Saturday, 18 August 2012



Is there some kind of weird "guy flu" going around that I haven't heard about?
Did Mayor Rob Ford make some kind of "It's My City, The Rules of Decorum No Longer Apply" pronouncement and forget to send out a press release?
Is this Creep Week and I just didn't get the memo?
Because in the space of less than five days, here are three strange but true things that have happened to me, all involving men.

No. 1, Monday: I am sitting at a restaurant. A bearded, woolly looking fellow comes out of the washroom, looks at me and laughs. I barely refrain from my favourite response, perfected during my teen years: the eye roll. He walks up to my table and says "Can I have one of those fries?" WHILE ALREADY REACHING FOR ONE. He walks away and leaves the restaurant. I decide I am done. "Cheque, please. And some hand sanitizer."

No. 2, Tuesday: I am in the LCBO parking lot. Makeup-free, red-faced and sweaty, having just left the gym. (I like a little post-workout martini, yes. Who doesn't?) A young man in a car looks at me with googly eyes and beckons. He looks about as safe as the fry-guy, so I keep walking. In the checkout, I see that he is hovering behind me and looking at me excitedly. This time, I permit myself the eye roll and consider maybe the bird flip as well.

No. 3, Wednesday: I am on my way home from work. Stopped at a light under the Gardiner in front of the ACC. Busy time of day, pedestrians and cars everywhere. A nicely dressed young man on the sidewalk turns to traffic, opens his zipper, pulls out his partner and relieves himself in full view of everyone. I scramble for my cellphone camera (note to self: from now on keep that thing handy) while a chorus of honking erupts, but he has finished and walked calmly off before I can find it. I do the eye roll, the bird-flip and the horn honk, all at the same time.

The temptation, of course, is to say, "You appear to be the recurring theme here, Marie." But Gardiner boy didn't even look up to see who was watching. (Everyone.) Anyway, I'm going with Creep Week...and I'm glad it's almost Friday. 

Editor's note: It might be a fun little game for readers to count how many times the word "LCBO" crops up on this blog. 
Creep's note: I've been counting. Three hundred and seventeen!


Tosca Reno and some guy who's 
so excited he can hardly breathe.

Well it took several hours of driving and parking and lining up, but I finally got to meet Tosca Reno, nutrition guru, fitness magazine model, author, reality TV star. 
And she is even lovelier in person, a vision who looks better at age 53 than most of the 20- and 30-somethings waiting to meet her. I lined up for the inevitable book, mag and swag peddling, but what I really wanted was to hear her motivational speech about the "anti-aging diet." 

I am at an age where the words "anti-aging" are catnip. And if she can look like THAT at 53, hot and toned and curvacious in a pair of skinny jeans and a T-shirt, I am listening to whatever it is she is saying and I am buying whatever it is she is selling.
So, aging, Tosca says. "You can't stop that train, but what you can do is can slow it down." (I like where this is going.)
"And one of the most important things you can do to achieve that is to find out where sugar is in your diet and cut it out." (Yes! I can do that. I don't even like desserts!)
"No processed foods," she says. "You want food as close to right out of the ground as you can get it." (Totally! This makes sense to me. I am COMMITTING to this. I am buying the books, baby!)
"Because sugar is everywhere," she continues. "It's in salt. It's in meat. It's in liquor." 
Yes! I am . . .
Did she just pretty much say "no more booze?"
Wow. Well, bye. Gotta go. 
As Meatloaf says (mmm, meat loaf!!), I would do anything for love . . . but I won't do that.

Friday, 17 August 2012


FRESH FRUIT and MOONSHINE FOR SALE. CHEAP.This roadside stand was in the remotest spot imaginable. I bought some fruit ... 
and two shots of rum, because that's what you do in Jamaica ... and asked if this 
was the road to Port Antonio. She laughed and said, "No, mon! Bush road dis."
Ignoring all sound advice to not drive in Jamaica, where Stop signs are just a suggestion and almost every road wants to murder your car with its bare hands, a friend and I rented a Jeep and toured the entire north coast, from Negril to Port Antonio. We learned a coupla things along the way. For instance, we learned that the term "highway robbery" was probably coined here. (The phrase was originally "muggers disguised as cops," but that wasn't as catchy.) We learned that the mountain people are the poorest and also the most generous. We learned that everybody in this country can cook even if all they own is an ackee tree, a chicken and a barrel. We learned that nobody can drive better than a Jamaican because they grow up thinking that the roads with hairpin turns and craters the size of mules are the "good" roads. Most of all, we learned that Jamaica is one mind-bendingly beautiful piece of island, and that rum is often a better . . . and always a more fun . . . travelling aid than a map.


Ordinarily on my day off, my plans consist of: thinking about housecleaning, browsing the sales bin at the LCBO, thinking about making a scrumptious dinner, ordering takeout, drinking discounted hooch while feeling guilty about my uncleaned house, drinking more discounted hooch until the guilty feeling goes away. 

 Seriously. The woman is 53. 
If this is what eating clean does for you, 
pass me the soap RIGHT NOW!

But before any of that happens, I hit the Bramalea GoodLife step class. Every Saturday, without fail. Except for this Saturday. Because this Saturday, I am going to be changing my life.

This will mean nothing to people whose main food group is Cheetos (not that there's anything wrong with that; there are days when Cheetos are my main source of dairy), but Saturday is the CanFit Pro conference. 
Right now, many of you are saying "Fitness?!? Boring! Why isn't she talking about Pussy Riot or strippers or the fact that God gave Kim Kardashian all the good DNA?" And I'm sorry about that, but once in awhile one has to eat broccoli and at least think about healthy lifestyles.  

CanFit Pro features nutrition workshops, MMA demos and so many buff bodies your eyeballs get whiplash. (There's even an eyeball-whiplash treatment station, where you can sit in an armchair and look at pictures of overweight people smoking and eating Maple Bacon-flavoured chips until your orbs feel normal again.)  

But none of those things would bring me to downtown Toronto on a cherished day off. What will bring me to that show is one thing and one thing only, and that is Tosca Reno.
I know that sounds like a kind of wine, but in fact Tosca Reno is a person: a Canadian gem and an international celebrity, a reality show star who went from being a 200-lb divorced teacher to a hard-core fitness model. She founded the Eat Clean Diet and wrote the wildly successful books that explained it. 
(I'm not really sure what eating clean is but I don't think I'm doing it. In fact I'm pretty sure I'm eating dirty. Which is why it is imperative that I meet Tosca...)

Getting to her won't be easy. "The lineup to get to her is incredible," a GoodLife instructor warned me. "Everyone wants to meet her."
And I am one of those everyones. But I am not just anyone. I am Whorrified. 
So, how will I fare? Will I be able to stand out in the muscle-bound crowd? Will I get my moment with Tosca? Will I wear my seven-inch heels and an age-inappropriate getup to gain unfair advantage? I'm going to go ahead and say "Yes" here, but stay tuned. I'll let you know how it all went down.
In the meantime, wish me luck and clean eating. 

Editor's note: Check out this link to Tosca's website. She's an inspiration and, frankly, quite pleasant to look at: Tosca Reno.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


IN THE YEAR 2012 B.C. (Before Cut)
Here's Miley just days before she 
cut her hair and CHANGED THE WORLD! 
(In her defence, hair is a big deal in her family. 
Her dad practically built a career on the mullet.)


I'm not  exactly sure why Miley Cyrus's new pixie haircut is pissing me off but i think it has something to do with GET OVER YOURSELF! 

It is terrifying and portentous that the twitterverse and news outlets alike could be set afire by the shocking news that MC cut her hair and went all punk rocker. This might matter a little bit if she were a knockout talent, a heavyweight of, say, Beyonce's or Alicia Keys' calibre. 
But she is not.  
Yet she's reaping headlines for "bravely defending" her new look and advising the haters that "self-love is the greatest of all flatterers."  

OK, here's the deal. The haircut is cute. If my teenage daughter got it, I'd be like, "That's fun. I like the nose ring. You look a bit like Gwen Stefani. Moving on..."
For those of you who, like me, can't resist piffle and aren't sufficiently annoyed yet, here's a peek at her new look on The Hollywood Gossip.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


"Not now, Harry." 
"Harry. No." 

wayne howes/shutterstock 

Kate Middleton’s cousin, the one no one had even heard of two days ago, has pulled a very bold and unusual move that no one in the history of famewhoring has ever tried before. Katrina Darling, a burlesque dancer known for her God Save the Queen routine, has posed nude for Playboy.

Yes, aside from  Megan Fox, Tara Reid, Lindsay Lohan, Shannen Doherty, Jenny McCarthy, Pamela Love Hewitt, Pamela Anderson, Kim Basinger, Suzanne Somers, Belinda Carlisle, La Toya Jackson, Demi Moore, Kim Kardashian and maybe one or two others, no one has ever courted publicity by posing nude before. Or leaking sex tapes. That might be something Katrina wants to accidentally do when the buzz from this shocker dies down.

I would love to have been a fly on the fusty old-wallpapered wall in the Queen’s sitting room when this news broke.
Queen: “I say!” Teacup with handpainted periwinkles clatters into saucer.
Corgis strike up kneejerk chorus of mad barking.
Philip rouses from nap. “Eh?
Queen, glaring at news item. “One expects this sort of thing from Fergie, but Kate’s cousin?)
Philip: “Eh?”
Queen summons footservant. “Fetch the scold’s bridle and tell the chauffeur we’re taking a drive to the inferior side of town, would you? There’s a good lad.”
Harry enters room clutching magazine: "Jolly exciting news, Gram! You'll never guess!"

Lastly, I would LOVE to show you the Playboy issue here but I wouldn’t even have a clue where to purchase such a thing. (Psst. When Mom logs off, we’ll talk.) Instead, here’s a link to the Hollywood Gossip, whose mother is NOT a regular reader. Enjoy! Click here to see the Royal Shame

Editor's note: I've been meaning to ramp up my blog traffic and this might be just the ticket. From now on, I'm going to blog in the nude. In fact, I’m doing it right now!


Spotted on English St., Brampton

Spotted on Vodden St., Brampton

Even now, I can scarcely bring myself to speak of it. But it must be said. It has to be said! There is a sinister plot afoot in Brampton to hide the shameful plague of little one-footed children.

I stumbled across their sad plight quite by accident. I was out for a stroll in the city's west end in the evening, peeking in people's brightly lit windows, getting decorating ideas and what-not. 

And suddenly, there it was. A single little pink shoe, sitting on a sidewalk. 
I thought nothing of it, to be honest. I kept walking and peeking, walking and peeking. And then two blocks later, another little pink shoe. A block later, yet another. Not pink, mind you. But a shoe. A single shoe. 

I tell you in all sincerity that a frisson of foreboding skittered up my spine. 
Well, since I missed the shot of the creep peeing underneath the Gardiner (see 'Creep Week'), I make sure to keep my camera on me at all times. So I took a picture of two of the shoes. But at the third shoe, a woman came out of her house.

"What are you doing?" she barked, as if I were some kind of weirdo for prowling around the streets, peeking in people's windows and taking pictures of shoes. She seemed kind of guilty, if you ask me. She snatched up that shoe and practically RAN back into her house. A child was waiting at the door for her.
"Mommy, did you get my shoe?"
"Yes I got your shoe! Now get back inside!"

A-ha, I thought. I mean it's obvious, right? This city is CRAWLING with hidden little one-footed children! They are leaving their shoes out as clues, cries for help as it were.
Since taking these poignant photos, I am haunted by visions of their suffering. 

Mother: "Hey kids! I hear the ice cream truck! C'mon!"
The two-footed children pelt to the door, shrieking with excitement. But the poor little one-footed child can't keep up.
One-footed child: "Mother! Mother! Wait for me, Mother! Let me put on my shoe!" 
But it's too late. The two-footed children are gone and back before the tot can hop to the corner to fetch her souliere and strap it on. It's . . . oh, I can't. I just can't bear it. I'm afraid I'll have to cut this one short and get back to you later. 

Editor's note: Wow. Tragic. So anyway, all this talk of shoes is making me want to go shopping. I hear there's a doozie of a sale on at Aldo!


Tuesday, 14 August 2012


EXPLAINER: Now that I blog, my entire family goes into panic mode when the camera comes out.  Hence the squares over my loved ones' faces. My own face, I leave unsullied ... until someone begs me to cover that, too.

Most of us like to believe that we are individuals. That we have forged our own path, made ourselves who we are today.
That's a lovely thought. Unfortunately, it's about as correct as believing that Paul Ryan is going to be the next president of the United States.
People, listen to me and listen to me good: You are an apple. Your family is a tree. You can fall from it, you can even try to roll away, but you won't get far.
And it just takes a family gathering to prove this unalterable cosmic truth. 

Yesterday, for example, we gathered to celebrate mom's big big BIG birthday. 
(I won't tell you the number, but I will say the waitress developed an immediate and painful RSI from lighting all the candles. We may very well be sued.)
The guests included: Mom, her sister, my daughters, their husbands and kids, my youngest brother Pat and me. My betrothed, Ryan Gosling, was also supposed to be there but cancelled at the last minute on account of he has never heard of any of us.
Even without Ryan, it was a potent combination of personalities. So it wasn't long before the polite pleasantries gave way to "zingers."

Example 1: When I posed for a photo with Mom and my aunt, my aunt said, "The Three Stooges!" at the exact moment the shutter clicked.

Example 2: When the servers brought in the cake and performed the public shaming ..."I don't know but I've been told; Someone here is gettin' old!"...delivered in a flurry of clapping, Mom clapped along and smiled and blew out the candles. The second the singing servers left, she muttered to my firstborn: "I couldn't make out a word they were saying."
Firstborn (without missing a beat): "That's cuz you're old!"

Example 3: My daughter is married to a computer whiz. When I told her I'd be coming down next weekend to "pick his brain,"  she tossed back, "That won't take long."

Is this normal? It is to us. I see other family members sending hearts to each other on facebook and saying "Loveeeee you so much!!!" And I think that's sweet. 
But if my mom ever said that to me I would instantly suspect she'd been doing Whip-Its. 
In my family, if you love someone, you lob a "leftie" at them. You show affection by being cheeky. You show caring by reminding each other, when needed, that if we ever get to thinking we're hot stuff, someone will be there to bring our feet (and big head) back to the ground. 
It sounds crazy, but it's what we do and who we are.
Isn't that right, Auntie Stooge?