Sunday, December 31, 2006

farewell to nova scotia

After the initial turmoil and culture shock of being home, things smoothed out. I spent a little time with a couple of friends that are still around but most of the time I spent at home with the family. Today I met my old roommate Roshan, from my third year of University. We've been in touch periodically but I haven't seen her in over five years. Nothing's changed except that neither of us smoke any more and we both have a regular paycheck. I don't even think we look any older than we did way back when we lived in the upper flat of the old victorian. I can't remember exactly what year it was, but I remember they read out OJ's verdict while I was walking home from campus. People in their cars shouted 'not guilty' and I walked faster so I could get back and turn on the television.

We talked for a long time over coffee and Roshan told me that she was home for the holidays and she'd heard that a couple of weeks ago, my ex-boyfriend Michael's father died. Michael told me his father was quite sick when I saw him in Vancouver. Never one to discuss feelings, I wasn't surprised that he didn't respond when I emailed him a few weeks ago to see how his father was doing. I knew there was a chance that meant he was sicker or had died, but I didn't want to push. I feel really bad for him. It happened right before Christmas, Somehow it seems like people die more often at this time of year. I guess I'll make a donation and email him when I'm back to see how he's doing.

We also talked about Tommy, my old friend that I bumped in to on the subway a while back. He's still sending me emails. Sometimes they make sense but other times they don't, in a way that I find frightening. The things he says...I don't know....he gives me a bad feeling. Roshan told me a couple of other things that just reinforce that I should trust my instinct on this one. I went so far as to warn my parents that Tommy's been a little odd and that they should keep a pleasant distance if they cross paths with him. Chances are I'm being more careful than I need to be, but I'd rather play it safe.

I met my father and his third wife for lunch yesterday, but I'll leave that can of worms for another day.

So this is pretty much it. I probably won't have time to say anything else here until 2007. I'm on the road again tomorrow [and by road I mean sky]. Farewell 2007. Farewell to the land of the trailer park boys.

Happy new year to all y'all.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Saddam is dead.
I don't believe in capital punishment.
Death is too easy.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


It's a little lonely here. With my sister living in London, one brother in Israel, and my other brother in the midst of a rocky engagement, it's mostly just me, my mother, and my stepfather.

"What are you doing?", My mother yells down the hall to my stepfather.

"I'm going to get the pillow from the spare room."

"Why? What's wrong with yours?"

"I don't know. I can't get comfortable with mine."

"Tell me again? What's wrong with your pillow", she asks louder.

He yells back, "Don't worry about it. I just can't get comfortable".

"All this time...", my mother says, her voice trailing off.

That's what it's like coming home. Circular conversations that seem to go nowhere, but spread like icebergs under the surface. I'm staying in a room down the hall that used to be my little brothers. He's usually home when I am, but this year he's far away and I miss him terribly. His room seemed cozy to me and so this is where I've been sleeping.

One minute we're laughing about something over dinner and then the next, my stepdad, trying to play the part of the benevolent yet authoritative husband for the company says to my mother, whose working in the kitchen,

"Come on Jordan". He beckons to her. "Come back to the table."

She stands in the kitchen. The guest's backs are to her but things at the table quiet down, waiting for her response. She puts down the serving bowl and the dish towel and looks up at him with a cold disgust.

"Don't you ever...".

She seems to remember who's in the room and doesn't finish the sentence.

"Don't tell me what to do", she says, this time a little lighter, in a way that the guests might think they'd mistaken her initial tone. The conversation picks back up again. I try to pretend that this is an ordinary interaction, chewing on a green bean for an unusual length of time.

Monday, December 25, 2006


We met at a small boutique hotel lounge. When I arrived it was very quiet inside with almost everyone else in the world either finishing up their Christmas shopping or staying away from the crowds. It's funny. I'm getting so much better at this dating thing. I'm barely nervous anymore. Still, I can never be late. I tried so hard to be strategically five minutes late in the hopes of coming off as nonchalant, but no, I was still a couple of minutes early. I sat down at a table with a decent view of the entrance and I read the drink menu.

Before he arrived I learned a few things, one of which is that a glass of scotch could run you anywhere from 12 to 90 dollars. A bottle of the good stuff was priced at $1800.00! Crazy. Scotch, whiskey, bourbon...I don't know the difference. All I know is they remind me of when I was a kid, how I hated the smell of adult drinks. I still do.

He must walk fast because I looked down for a split second and when I looked up again he was in front of me.

"Rachel? Are you Rachel?"

"Yes. Andy?" I stood up and took his hand. "Nice to meet you."

He kissed me on both cheeks. He was tall - over 6 feet to be sure. He had dark hair and chunky glasses. He was dressed nicely, a grey sweater over a button-down shirt. At first glance, you might guess he'd be a little awkward or maybe a bit geeky, but that dissapeared within the first moment of conversation. I say this like I was seeing him for the first time - and I should've been since it was a blind date, but I have a confession to make. When I first learned of this set-up, I googled him - I almost always do. Only a few hits came up and one of them was a flicker account. They were mostly his vacation photos. Of course I HAD to look at them. He wasn't actually in any of the first few pics (he had included people's names in the titles, which is how I finally figured out who he was). Every so often one would come up with him in it. As I went along, I kept going back and forth - he's not my type...maybe...he looks kind of cute there... I kept going like that for a while, absently scanning through the pics until several pages in, there was a photo of Andy with my old roommate Valerie! They were at some kind of a work function. I knew they worked in the same industry but it never occured to me that they could have worked together.

As soon as I saw Valerie's pic I had to talk to her, but I was at work and I can't get away with making long distance phone calls from my office. I called Lana, our other old roommate, who can call anywhere she wants from work and I had her three-way Valerie in London. Turns out she does know him, but not very well. She said he was always well dressed and sometimes came across as a bit "smooth". That surprised me because he looked kind of geeky in the pics. I wasn't sure what she meant, but I didn't press her. I guess I didn't want him to be ruined for me. If you push hard enough about anyone, you'll find something. I was happy to go with the first few neutral comments and take it from there. Maybe he was that trendy artsy geek kind of guy, I thought. In the end, what Valerie said was enough for me to give it a try and not too much so that I regretted agreeing to the date.

I like this guy. I had fun. Now I feel a bit guilty. Eventually it'll come up that we have Valerie in common, and I'd be lying if I pretend to be surprised about it. On the flip side I look like a big stalker if I tell him I looked at all of his flicker pics. On the other hand, it's like a blog in photos, and if you post them under your own name, how shocked can you be that someone would see them...? Lana thinks I should act surprised if it comes up and then maybe tell him the truth if there ends up being a 'down the road'. She thinks it could be cute someday. I think it would make me look, not so much cute, but like a comfortable liar. Ah well. I'm not going to obsess over it.

The best part of the date came hours later, well after we said goodnight. Because I was a bit messy (that's Australian for tipsy), I came right out and told him that I had a great time and I'd like to go out again. He agreed and then did this whole, 'too bad you're going away now...January is a crazy month for me...but call me when you get back and we'll make plans' thing. I thought, 'ok, that may have been a brush off.' I figured, oh well, if it is, it is. I met up with my friends and thought nothing more of it.

The next morning, when I woke up, there was a text message from Andy waiting for me from two in the morning.

"Hey Rachel. I was pleasantly suprised. I'm excited for number 2"

All I could think was, 'Number 2'??? Ha! He just said, 'number 2'!!! I can't believe it, 'number 2'??? I called Lana and Josh to tell them, not about the date so much as about how excited Andy is about a number 2. We all got a few good laughs.*

Anyway, once I got the adolescent jokes out of my system, I too let myself get a little excited for number 2.

*if you don't get the joke, consider yourself lucky.

PS Merry Christmas to anyone celebrating. I'm just so damn excited that Starbucks is open. Mmmm latte..delicious. Now I'm going to get my ass into running stuff, get out there, come home, finish packing, and head for the airport. Catch you from the coast.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

time on my hands

What's up with the accents that people in black and white movies (like Little Women) have? What are they? And did people back then really act that way - that really affected way? My guess is they didn't, so were they just more gullible back then? Why didn't audiences demand more realistic acting?

I've never had an appreciation for black and white movies. I've never had the patience for a film that didn't seem real to me, like black & white, westerns (unless it was little house on the prairie), sci fi, cartoons.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

bustling and slowing

The blogger world is so quiet. I didn't know even THAT would slow down so much this time of year. I guess since I spent last December in Australia I didn't really notice. Well, my holiday is over and I'm bored so I'll just post something, if for no other reason than to read it myself later.

I'm going to meet a new guy for a drink. A Saturday afternoon drink. I could use a drink. I could use a guy. I figured I have nothing to lose.

Later tonight, after I meet friends for dinner, we're going skating. Should be interesting on several counts. First I have to carry my skates in my gym bag on my date - not so cool. Second, I haven't been on skates in a number of years. And finally, since I haven't taken proper care of the skates, the blades appear to be covered in a faint layer of rust. I imagine that's not good. Ah well. I'm just going to go with it. I'm wild like that.

Harry is gone away on his trip with his friends - I won't see him until next year, and he's already booked a January holiday with the new girl, I accidentally wrote gurrrl, which reminds me of one of LX's regulars that I haven't seen around his blog in a while. I wonder where she went.

I'll write something later - if the date doesn't spark something, I have a few other things on the go.

Good luck with the last of the shopping and bustling.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

ignoring the elephant

I came home and sat at the desk, opened my laptop, and stared at the screen seething.

That's it, I told myself. I have to get out there again and meet new people. There's no reason for me to still be here like this. Solitude was never in the plans.

The panic started to rise.

Maybe it's too late. What if there's nothing left for me? I've been on the sidelines hiding from I don't even know what for so long, what if it's too late?

Sitting there, my running clothes suddenly felt too tight. I couldn't catch my breath and my head felt like it would explode. That's when I lost it, crying in deep gasps. In a fury I ripped off my top and threw it across the room. I rested my head in my arms on the desk. After a few minutes my breath evened out and my tears slowed. The anger was gone, leaving me half-naked and just plain sad. I wiped my face as I walked to the bathroom. I sat on the edge of the tub and ran myself a bath.


The next morning, in response to my main man JC's comment on my last post, I emailed him about how I might have just shaddup and done it, but that last night Harry and I went out for dinner and all he did was talk about this new girl. It wasn't like he even had anything to say. He did a lot of this:

[laughing quietly to himself out of nowhere]


"Oh, it's just that I remembered how last night after the show these guys, who are big fans of the band, kept Lisa company until I finished up my business and could leave."

[pause, waiting for something remotely interesting to come next]



And then later.

"It's funny", he laughed. "She's only 25 so she has so much more energy than I do."



Phew, I think to myself. Normally I'm all for the details. I might even say I'm detail-oriented, but I'm just not up for it.

"Like last night, we only got to sleep at like 4 AM and then she was up trying to fool around with me again before 7. I actually had to pretend I was sleeping, although that didn't last long."

I almost got up and left. Not only do I no longer want to say 'something' to him, I almost feel like I don't want to see him.

I've heard that when a person keeps saying someone's name, often with no real 'story' to tell, it means they must really be taken with them. He can't stop saying her name and I'm green with some kind of misguided envy. I'm a terrible friend. I think he likes her - a lot. That's great for him, but I'm in no mood.

Early in the conversation I tried to stay engaged.

"What does she look like?", I asked trying to imagine her, or them actually, so I could more actively follow along.

"Well, she's not as pretty as you."

"That's not nice to say", I shot back.

That only made me feel worse, but he didn't notice. He doesn't seem to notice anything. I'm not a good liar generally, but if you don't ask, I can pretend the elephant is not there better than anyone.

Like I said, I think I've had enough of him. There was a moment, but I think it's gone. And yet.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

cowbells and chainsaws

My lips are dry and I’m sitting in front of the computer, wanting to write something. I have no ideas, I figured I’d start and see what happens. Sometimes you just have to do something rather than wait for something to do. I could stand to take that little golden nugget into my personal and professional life as well.

I need to stop buying things for myself. I’ve recently purchased my first round of furniture that has yet to arrive. I still have to buy presents to bring home to my family. I'm thinking something small, and then I'll buy mosquito nets in their names from Spread The Net. Fighting malaria is a great cause.

So instead of shopping for others, I went to the used book store near me and bought myself three books of Richard Ford short stories and the Giller Prize winning book of short stories by Vincent Lam, an ER doc from Toronto, called Blood Letting and Other Miraculous Cures. He is my age, married with kids, a practicing physycian AND a giller prize winning author? Wtf? Anyway, I'm out of control with buying books. I haven’t even read much lately, which is unlike me, and may have something to do with the creative slump I seem to be having. That and the cement, but let’s not go there today.

Last night, instead of going to see Harry’s band, I saw White Cowbell Oklahoma (punk/southern/rock group). Great show! Originally I was supposed to go to Harry’s gig but his new girl was going to be there and frankly I don’t feel like meeting her. Doesn’t sound good, does it? I don't particularly like to admit to something that makes me look so bad, but if I can’t do it here than what’s the point of anonymity?

As you may or may not know, Harry and I met at a party and started off dating. He asked me out, I was seeing someone at the time, but he gave me his email address and took mine, saying he would let me know about his band's upcoming show. He emailed me several weeks later to see if I was single again and/or interesting in going to see his band. Coincidentally the email arrived as I was obsessing over the wording in the one I was going to send him. It seemed fated, but then after a little while it became apparent that we were too different and so it kind of melted into a friendship.

We’ve acknowledged that we get things out of the relationship – he once said that it's like being in a relationship without the sex. We’ve dated other people intermittently since but lately I’ve been seeing him differently. It’s subtle but I’ve noticed his kindness more and I’ve started to find him more fun now that I’ve gotten used to some of the differences. There is also more of an attraction there and it's got me to thinking about the missing piece of our 'relationship.' Another thing I've noticed is that he has more energy than I do. That’s something I am surprisingly comforted by. It reminds me of the way I used to feel working nights in the hospital. The darkness of night isn't so damn lonely and scary when I know there's a whole world of people living and working all night long like it was daytime. Well after I go to bed, I know Harry's still going and somehow that comforts me. In addition, he has an appreciation for creativity, and an open mind. He would be the first person I would tell about my blog if I were to ever tell anyone I know. I trust him to handle it. Handle me (althought I'm fairly certain I'd take this post out before I ever told him).

I first noticed something had changed when things with the Lawyer began to go downhill. I guess all of the negative characteristics of the lawyer highlighted the good things in Harry, I’m not sure that it isn’t just a case of loneliness, but the fact that there is nothing that I would like less than to go make nice with the new girl tells me something. So sadly, just in time for me to figure this all out, Harry met a new girl.

When Harry and I are together lately I've come close to making comments that might indicate, albeit indirectly, that something has changed in the way I see him, but I’ve been careful not to. I told my therapist I've decided to let his new thing play out, wait and see how I feel, and if it doesn’t work and the feelings are still there then maybe… How can I possibly be honest with things as they stand when I don’t even know if I really want him? My therapist suggested that’s not my problem.

"Maybe you should just go with however your feel in the moment."

He went on to remind me how Harry constantly mocked and imitated the lawyer when I was dating him.

“Rachel”, Harry would say to me in a deep, formal voice. “You and I are both of the same religious background and are similar in age. As you know, I drive a BMW and I am in a good position to be a provider. With all we have in common, I believe we should consider marriage and procreation to continue on our Jewish heritage.”

"Shuddup", I'd laugh and punch him in the shoulder.

I guess he's right. Harry wasn’t afraid to show me how he felt about me, and he wasn't all that subtle. Besides, they’ve only been dating 3 weeks. It's not like I'm jeopardizing a marriage. Yes, he’s probably right, and yet…

Friday, December 15, 2006

hop in, monkey

"Hop in, Monkey", he told an unseen child in the back seat of the car.

Tall with dark hair and a handsome face, his three words held me. All I could think was, I wish I could go back. Be that kid.

Maybe I was at one point, beyond the reach of my memory. It seems familiar somehow, but I can't bring it into any kind of focus.

I wish. I want. It's all I seem to do.

My father emailed me this morning.

"I would love to dialogue more with you; sometimes I feel that we could know each other so much better, but I realize this comes with time."

His words are so thick with cliche they're almost unrecognizeable.

With my Father things come in destructive, relentless waves and I'm angry. I have been since I can remember. Angry and sad. Sometimes I can't tell the difference. It's not that I'm mad that he left, or that he couldn't keep his promises, set an example for his kids, follow through with his plans, or be the adult. He can't help it. He's sick. I have no right to blame him. He did his best.

I guess I'm angry about the situation - that I've had to feel sorry for him and even as a small child, protect him. He does that to people. I don't think he knows he's doing it, but he plays on our sympathies, our guilt. I'm mad that I've spent so much time feeling guilty. I'm mad that I never got that father that my friends had and yet I still have to contend with his delusions that he raised me and that he can take credit for how well I've turned out.

I know someday, when he's dead, I'm going to feel terrible for all of this, but sadly that won't be much different from how I've always felt. I just wish I knew how to let it go.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

winning wars

Over the shoulder of a woman on the subway, I glanced at a practice test she was taking. The first question was:

"Why did the North win the civil war?"

The train doors opened. I looked up, watching people get on and people get off. When I looked back she'd turned to the answers. I expected a lengthy one but there was just one simple line:

"Because the South lacked supplies and soldiers."

I almost laughed out loud. You see, I guess I've always assumed that when it comes down to it, when something comes to fists, somehow the good prevails. The simplicity of the answer made me see how absurd my assumption was - childlike almost. If 'the good guys' pull through (and the very existence of the good guy is arguable), it's just a coincidence. When it comes to war, it has nothing to do with the moral goodness of your stance. It is simply a question of supplies and troops (and a little strategy).

How is it that I only figured this out at 32?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

alone at the table

You and I are at the table at the restaurant when the new girl calls you.

"I'm sorry. I've got to take this - you know, to make plans."

I listen to you ask polite questions about her week. I push my food around my plate. Take another bite.

"Sounds like you had a pretty good time. What time did you get home?"

He pauses, smiling, looking at me absently.

"Oh", he laughs. "So your cats were getting you back?"

'Cats', I mouthed at him, eyebrows raised. I couldn't help myself.

'Stop', he mouthed back in mock anger, shoving me lightly at the shoulder.

I smiled at our private joke but then realized he'd moved on with the conversation and I was alone at the table again.

I looked out the window at the families and their dogs and the Saturday afternoon traffic.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

harry and the vegan

I took Harry (aka the rockstar) to my yoga class the other day. It was his first time there and he was the only guy in the class. As we were leaving he told me about the blind date he was going on later in the evening. We strolled through the grocery store and talked about his plans.

"So, where are you taking the vegan?", I asked.


"Sounds good. What are you wearing?"

"I don't know. You know what I have, what should I wear?"

"Hmmm. Let me think. How 'bout that long sleeve black sweater you were wearing at Lee the other night?"

"I don't know. There's something about the neck on that shirt...I think it's too round. I like the neck to come all the way up", he explained, hand at the base of his throat.

I shrugged. "Well, I think you looked nice in it."

We finished shopping and headed toward the exit in silence. I thought back to the other night when we were arguing about how much money it takes to live comfortably and raise a family in the city. I barely remember how we got onto that, but it got really heated.


"Yeah", he answered, turning around on the escalator to face me.

"I'm sorry for getting so mad the other night. I feel bad about it."


During the argument, all I could think about was getting him to see my side. It must have gone on for a good twenty minutes. At one point his throat started getting scratchy and he looked tired suddenly. I stopped mid-sentence.

"What's wrong? Are you getting sick? You're voice..."

"Naw, I'm just tired from being out so late last night I guess.

I felt like I could cry.


"Awe, c'mon. I'm sorry too." He hugged me, there on the escalator. "That was sweet for you to say."

We got outside a minute later. The night was warm. It felt like Florida.

"Good luck on your date tonight. Let me know how it goes."

"Thanks", he smiled. He turned and walked west.

"You look handsome", I called after him.

He stopped and turned around, laughing, and then continued on toward home.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

how I will remember today

It is 6 years today since the death of my childhood friend from cystic fibrosis. He endured more than anyone should have. He was a brilliant musician and artist. And to think, he did it all in 25 years.

Today I was looking at new releases on apple and the best of Jane's Addiction was released this week. Of course I thought of you. You can bet I will listen to it today. I think of you often. I miss you.

Friday, December 01, 2006

on genetic advantages

Last year around this time I was dating a guy from Montreal. He was a well-dressed, intelligent, and successful professional, but there was something off. On one of the early dates he bragged about his 'genetic advantage', being only half Jewish, to which he attributed his substantial height and his "not-so-large nose". I wasn't sure how to respond to that one so I kind of laughed it off in one of those 'ha ha ha (shit I hope he's kidding)' laughs.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when guys I meet tell me they aren't 'typical jewish guys'. Often I respond by asking, 'what do you consider typical?' They have trouble answering that question - not because they don't know what they meant by it, but because verbalizing that in detail sounds terrible. It's much easier to insinuate and assume no one will call you on it. I get tired of arguing with people I hardly know when they say things like this but most of the time I feel a sense of obligation to point out how it really undermines themselves and other Jews. By saying you're not a 'typical' Jew, you insinuate that a typical Jew is a bad thing. Who needs anti-semites around when you can just rely on self-hatred?

For a variety of reasons in this case, I chose not to get into with him. Looking back I see it would have been a waste of my time because it became perfectly clear that he was cusioned in very snuggly by his own protective delusions. You see, not only did he have a rather large, witch-like pointy nose, I later discovered he also had webbed toes and a very small penis.*

In hindsight it makes perfect sense. Why else would you even think to brag about 'genetic advantage' unless you were compensating for something major (or in this case, not so major)?

*A small penis is not necessarily a deal-breaker unless combined with a lack of personality (and an overzealous urge to watch family guy episodes immediately after sex).