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♪ Don’t Blame It On The Sunshine ♫

“To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development.
When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so.  Now that I am fifty I read them openly.
When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
~ C.S. Lewis

I recall with clarity the day they arrived, in a plain brown box with my mother’s name typed on the bill of lading.  I knew what the box held; I’d been waiting with barely suppressed anticipation for weeks.  Though I knew the contents, when it came time to open the package, my heart was beating a mile a minute.  I dug through the crumpled, buff-coloured packing paper, and there they were: my new Dominion roller skates.

I spent the first hour half-skating, half-clumping around the apartment, which had laminate in the kitchen but was otherwise carpeted in a durable berber.  I didn’t know at the time that my skates would leave black scuff marks all over the kitchen floor, and I sure as heck wasn’t yet at a point in my life where I knew how to get them off, either.  Caught hell for that, if memory serves.

Funnily enough, I can’t seem to bring to relief the memory of my first visit to Roller Gardens, the local rink, with the new skates.  I must have been bursting at the seams, standing in the line up waiting to hand over my $3.00 to while away the afternoon, when the other suckers renting their skates had to pay $4.00.  I must have had them bump into my shoulder as I carried them,  laces tied together, toward the lockers.  I must have thrilled to the feel of them  on my feet as I did them up (only halfway, which was de rigueur), sitting on the bench with my friends.  But for whatever reason, I cannot compel the mental images to come back to me.  Perhaps, like so many other special events in our lives, the time was so exciting that I simply lost myself in the moment.

I remember so many other things, though; the smell of the popcorn wafting from the snack bar, the brick walls in the bathroom, the rough feel of the carpeted floors, benches and half-walls, the latter on which my friends and I slouched while we waited for the next song, or flew into when we found we didn’t have time to stop.  I remember the music very well; Grandmaster Flash, Michael Jackson, Styx, The Clash, The Oak Ridge Boys, Chicago, Pat Benatar, Kim Cairnes, Blondie, Men At Work, Toni Basil.  I could go on, but you must have your own memories to draw from.

I remember the clothes I’d wear – the Gypsy Jeans (later replaced by Angels Wing) that had an embroidered roller skate on the back pocket.  I loved the t-shirt transfer kiosk at the mall, and with my birthday and Christmas cash bought myself both a lippy Rocky Horror Picture Show tee and one that featured a traffic light and the words “I May Turn Red, But Don’t Stop,” the ultimate meaning of which was lost on me until an older boy named Sam tested the theory and was promptly and indignantly rebuffed.  I also remember that once, while frantically ironing one of the two shirts in the minutes before I had to leave for the rink, I made an ill-timed swoop, and scarred my unprotected belly with the hot metal.

There were a lot of people I knew who went to Roller Gardens, and because we weren’t indoctrinated into the high school clique mentality as yet, groups were fluid and friendly.  I also met a ton of kids from the local Catholic school, and crushed on a few of the boys; I recall one of them looking exactly like Chico Tyrell from The Lords of Flatbush, which I would have found hilariously funny, had I known at the time.  (I doubt he’s aged as well as Perry King, mind.)

The main pal I attended these marathon skates with was Tracy.  I loved hanging out with her.  We’d sit in her room getting ready, generously applying our Faces #65 frosted pink lipstick that we all carried at the time.  She was the one who’d introduced me to the B-side of Terry Jacks’ Seasons In The Sun.  “You have to hear this!” she’d squealed, pulling me in to her room and closing the door.  I still remember the first line: “Put the bone in, she asked him, at the store…”  The song was, ostensibly, about a girl who goes to the butcher, asking for a bone for her dog, who’s just been hit by a car, but Tracy had clued in to the double meaning.  She was always on the lookout for comedy, that girl, and readily found new material.  She was a treasured friend.

I can’t pinpoint when the allure of the rink began to wane, although it must have been before the end of grade nine.  I was mad for J., who was a year older than I, and starting to discover high school social life, and I suppose roller skating every weekend eventually ceased to be ‘cool’ for me.  The once-revered skates found themselves back in a box.

Cut to 1989.  I’d been living in Toronto for a couple of years, and was putting my tiny apartment through a well-needed purging.  During the process, I’d found my Dominion roller skates, in the bottom of a bin, smushed and stale.  Later that day, I stopped off at the local Goodwill and unceremoniously dropped them down the donation chute.

I think about that day, and wonder if I were uncharacteristically unsentimental at the time, or if perhaps, much like the day I first took the skates to Roller Gardens, life had swept me up and made it difficult to focus on important moments.  Or maybe (and most likely), now in my forties, I am attaching significance to an event that had none, for me, at the time.  But I can’t help but feel that by casually discarding the skates, I missed the opportunity to commemorate three important epochs: first, my carefree and joyous Roller Gardens years; second, my transition from child to adolescent when I moved on to more teenager-ish activities, and third, the moment as a young adult that I’d felt I had to ‘let go of childish things.’

How hasty we are, when young, to cast away all that identifies us as being young!  So eager to prove ourselves worthy of the perceived seriousness of grown up life.  Makes me chuckle, now.  I’m sure that the nineteen-year-old me would be mortified to know that older me, the homeowner, the mother, the grocery shopper, would be all too delighted to have those Dominion skates back today, and, euphoric and unashamed, skate up and down my street all the day long.

__________________________________________________

“Put the bone in,”
She asked him at the store
“‘Cause my doggy’s been hit by a car
And I do want to bring him home something.”
“Put the bone in,”
She begged him once more

“The meat from the pork is sweet
Give the bone from the pork meat to me.”
“Put the bone in,” she begged him
As she paced around the floor
“Put the bone in,” she yelled out once more

“Put the bone in,”
She asked him at the store
“‘Cause my doggie’s been hit by a car
And I do want to bring him home something.”
“Put the bone in,”
She begged him…once more.

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Filed under Canadiana, Ephemera, Nostalgia

Mr. Hoffman and The Fire Dwellers

For I am not Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly. No, I'm not. [in a deep voice, pulling off the wig] I'm Edward Kimberly, the recluse brother of my sister Anthea. Edward Kimberly, who has finally vindicated his sister's good name. I am Edward Kimberly. Edward Kimberly. And I'm not mentally ill, but proud, and lucky, and strong enough to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood. The best part of myself.

I’m not mentally ill, but proud, and lucky, and strong enough
to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood.
The best part of myself.


As I listened to Mr. Hoffman speak in the video below, I recalled a passage from Margaret Laurence’s “The Fire Dwellers” when Stacy MacAindra (née Cameron), a 40-ish housewife, is riding the bus.  A lovely teen sits down next to her, and Stacy wonders to herself, “What’s she seeing? Housewife, mother of four, this slightly too short and too amply-rumped woman with coat of yesteryear, hemlines all the wrong length….lipstick wrong color, and crowning comic touch, the hat…”   But as only Stacy knows, “under this chapeau lurks…a tigress.”

As does within us all, no matter what the veneer may indicate to the contrary.

If only everyone could have this kind of epiphany.

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Filed under Film, Life In General, The Mama Goddess, Uncategorized

The Tao Of Charlie (Life Lessons From “So I Married An Axe Murderer”)

The film So I Married An Axe Murderer , starring the inimitable Mike Myers, is a work of pure genius, combining physical and cerebral comedy with exemplary instruction in navigating this mortal coil.

You may be thinking whaaaaaat? but hear me out, okay?  Okay?   Okay.

Warning: Here there be spoilers.

1. Trust Your First Impressions
Case in point: Charlie meets Rose.
Can anyone play nutjob better than Amanda Plummer?  I think not.

Quotes:
Charlie: (as Rose attempts to hit him with an axe) What the FUCK?!

Life Lesson: So many of us take pains to ignore our gut instincts when we meet someone.  We’re told it’s not fair to pigeon hole others (at least not before getting to know them better).  However, there’s a damn good reason we have gut instincts to begin with, so by all means keep an open mind, but when your first impression screams ‘this person is batshit crazy!’ trust that you could be on to something.

You are a total nutcase, completely deranged, delusional, paranoid. Your thought process is all fucked up. Your information train is jammed, man!

2. TV and Movies Are Better Than Real Life
Case in point:  Tony.  Poor Tony.  He became a cop with visions of chasing guys across a crowded city square, hanging on to that part of a helicopter. (You know that part? Underneath the thing that it lands? Do you, do you know that part?)  And he’s never even commandeered a vehicle.

Quotes:
Tony Giardino: Excuse me sir, I’m with the San Francisco police department, this is official police business. I would like to commandeer this vehicle!
Commandeered Driver: No.

Life Lesson: Watch movies constantly.  Avoid real life whenever possible, it’s bound to disappoint.

No. No, there’s not.

3. Relationships Are Hard
Case in point: Charlie and Harriet.  Charlie is a commitmentphobe.  Harriet is possibly Mrs. X., who kills off her husbands.
It’s a match made in Heaven, obviously.

Quotes:
Charlie Mackenzie: I’m afraid you’re gonna ki – leave me.
Harriet Michaels: That I’m gonna cleave you?

Life Lesson: Oftentimes in life, people need to step back and get their shit together before they can make a relationship work.  At least, this is how it pretty much works in the movies: good times, followed by conflict, followed by conflict resolution = better times.  No guarantees, though (refer to Life Lesson #2).

4. The Unknown Is Usually Best Left That Way
Case in point: haggis.
Exception: Paul Haggis.

Quotes:
Harriet Michaels: Do you actually like haggis?
Charlie Mackenzie: No, I think it’s repellent in every way. In fact, I think most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.

Life Lesson: Avoid the unfamiliar.  Nothing good can come from eating food simmered in an animal’s stomach.

5. Be Honest
Case in point:  Tony the cop, attempting to go undercover

Quotes:
Charlie Mackenzie: So Tony, what’s the deal with your clothes?
Tony Giardino: What do ya mean?
Charlie Mackenzie: You look like Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch.

Life lesson: No matter how it may hurt their feelings, never let a friend go out looking like a 1970s pimp.

6. Coffee.Is.The.Best.Thing.Ever

Case in point: Scene 1, Charlie being served at Cafe Roads.

Quotes:
Charlie Mackenzie: Excuse me, miss? There seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the *large* cappuccino. *Hello!* Look at the size of this thing.
Tony Giardino: It’s practically a bowl.
Charlie Mackenzie: It’s like Campbell’s Cup-O’-ccino!
Charlie Mackenzie: [laughing at his Campbell’s joke and wiping his tears] Oh, My sides. Please. Aidez-moi.

Life Lesson: No amount of coffee is too much.
MM Coffee

7. Poetry And Alliteration Go A Long Way When Wooing
Case in point: Charlie attempts (and succeeds) in getting Harriet back

Quotes:
Charlie Mackenzie: Harriet. Harry-ette. Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis. Beautiful, bemuse-ed, bellicose butcher. Un-trust… ing. Un-know… ing. Un-love… ed? “He wants you back,” he screamed into the night air like a fireman going to a window that has no fire… except the passion of his heart. I am lonely. It’s really hard. This poem… sucks.

Life Lesson: Learn to rhyme, or at least put together some interesting stream-of-consciousness prose. Ya never know.

MM Poetry

8. Things Can Always Be Worse

Case in point:  Stuart’s anniversary speech to May.

Quotes:
Stuart Mackenzie: Thirty years ago today, May and I were married. Some of you were there, some of you weren’t born, and some of you are now DEED! But, we both said “I do,” and we haven’t agreed on a single thing since.
May Mackenzie: That’s true!
Stuart Mackenzie: But I’m glad I married you, May, because hey, could’ve been worse.

Life Lesson: Groove on what you got, not what you don’t, because it could really suck more.  Really.

May, shut it!  Turn off the Bay City Rollers! The soccer game's about to start!

May, shut it! Turn off the Bay City Rollers! The soccer game’s about to start!

9. The Scottish Are The Undisputed Extreme Party Champions Of  The Universe

Case in point: Stuart Mackenzie

Quotes:
Stuart Mackenzie: [after Charlie and Harriet have been married] Let’s get pissed!
_______________
Stuart Mackenzie: [after exhausting a bagpipe player at Charlie and Harriet’s wedding]
We have a piper who’s down! Repeat, Piper Down!

Life lesson:  Don’t try to outdo ’em.  Just sit back and admire.

Why,  yes, yes I *am* Scottish.

Why, yes, yes I *am* Scottish.

10. And last but not leastSometimes The Conspiracy Theorists Are Right
Case in point: Stuart conveys his unique worldview to Tony.

Quotes:


It’s a well-known fact, Sonny Jim!

Life Lesson:  Listen to the crazy people.

And here’s The La’s to sing us out with There She Goes:

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Filed under Advice and How To, Film, Life In General

Kristin Peterson: The Lost Tapes


Kristin Peterson, Toronto Bloggess Extraordinaire, Queen of LOL and author of mytorontoeh, acquiesced to play Twenty Questions with me – yay!  For the great unwashed, mytorontoeh is an hilarious and irreverent blog that celebrates all that is Toronto’s diverse and wonderful, with a healthy dose of blue humour and current events.Without any undue further ado, here’s Kristin:

What’s your inspiration for mytorontoeh?  What drives it?

KP: mytorontoeh was started as a real estate blog, to bring humanity into the service and to focus on the East end…but then it got personal and about other stuff.  I think a lot, and so it is a way to vent and let stuff seep out in a humourous way.

Walk me through your day.

KP: Wake up at 7:00, take dog out, make lunches, then go to gym…sometimes do open houses midday, do a chore, come home, do interwebz, pour wine, blog, make dinner, eat, drink wine, watch TV!

Tell me a bit about your first smooch (if you will).

KP: I dragged Bobby Pennefather to a dark spot in the backyard of a house party after having my first drunky time, we made out and my knees shook! Never saw him again because he went to a Catholic school.

Funniest drink-came-out-my-nose moment:

KP:  Drink out of nose moment: a train ride to Montreal where my friend and I were making fun of the French Canadian couple behind us…we were 45.

Joan Harris (née Holloway) or Peggy Olson?

KP: Duh, Joan Harris. I think about her all the time.

Favourite Toronto ‘hood and why?

KP: The beach; it’s where I live, I like the vibe.

What’s the most intriguing object in your home?

KP: My two curio cabinets that are filled with tchotchkes and were made by a cute Dutch man in the beach.

Best…TV show…ever:

KP: That’s a Sophie’s Choice question! “Take my little girl!”  I’m picking Sex and the City over Gilmore Girls because it came first.

Best self-absorbed, crazy celebrity religion:  Scientology or Kabbalah?

KP: Anything a celebrity does is crazy and self absorbed, it seems, but I’ll pick Kabbalah because Madonna and Demi Moore are into it.

Most memorable celebrity meet/sighting:

KP: Nick Nolte drunk in Yorkville at high noon.

Favourite cuss word or expression:

KP: Feck and shite – I like the way the Brits say it.

Past fad that should make a comeback:

KP: 1960s makeup with false lashes in the day and lots of eyeliner, bouffant hair, too, while we’re at it.

Past fad that should never again see the light of day:

KP: Women should never wear bra tops as tops in public – even at the gym – I don’t want to see your fat roll (or your spleen if you’re skinny).

What’s in the fridge?

KP: Lots of meat, duh, wild boar bacon and spicy salami. I have massive butcher crush. (Ed. note:  She really does.)

Fave vacuuming-naked-because-life-is-just-grand song:

KP: I like 70s soul, R&B: the Wedding Bell Blues is a good one to vacuum to.

Fave openly-weep-into-your-wine-coz-life-sucks-so-bad song:

KP: Major Tom – I’m scared of getting lost in space, and that song is just saaaaad.

Indie-chick cool factor nonpareil: Zoe Deschanel or Ellen Page?

KP: Can’t choose! (Ed. note:  I couldn’t either, I just wanted to know what Kristin thought.)

Words of wisdom for other single chicks in the city?

KP: Stop looking for Mr. Right, if you want a baby, have a baby, but don’t get married because you think a baby needs a father, or because all your friends are doing it.

I really just wanna say….:

KP: “Take care of each other.”

When are we gonna spend the day in our jammies again?

KP: We’re going to have to do it in November! (Ed. note:  It won’t come soon enough!)

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Git yourselves over to mytorontoeh dot com!

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