Milla and Me

September 25th, 2012

Last week I received an email from my buffet buddy that knocked me off my chair.

“I’ve been doing a marathon viewing of all the Resident Evil movies and there is something about Milla Jovovich that reminds me of you.”

Milla Jovovich?! The super hot former model turned lame actress in bad zombie movies? I was thrilled. The last time I was told I resemble a celebrity was when a “friend” told me I reminded him of Carol Burnett. Carol Burnett doesn’t even want to look like Carol Burnett. “Carol Burnett?!” I hissed at my former friend. “What did I ever do to you?”

Milla Jovovich was definitely a step up. I grabbed a photo of my new doppelganger and thrust it at The Sweetie.

“Does she remind you of anyone you know?” I asked, doing my best super model face.

The Sweetie’s face remained blank, no glimmer of recognition or joy at the realization that he is married to a model look-alike.

“Who?” He asked.

“My buffet buddy said I remind him of  Milla Jovovich.”

The Sweetie looked incredulous, then apologetic.“Hmmm,” he said, trying to look like he was considering it, “I don’t really see it,” he finally shrugged.

I decided I would quiz my friend incessantly when we saw each other face to face. Yesterday we had a date to make plum jam.

I sat expectantly and waited for him to gasp at the resemblance when he could see me so soon after watching the latest installment of Resident Evil.

“So what was it about me that reminded you of Milla Javovich? The bone structure? The somersaults she does while fighting zombies? That luminous skin?”

My friend looked at me carefully and then shrugged. “Actually, now that I think of it, I realize that there was something that was reminding me of you while I was watching the movies, but it wasn’t Milla Javovich after all. I think it was the zombies.”

One More Reason Why I Love My Dad

August 28th, 2012

I dropped in to visit my parents today. As I was preparing to leave I heard my dad muttering something and my mom asking him to repeat himself.

“I’m talking to the cat,” he said. “We’re working on a shopping list together.”

He then sat back and slid the pad of paper and pen across the table.

Here is his list:

  1. Poison for the cat
  2. Wire to tie the cat’s paws
  3. Plastic bags for cat carcass
  4. Hymn book for service

If a Girl Falls in the City Does Anybody Hear?

August 9th, 2012

Recently I had a major meltdown that caught me by surprise. Unlike the slow onset of malaise that I get in the winter when I feel depleted and defeated, this hit me like a wave. It seemed like an extra affront that I could sink into a dark place when it was warm and sunny. Sink I did though, and it was ugly. I was filled with angst and misery and a whole lot of tears. There are few things more disturbing than a middle aged woman crying on the subway. Clowns, spiders, sharks and guys who wear those tight t-shirts with glittery angel wings on them that are probably more disturbing, but a grown woman blubbering alone on a subway is probably up there on the list of unsavoury sights. Especially as I am not an attractive cryer and I get a crumpled up plucked chicken face.

I would love to have a nervous breakdown like the one Bette Davis enjoyed in Now Voyager, one of my all time favourite weepers. Bette has a nervous breakdown and ends up at a sanatorium with grand grounds, daily tennis matches and sessions with the kindly and wise doctor played by Claude Rains. After her stint in the sanatorium she goes on a cruise and returns home triumphant, with plucked eyebrows, fashionable frocks and a beau. Best of all, she gets to smoke. She has renewed energy and turns her life around with trademark strong Bette Davis briskness. Alas, I don’t have a luxurious sanatorium to escape to, nor do I have a kindly doctor to straighten me out. I don’t have tickets for an exotic cruise where I will try out my new persona and wear the latest fashions. Much as I would love to, I can’t start smoking again.

Nervous breakdowns are never convenient. I have decided that now is not a good time and it will have to be put on hold. It is too exhausting and doesn’t seem to be leading to much. Instead I have decided to just get on with it. It isn’t as much of a go-getter mantra like Nike’s Just Do It but it feels right. I plan to deliver my new mantra with an eye roll and a shrug. Like a Bette Davis heroine who is tough as nails, who’s been around the block a few times but still has spunk, I plan on putting this latest breakdown on ice with an imaginary cigarette clenched between my teeth and a plucky “just get on with it” rolling off my resilient tongue.

My New Best Friend

July 10th, 2012

This weekend I was at the annual Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, which is a sumptuous drool-fest of fabulous art. What could be better on a summer’s day? Sunshine, eye candy and overpriced but delicious ice cream bars make for a perfect afternoon.

After taking a brief break on the grass to eat chip truck french fries I spotted a booth that looked extra colourful and cheerful. It was filled with exuberant embroidered portraits of some of my favourite icons. I gasped when I saw Will Ferrel in my favourite incarnation as Ron Burgundy. A Bill Murray portrait was smirking at me. I spotted Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys and almost started applauding. Here was an artist happily honouring the unsung heroes of lowbrow humour. I nearly fainted when I saw David Sedaris staring back at me in embroidered form.

Art doesn’t always have to make serious statements, make us furrow our brows and rub our chins in deep contemplation. It can be whimsical and make us happy. I studied my new favourite artist’s website and discovered that she was a shy child growing up and loved McDonalds french fries. I was a shy french fry eater as well. Obviously we would have been best friends growing up and could have snorted over immature movies and fart jokes together. It is clear that I am destined to have her art on my walls. The embroidered David Sedaris will be mine.

Good Deeds and Sunshine

July 7th, 2012

It has been hot and humid, prompting heat alerts and smog advisories and I have been loving every minute of it. While others are complaining of the heat I am irritatingly peppy, often exclaiming, “why, it feels just like a breezy oven!” with uncontainable glee. To have a brief respite from wearing my granny cardigan has been bliss.

My joyful perkiness came in handy yesterday when I was waiting at the bank machine to deposit a cheque. The man in front of me was exhibiting a post-work, melting in the humidity stance. As he stumbled away I discovered that he hadn’t removed his cash from the slot. I hadn’t had a close look at at the man other than noting that he looked exhausted. I grabbed the cash and ran towards the intersection.

I accosted the most wilted looking man I could find and asked,“were you just at the bank machine?” Perhaps asking a stranger if he was at a bank machine while extending a wad of twenties would inspire a yes from anyone. He did, however, have one of those forehead slapping expressions on his face so I handed over the cash.

I skipped merrily back to the bank machine, gleefully proud that I saved a man from kicking himself for an entire weekend. I imagined how awful it would have been when he realized in the hot and sweaty subway that he had forgotten his beer money in the bank machine. I tipped an imaginary hat to my dear guardian angel from my recent dog course, thinking again of how her kindness made me want to be nicer to strangers. I thought about the principle of paying it forward – how an act of kindness can prompt someone to do a good turn for the next person, creating a domino effect of goodwill. It is timely that I am reading “An Open Heart, Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life” by the Dalai Lama. He talks about determining whether an act is a moral or spiritual one. If someone doesn’t steal because they are afraid of getting caught or are afraid of public opinion, they aren’t acting in a moral or spiritual manner that will help their karma. If they don’t steal because it causes others to suffer, they are acting in accordance to the Buddha’s doctrine. I am far from being a good Buddhist. I have not mastered having an open loving heart to my enemies. Instead I indulge in lengthy, elaborate revenge fantasies on a regular basis. I am impatient and often dream of pushing my overly chatty clients down the stairs. I possess a healthy dose of non-compassion in my closed, everyday heart. Nevertheless, I felt pleased with my latest act and felt one step closer to better karma.

I saved his weekend!” I thought smugly to myself, puffing my chest. I imagined the Dalai Lama would smile his beatific smile just for me, if only he knew. I imagine the bank machine man telling his friends about the perspiring angel of mercy who returned his money. I couldn’t wait to tell  anyone who would listen. “My karma rocks!” I almost yelled out loud. Then again, how great is your karma if you have to shout it from the rooftops? I’m sure Mother Teresa wasn’t high fiving herself on a regular basis. How much is a good deed cheapened by endlessly crowing about it? My karma probably still has a way to go.

Back Handed Compliments

July 4th, 2012

The other day I was seeking a hat to protect myself from further sun damage. I used to get a sprinkling of freckles across my face when I was younger that are now joining together and looking more blotchy than cute. My misspent youth of skipping school to sunbathe while chain smoking has caught up with me.  I have a complexion that is becoming more mottled and marbleized by the day. My vanity is affronted by the indignity.

Trying to find a hat has proven to be a challenge. I don’t have that breezy ability to don a hat without looking like I am trying too hard. Sporty baseball caps ruin cute outfits. I fear looking like a middle aged hipster wannabe, and I don’t want to look like a granny taking a break from gardening. There are few options for a mottle-skinned, vain peacock like myself.

As I was sighing over hat options I was approached by a man who opened with, “You look like a European girl. I was watching you and thought to myself, she doesn’t look like a Canadian girl.” I was instantly pleased, imagining that I must look coquettishly French or perhaps coolly statuesque and Nordic. “Why thank you,” I murmured, hoping that I sounded vaguely exotic. There was a strained pause while I awkwardly fondled hats, wondering if I would have to fend off a cheap pick-up attempt. After a moment of us both staring at a straw fedora the man continued,“Do you go to the gym a lot? Because you have very strong looking hands.”

Any temporary ego boost I had enjoyed was instantly squashed. Strong hands? Does that mean man-hands? I stared at my hands with their non-existent fingernails, horrified, my self image as a French ingenue dashed. Perhaps this man was a kinky freak who enjoyed being mauled by brutish women with catcher’s mitts for hands. When he said I looked European I had imagined looking mysterious with a certain je ne sais quoi flair. Suddenly memories of watching the Olympics in the Seventies came flooding back, particularly the steroid ridden female athletes from the Soviet Union. Instead of feeling like an ingenue from a Godard film, I felt like a Russian shot-put champion with meaty paws and a mustache.

I assembled my most haughty expression, dropped the hat from my giant paws, said a quick good bye and left the store. Compliments can come in different forms I suppose. If I were a delicate flower of a woman I may be offended if someone commented on how wispy I looked. Perhaps someone else would feel pleased to hear that her hands look muscular. Being a woman of a certain age I guess I should be pleased that anyone notices me at all. Even if it is a stranger with a Russian shot-putter, man-hand fetish.