9 February 2016

A Get Well Message for The Grand Dame of Dish

And a life lesson I learned by reading her column

If you know me a lot or just a little, then you know that I adore entertainment columnist Liz Smith. The Grand Dame of Dish, who recently celebrated her 92nd birthday, writes, among other things, a daily Guest Diary for the New York Social Diary; it is my morning reprieve from insanity. A daily dose of humor and insight into a posh world that is the stuff dreams are made of.

Liz Smith, Martin Sheen (image credit: Liz Smith Twitter)

As some of you are aware I recently stepped into a political editorial position. With the foolhardiness of an election year at every turn, I have been working as near around the clock as humanly possible; if I can't order it for delivery or pay someone else to do it, it sits undone in my den somewhere collecting dust and awaiting my return. Also awaiting my attention was a small catalog of Guest Diary entries. With a little time available today, for the first time since early January, I began reading my way back to today. Coffee, croissants, and gossip, as if I were sitting across from a dear friend listening to industry news. And reading her column does feel like an old friend, I've been doing it for decades, back to the days when we were both brunettes.

Liz Smith, Robert Redford circa 1973 (Image: Liz Smith, Twitter)

By mid-January's post, tucked at the bottom of the day's report, a small footnote told her readers that Liz had experienced a "slight mishap," that she was fine and "on the mend."

It struck me instantly that I had become so focused on a job I was now doing strictly for money, it was consuming my life; it had stopped being about personal fulfilment and had become about growing a bank account. I was no longer looking outward, my sight was firmly and specifically locked on to the work ahead of me. I had stopped doing much of what I enjoyed by deciding I was too busy to do something as simple as read a daily column - unrelated to my job - something I enjoyed very much.  It was eye-opening; was I so driven by the quest to get more and more money? Or had I allowed myself to get swallowed up by a demanding machine that required all I could proffer. For my peace of mind, I choose to believe it is the latter.

This morning I handed in my resignation for editorial responsibilities, asking to remain as a writer, to one more be moved into action by the call to tell a story.

Image credit: pixabay

And as for Liz, I imagine she is holding court from her hospital bed while staff attempt, in vain, to rein her in from doing twenty things at once. I wish her a speedy recovery and quick return to the hordes of us who hang on her every Tinseltown utterance, allowing us to live vicariously through her days.

15 December 2015

#MarcelTheCat has left the building

I met him just over four years ago in the back kennel area of my amazing vet at the time, Leslieville Animal Hospital (Toronto). I caught one look at those big, green, old-man eyes and I was done for.

His previous owner had brought him into the clinic to be 'put down,' despite being a perfectly healthy old man.  Do not ask me what I think of that person, but at least, they cared enough not to simply abandon him to the busy streets of the metropolis. The doctor at the clinic intervened and suddenly this old man, known as Buttons, had found reprieve from the grim reaper.

I was in for a regular check-up with my wee squee, my little dog Tallulah.
"Do you want to see the new lodger?"
"Of course!"
 I was hooked in one devious swish of his too-fluffy ginger tail.

Logistics finalized, he soon found himself (a former lone kitty) in a house complete with dogs and other feline friends, and a new name. Make no mistake, #MarcelTheCat was an asshole, in the best possible way.

If someone happened to be enjoying a good snooze on his chair, even if he had no desire to sit on his chair himself, he'd chase them off. He became Mamma's Boy #1 and all other kitties purred on their acquiescing way. He became king of his castle; cherished.

He was the center of my crazy universe and right now my life is a series of misshapen pieces that no longer fit. I'm working on it and I'll get there, but for now - I ask for time to grieve in private.  I'll rejoin the universe once I get the pieces back together.

Some cats are pets; some are roommates, but Marcel was a love affair from the start.

mon petit Marcel,
tu et mon esprit, tu est mon coeur, tu est mon etoile
au revoir

2 December 2015



“The Four Seasons? I’m impressed,” Lisse said, as Dickie Craig pulled out her chair. 
“I was afraid you weren’t gonna show,” he said, returning to his seat. 
“The food’s great here.” 
“ A toast then,” Dickie said, raising his glass. 
“What are we toasting?” Lisse asked. 

“Always a good thing to toast,” Lisse smiled, sipping her martini. “Hmm. Good stuff.” 
“Listen, I wanted to talk to you,” Dickie said. 
“Getting right to the point, I see? Jeez, Dickie, you never heard of foreplay?” 
“What? Oh, fuck. You kill me,” He laughed too loud, drawing unwanted stares from the other patrons. 
“Take it down a notch,” Lisse reprimanded as she placed the cloth napkin across her lap. 
“They don’t fucking care, so long as I tip big. And I do.” 
“Classy,” Lisse rolled her eyes.

“So...” Dickie started again.
“At least let me order,” Lisse deflected.

“I ordered already. Got you the fish. You chicks are always watching your weight.” 
“Such a gentleman.” She pulled an olive from the toothpick and popped it into her mouth. 
“Now, can I talk about why I brought you here?” Dickie asked. 
“I can’t think of a single reason to delay you,” Lisse smirked. 
“Great.” He drank his glass of champagne, and poured another before a waiter could get to the table to assist him. 
“They’re always sucking up to get a better tip,” Dickie declared, loud enough for most of the wait staff to overhear. 
“I’m not with him. I’m just here for the food,” she said, as their waiter served the steamed Hong Kong-style salmon with jasmine rice that Dickie had ordered for her. The waiter gave a knowing smile. He started to gather Dickie’s order from the busser, but Dickie reached past him and grabbed the plate himself. He dismissed the waiter with a wave of his hand. 
“So, I got this show going up. Next month. And I want you to headline.” 
“Ah, there it is.” 
“What the fuck is wrong with that. I’m gonna pay you. More than that half-breed.” 
“Insulting my friends won’t endear you to me.” 
“I work for K, Dickie. You know that. I don’t do outside shows.” 
“That’s the point. It’d be fucking awesome to have you do the show, because you don’t do outside gigs. It’d have real value.” 
“Well, thanks, but I’ll pass.” 
“Wait up. You don’t even know the show. It’s right up your alley.” 
“I don’t do outside shows. I’m under contract.” She picked at her salmon. 
“That contract ain’t worth the toilet paper it’s written on. And you know it.” 
“Okay then. I’m not interested.” 
“But it’s all comics. You know, like you.” 
Lisse stared at Dickie. “What do you mean, like me?” 
Lisse coughed as she tried to swallow a mouthful of her martini. 
“Oh come on, don’t get all politically correct here. This is me you’re talking to. And I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em. 
“Listen honey, I don’t care who you want to fuck, but if I can get a special show out of it I will. You know that. Thinking of calling it, Finger in the Dyke.” 
Dickie’s laughter boomed again. “Get it? D-y-k-e instead of D-i-k-e? Fucking brilliant if I do say so myself.” 
Lisse stared, unable to speak. 
“Didn’t know there was so many of yous around. Seems like the only funny women in the business are pussy-eaters.” Dickie shoved a forkful of pulled pork into his mouth. “Finger in the Dyke,” he muttered again, his mouth still full of food. 

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