Lois.

8 07 2019

She was more than a bit long in the tooth, to say the least. A bit grungy, a bit worn.  A lock that needed persuasive urging to open. A tinge of long-ago smoked cigarettes greeted us as we opened the door to our weekend getaway AirBnB in Surrey. Lois The Motor Home was the 1980’s rode-hard-and-put-away-wet version of a unique (so we thought) funky and inexpensive place to stay after we dropped the kids off at their own place as we prepared for a fun and epic festival and shopping-filled weekend away.

Jill and I looked at each other, and burst out laughing as we entered the old motor home parked on a beautiful property just on the border of Whiterock. It was quiet and forested, with a hot tub and pool for us to use whenever we wanted. When we mutually decided to book it, we thought, Hey, what a fun adventure…. “camping” in the city!! Why not?!

We unloaded our car and set about planning our days ahead of us. This was when we discovered the owners didn’t exactly hold up their end of the traditional AirBnB bargain of supplying the basic necessities of… well…. normal life.

No toilet paper. Two towels. No garbage can/bags. No dish soap. Minimal dishes. Nary a broom to be found. NO BOTTLE OPENER.  Jill messaged the owner with our concerns and someone brought us two rolls of TP and some soap with a couple squeezes at the very bottom to do dishes with.

But hey, sometimes you’re faced with these situations and there’s not much else to do other than laugh about it and deal with the status quo. We made due at the time. The next morning we found the shower head was more intent on facing the wall instead of, you know… OUR ACTUAL BODIES. The water puddled on the floor under our feet with no way of being absorbed because… you know TWO TOWELS and all. The fuse blew every time we tried to blow dry our hair. We laughed about our smoker’s lung after breathing in that stale smoker smell.

We weren’t there all that much for the first two days. But on Saturday, we realized we were running low on TP and our towels were hot soggy messes. I went to the owner and asked him for more toilet paper and a couple more towels, so at the very least we could have something on the floor to mop up the leaky shower.

He looked at me with an odd expression and (I SHIT YOU NOT) said “But I already gave you two rolls.”

I placed my hands together in an effort to prevent myself from punching this dude in the face and finding some sort of calm within a prayer pose and said, “Yes. But you see, we’re girls. We need more than two rolls. And more towels too. That would be extremely convenient if you could provide this for us.” I gave him a smile that I hoped relayed more of a hopeful message, rather than a murderous one.

He looked vaguely out of sorts and offered to wash our towels for us after admitting he had no more toilet paper.

That was the moment when I knew I wanted to write the AirBnB review. I’m still penning it in my mind as I write this post.

He luckily scrounged some more TP for us and two fresh towels were laid out for us upon our return that day.

But you know, all in all, these are the sorts of adventures that can either ruin your trip or make your trip something to remember. Jill and I are both pretty easy-going gals, and we sure as hell laughed a whole lot about it. Maybe some people would have been horrified and demanded a refund while seeking modern comforts. But to me, we both survived and the memories and laughs we shared together are more precious than gold.

But, for the love of all that is good in this world, at least provide adequate toilet paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements




Spice

26 01 2015

When I was growing up in the ‘Wood, my foray into the culinary world was about as extensive as moose steak and mashed potatoes. The most exotic meal I knew of was Jigg’s Dinner, coveted by my bestie-Newfie-transplant-friend Lisa, OR the much-drooled-over in advance of the oft-made Pepper Steak, otherwise known as The Only Thing I Ever Saw Melissa Cook. I can still hear her say “Mmmmm…. Pepper steak,” as we cooked it on Saturday afternoons. We ate mostly healthy food back when I was young, but in retrospect, it might have been a tad limited. I wouldn’t say bland as I did grow up with a lot of homemade yummy goods as well as hunted meat, but the foreign aspect, the worldly aspect, the spice aspect…… it was missing. This isn’t to say it was anyone’s fault. It was the late 70s and early 80s in a small coal mining town. It just was the way it was, good or bad.

We all used to laugh about some of the kids in our class whose parents had immigrated from India, in our 80s sadly-acceptable-racist-ways, making fun of their abundant use of curry. Hahaha, we’d laugh, wrinkling our noses at such a foreign scent, never ever knowing the wonder of that spice. There was one day I recall that I went to my friend’s house: we tried on saris, I wore glass bangles all up my arms, and ate the most amazing sweet rice I have ever tried and this strange fudgey stuff, that I think now might have been Halva. My gastronomic juices began flowing, I believe on that day…. The strangeness of the flavours and textures made me curious about food.

I was lucky enough to travel a bit and I came to realize the astonishing fact that the Eye-talian spaghetti and meatballs I grew up eating (yes, absolutely DELICIOUS but still) bore no resemblance to the pasta I ate in Italy. Then I tried risotto. I was all “this is the best thing I have ever tried ever” and promptly gained 20 pounds eating gelato and chocolate and bread and pasta and mortadella. The brie in France was a creamy passion I fell in love with instantly. I tried duck for the first time. Sadly, I DIDN’T EAT ANY GOUDA IN HOLLAND! I regretfully realize now that my youth didn’t have the brains to sample more… Why didn’t I go to Spain? Or Greece? Ugh….. the mere lack of food experiences make me wistful. And eager to travel more.

I have slowly learned how to embrace cooking and the one thing that has made this a much easier path is my new gas stove, giving up fear of the unknown and just going for it. And wow, the fun I’ve had!

I enjoy cooking, I put on my iPod, pour my wine and COOK. It’s like a weird meditation for me, searing and sauteeing, chopping and peeling, dancing and adding flavour.  Salt and pepper liberally tossed around and onions softening in a melted butter orgasm.

I secretly love Anthony Bourdain. Yeah, he’s my pretend boyfriend.

The Food Channel is my weakness. I’m learning ever so slowly and my foray into the world of food, hopefully, won’t end any time soon.

So here’s to cooking, to dabbling in the unknown, to trying new things and treasuring the old.

 





Remember when…

8 02 2014

The first hints of springtime are still a few weeks away, but I already feel my spirit start to lift at the longer light during the day, the higher cast of the sunlight through my windows and the calendar being mere weeks away from the equinox.

I remember spring as a child. Growing up in a colder valley, the winter months were darker and icier and snowier than where I live now. Those first few days of thaw that brought in the scent of spring were treasures beyond measure: urging my mother to boot her kids outside after digging in the trunk for the spring jackets. We donned these light coats with glee and waiting impatiently for Dad to grab our bikes from the shed. They were dusty and creaky. We’d wipe them down, he’d oil up the gears. It was never fast enough for us, my sister and I anxiously watching all the other neighbourhood kids riding circles around the street.

Finally, he’d roll the bikes over to us and away we’d go. Usually there were still dirty snowbanks reluctantly hanging on, little overhangs of ice along the gutters as the melt rushed along underneath. We’d ride and crack the ice and crumble the snowbanks, getting our bike legs back, the melted ice spraying our backs with mud.

The one thing that I remember the most is the popping sound of the gravel under my tires as I pedaled endlessly around our street. The sand left behind from the gravel trucks puffed up behind us and the tires would shoot bits of rock away. The crisp tings and pops of the stuff ricocheting off the edges of our tires were the sounds of spring to me. The chickadee’s song came later and made my spirits soar like no other, but to this day when I hear the crunch and pop of gravel under a bike tire, I am again a 10 year old girl, hair in pigtails, cruising Mountain Ash Crescent on my banana seat bike, feeling that cool air stream over my face. I can taste the dust, I can hear the shrieks of laughter, I can feel the grips in my hands. It brings me joy to this day of unequaled strength, a mystical remembrance of days gone by that are still alive in my heart.

So keep the faith my winter friends. In just a few short weeks, that wind will change from icy to fresh. Our windows will be flung open and the birds will dance with glee. And on those days, I wish you nothing but child-like joy in welcoming Spring back to us.





There’s always one in every crowd… In this case, there was more than one…

21 01 2014

We went to a show at the resort one night, during our (heavenly) week in Mexico. It was a fun performance, full of hip hop, break dancing and funky music. At the end of the night, the MC got a few folks up on the stage for a couple of funny games to try to win prizes. We watched this one man up there carry on as if he were a comedian himself. (Maybe he was, I dunno.) He took various liberties with the other people on the stage to eek out a few laughs from the audience and while I admittedly thought he was funny at first, his increasingly annoying antics led me to believe that he was That Guy…. You know the one, that guy who doesn’t know he stopped being funny ages ago and thinks he can just keep on doing his thing even though most people are getting kind of squirmy and uncomfortable. He tried taking center stage, and I noticed his son and wife in the audience laughing as if it was the funniest thing in the world. Shortly after, the boy ran up on stage and started acting like a mini-version of his dad, grabbing at people and running around like a little maniac. The mom stood up and started taking video, occasionally looking around to validate to everyone in the audience that yes indeed, these two are the MOST AMAZING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.

I try not to judge people, as I am sure they are a loving group and have nothing but good intentions… but man… sometimes there are people that drive me up the wall….

And so, two nights later, we decided to catch the circus show that had various acrobatic performances. Guess who we ended up sitting right next to?

Granted, it was no Cirque du Soleil, but for a family-friendly free show, it was entertaining. At one point one of the girls on stage was rope climbing to do some crazy-ass flippy sort of trick and her sheer strength blew me away…. I turned to comment on this to my family and noticed the mom beside me, with a pinched angry face and her arms crossed as if someone just farted in her face. She didn’t clap once. Meanwhile, her son, who was in front of me bounced around, standing up and talking to his cousin (or brother, not sure, as there was a whole crew of them), ignoring the performance in front of them and basically being a nuisance. All the while, the dad was drinking and the mom sat, unimpressed while the rest of the packed theatre went crazy with the performance.

After the show, a clown got up on stage and did his schtick. Hey!! Guess who went up on stage?? And tried to take over the show? And guess whose son went up to do a goofy dance? And guess who thought it was the funniest thing on the planet and got her video camera out? Both the son and the dad were up there, carrying on…. and what got me were the pleading looks of validation they kept shooting out to her. And she would clap and laugh and cheer them on, completely oblivious of the body language of everyone else around them. The poor clown tried to direct his comedy routine in the direction intended, but they just kept on doing their own thing, ultimately souring the whole performance. The kicker for me was when the dad thought he could grab some of the acrobatic props to try to do a trick. We finally just got up and left, as did a good majority of people, leaving them to their own desperate comedic devices.

We all had a good chuckle over “some people” as we walked under the Mexican moonlight back to our villa.

Other than the antics of the Not So Funny Duo, we enjoyed our stay at the Grand Bahia immensely and loved every single moment.

 





These are the friends I know, I know. These are the friends I know.

30 11 2013

You know the ones. The ones you  might not talk to for months, not see for years. The ones who helped the integral sculpting of your true and innermost self. The ones that have more secrets of yours than anyone. The very ones that even if YEARS have gone by, once you settle in with a drink, you become who you always were with them. Time passed ceases to be any issue and the very comfort of your friendship wraps around you all, burying any strife and discomfort and bringing forth epic laughter, tears, and the very sweet and graceful gift of knowing, of really really knowing that you will ALWAYS be friends. Until the very very end.

They are the lifers, the friends that span childhood, the teenager years, young adulthood rife with adventure and drinking (which may or may not include knowledge of exploits best left to your diary), the journey into adulthood and responsibility. I am so very lucky to have two girls in my life that I can gift them this accolade.

I haven’t been able to see these two girls for almost two years now. This weekend, they are together though, and I am so happy for them. I admit a surge of jealousy frothed a bit, but this fucking life of ours has a tendency to take us where we need to be, not necessarily where we WANT to be… and I chose to just be glad for their experience instead of hosting a pity party for one…. I do hope that we can figure out a way to hang for a weekend soon, the three of us, up to no good at all, epic laughs until 4 am… This. This is what I need, what my soul craves. It’s like a treat, that one you never indulge in until you cannot say no. A gathering with your oldest and dearest. Well, I believe it fills your inner well up until it flows over. I know it did the last time we all managed to squeeze in an impromptu gathering.

We were little kids together. How freaking cool is that??? We saw each other through nose-picking and bullying games in the playground, periods and bras, first loves and crushes. Fights with each other, silent treatments, notes passed in biology. As we grew, we learned. We learned that love and friendship means more than popularity. Celebrations, driving to cruise hot guys, drinking in the pits. Getting caught doing something bad. Commiseration. Smoking together. Drinking together. More fights… well, they just lead to relationships strengthened.

We know so much, we needn’t discuss it. We are one another on some deeply formed level that is so buried within, it whispers instead of shouts. I am who I am and a huge silent part of this is Lisa and Melissa.

We wrote a book together, we raised holy hell together, we drank and partied, we ripped it up, owned our sexuality with  wide varieties of willing young men, we slowly settled, fell in love, raised some lovely children. We are rolling into that great and gray area of Middle Age, and yet. And yet we still feel the same inside our very hearts and souls.

We were mean as hell to each other, but holy fuck, NO ONE would mess with them other than us. I stuck up countless times to gossip and backstabbing. I raised my voice against ones who would say shit about MY friends. These were my beauties, my sisters. They were my best friends. And I sure love them a whole lot.