A/S/L

My best friend Katie and I used to love going into chatrooms back when those were all the rage. It was our third favorite winter pastime, right after hanging out in the hot tub drinking hot chocolate and playing the Nintendo 64.

We weren’t interested in the least in actually chatting about anything. Our sole intent was to see how quickly we could get one of the guys in any given room to ask us to cyber with them.

Granted, most of the time it wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of challenges. Sometimes all it took was answering “Female” to the “S” in “A/S/L?” and they were already tripping into a private room with their pants around their ankles.

Beneath this pillow lies the keyboard to my release.

Not to mention our screen name of choice, “Icegirl”, would inevitably provoke at least one instance of, “Hey Icegirl, I bet I can warm you up!” per session without fail.

But the more gentlemanly types, the ones who at least pretended not to have virtual booty on the brain – though we all of us knew better – provided much better sport. We would choose our mark carefully and then go to work batting him around like a cat playing with a stunned mouse. Flirt. Demur. Lead on. Rebuff. Pout. Forgive. Laugh.

Eventually either our prey’s temper or libido would win out. We were pleased with either outcome. Angry accusations that we were a “cold bitch” were met with the scornful response, “Well, what did you expect from someone called Icegirl?” Invitations to cyber resulted in our untimely “accidental” disappearance offline followed by peals of laughter, because clearly we were terrible people.

That was twenty years ago. It’s been a long time since I’ve thought any kind of “games” of that sort were fun. Truthfully, I can’t for the life of me understand why we thought being such little dipshits was so entertaining. And yet, for some reason, I still think back on those chilly winter evenings and chuckle at my time as half an Icegirl.

Memory is a strange thing.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The plate-shaped void in my soul.

I am in mourning for a plate.

That’s not a metaphor. I am genuinely grieving the loss of a dinner plate.

This isn’t a fresh grief, this hurt has spanned decades. And although I know it’s just a piece of dinnerware, honestly, I don’t expect to ever fully recover.

It was a damn fine plate.

I blame my childhood (don’t I always?). See, when I was a kid, and we were still living in the house I grew up in, we had this beautiful set of (now-)retro stoneware. Hued in a burnished hybrid of dark olive green and storm cloud grey tones, the plates and mugs had an appearance and texture similar to polished soapstone that I just couldn’t get enough of.

The mugs were otherwise unadorned. Which was fine. They were sturdy and had nice lines to them and they were everything a good mug should be. But the plates were patterned, a whorl of teardrop shapes in marbled blue-green glaze radiating out from the center, and I thought this was just about the most beautiful thing ever.  The overall visual effect of the design was like looking down at a deconstructed dahlia that had died of joy after soaking up the entirety of the Caribbean sea.

Photo © Glass Half Delicious 2014

Anyone else hear Enya singing?  Photo © Glass Half Delicious 2014

I could have stared at those plates for hours, tracing the designs. That’s what happens when you’re an only child and have to make your own fun.

Sadly, despite my practically hypnotic attraction to the teardrop plates, my parents favored our lighter Corelle dishes (in the wildly underwhelming Butterfly Gold and Indian Summer designs, no less) almost exclusively over the heavier stoneware for everyday use.

Almost.

The mugs came out of the cupboard for two main purposes: colds and cooking. At some point in time it was universally agreed that their pleasant texture made them the perfect vehicle for serving hot chicken broth to a sniffly member of the household, and it ruined me for all other soup vessels. I can’t explain it but I swear soup never tasted so good as when it was slurped from one of those goddamn mugs. Mug magic, people. It’s real.

And when they weren’t on germ-fighting duty, the mugs were used as a handy dandy cup measure for baking… and pancake making.

Oh, the pancakes of my youth! They were many. On school days I could never seem to manage to choke down more than a glass of milk before heading out the door, but on weekends I was a breakfast devotee, and pancakes were always my #1 request. Cereal and scrambled eggs had their moments, but as far as I was concerned,  Aunt Jemima might as well have been God.

Oh sweet goddess of all, lend me thy syrup.

Oh sweet Lady of all things fluffy and golden, lend unto me this day thy Butter Lite.

So more often than not, I’d spend my Sunday mornings watching with rapt attention as Mom or Dad pulled the giant box of buttermilk pancake mix out of the pantry and got cracking. But not before putting the stoneware plates in the oven to warm, so the flapjacks piled on them would stay toasty.

Pancakes! And on my favorite plates!? All was well with the world.

Then we moved.

I was fifteen and in the middle of a deep depression when they bought the new house. I doubt I would have noticed if an asteroid hit me, I was so out of touch with everything going on around me. I don’t even remember packing. All I know is one day I lived in one house, and the next day we drove to another and I lived there instead.

So it was a while before I noticed that my beloved plates were gone.

I never asked what happened to them – it wouldn’t have made them magically reappear or anything – but they were definitely gone, either thrown out or given away. I hope it wasn’t the former. I do know that at least one of the cups survived; my parents use it for scooping dog food now. A demotion from its soup and pancake days, perhaps,  but at least I can rest assured that it’s not lying in sad shards somewhere.

But my plates…I have never found their equal. Even eBay and Etsy have failed me in that pursuit. Even Google can’t find me a picture of them, just to let me gaze upon their loveliness one last time.

And every time I think I might have finally moved on with my life, without fail I’ll come across a recipe that calls for keeping a plate warm and ready in the oven, and the feels come flooding right back.

CURSE YOU, CHURRO RECIPE! WHY DIDN’T YOU COME WITH A TRIGGER WARNING?

I know have to accept that they’re gone.

But they will never be forgotten.

Godspeed, beautiful plates, wherever you are.


Anything mundane that you miss irrationally? Come cry on my shoulder, I’ll understand.

The sound of silence.

My dad snores loud enough to wake the dead. Possibly literally. He may very well be the reason zombies are a thing, though nothing’s been conclusively proven.

On childhood camping trips with my family, his lawnmower-like respirations were further amplified, echoing recursively inside the RV as though we were overnighting with an army of determined groundskeepers on an endless field of uncut grass.

My husband grew up with a younger brother. For the sake of his sanity, he quickly learned to sleep through anything.

I was an only child. I did not have that advantage.

My mother had long ago turned to ear plugs and white noise to try to drown out her husband’s schnozz thunder. During our road trip forays down coastlines and through national parks in the giant metal sausage we called a recreational vehicle, I would inevitably beg a spare pair of ear plugs off her after a handful of sleepless nights. She would laugh at the request, reminding me that my few weeks of suffering in a rumbling tin can were peanuts compared to what she had to put up with year-round, but she always took pity on me in the end.

I don’t know why I bothered, though, because just as inevitably, they wouldn’t work.

Most modern ear plugs are shaped, logically, like an ear canal. The ones my mother bought in bulk looked more like obese miniature marshmallows.

Mini marshmallows are not generally known for their soundproofing capabilities. I don’t know what the noise reduction rating was on my mother’s preferred spongy yellow ear confections, but it was never enough to fully mute the sound of my father trying to inhale the curtains.

To make matters worse, for all the squishing and coaxing and maneuvering it took to get them situated just right, I would get only one, maybe two decent hours of sleep before my ears would manage to strategically dislodge them.

I would wake suddenly, bleary-eyed and disoriented, thinking for all the world that I had somehow managed to sleepwalk into an active logging site, and terrified that someone might yell “Timmmberrrrrrr!” at any moment.

Then I would realize it was just the snore factory on the opposite bunk, singing the song of his people.

I would only ever find one of the escaped ear plugs. Without fail the other member of the pair had either snuck out quietly in the night, thumbed a ride, and was halfway to Mexico, or else just spontaneously vaporized out of sheer stress. I hope those vanished plugs found peace, wherever they went, because I sure as hell didn’t.

The year my parents bought me a Sony Walkman, I gave up on the whole ear plug idea for good, because headphones stayed put better and staticky radio was a lot easier to fall asleep to than a large man’s uvular warblings.

Fast forward a couple of decades.

I bought them on a whim. A 12-pack of logically-shaped, attractively colored ear plugs that actually looked capable of fitting in a human ear without the use of brute force and thinly veiled threats.

What the hell, I thought, maybe I actually might get some sleep on that 10 hour flight to Japan.

My husband and I will be jetting off to the land of sushi and weird-flavored KitKats for a long-awaited vacation in the not-so-distant future. By airline law, there will be at least one crying baby on the plane, three passengers with persistent phlegmy coughs which they will make no effort to suppress, a chronic sneezer in the seat directly behind mine, and a chatty couple in the middle of the row who want to be friends with everyone whether everyone likes it or not.

And as I have never successfully slept on a plane while wearing headphones, I figured giving ear plugs another shot couldn’t hurt.

So I took them home, tossed the package on the dresser next to my travel pillow and other carry-on staples I’ve begun stockpiling like a squirrel, and promptly forgot about them.

Then Canadian Thanksgiving happened.

Look, I don’t want to name names or point fingers, but if certain persons decide to invite company over for a holiday weekend involving large number of people in a small space, generally it’s polite to inform your guests that you’ve recently contracted the plague before they’ve taken an overpriced ferry across the Strait of Georgia to come stay with you. Just sayin’.

Everyone, and I mean everyone was sick with the flu when we arrived. It was Thanksgiving at the Virus Factory. Dinner at Typhoid Mary’s. Weekend with the Walking Dead. Apparently they were somehow able to prepare a full turkey feast, but not capable of picking up a phone to let us know that maybe we shouldn’t come over because HYGIENE.

Long story short, giving thanks gave us germs. Everyone who wasn’t already sick when they arrived damn sure was by the time they left.

I got off lucky, landing myself a nagging case of the sniffles and the occasional coughing fit.

Nutty Hubby was not so fortunate. By the time we hopped back on the ferry home, he was feverish and his nose was running like a faucet. His coughs rattled the tempered glass windows.

And that night, the snores began. The obstreperous nocturne of the stuffy-nosed infirm. The Ghost of Flu Season Present, come to haunt me.

It’s not his fault. He’s sick. He can’t help it. I will remain calm. I will remain rational. I will not smother my husband with my pillow. I will not smother my husband with my pillow…

I was one more tortured rumble away from moving to the living room couch when I remembered the ear plugs on the dresser. Why not, I thought. Let’s take ’em for a test drive.

Oh. My. God.

I didn’t even need to get the shit kicked out of me first.

Friends, ear plugs have come a long way. I don’t know what took me so long to give them a second chance, but I never want to take those beautiful pastel bastards out of my ears again as long as I live.

No snores disturb my slumber.

No clunking footsteps or furniture scraping on upstairs floorboards can jolt me back to alertness just as I’m finally starting to doze off.

No sound can touch me, save for the beating of my own heart. It’s like being underwater in a cool, still lake.

How beautiful, the sound of silence.

So I’m more excited than ever for the flight to Japan.  Just lemme at that motherfucking plane. I’m pumped. I’m set. I’m…pretty much deaf, really.

DO YOUR WORST, CRYING BABY.

Nutty and the Russians.

Now that I’ve finally wrapped up the devious ditching of my maidenhead, it’s time to move on to another reader-suggested subject: booze.

Which is perfect, because writing about myself having sex for the first time was weird and I could use a drink.

Wrote Christopher of Freethinkers Anonymous, “Since Gina stole my sex idea and since you suggested drinking enough rum to kill Captain Jack Sparrow (which would be all of it) I’m going to ask about the first time you got drunk. Hopefully that won’t overlap with anything to do with sex. Or maybe if it did it was a good thing. Anyway I’m hoping it was a good experience, or at least a funny one.”

Well now, let’s see.

✘  Sex – nope.
✓  Good experience – yep.
  Funny experience – well…I thought (and still think) it was hilarious. Certain owners of a certain apartment building might have had a differing opinion. But we’ll get to that.

Here, hold my beer.

Continue reading

The V card trick: Part II

The story continues. Start here if you missed Part I.


While my dear, predictable gossip of a best friend Katie was busy spilling the beans about my alleged deflowering to anyone who cared to listen, I just so happened to reconnect with an acquaintance from the boys’ school up the road. These days I have many nicknames for him, but for the time being we’ll just call him The Spaniard. He was good-looking, available, and most importantly, interested.

Continue reading