At Home

Brown liquor and red wine don’t mix

Well, it was a beautiful holiday. The Beast dazzled me and my nephew Ben with his gingerbread cookie decorating skills, which included constructing a centaur. A centaur!

On the 24th, after the Beast produced a photo of Herman Melville to a barber on Roncesvalles and got his long, beautiful locks chopped off, we spent a lovely Christmas Eve with the Beast’s family and woke up Christmas morning in our own place.

Then we prepared Christmas dinner for my brother and his family and my mom, who took the bus to Toronto. The Beast handled roasting the chickens and making the gravy and I prepared all the side dishes and appetizers, which included crudités and this “Greek Goddess Dip” courtesy of the New York Times. It deserves its five-star rating from more than 1,000 readers.

Two miracles took place: my nephew actually ate dinner, including two pieces of broccoli, and the Beast made the best gravy I’ve ever consumed.

On Boxing Day, we drove my mom back to London and then spent a beautiful night at my dad’s place.

The next few days were filled with watching movies, which brought our talley of viewed films in 2018 to a whopping 121, and TV, the best of which was Detroiters. (This piece from Vulture does an excellent job of putting into words why it’s the best comedy on television since Broad City.) We also read books. I’d resolved to read 52 of them for every week in 2018. I made it to 51. I could’ve squeezed in that last read on Dec. 31 if I really wanted to but I’d already accepted failure. Plus, I was lured by potential end-of-year bargains. I asked the Beast if he wanted to join me at the Eaton Centre to find jogging pants, a backpack, and a pepper grinder. “I’m in the middle of a four-hour French film about a 19th century pantomime troupe,” he texted.

In another text sent an hour before our dinner reservation, he’d changed his attitude–and his career plans: “Can we take a selfie in front of the Toronto sign tonight? I want to start my influencing with a bang. Was thinking: ‘Another great year in the 6ix!’ for the caption.”

We continued our tradition of booking a table at Barberian’s Steak House for 6:00 p.m.. That way we can be home by 9 and, with any luck, be asleep by 11:30. Our friends Chris and Nat, who appreciated the ingenuity of this tradition, joined us. After a four-hour meal fuelled by excellent humour, conversation, cocktails and wine, we were home by 10:30 and I fell into a glorious sleep 15 minutes into Howard’s End. I presume that’s when the Beast used my phone to find his “twin” via the website Popsugar.

By the morning of 2019, we were filled with a great deal of peace, joy, and several cookies. The residue of our last fight in 2018 was far behind us, although you will not find me mixing brown liquor with red wine, which I blame the epic battle on, any time soon.

On Dec. 30, after consuming some Manhattan cocktails, dinner (was it tourtière?), and a bottle of this Nebbiolo, we went to bed. The Beast wanted to read. I put on one of those eye masks–it has red hearts and two little eyes on it that are closed. So cute!–to block the light from his bedside lamp. I asked him to read aloud. Had I known it was a passage from Michel Foucault, with whom I have a complicated relationship, I wouldn’t have.

The line was something about how it is difficult to ask questions about the hard sciences–think physics and organic chemistry–and their relation to power because it causes problems.

“What does even mean?” I asked.

“Well, it means what it’s saying.”

“Uh that is so dumb. This guy is so dumb. He’s never made sense. Not when I had to read him in grad school and not now.”

“Well, he’s just saying that…”

“Uh yeah I know. Which is my point. Organic chemistry DOESN’T RELATE TO POLITICS. Have you even studied Organic chemistry? I did and I fucking loved it man. And let me tell you, it’s politics-free. That’s the joy of fucking science man. You just do it.”

“Well there are situations when science, and I know you get passionate about this, can be political…”

“I studied this shit man and no it does not. He doesn’t even have a point AS USUAL.”

“You’re basically proving his point right now.”

I think that’s when I ripped my cute eye mask off and grabbed the duvet. “You’re not in trouble, ok? I am just going to sleep downstairs on the couch,” I said.

“Are you kidding right now?”

“No I am not. But this is not your fault. It’s fucking Foucault’s fault. And I just need to sleep this bullshit off. I love you. And good night.”

I crawled back into bed around four in the morning and wrapped my arms around the Beast. He pushed my leg away with his foot, which is when I knew everything would be ok because the action, more of a swat really, made me laugh. By morning, we were both laughing. And over coffee, I did the twin thing on Popsugar.

What are the chances that I’d match with two of the richest men in America who both want to launch commercial flights into space?

But I’m fine with looking like this dame.


5 replies »

  1. Just read your last post and there wasn’t a spot I could see to reply, so here I am again. Wishing you all the best on your new writing project. If it’s something you can share, please let me know. We don’t actually know each other, but I am a huge fan and will miss your posts. Maybe see you on the tube? It really is better when you’re there.

  2. Barberians, first went there in 1969 after seeing the play “Hair”. Then moved overseas, since back in Vancouver haven’t been again. But, my husband manages a dinner there every spring with fellow German academics. They absolutely love it. I am hoping to go this spring.

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