded city. It's like people say to themselves, "I'd better be rude to him, before he's rude to me." No wonder everyone is cranky all of the time. Crankiness breeds crankiness. It's a vicious circle.

I know what you're thinking: "When the hell did *she* turn into little miss sunshine?!?" Maybe it's all of the vitamin B I'm taking. It's supposed to be the morale vitamin.

Or maybe it's because doing good deeds puts you in a good mood. And good moods can be as contagious as bad moods, if a little more fragile. Hey, being nice is just a different take on selfishness, really. You do nice things for people, they like you in return. You can then guilt them into doing nice things for you. You build up bad karma. And a lot of the time, being nice doesn't even take any extra energy.

Or maybe it's the result of all of this fresh air I've been breathing since the middle of september.

Or maybe someone slipped prozac in the drinking water.

Yeah, that's it.

diary updated 20 november 2000 permalink

What a week.

Election obsession has taken over, at least in my fevered little mind.

What, exactly, is going on down south? Why were people denied a second ballot, when they realised they'd messed up the first one? Why was there such excessive police presence at polling stations, to the extent that some minority voters were intimidated? Why do they use those punch card thingies, anyway? I'm sure most older people I know would have quite a bit of difficulty using those in any case.

You'd think the libertarians and "live free or die" new hampshirites would be screaming about due process or something.

Meanwhile, the wrath of god has been inflicted upon Dubya in the form of a boil, a tradition dating back to exodus (chapters 9 through 13). The question at the top of most people's minds: what will that boil turn into? What form will a manifestation of the dark side of Dubya take? Will it look like one of the other politicians poppy Bush helped to gain power? Will it mirror Dubya's true self?

Fortunately we have plenty of unbiased, non-partisan news sources to help us sort through this morass.

Perhaps the worst part about it is that election burnout is hitting this fair nation of ours. Gee, I've been watching election coverage for a week, and I have to vote today, and then again in a couple of weeks? Good grief. Democracy is soooo much work.

diary updated 13 november 2000 permalink

I'm an adult now.

Funny how adulthood creeps up on you. All of a sudden you find yourself preferring "regular" Colgate - the one with no added flavours or colours - and saying things like "as long as you're under my roof, you can live by my rules."

Yikes.

Sometimes it can be fun to be an adult. Adults get to throw dinner parties. We get to go to the theatre and go for cocktails. We eat lovely foods on weekend jaunts out of town. It's fun to *play at* being a grownup. But is it fun when it's real?

I know, I know, old age is not as boring as we've led ourselves to believe. Still, I'm not sure I'm ready for this. As a youth, excitement was the product of affairs and intrigues, of paramours and passions, of gossip and gallantry. But old people don't drink till drunk and dance till dawn. Will my melodramas now revolve around liver spots and spotless dishes? It's just not the same.

But the transformation has already begun. These days, I'm taking my one-a-day multi-vitamins once a day, instead of once a month (if I remember). And I've been a non-smoker for eight whole weeks! When will the madness, or rather the sanity, end?

diary updated 6 november 2000 permalink

This has been the week of ghosts.

Going to a Tuesday movie with an old high school chum, and seeing an old friend from Ottawa featured in a trailer for the National Post. Wednesday, an ex calling up to chat after midnight. Thursday, getting together with another old friend, who'd been to five different continents in the previous three months, who mentioned someone we hadn't seen in a year-and-a-half. The next morning, a friend I hadn't seen in a while mentioned, out of the blue, that he was doing stand-up that night (she'd bumped into an old friend of his). I spent an hour-and-a-half on Saturday chatting with another friend who called on a whim from his hotel room in Paris.

What does it all mean? Or does it mean anything? A believer in astrology would say that the craziness of the saturn-return phase is coming to a close, and loose ends need to be tied up. Maybe it's just autumnal nostalgia leading people to make contact with one another. Maybe it is strictly coincidence, and I am being far too analytical for my own good.

But it's hard not to wonder: who will be next to step out of the past?

Oh, and yes, I'm still not smoking. That's six weeks or something. Yay for me.

diary updated 30 october 2000 permalink

What a busy week it has been. I can barely keep my puffy little eyes open this morning.

Mo'pix number 9 (number 6 for me) ended last night. The festival was bigger than ever this year: six nights of screenings and events, (starting at the Royal and Coco Lezzone on tuesday, hanging at the spotton all week long, and zooming over to the Rivoli Friday night) meaning that all last week I was out the door by eight a.m. For work, and never home before midnight, subsisting on one meal a day plus champagne and the odd canape (but I remembered to take my vitamins). Full reviews will be posted shortly (we hope).

Funny thing is, eve though I should have been dead on my feet with all of the running around, I found I had more energy than usual and was in a generally better mood. Why do you suppose this would be? Could it be a side effect of doing something meaningful? Hmm. One wonders. One ponders. Time for me to leave the corporate world, I think.

But do not worry, Mum (I know you're reading this), I have no plan to leap foolishly into the grand abyss of unemployment just yet. I am going to buy my way out, by writing the great Canadian novel and winning all sorts of literary prizes. Then I can travel the world, attending the opera and collecting art, pasuing only to dine on lavish nine-course meals at all of the best restaurants. That's a fairly accurate description of the lifestyle of the averae Canadian author, is it not?

Can happiness really be this attainable? We shall soon see...

Oh yes, and for those keeping track, still no cigarettes despite the week's schedule of events.

diary updated 23 october 2000 permalink

Another week gone, and a few more brain cells with it.

Why are weekends never long enough to recover from the weekend? Saturday was a long day - leaving the house before noon on a Saturday just seems unnatural, somehow. Especially when one is going to a fun-filled child-filled place that involves lots of walking and the smell of poo. The thing about kids is that they walk slowly, because they are small. My sister and I tried to encourage young Nick to pick up the pace by running (slowishly) and calling to him in playful voices. Thing is, we were running backwards, to maintain toddler eye-contact. So Nick tried running backwards to, which was even slower than toddling forwards. Sigh.

This was followed by a mission on behalf of Mo'pix - the pick-up and distribution of flyers. The festival starts Tuesday (tomorrow!) with screenings at various downtown locations through Sunday. I will be at most if not all of them, either as spectator or hapless volunteer. Do not be frightened by the word dance: this is not airy-fairy ballerina stuff. In past the festival has involved hip-waders and kung-fu.

The biggest problem with getting an early start to the day is that it can result in an unscheduled early end to the evening. I.e., crashing out on the couch at Serena & Oliver's party. It wasn't even that late! (I think) and I didn't even have that much to drink! (maybe) I blame my early-morning zoo adventure for my lack of longevity.

So the planned theatrical outing sunday afternoon was cancelled in favour of sleep, so no new theatre articles for the review. I barely got up in time to meet bryan for dinner at allen's (yum!). Okay, I didn't get up in time, I was late, so sue me.

At any rate, I still haven't been tempted to smoke. That makes it... A month of pink lungs?

diary updated 16 october 2000 permalink

Well, another day, another fabulous star-studded event (ha ha), at which I am quite smug to say I continued to refrain from smoking. I am a tower of strength and will.

The event in question was the Neal Pollack concert at the Horseshoe, which began with a rousing rendition of "Wild Thing" and ended with the ever-poignant "Internationale" in honour of the memory of Trudeau and Castro's visit. There was much swooning in the aisles and throwing of red roses.

I still don't quite believe that Pierre is gone. He was our ruler for half my life, each election more a re-affirmation of vows than a contest. And let's face it, whatever one may have thought of his politics, he was cool. More than that he was way cool. He had a vision. He stuck to his beliefs even when everyone hated him for it. He was a leader not a follower. He dated superstars and his goregous wife ran away with the Rolling Stones. Need I say more? I thought not.

I have decided to learn french (properly) as a tribute. And to thoroughly eschew imperial measures in favour of metric, I confess I have been somewhat lax in that regard. I can't even remember the last time I said "decilitre."

I have never been an anti-monarchist, but I think the lack of royal presence on this momentous occasion is telling. We do not need the queen, and by her absence she acknowledges this. Fine then, get her head off our money.
anyway, I realise this all sounds terribly flip, but it is spoken with sincerity and sorrow. We will never know his like again.

diary updated 4 october 2000 permalink

The problem with online diaries is, of course, that although in point of fact no one reads this other than my mother, it could be read by anyone in the world. Ergo, it is difficult to comment on the things that are most important, because even if names were changed to protect the innocent and the guilty, the people involved would, if they read it, recognise themselves and get pissed off.

I have often wondered about the families of those newspaper columnists who write irritating slice o' life pieces for low-grade dailies, like the Toronto Star. Perhaps they are banking on the fact that no one actually reads the Star. Like Now magazine, people only pick it up for the classified ads and entertainment listings. But I'm sure some people do read the star. Let us say your dad writes amusing stories about family life, and one of them is about the fact that you still wet the bed at age eight, everyone you know *will* see it. What the hell are these people thinking?

There was an article like that in the Globe and Mail a while ago, in Facts & Arguments. This woman had written an incredibly intrusive essay about how her son wouldn't speak to her but she loved him still like a true martyr. Reading it, I couldn't help thinking, "I'm glad I'm not related to you."

Enough. What's new with me. I'm trying to quit smoking. The end.

diary updated 21 september 2000 permalink

Another week over. In fact, an entire month over. Yikes.

Another weekend spent driving up to my parents' place. In just two hours, I'll be leaving again, this time to head to the cottage. Ah, the cottage.

A couple of weeks ago, Russell Smith (whom I normally enjoy reading) wrote an exceptionally whiny column about the fact that he doesn't have a cottage, ergo wilderness is not a universally Canadian experience. Whatever. My advice to Mr Smith (and I am not even going to get into the fact that assuming that "portuguese teenagers" have never been out of 416 is perpetuating cultural stereotypes): get thee to Canadian Tire and buy a tent. Sleep under the stars, and you will truly understand the meaning of "bear fear." And it's cheap, or even free if you camp illegally (not that I would advocate breaking the law, let alone breaking it myself. I certainly never broke into Charles Daley park by following the fence down to the water's edge and riding along to a moon-kissed sand spit, separating Lake Ontario from a shallower pond, populated solely by weeping willows; danced naked on the beach before falling asleep to the sound of lapping waves; or awoke to blue skies and jumping fish and espresso brewing [you don't need a special pot from mec, any stove-top octagonal-type classic espresso pot will do] on the camp stove). Don't like camping? On my last trip east I noticed a tarpaper shack near picturesque hopetoun selling for a mere $13k! Don't like slumming? Well, be sweet as pie to your friends, my dear. As an admitted cottage slut, I can tell you that doing all the driving and bringing homemade sweets go a long way.

Cinnamon buns, for example.

But enough of my ranting. Back to the pseudojournal.

Tuesday I was good and did not stay out much past midnight :) It is amazing the conversations you can fall into with complete strangers. At gypsy I met a guy whose mother had just undergone triple bypass surgery. At Nasa the topic ran to astrology, of all the hokey things. I suppose I should be embarrassed. The cool part was seeing Lindy (who I hadn't seen in months) at eye-to-eye level (he was on the sidewalk, leaning in the window. Normally he is more than a foot taller than I am).

And Stratochief had the release party for their second cd (a live recording: "take the party home") at Holy Joe's last night. Highlights included Johnny Trash accidentally knocking his own birthday cake to the floor, and then smearing chocolate icing all over his naked torso. Dave and I got back to his car in time to bond with a guy named Adam who ditched his bike on the sidewalk (how many times have I done that?). We gave him Advil. Can never have too much dharma.

I have to say though, I'm still not used to seeing the band without greg. I guess that's par for the course; some days are fine, some are hard. Good days now outnumber the bad by a healthy margin. But it still takes me by surprise occassionally that he's gone. It just seems too implausible.

Anyway, it was a later night than intended (at least on my part). That always happens when things are emotionally soupy.

So how much sleep did I get, you ask? How refreshed am I, to be joining the throng on the 400 heading up where the air is clear? No comment.

diary updated 1 september 2000 permalink

Geek quotient rising

Spent last night with friend (?) Lee, trying to remember DOS commands... How archaic.

Everyone else I know, meanwhile, is roaming the world and having glorious experiences... On sunday I helped Kerri pack to go to the sydney olympics, on wednesday I drooled over gorgeous photos from a friend's spur-of-the-moment trek through south-east Asia... Jeff just did a tour of europe... Daniel was in Hongkong in the spring and is heading to Sydney this fall... And I'm going to my parents' place again this weekend. Phooey.

And I did get to go to see Greg's plaque finally. I've updated the directions and maps.

Of course, lack of genuine excitement in one's life leads to recklessness and generally foolish behaviour, two necessary ingredients for a night at the matador. Note: white rum and cranberry juice do not mix well. Do not even try this.

However, the night did inspire me to start writing again. Behold, the haiku:

For simple pleasures
nothing beats breakfast at kos
eggs over easy

diary updated 25 august 2000 permalink

Gee, it would help if I didn't accidentally delete my diary entries, wouldn't it?

Let's see, what happened week before last...

Drove home with Daniel... Oh, god, I can't remember. My friend David has astounding journals covering every aspect of every day of his life practically... If he was ever on a witness stand, asked "Mr Lord, where were you on the night of 16 August, 1977?" he would be able to answer no problem. Not only can I not remember what I did last week, I can't even remember to not delete what I wrote down when I remembered it... Sigh.

addendum:
I remembered some of what I was babbling about last week... It was about getting email from a friend of greg mcconnell's who hadn't heard about his death. And about how I was hoping that having this page would help put me in touch with friend's I've lost touch with, like Joanne Truesdale, who disappeared into the vancouver vortex. And of course, by typing (retyping) the last sentence, if she does an evil twin search, she should find this page, right?

diary (would have been) updated 17 august 2000 permalink permalink

Okay, time to mellow out a bit.

Got back into town monday evening, and seeing today is only friday and I'm leaving again, I guess I haven't had time to do too much, really.

Last weekend:
well, I still haven't gone to see the plaque erected in memory of Greg McConnell. But I did go up to Parry Sound to Serena's cottage. Lovely! And then, of course, to the parents' place (drove through Algonquin Park, saw a moose... crossing sign)

So in the intervening three days I've done laundry, baked some pumpernickel, looked at patterns for bridesmaids' dresses, called about eight people I'd been meaning to call for months, missed seeing Cindy's new band at Ted's because I got the dates mixed up, and read a couple of books. Mellow stuff.

Off to the parents' again this weekend, driving my old pal Daniel (no photos of Daniel scanned yet - sorry).

diary updated 11 august 2000 permalink

What a busy week it's been.

Thursday - drinks with Dave (first time in months)

Friday - drive up to Mum & Dad's with Rosemary & Nicky... Nothing like a six-hour drive - esp. When you don't get started till after six...

Saturday - clean parents' chimney. Drive back to Toronto. Get lost trying to attend gene's vernissage at the Loop gallery. Give up and head over to the fFIDA launch party at rBase.

Sunday - bridal browsing. Actually it wasn't as scary as I feared it might be. Then party at pages for Amy Wilson's "carpets of las vegas." saw maria again - first time in years! Then Nasa for UKg night.

diary updated 3 august 2000 permalink

more archives:

* "Ooya" stands for "object of your affections," in addition to being somewhat onomatapaeic.

* Student nurse syndrome

* You were expecting perhaps a link? Why should I link you to the evil one? I strongly advise that you avoid those nasties altogether.

* My parents bought a house in nepean in 1970 for $18,900.

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