What an Aussie Learned about Canadian Winters

I’m so lucky, I  got to spend Wednesday skiing at Whistler and conditions were absolutely perfect. We didn’t have the luxury of staying up there – my daughter has to work – so it was a day trip. That means up at 6am, on the road by 7:30am (the doggie needs an early morning walk) and in Whistler by 9am.   One of the great legacies of hosting the Winter Olympics is the vastly improved  Sea to Sky highway that gets you up there in about 90 minutes.  And it was crazy gorgeous this morning.  It was dark when we started out but as the sun came up Howe Sound and the mountains could not have looked more spectacular. 

We were meeting up with friends to ski on Blackcomb and by 9:30am we were uploaded and starting out on an amazing day.   I’ve not skied in about 3 years now  – funny how that time motif recurs in my life and writing.  But this was a fantastic day, no matter how you cut it. 

I’m not a natural winter person – I grew up in Cairns, North Queensland, Australia.  We had two seasons there – the wet and the dry – and both were hot.   I had zero concept of cold, snow, freezing, skating, skiing or any other time-honoured Canadian winter pastime until I moved to Canada when I was 17.   I arrived in Toronto, in March, with “trainers” and a sweater jacket – I thought that would do.  Hahahaha.  It was simply beyond my reckoning to image a cold so intense I would need fleece, down parkas, gloves, hats, long underwear, wool socks – you know, regular Canadian stuff.  I soon learned the error of my ways. 

After a couple of freezing winters in Toronto (is Uof T possibly the coldest place in Canada???) I ended up living in Banff.   That’s where I learned to ski.   And like most things I do, I didn’t do it by half measures.  If you are going to learn to ski, why not move to what was then the best skiing  in Canada, forsake your education and become a ski bum by day, waitress by night.    And this was not skiing for the faint-hearted.   The “locals” in a place like Banff are the hardest of the hardcore skiers.  These  are the guys that are the ski patrol – the ones that come and bail you out when you really screw up, the winners of the Mountain Smoker race – how many times can you ski peak -to-lift on Mt. Norquay in 3 hours – winner gets bragging rights for the year.  So there I am, an Australian neophyte with boards strapped to her feet for the first time, baling down ridiculous slopes at crazy speeds.   I loved it from day one.    I skied 100+ days every year for six years.   I figured that if I was going to embrace this country as my own, I had to learn to embrace its crazy weather, winter and all, and make the most of it. 

So I also took up cross-country skiing and telemark skiing on back country ski touring trips.   A group of woman friends would make an annual ski touring trip from Lake Louise to Skoki Lodge, one of the oldest backcountry ski lodges in the Rockies.  About 20 of us  would ski in (it’s about 4 hours over 2 major passes) and spend a couple of days at the Lodge.  Because the Lodge supplies all your sleeping gear and food (and because it was run by friends) all we had to bring was booze.  A lot of it.  And we drank it all.  It was a bit of a marathon.  On the final morning we had to ski out with hideous hangovers.  This  involved an uphill ski of several kilometres (with our without skins – your choice) to the top of Deception Pass.  It’s called Deception because it always looks like it’s just another 10 minutes away and an hour later you are still pushing uphill.  After an all night session with every bottle left in the Lodge . . .painful.  One year our better halves thought it was hilarious to ski to the top of Deception from the other side and set up a stand to sell us ice-cold Cokes for a buck a piece.   They thought they were so funny, but they sold them all!!  

At about this time heli-sking started to take off in a big way in the BC interior.   Through my work I was connected to one of the premier heli-ski operators in the Canadian Rockies.    So I decided that if I was going to be a ski bum, I was going to be the best ski bum around and get a job at a heli ski lodge.   How many ways to describe fun – being a single gal working at a heli ski lodge pretty much covers them all.  I spent the next three years getting in as much heli skiing, and trouble,  as I could.   I skied with big groups and with private groups in 4-man machines.  I learned to ski the trees and the glaciers and I learned, in the harshest way possible, about not only the thrill of heli-sking, but about the danger.   In the three years I worked at  the Lodge, we lost people every year.   Some were to avalanches and some were to helicopter crashes, some were strangers and some were friends.   It was terrible, it was exhilarating: you lived every single minute of every single day and didn’t waste a second.  Life was never more immediate.   

How to describe a perfect run at 12,000 feet down a pristine glacier – your group’s tracks the only mark on a landscape otherwise without blemish.    Or out-running a sudden storm that was shutting down operations for the day – we had to race the storm down a drainage (valley) with the snow blowing hard at our backs to make a lower heli pickup.  If you are slow, or miss the pickup, or just unlucky, you get to spend the night on the mountain in a snow cave with an emergency blanket.   Our guides were well prepared, no-one would die, but it wouldn’t be fun.  You can bet we skied our asses off that afternoon to make the pickup.   Or a power-on landing on the top peak of the range  – the machine holds a hover with one skid on the snow (because it’s too steep to land) while the skiers bail out and grab their gear from the baskets.   Once the machine takes off, you get to stomp out a tiny platform  in waist deep powder and get your skies on, without jamming the bindings with snow.  Then it’s straight downhill.    Freaking amazing skiing.  

Because this is not a travel blog, but a blog about my life just a bit past normal, you may be wondering how  this relates?    For the last 15 years, I pretty much gave up skiing, something I love, something I was good at, something I once did pretty much every day of my life.   But once the fun is gone, once your confidence has been completely undermined, it’s not that hard to imagine.   A destructive relationship is destructive is many ways, some you don’t even realize till they are gone.  Skiing became another power struggle, another battle ground and another piece of yourself you can lose.   How does that suck – let me count the ways.   If you come to believe that you can’t do something, you can’t.  It’s that simple.  I believed what I heard over and over, so I stopped skiing. I was literally paralyzed.  Once that relationship was gone I didn’t have the jam to try it out again for three years.  Until this week.   Now I am stunned, wondering what I was thinking and what I have been missing.   For the whole day I couldn’t pin down what, exactly, was so exhilarating.  Then I realized – it was not having that voice telling me condescendingly, but oh so kindly, how crappy I was.  And without that voice – I had the most awesome day.    I skied some with my friends and some on my own.   Those runs in the afternoon by myself were so sweet – I rediscovered the sheer joy of plummeting downhill at high-speed, hanging on by an edge.   I reclaimed another lost part of me.   There have been quite a few lost bits reclaimed in the recent past and I’m not done yet.   2011 is going to be an amazing year for me. Tomorrow is New Years Eve and I can’t wait to see what the new year brings and the most fascinating part is having no idea where, who or what I’ll be/be doing on New Years Eve 2012.   Isn’t that awesome. 

And I”m hooked on skiing  all over again.   Here are some pic’s from my day.  We have a 3 day Whistler ski vaca booked for later in January – can’t wait.

I’ve been trying to think of a sound track for this post, but once again I have to fess up that the one track that was running through my head all day on Blackcomb was Elton John’s Tiny Dancer.  No shit.  I’m not even going to try to explain that.   There is an original video, but I like this one – I think it captures perfectly a time when the possibilities of life were infinite, when all that mattered were friends and music.  And maybe, for me, skiing.  

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Tales from the Road: My Ridiculously Fun Year of Concerts-Part 2

The fact that I need two posts for my Year in Concerts – wow, I love my life!!!   Here is Part 2, going all the way back to January – and I’ll freely admit that my memory for those shows is a little vague.   Wonder why? 

AUGUST

Blue Rodeo at Malkin Bowl in Vancouver.   “The Boys”, as they are fondly known to the wingman and me, have been playing an annual concert in the park at Malkin Bowl for about 5 or 6  years now.  The first time they played there, on a gorgeous summer night, Greg Keelor said “wow, you only have to play Vancouver for 15 years before they tell you about this place” – he obviously loved it and the show has become a staple of the summer concert calendar.  The weather doesn’t always cooperate (I’ve sat under a rain poncho for the entire thing) but it’s always a good show and I don’t miss an opportunity to see The Boys.   Ever. 

Ron Reyes 50th Birthday Bash at the Rickshaw Theatre.  Punk veteran Ron Reyes (former Black Flag and Crash Bang Crunch Pop singer) decided to throw himself a 50th birthday party at the Rickshaw and invited anyone who wanted to come.   Opening bands were The Jolts, The Modernettes and Little Guitar Army.   Best $10 I ever spent on a show.   Freaking fantastic is about the only way to describe the music that night.  This video was professionally recorded and mixed after the show.  It gives you an idea of the energy in the room, and I think we get caught in frame in the front row!

We missed Warped Tour this year for the first time in a long time.  No Vancouver show and we had to go to an out-of-town wedding, so didn’t make it to the Gorge.   Spent the entire weekend regretting that I wasn’t there so I won’t miss it again this year.    

JULY

Incura and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the Shark Club.  

JUNE

Blue Rodeo California Road Trip – Part 2.   The boys from Blue Rodeo have taken a liking to touring small clubs up and down the West Coast from LA to Vancouver.  We had so much fun on the first tour in “09, we decided to do it all over again in June, 2010.   So it was off to The Mint in LA,  the legendary Independent in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco,  Benaroya Hall in Seattle and the Fairhaven Pub in Bellingham.  Talk about a road trip -wow.   Although this video is from the “09 trip, since the wingman and I are featured singing along and dancing  – I’m throwing it in.  It was Canada night and a Blue Rodeo lovefest!

We decided to stay a few extra days in San Francisco (skipping the Portland show) to visit with some friends we had met on a kayak trip to the Sea of Cortez (Baja, Mexico) in April.  Jill and Doug live in Santa Rosa, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to take a drive up the coast and do some wine touring in Sonoma.   We rented a car and drove up Highway 1 to Santa Rosa, taking the scenic coastal route.  It was stunning beautiful and we had a great lunch of fish tacos at a beach shack at Stimson Beach.  Fish tacos are my favourite meal of all time!

We spent the night in Santa Rosa, enjoying a great dinner and way too much fantastic Russian River Pinot Noir, but heck, when in Rome . . . . The next day we visited our friend Bobby, who lives on a “farm” in the tiny community of Valley of the Moon in Sonoma.  It was a little piece of paradise.  On the way back to San Francisco we stopped at Cline vineyards for an afternoon of wine tasting and discovered their amazing museum of the California Missions.  It contains architecturally precise miniature renderings of all the California Missions, with a history of each.   Fascinating,  especially for the wingman, who makes her own miniatures. 

We finished up our San Francisco adventure by going to see  The Growlers at the Hemlock Tavern, handily located in the Tenderloin district.   The Growlers are from Costa Mesa, CA and bill themselves as Gothic / Hawaiian / Surf and I’d throw in psychedelic.  Epic, crazyass night.  Loved them.  They are at the Hemlock again for New Years Eve . . .how I’d love to be there for that show, though I don’t know if I’d survive it!

MAY

Goo Goo Dolls road trip.   After way too long of an absence from any venue within striking distance of the West Coast, our fav’s,  the Goos, decided to play a bunch of dates at casinos in small town Washington and Oregon.  Why?   That was the question of the day as we drove from Vancouver to Snoqualamie to Kennewick.   It was great to see them live again working through the material for their new record, Something for the Rest of Us as well as the standards.   But really, those venues . . . . .  We have another Goo’s road trip coming up in late February/early March.  True devotion is cancelling your plans to go to Mexico and instead going to Edmonton and Calgary in February.  Seriously.   On the same trip we are also heading to see them in Oregon somewhere, Tacoma, WA and at the Commodore in Vancouver.  Can’t wait!!!  Here is our friend Kaye’s concert video of the new single, Home, and yes she was front row.

Bloodied but Unbowed at the DOXA Film Festival.  Although not really a concert . . . it pretty much was.  Vancouver filmmaker Susanne Tabata’s documentary chronicles the late 1970s/early 1980s Vancouver punk rock scene with both humour and gritty realism.  The opening night was everything you might expect (or dread) from the opening night of a punk rock documentary – most of the musicians were in attendance and they came to party. 

Bloodied But Unbowed – Vancouver Punk New Wave Music Documentary.

MARCH/APRIL

March and April were slow music months but I did get to see The Barenaked Ladies at a private, acoustic show at the Fairmont Pan Pacific Hotel.  It was the VIP/Olympic Family headquarters during the Olympics and it’s gorgeous.  The Ladies were doing a one-night only private, acoustic show and I got invited!  How great was that.  I’ve written a bit more about them and the record below.

Great show and those guys are just so much fun – obviously!

FEBRUARY

Oh yeah, February was when we had that little party called the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  Even if you were not a sports fan, it was one hell of a party and there was so much live music to see – basically shows on every night.  I got to see Blue Rodeo (yes again) on the night of the Opening Ceremonies – they were playing at the LiveCity site in Surrey and the weather could not have been more brutal.  Freezing cold, pouring rain  – but nonetheless a few hundred fans braved the weather to stand outside and hear them play.    We also saw them again the very last night of the Olympics – this time at the LiveCity Yaletown venue.  Same thing again – freezing cold and pouring rain but the venue was jammed.  Never mind that every day in between had been unseasonably warm and sunny – duh. 

I was lucky enough to have tickets to the Closing Ceremony that saw Alexandre Bilodeau awarded the first ever gold medal (Freestyle Skiing – Moguls) won at home by a Canadian.   And the entertainment that night was The Barenaked Ladies.  They were touring their first record, All in Good Time, since the departure of Steven Page.   It was a ballsy move by them and since I’m a big fan I’m so glad they decided to continue on as the Ladies without him.  

We also went to see punk fiddle genius Ashley MacIsaac at Atlantic Canada House.    Stood in line for FOUR HOURS to get in, but in the end the show was totally worth it.    Here is Ashley playing at the Opening Ceremonies.  He killed it.

Burning Borders and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at The Bourbon.   A little known fact about me and the wingman (at least on my blog)  – we were both Girl Guide leaders for many years.   We are still friends with a lot of those girls and for reasons that are now lost in the sands of time, we had an OMG, you are all 19 now”  reunion party at The Bourbon that night.  We had a whole lot of fun with the girls and  really enjoyed both bands. It’s too bad that Burning Borders lost their frontman.  Hopefully they come up with a replacement and get back to making great music.   

JANUARY

A.F.I. at the Commodore Ballroom.  I hadn’t seen A.F.I. live before and completely enjoyed the show – they were touring their Crash Love record but also played the big hits like Miss Murder.   Super high energy, the crowd were into it, tons of fun – even on a Sunday night.  

Three Days GraceAnother fantastic Canadian band.  Love the music, bought the Life Starts Now CD and  play it all the time.  But really, I need to start a draft of this sort of post earlier in the year if I’m going to remember concerts all the way back to January!!!

Tales from the Road: My Ridiculously Fun Year of Concerts-Part 1

Adding up just how many concerts I went to see this year was both hilarious and a bit crazy.  Did I really go to see that many shows this year?  Yup.   And I loved every second of it.   And I realized it’s not just the music, it’s all the memories of the crazy-ass fun times that go along with them.  So here is Part 1 of my Year in Concerts – and I’m not a 20-something guy with nothing else to do.  I just love seeing live music – I really can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday night (or any other night for that matter) than going to see some great live music, so I just do it, whenever I can.  And if a trip out-of-town is involved, so much the better.  Road Trip!!!

DECEMBER

Incura with Stand Down at the Media Club.  Incura’s last show before they start recording their new record.  Played the doors off their old stuff.  Just a fantastic night.  Stand Down was new to me but they didn’t disappoint – I’ve got their CD release party at Venue  marked on my calendar for January 20th.  

Wil with Shaun Verrault at the Media Club.   I had seen Wil previously opening for another band at the Commodore and wanted to check out his amazing songwriting and guitar playing again.  The big surprise for me that night was Shaun Verrault – somehow Wide Mouth Mason had stayed under my radar, but no longer.  He was fantastic.   I’ve got WMM’s shows at the Yale on  January 14 and 15 marked down.

Blue Rodeo at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.  Oh yeah, this is the one we sort of “crashed”.  Brilliant night.  See my blog post “We’re not Groupies, we’re Band Aids” for the whole sordid story. 

NOVEMBER

The Dreadnoughts at the Rickshaw.   What can you say about a celtic/folk/punk band that does the encore in their underwear (and they were NOT Calvin Klein’s, let me say) and sprays the crowd with cider from Super Soaker water guns?  How about awesome show!   They are off to Europe to tour their record Polka’s Not Dead in the new year.  Loved them, can’t wait till they are back in Vancouver.

ROCTOBER (not a typo)

One of the highlights of my year – seeing local band (and friends) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes opening on the AltPress/Nike Airwalk Tour at the House of Blues in Vegas.   Any reason to go to Vegas is a good reason, but to see your friends on stage at HOB, opening in front of a packed house – amazing.  And the guys killed it.   Way to go, it could not have been more fun, or more exciting.  They are currently hard at work writing and rehearsing for Canadian Music Week in Toronto in March, but I”m looking forward to some Vancouver shows soon guys!  I’ve posted a number of their videos previously – just check my archives.

I also first heard Emarosa that night and I have a new obsession.  Holy crap, as someone else commented on You Tube, their singer, Jonny Craig, could sing Wheels on the Bus and it would sound awesome.   A Toast to the Future Kidsis the song getting the most attention off  their new record; my fav is Truth Hurts While Laying On Your Back and I’m giving up some vid space to it, I love it that much.

Gogol Bordello at the Commodore.  What’s with this band – do they cast some crazy gypsy punk spell during their concerts?  I’ve never seen a show like it, and as you can see I’ve seen a lot of shows.   First, and you can imagine how much I loved this – everyone shows up in costume.  It wasn’t Halloween, but it sure was a close approximation at the Commodore that night.   Top hats, fox tails, bikinis, punkers, gypsies, belly dancers – you name, people wore it.  When Gogol came on the place went ballistic.  It was like some primitive dance/orgy fest.  People getting (all but) naked, everyone jumping and dancing, hot and sweaty.  Holy crap.   Now I know why they sold out THREE NIGHTS and there were no tickets for sale on Craigslist, only people looking for tickets.   Anytime they are in town, sign me up.  And if I ever lose my mind and decide to get married again, I’m playing their song, American Wedding  and it’s going to be my theme.  Love it!!!!!  There was an opening band – don’t remember who tho . . .And I’m pretty sure we went to another Gentlemen Prefer Blondes  show the night after this, but quite frankly, I wasn’t at my best . . just saying. 

Anberlin with Civil Twilight at the Vogue Theatre.  Relatively sane venue, relatively sane night.  Anberlin were touring Dark is the Way, Light is a Peace.  Even sitting down (something I try to avoid) I really enjoyed the show. 

SEPTEMBER

Train with Ryan Star at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver.   Agggg – this night ended up being fondly know as the “Train-wreck”  owing to my somewhat careless consumption of about a 25 shots of tequila . . .   I don’t know what I was thinking . . . .I do know better, but thank God for the wingman that night who had the dubious honour of dragging my sorry ass into a cab and getting me home, all the time wondering if she should take me to emerg for alcohol poisoning.  All I can say is, I learned a harsh lesson (again).   But before things got so out of control, loved, loved, loved Train.   About the only Train songs I knew before this were Soul Sister and Drops of Jupiter, neither of which are really indicative of what this band can do, and the amazing live show they put on.  Absolutely worth going to see. Ryan Star had his 15 minutes of fame on Rockstar.  He was a good opening act that we enjoyed – another acoustic rock guitar guy, but a good opening act.

Squamish Live.  Yes, we were among the few brave souls that ventured up to Squamish on the freezing cold long weekend.  It was more like November than the end of summer – people were wearing toques, down jackets, gloves – and they needed them.   But the upside was that we bought 2 weekend passes from some guy on Craigslist for $60 all in.  Sweet.    And it was so uncrowded, it was the easiest going concert security ever and there were no line ups for the beer gardens, food, porta’s  – nothing.  And I got to be in the front row to see Bad Religion!!!!!!.   I’m a huge BR fan, I love their lyrics, their music . . .everything.  But usually I wouldn’t be in the front row at one of their shows – the pit gets really rough.  But because of the mixed crowd at the festival  it was pretty tame (well by BR standards . . ) so there I was, front and centre, over the top excited.  And they were just awesome.    Here is Jay Bentley being . . well Jay.

We also saw  Civil Twilight and that was one of those things where you don’t expect much but were really pleasantly surprised.  These South African guys are best known in North America for their contributions to the Twilight soundtrack – not really a high recommendation for me – but we really enjoyed their live show.   So we were excited to see them again later in September opening for Anberlin.    I hope that the Squamish Live festival continues, it has real potential.  The musical line-up was all over the map – it was sort of a Folk Festival/Warped Tour mash-up.  If I was deciding on the line up, I’d make one day folkie land and one day rockin’ land.   Cause really, following Bad Religion with the Decemberists was just a little weird.

The year continues in Part 2:

My Idea of Christmas Baking

I didn’t think this one up on my own, husband4hire posted it as a comment on the Edmonton tourists recipe exchange.  But it’s totally my idea of both Christmas baking and recipe exchange. 

Tequila Christmas Cake

1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
Lemon juice
4 large eggs
Nuts
1 bottle tequila
2 cups dried fruit

Sample the tequila to check quality.

Take a large bowl; check the tequila again to be sure it is of the highest quality…Repeat.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
At this point, it is best to make sure the tequila is still OK.
Try another cup just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy.Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the fruit up off the floor.
Mix on the turner.If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the tequila to test for tonsisticity. Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something.Check the tequila. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.Greash the oven.Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window.

Finish the tequila and wipe the counter with the cat.

Cherry Mistmas!

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus

Sometimes an unexpected gift comes your way and because it’s  completely unlooked-for, it’s all the sweeter.   

Earlier this week my friend Rich asked me to do him  a favour – would I have lunch with him and another friend of his to give his buddy some insights into the wonderful world of investment banking.  This buddy, a lawyer, was disillusioned with his current career and was considering making a switch into investment  banking.  Rich (who works in a different part of the biz)  is even less enamoured with banking than I am, so he thought I would be the perfect person to dissuade his friend from leaving the comparatively kind and gentle world of lawyering to jump into the predatory feeding grounds of investment banking.   Now although I have chosen to get out, I’m not really into spending an hour or so dissing what has been my chosen career for the past 7 years.  And although Rich  thought my jaded perspective was perfect, I didn’t think so.  However having been promised a fabulous  lunch at a local 4-star restaurant, I was persuaded.  I might be easy but I’m not cheap.  And it was only a lunch, how bad could it be?  

One thing about Rich, he has access to some great perks at work, like the car service.  And since I was doing him a big favour, he thought maybe I’d  like to go home in the limo that night?  Would I . . . hell yeah!!!  My usual mode of transportation is the municipal bus service, so being chauffeured home in a limo  – bring it on.    I was joking with the driver that when I arrived at my place my neighbours would think some rock star boyfriend was sending me home in a limo  – which would be a great joke.  Then as we approached my humble abode what do we see but a few of the said neighbours standing outside yakking, but now with all eyes on the approaching limo.    The driver then insisted that I not touch the door – got out in full uniform and held the door for me, popped the trunk and carried my numerous packages of Christmas shopping into the house.    As I thanked him by name for bringing me home, you could hear this sort of snapping sound . . . I think it was their jaws snapping up off the pavement.  TOO SWEET, I got to have my very own Pretty Woman moment.

The next morning  I didn’t hear from my friend Rich so I assumed that somehow plans had gone awry and my fancy lunch was off – oh well, at least I’d  had that fabo limo ride.   But no, my phone rang and there was a peremptory command to meet them in the lobby of our building.  Downstairs I head, expecting to meet my friend and some sort of nondescript lawyer type.   I first run into Rich who tells me that his day has come off the rails and I am now to have lunch ALONE with his friend.  OMG – seriously. I’m looking around for the grey flannel  lawyer but I can’t for the life of me figure out who my lunch “date” is – there are a bunch of suits in the lobby.  Rich turns around and motions over . . .a God in human form, an Adonis . . . . perhaps one of the most gorgeous men I have ever laid eyes on.  Well over 6 feet tall, in obviously fantastic shape, blond, sharp jaw, flashy eyes – the whole shebang.    The snapping sound this time was MY jaw.   Well, I was in  too far to back out now so I bravely stuck out my hand and introduced myself to Mr. Tall, Blonde and Stunningly Handsome.   Wowzas, this day just got better in a big way.  

My very first thought was to thank whatever inspiration hit me that morning that I had decided to ditch the standard issue navy suit and dress up a bit.   I was actually rocking a pretty good corporate femme fatale  – severely tailored black dress that nonetheless managed to look pretty much painted on, black fish net stockings and high-heeled black patent boots. Yup, it’s a pretty good look.  Throw a cropped jacket over that and it’s almost corporate . . . but definitely with an edge.   So I was feeling pretty damn fine as Mr. TBSH and I headed out to lunch. 

Now lunch could have gone very badly – he could have been conceited, boring (or bored) nervous or just plain not that smart or interesting.  But no, in addition to his very apparent physical charms, my lunch date was also witty, charming, very intelligent and a great conversationalist.  He was well prepared for our meeting and had done his research on the industry and my firm in particular.   There were no awkward silences or any shortage of congenial  conversation.  And . . . since I’m not generally a fan of suits, to put the icing on the cake, as the chit-chat drifted from the professional to more personal (really, who can talk about banking for 2 hours???) turns out he is also a martial arts expert and dabbles in an amateur MMA Fight Night.  Edgy too.  And I’d be willing to bet there were some tattoos under that suit.   Colour me star-struck.   It was at about this point that I was starting to believe in Santa Claus.   And thanking Rich from the bottom of my happy little heart.  

We eventually noticed that it was 2pm  – quite the extended lunch  – and sadly I had to get back to work.  As we walked out of the restaurant, I realized that my boss and one of our VP’s were  sitting at a table I was going to have to walk right past.   This could get really interesting – I keep my personal life a closed book at work since they will use any ammunition against you.    But since they were  with a client and had no idea who I was with, I just casually waved, said  hi and headed out the door  . . .with the feel of their eyes boring into my back the entire way.  Brilliant.   Score one to me in our unending game of departmental one-upmanship!  

The final coup was the reaction once I was back at the office.  When my boss and the VP arrived back shortly after me, I was subjected to a less than kind grilling about exactly who I was having lunch with.   They had no idea and I kept up the story of “oh just lunch with a friend”.   Too good.  Our young VP was obviously feeling somewhat territorial about the females in his purview (really guy. . .really) and was quite obviously put out at this turn of events.  His parting shot was that he thought I “didn’t date suits” – something I have said on numerous occasions.  Having been trained by them to go for the kill when you sense weakness, my rejoinder was “only when they are also MMA fighters”.  Ok, so that time it was the VP’s jaw snapping shut.   Best one-liner ever.  Talk about leaving my job in style – I have no doubt at all they will be talking about my lunch date for quite some time. 

Now gentle reader, you can rest assured that  there are no racy post-lunch tales to tell, just a very thoughtful and kind note from Mr. TBSH the next day.  And although my task had been to convince him that investment banking was basically a cesspool that no-one in their right mind would get involved in – I ended up with the feeling that if MR. TBSH decided to make the switch, he could not only swim with the sharks, but make a meal of it himself.  

And who wouldn’t enjoy a limo ride,  a leisurely lunch with a very handsome young man AND  getting the upper hand just for once on some people who really deserve it.   Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus.

In Heavy Rotation:  I wanted something light, frothy, fun and perhaps even seasonal for today’s musical offering, so I went  through my playlists and CD’s but nothing struck me as quite right.  Then I realized that it’s because really, there is only so long I can do that.  And  I won’t put dishonest crap in my blog – just can’t make myself do it.  If nothing else, I’m always truthful in my writing and about what I’m reading and listening to.   I was actually having a pretty evil “I Hate Christmas” sort of a day today and what I’m listening to as I’m writing is  . . Nirvana’s “Lithium”

Yup, not very seasonal  – or maybe it is.  For me, I feel a lot better saying out loud (or at least writing out loud) that there are days I wake up thinking “Oh my God, will Christmas NEVER be over”.   And I struggled to get started writing this post because it was fun and humorous and that did not in any way match my mood.  But because writing never fails to make me feel better about myself, or at least give me some perspective, I’m changing it up from Nirvana, though it’s still loud and nasty – I slid in the Punk Rock Princess Party Playlist.  Sometimes, though, it really helps to listen to someone else’s pain.  Thanks (again) Kurt, you were a very special talent.

What I learnt from Blogging Heroes: Top Blogging Tips PART 1 (via Marya writes)

Working on the craft – some great insights and ideas for my work in progress.

What I learnt from Blogging Heroes: Top Blogging Tips PART 1 I have just finished reading ‘Blogging heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World’s Top Bloggers’, and I must say  that Michael A Banks is a GENIUS. I simply could not get enough of it.  Being relatively new to the blogging scene, naturally I was interested in picking the brains of the best of the best – how they started a … Read More

via Marya writes