Rumours of my death are greatly exaggerated…

Kinda says it all, doesn't it?

Kinda says it all, doesn’t it?

Hi, everybody —

My apologies for being so absent over the last couple of months! I’ve had some personal stuff come up (ah, the life of a single mom), and have been focusing exclusively on that. I promise to be back by the end of the week with an actual post.

Your patience is appreciated! Again, sorry, guys.

Ellie

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Pop Culture Monday: I Can’t Watch! …Yet, I must…

Okay, the shower scene was scary, but what really did me in were the animal heads on Norman's wall...

Okay, the shower scene was scary, but what really did me in were the animal heads on Norman’s wall…

I hate being scared.

But I looooove being scared.

I realize that makes no sense.  But let me take you back for a few moments, if I may, to my childhood, where my love of freaky movies began.

I grew up in the 1980s, the era of the slasher film, home video (“Would someone please fix the tracking?”), and the dawn of cable television.  I was exposed to far more frightening films and scenes in films than my parents had ever been, most of it while I was sitting on the living room carpet while they were in the kitchen smoking and playing cards with the neighbours.  And I loved it.  I was terrified afterwards, but I loved it.

Some stuff that scared me honestly probably never even came across my parents’ radar.  Disney’s “Pinocchio”?  Traumatized me.  Fecking traumatized me.  There are two scenes that give me a heart attack to this day — the scene with Stromboli threatening to burn Pinocchio alive, and the scene where Pinocchio’s red-headed delinquent buddy turns into a donkey on Fantasy Island.  Good God.  I have not watched that film in over 25 years, and fully intend to never show it to my own children.  And my fright at “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” is already documented on a previous post.  The only way my kids got to see that was because my parents bought the Blu-ray and watched it with them.

Me:  “Mom!  I asked you to babysit, not scar them for life!”

My Mom:  “Seriously?  What’s wrong with it?”

Me:  “Don’t you remember going to the theatre to watch it?  And me crying and wailing and begging to go home because I was scared?”

My Mom (sighing):  “…I raised a drama queen.”

Maybe.  But I like to think my quaking in terror at the movies I’m about to mention at least gets a nod or two out of someone else who watched them at an impressionable age, as well.  So I assembled my Top 5 Freaky Movies That Affected Me list below.  I watched them all before the age of 13, and I still feel their influence today.

5.  An American Werewolf in London

Even my mom, generally wholly in denial, remembers me watching this one — because she let it happen!  She sat in the kitchen at my grandmother’s house while I sat in the living room with my uncle (who was a teenager at the time) and a bunch of his friends and soaked it all in.  She’d pop in every once in a while, shake her head, and say, “Are you sure this is okay for her?”.  One of my uncle’s helpful buddies, a fellow called Lizard, would nod and reply, “Oh, yeah.  We cover her eyes during the scary parts.”  Yeah — that one time.  I saw everything else clear as day, including the violent, painful looking werewolf transformations that still make my skin crawl when I think about them.  And the ripping and the tearing and the screaming…  I don’t think I’d even hit the first grade yet.  I still take a pass on werewolf movies, if I can help it.

4.  Poltergiest

In my mom’s defense, she wasn’t around when I watched this one.  And the adults who were (a friend’s parents) probably didn’t know how scary it could be for a kid (never mind the fact that it was directed by the same guy who directed “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”).  I have an incredibly active imagination, and I really only remember impressions, emotions around this film, not actual images or plot concerns.  I remember being petrified of being sucked into the walls of my own home, lost in limbo somewhere, looking blonde and pretty (I was freckly and redheaded, but in my minds’ eye, I was Carol Anne), calling in vain for a short woman to help me.  Snow on a television gave me the heebie-jeebies after that.

3.  Raiders of the Lost Ark

Oh, I still watch this one.  Every chance I get.  And it does belong on my list!  Most certainly not a horror film, but those snakes at the dig site when Indy is buried alive — in the dark — genuinely frightened me.  And the monkey was so evil!  And creepy!  And evil!  I still shudder at that thing.  What doesn’t really hold up, though, was the most influential part of the gore-factor, which is the face-melting scene at the end.  I just shrug now, but you could’ve knocked me over with a feather when I first watched it with my dad on VHS back in the day.  This is still a go-to for me, unlike the previous two films, as is the lesser-but-still-not-bad sequel, “Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom.”  Kali-maaaaaa…

2.  It

This Stephen King novel-turned-TV-movie cemented my dislike of clowns.  Sweet Jaysus.  Tim Curry is at his hideously sinister best as groteque clown Pennywise who eats kids in a small Maine town.  I was older when I watched this (thirteen, I think), but my mom had watched it first and really enjoyed it, so gave it the green light for my younger brother and I to watch during a visit to my aunt and uncle’s house one summer.  The book is worse, naturally — and I loved it when I read it several years later.  Just the rememberance of Curry whispering, “They all float…” makes me want to shriek and flap my hands around in panic.  It was my King gateway drug, and I devoured his back catalogue the moment I had the chance.   Delicious.

1.  A Nightmare on Elm Street

This film screwed me up big-time.  I watched it at a sleepover when I wasn’t quite 10 years old, and came home the next day exhausted because I had not been able to sleep afterwards.  My little brother slept on the floor of my room for days because I was too terrified to sleep by myself.  I slept with the radio on and the door open to help alleviate my fear, but all I could see was Heather Langenkamp watching Freddie Kruger pull her friend down the school hallway in a body bag.  And the jump ending just about made me pee my pants.  I have since seen all the sequels (and all the “Friday The 13ths” and “Halloweens”), and not one of them made me truly petrified for my own life like this movie did.  It stuck with me years.  Years.  Which means it was good.

And I could go on!  “Labyrinth” and “Return To Oz” had scary parts, as did “Superman” (I will never, ever forget Margot Kidder getting buried alive near the end of that film.  Not for as long as I live).  “Carrie”, which I saw at the tender age of twelve as a midnight movie while I was babysitting, had me hiding in the corner of the couch covered in an afghan.  Many films that scared the hell out of me are now films I love and hold dear.  I wouldn’t trade my movie-viewing past for anything, although I am playing it a little bit differently for my own children.  I sometimes wonder, though, if I’m not playing it a little too conservative with my elementary school-aged children’s film choices — but “The Avengers” isn’t that bad, is it?

Not when compared to “Pinocchio”.

 

 

 

 

Relationship Friday: My Condolences To The Bride

"No, no, no.  Why are you so uptight?  Jesus, she's just a friend."

“No, no, no. Why are you so uptight? Jesus, she’s just a friend.”

Oh, ho, ho!  The other day, I got a text — a text, not a phone call — from My Assclown, stating that he was getting married to Current Gal Pal.  My reaction surprised me.

I wasn’t angry.  Or sad.  Or happy for him.  I wasn’t jealous.

I felt bad.

I felt guilty.

I know, right?  How strange.  But I know something she doesn’t know, and I think that if she did know, she would not have said yes.

He’s been cheating on her.  Repeatedly.  With at least four different women over the last three years — and those are just the ones I know of (and I’m the ex-wife!).  There have been more, guaranteed.  I’m inclined to believe the old adage of “once a cheater, always a cheater”, and he’s a prolific one.

When he wants to, My Assclown can be incredibly charming.  Most sociopaths are like that.   It’s a superficial charm, mind you.  He has a sense of entitlement, no empathy (when I told him my mother was upset with him for cheating on me, he got angry, and snapped, “I don’t see why she’s mad.  It’s not like I cheated on her“), a ridiculous ego (he thinks he’s indispensible to the people around him, and smarter than everybody in the room), and is verbally abusive and manipulative.  He is also a very practiced liar.

But I know the real him.  We were together for twelve years, and he has not changed.  If anything, he’s gotten worse.  I’ve caught him in several lies, called him out, and listened while he smoothly turned the blame for the situation back on me and actively avoided discussing his failing.  I don’t fall for it anymore, mind you — contrary to his imagining, My Assclown in not the smartest one in the room.  He is a serial cheater.  He cheated on me with dozens of women over the years (despite his protestations that making out, blowjobs, and going down on his partner “isn’t really cheating”).  And he hasn’t stopped.  As long as he doesn’t get caught, he’ll take a hand job from any woman who’ll give him one.  And if sex follows, well, it was just that one time and don’t be mad and you forced him to do it so it’s really actually all your fault anyway, bitch.

Soooo, armed with this knowledge, I texted back my congratulations.  My sympathies for the poor woman now wearing the ring (which she probably paid for, considering My Assclown is broke) went unspoken.

I don’t think she knows what she’s getting in to.  And it’s not my business.  So I’ve been looking the other way.  But I think about how I felt every time he lied, cheated, verbally attacked me, and I want to call her up and tell her everything.  She wouldn’t believe me, mind you — My Assclown has told her I’m a crazy bitch, and I’ve overheard them saying unkind things about me to other people.  We tolerate one another; we are not friends.  But as much as I would rub my hands together with glee if she were to dump his ass and leave him homeless and penniless (she recently came into some money, and has been paying for trips, toys, and other niceties that My Assclown revels in), I would feel badly for opening my mouth and ruining their relationship, as fucked up as it is.

Feel bad for talking?  Feel bad for not warning her?  I really can’t win here, can I?

I’m so sorry, Current Gal Pal.  You have my pity.

Gallery

Because We Can: Hot Holiday Dresses

Because what 38 year old mother of two small children doesn't slip into this bad boy to go to the hubby's Christmas party at the local Days Inn?   (Dress from simplydresses.com)

Because what 38 year old mother of two small children doesn’t slip into this bad boy to go to the hubby’s Christmas party at the local Days Inn?
(Dress from simplydresses.com)

I am not in my early twenties anymore. Neither is Em (she’s actually two weeks older than me). So whenever I see segments on television talk shows on holiday dresses or what to wear for the seasonal parties, I totally blank out because I really have no desire to have my boobs hanging out of the top of a strapless dress (quite a feat, considering I’ve had two kids, but still possible, thanks to Wonderbra) or be tugging on the bottom hem constantly because the dress is too short and I’m scared to show some cheek. Everything out there seems tailor made for gals far younger and perkier than I am.

…Sucks. Becauses I like to look pretty, too.

So here’s a list of mom-body friendly dresses appropriate for both work and social circle Christmas parties — according to Ellie. Because I’m opinionated. So I make lists about things that are great.

modcloth -- posh at the party

Channel your inner Betty Draper and slip into this lucious looking frock from Modcloth. The teal is an eye-catching change from the black you wore last year, no? (Dress: Posh at the Party; modcloth.com)

modcloth -- making a cameo - Copy

A figure flattering silhouette is perfectly set off in this red and black retro cameo pattern. Go ahead. Eat the damn cheesecake. (Dress: Making a Cameo; modcloth.com)

modcloth -- genuinely genteel - Copy

Forgiving and feminine in a throwback pink that will make you want to do the Lindy Hop in front of the tree. (Dress: Genuinely Genteel; modcloth.com)

additionelle -- draped dress - Copy

This flirty number drapes your every curve without sticking to you like that sleaze from the marketing department who keeps trying to get you under the miseltoe. This dress will keep you feeling pretty and bright long after he passes out under the punch table. (Dress: draped dress; additionelle.com)

modcloth -- evolution of elegance - Copy

Green, baby, green! You’re bound to get noticed for all the right reasons when you walk in wearing this soft piece and a cute little pair of silver heels. Don’t forget your chablis at the bar. (Dress: Evolution of Elegance; modcloth.com)

Modcloth -- Cascading Cava - Copy

Put some sparkle in your evening when you slip this on. Again, a festive dress with a flattering cut. How can you go wrong? …You can’t. (Dress: Cascading Cava; modcloth.com)

Modcloth -- Bead It - Copy

Another homage to the hot, hot, hot Gatsby style this year. Slip your Spanx (I don’t have a trademark button shortcut, sorry) on and glide out the door in this tricky dress, and you’ll turn heads! If you’re the modest type, though, don’t worry — it comes in different colours, not just the flesh tone. (Dress: Bead It; modcloth.com)

additionelle -- limited edition love and legend sequined dress - Copy

Good things come in classic packages! The cut of this dress is basic, but the dress is anything but. There’s some serious glitter here, so don’t be shy… (Dress: Limited Edition Love & Legend sequined dress; additionelle.com)

A charming sheath dress gets the speak-easy treatment. This dress will surely become your go-to LBD for all occasions Christmas and beyond. You gotta have it. (Dress: Philharmonic in Time; modcloth.com)

Pop Culture Monday: The Christmas Creep

No, not THAT kind of Christmas creep.

No, not THAT kind of Christmas creep.

It’s not a new phenomenon, but it’s only been in the last couple of years that the ridiculousness was finally saddled with an appropriate moniker.

The Christmas creep.

We all know the Christmas creep.  It’s the holiday cards that suddenly start showing up in the stationary section of Wal-Mart at the end of September.  Wrap and bows that sneak up by the automatic door of Target near Canadian Thanksgiving are quickly followed up by fully decorated trees at Canadian Tire by Halloween, and everybody on the block has their Christmas lights up by November 3rd.

In my opinion, that’s some pretty serious what-the-fuckery, right there.

Firstly, there is a movement here in Canada to keep Christmas substantially toned down until after November 11, which is our Remembrance Day (like U.S. Memorial Day).  Many people, including me, feel that the gratitude and humbleness of the day is overshadowed by the fact that it’s a national holiday and you get the chance to go shopping in the middle of the week.  And retailers are open to allow it, which I understand from a purely business perspective — when your customers have the chance to come in, why would you be closed?  That makes no fiscal sense, I grudgingly admit.  But we’re talking about our national freedom, here, and the lives that were sacrificed for it.  That’s a pretty big deal, as far as I’m concerned, and folks are too busy being distracted by flashing lights and holiday deals to actually take the day for what it was intentioned for — to spend it with the family and friends they are lucky to have, enjoying the amazing country they are lucky to have, and taking just one minute (yes, just sixty seconds is the national standard for a moment of silence) to reflect on the pain and suffering that men and women went through so Bob from up the block could go to Sears in the first place.

But, hey, you say.  Isn’t going to Sears a way of celebrating the freedom I have to do so?  Isn’t utilizing that freedom to chose how and where I spend my time a way of acknowledging our veterans and the sacrifice they made to maintain our way of life?

Sigh…  I’m not here to change any minds, but just get across what’s on my mind.  If that’s where you are at, fine.  But it can’t be denied that the sentiment of Remembrance Day — and especially American Thanksgiving, bookended by the flagrantly overhyped Black Friday and now Cyber Monday — has been railroaded by the artifice of a premature Christmas season.

And the warm fuzzies of the grandaddy of all holidays, the Big Kahuna of the Calendar — Christmas — have been lost.  It’s like Christmas’ PR department got drunk and puked garland and overpriced Lego all over the place.  The feeling of the season is an endangered species.  By the time Christmas actually rolls around, people are so stressed out from the shopping and gift rigmarole that they can’t wait for the day to be over.  They’re bloated and hung over from the excess at Christmas parties.  Tired of braving the crowds at the malls to grab the one gift they really needed to get, only to find out they were sold out all over town.  Sick of the two months of Christmas carols on the radio.  The commercialism that has been encouraged to overrun a religious holiday has engulfed one-quarter of our year, silently sneaking up on us so we don’t notice how out of place it is; it’s like tobogganing in July.  The Christmas creep lurks around the corner from Labour Day weekend, waiting to wrap the culture in its self-absorbed tom-foolery.

Where’s the rejoicing?

Where’s the wonder?  The anticipation?  The feeling of harmony with your fellow man?

You can find it in aisle nine.

Relationship Friday: Halt! You have just been “friend-zoned”…

"Are you surprised?  It's a relationship!!  Do you like it?"

“Are you surprised? It’s a relationship!! Do you like it?”

Okay.  I should’ve known better.  I bet you think I had it coming, and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

Last spring, an ex-boyfriend asked me to a networking/business outing, a charity gala where our company had a corporate table.

Sure, I said.  As long as we go as just friends.

Sure, he said.  Friends.  Totally on board.

We started hanging out a little more often, and because I have had several other platonic relationships with men in the past, I didn’t really think anything of it.  He started paying for everything, which I talked to him about — I didn’t think it was fair in our friendship — but he insisted.  Movies.  Dinners in and out.  Hanging with his family.  No biggie, at least not to me.  But lately, his texts were reading like not-so-subtle teenage “Do you like me?  Circle yes or no” kind of thing.

I suddenly became beautiful.  Smart.  Funny.  “Super cute”.  “Sweetie”.  And I didn’t know what to do.  So I ignored it, hoping I was misinterpreting it or that he’d stop.  He started telling me how comfortable he was with me, that he couldn’t wait to see me, how much his family likes me, and today, I finally got, “I really like you”, “I want to amaze you”, and “#realize I missed a superstar”.

Hoooookay…  Awkward.

It’s not like I’m seeing someone else.  And he’s a nice guy with a nice family.  He makes serious coin, owns his own home, and likes a lot of the same things I do.  But he’s not as active as I like to be, and can be really negative sometimes, almost bordering on angry for no real reason at all.  We just don’t jive.  We broke up for a reason, and it was a good reason: neither of us was wowed by the other, and we weren’t happy.  The sex was practically non-existent, and he pulled a stunt on me (unintentional, but crippling) that doused any kind of fire we had been hoping we could fan.  Done.  Over.  Fini.  But a good guy I enjoyed spending friendly time with.

After I got the texts today, I was not surprised, but I was embarrassed, guilty, and anxious.  I should’ve dealt with this earlier, but didn’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill if I was overestimating the emotion behind what he’d been saying to me.  Guilty, because I didn’t want to hurt him, and anxious because I finally had to nip this in the bud and let him know I didn’t want a relationship with him.  So, because he’d been texting me, I texted him back.

Oh, come on, now!  LOL  We tried that already, remember?  You said yourself it wasn’t working, and that’s okay.  The universe has decreed we should be friends, not lovers, and I’ll take being your friend any day.  😀

Naturally, I haven’t heard back from him.  I think he’s upset with me.  And I don’t blame him.  I fucked this one up, and I feel awful.  Not as awful as I’d feel if I got back with him, but still.  I need to do what’s best for me; if I was forced under gunpoint to tell the truth, the main reason I got married to my Assclown was because I didn’t know how to tell him no, that I didn’t want to marry him.  I refuse to do that to myself — and someone else — ever again.

I don’t think he wants to be my friend.  And I don’t want to be his girlfriend.  This sucks, like asking for the receipt for a gift someone was certain you’d want and like so you can just take it back to the store (which I’ve also never done).  It feels cold.  And I don’t like it.

…I really wish life had do-overs.

Relationship Friday: The Jubilant Shame of Schadenfreude

"I find this outcome to be... satisfactory." "...I thought you might."

Spock:  “I find this outcome to be… satisfactory.”
Kirk:   “…I thought you might.”

If you are divorced, you know schadenfreude, even if you’re not familiar with the actual word.

Ahem-hem… schadenfreude: (SHAH-din-FROY-duh) noun; a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people; a feeling often experienced by people when their former spouses make asses of themselves and karma finally starts to slowly roll in.

I won’t get into any tawdry details (that’s more of a midnight-margaritas-and-cheesecake discussion), but over the last week, I have heard from several different people that my Assclown threw a very public temper tantrum, said some things that his friends found hurtful and offensive, and now those friends have since ditched him and aren’t looking back.  My Assclown, in his usual righteous indignation, is refusing to apologize and believes that everyone is at fault but him.

When I heard that several of his oldest and closest friends — who are friends with me, as well — had finally, finally seen the side of him he had tried so hard to hide from them, I just about leapt on the closest table and did a freakin’ happy dance.

It was about damn time.

Take that, Assclown!  I hope you like being friendless, because — damn.

Well, that feeling of elation lasted about three to four hours before I just started to become embarrassed by it.  I’m discreet enough that I didn’t say anything to anybody about what I had been told, but after my Assclown told me the story himself (complete with seething venom in his tone when discussing “those fucking sonsabitches”), I figured it was okay to relay it on to Em.  What I noticed when I was talking to her?

That I was still thrilled to death that someone else had noticed that my Assclown can be a real jerk.  And that the more I told Em, the worse I felt about being thrilled to death.

“You know, I kinda feel sorry for him,” I said.

“Don’t bother,” said Em.  “He’s had it coming.”

Oh, and he has.  He truly, really has.

But when I watch him take a fall — deserved or not — and giggle with glee when I hear of how the fifteen men who witnessed his blowout will probably never speak to him again, does that make me a bad person?  Should I be concerning myself with how he copes with this?  Why do I feel bad about feeling so elated?  Why am I feeling guilty about feeling vindicated?  At last, people are finally seeing the cheating, deceitful, delusional, paranoid, pathological liar I put up with for twelve years (pour those margaritas, honey) — why do I feel bad about enjoying that?  Don’t I deserve a little fist pump here?

Maybe.  Actually, yes.  Yes, I do.  But I also deserve to sleep well at night, and know that I lived my best life that day.  So I made a little rule for myself.  When I hear of the Assclown doing something dumb, or getting some kind of comeuppance, I get to enjoy it for one day, and, naturally, call Em and gloat about it.  Then I have to be done.  No more.  Moving on.  I won’t allow myself to hang on to it like some kind of trophy that I pull out of the closet every once in a while to relive an old triumph.  Here’s to being a somewhat decent human being.

…I can’t wait til he fucks up again so I can test this out.