For those of you who were wondering, I am still reading.
Granted, not to the same (crazy) extent as last year. I have decided not to read 52 books in one year again, because let’s be honest-
Plus, I want to take the time to enjoy what I’m reading a bit more.
Currently my total is hovering somewhere around 15, and I’m totally ok with that- because you know what they say….
But with summer now in full swing, I figured it was time to pick up some new reads. Specifically, light, fun ones- perfect for laying on the beach or lounging by the pool (or, in my case, sitting in my air conditioned condo and crowded office food court. Man I need a vacation).
So I ordered a few gems from Amazon- and since I have nothing better to do besides sit on my front steps and wait patiently until they arrive, I thought I’d share my summer reading list with all of you guys.
A “reverse love story” set in London and Paris, I am Having So Much Fun Here Without You tells the tale of Richard, a 34-year-old British artist trying to win his wife back after a brief “ellipsis” with an American mistress.
19-year-old twins Nicholas and Nouschka Tremblay are the offspring of Quebec folk singer, and notorious playboy, Etienne Tremblay. They spent their childhood in the public eye; simultaneously performing with him and being abandoned by him. Now they are grown up and making their own mistakes on the streets of referendum-era Montreal – all of which ending up in the French Canadian tabloid Allo Police.
It’s a coming-of-age tale with a hefty dose of family drama (which sounds pretty much like my own life) so I’m excited to check it out
At twenty-three, a starry-eyed Joanna Rakoff moves to New York with dreams of becoming a writer. Instead, she winds up in a crappy Williamsburg apartment with a job as assistant to the literary agent for J.D. Salinger. Her task is to answer Salinger’s endless amount of fan-mail with a stock response. As she gets into it, however, she becomes inspired and starts crafting her own replies.
It’s a memoir about literary New York in the late 90’s, and the coming-of-age tale of a now successful writer.
Maybe I’ll be inspired? Naah. I’ll probably just sit on the couch and watch more Extreme Weight Loss.
Question of the Day: What’s on your summer reading list?
Summer is finally upon us, and you know what that means! Goodbye polar vortex– hello picnics, pool parties and patio drinks!
……But with all of this all excitement comes one pesky little problem:
Realizing my summer wardrobe was in serious need of an upgrade (read: I “outgrew” most of it) I hit up the mall last week in search of some new threads. Unfortunately, what started out as a fun outing quickly turned sour when I realized that pretty much everything out there was either made for:
a) a 17-year-old;
b) Kate Moss; or, worse
c) a 17-year-old Kate Moss.
Needless to say, it was a bit disheartening.
So what’s a girl on wrong side of 27 25 to do? While I still haven’t quite figured that out yet, here are some trends I know I won’t be rocking this summer:
1. Crop Tops
In the words of the great Mugatu, Crop Tops are “so hot right now”. Everyone and their dog is wearing them. So when Mindy Kaling, champion of not-so-skinny-girls everywhere, recently sported one,
I was finally inspired to try it out for myself. Unfortunately, what I didn’t factor in was the key element in crop-top wearing- confidence.
I spent the entire evening all:
Pulling my top down, my skirt up or both; praying for the moment I could go home and crawl into oversized sweatpants.
Still, I can’t quite bring myself to throw it out. It now takes up space in my drawer of broken dreams, along with my tutu, ill-advised harem pants and many rhinestone-encrusted belt buckles. So, so many rhinestones.
2. Super-Short Jean Shorts
Despite the fact that approximately 0.1% of the population can actually pull them off, these babies somehow continue to be ubiquitous. Everywhere I look, I see girls of all shapes and sizes sporting super-short cut-offs with their pockets – and everything else- hanging out. And I just ask myself one question:
I don’t get it. Not only are they almost universally unflattering, they are uncomfortable to boot. (Trust me- I owned a pair for a hot minute. I spent half the time I wore them feeling extremely self-conscious, and the other half tending to the worst wedgie known to mankind.)
Plus, if I really wanted my butt to hang out, I’d just buy a pair of these novelty butt shorts.
Hehe. Butt shorts.
3. Supertight Maxi Dresses
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some maxi dresses- provided they are of the flowy, patterned, Mrs. Roper variety:
What I can’t get behind, are these minimal pieces of stretchy polyester that would make even the aforementioned 17-year-old Kate Moss look like she had a paunch.
4. Floral Headbands
I almost- ALMOST- subscribed to this trend back in the summer of 2013. I was headed to Lollapalooza (you can read about it here) and needed some boho-chic festival attire. I remember picking up a flower crown in Urban Outfitters and thinking.. “Can I rock this?” but ultimately deciding to go with some multi-coloured sunglasses and 500 bracelets instead. And boy am I glad I did. There were so many 18-year-olds sporting these halos of fabric daisies that it looked like some kind of flower girl army. (Which, theoretically shouldn’t have been scary, but it totally was.)
Now let me just say I don’t really mind this trend when it is done modestly, e.g.
but the problem is, they just keep getting bigger..
…. and BIGGER
Pretty soon flowers are going to be engulfing these b*tches whole heads. And then we’re gonna have a whole species of Human/Floral cyborgs running around….and no one wants that.
5. Complicated One-Pieces
While they might look chic, these puppies are damn near impossible get on. I once tried to wedge myself into one for nearly 20 minutes before ultimately collapsing into a pile of sweat, tears and self-loathing on the change room floor.
And if my cautionary tale wasn’t enough to dissuade you, then I’ve got one word for you ladies: TANLINES.
Unless you want to look like a human checkerboard or like you’e got some sort of weird, unidentifiable skin condition- I suggest you steer clear of this one.
Question of the Day: What Summer Trends will you be skipping this year?
It’s been about a month since you last heard from me, and in that time a lot has happened. Mostly sitting on my ass watching TV (damn you Big Brother and City Girl Diaries!); but shockingly, also a few things that involved leaving my apartment.
Like attending Lollapalooza – the annual three-day music festival in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
As a 27-year-old music festival virgin, I will admit that I didn’t really know what to expect. Would I have fun? Was I too old for all of this? What if I fell for the Jimmy Kimmel trap and became a viral sensation?
Luckily, I ended up having the time of my life. However, there are a few things I wish I had known before boarding that flight filled with excited 21-year-olds debating the merits of the male tank top. And to spare you all the same fate, I’ve decided to share them with you today.
1. But What Will I Wear!
I’ll just go ahead and save you the trouble of Googling “festival chic” and trolling Urban Outfitters for hours on end, because this, apparently, is the only thing you’re allowed to wear to a music festival:
If you’re a girl that is. If you’re a guy, it’s something a little more like this:
Dont say I didn’t warn you.
2. When Nature Calls…
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, unless you a) bring a catheter or b) are a freak of nature with super-human bladder control, you’re gonna find yourself up close and personal with these bad boys.
That’s right. The dreaded port-a-potty. If you’re a guy, you’ve got it easy. Just plug your nose and try your best to aim in the general direction. If you’re a girl -God help you.
But never fear! It IS possible crawl through the river of shit and come out (relatively) clean on the other side. Here is how you do it:
Front-load your bathroom trips early on in the day (these puppies grow exponentially grosser with each passing hour)
Choose a line with mostly guys in it (women move at a glacial pace)
Once inside, grip the door handle and hold on for dear life (try not to think millions of germs)
Try not to get it on your own shorts (easier said than done.. this is a serious leg workout, ladies)
Finish your business
Immediately head to the nearest hand sanitizing station (You should probably cover your entire forearms, just to be safe.)
3. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
Pace yourselves, kids, because it’s going to be a long weekend. You don’t want to be the FunDrunkFriend passing out at 4:00pm.. or worse, throwing up in the corner while the evening headliner croons on.
Keep it sensible. Alternate every Bud Light Lime-Rita:
With a box of water.
Don’t forget to eat.
… and whatever you do, remember that wine in a sports bottle is a sneaky bitch:
4. Personal Space? Who Needs It!
If you dislike crowds, noise, and drunk people all up in your grill, then you miiiight want to hang out near the back and watch the shows projected from the jumbotron.
That being said- to the victor come the good seats. Here’s what you do:
1. Make yourself as big as possible. I’m talking starfish, people.
2. Try your best to ignore the verbal abuse being hurled at you from concertgoers in every direction.
3. Find your happy place
(this may or may not involve a sports bottle filled with wine).
5. Don’t Hate, Appreciate
I get it. Its hot. Its crowded. You kinda want to kill that dude with the 100 foot pole coming out of his backpack. But remember, you’re the one who paid $300 for these tickets. You bought all those t-shirts at the merch stand. So let’s try to be cool, ok?
One way to prevent yourself from getting too burned out is to spend some time away from the festival grounds. Because I am a (relatively) old lady, I chose to be selective with my concert schedule and spend the first half of each day exploring the beautiful city of Chicago.
I even managed to get in a bit of instagramming exercise.
… And if all else fails, you can always take the edge off with a friendly push-up competition
………And don’t forget to pose for copious amounts of photos and convince your friends at home what a great time you’re having!!
Remember kids- if you didn’t Instagram it, it didn’t happen!
Question of the Day: Have you ever been to a music festival? Any interest?
It’s still in law, but no longer in private practice… so I expect the quality of my life to improve drastically to have more regular hours and thus more free time for blogging. (When my busy schedule of grooming and beauty related appointments permits, of course.)
Those pictures were completely gratuitous.
Anyway, I know I owe you guys a real post (and to read and comment on some of the great stuff you’ve been writing), but as mentioned above, I’m in panda-mode. So in the meantime, I thought I’d give a little update on my life through my favourite fleetingly popular social media platform: instagram.
(You can see my first installment of My Life Through Instagram here.)
If you don’t follow me on Instagram, then you definitely should: @BreezyK1. I am extremely self-absorbed and post a lot of pictures of my manicures. Who doesn’t like that in their newsfeed??
2. See, I told you. (Hey, when it takes as long as this did, it deserves to be instagrammed)
3.Summer BBQs. If you can believe it, there was actually way more food unpictured.
4.We clean up aiight
5.Sunset over Sugar Lake
6.Wine and Cheese with a view.. oh you fancy huh
7.This album has been getting me through a lot of tough runs lately. Kanye- you may be a crazed egomaniac with questionable child-naming skills, but your beats are solid and your lyrics genius. So thank you for that.
9.I challenge you to name me a treat more delicious than s’mores
You just peed in your pants a little, didn’t you?
10.So I joined a softball league this summer- considering the ability to play softball entirely irrelevant. The only thing worse than my batting average is my attendance- but I do contribute to the team by taking glorious, sunset candid shots like this one.. so I think I’m pulling my weight.
11.My lovely friend Danielle looking fierce at her wedding
13.Do you… canoe? (Ok that was lame. Forgive me guys, I’ve been out of the game for a while)
14.Little father’s day tribute to my pops.. (and some inadvertent product placement. Mmm. Veggie Thins)
15.Delicious Sangria by the pool… I am just noticing now how many of these pics involve alcohol.
16. A lifesize “The Claw” arcade game set up in the financial district as part of Toronto’s Luminato festival for the arts and creativity. There was actually a dude inside who, when you put money into the machine, tried to retrieve a toy for you with oversize claw-like implements. Everyone cheered when he got one, and when he missed they played the sad fail music from the Price is Right.
Umm this Youtube video has had over 3 million views. I don’t know why, but that’s awesome.
Question of the Day: What has been the highlight of your summer thus far?
Mine’s probably a tossup between drinking that Sangria and watching the new season of Big Brother.. but I expect that to change when I head to Nova Scotia this weekend!
After weeks of not-so-subtle hinting, a friend of mine recently invited me to spend the weekend at her family’s cottage in Muskoka. Water I could actually swim in without turning into Blinky, the three-eyed fish from The Simpsons? Sign me up!
Since Canada Studen Loans owns my ass and I probably won’t have a car until 2072, my friend offered me a lift with her and her boyfriend in her convertible. Now this was something. I think the last time I was in a convertible was when I was four and won the “Little Miss Stellarton” pageant. I got to ride around town in the homecoming parade on a 1989 Camaro. Good times.
Anyway, I’ve discovered that riding in a convertible is a lot like going to the drive-in movie theatre: great for the two people in the front, miserable for the poor sucker in back. Only, instead of struggling to get a good view of the film, you’re struggling not to get beaten to death by 100km/hr gale force winds the entire time.
What I looked like:
What it felt like:
But if getting the sh*t blown out of you in the backseat of a convertible is your biggest problem, then friend, you don’t have any problems. And it all proved to be worth it once we got to the cottage. Between the 12 or so of us, we had enough food, booze, games and ironic hats to make even the worst of your troubles fade away:
Although I hadn’t even been back to the grind for two weeks, it was still nice to get away and replace such urbane concerns “how many hours have i billed today?” and “how many miles have I logged on the treadmill?” with the much more important questions of “how long has it been since I last applied SPF?” and “who’s going to get me another Corona?”
This weekend was also the first solid chunk of time I’ve ever really spent at a lake. Growing up a stone’s throw from the Atlantic, I had always just assumed oceans were far superior. What did I want with a puny old lake when I had 22% of the Earth’s surface in beautiful, glistening H2O right at my fingertips?
But this weekend as I lounged on the dock and floated idly on a paddleboard, it occurred to me that maybe I had judged lakes too quickly. For one thing, this water was warm enough to actually swim in… unlike the Atlantic, which will make you cry and then freeze your tear drops until at least late September.
I started mentally composing a list of other “pros” to lakes:
1. You don’t have to deal with sand. While its lovely to look at, there’s something to be said for not having unwanted sand particles clinging to your wet skin, whipping you in the face, or, worst of all- burrowing irretrievably into your lady parts. (amiright ladies?)
2. You can put a diving board RIGHT ON THE DOCK . My inner 8 year old’s mind was blown by this.
3. There are No jellyfish to contend with. Trust me, peeps- you don’t want to deal with those suckers. Just look at what they did to the Crocodile Hunter. (ok, so that was a Stingray… but close enough)
4. Your Shellac manicure won’t be ruined by swimming in them. Ladies- take heed: salt water will strip that sh*t faster than Nadia Suleman on a pole. Trust.
5. “Lake Showers” After a swim in the ocean, showering is pretty much a non-negotiable, given both the aforementioned “sand in lady parts” predicament and the salt residue that forms a visible film all over your skin. In a LAKE, on the other hand, one quick dip will wash away all your iniquities and cleanse away all your sins. Or, at least your mascara from last night, anyway.
Lakes were starting to look pretty good at this point. But, then I thought back to my beloved Atlantic, and of course had to construct a corresponding list of Pros about Oceans:
2. Sand castles/digging giant holes for no reason. Really, is there anything better?
3. Wavy beach hair- that you don’t have to buy in a bottle.
4. The wound-healing power of salt water. (Ok, so I haven’t actually used the ocean to clear up any festering wounds lately, but the point is that I could)
5. Sandbars (see #2)
6. Surfing (who am I kidding, I also never do this)
7. That salt water smell. mmmm
So by a completely arbitrary score of 7-5, it looks like oceans win! Phew. I was starting to get worried Nova Scotia might get wind of this and expatriate my lake-loving ass… but alas, I live to breathe fresh air another day!
Question of the Day: Which do you prefer, lakes or oceans?
Feel free to throw other bodies of water into the mix too- bays, rivers, gulfs, a pool of Ryan Gosling’s sweat.. whatever tickles your fancy, really.
So I’ve been back in the convection oven Toronto for about a week now after my glorious vacation in Nova Scotia, and while I’m slowly settling back into my day-to-day routine, there’s one thing about this city I just can’t seem to get used to.
The insufferable. unbearable. suffocating heat.
…..By the way, if you’re wondering what that sound was, it was the whoosh of my ass breezing past the Zero mark on the originality scale and landing firmly in negative territory.. because yes folks, I am talking about the weather.
But not without good reason. The heat wave we have been experiencing here in Toronto is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered. A far cry from the temperate, maritime climate I’m used to back home, where if it gets too hot you can always take a dip in the freezing refreshing Atlantic, this my friends, is city heat. Disgusting, dirty, crowded, city heat. Where the base temperature, already equalling the average age of the Backstreet Boys) is exponentially multiplied by a combination of smog, filthy exhaust, and the 4 million other people all seemingly crowded onto my very subway train.
It’s the kind of heat none of the other types of heat want to be friends with. The kind that gets left off the invite list for Satan’s annual pig roast in hell.
You catch my drift?
Now, while the heat in and of itself is bad, it’s really the effects of this noise that are troubling me. Specifically- one particular ailment that has been plaguing me since the dreaded summer solstice reared its ugly head:
Hot, sweaty, dripping, disgusting sweat.
And not the Britney Spears “I’m a Slave 4 U” kind. I promise you it’s way less sexy than that.
For the past 6 weeks, I’ve found that no matter where I am, or what I am doing in this city, I am sweating. I can never be cool enough. Not even when I’m blasting the AC in my apartment and watching Big Brother in my bikini while praying to Al Gore for forgiveness and crush a pint of Haagen Dazs.
Resistance is futile. I have simply resigned myself to the fact that all of my pores have decided to mutiny against me and leak their saliferous fluids from my body at an alarming and unrelenting rate. I’ve considered getting Botox injections in my underarms to stop it, but one of my coworkers did this and now experiences something called “compensatory sweating”, where sweat leaks unexpectedly from other random locations on her body.
Man, that’s some freaky Peter Parker sh*t right there.
I think instead I’ll just accept the fact that I’m beginning to look a bit like the late, great Whitney Houston…who, god rest her soul, was always sweating like a wh*re in church.
I’m not exactly sure what the root cause of her perspiration problem was, but for the sake of her memory let’s just assume it was genetic or hormonal and not due to more nefarious causes (*cough* CRACK *cough*). Anyway, I feel like any day now people are going to start calling me “Whitney” to my face, because I’m sure they are all looking at me walking down the sidewalk, damp hair clinging to the back of my neck, visible sweat stains appearing through my shirt, and thinking, “wow… b*tch be looking all “Why does it Hurt so Bad” at the 1996 MTV awards, and that sh*t ain’t pretty”.
If this does happen, I of course will have no choice but to start carrying around a little white handkerchief everywhere I go and repeating “I wanna see the receipts!” ad nauseam. Go big, or go home, I always say.
Anyway, because I’m bored and it’s pointless, I’ve decided to rate some of my daily activities on a scale of 1-10 Whitney Houstons based on how sweaty I become while engaging in them. (C’mon.. you know you wanna play this game).. Here goes:
1. Riding the subway:
Can someone please explain to me why it’s so damn HOT down there? Isn’t it like… underground?
Score: 7 Whitney Houstons
2. Running Outside
I don’t know why I insist on doing this. I must have been dropped on my head as a child.
Score: 8 Whitney Houstons
3. Walking around/Generally Living
Man, just don’t even do it.
Score: 9 Whitney Houstons
4. Blowdrying my hair:
Ladies, I know you feel me on this one. You toil under a hot implement in 40 degree weather for upwards of 10 excruciating minutes, just to have the whole activity rendered useless by the time you get to work and have sweat-drenched locks. In my efforts to stretch out the time between blowdrys, I’ve taken to utilizing headbands and dry shampoo in unhealthy doses. Every day is an internal battle not to put my hair up in a ponytail. For this hell, I give it 10 Whitney Houstons:
Good thing I’m boycotting 50 Shades of Grey. I don’t think there’s a Whitney scale in the world big enough to handle that sh*t.
Question of the Day: Do you share my perspiration dilemma??
… and just don’t even bother answering if you’re one of those skinny b*tches who miraculously doesn’t sweat, ever. I’m so jealous of you I could cry hate you anyway.
P.S. Naming this post was both a hilarious and ridiculous exercise which required much consultation with friends. Here are some honourable mentions that didn’t make the cut:
“Saving All my Sweat for You”
“The Greatest Sweat of All”
“I’m Your [Sweaty] Baby Tonight”
…. and for all my fellow Zoolander fans out there:
“Sweating: So Hot Right Now”
… as always, thanks for reading my verbal perspiration 🙂
So when we last left off, I had just found myself on an unfamiliar (and receptionless) island with 6 other castaways and nothing but a prayer and way too many cosmetics to my name.
This is sort of starting to sound like the premise to Gilligan’s Island, isn’t it? Only, I’d make a horrible Ginger. I don’t know any celebrities, and there’s no way I could fashion an evening gown out of a tarpaulin from the S.S. Minnow. I don’t even own a coconut phone.
But I digress.
Since the grade 8 dance was already in full swing, we had just enough time to check out our beautiful, luxurious accommodations for the weekend:
Get ourselves “camera ready”:
Balance some bud light lime on our stomachs:
And take a quick siesta.
Since our costume packing was an epic fail, we decided to make do with what we had and go with a “denim” theme. Denim shorts. Denim jackets. Denim on Denim. Basically, we hoped to emulate this look as much as humanly possible:
Only in reality, we ended up looking more like this:
Clearly some of us were more into it than others.
Finally, we made our way to the dance. As I looked around at all of the half costume-clad 2o and 30 somethings fist pumping and spreading body paint like a bad bout of influenza, I felt like I was walking into a beer commercial. Or an episode of Jersey Shore, maybe. But I had a choice: I could wuss out, or I could get into it.
So I got into it. I threw my denim jacket to the side, and proceeded to dance the night away until “Midnight Snack” was called. We all piled into the mess hall where table-length pans of nachos were waiting for our consumption. If only my life could be like this every night.
The next morning, I awoke to a violent, albeit somewhat familiar sound. Could that be a….. bugle? I thought. And indeed it was. Signalling the 7:30 am “polar bear swim”, to be exact. I looked over at my friend Caitlin who was pleasantly dozing away in the bunk next to me, wearing a fleece pullover, a winter toque, sunglasses and a contented smile. Obviously this activity was not mandatory. I covered my head with my duvet and tried to return to the warm arms of sleep while my still drunk excited cabinmates got their swimsuits on and headed down to the lake.
It wasn’t until the breakfast bell rang that I finally rose from my slumber. You can always count on food to mobilize a chubby girl.
We languidly made our way to the mess hall to find a full-on Caesar bar outside. I’ve never been much for the whole “hair of the dog” thing… especially Caesars. I mean, Clamato juice? Really? whose brilliant idea was it to put clams and tomato juice together.. and how high were they? but still, I appreciated the gesture. We headed inside to check out the breakfast spread. The kitchen staff of the camp had remained on for the weekend, and had prepared us a feast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and mini pastries. This was a far cry from the gelatinous porridge mixture and stale raisin bran they served up for breakfast at the Jesus Camp I attended. If it had been like this, maybe my fat ass would have stayed for more than one summer.
After that we retreated to the dock where we layed out in the sun and tried not to die. The camp really was beautiful- like something straight out of a summer camp movie. I mentioned this to one of my fellow campers who told me that indeed, the 1993 movie Indian Summer had been filmed there. Huh. It’s no Heavyweights…. but it’ll do I guess.
Soon, the lunch bell sounded, and we made our way back to the mess hall to feast on white-bread grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and homemade cookies. AKA: heaven. We were just about to head back to the dock, when one of the “counsellors” stood on his chair and announced that “court was now in session”. Kangaroo court, to be exact, where campers were put on trial for their “Crimes” against partying… I mean, humanity. The offender, some dude who wanted to leave early and go home to his wife and kids, was interrogated mercilessly by the “prosecutor” (who, sadly, was a real-life lawyer), before eventually being sentenced to… (dun dun dun) shave his chest.
Yeah. I don’t know either.
The afternoon included a steady lineup of activities including basketball, relay races and driving children’s Power Wheels off water towers.
Even though my participation was limited to strictly spectating, by the time the BMX bike jousting competition started, I was in need of a little R&R. So I retreated back to the cabin to read for a couple of hours.
You can take the girl out of the emo…..
When I got back, I discovered that everyone had been…”quenching their thirst” in my absence. I had no choice but to grab my novelty children’s sand bucket and jump in:
After that we hung around for a few hours:
Until it was time to get ready for the neon-themed “full moon party”. (Would you expect anything else?) We piled on all of our neon, drew all over each other with blacklight paint, and prepared to do it all again.
But sadly, I’m not quite the spring chicken I used to be. After only a couple of hours of awkwardly fist-pumping to house music, I was ready to call it a night. Luckily, one of my friends was feeling the same way, so we headed back to the cabin together.
I couldn’t wait to get my PJs on, wash off the blacklight paint, and get some much-needed sleep.
Little did I know, however, that my night had much, much more in store for me…….
Stay tuned for part 3- the dramatic conclusion to the Summer Camp series!!
Question of the Day: Can you party for more than one night in a row?
What do you get when you take 100 young professionals, a few stocked coolers and an unlimited supply of house music and put them all on a secluded, picturesque island in Muskoka for a weekend? The makings for a really great blog post, that’s what. Also maybe a reality show. Or the sequel to Shark Night 3D.
I just took that to a really dark place, didn’t I? Moving on.
Since moving to Toronto, I’ve been introduced to a group of friends who I would describe as “active fun-seekers”. Unlike my prudish, brooding self who likes to stay home and look at old movie stubs on the weekends, these guys are all about planning their next incredibly fun, outrageous adventures. If they’re not jetting off for ski weekends in Mont Tremblant or Vail, Colorado, they’re planning all-day beach parties on Toronto Island, or themed fundraising galas. The majority are lawyers, accountants, MBA’s and other professionals who like to work hard and play hard, and firmly believe that if you’re not wearing a costume, then you’re not having a good time.
For their latest project (enticingly dubbed “Summer Camp for Adults”) they rented out an entire children’s summer camp about 2 hours north of Toronto and invited over 100 friends to attend. Each of us paid a fee that covered the cost of transportation (by schoolbus of course), meals, and lodging for the weekend. Sounds sort of epic, right?
I’ll admit that I was a little wary of how I would fare with the whole “camping” thing. I never went camping as a kid, mostly because my mother despised it. Her war-veteran father had been convinced that spending time close to nature helped “put hair on your chest”, and forced my mother and her 5 siblings to spend a portion of each summer in the woods of Nova Scotia, “roughing it”. Because of this, she vowed never to put her own children through that same hell.
Perhaps because it had taken on a bit of a forbidden fruit element, I longed for the camping experience as a child. I remember having romanticized notions of what a family camping trip might be like. My siblings and I would roast hot dogs and make each other daisy-chain headbands while my dad regaled us all with local ghost stories. Then we’d all sing Kumbaya and go to sleep in our giant, 7-person tent. It would be just like in The Parent Trap.
One summer, I finally convinced my mother to let me go to sleep-away camp. I was 13, painfully awkward, and still firmly within the grasp of that unforgiving b*tch they call “puberty”. But nevertheless, I believed that this was going to be the best summer of my life. I could hardly contain my excitement about all the friendship bracelets I was going to make. And the boys! So many boys to have “crushes” on! Or at least that’s what my YM magazines told me. Needless to say, it was not exactly the summer I had imagined. 13 year olds can be a vicious bunch, and I struggled to fit in amongst a group who had been attending camp together for years. Also, somehow, the fact that this camp had a strong, Presbyterian mandate eluded both my devoutly Roman Catholic mother and I… and when I came home singing “Ezekiel saw a wheel a rolling” and talking non-stop about some dude named “Calvin”, well, let’s just say that was the end of that.
But after a 13 year hiatus, I figured it was time to give camping another shot. A few friends and I opted to make the drive to Muskoka, rather than take the commissioned school bus, but unfortunately didn’t leave the city until 4pm. AKA: Traffic Armageddon O’Clock. The drive, which should have taken approximately 2.5 hours, took us almost 6. We arrived at 10pm, in pitch darkness, and began unloading our stuff onto the dock, where we were to be transported to camp by a short boat ride.
The fact that I was a camping novice became immediately apparent when I looked around at what everyone else had packed. Instead of a practical, and travel friendly sleeping bag, I had chosen to bring a duvet and 400 thread count sheets. Rather than Bud Light Lime and local Ontario craft beer, I brought Rose. Although the darkness prohibited me from seeing the contents of the other campers rucksacks, I was quite certain they didn’t include a curling iron, half the contents of the Holt Renfrew beauty counter, and enough clothing to last the entire summer. My foray into camping was beginning to look about as promising as Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s “cut the waist” challenge.
I quietly shoved my two blackberry devices out of view and under the copies of US Weekly in my designer handbag and focused instead on the faint noise of motor approaching in the distance. What appeared to be a glorified canoe pulled up to the dock, and we were met by an enthusiastic young man named Daniel wearing nothing but a smile and a camouflage Morphsuit. “Welcome to Camp Tamawkwa!” he said.
So this was to be our captain. Our good-times Sherpa, if you will. Meh. I thought. He’ll do.
I struggled to load each of my bags onto the boat, while saying a silent prayer to the Saint of $17 Eyeshadows that all of my MAC would make it across alive.
Now let me just say that being on a boat in the middle of the night in total darkness is not my idea of a good time. Although I’m sure the scenery was beautiful, I did my best to block it out, along with the scary noises and shadows, and focused instead on Daniel’s Morphsuit. How did he get into that thing? And why did he need to be in camouflage? Was he planning to hijack a pirate ship after this? Unfortunately, Morphsuit Daniel’s role of serenity began to unravel when he started regaling us with tales of “Axe-Man Jack”, the Axe Wielding, infamous ghost of the island. Great. Not only did I have foam mattresses and outdoor showers to contend with, now I had to deal with an axe-murderer too? What was I going to do if he approached me, smother him with my duvet??
Luckily we soon heard the sound of house music and the glow of mini lights from a distance. The night’s planned festivities, a “grade 8 dance”, was already in full swing. “The party’s been going on for a while,” said Daniel. “I’ll take you to your cabins so you can get your costumes on and join the others.”
We looked at each other blankly.
“Wait…” he said, “You did bring costumes, right?”
Things, it seemed, were about to get interesting.
Stay tuned for part two…………….
Question of the Day: Did you go to Summer Camp as a kid?