Smashelorette

I love that word, it’s the perfect title for this post. My friend the Magpie posted a pic of me from Saturday night using the hashtag Smashelorette and I fucking love it so much.

You guys don’t even know. And I don’t even know if I know how to tell this story… but bear with me. The fog of booze around my brain is clearing, this might start coming together as we go.

smashelorette

I’ve been waiting for this so long. This night. This amazing night out with my girls, getting drunk, laughing. Celebrating like only girls can. With lots and lots of shrill yayys! and wooooos! to accompany every sentence. Excitedly hopping and bopping everywhere and into everything. Chanting deliciously filthy chants at every male we encounter along the way. “SHOW-US-YOUR-PENIS!”, “JUST-THE-TIP!”, and “EAT-MORE-DICK-CHEESE!” among the best  of them.

That’s what girls do. We make ourselves look as classy and lovely as we possibly can, then we go out into the world causing all the mayhem we can muster. And I do have a lot of mayhem in my heart, believe you me. I’m pretty sure that I head-butted one of my friends on the d-floor. Mistakenly, of course. But only because a bunch of mayhem had bubbled over and was going to translate into some insanely rad dance floor head-banging. I just forgot to step back first. Oopsies! It’s not the first time though, definitely won’t be the last either. Very sorry, friend.

That must be why my neck is still so sore two days later. I fucking head-banged the shit outta that dance floor. But when you’ve got a band of rad motherfuckers ripped on heroin and playing the same Led Zeppelin song on a constant loop, there’s nothing you can do but head-bang the fucking shit outta life. The power of Zeppelin compels you!

At one point I had a little chat with the guitarist, about the recent passing of Tommy Ramone. And I begged him to rally his band buddies and play me a killer Ramones cover. He nodded semi-agreeably and went to talk to his musically inclined chums. When they hit the stage again after the intermission, the guitarist tossed me a sly grin and started cranking out yet another classic Zeppelin tune… Oh man! Another 22-minute guitar solo. I shot a look of long-suffering at The Magpie, as if to say “oh well, what can you do?” and she didn’t even have to say a word. She perfectly mimed the tying off of a vein and shot a finger needle into the crook of her arm while rolling her eyes back in a perfect pantomime of druggie bliss. It was so excellent. We just laughed and danced. Then laughed and danced some more because that guitar never stopped.

But I’m getting way ahead of myself. This story clearly won’t be linear, that fucking ship has sailed. It was never going to be anyways, because I don’t remember it that way. I’m slowly remembering my way through the events of the Smashelorette. And every time I talk to someone about it, another little gem of memory is unearthed and lovingly relived.

Like when Joce reminded me that she stole a platter of 20 sliders off of someone else’s table and our motley group of girls gobbled them up in a feeding frenzy! No I didn’t dream that, it actually happened. It’s such a perfectly Joce-force thing to do.

Or when I put on a fake moustache with Dame Edna glasses and Shannie told me that I looked like Freddie Mercury. Dreams really do come true. Playing dress up in general. I mean, if you’re at a party and your friend gives you a box of costumes to dress people up in, it’s going to be a wicked time.

shannie the raver

my little peacock

Playing the underwear game! Everyone bought a pair of panties and I had to guess who bought them. An absolutely hilarious idea. Especially when one of your friends decides to buy you a pair of 3XL men’s tighty whiteys. Oh, Caitlin! You’re a beautiful little sexual harassment just waiting to happen.

she'll get ya

big underwear

Twirling and swirling around the dance floor with a very tall gentleman who didn’t speak a lick of english. But he didn’t have to. He spoke an even more important language: the language of the dance!

Eating a piece of penis cake. Thank you Bec. I always wondered what chocolate ball hair would taste like. It’s sweet. A little sticky too. Not unexpected at all. An unsavoury delight. Much like the dick cheese my friend Hoben moulded to glorious perfection. I’ve also wondered what green onion ball hair tasted like. Cross another thing off the bucket list, darling.

Doing oh so many grapefruit wedge Jell-O shots! Best summertime booze treat you can have.

jell-o shots

And of course, chugging dirt cheap champagne that made me throw up in my mouth a little…

champagne chug

When Caitlin found me a hunk with a ponytail to talk to. I got to touch it! The ponytail, of course. It was curly and sweaty and magnificent. Mmmm, oh yeah. That’s the real dream, a man with a ponytail. I’m totally being serious right now. Just wanted to make sure nobody thought I was being purposefully flip about that. Gimme them long luscious locks any time. Let me run my fingers through your hair, baby. Oh yeah, just like that!

Omg. THE MIDGET STRIPPER. *facepalm*

He was small and sweaty and he blew in my ear. Aggressively. It wasn’t sexy. It was like the blast of a backfiring car right in my earhole.

Oh right, this is an important detail: my Smashelorette party was Star Wars themed. Yeah, that’s fucking right. My friends lovingly coloured a bunch of images from a Star Wars colouring book and used them as decorations all over Joce’s apartment. It was very beautiful and meaningful to me. There were also bottles of chase with Yoda’s picture on them and labelled “Yoda Pop”. Brilliant! There was a hand drawn “Pin The Penis on Darth” game. Oh Sara, words cannot describe how much I love you for making that. And how much I loved seeing the bad first attempt at a drawing of Darth showing through the sliding glass door when I was out on the balcony. Priceless. He’s a hard dude to draw, I was very impressed with the end result.

But back to that stripper…

We were grooving along to some sweet pre-drinking tunes when suddenly the music changed. A very recognizable piece of music started to play. Is that…? Oh yeah, it is! It’s the frigging Star Wars theme music. I got really excited at that point. I sat on the special chair and buzzed with excitement. I’ve always wondered what Darth Vader’s penis looked like and tonight I was finally going to find out what he’s been hiding under that codpiece.

Just as the epic entrance music was fading out, he stepped into the room. All 4 foot 8 of him. Probably more like 5′ 3″, but who’s measuring? And he’s… um. What the fuck? He’s a cop? And now he’s making some lame cliché joke about a noise complaint… that’s something, I guess.

i'm so impressed

Actually, this worked out really well. Even though he wasn’t dressed as the Dark Lord and I couldn’t climb him like a mountain, I’ll never forget pointing and laughing at his sweat-stained underwear while he shook his crotch in my cousin’s face. AND, most important of all… he wasn’t supposed to show us his wiener but he did anyways. Joce told me she wouldn’t pay extra for him to do the full monty. So he was either such a trooper or our rowdy chants just eventually wore him down, but either way, WE GOT THAT DICK FOR FREE!

I just had a great idea for him! He should dress up like Prince when he strips. He’s got the perfect build for it… dammit. Someone should call and tell him that. I bet there are a lot of ladies out there who’d love a lap dance from The Purple One. I know I would.

There’s so much to remember! Too much to remember really. I’m grateful for cameras. And I’m thankful for all of my wonderful friends. I’m so in love with all of you.

friends

my lovely family

Dreams come true. I should probably divorce D and then re-marry him just so we can have another party like this. Another super mega-awesome blast of a time, just us girls.

But I guess even though I’m getting married, that doesn’t mean I have to slow down my bad ass partying ways, does it?

photo-3

Maybe we just need to do one more of these before the wedding. It was always going to take more than one really excellent bender to get it all out of my system anyways, right?

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Balancing Act

I have got an absolute fuck-load of stuff going on in my life right now, and unfortunately it’s been getting in the way of my beloved blogging time. I only managed to write one post during February. One paltry post! That is unacceptable. If it weren’t for a couple of timely re-blogs, my blog might have slipped into a coma altogether and I’d be having a very difficult discussion with its doctor on the pros/cons of pulling the plug. But I’m still here, and I’m still trying to have it all.

It’s hard though, you know? I’m consumed by work, clocking around 50 hours on a good week, that is, when my workload isn’t paralyzing. I’m trying to plan my dream wedding, but keep getting thwarted by craziness and heartbreak. I just got some devastating news yesterday that derailed my whole weekend, and I spent all of Saturday night sobbing instead of relaxing, which I clearly need more of. I’m trying to maintain a semblance of a social life. I just renewed my dusty old gym membership so I can get all svelte and stunning in the hope that I don’t look like a sack of oranges for sale on the side of the freeway while wearing my wedding dress. And I’m trying to save some of my time for D, too. So he doesn’t feel like he’s getting hitched to the invisible woman. I gotta save some of my time for blogging, but at this point it’s cutting into the few hours I have left, hours that should be saved for sleep. But that doesn’t seem to matter anyways, because I just wind up spending a third of the allotted sleeping hours laying awake and thinking about all of this shit.

Deep breaths, girl. You’re starting to get carried away. That’s better.

To be fair though, I did waste an exorbitant amount of free time watching all of Parks and Recreation on Netflix because another part of the problem is that work is so draining right now that it’s difficult for me to do more than stare at the TV and drool when I get home. My brain is so overloaded, it might implode.

Even though I wasn’t able to post much last month, there were some bright spots to be had. I may seem a tad ranty and distraught now, but I did manage to find some fun and count a few blessings.

I got to catch up with my homies for a good, old-fashioned bust up at the local bar. We tried to go to two other bars first though, before we were finally let into The Rose and Crown. The first place we tried to go, we were rejected by the bouncer because “there’s too many jeans”. That is exactly how he put it.  Apparently, we’re all out of the sartorial loop. Screw that guy though, you’re supposed to wear jeans to the bar. He’s clearly an idiot on a power trip.

My drinking buddies

My drinking buddies

That’s not a very good picture of us, but this one of my buddy Clark bumping into the disco ball because he is ridiculously tall is pretty great.

disco ball

Disco Party Clark

I slipped and fell drunkenly in the street on the walk home, though. I ripped my new dress and messed up my foot something awful. Pulled some bullshit little ligament that I didn’t even know existed. But sometimes, you’ve just gotta get drunk and fall down. As long as you don’t go to sleep in the street, it’s all good.

Valentine’s Day was pretty great, too. I usually don’t care for it, but I think D recognized an opportunity for us to just forget everything for a couple of hours and spend some time together. He surprised me with roses when I got home from work, which never fails to impress me. Harvey was also impressed.

My other Valentine

My other Valentine

We had an incredible dinner at this Thai place in our neighbourhood. I felt special and loved. D is a marvel and I’m a lucky girl. Even though he just came in and interrupted my writing to tell me that we only have two packets of instant gravy and they are both mis-matched, one brown and one chicken, which for some reason sparked a bout of snippy bickering. But I digress.

I also ate the gooiest, most outrageously cheesy sandwich of all time. Another resounding pizza grilled-cheese success!

Another one for the history books.

Another one for the history books.

We’ve switched breads in our household. We’re now eating a kind called “Ancient Grains” instead of that bleached atrocity that I used to love, white as the driven snow Wonderbread. It wasn’t as cataclysmic a change as I had anticipated. The ancient grains bread is actually quite delicious.

My friend The Magpie had a baby. She’s away from work on her maternity leave, which sucks. But she’s living her dreams, so that totally outweighs any of the sucking. I can’t wait to meet her new little friend, although in a weird way, I feel like I already know her. I spent the bulk of The Magpie’s pregnancy calling her bump Scooter and encouraging her to stay in there a while longer.

So even though I haven’t had much time for blogging, I’m still out there trying to wedge awesome things into my hectic life wherever they will fit. No matter how insane it all feels at times, I haven’t been completely stripped of my positivity.

Everything does feel like such a disaster right now, yes. But these are all things that I wanted, I asked for this. Well, with the exception of the unstoppable flood of sobs that started yesterday and seem to have no end, obviously. But anyways… I guess I’m just going to have to find some balance. Is that why people do yoga? Seems like a lot of useless rolling around on the floor in spandex to me, but maybe I’m not looking at from the right angle.

All I know is that right now I have a whole bunch of feelings that I need to go and eat. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter, I’ll eat them. All feelings are ripe for the gobbling right now. So it’s a good thing I was able to spare 15 minutes of my time today for my good friend, Pillsbury.

Red velvet white chocolate chip cookies, I need you now more than ever.

Red velvet white chocolate chip cookies, I need you now more than ever.

Holiday Review

Well, there’s another Christmas come and gone. And a new year will dawn in a couple of days. I hope you kissed someone special under the mistletoe, ate entirely too much, and maybe even made an ass of yourself at a large family gathering. That’s what the holidays are there for, after all.

My holidays were fun, even though they veered off course a time or two.

The holidays started with the launching of a new tradition. My sister arranged a “Cousin’s Cocktail Christmas Party” and it was a great success. We got together with our cousins and their spouses/partners for some drinks, snacks, and general merriment. We then went to a comedy club to yuk it up. It was fun. Some of my best memories of Christmases past are of playing with my cousins. Our parents would get us all done up in fancy little outfits and try to impress upon us the importance of “behaving ourselves” at the dinner.

cousins at christmas

And obviously we’ve all grown up a whole lot since those days, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how much fun I still have with my cousins.

cousins christmas

Overnight we were harassed by an ice storm of disastrous proportions. We woke up to a world that had been completely consumed by ice.

ice storm

ice storm 2

ice storm 3

The storm took down countless trees and power lines. Over 250,000 homes in the city were without power for anywhere from 24 hours to a week. My cousin Ryan slept over at my sister’s place after the Christmas party, and awoke the next morning to find a tree had fallen onto his girlfriend’s car.

tree on car

The storm wreaked absolute havoc on the city, and I was glad to head north and out of the icy mess for a few days. But the fun just didn’t stop coming. On Christmas Eve I got sick. Really sick. Feverish, coughing, totally congested. I felt like a bag of assholes. My dad cooked up a feast and I barely even nibbled at it. My appetite was nowhere to be found. We then went to my mom’s for drinks and board games, which I normally really enjoy. But instead of having a bunch of Christmas fun with my family, I sat on the sidelines bundled in blankets, sweating buckets while a perpetual coughing fit racked my body. I was one pathetic sight.

On Christmas day, I was supposed to accompany D to his family get together. But I felt so goddamned shitty I couldn’t even get up off the couch without draining the last vestiges of my strength completely. I had to choose my battles wisely. D went on without me, and I stayed home. I laid on the couch and watched the entire 6 hours of The Stand miniseries on DVD. I had just finished the book, and my mom had the DVDs of the miniseries, so she let me borrow them. And they came in handy, that’s for damn sure.

The following day I felt well enough to go to lunch with D and his dad. At least I could be a part of some of his family celebrations, for his sake. But we didn’t do a lick of Boxing Day shopping. I usually love getting out there with all the other crazies, ripping shirts off of shelves like a maniac and bitching about getting cut off in the parking lot by some asshole who isn’t even looking. Jesus, he isn’t even looking! What is he, BLIND OR SOMETHING?

But even though I wasn’t in peak physical condition for enjoying the food, the shopping, or the gatherings, I was still plenty good at enjoying presents. And you know Smash loves presents. Just a recap for anyone who may not be familiar with this facet of my personality: I FUCKING LOVE OPENING PRESENTS. I can’t stand unopened presents. They make me insane. My fingers positively itch with the desire to rip and tear if they get within five feet of something that’s been wrapped up. It’s a compulsion.

I opened a lot of great gifts this year.

presents

Some of the gift highlights:

Star Wars Salt n Pepper Shakers!

star wars salt and pepper

Enormous Batman Mug!

batman mug

New Hobo Mittens!

mittens

Bitchin’ New Watch!

watch

A Big Bottle of Booze!

booze

His and Hers Robot Pillowcases! (My friend The Magpie embroidered these for me and they are absolutely stunning, I fucking love them to bits.)

pillowcases

And A Shitload of Chocolate!

chocolate

And I got tons of other great stuff too. I’m lucky. I have a lots of people in my life who love me and want to give me things that I love for christmas. Things that make me squeal with delight like a little kid. I’m probably the easiest person on the planet to buy gifts for. I’m easily pleased and I’m not picky. If I can have a thrilling time shredding a gift of its wrapping, I’m set. And as much as I love tearing into a pile of presents, I love giving great presents too. I know that everything I picked out for my loved ones this year was well received and will be cherished forevermore.

Even though the weather was truly frightful and my immune system totally flaked out on me, I managed to find some enjoyment in the holidays this year. Got some fantastic gifts, started a fabulous new tradition, and I took some time to plan my next big moves for the upcoming year. I’m really looking forward to the new year. I’ve got big plans brewing for 2014. It’s going to be my year. I’ve got a list of goals a mile long and I am going to be dogged in my pursuit of every single one.

Peace out 2013, it’s been a slice.

Bound for the Sound

Finally.

We’ve been saying this for so long. For years, even. We’ve exclaimed it with unfettered excitement, we’ve shouted it with glee. We’ve clinked our glasses and chugged our tallboys after many a heartfelt expression of it. That wonderful little rhyming phrase that carries so much promise, Bound for the Sound!

It feels like we’ve been saying it every time that we’ve gotten together with our chums Shan-Wow and Hoben since they moved to Owen Sound a couple of years ago. Every time. We talk about how drunk we’ll get. We talk about the laughs we’ll have. We delight at the thought of the memories we’ll make, the shenanigans that will ensue. Bound for the Sound is all about going nuts, enjoying a classically debauched night much like those of our misspent youth. It’s all about recapturing that young and dumb magic. But we’ve never made good on it. Not once, not ever. Until now.

Hoben is one of my best drinking buddies from long ago. He coined my colourful nickname. He started the proud tradition of deckers. He introduced me to D and forever changed my life. He’s good people. And Shan-Wow is his equally awesome lady-love. She’s hilarious and amazing and you can’t not love her to bits. Hell, she’s a founding member of the Top-Secret-Euchre-Club and a Dumb & Dumber Enthusiast. So you can trust me when I tell you that these two know how to party.

shanny and hobs

Owen Sound is a good long boot northwest of Toronto, a two and a half hour drive on a “making great time” kinda run. So D and I had to rent a car to drive our asses up there. We splurged and signed up for the “Intermediate” level car, which is usually something nice and hefty, with lots of trunk space in case we need to transport a body on sudden notice. Which happens to us more than you’d think… What we wound up with was a mint 2014 Dodge Charger with only 60km on it. It was black and shiny, it looked like the fucking Batmobile for Christsakes. D was excited about it until he realized it was front-wheel drive. That made for some interesting moments tearing through the snowstorm that was pounding down on the city just as we got going.

It was a long drive, getting there. Our nice spacious 4-lane highways quickly petered out into 1-lane rural roads. We saw a spectacular amount of farms, barns, crumbled barns, horses, cows, and snow-covered hay bales whizz by our windows. And wind turbines too. There’s a shit-ton of those all over the place. It was pretty cool, actually. It felt like we were driving through some secret alien place. An abduction zone, or something like that.

wind turbines

We also drove through a town called Flesherton. I shit you not, reader. If I ever find out that there isn’t a spooky group of ritualistic killing machines who feast on human flesh living in that town then I am going to be majorly disappointed. It would be such a waste of that town name not to have a few resident cannibals at least. We drove through Flesherton super fast and with intensity so it felt like we were escaping it. It was great fun!

Also great fun was stopping at the Six ‘n’ Ten Minimart for our booze. Look at that fucking place. It’s incredible!

six n ten

Booze sales in Ontario are government regulated, so you can’t just buy it anywhere. It typically has to be from an L.C.B.O. store (which stands for Liquor Control Board of Ontario) or at a store that is aptly named The Beer Store. But there are exceptions. There are Agency stores in small towns like Owen Sound that are able to sell liquor. Which, to us, seemed kind of like an urban legend because we’ve never actually seen any before. It was an exciting novelty.

We got stuck behind some over-cautious and tediously slow geezers, and then a snow-plow for a while too. I thought D was going to road rage us right into a ditch with all of his impatience. But we made it eventually, taking about an hour longer than expected. And when we finally did get there, it was time to fuckin’ draaaaannk.

Hobs and Shan had tickets to the OHL game that night, and not to keep sounding so ridiculously Canadian here, but that stands for Ontario Hockey League and is a Junior hockey league for kids ages 15-20. Lots of the kids in the league aspire to NHL greatness, so they always play their asses off. Small-town hockey and cheap drinks on a Saturday night. Man alive, my inner hoser was busting at the seams.

me n cubby

We mixed up a bunch of rye ‘n’ gingers in some ginger-ale bottles for stealthy drinking out in the parking lot during intermissions, and pounded beers during the game when we were inside the stadium. We got right fuckin’ tuned.

IMG_2457

me n shanny

the group

Pretty much everyone in town comes to the Saturday night games. It’s a small ass town and there ain’t that much to do, so it makes for some good times. We hung back a bit after the game was over to let the overcrowded parking lot clear out. We’d gotten there about 10 minutes after the puck drop, so we parked at the end of a very long row of cars. By the time we left the game and came out into the parking lot, our park job wound up being incredibly inconvenient for everybody else trying to leave the rink. It was hilarious.

our car

Yep, that’s our ride. It’s doing a damn fine job making all those other cars go around it to get out. This is not the Charger by the way. Shannon drove her car because the Charger would have been absolutely worthless in an unplowed lot like this with its fucking crazy front-wheel drive. We polished off a few more drinks in the car, then left it there for the night. It could be picked up in the cold, sober light of dawn. We walked to a bar to continue the fun. D had a little bit too much fun at the game though, and wound up spending most of his time at the bar puking it up in the bathroom. But I guess that’s bound to happen when you skip over dinner in favour of rye.

I fared much better because I enjoyed a bunch of delicious arena snacks with my drinks. It was the smart play.

my snacks

I was going to share my pretzel with D, so it could help soak up some of the booze rolling around in his belly, but he fucked off and I couldn’t find him. I waited so long that the pretzel got cold, and as a result, really goddamned hard. A would-be-delicious treat turned inedible by the passage of time. But the popcorn was still quite tasty, as arena popcorn tends to be. Turns out D was standing around chirping some local dudes in their mid-40’s because they were drinking Bacardi Breezers. Time well spent, indeed.

We had to leave pretty early the next morning to make sure we’d get the rental car returned on time. Hungover and exhausted from a night of raucous drinking, we were daunted by another long trip in the car. But with mile-wide Canadian grins spread across our glowing hearts we did alright. We saw thee rise. We made good time and we enjoyed the quiet ride home.

It was a great fucking weekend. Once in a while I need to go all hoser berserker on life. It just feels good. Based on the smashing success of our inaugural journey, I can safely say that we will return. We will be Bound for the Sound yet again.

Bucket List Snorkelling: Some Day 6 But Mostly Day 7

I didn’t post yesterday, I know. Because we didn’t really do anything remarkable other than get super drunk on the beach. When it was time to post, my motor skills just weren’t up to snuff. Plus, how many different ways are there to say “we got hammered”? Not that many without sounding repetitive. So, we got super hammered and enjoyed some nightlife. Bam, Day 6 complete!

The next day, however, is jam-packed with vacation awesomeness. Blogworthy stuff.

We booked ourselves a snorkelling adventure in Hanauma Bay. When we woke up that morning, we were bursting with excitement. It was a gorgeous day, clear skies and beaming sun. This was gunna be awesome.

Our pickup was at 10:15 and our drop off 3:00pm, so it was going to be a nice full afternoon. We had to pay for the shuttle up to the bay, the equipment rental, admission to the park, and then a locker for our stuff once we got to the bay. It sounds like a lot of fees, but it was actually very reasonable. It was only $18.00 for the shuttle ride and the equipment rental combined, then $7.50 to get into the park and $7.00 for the locker rental.

And the shuttle guy was amazing. He was talkative and funny. He showed us where Jackie Chan’s house is! He kept it light, and he wasn’t too preachy when it came to how to use the equipment. It made us feel great about choosing his tour company.

We shuttled to the top of the bay, and then had to wait for another shuttle down into the bay. The place we stopped had a phenomenal view of Koko Head, another famous hiking trail.

Koko Head

Koko Head

This trail up the mountain is a lot more difficult than Diamond Head. It takes 99 stairs to get to the top of Diamond Head, and the guide told us it takes 1001 to get to the top of Koko Head. And, it’s all up a straight path. With Diamond Head the trail weaved gently all around the crater.

After a brief wait, we were loaded into shuttle number two and on our way. I lost my mind when we got within sight of the bay, it was crazy amazing!

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

The reef

The reef

Hanauma Bay formed within a volcanic cone and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Oahu. The volcano has long since been dormant. And the reef is a veritable well of marine life diversity. It makes for some spectacular snorkelling.

Before you can get in the water, you have to watch a quick movie about the marine life and the various do’s and don’ts of snorkelling in the bay. It was painful. You just want to get in the water. Anything that stands in the way of that seems like a tremendous chore. But we found it within ourselves to endure.

I’ve never snorkelled before, so I was a little unsure. I felt like I’d be gulping in salt water all day. But it was shockingly easy! Truly, if you can stare and you can breathe, you can snorkel. I did a few little tests to get used to it, and then I was good to go. Snorkelling is awesome! It’s so addictive. We went under and just kept exploring.

We may have been a little overzealous initially. We swam out a good 20-30 feet past the buoys into the deep waters. When we surfaced and realized how far we’d gone, it was a struggle to get back into the shallow waters. The waves were really strong, they kept pulling us out. We had to fight against them with all we had to get back in. We’re both solid swimmers though, so we managed. It just took a lot out of us to do it. And it was a little unsettling right out of the gate. We just willingly got sucked out into the ocean! Going forward, we were much more vigilante about our orientation under the water.

The best thing about it was how much exploring of the reef we did and how much we saw. Everywhere we looked there were fish. Your eyes just keep darting around, seeking out the fish. We saw our first fish when I was doing my initial test of the waters and my gear, and it blew me away! It was so unexpected. A bright blue fish, like Dori, just swimming right in front of my face!

My camera has underwater capabilities which I’d never used before. I wasn’t sure how well the photos would turn out, but I just kept snapping away like some kind of paparazzi of the sea!

one of the brightest fish we saw

one of the brightest fish we saw

bffs

bffs

digging that reef

digging that reef

new friend

new friends

This one is really tiny!

This one is really tiny!

I can’t believe how close we got to the fish and how many we saw. It was unreal. Like we’d been given goggles and dropped into an aquarium!

Navigating the reef was tricky at times. You don’t want to touch it at all. Every time the reef gets touched, it dies a little. There were so many nooks and crannies, tight little spaces that made it difficult to move swiftly through the water. It was like an enormous maze in the ocean. We’d twist and turn, feeling like we were headed in the right direction, only to be confronted with a massive wall of reef blocking the way. D loved being in all the little nooks. You could see a lot more fish in these areas. We saw such a wide variety of the marine life in the bay because we just kept forging our way through the reef.

We heard that there were some sea turtle sightings in our area, but we couldn’t find them. We did see an eel though. A big fat dangerous one!

the eel

the eel

If you look very closely you should be able to see his head and his beady black eye to the left of the picture. A very small portion of the eel was poking out from under the reef. It was hard to get good pictures of him without getting too close and endangering ourselves. But trust me, he was huge and he was not something to mess with. He would fuck you up the second he felt threatened!

Like I said, snorkelling was addictive. We were submerged for a solid 2 hours straight. We loved it. We were a little disappointed when it was time to come out, because we would have done it all night if we could.

view from within the ocean

view from within the ocean

Snorkel D

Snorkel D

This day was by far our favourite of the trip. As much as we loved exploring the city, shopping, playing on the beach, and seeing the sites, there’s nothing like snorkelling in Hanauma Bay.

We were having so much fun, we didn’t even notice how strenuous it had been. Our bodies were sore and we got a shocking amount of sun. I took Joce’s advice and I wore shorts into the water so my ass wouldn’t get burned. My calves and thighs though… it’s not pretty. I was going to wear my t-shirt too, but I’d forgotten to pack my spare! I needed to have a dry shirt to change into when we got out of the water. My back was ravaged by the sun. I’d covered myself liberally in sunblock before going in, and that’s been doing the trick all week. But I guess even the best of sunblock can’t compete with two hours spent in the water.

We were so exhausted when we got back to the hotel. But we had to rally for our last dinner in Waikiki. We showered away all the salt of the ocean and got dressed for dinner. D had to help me with the after sun lotion. We sprayed down my entire body with the cooling gel and let it work its magic.

For our last dinner out in Waikiki, we decided to go back to our favourite place of the trip. Lulu’s Waikiki. The food is delicious and the prices are unbeatable.

I had another strip steak, and D opted for the surf ‘n’ turf. We deserved it. We busted our asses out in the ocean all day, we earned our steak dinner.

surf n turf

surf n turf

After dinner, we walked along the beach and saw the most beautiful sunset yet.

perfect Hawaiian sunset

perfect Hawaiian sunset

blows your mind

blows your mind

We had a great fucking day. The best day so far. Yesterday was our last full day and night in Hawaii, so we made sure to make the most of it. Now, I’ve gotta get packing and prep myself for the trip home.

We’ll miss you Hawaii, you’re a rad dude.

This is Living

It’s dark and dingy. The only lights in the place focused ominously on the stage. Creating ambiance. Hinting of things to come. We wait, our hearts heavy with the burden of expectation.

That last group really sucked. They assaulted our ears with their shitty timing and even shittier stage presence. They did care though. They seemed to love being up there, if the twenty-minute encore was any indication. At least someone was feeling it. We sure as hell weren’t. The silence following their departure from the stage a sweet reprieve.

Then it starts. A hulking, bearded mass of a man takes the mic. A thunderous clash of drums and guitars commands our attention. And our attention is rapt the instant the set begins. Fists clenched and face contorted with feeling, the singer wracked the crowd with the primal screams erupting from the molten-metal core of his being.

This is it. This is what we came for. A kick-ass metal show.

As I stood there swaying with the music, watching our friend Jim own the stage, I thought about how amazing it felt to be there supporting him. How vastly his band had exceeded our expectations. How impressive they were. Every note an indication of how much passion these guys have for their music and the time they’ve spent perfecting it. I was astonished, we all were.

Jim’s band, Sinthetik, was astounding. They melted our faces and blew our minds with their badass sound. They were raw and unforgiving. They were melodic and mesmerizing. Their shit was tight.

It made me feel alive. It made me feel invincible. And it made me want to live my life with the same ferocity of the music. So I did.

After the show, we heaped our praises on Jim, and made our way to the bar up the street. The Magpie. My friend The Magpie’s namesake. It was dim and inviting.

I laughed with my friends, tossed back my drinks, and danced with abandon.

at the magpie

enjoying some drinks

drinks

Magpie and I

It was an amazing night. The metal show the perfect catalyst for my weekend of living it up.

The next day brought with it another flurry of activity. D and I had tickets to the Toronto Auto Show, and we were planning on watching the hockey game at Joce’s place. We picked ourselves up and shook of the grime of the night before. We made our way down to the auto show.

We came into direct contact with approximately a billion people at the show. It was insanely crowded. But through the throngs of auto-crazed maniacs, I was able to snap a few pics.

ferrari

McLaren

mercedes

My personal favourite is the massive Mercedes van. Seriously, if you’re going to drive around looking like a sex offender, you may as well do it in style.

We powered through the exhibits. Although it was fun, we were relieved when it was over. We probably should have gone during a weekday.

Our next priority was making it over to Maple Leaf Square by 4:00pm so we could score some free tickets to the hockey game that night. Neill texted us about it earlier in the day, the ticket giveaway, and since we were going to be in the area anyways, we figured we may as well try. Also, since we were planning on watching the game at Joce’s, wouldn’t it be awesome if instead we showed up with tickets and told them we were going to the game instead? Hells yeah, that would be so awesome!

Carlton, the Toronto Maple Leafs mascot, was going to be at Maple Leaf Square at 4:00pm. And if you could find him, you could have tickets to the game. Not to worry, we found Carlton.

Carlton

We also ran into Batman while we were there. So that was awesome too!

toronto batman

He’s really into hockey.

I should also point out that the game was actually held in Ottawa. But since Ottawa is a bunch of dicks and tried to ban Leafs fans from their games, Toronto decided to show their fans some love. Admission to the game was free, and you got to watch it on the jumbo-tron. And every person at the game got a free 24 ounce fountain pop, a slice of pizza or hot dog, a bag of popcorn, and a candy bar. So screw you Ottawa! We’re gonna make it on our own.

at the game

And we had an awesome time. It felt great to be a part of something like this. To stick it to the man. Leafs fans or not, you simply cannot segregate or banish willing fans from the games. What were you even thinking Ottawa? What a boneheaded thing to do.

The Leafs did lose though. And it was an embarrassing loss. I’m not even a Leafs fan, but I am a fan of a good time. Going to the games is fun, and people should not be denied admittance to them based on their fandom. That’s so ridiculous.

It started with the casual acceptance of an invitation, and became one of the most outrageous weekends of my life. When adventure beckons, I come running.

I love my friends, I love my city, and I love living.

The Potential Apocalypse

If the world really does come crumbling down around us tomorrow, I could die happy.

Perfectly content with all that I am and all that I have. And I do have a lot. I’m rich, truly rich in a way that transcends anything of monetary or material value.

I’m madly in love with the sweetest, most wonderful guy. He truly is the perfect person for me. And we are a rad couple!

Dballs and Smash

I have such a saucy little kitty, who makes me smile the second I step through the front door.

Harv

I have loving and supportive family, people who mean the world to me. They might make me crazy sometimes, but that’s what it’s all about. And I know I make them crazy too.

family

I have the craziest, most badass best friends. I’m grinning like a moron just thinking about them and their precious little faces!

retro prom

buddies

Somehow, I don’t dare question it, the universe also gave me another extra special person. As if I didn’t have enough greatness in my life, I was also given an incredible co-worker. A co-worker turned mentor. A mentor who then became a very dear friend. A best friend. A kindred spirit in this life.

the magpie

I get to live in the best city! Oh Toronto, I really have fallen head over heels for you these past eight months!

Toronto

I have relationships and people who I live for every day. People that I cherish, respect, admire, and adore. I have a great job, great co-workers, and a great boss. I have hobbies that fulfill me. Dreams and goals that inspire me, they push me to keep moving forward. I have ideas and plans, hopes and ambitions.

I can do whatever I want to do. I get to call the shots in this life of mine. I am completely content. I could not possibly ask for or expect anything else from life. It’s already given me so much more than I ever felt or knew I could have. I could not possibly want for more.

If this little apocalypse thing wants to happen, then that’s okay with me. I’ll die happy, knowing I had it all. It could all be bullshit though, and most likely is. That unsettling thought that it could come true, that the world could suddenly stop spinning, is something that I’m thankful for. It gives you the opportunity to think about what really matters in life. What really matters to you? What is it that you get up for every morning? What are the things that make your life worth living?

I know what I’m living for.

September

Do you remember the 21st night of September?

It’s that time of year again. You know, when summer fades into fall. The goose bumps that populate your arms as you step out the door on a dubiously sunny morning are telling you to ditch the flip-flops and sundresses in favour of something warmer. It’s the time of year for apple orchards, puffy outdoorsy vests, plaid of all sorts, knit hats, new backpacks, and most importantly, it’s a time for change.

There’s something afoot during the last couple of weeks of September that always makes me feel wistful. Especially when I hear that old Earth Wind & Fire song, aptly titled September. Hearing this song actually happens more often than you might think, because of my proclivity for 70’s internet radio when I’m hungover.

September is the most significant month of the year for me. My personal calendar year begins in September. January doesn’t mean a thing to me. Resolutions and all the crap, whatever. It’s still winter, it’s still freezing and dark out. But September brings with it a drastic change in seasons, and has often wrought drastic changes in my life.

All of my most precious memories are captives of September. When I hear this song a little movie of all those wonderful things starts playing in my mind. I’m transported back in time, and I remember…

I remember meeting two of the most important people in my life:

Then a year later, being lucky enough to add another wonderful person into our fold:

I remember living alone, completely unsupervised for the first time in my life:

And all the excellent keggers we were able to have, unfettered by parents and rules:

I remember my first lifetime ban from a bar after I draught ‘n’ dashed with Joce-force. Then laughing uncontrollably while hiding out from “the po po” in the bushes:

There were two roomie birthdays at the end of the month, both Jenna and Whit:

And how epic all of our celebrations were when the last roomie finally turned 19 and could ditch the fake I.D.

I remember shotgunning beers at 9:00am for homecoming!

I remember having school spirit:

Discovering that Bigfoot truly does exist, and how bold his hands were:

I remember falling in love…

After graduation, when it was time to grow up, I remember getting my first job. A real crack at a career:

I remember that I’m brave:

I took my very first flight, all the way to the Middle East! Completely on my own in a new country, with no prior travelling experience.

And I remember feeling complete fulfillment in my job and being humbled by the realization that I was making a difference in the lives of others:

And most importantly of all, I remember…

Dancing in September!

Oh the memories, so sweet! Such an amazing thing to have when you’re not having the brightest of days…

I love that song, and I love the flood of memories it brings. It  is my reassurance that I’m doing a real kick-ass job at this “living” thing. No matter what changes and where this life takes me, I will always have: the most spectacular friends, my darling D, and a deep-seated passion to live a remarkable life.

And if all this is what’s behind me, then I can’t wait to see what else is coming my way. It can only get better from here.

We’re back, baby!

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. I’ve got a lot to say this week folks!

There are too many awesome things to celebrate about this past weekend. So many awesome things that all fall under the wonderful umbrella that I call being ‘back in action’.

It takes a while to settle in to your new digs and I consider myself officially settled! As of this weekend there was not a single significant thing that needed to be done with the apartment. This made me completely free to focus all of my energy on my sorely neglected partying habits.

There’s only one thing that sucked the fucking big one this weekend, the fact that the elevator in our building was NOT working from Friday afternoon right up until Monday during the day. When you’re planning a big weekend bender and you live on the 24th floor, nothing could be more ill-timed than the elevator losing it’s crucial ability to propel your drunk ass up to your bed.

Two major events that we celebrated: Joss and Harry are back in town after their trip to Thailand and Sara’s birthday extravaganza. Let’s breakdown the madness, shall we?

Friday night: Joss and Harry’s Homecoming Partaaay!

I was living for Friday night all week long. There’s nothing that anticipation does better than draw the motherfucking shit out of the work week. I ever so impatiently counted down the days while the happy travellers were away, and although I loved following Joss’s sweet travel blog every week, you just can’t beat the real thing! 5 o’clock on Friday finally rolls around and I basically sprinted out the door to the subway. I get on the train and I can feel my whole body thrumming with excitement. There’s a short delay at the station and I get a text from D telling me about the elevator situation. He advises me to “take your time, it’s a real workout!”

That’s just fucking great. It’s sweltering hot out, I’m wearing tight jeans, and now I’ve gotta climb 24 flights of stairs? Fuck that shit!

And of course I’m cocky about it. Telling myself, “oh whatever, I walk all the time, I’ll be fine.” Famous last words, right? Somewhere between the 7th and 8th floors in a spell of light-headed surrender I  shoot off a desperate text to the Magpie telling her that I might die in a stairwell this weekend. (Oh P.S. I have a cell phone now. I wasn’t really going to mention, but I thought maybe the fact-checking types aka my two, if that, readers might wonder since I boastfully went on about not having one in an earlier post).

I managed to huff and puff my way to my floor eventually, and I was miserable at the thought of having to climb them again later in a drunken stupor. That was really going to blow! But, as shitty as it was I was not going to miss this party for the world!

We get to the party and it is just the best! Amazing people and booze, it’s a winning combination. Catching up, hearing the stories, seeing the pictures and being reunited with all my BFFs… Life doesn’t get any better than that.

The best part about it is that we were all together again. I can’t remember the last time since graduation that the four of us: Joss, Sar, Karan, and myself were all committed to the same event. And not just that, but everyone was committed for tomorrow night too!!!! YAAYY!

I’m a total energy sponge. Whatever the mood and tone of the party, I soak it right up and reflect it back. If the vibes are bad, I can’t possibly have a good time. And the vibes at this party were off the charts! My face and stomach hurt from smiling and laughing the night away. Fuck chicken soup for the soul, it’s good times with your friends for the soul, people. Does it every time.

The above used to happen ALL the time. And I thought it would last forever. But times change and so does your life. I may not see these guys as much as I want to, so on those rare occasions when the stars align and we all RSVP “yes” to the same event you know it’s going to be a friggen blast. You make me so happy!

Downed a bunch of drinks and shots, laughed my ass off, and stumbled home with a nice black spot in my brain where the final events of the night are resigned to obscurity. Friday night was a major success! Welcome home Joss and Harry, you were very much missed. And that’s only half of it…

Saturday night: Sara’s Birthday Extravaganza!

Saturday morning was the fucking pits! Oh my good god, I was hung over. I stayed horizontal on the couch until about 3:00pm. That’s when the hurt in my brain started to subside enough that I could make it to the shower. No matter what, it was round 2 and I had to find a way to put myself together again.

Everyone was pre-drinking in Bolton and then getting in a party limo headed to Club Muzik in T.Dot. D and I planned to pre-drink with Joss and Harry and meet everyone else there.

Long before Saturday night when my weekend plans were revealed to my co-workers, I was met with some slight derision when I mentioned where we were going. I guess it wasn’t the “coolest” or “trendiest” or whatever the fuck criteria are considered desirable by the “locals”. Whatever. That’s what the birthday girl wants and that’s what she gets, and damned if we’re going to go about it with a bad attitude.

So we head to the club, and the cab ride was ridiculously fun because of a crazy cabbie from Bangladesh who regaled us with tales of hit and runs back home. Apparently it’s really common for a cab driver to just mow someone down and keep on trucking without a backwards glance. I didn’t really get the joke, but I guess you had to be there?

We waited in a bullshit line for what felt like eternity, and by the time it got moving D had run off to piss in an alley because he couldn’t hold it any longer. But luckily he caught up in time and got in. There was some more initial bullshit what with the bartenders serving us bottles of beer with no mention that bottles couldn’t be taken out to the garden. Seriously? Then pour the fucking beer in a plastic cup when you serve it bitch, damn!

The one server was a real biz-nitch. When we first got there I stood at the bar for what seemed like ages waiting to order a drink. The server blew right past me and beelined it for our friend John. She leaned her pathetically under-developed chest on the counter and shamelessly asked what he’d like. And John, true champ that he is told her “I’d like you to serve my friend, she was here first”.

If he hadn’t of done that I don’t know when I’d have been noticed. Muchos gracias, John! If there’s any chance that you’re reading this Lisa, you’ve got a great husband and you guys were so cute together at the club. And also, it was Lisa’s birthday too… so happy birthday lady!

D quickly remedied the beer bottles problem by pilfering some plastic cups. And after a few jagerbombs, tubies, and various other shots it didn’t seem to matter much anymore.

The club itself was fucking sweet! Maybe the crowd are a bunch of losers from Mississauga, but the space was really nice. I didn’t feel crowded or overheated at all. The music wasn’t so loud that you couldn’t talk to your friends, and the garden outside was so refreshing! I’d say they’ve got a pretty killer venue.

And again, I’ve got to say that the best part was being together with Joss, Sara, and Karan in a club. We used to club it up ALL the time in our Waterloo days. And I’m not a big club person by any means, but a small part of me did miss it.

One of our friends got a little too drunk and went down for the count. But it wasn’t just a toss her in the cab and send her home situation. The majority of the group was headed back home together in the party limo. So we needed a plan to keep things going for everyone else.

I might also mention at this point that I wore high heels… ALL night! I am murdering my high heels resolution, so yayy me! The last time I wore high heels to a club was because I needed to heighten for my fake I.D., so a helluva long time ago!

My feet were killing and needed a break. I wanted the party to keep going for the birthday girl, so I volunteered to babysit for a bit. I got to sit down, and just let our girl Felish rest. Bouncers were obviously on the lookout for those kinds of scenarios though, so I got a little crafty. When Felish’s head tumbled onto my chest, I let it stay there and just told the peeps that I was getting free motorboats!! Boo-yaaaah!

Worked out pretty well too!

When everyone was finally ready to call it a night, we made sure the party peeps was safely piled into the limo and then hopped our own cab home.

It was an exhausting, but exhilarating weekend! I have some really wicked friends, and my only hope is that we get together and pull these kinds of weekends off a lot more this summer.

Monday morning came on like a ton of bricks, but you know what they say. Time flies when you’re wiping someone else’s puke off your lap!

Ice Cubes Working Together!

This past week I really let myself off the leash to party it up. One of my best friends has gone away to Thailand for the next 2 months, so we had to have an awesome going away bash to send her off with fond memories to come back to. To Joce-Force and Harry, I hope you have a truly amazing time! I’ll be reading your blog and keeping up with your adventures. I’ll be living through you vicariously for the next two months, dreaming of the day that I’m liberated from my working stiff regime.

My usual humdrum week dragged a little longer because of the anticipation of Friday night. When quitting time rolled around, I hopped a bus and headed downtown.

We were going to pre-drink and then go to the bar for some dancing and antics as usual. The party was just getting started when I rolled in. I cracked a brew and started to mingle. I got to see some awesome people that I haven’t seen a couple of months and catch up on what’s new in their lives.

I love catching up with friends because it takes me out of my everyday struggle with ambitious reality and shifts my focus to the world around me. I’ve cultivated some real friendship gems over the past seven years. One of my friends is a 2nd grade teacher, and she’s got some great stories. Another of my bests is in India right now, so he wasn’t there but he was missed. Also, the girl from whom I got my first fake ID was there! How awesome is that?

I took charge of the camera, since it is my main duty at all social gatherings, and made sure that Joce had some really excellent photos from her party to remember us by. As well as one really choice video of us just being us. We shot celebratory pink champagne, chugged back our drinks, and eventually got everyone squashed into the cabs so we could take this party on the road.

There was one major snag in the night that we didn’t account for: I didn’t get into the bar.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been denied entrance to the bar. Kicked out plenty of times yes, but outright denied? The last time that happened I think I was still underage and using a fake ID. I probably shouldn’t have been so forthright with the bouncer. When he asked if I’d been drinking I said “of course”. And when he asked how many drinks I had, I carefully calculated what I considered to be an acceptably low number for myself. “Five beers,” I answered him with a veteran boozehound’s confidence.

Apparently, that didn’t go over too well. He told me to “step aside” and when asked why said he “had his reasons”. Pffft! Maybe he didn’t believe that I’d only had five beers, but I didn’t believe him to be capable of formulating a skeptical thought what with the Tarzan-like set of his brow. An opinion that I kindly informed him of…

That sealed the deal, I definitely wasn’t getting into that bar tonight. The cougar bar across the street though, they pretty much rolled out the red carpet to get me in their door! I made sure to shout this across the street to the asshole who deigned to play God with my drunken fate just for good measure. My friend had already gone inside the bar that denied me, but didn’t get the texts that I’d shuffled into the first bar that would have me. So I downed a couple more drinks, made the best of it, and then hopped a bus home.

When I got home this is what happened:

I kicked off my socks because I hate socks, and passed out on the floor fully clothed. This is pretty much normal for me. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to make it to the bedroom. Other times, just having something solid beneath me will do. That is my kitten, Harvey. He’s circling my head, stymied by this behaviour. And of course that is his best friend, Cody, the stuffed cat he carts around the house in a companionable manner.

Needless to say, I woke up the next morning nursing an incredibly bad hangover. My brain felt like it was trying to ooze out my ears in an attempt to escape the pressure cooker that was my skull. The inside of my mouth had turned to sandpaper. My throat pure raw pain. I crawled into the kitchen and poured myself an enormous glass of water.

I added three ice cubes to the glass and poured the heavenly elixir of life over top of them. I chugged back a good portion of the water, and then set the glass down on the counter. I regarded the glass gratefully, and noticed something awesome:

The ice cubes had frozen together in a circular formation at the top of the glass. And they remained above the water level for a while before melting down. Usually the ice cubes are stacked because of how narrow this glass is and because I put them in individually. But on this day, I am certain that they banded together to ensure that I would overcome this behemoth hangover. These cubes defied their “norm” to unite as one magnificent mega-cube!

This gargantuan effort on their part was inspiring. The ice cubes were not going to fall into their usual pattern of stacking themselves neatly in the glass. And I wasn’t going to fall into my usual pattern of riding out my hangover moaning on the couch in my sweatpants.

Instead I was decidedly productive! I cleaned my apartment, organized my closet, and put on real pants! My hangover lingered, but I powered through it. The ice cubes working together were weirdly motivating for me. I can’t even imagine what I might have accomplished had Darth Vader been burned into my grilled cheese instead…