Monday, October 31, 2011

It *May* Get Better

Hey All,

Normally I like to write about funny and humourous stuff on this blog - mainly because my life is a series of funny moments that NEED to be shared. However, I think that now more than ever it's important to shed light on a sensitive issue that myself and many others had to grow up with over the formative years. BULLYING.

Now I know that we've all been saturated lately with suicides and celebrity anti-bullying endorsements. I've heard more than one person reveal that their highschool experience was horrible and they don't feel sympathy for those who couldn't  'deal with it' and move on. The fact is: that segment of life isn't easy for anyone - we all are trying to figure out where our place in life is, while dealing with the constant social pressures to fit in. It hurts to feel like you DON'T fit in and the pain never really subsides. Let me tell you, my young life in Woodstock was no walk in the park. I went through the name calling, walking down the streets of Woodstock and being yelled at from the protection of car windows, being chased home from school, and even been a recipient of many a lit cigarette on my way out of highschool. None of this was a piece of cake, but I certainly dealt with it and fought on.

Today, I woke up and resumed my normal morning routine of checking my emails and making morning coffee. To my shock, this had landed in my Facebook inbox at some point throughout the night:
It took me a moment to register just exactly who this was, and why they would be sending me mail like this. Then I remembered, this was one of the fine specimens that used to harrass me on a daily basis at Huron Park Secondary School so many years ago. It brought back so many memories of the gym teachers who would tolerate this behaviour, and even laugh should they overhear the bullying towards a person's sexual orientation. I immediately got angry. Then after much reasoning, I had to step back and think to myself - can I allow this idiot to have control over my emotions? That was a definite NO. Even though we're both adults now, he still lives in a life of ignorance and hate. I can only pity his sheltered and hateful existance, and hope that sometime (preferably before 30) - he can realize this is not how society operates. I understand people have their religion, backgrounds and even beliefs imposed on them by intolerant and uneducated parents or generations before: but I am a HUMAN BEING. I will not stand for this kind of behaviour to continue throughout the generations regardless of the size of a city, or the lack of exposure to a minority, race or otherwise. 

I'm submitting this blog to the Woodstock Sentinel Review, in hopes that they can shed further light on this subject. The only way we're going to change anything is by talking about it, and exposing people to the unfamiliar. There will be a day where kids can feel safe walking home from school, and I hope I'm here to see it.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wicked Witch of the Ginger

As Halloween approaches, I find myself reminiscing on the costumes of the years past. As a child, there were a few staples that made it through most of my development years. Unlike my little brother, who opted for ninjas or Pokemon characters; I often chose a more feminine side of the spectrum.

She hates hydration. Smart woman.
The first Halloween I can recall, I was a wicked witch of the west from the Wizard of Oz. She was my favourite. You can't really argue with a bitchy powerful woman who has army's of monkeys and refuses to drink water (my guess is that she was holding out for Diet Coke). Then, I can remember desperately wanting to be Christine from Phantom of the Opera (the play I developed an obsession with from about the age of 7). My mother didn't gel well with the idea of her 7 year old boy going out as a girl, trick or treating - it was the early 90's after all. We opted for the 'safer' choice of going as the Phantom himself. Over time I gave my best portrayal of a witch each year, as it was the only female character I could get away with. Whether it was Bette Midler from Hocus Pocus, or The Grand High Witch as portrayed by Anjelica Houston in "The Witches" (Grand High Witch being a name I lovingly call my Aunt Judy to this day). Then high school happened. At that point, I was more confident in myself: and could be any damn character I wanted for Halloween. It was also the peak of the success of the Spice Girls. I think you can reasonably guess what came next.

My wig was better.
The trip to Value Village was awful - I can still remember the musty scent of neglected clothing reeking up the whole of the London, Ontario location. I must have sifted for hours through junk, but had an obvious goal in mind: I was going to be the best Ginger Spice that Woodstock had EVER seen. Finally, after subjecting my fingers to more mould and bacteria than any sane person should, I spotted a silky magenta dress in an XL to accommodate my then "husky" figure. This would work perfectly. I already had blonde hair, so I shopped around for a fire engine red wig that I could place behind my golden bangs (which I would part to the sides). Any hardcore Spice Girl fan knows that you can't leave the house as Ginger without a good set of platforms. I had to settle for some brown suede classics, in a male size 10 - as London stores didn't carry women's shoes that large (I hope their drag community has since improved). When all was said and done, I may have looked like a chubby little boy in a dress - but to me, I had gained not only some self confidence - but a little shock value from my parents. It takes a big man to dress in drag, and I have not ventured back since those days. But I will always fondly remember my night as Ginger.

In food news, today we had a team lunch at work - and were treated to Bugers from The Big Smoke. I had a  Crazy Burger and loved every minute of it. Suffice to say, I will be holding back on dinner and compiling a sandvestite (see Yellow Rodeo).

Thanks again for reading skinabees - yesterday was my LARGEST amount of readers to date! I appreciate you coming back to read my ramblings, and please feel free to leave comments to let me know how I'm doing. Don't hold back, I thrive on negative reinforcement.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Maybell's Drunk Text

Everyone gets junk mail, and I mean EVERYONE. There's not one person I know that hasn't gotten some foreign Prince from Persia offering up 5 Million dollars, if you can just transfer him $20 000 to get the will finalized. Or perhaps you had an offer to extend a certain 'member' of the male anatomy. You get junk, my grandma gets junk, my aunt's uncle gets junk. It's a nuisance. Well, most of it is.. until you get the rare form of junk mail, that is in fact not junk mail at all! What am I talking about, you say? Let me direct your attention to Exhibit A: the illicit "wrong email address".

Subject: Stewart Family Reunion
Exhibit A 

From time to time, Maybell sends me correspondence and the occasional update on her family, unaware that I am not who she seems to think I am. It has taken a lot of strength to keep myself from writing Maybell back (from behind the shield of my computer screen) to request one of these infamous 'hard copy' CD's. I'm always looking for a 'nice read' - and I feel an obligation to get to know her family. Particularly after receiving this only days ago:

Now from what I can see, Maybell appears to be very happy. I am not sure however, of who the strapping fanny pack model to her right could be. I am sure of one thing though, I bet she has his correct email address. This is a message to all the Maybell's of the world: MAKE SURE THE EMAIL ADDRESS IS CORRECT BEFORE HITTING SEND. The Internet is a scary place: and frankly, Maybell is lucky her family photos only ended up with me (or is she?).

In diet news, this happened:

That's all I have for you tonight skinabees, I've been faced with the cold harsh reality that I may not be able to keep my pride and joy (Curtis the Dog) in my new apartment. In the meantime,  I will be showering him with attention and puppy love!

He hates landlords and posh spice.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Catarpillar Junkies

Over the years, I've had a love hate relationship with the gym. It's like a drug: you need to do it enough times to get hooked. I always consider people with their bulging biceps and veiny necks complete addicts, looking for their next hit - and the only way these 'buddies' get their fix is by parading around the gym with skimpy tees, and zitty backs exposed to the general public. Suffice to say, I obviously fit into the general public - and am constantly bombarded with these junkies every time I walk into the downtown 'state of the art' gym I go to.

Ok, so this is a tiny bit exaggerated.
Now before you think I spent my hard earned dollars to get a year membership here, let me tell you - there's no way. I luckily won a membership through a competition last year - but perhaps if I'd paid I would feel pressure to go more. This environment is very different from the YMCA I used to frequent as a teenager. Obviously in my hometown 'Y' they didn't have TV's on every machine as they do in the Toronto Goodlife. This boggles my mind as to how it's possible to concentrate on the show being played before you, while sluggishly mulling about on a treadmill. I think the people who watch the TV's are simply faking, to imply their skill level is well beyond that of the average user (ie. me).

Her name is 'Sodapop'
In Woodstock (my hometown), the gym was filled with older people, striving to get a hold on their fitness - and the women who got kicked out of 'Curves' (the all-female upper scale gym on the other side of town). There was a point when I would spend a good hour everyday with the old YMCA equipment, and had no fear of breaking a sweat which often resulted in me looking like a raving sweaty lunatic. There's not a chance I can pull that off in the Toronto 'Guilt'life. Between the female models running around with more make-up on than any drag queen I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, and the gym bunnyboys who prance around with their tinytanks and shrivel sacks. My most recent experience at the gym was hosted by my guide, 'Margarita' (a name that is pretty self explanatory - and a dead giveaway as to what the guiding hand was for her conception). Margarita took me on a tour of the gym, doing the typical upsell routine - trying to convince me that I would benefit from a personal trainer for $50 a session (most likely to be named Rico). After the tour, I decided I'd had enough for one day - and was satisfied that I could leave with the ability to say 'I'd been to the gym today'. As I walked out, I spotted the one thing that may bring me back for a second trip. The door attendant. This jacked up Gymmy was the real deal: until of course, you got a good look at the manorexic catarpillars lounging in the space where his eyebrows should live. Why do men ever venture into playing with a tweezer? There's never a happy ending when it's man vs. tweeze. I can't wait to see them again, to fully absorbe the monumental beauty he's sculpted on his brow.

I plan on hitting the gym next week: will report back.

Finally, I got a call from my Dad yesterday to remind me of a very important fact. If you had read Thursday's blog re: the chipmunk fiasco - I made the mistake of writing that EVERYONE was laughing at me after discovering the stuffed animal mockery in my trap. My Dad infact, was the only one who did not laugh, and found the display to be incredibly cruel. I thank him for that, as I'm sure he contributed to the undeniable guilt my mother felt after her 'punking' was through.

That's all for now, skinabees. I have a busy rest of the weekend, so we will see you back here on Monday!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chipmunk Chewtoy

Sunday is going to be the best day of my life. After years and years of begging my parents for a pet as a child - I'm finally getting my wish. I am going to be a proud owner of a little puppy named Curtis.
My pride and joy.

Backstory: At a young age, I was fascinated by pets - and used to always fantasize of having one to call my own. At the age of 7, I used to travel up to my grandparent's cottage for weekends with the family. One of my favourite pasttimes was building little gadgets designed to capture one of the (many) chipmunks that ran the property, in hopes that I could make one my sidekick. My mother and her 2 sisters always used to encouraged my spirit, and supported my constuction efforts in building the perfect 'chippy' trap. One afternoon (after many failed attempts) I had constructed what I thought to be the most effective trap to date. My hopes were further confirmed by my mom, her sisters, and very sweet grandmother that I had built a work of genius that was sure to capture any willing chipmunk. As I was put to bed later that evening, I fell asleep with dreams of having a 'chippy' of my own to train and play with over the long days at the cottage. The next memory I have is of waking up to a panic stricken family, all encouraging me to go look at my trap. Convinced of my victory - I ran outside to the porch, to reap the rewards of my impressive efforts. Beneath the wooden cage, it was obvious that I had succeeded in my task - finally obtaining a furry friend to call my own. I approached my creation with a sense of urgency, and whipped open the trap door. All the while, my family was cheering and egging on my tackle - happy for my self-made achievement. It only took moments to realize that the object that sat sadly in my cage was not a breathing, nor living chipmuck, but a stuffed animal replica. To say the least, I was a wreck - bound in tears and sadness. What confused me more was the pure joy and laughter that escaped every single member of my family.... why are they so happy to see this stuffed animal?? This was well before the fame of Ashton Kutcher, so you can imagine how long it took for me to realize I'd been punk'd.
Still not funny.
 Suffice to say, the afterglow of making a joke of her son faded, and my mom then promised to buy me a pet. What came after is a whole other blog post that I can't wait to share - but the moral of the story is... I deserve this.

On another unrelated note; tonight I made burgers. I know, I know.. not exactly a skinabee item. However, if done properly - they really can be! I used lean ground beef, light mayonaise and onions - topped with a whole wheat bun. Honestly - the most delicious burger I've had in a LONG time, and the perfect compliment to such an amazing day.
Double or nothing.

Hope all you skinabees are well, and getting ready for the weekend! And by the way, if you're wondering what happened to the stuffed chipmunk? It's now Curtis' favourite chew toy.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yellow Rodeo

My walk to work every day is always a source of pleasure vs. pain. I live in an "eclectic" part of town: close to the Eaton Centre, but far enough away to capture some of society's finest: roaming the streets looking for their "medicine" (for lack of a better term). I always try to get up at an early enough time to assemble something that resembles an edible lunch – which I was able to do with ease today. Then stop at the Starbucks on my route, hoping that the caffeine rush will enhance my endorphins for the day.

No I'm not.
Today was no different than any other day – up until arriving at the office building, that is. If anyone knows me well, they will tell you that I actually despise talking to strangers. This is often perceived as snobbery, or a form of elitism – but the honest to god truth is: I actually suck at human interaction. Ok, that’s a strong statement to use… but I more or less just have a talent of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time (due to my lack of censorship). From time to time, I’m even known for elaborating things – often just to get a rise out of the ears in listening distance. Anyway, today I noticed a woman lugging a very large lounge chair into the building, struggling to pry the front door open. I attempt to help her in, while noticing out of the corner of my eye she is wearing what appears to be a “Blue Rodeo” t-shirt. Now, nothing at all against Blue Rodeo, but really? At the office? Albeit, I’m quick to raise red flags – however this merits erecting the REDDEST of RED flags.

“Good Morning, like my new chair?” the 80’s rocker-fan boasted with confidence.

I couldn’t help but notice the rusty metal legs, and yellow stain which was in the dead flat centre  of the chair seat. I guess my lack of response garnered yet another conversation gem from my new “Bad Timing” friend (yes, I had to look up a Blue Rodeo song to make that pun happen).

“I bought it on Craigslist last night, and was able to pick it up on the way to work!”

A modest comparison.
Did I mention I’ve never met this woman before in my life?? I mustered up a “You don’t say!” and quickly shuffled up the stairs (a necessary route – as I knew I wouldn’t endure the elevator ride without blurting out something inappropriate). I spent the rest of my day praying that I wouldn’t run into the furniture connoisseur while exiting or entering the building for the duration of my employment.

In other news, I’ve resisted the urge to dip into the stash of Mars/Snickers/M&M’s that is shared within my department – and my soggy sandvestite (definition: sandwich/pita wrap combo) kept me full for most of my day. Now, it’s off to a screening of “Dirty Girl” at the Scotiabank Theatre – I won tickets from the very kind people at @shedoesthecity.

Until tomorrow Skinabees,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'll Be Your Portia, You Be My Ellen

After over a year of being a lazy bugger- I've decided it's time to revisit the skinabee world. A lot has happened lately - a new apartment (or 2), a new boyfriend/roommate, darker locks, and a new job! With all of these changes, I've seen a lot of monumental skinabee moments that are sure to make your stomach turn, flip, convulse and yip like a banshee on New Years Eve.

We're not over yet!
With a renewed blog comes a renewed goal... and I've set a hefty one for myself. Over the past year: I've lost 40 pounds (nope, that's not really the end of my sentence). To continue on that thought: Over the past year I've lost 40 pounds, but alas - 30 of those pounds missed me so much, they came back to wish me a "Happy Thanksgiving". I'm here today to proclaim that they will not be around to wish me a "Merry Christmas" let alone a "Feliz Navidad". I'm inviting you on my journey to Xmas - with the promise of reliability in posts and guilty self-deprecating humour (everyone's favourite). Hear about my Toronto dining experiences, my exercise woes, the struggle to keep cocktails skinabee friendly, and general banter that tends to escape my fingertips like drool from an ugly newborns mouth.

I'm driven to fit into H&M's ridiculously sized jeans: which I bought this time last year. Also pushing me is the fear that posting and not living up to bravado will make me look like a tool, and a big talker (the former already being popular assumption throughout the ranks of family and friends).

Tuna-Pita-Ricecakealicious. Fake it till you make it.
I leave you with a picture of my daily lunch staple items, and a hope that you'll forgive me for picking up and leaving like Anne Heche did with Ellen DeGeneres. I promise to be your Portia de Rossi from now on.

Till tomorrow, skinabees!