Wednesday, August 24, 2005

No More Martinis, Thanks

With college evening classes and working weekends approaching me faster and faster, I have made it my goal to spend as many evenings as possible having fun. Of course that means twoonie-martini Tuesdays with Nick at Infernos. The first time I went there, I found their martinis really weak. Since then I have therefore been ordering double vodka martinis with extra olives. I had already chugalugged two doubles when Tristan bought me a third before I had realized what he had done. Waste not, want not . . . right?
So laughing with Nick's friends and dancing at the Lotus followed. I forgot my jacket at Infernos and fortunately, Tristan tagged along to help me fetch it and find my way back to the Lotus. I would have been really lost.
One of Nick's friends is friends with an exboyfriend of mine which always makes me nervous because I don't know what they know. Turns out she likes me fine and we had a blast.
Doug gave me a lapdance near the end - better than I've ever seen in a strip bar. Nick told me Doug thinks I'm a player - but I'm not - I don't even speak the language. I'm more of a tease really. So needless to say when Doug finished I was blushing a rich crimson red. Fortunately it was really dark at the Lotus (I hate it when I blush).
Unfortunately I woke up this morning with a terrible hangover. I'm at work right now trying to ignore it by killing time on the blog. This evening I'm due to hang out with my friend Ryan at the Media Club downtown to see something called Rock n' Roll Circus. Should be fun if I can stay awake!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Water, Water and More Water!!!

I just spent an awesome weekend hanging with one of my favourite couples, Rebecca and Matt. It began Friday night with beer, Cesears and Fubar - a great combination. They live out in Langford, near Victoria. Their house is surrounded by trees, hills and rednecks. If I live anywhere, it has to have green nearby. I realized that when I got to Matt's place and already felt at home. Gray Vancouver skyscrapers aren't my style. It's important for me to be near parks and to have easy access to skinny-dipping opportunities.
The next morning we ate Rebecca's blueberry pancakes, eggs and toast on their picnic table in the backyard. Matt put the sprinkler on so that I could run and jump through it until I was soaked. Rebecca said that if they ever needed practise in what it would be like having children, all they'd have to do is invite me over.
Soaking wet, I continued reading the Jade Peony by Wayson Choy and proofreading a friend's cover letter until it was time to go to the water slides. Mind you, I had already gone on the Monday earlier to have fun with teenagers who have cognitive disabilities, but I figured doing it again with Rebecca and Matt would be just as much fun (especially since we had a few beers before hand). Matt taught me how to go extra fast by pushing my belly up and putting all of my weight into my heels and shoulders. He almost flew off the slide one or two times doing that.
After the slides, sunburned and tired, Rebecca put some skewers on the barbeque and we watched Good Morning Vietnam. At about midnight, Matt's friends called us up for some skinny dipping in a lake that is about ten minutes away from his house. No matter what, I can't turn down a skinny-dipping moment - it's related to some kind of cognitive disorder I think. The moon was full and bright behind the trees - it was fun swimming in and out of it's path. Matt's friends were really nice too. I think everyone should make friends when they're naked.
The next morning we had a smorgesbord of brunch items, and I debated whether or not I should order a pint of Guiness with my breakfast. I had to catch an afternoon ferry back in order to get a few things done before my first day back at work after a week off. Rebecca and I missed the 1pm sailing so we stopped in Sydney to look at second hand books - I found seven awesome books - really bad timing with school approaching and all.
I tried to sleep through the ferry ride. The interesting bit is that I met this landed immigrant from Dallas, Texas. He asked me which bus to take in his thick Southern drawl. We ended up on the same bus. He asked me about the books I was carrying and I showed him the Jade Peony. I told him how it's about a Chinese family living in Chinatown, Vancouver, during the 1930's and 40's, and how through the perspectives of the children, it eloquently talks about Chinese-Canadian history and society. He told me everything he was learning about Canadian history and that he found the French Canadians interesting.
We talked about music. He's currently really into celtic music and I told him about how I heard too much of that stuff in Ireland which lead to a tangent about my mom's side being Irish. His is a mix of white, black, First Nation and Chinese though I could only see African features in him. He lowered his black sunglasses with white rhinestones in the sides and showed me that his eyes curve into a point on either side like most Asian eyes do.
He spoke quietly and quickly, but from what I could make out, I found him really interesting. With the promises of coffee and more conversation, we parted at Scott Road skytrain. He reminded me of what I love most about travel - the interesting people you meet along the way.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


On his way back from Tasmania, Robin once again stayed in Vancouver for a couple of days before his inevitable and dooming return to Regina. Just as before, we decided to hang out for a day, but this time we knew eachother better than that drunken night in Calgary. I didn't expect it but Robin brought me back a gift that he carried in his backpack throughout his travels in Australia and then to San Francisco - a package of TimTams, Australia's favourite cookie, but in Chilli-Chocolate flavour. There are as many TimTams in Australia as there are Pocky in Japan. Robin described this to me through email but I never would have guessed how great they are - when you bite them they start out tasting like your average dark chocolate cookie - but after you've swallowed, the spicy burn hits the top of your mouth leaving you amazed and surprised at what has just happened to you. All the same, I'm even more impressed that he carried it around with him all over Australia!
When I last saw Robin, I took him on an adventure in the Tri-Cities, and then hung out with him at the Vancouver Art Gallery a couple of days later. Today we wandered aimlessly not necessarily looking for something to do but just to catch up with eachother. My friend Andrea gave us a couple of free ice teas from her shop. We drank a couple of pints of Guiness on Graville island as well as eating Dubliner Irish cheese on green olive bread. We watch some free Shakespeare, A Comedy of Errors, under the stars. All the roles were performed by teenagers. Nothing better than Shakespeare performed with a retainer-lisp!
After fantastic vegetarian food and organic beer at the Naam, Robin and I found ourselves at the beach. An object that looked like it was lit by candles was floating on the water. Robin called it a UFO - an Unidentified Floating Object. We hung out there well past the last skytrain home, but that's what happens when it's your only night with a friend who's leaving town. I had an awesome time.
I eventually took the night bus to Sam's because at 3am there was no way I was going to find a way back to my house. Arriving there at 4am and just as I was feeling content that I was finally there after a long bus ride, I notice a skunk crossing the sidewalk infront of Sam's house only to turn down the driveway into Sam's backyard where he left a door unlocked for me. I unfortunately had to wake the poor guy up to help me in - the guy works 80 hours a week! I owe him a six-pack the next time he's available for a few beers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ryan's Bike Bitch For a Day

A hot econoline van steams the summer roads to Rocky Mountain campgrounds, Family Vacation, British Columbia. My sister and I, two red-faced blond girls, sit in reverse to stare through tinted rear windows with our noses resting on brown foam seat cushions. The mountain walls are as dusty peach as the dull paint on our van. Faceless men on motorcycles curve the road behind. I point my index finger at them and my thumb to heaven before I shoot "Bang! Bang! Bang!" One man lifts one of his black-gloved hands from the handles and returns the gesture. I continue to shoot, ducking and dodging his retaliations until the men bend to the right and reappear in front of my tired father who is driving and eating black licorice simultaneously. I solemly wait for another motorcyclist to snake the Rockies behind us. I solemly hope for the day when I am riding a motorcycle with nothing but wind between me and the jagged walls of the mountains I love.
I must have been six years old then. I am 23 now so that means it took 17 years before I finally hopped onto a motorbike thanks to Ryan. He invited me out to Harrison - taking the backroads through Mission and Fort Langley - on a gorgeous Sunday. He took me for a spin around Burnaby before heading on the highway to see if I could get the rhythm down - lean when he leans, squeeze his hips with my thighs when we slow to a stop. He said I made a pretty good bike bitch before we took off for the number 1 highway heading East. On the highway, the wind hit my throat and chest so violently, rapid like an aroused heartbeat, I gleefully thought I would loose my breath or that my heart would be beatened into stopping. My body seemed to feel small and aerodynamic. We didn't stay on the highway very long because it was the beauty of the ride that Ryan and I were after. We wanted to fly through the small roads bordered with lush greens trees and open meadows. I wanted to polaroid every abandoned bungalow that charmingly leaned towards collapse. I'll have to ride again sometime with Ryan.
Harrison didn't even mean much when we arrived. We tried to linger on the beach, wade in the water - but really we wanted to be back on the roads coiling through thick BC landscape where roads twisted like a wriggling serpentine in a lime lagoon. I first toyed with and then feared the idea of reaching my gloved hand out and scraping my fingers against the rough cement every time we leaned around a bend. After one turn we saw a dark brown bear disappear into the forest - leaving me with dreams of sasquatches roaming my mind.
I was sad to return. From the highway I watched the big yellow IKEA sign sail by on our way to Ryan's apartment in Burnaby. We stopped by the Safeway to grab some food. I recollected the bushy green and blue mountain imagery in my mind while leaning against Ryan's bike - the pale blue sky marbled into navy above me. Ryan was inside getting the groceries. I was glad to be in Ryan's apparment - it feels homely and chic at the same time. We hung out until late when Ryan drove me to Briana and Will's appartment that I was still happily housesitting. Even though we took the car, I still felt like I was rumbling on the back of his motorbike. One week later I gave him an artsy vase - just to say thanks. All my friends agree, a vase is a weird gift for a guy. Oh well.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Sharon, Susan and Catherine

My parents gave my sisters and I very sensible names. Whenever I asked my mother why they chose them, it's always "Catherine is after my grandmother, Sharon is after a friend from University and both your father and I have relatives named Susan. I also wanted to give you girls ordinary names because Inkpen is such an unusual last name. " But I have a theory that adds more psychological depth to their choices. My mom can be overprotective, overly worried and somewhat old fashioned in values. I propose that my mother gave us these names because they're good girl names - the kind that study hard, never get into trouble and choose a youth of chastity . . . or more or less the names are too dull to sexually entice anyone on their own. Especially the name Sharon - there isn't anything sexy about that name. I think of plump peasant women with screaming-red babies hanging from their limbs when I hear the name Sharon. The name itself means flat land. As a little girl I wanted to be called Cher, not like the pop singer, just as a nickname because so many other girls were fortunate enough to have one - and Susan was always changing her name to Susie and Sue. But my mom said Cher was too trashy, and that it made her angry when people said it to refer to me. That was the eighties when Cher came out with that hit If I Could Turn Back Time with a music video of her wearing not much more than a little bit of black cloth. Her son designed that costume.

Better than Cher, I would have loved to be a Courtney, a Brittney - on a subconscious level, the ee is associated with happiness because to pronounce it you must widen your mouth like a smile. Or I would have enjoyed any name that ended with an a. Names like Jessica, Angela and Hannah end with the same sound people make when they're content and relaxed at the same time - ah. Or even a name that ends in ette like Bridgette or Georgette, the ette makes the name look so feminine. What do people feel when they make a noise like on? What do they associate it with? I associate on with sitting, and then sitting with big butt, and then big butt with plump peasant women and then screaming babies and so on. No good.

The funny bit is, as normal and as well behaved as my mother may have wanted us to be, I think my sisters and I are some of the weirdest or the most free-spirited girls around. Catherine doesn't care much for what other people think, and while naturally she obeys her good heart, she pretty much does whatever she pleases no matter how out of the norm it may look. Sue has always been interested in spirituality, namely the kind connected to the earth and nature. She's a bit of a hippy but with class and style. Me? Where to start? I think I've always been the strangest, not to mention the bipolar 2, and I'm definately . . . um, not chaste. I'd describe my schooling so far as choosing to be adventurously sloppy. I often speak before I think, embarrass my mom with the things I say and don't carry the same values and beliefs. I say goofy things that don't make any sense. One of my goals in life is to one day be the inspiration for an irresistible seductress in a fantastically erotic novel. If I can achieve that, or be a zombie extra in a horror flick, I will die a happy woman!

Unfortunately, the name Sharon has grown on me. I am not a plump peasant woman, I have no children, but I don't know if I could connect myself to any other name. Except maybe Maud, but that describes my fashion sense more than my personality. Maybe I've even learned to like it? Sigh.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Urban Living

I arrived Tuesday evening at Briana and Will's appartment to house-sit while they are overseas in Australia. To my surprise, Will had left me a gift with a distinct odor to welcome me upon my entry - expired fish in a hot stuffy fourth floor appartment! Very pungent and natural, I wonder what kind of aromatherapy it's scent offers.
As nice as the gesture is, I did, however, have to wrap it in a couple of plastic bags and throw it in the dumpster outside. I hope Will isn't too upset - I must apologize to him because I know it's impolite to throw away gifts especially so soon after receiving it.
So I've been staying in the appartment for the past couple of days and it has been nice. I made Glen sleep on the couch the first night just in case the appartment was haunted by the ghost of the expired fish. If we were ever attacked by fish-ghosts, Glen would know what to do.
The building is surrounded by the business district, and even though I haven't been there long, I can already tell downtown living isn't for me. I already miss the forests and parks near my house - and walking around, everyone looks so rich and cold it makes me shiver. I'm glad to have tried this out - back when I was a teenager I thought living downtown would be the best, and with my poor financial state, I'm glad I've grown indifferent to it. I guess it's important for me to feel as though I'm living in a community - I'm sure East Van would be more appropriate for me.
The appartment is lovely though - I love high ceilings and a trim where the wall ends. There's a small patio with a good view of Fitness World - I keep debating about drinking wine from the bottle naked out there - put on a show for the people on the treadmills. If only I had a tiarra to accompany the show. Good thing the patio has outdoor lighting.
I'm taking advantage of the location the best I can by making Glen my urban husband. He's going to show me the clubs and nightlife. I'm not really a clubber at all - I'd rather be in a pub somewhere talking to strangers and listening to a good live band. But clubbing with Glen is fun - we dance, make fun of the crowd, drink martinis. And Glen has great fashion sense so he can help me out on what to wear (but we all know that regardless of all his help, I still turn out maud).
Money I was saving for moving out has to be put towards tuition this fall. But I'm hoping to be able to save enough to keep me stable and good to move out in January. I am excited about returning to school.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Family Day

I'm not a fan of family outings. We usually leave a few hours later than we wish, my mom gets so stressed out about everything going right that she takes her stress out on us and the outing itself tends to be dull. But it's obligatory, especially for good-for-nothing adult-kids such as myself living at home for free - so I told my mom I'd go as long as Catherine is going which usually makes the trip more bearable.
So for BC day we took the boat out to Indian Arm - gorgeous scenery with weird cliff houses. I hoped that the entire trip would consist of silent boating, wind against my face, salt water everywhere, evergreens piling into hills and mountains. But eventually, to my despair, my parents decided to dock and interrupted the serene silence. That means actually talking to the family and hanging out. My brother wandered off for a smoke, Catherine and I followed while my parents stayed with the boat. Jeff stood at the end of a path before a large rocky waterfall. A yellow sign to his left read 'Do not climb the falls' and an Asian family ahead of us were picnicing on a large gray rock, the height of an old Canadian war house. Yellow signs have no influence on Inkpen sisters so Catherine and I began to climb the rocks barefooted in bathing suits.
The texture is smooth and rough - somehow our feet stuck to the rock like a spider on the ceiling. It reminded me of hiking in Australia. We had to use all our limbs to get up - Catherine called me Smegal (from Lord of the Rings) and I replied, "My precious!!!" in Smegal's snarly voice. About twenty minutes of monkey scrambling and a few minutes here an there of rest by smaller waterfalls and shallow pools, we almost made it to the top. Some pools were so deep that the water was black.
It wasn't so much our need to climb down as my hunger starting to bug me that influenced our decend. I slid a couple of times, scraped my elbow and knee. It's good to scrape yourself up once in a while. Way below, we saw a man in a white shirt and long khakis - we thought our parents called the park ranger. He waited at the bottom for us but it turned out he was just some guy wondering how the climb went. That waterfall turned a dull family outing into a good adventure. Well - it did for me - Jeff made himself a little bed on the boat using lifejackets and fell asleep. The next day I woke up with stiff legs and sore pecks - the good-using-your-muscles-kind - and a red sunburnt face - now I've got plenty of Vitamin D!