Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

When I was twenty years old

When I was twenty years old, I wrote a list in a purple notebook.  At the time, I was coming to the end of my first year living and working at a house for people with intellectual disabilities.  I had to decide whether or not to stay another year.  So I did like the Lululemon people and wrote down all my goals for my whole life.  That was seven years ago.  Almost half of my goals are very embarrassing.  Almost half of them came true.  And I never even put them on my fridge. 

Here’s the List:
Life Goals

never get fat, that is to say, always be physically fit.
                master French.

Learn a new language,

                                Either Spanish
                                Italian or

Properly perform 
headstands and

Develop flexibility.

     Live in Third World Country.
     Live in Europe.

Finish University Degree.

   Develop piano talent.

       Fall in Love.

Be immersed in a language Other Than My Own.
                Write Novels

                    And Short Stories.
                                ->Become Famous
                                        Doing This.

Not to worry about money but to live simply.
Not to worry.

   Be Close to Someone Who Dies.
          Fall in love.

              Not get cancer.
                Be Grateful for Life.
Always be helping children and/or adults with disabilities.

The End of the List. 

Maybe Lululemon would like to put my list on their store’s bags.  Maybe they wouldn’t.  I ended up staying at the house for people with disabilities for a second year.  Despite all the challenges, this probably turned out to be more important than all the goals on the list.  Even the last one.

The End.  

The Purple Notebook

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Thursday, 20 September 2012

Job Interviews, Plus Why I am Different from Margaret Atwood and What I Don't Gain from Humping Duvets

Two Job Interviews Today.

I am in the process of assembling a reasonable combination of hair, make-up and clothing that will convince my potential employers that over the past year I have worn Other Items besides sweaty, and often mildewed yoga clothes.  This endeavour is turning out to be a strenuous challenge.  I hate make-up.  It makes me feel totally incompetent.  And like a clown.
The good news is that when the interviewer asks me how I aspire to elevate myself in the future, I will not blow it like I did at Lululemon, admitting something embarrassing and fatal,  I'll just say: Eyeshadow.
Today, as I used my finger to rub luscious colour onto my eyelids, (I must have lost the brush the last time I wore make-up six months ago), I was taken back to a rainy Tuesday evening in Montreal involving eyeshadow, alcohol, Margaret Atwood and my lime-green turquoised daisied duvet. These days that duvet is collecting mildew in a trunk in the Boatman's basement. Despite this, my level of sobriety and sexual satisfaction have significantly increased.  And I live on a street where they never forget to pick up the recycling.
Which brings me to the Last Time I will EVER recycle the  Margaret Atwood Duvet Humping Eyeshadow story EVER again, UNLESS I am getting paid for it. Here we go:

Why I Am Different from Margaret Atwood and What I Don’t Gain from Humping Duvets
By Erica J. Schmidt   
Me and Marg
I have nothing to show for my evenings humping duvets.  Surely Margaret Atwood never spends her evenings humping duvets.  When such evenings occur, the nervous-void, anxious-boredom evenings, Margaret Atwood gathers her creativity together and amalgamates familiar objects and universally deep occurrences in order to produce stunning and poignant similes.  Her similes become poems.  Her poems are recited at shrines.  Margaret Atwood would not open a bottle of screw-top wine and roll up her lime green, turquoise-daisied duvet and hump it profusely so that she wouldn’t be too horny for her date with a man she has no desire of sleeping with.  She does not go on dates with men she doesn’t want to sleep with.  She does not live on streets where they forget to pick up the recycling.
I get up from my time with my lime green, turquoise-daisied duvet.  I decide that I am about as aroused as possible considering that it is not an extraordinary occasion and that I am not extraordinarily drunk.  Once, with Simon, I ejaculated liquid goo.  We were on a biodegradable blue yoga mat.  Margaret Atwood would not find this very interesting, but it’s the most aroused I’ve ever gotten.  And I was too drunk to remember.  Even though I ejaculated and started crying before he could ejaculate liquid goo all over me, afterwards Simon was more compelled to fuck me than I was compelled to fuck him.  We were supposed to write a bilingual epistolary novel together, but I told him I was too uninspired.  He told me that he didn’t want to hear from me ever again.
My cheek has pale pink foundation on and it appears redder than my cheek without make-up.  Once Simon wrote me a poem in French about kissing my ass cheeks.  And how I got his face cheeks wet like the morning.  Maybe one day I will be famous for my ass cheeks.  I wrote Simon a poem about plants and spines and wet roots.  It didn’t rhyme.  Simon didn’t like it very much.  I am preparing my eyelids with a four-part eye shadow paint-by-number kit by Maybelline.  Eye shadow for Dummies.  Something Margaret Atwood wouldn’t use.  There are four squares of different colours.  The medium purple square is labelled LID. Light pink is BROW. The CREASE square is dark glittered purple.  I have a crease and I am not yet twenty-five.  Margaret Atwood did not have creases at my age.  There’s another dark, brown square that reads CORNER.  I don’t bother with the dark brown.  If I screw up, I will look obscene.

My mascara comes in two parts.  The wand undoes at both ends.  Inside the end marked “step one” there is clumpy white liquid.  It is probably thicker than the wet morning goo I watered Simon with, but I don’t know because I never got to see it.  Step One looks more like white out.  Liquid paper.  Between Steps One and Two, I brush my teeth.  I regret this immediately, and pour myself another glass of wine.  Margaret Atwood would have more foresight.  Step Two is Pro Black.  I coat it over the white out. Steps One and Two are waterproof.  I will look somewhat groomed for at least seventy-two hours.  Or else I will look somewhat like a racoon.  I finish the wine, but do not brush my teeth.  Brushing so soon after drinking may cause enamel erosion.  My enamel already erodes in my dreams.  At night, my teeth collapse. 
I look in the mirror at my red and pink cheeks and multi-processed eyes.  Yes, I say. You’re good.  You’re drunk enough.
For Margaret Atwood, alcohol is not a remedy for disappointment.  Or a pre-buffer for future disappointments.  It doesn’t matter for me if my date and the music and the beer are lame, because I’m drunk.  It doesn’t matter for Margaret Atwood, because she’s Margaret Atwood.
I am reading Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood. Once I saw Margaret Atwood, I tell my date.  Twice, actually.  She’s witty.  Intelligent.  Remarkable.
You’re that smart, too, he assures me.  When I look at him, my vagina stays dry.
He says that smoking gives him what I seem to have naturally.  An ease of expression.  A grace of movement.  I feel guilty because I had to drink three glasses of wine before I met with him.

It’s over.  I can have cereal, then go to bed.  Margaret Atwood would have washed her face before going to bed.  She would have flossed and brushed her teeth.  I do none of these things. I insert my night guard on top of my decaying enamel.

I am not compelled to roll up my futon and hump it.  I fall asleep quickly.  I hope that I won’t smell like beer at yoga tomorrow morning.

The End.

This is the lime-green turquoise-daisied duvet. After three years in the basement, the mildew took over. We put it on the curb. Rest in peace, duvet.

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Monday, 17 September 2012


In Niagara Falls, Ontario,  there is a museum full of wax statues of dead people.  My parents took me and my sister there during spring break when I was five.  Some of the dead people had suffered horrific and violent deaths which were depicted in elaborate dioramas:  prisoners of war with their heads at the guillotine, their captors holding axes, frozen in mid-air, right above their necks; tortured artists hanging by nooses; soon-to-be assassinated politicians at gunpoint.  My sister, nine years old at the time, was rightly terrified.  I however, remained stoic and brave.  Until we passed by the glass cage of a wax man named Terry Fox. 
Terry Fox at the Wax Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario 

Terry Fox was a young man with brown curly hair, focused eyes and a mouth that gaped open.  He wore dark coloured shorts, and a white T.shirt, with a red jacket on top.  Behind him was a Canadian flag.  His face looked pale, stunned and half-dead, but at five years old, I didn't know what a dead person looked like so this didn't really concern me.  The Terrifying and Traumatic part was that in contrast to the rest of Terry’s wax skin-coloured body, his left leg, from the top of his thigh and down, was made out of wood. I froze and stared.
“What happened to his leg?” I asked. 
My parents told me the story all about the Canadian hero who had lost his leg due a disease called CANCER.  To try and raise money to find a cure for this disease, he’d decided to run 8000 km (5000 miles) across Canada, completing a whole marathon distance every single day.
I wasn’t very interested in Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.  I was consumed by the word CANCER.
“Canker?” I said, still staring at Terry’s leg.  I had cankers on the insides of my cheeks from biting down my skin to hard and drinking too much orange juice.  Maybe it was related, an early stage in the journey towards losing my leg.
“Can Sir,” my sister corrected me.  I did not feel consoled.
After the wax museum, we went to a film about the legend and mysteries of Niagara Falls.  For awhile, a number people had thought it would be a good idea to get in a barrel and roll down the Falls which were 173 feet high.  I hardly paid any attention.
 Niagara Falls, one of the world's great wonders. Some people roll down in barrels with their cats.
One woman went down in a barrel with her kittens.  When they opened the barrel, I’m pretty sure the woman was dead.  And her kittens had turned from black to white.  

I wasn’t scared or surprised.  I was thinking of Terry Fox’s wooden leg.  And cancer. 

When we got home, my sister wrote a speech about Niagara Falls, and the people who rolled down it in barrels and all the places there were to see around it.  I think she won second-place in a public speaking contest.

I made my mother take me to the library and find all the movies and books that there were about Terry Fox.  She called the Canadian Cancer Society who sent me a big package in the mail.  Now I had a big folder full of pamphlets and fact sheets all about cancer, and about Terry Fox.

I remember sitting on my couch watching the video from the library.  When Terry started his run across Canada, his cancer was gone, but so was his leg. He ran by placing his right artificial leg on the ground, drawing it back with what was left of his right thigh, and then crashing forwards on to his left leg which he hopped onto twice before landing again on his left.  Double-hop, step, double-hop, step.  It looked excruciating.  Terry started his run in Newfoundland. As he hobbled across the country, people met him at the sides of the road, handing him money. 
Maybe this would be a happy story, I thought from my couch. Then I remembered Terry’s statue in the wax museum.  I looked down at my own five-year-old leg and imagined it disappearing, ending just below my hip and then attached to a long foreign contraption that ended with my running shoe.  I kept worrying about this for the rest of my life.

The film continued. Terry hobbled down to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec.  Every single day, he covered a marathon distance-26 miles, or 42 km.  He arrived in Ottawa on Canada Day where there was a huge celebration in his honour.  His goal was to raise at least $1 for each of Canada’s 24 million people.  Big corporations started to sponsor him, and things were going very well.

Then Terry got tired.  Northern Ontario is lined with hills and rocks and trees, and a very cold lake called Lake Superior.  It’s pretty at first, but then the roads become monotonous and endless.  Watching Terry run past the trees on the tv screen, I could tell that he was wearing out.  His face was pale and he kept having coughing fits.  Just outside of a city called Thunder Bay, Terry had a long, drawn out coughing fit, and he bent over clenching his chest.  An ambulance came. 

Later they showed Terry on the road, still wearing his t. Shirt with the weird broken up Canadian flag on it.  A bunch of microphones were held up to Terry’s face.  Terry looked clammy, exhausted and sad.  After running 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and raising 1.7 million dollars for cancer research, he had to stop his marathon of hope.
“The cancer has spread to my lungs,” he said, his voice cracking.  I leaned forwards on the couch, clenched my jaw, and felt nauseous.
(CBC footage: the end of Terry's run. Not available on Youtube. Alas.)

“Are you okay sweetie?”  my mother asked.
“I think it’s the cancer,” I said to her.  Terry Fox died less than a year after he began his run across Canada.  He is one of those heroes you are not allowed to insult.  Saying that Terry Fox was a quitter is kind of like saying that Ghandi was an asshole. You should never say either of these things. Terry Fox and Ghandi were both great.
Since Terry Fox’s death, every year around this time in September, close to a million people all over the world participate in what’s called “The Terry Fox Run.”  They run or walk as far as they can with as many legs as they have, raising money for cancer research in honour of Terry.  I’ve participated in this run or walk several times, grateful for Terry’s inspiration and for the fact that I still possess both of my legs.  For now.
Our bodies are not like a worm’s.  Everyone knows this.  I often dream that my arms or my legs fall off.  Because I have the same cancer as Terry Fox, or because of diabetes, or because of some terrible accident.  In my dreams, I wish desperately that my arms and my legs will grow back, but I know that they won’t.  I also know that I won’t be able to be as brave and heroic as Terry Fox.  I will be scared, and sad and ashamed. 
Then I wake up, and none of this matters.  All of my arms and legs are there.  I poke around the edges of my knees, looking for bumps. 
“Is that a tumour?” I ask the Boatman.  The Boatman keeps sleeping.  I will have to figure out the answer for myself.  Probably the bump is just the end of my thigh bone.  Probably I am safe.
No one is going to build a wax statue of me.  Not anytime soon. I hope.

The End.

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Mother's Bunion

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

My Eternal Tits

I have no boobs or retail experience, and I just dropped off my resumé at a Bra Fitting store.  This is probably a lost cause, but it does provide an excellent segue into the excellent story about my excellent tits. 

My Small Breasts used to be my Designated Issue.  Designated Issues are large or small matters whose resolution you designate to be the cure of your existence. 

For example, I used to think that my life would be considerably more manageable if I found an effective eradication of Pubic Hair that wasn’t too expensive and didn’t leave hideous red welts in awkward places around my crotch. 

I had a similar attitude about getting bigger boobs.  By the time I was thirteen, my Small Breasts became an immense concern of mine, accompanied with considerable dangers.  The first main danger was that if you are afflicted with a tiny flat rack, your stomach could only get to be a certain size before it started to stick out further than your boobs.  My fourteen-year-old mind, feared that this would be both hideous and tragic.   Actually, I’m pretty sure this fear began as early as age nine.  I remember taking on an unreasonable regimen of  crunches and abdominal exercises and an unreasonably young age.  When I turned thirteen and started lifting weights with the swim team, I refused to do the bench press, convinced that it would stunt my growth.  Well, apparently there was not much growth to stunt.  Despite refraining from the bench press, my boobs never expanded to fill more than a junior sized bra, available at LaSenza girl.
These are not my boobs. Mine are smaller.
Alas.  Although my abdomen never ended up protruding beyond my tiny tits, the terror that one day it would prevailed.  So too did my terror of a second breast-related danger.  This one had to do with what I call the “bum-to-breast ratio.”  According to my pubescent theory, the size of your butt had to be intimately in harmony with the size of your boobs.  Thus, if you butt grew, then your boobs needed to grow too.  In contrast, if your boobs failed to blossom, then your butt had best remain the same size.  I think it was around my development of this theory that I began squeezing my ass compulsively and repeatedly wherever I went.  At school, in the movie theatre, and during band practice.  Figured it burned extra calories and provided damage control for my ratio.  Looking back years later, I wouldn’t recommend this.  A tight ass is hard thing to cure and I’m not sure my ratio ever benefited much from the ass-clenching...

Still, I remained faithful to my ass-clenching and abdominal crunching for a number of years. Just shy of eighteen, and armed with Baby LaSenza padded bras, I entered first-year university in Montréal.  I’d barely had a boyfriend since kindergarten, and I felt certain that my tits were the reason.  One day, at a residence party, in a moment of uncharacteristic oversharing, I bemoaned my sad fate to the girl beside me.  She was relatively well-endowed, with an excellent bum-to-breast ratio. 

“Oh don’t worry,” she reassured me.  “My boobs used to be small too.  I just went up two cup sizes.”

I looked at her dubiously.  “What’s your secret?” I asked. 

Generously, she revealed it.  Five cups of 2% milk.  Every day.  More than a bag of that shit.

Well folks, I went for it, trudging to the grocery store every two and half days to buy four litre bags of the fatty white liquid.  I guzzled a hefty glass at every meal and snack.  All the liquid was terrible for my weird rumination syndrome eating disorder, which involved stomach contents travelling up and down my esophagus for up to an hour after I ate.  Still, I rarely fully expelled anything, and so I figured all of the two-percent goodness was making it into my boobs. 

A couple months later, it still wasn’t time to throw away my Baby LaSenza Bras.  All my ratios were the same size, but for some reason, I was so tired, I could hardly function.  Although I mostly slept a solid eight hours at night, I would regularly fall asleep in the afternoon, wake two hours later and wonder what happened.  I was less active than I’d been in my whole life, and ten times more tired. 
I went to the doctor who ordered a blood test.  She called me back, surprised I was able to pick up the phone.  Minimum iron levels for women are supposedly 12.0.  14.0 is better.  My hemoglobin was at 6.  I was severely anemic.  The doctor suggested I go to a dietician.  I showed the dietician what I was eating. 

“Why so much dairy?” she asked.

“To make my boobs grow,” I replied with great conviction.

I guess that the calcium in dairy can bind with something or other and prevent your body from  absorbing iron.  And the only way I could get my boobs to grow would be to a considerable amount of weight everywhere, which would put all my ratios at risk. 

I was left with no option but to un-designate the issue.  I surrendered.   My boobs were my boobs.

For a couple more years, I continued to wear my padded Baby LaSenza Bras, and by my some miracle, I ended up with my first boyfriend.  He called my boobs “very nice”  thoroughly agreeing with his grandfather who had always claimed that what mattered was shape, and not size.  God bless grandfathers.  Plus he said that it was unlikely that my boobs would ever sag.  I would defy gravity forever. 

Essentially, my tits were eternal.

I was twenty when I left my last padded Baby LaSenza Bra at the apartment of a man named Charlie.  (Don’t worry, mom, I would never ever have sex with a stranger.)  But the bra was removed and Charlie had the chance to say, “You have beautiful breasts.”  
34 F. Not for me.
The bra I'd worn that night had cost 50 bucks.  It had “hydralife insertions,” and was a slightly paler shade of turquoise than the margueritas I’d consumed that evening at the party where Charlie and I were acquainted. 

I escaped Charlie's apartment the next morning without saying good-bye, and without the bra.  I never went back for it.  I didn’t need it anymore. Apparently all you need is a handful. 

The End.

Perhaps now my Designated Issue is my pelvis: Twitter @mypelvicfloor!
And the fact that I want one million facebook Fans:  Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook.
And that I want one million people to buy my book. 
Peanut Butter, Pubic Hair
Keira Knightley's High Vagina
What the fuck should I do with my life, Part Two

Monday, 10 September 2012

Family Visits and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Family visits destroy my creativity, and exacerbate my Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Here are some Narcissistic photos of me, my sister and my mother.  The Boatman and the Big Black Dog also make appearances.  How could I leave them out?  Especially the Big Black Dog.  He is an incredibly talented narcissist. 

Me and my narcissistic dog.

Me, Sister, Mother

Same as above. Sister and Mother have more creative faces than I do. Recall that they destroyed my creativity during their visit. I forgive them.

At the Beach. Sister displays impressive pipes. The day before this photo was taken, she attended my Core Strength Yoga Class. The core strength radiated to her biceps. I must be an extremely effective yoga teacher.

Take Two, At the Beach. Sister throws her head back and the result is quite flattering.

Sister and Boatman were the first ones in the water. They celebrate their victories with Humility and Gratitude.

Mother and I did not win. We are baffled with Defeat.

The Icy Water's Aftermath. 

 Mother. Quite good-looking.

 Boatman plays the Cozy Hero.

Sister and I pose gracefully by a boat.

Sister graces the grocery store parking lot with her Salmon on Salmon attire.  Note the salmon knapsack as well.  And the toe point.

(Doesn't this remind you of the Boatman's Friend "Salmon Pants."  His name used to be Radislov, and he always wore salmon pants.  Then he went to an art show where the walls were  salmon and alas, his legs disappeared.  Learn all about  Mr. Salmon Pants and more at the Boatman's website

Now, back to being narcissistic.


Me and Big Black Dog, following a Mysterious Space.
Like me, the Big Black Dog misses mother and sister now that they are gone.  Unlike me, this morning the Big Black Dog had hemorrhoids and diarrhea.  Both of those words are very difficult to spell.  They contain more r's than you might think.
Curious, isn't it?
I think this is the end of my prolific display of narcissism.

I hope that my creativity returns soon.
The End.

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Saturday, 1 September 2012

Yoga for Core Strength

Some yoga classes are total nightmares.  Last night in my dream I was teaching “Yoga for Core Strength” at the local studio.  There were almost twenty people there.  We kept trying to set up but a bunch of chairs and couches would keep appearing and getting in the way.  I would get everyone to help me move them and then lo and behold, the chairs and the couches would emerge again.  Finally a big enough space cleared out and the mysterious chairs and couches relented into a faraway void.  I tried to get everyone to arrange themselves in a semi-circle except it didn’t work because they wouldn’t stop talking.  They were waving their arms around in circles and yelling at each other and laughing.

“Everyone, get down on your hands and knees,” I hollered.  Finally they did, but some of them turned themselves backwards so that their butts were in my face.  I decided to go on with the class anyways.  Although I am an Ashtanga Fundamentalist, I had prepared a non-ashtanga fundamentalist superior and excellent warm-up sequence.
Actually, I had stolen it from my Ashtanga Heroine Kino MacGregor’s youtube clip. This is it.

The first step was getting everyone into a tabletop position and making sure they established a firm and solid foundation. 

“Press into your knuckles,” I called out to the crowd of faces and asses.  “Foundation!  Knuckles, fingertips, heel of the hand.”  I have heard Kino MacGregor call out similar commands, and I felt good about what I was saying.  Then I noticed that one girl didn’t have any knuckles.  She didn’t even have hands.  In fact, she didn’t have forearms either.  Or elbows.  Her arms ended just above her elbows.  I crawled over to her to see if maybe I could get her to lean forwards and connect the ends of her arms onto the floor.  If that didn’t work, maybe I could look for blocks or a small bench.  Despite being an Ashtanga Fundamentalist, I was willing and prepared to make the practice accessible to my student with no arms.  When I got to her, I would tell her to protract her shoulders, draw her ribs in, suck in the region below her navel, keep her pelvis elevated.  The hell with her missing arms.  Everyone can take practice!  Then I got closer and I saw that the space between her ribs and her pelvis was empty.  She was missing at least ten ribs, and all of her rectus and transverse abdominals.  Probably a spleen, pancreas, appendix, and various intestines too. 
Terrified, I woke up next to the Boatman, feeling entirely incompetent about the “Core Strength Yoga” class I will now be teaching on Wednesday afternoons. 

This morning, despite it being Saturday, and despite me being an Ashtanga Fundamentalist, I spent an hour and a half doing all the Kino Yoga core strength exercises and sequences I could think of without dying.  I almost puked on five occasions.  It was absolutely horrendous.

Hope to see you at Core Strength Yoga next Wednesday at 4:45.
Remember that tomorrow is the Second Annual International Mammal Day.  To celebrate, the Boatman and I will be doing International Mammal Things like eating and drinking snacks and licking each other and ourselves, and clipping the hedge.


Me and the Hedgeclipper on International Mammal day.
Probably everyone is tired of this photo of me clipping the hedge, but everyone can rejoice because tomorrow we will take our second annual photo.  Stay tuned. 

You can celebrate International Mammal Day from anywhere in the world and I urge you to do so.  If you have a hedge to clip, you can warm up with core strength exercises, like the ones above, or the ones below.

Kino rocking core strength in Navasana + a variation.

If you need more motivation, I recommend buying the shorts:

Now it is 2016. Kino has moved on to loud exciting tights.
Sometimes buying things is good for core strength.  And sometimes it isn't.
Good luck with your hedge!
The End.
The Power of my Pelvis:  @mypelvicfloor
My Source of Self-Esteem and Core Strength:  Likes on Facebook
My Source of Sadness and Grief:  Nobody has bought my self-help book for centuries.