The Book Club

Where do I start. At the end perhaps.

I was walking quickly towards my car. Down the one way street.

The man standing on the patio, smoking his cigarette called out to me, “You look cold.”

“Yes, I am but I suppose it’s winter!”

“True,” he responded and I kept on marching.

I was shivering, I was cold even though my feet continued to sweat from being in my boots and indoors for two hours, having participated in a book club.

I can’t quite say I actively participated. I participated to the point of laughing when things were funny, shared small talk with the person on my right and on my left, when appropriate (only pre-book club, during break and post-book club) and typed tidbits on my iPad.

I was the only one typing and I am sure that was obvious. I noticed other people jotting things down in their note pads, but no typing. Just me. Typing, smiling, laughing, sometimes looking serious (or at least in my head I was serious) and enjoying my time in a circle full of strangers.

Strange. I know.

The discussion around the book was lively with many different ideas and insights shared. I particularly enjoyed the diversity of the group. This is not a “group think” club. At times it was so academically informed that I was having difficulty keeping up with the concepts that, thankfully, were then followed by light-hearted jokes.

And real funny jokes. I always got the jokes!

I arrived a few minutes early. There was a small group of people waiting outside of the auditorium. The librarian was rustling with the keys, finding the one that fit the lock to open the door. Inside the room I sat down on a chair in the circle and willed myself NOT to pull out my phone. The point of a book club is to be social, no place for my phone. It felt awkward (really, I know) so I rationalized with myself that my iPad would be acceptable – I needed access to Google Books in any event!

The man two seats away leaned over towards me.

“DId you read the book?”

“Part of it,” I replied

“It didn’t like the book. I don’t know who picked this book. Look how big it is,” and he pointed to another book club member who had brought along a library copy.

I nodded towards him not sure what to say to keep the conversation going, but no worry, he continued, “They could have at least picked a book about relationships and marriage. EVERYONE likes reading about THAT,” he emphasized.

I didn’t know how to respond. I clammed up. Of course everyone likes talking about relationships and I imagined in my head what the next bits of conversation would be like and I shyly turned away to my open iPad. All of a sudden I couldn’t bring myself to be social.

Shortly after a second gentleman arrived and sat between us. It didn’t take long before the two strangers were talking up a storm.

“There is a woman I know,” the first man was saying, “She met a Canadian man and moved to Canada. She’s a widow now.”

“Oh yes,” replied the second gentleman

“I can, you know, set up a date for you but she’s older,” and then he stated her age.

The second gentleman nodded and I didn’t catch his reply but I’d like to think he said yes to a set-up to the man who likes talking about relationships and marriage!

πŸ™‚

Favourite lines of the night:

  1. “Life is random.”
  2. “We tend to blow things out of proportion.”
  3. “If you want to be happy, join a book club don’t buy a fancy car.”

I enjoyed my night and recommend joining a book club even if only to be a smiling typist.

Car Service…wait, what, date proposal?

A few weeks ago, while out painting the town with my friend and her husband, we took a car service home from the restaurant. Our driver was concerned about UberX and the upcoming launch of UberHop in the city. But he had a plan for the day he’d no longer be driving as a car service.

He was 60-ish year’s old, his son was on the verge of being married. He’d been driving since arriving in Canada some 10 years earlier.

A while back he’d bought himself a classic car that needed some fixing up and in his spare time, fixing it up became his hobby.

As we drove along the Highway towards home, he pulled out of the drivers door side-pocket a dark blue a hard covered binder and handed it to my friends husband seated in the passenger seat.

“That’s the car I am fixing up,” he indicated as my friends husband opened up the binder revealing a number of 8×11, printer quality, colour-photos of his project all neatly tucked into their individual protective plastic sleeves.

He continued his verbal show-and-tell as my friends husband flipped through the pages.

He was finishing up his story as we pulled up in front of my condo building. My friends husband handed back the blue hard covered binder which disappeared back into the car door side-pocket.

He put the car in park and as we all clambered out the driver continued explaining his life plans, “When I no longer have a job as a driver because of UberX and UberHop, I am going to rent my classic car out along with my driving services for special occasions, like weddings”

With a glint in her eyes and a smile on her face my friend quipped, “DF when you get married, you can hire him!”

Without skipping a beat the driver turned to face us and belted out across the roof of the car, “I AM SINGLE!” and he reached into the car door side-pocket, pulled out a business card and handed it to me.

501 Queen Street Westbound

501 Queen Street Westbound

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The streetcar was swaying back and forth.

It’s close to midnight and most of the seats are filled.

The only empty seats are at the back of the second car.

He finds a seat, facing south. He is sitting across from her. He can’t believe his luck. This will be a second encounter with this creature, this femme fatale.

Her nails are painted black and decorated with little sparkling gems. Her hair is jet black with peek-a-boo red highlights. Legs crossed. She is absorbed in her music blaring from her ear buds. She is madly texting on her phone. Her face expressionless, eyes outlined in black, lips coloured deep red. Her stockings are fishnet, ending just below the hemline of her tight short mini-skirt. There are 2 inches of bare thigh, exposed and he notices.

She is a mystery, that is precisely her allure.

She doesn’t notice him sit down across from her. The man-boy, holding a take-out bag and jug of milk, wearing nondescript grey jogging pants with a dark blue jacket. His mouth is gapping.

He stares intently at this woman. She isn’t noticing him.

He reaches across the streetcar aisle and taps her on the knee. She looks up from her phone, her music still blaring.

He sweetly tilts his head, smiles and manages a mock-surprised, “Wow, we meet again, how are you doing?”

She is polite and responds with “It’s good to see you, I am doing well,” and brings her eyes back down to her phone, dismissing him.

He isn’t sure what to do. He wants more. He wants a conversation. He wants to let her know how much he’s been thinking about her since the last time they met.

“I’ve tried calling you a few times but I never got an answer from your calls.”

Pause. She pretends not to hear him.

“I hope you are doing alright. I’ve thought about you an awful lot.”

Pause. This time there was a slight kick of her foot in acknowledgement. This gives him wings to fly.

“You look really hot tonight.”

Pause. There is no response. Not even a kick of the foot. He sits in silence. Watching her. He can’t take his eyes off her.

She ignores his presence and continues texting and turns up her music.

He fumbles with the pocket of his jacket and after a few moments produces a notebook. It’s a small, softcover notebook with an elastic band to keep the pages in place. He reaches back in his pocket to retrieve his pen. He keeps his eyes on her the entire time. He organizes himself, with one hand on his book, the other holding his pen. He opens up his notebook and for the first time, he looks down.

The page before him is blank.

He panics. What has he done. He has nothing to write. All he wants to do is talk to the woman, the creature who is tantalizing him from across the aisle of the streetcar.

He realizes his error in judgement, closes his book, caps his pen and puts them back in his coat pocket.

He sits a few moments longer contemplating his next move.

He stands up. His body swaying with the streetcar. The weight of his milk jug sending him twisting from side to side, back and forth. It’s hard for him to stand but he holds the hand rail above his head to steady himself.

He isn’t sure what to do. Maybe he should get off the streetcar at the next stop.

Instead he sits back down.

If she’s noticed any of this, she isn’t letting on. She keeps on texting with those long black, gem encrusted finger nails. And those stockings, riding down her thigh. He can’t keep his eyes off of her. His mouth is gaping slightly. If only he could get closer to her, perhaps touch her with his finger tips.

Then as if his prayers were answered, the couple sitting between him and his prize stood up to leave.

If his baggage was hindering him with his standing earlier while the streetcar lumbered along, it didn’t hinder him from gathering his belongings and snatching up the newly vacated, prime seating.

Within seconds he was beside her. His prayers answered. Her nightmare just beginning.

On Dating and staying Attractive – article

On Dating and staying <i>Attractive</i> – article


I tried this experiment in real life and it WORKS, if you stop looking after yourself, you will get dumped πŸ™‚ LOL

Male bird loses interest in fading females, study finds

(AFP) – 1 day ago

PARIS β€” Not unlike some among their human counterparts, male blue tits lose interest when their mates’ beauty starts fading, staying out longer and neglecting their offspring, a report said Monday.

Scientists who dulled the bright blue head tinge that crowns the female of the species, subsequently noticed the males skulking off for more alone time and making fewer trips to feed their chicks.

“It seems that they stay around, but not in the nest,” study co-author Matteo Griggio told AFP.

“Probably they take a rest…. It is not a joke, probably they keep some energy, maybe for the next breeding season?”

Both male and female blue tits, which usually have several mating partners in a lifetime, have feathers on the tops of their heads that reflect UV light.

For the purposes of the experiment, the team from the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology in Vienna waited for chicks to hatch before smearing an oil containing UV-blocking chemicals on the crowns of the females.

To confirm that it would not be the smell that put off the males, they applied the same oil, without UV-blockers, to a separate test group of females.

The scientists said they took care not to render the partners unrecognisable to each other.

“The UV reflectance of the crown plumage of female blue tits significantly affected male investment in feeding nestlings,” the team wrote in a study published in the BioMed Central journal Frontiers in Zoology.

“Males made less frequent feeding trips when paired with UV-reduced females.”

While much has been written about male posturing and strutting to compete for female attention, this was a rare study to measure male response to female attractiveness in the animal kingdom.

The results showed that female blue tits must invest a lot of time in preening to remain attractive as sexual partners.

In nature, those birds with poorer personal hygiene risk losing their blue lustre under a coating of dust, pollution or parasites.

Will you be my Boyfriend!

This Justin Bieber Boyfriend Parody is way too funny not to share! I wish I could pick a favourite part of this video … but I can’t!!!

Ms. Speculation, tell me this doesn’t remind you of the “love potion/frog” dating kit you bought me years ago as a joke! πŸ™‚ I apologize profusely for the mention of an inside joke directly on my blog! But that is right, a good friend gifted me THE funniest Dating/Magic Potion Dating remedy kit EVER in order to solve a “Will you be my Girlfriend!” sticky situation.

We all have a dating story and it’s NOT fun being in any type of stalking/crazy relationship.

Watch, laugh and stay safe! πŸ™‚

Sex and Dating Guide for Idiot Girls

This is a completely inappropriate post BUT hear me out.

The other day I was ready to clock a 19-something year old girl upside the head. I couldn’t believe what was coming out of her mouth. Instead of resorting to the physical admonishment (again not a word), I took a deep breath, counted to 10 and changed the subject.

As much as I dislike settling, I am settling for this rant on my blog.

Girls there are rules. I know its fun to pretend they don’t exist and the older you get the more frustrating these rules become but they are super important for self-worth, self-preservation and above all self-love.

We all go through our own journey that shapes us into who we are. I doubt there is one story that is alike.

Here are the rules and I publish these rules on the authority of stories that have been shared with me by friends and acquaintances and splattered with some of my own advice. You may not agree with everything and that’s ok – I welcome some good banter on the subject:

1. Have a solid group of Girl Friends who are YOUR friends. These do not come a dime a dozen and are sometimes hard to find but this is your number one priority. If you can’t find one in your age group, find someone older who you can trust. Girl Friends are your most valuable asset, they will catch you when you fall and cheer you on to the finish.

2. The booty call is NOT your boyfriend. Let me repeat myself, casual sex is not your boyfriend. Stop calling him that, stop confusing yourself. Recognize what is a booty call and if you can’t figure it out ask your Girl Friend and be prepared to be wrong.

3. If you are booty calling (which I highly discourage) don’t be stupid, wear a CONDOM. And if you don’t, be prepared for the aftermath.

4. If you start feeling emotional attachment to your booty call, cut it off. Seriously ladies, you’ll spend years licking your sore wounds instead of living. Sex is not THAT special.

5. If you are faking orgasms regularly and are with someone you care about see a psychologists and/or your medical doctor, there is no shame in getting to know yourself.

6. I am no doctor but if it isn’t pleasurable it is possible that you are “not that into him”. That’s right ladies, it is possible to not be that into a guy especially if you didn’t take the time to get to know him and connect with him. Maybe he’s all sorts of wonderful but if that emotional connection is not there…good luck to you. I am pretty sure this is standard, men are highly visual, women are highly emotional (I know it sucks). But when you have a strong physical (for him) and emotional (for you) connection, there are no limits and it will be the best thing in the world.

7. Get to know yourself first. Its fun being in a relationship. Those first three months is like being on an extended vacation in the sunshine (or whatever your fantasy is). Then reality sets in, you’ve just invested 3 months into someone and you aren’t so sure anymore. When you know yourself you’ll learn not to give everything you’ve got at the beginning. You’ll learn to temper, to wait and to give what you’d give to any new stranger you might meet. You’ll look for how he responds to you on the things you do decide to share and you’ll make a decision on if you feel safe. Save the best of you for when you know your heart and head are at the same spot. If he doesn’t like your street personality, why the hell bother showing him what is behind the curtain. Its not a game and you could say you are protecting your assets and that is ok. That is what dating is for, you give a little, take a little and then you go skinny dipping and its a blast! Stop skinny dipping the first time you meet – where is the fun in that? We are all more complicated and interesting, let’s embrace it, let’s discover who we are!

8. Be yourself.

9. This one is the same as 7 sort of but I just need to hammer it home. Understand why you want a relationship with a guy. What is it that you feel is missing that this relationship is going to help you find. If it is going to help you find yourself don’t waste yours or his time and stay single and learn about yourself. Figure yourself out first. Being in a relationship should be about being with a best friend not a prize or a possession or social status. I know the stigma around being “single”, “unmarried” and “childless” as a 30-something single and why does anyone care?! Its ok not to conform to society in every shape and form. It is better to be healthy and single than toting a badge of married in a loveless relationship, seriously where is the fun in that?

10. I feel like I should have a tenth haha, but I think I got everything out that I wanted to say to my 19-something year-old. But I suppose I am missing one. Be honest with yourself. It is no fun hurting someone just because you weren’t woman enough to accept something about yourself. It goes back to know who you are and why you are out there wanting to be with someone. This is life, not a board game, not a reality TV special and most decisions we make will affect somebody in one shape or form. Let’s do our best to make it positive and stay happy and healthy – this world doesn’t need any more pain.

Ladies feel free to add anything I might have missed and guys, what’s your take?

“A Room with a View”

First I am going to mention that this post is a selfish post. It might not make sense because it’s me writing to me but perhaps it will invoke some self-reflecting and take you back to a different time, place and make you smile about how perhaps self-involved you may or may not have been when you were young and “knew” everything.

I recently watched the movie “A Room with a View”. I didn’t know before I watched that it was based on a book from 1908 but it is. I am not even sure why I choose to watch this particular movie except that Helena Bonham Carter had a main role and she has played some interesting characters.

Halfway through the movie I was highly tempted to turn it off but my personality dictates that I must see how it ends no matter how painful. It turns out I was glad that I kept it as background noise. I have to say the movie really made me yearn (what a weird word that describes perfectly what I felt) for a piano, a mostly empty house and an old man tapping his cane in disapproval.

As soon as I heard the following lines I was transported back in time. If you haven’t seen the movie, this excerpt below is an impassioned speech from a man to a girl he loves and who he feels is about to marry a man who does not deserve her:

“But he’s the sort who can’t know anyone intimately, least of all a woman. He doesn’t know what a woman is. He wants you for a possession, something to look at like a painting or an ivory box. Something to own and to display. He doesn’t want you to be real, or to think or to live. He doesn’t love you, but I love you. I want you to have your own thoughts and ideas and feelings, even when I hold you in my arms. It’s our last chance… It’s our last chance…”

And it goes on.

The reason this particular part of the movie sent me back in time is this line is quoted in a song by Dream Theater.

Dream Theater is a curious American band that pulls from events, time, places that are interesting. Most of their songs are a collection of references.

I was introduced to the band sometime in the late 1990’s. I won’t pretend to remember exactly when but it was after I bought my first computer (for way too much money). ICQ had the “random” friend generator; I am not sure how this is relevant to this post but it somehow is; besides the fact that I think that the random friend generator was an interesting feature from a different time.

Back to the movie, the quote and Dream Theater. The album Awake was released in 1994 and the very last song on the CD was titled Space-Dye Vest and like mentioned earlier is a collection of quotes sown together to make a song. This was one of my favourite songs from the band and I can’t tell you why because I am not sure really. I think it was the quote from the Conan O’Brien show near the end of the song:

“That, so they say that, in ya know like, Houston or something, you’d say it’s a hundred and eighty degrees, but it’s a dry heat. In Houston they say that? Oh, maybe not. I’m all mixed up. Dry until they hit the swimming pool.”

I just found the song so disjointed and appealing.

Anyhow, I decided I must hear the song and that sent me digging through my CD’s. It turns out I have lost the CD along the way and I am stuck with having to remember the song in my head.

Sifting through my CD’s however has made for an entertaining night. I didn’t remember having so much music compiled and this evening’s task has been moving my music collection from CD’s to my hard drive.

What I love about music is it can transport me back in time; I can experience the emotion, the hopes, the dreams and the feelings of a time without getting involved. I can remember the good times, have a smile on my face and well its great looking back at that “13-year old self” and knowing how it all turns out. πŸ™‚ Well up to now anyhow.

I get to listen to old bands that I couldn’t get enough of; here are a few of my favourites:

1. Ben Folds Five
2. Tonic
3. Fools Garden
4. Better Than Ezra
5. Collective Soul
6. Bush
7. Dream Theater
8. Edwin
9. Remy Zero
10. Catherine Wheel

As honorable mentions I have to add Ace of Base, Def Leppard, Deep Purple and Honeymoon Suite. πŸ™‚

I find it relaxing listening to these bands, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling even with a bleeding, painful middle finger. Sometimes life just happens and there is nothing we can do to stop it. There is sometimes just no explaining all the decisions that led to today and why today is just the best day there could ever be and tomorrow holds so much promise.

What are your favourite bands that can take you back to a different time and place?