I was an avid reader as a child. I read “Death of a President,” a big huge tome about the Kennedy assassination, when I was 12, even though my siblings called me a nerd. My mother caught me reading “The Other Side of Midnight,” a racy Sidney Sheldon novel, at about the same age. It had dirty sex scenes in it and she lost her shit and ripped it from my hands when she discovered I was reading it. I probably just read it because it was there, although I do remember being titillated by the sex.

In any event, no one has been more surprised than me that I have stopped reading books. Once I moved stateside, I got completely immersed in news blogs and websites and that’s all I do all night — just sit on my laptop and read Politico, the New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, etc. (more…)

I am embarrassed to say that I was once a HUGE Mel Gibson fan. I fell quite disturbingly in love with him after Gallipoli and The Year of Living Dangerously. I mean, just look at him from that era:

But if you ever needed proof that you can absolutely not judge a book by its cover, it’s this motherfucker. As if his legendary anti-Semitism wasn’t enough, now it’s emerged that he’s also an unapologetic wife-beater. He not only slugged his the Russian mother of his child twice while she was holding their child, but he told her she deserved it.

I am kind of grossed out that for many years, he was on my list of Celebrity Wanna-bangs. Shudder.

I hope he serves a lot of time in jail.


I am about to tell you a sweet story about my man. If you are young and idealistic, you won’t find it so sweet, you will likely think it’s depressing that my bar is so pathetically low. If you are an old bag like me who’s been cheated on a couple of times, most notably by a seriously adulterous husband who left her with faulty instincts when it comes to my first boyfriend since the divorce, you might find your cold shrivelled heart expand just a bit.

So throughout most of my relationship with Felix Unger, I have often been an anxious mess. I have always feared his emotional distance at times was because he might have someone else, even though, when I push it, it’s always the same issue — really into you, really want kids, know we’ll have to break up at some point, trying to protect myself from the inevitable pain and misery of that breakup, trying to keep things light and breezy.

But anyway, when we first started banging, Felix had a cute little painted tin box filled with condoms next to his bed. And then a month or two after we started banging, we both were griping about condoms and I said I was fine to do without them but you know, I need to know that we are either exclusive or if we bang other people, we use condoms so as not to infect one another. He gave me an odd look, but readily agreed.



Last night I was out at a shindig with my paramour, and there was a big huge orange moon hanging above the Capitol Building. It was beautiful. I started snapping away on my phone, and Felix Unger once more emerged.

“Go to the other side of the balcony, and take it from there. No, over here. Wait, no more to your left. No, wait, back to the right. Yes! Wait, no! Yes! No. You need to get more of the heft of the building into the bottom left of the shot. Yes! Noo. Yes … wait … no.”

Fellow guests began to look quizzically at him. I put my phone down and looked at him.

“You are out of your mind,” I said. He giggled, as he often does.

A few hours later, and we are drifting off to sleep, and suddenly he is picking at my upper arm like an orangutan searching for nits. Next thing I know, he’s attempting to squeeze some imaginary thing.

“Holy shit!” I cry. “Those are freckles!”

He turns the light on and looks sheepish.

“And so they are,” he says, tenderly kissing the red mark he’s left on my arm. “So terribly sorry.”

My reply: “You are not right in the head. There is something wrong with you.” He stifles a giggle.

This morning, I wake up, and he’s naked on his hands and knees on the floor beside me, fiddling with something.

“What now, you crazy British motherfucker?” I ask in sleepy bewilderment.

“Well, the power cord from the lamp interferes with the placement of my water glass on the bedside table. So I thought if I unplugged it, then repositioned it, it wouldn’t be quite so bothersome,” he replies, a look of stern concentration on his face.

I burst out laughing.

“How did you get this way?” I ask. “You are out of your mind with the OCD.”

And he is. Since we started dating, I no longer have to clean out my hairbrushes. Twice a week, the hair is removed, no matter how minimal an amount of hair there is. Twigs and sticks are picked up from my expansive backyard and put in tidy little piles in the garage next to my wood pile. My bra drawer is reorganized so they’re all lined up perfectly. My fruit bowl is rearranged so that the oranges are on the bottom and the bananas are on top. The shoes in my closet are tidied up and straightened even if I did the same thing two days earlier. He is particularly insistent that all things hanging in the closet are hanging in the same direction. Do you know what I mean by this? If so, you may have his disease.

He simply cannot stop himself from tidying, straightening, smoothing, picking, or rearranging.

We have a daily thing going on where I send him a photo of one of my cats as he lounges around. Patrick is my paramour’s favorite cat, and so it’s become almost an art project — I even sent him shots of Patrick while he was testifying in a recent high-profile thingamajig. For the first little while, he would reply this way: “Aww, what a big fat cutie. But I think you should have tried taking it from the right, so you got more of his face.”

I would reply: “Piss off and be grateful you have woman who obliges your desire for a daily cat photo.”

Lately, he’s been very proud of  The Daily Patrick.

“You’ve really mastered the fatty-cam,” he said the other day. “The lighting, the angle, the composition — these are truly works of art.”

I stared at him.

“I am out of my mind, aren’t I?”

“Yes, you are,” I replied.

Today my boyfriend sent me possibly the sweetest e-mail I’d ever received. “If it makes you feel any better,” he wrote, “you’re absolutely nothing like her.”

He was talking about my mother.

Yes, my mother, also known as Hagatha, visited again. Some of you may remember those happy Christmas tales of a couple of years ago that filled my heart and home with such joy. If, by joy, one means angry misery. But time had passed, my sister was coming with her, I love my sister, and she had been telling me recently that Hagatha had mellowed out a bit and wasn’t quite as bad as she’s been our whole lives.

And so they arrived, my poor sister and her girlfriend after a rainy 12-hour drive. My poor sister will be referred to in this post as “my poor sister,” because my poor, poor sister. She’s left alone in Toronto to deal with Hagatha on her own, and then had to drive her down here and back. And she has a lovely girlfriend, Annie, who has always been a good buffer. My mother can be funny and charming, and Annie is entertained by her. And when Annie senses my mother is driving my poor sister crazy with her incessant braying and criticisms, she steps in to defuse things. “She’s an old woman,” has always been Annie’s peaceful refrain. “She means well.”

Fast forward four days, and the kind-hearted, mellow, mild-mannered Annie was muttering under her breath: “Fuck you, old lady” in the kitchen after my mother lobbed yet another passive-aggressive shot and/or snide nagging her way. (more…)

This is Adam doing something I saw a lot of as a young girl — playing lacrosse. This was taken in the mid-’70s. I used to watch him play lacrosse, but he was a lifelong pal playing with a bunch of other lifelong friends, never a boyfriend. While I might have sensed he liked me, he never told me, and he never sent any messengers to tell me, and so I never assumed otherwise.

Look at those legs!

Adam was a really cute boy, a redhead with freckles and a great smile and laugh, an amazing athlete with an athlete’s body,  great dancer, and he had a kick-ass last name that made him mysterious to me — it sounded almost Inuit. We knew each other from kindergarten on; our older siblings grew up with one another. If anyone ever picked on me, Adam had my back. A bitchy redhead named Margaret Conrad once slapped me across the face in middle school. Adam appeared out of nowhere, took her by the arm and made it clear she was never to lay a finger on me again. Duelling gingers!

When we got into high school, Adam was always lurking in the shadows, looking out for me. We got drunk once and made out; his was the first boner I ever felt, albeit over top his jeans. He still played lacrosse, I still went and watched. If he really tried to woo me, I can’t recall it. I don’t know why I didn’t make a move, but I think, when I look back, I might have assumed he was a little off. He would stare at me strangely and not speak. He would start to say something and stop. He would withdraw completely, for weeks, if he saw me hanging out with new guys. He didn’t hang out that much with my crowd. He was a slow talker, sort of stoner-ish, and maybe I wondered if he was a druggie (fool — that would be considered a bonus in later years). I didn’t know what to make of him once we got into high school, and I didn’t worry too much about it, and proceeded to go out with a complete tool named Robbie for three years. He was dumb, shallow, a cheat and lousy in the sack. To this day, I am embarrassed I went out with him. (more…)

For some reason, about 10 years ago, in the middle of the no-carbs craze, I stopped eating potatoes, along with most pasta, white bread, etc. I’d have mashed on Christmas and Thanksgiving, but would not order meals in restaurants that featured potatoes. Even if I was eating fast food, I’d order a cheeseburger and onion rings, never fries (how stupid is that, really? Battered onion rings! Smart!!) I rarely cook them, and so my kids don’t clamour for them, and even though I realize my anti-potato bias is pretty dumb, I have had a long prejudice against them.

And yet twice this past month, I have steamed what are known as “new potatoes” — those small, thin-skinned, waxy spuds that are simply the baby versions of mature potatoes. I saw them on display at Trader Joe’s and they looked so sweet and innocent, I couldn’t resist. After steaming them, I tossed them with a bit of butter, chives from my garden and salt and pepper. And OH MY GOD. I have fallen back in love with the lowly potato! When you don’t eat something for the better part of 10 years, it’s quite the revelation to rediscover such simple goodness. They are so delicately flavored and delicious! Last night, I even handed over my piece of salmon to my paramour and just hoovered the lovely little potatoes like I was a freckled redhead named Meaghan O’Riordan from the County Cork eating my first spud since the Potato Famine.  (more…)

I have had Dolly now for about six months. I can’t say that I immediately fell in love with her. She is sort of an anxious old girl — my man stayed with her alone for a weekend recently when I had to travel, and he told me she deeply depressed him. I believe the direct quote was: “I think I’d eventually blow my brains out if I had to spend a lot of time with Dolly.” I was immediately defensive, which is when I knew that, in fact, I loved Dolly. Yes, she is anxious and fretful. Sometimes she lies on her bed not sleeping, her brow furrowed in worry, staring off into space fretfully. I don’t deny it can sometimes be disconcerting. However, she’s a shelter dog, and I think she is probably heartbroken due to losing her family, and so she likes to keep an eye on us at all times to make sure we’re not going away. Either that or she is truly mental.

She also apparently has quite a memory. In recent weeks, I have been taking her off-leash in the park right next to my house so she can run around with other dogs. She is getting fat, so the running around was good for her. But one day, a nice old guy was hurling tennis balls for his border collie, and one of the balls hit Dolly hard right in the head. Her reaction was heartbreaking and hysterical at the same time. She literally burst into tears and ran home, crying the whole way, as I remained in the park laughing my head off but running after her to comfort her at the same time.

It happened a month ago and to this day, she will not set foot in that park. I try to pull her into it, but she stands her ground, refusing to budge. The man with the border collie didn’t throw that tennis ball at her head — in Dolly’s mind, the park threw that tennis ball at her head, and she will never forget it.

I wonder what other things she has not forgotten, and how much that has to do with her anxiety.

Recently I was forced onto Facebook under my own name by my company, which wants its employees to have social media profiles. For about three years or so, I’d been on FB under a fake name, mostly just to stay in touch with my far-flung girlfriends who are generally like-minded about most things.

But now, I’ve been forced to accept as friends people who are mere professional colleagues, for the most part. And I am starting to hate many of them.

Who knew that polite federal employee who has always been helpful to me was a Glenn Beck fan who frequently posts links to that jackass’s show on his wall? He’s now been hidden from my newsfeed, but even so, sometimes I can’t help but go and look, and the comments of support on his wall from right-wing lunatics who believe the Tea Party people are the way of the future have honestly caused my blood to boil. The things these people believe are frightening, erroneous and fucked up. I must refrain, however, from taking them on because I am now representing my company. (more…)

So I have sort of been consumed for the last few weeks, shamefully, with the man I am dating. It was all LOVE LOVE LOVE at New Year’s, and then sort of plateau-ed and levelled out the past few weeks. And I have been confused by it, though never hurt or weeping or anything, because he’s been totally kind and for the most part attentive to me. But there have definitely been times where I have felt him suddenly pulling away, and I haven’t known what the hell is going on.

But anyway, for some reason we ended up having a big “state of the union” conversation this weekend, brought on by me, and basically it comes down to this: He is five years younger than me. He wants to have children. My womb is closed for business. He is in love with me, but pulls back because he fears just how painful the inevitable breakup is going to be.

So we got weepy and clung to one another and I gave him the old “Do you want to break up now? Because I totally understand if you do” line — actually not a line, but the truth — and he was horrified, insisting he doesn’t want to break up, but he is messed up about the depth of his feelings for me and how they probably will have to be doused at some point.

I said hey look, British motherfucker, let’s just take each day as it comes. Let’s not write it off entirely, let’s not heap all kinds of long-term expectations on it, let’s just enjoy each other and you can tell me you love me, for God’s sake, if that’s how you feel. If/when we break up, I am not going to hold it over your head and shriek: BUT YOU TOLD ME YOU LOVED ME!!! As a tw0-time divorcee — SO PROUD!! — obviously I know that love does not mean permanency in many situations. Sad but true, and a lesson that is hard to learn at times.

So anyway, things are even more loving/sexy now than ever, because clearly we both realize our days are numbered, but today I get my little e-mailed horoscope and this is what it says: (more…)