Have you ever received an email, a call, a text or a tweet from an ex-lover that you
haven’t heard from in decades?
I did and it prepared me for a moment of monumental misery down memory lane. Once the shock factor eased to a lesser intensity, I couldn’t help but wonder why in God’s country this man would reach out to me almost a quarter of a century later.
It’s an unbelievable soap opera that dates back to 1987. It was the debut of acid-washed denim jeans. Trendy short skirts and cinched waists taxied down designer runways. American Idol judge Steven Tyler was banging out his Aerosmith chart topper Dude (Looks Like A Lady); while British gay sensation George Michael orgasmed to the tune, “I Want Your Sex”.
In Canada, it was a historical year on record as the Northwest Territories changed its name to Iqaluit. The Simpsons first appeared as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, and it was the year that famed Elizabeth Ann Smart was born.
Flashes of 1987 popped in my head because that was the year I met an aspiring, legal eagle fresh out of Osgoode Hall and onto making a name for himself in the area of family law and divorce court. His name? Well - let's just call him Casey.
He had an insatiable appetite for law journals, pretty blondes, hot cars and even hotter sex. Did I forget to mention Casey was also a law-abiding womanizer and self-proclaimed cheat?
We met, by chance while I was employed as a public figure. The attraction was instantaneous. I – an educated, aspiring young writer. He – a well-heeled (father was a doctor) ambitious, young man balancing the scales of justice on his shoulders and in between his thighs.
But unlike those American Dukes of Divorce - Raoul Felder (Rudy Giuliani), Robert Stephan Cohen (Christie Brinkley’s lawyer) and Neal Hersch (Brad Pitt) - who went for the proverbial jugular in divorce court, Casey juggled more than one woman at a time – secretly, cunningly and while dating me!
Fresh out of divorce and blinded by love, I was clueless to his acts of infidelity. And I was naïve to a fault. I fell for the long-stemmed tea roses, the Sunday church services we attended, and the succulent scent of his Giorgio Armani cologne.
One summer, Casey and I vacationed to Manitoba’s largest city where he introduced me to his mother and the rest of the doctors and dentists in his Prairie family. He was as smooth as peanut butter and canola.
The family thought he was bringing his girl “home to mother” for her stamp of approval. Could it be? Shucks…it must be love, as I envisioned walking down the aisle with Casey. But I was gravely mistaken.
The frequency of our dinner dates and Sunday mass slowly diminished. Then one day he told me he had a confession to make because he couldn’t live with himself anymore. Obviously, I was alarmed. What could it be? Was he losing interest? Was I about to be dumped?
One evening after Casey left the halls of justice, he picked me up in his silver-chromed Audi and we drove to an Italian bistro. While I sat nervously across from him – palms sweaty – Casey never seemed under distress. Savouring my Fettuccine Alfredo in creamy, white wine sauce, he dropped the break-up bomb. But with a stomach-churning twist!
“I’ve been seeing someone else,” Ineda, he disclosed calmly and collectively, adding, “And she’s pregnant”. “WHAT?” I roared, choking on that cream sauce. “Who is she?” “How could this have happened?” “What were you thinking?” I shouted.
Mortified, I was oblivious to his charlatan ways. All along, Casey had lured me in like fresh bait on a hook. “But I’m not in love with her Ineda,” he declared, gazing at me with those big and blue puppy-dog eyes.
Like a juicy, soap right out of The Young & The Restless, he knocked-up a secretary in his law firm! I guess things really must have heated up by the water cooler. Could you imagine the gossip floating around that law office? If only I was a fly on a wall!
Sadly and stupid, I continued to see Casey while he emotionally-supported this unattractive secretary with child. For some odd reason I felt sorry for him, while his magnetism and affections pulled me in deeper and deeper. He had me at, “but I need to see her through this until the baby is born Ineda.”
Blinded by infatuation, I fell for it – hook, line and sinker! My maternal instincts began to coddle him with comfort and emotional support. I was oblivious to the fact that this low-lying, blood-sucking parasite of an attorney was a cheat, a liar and up to no good. He led me to believe that there still could be a future between us - without the legal secretary and her protruding belly. So when he asked that I support him while he revealed the truth to his parents, I agreed like Tammy Wynette in “Stand By Your Man!”
If only you could have been there. His mother – a doctor’s wife– beautiful, classy, and well-appointed – flew in from The Peg to hear her son’s master-minded confession. We dined in that Italian bistro again. Mrs. C sat across the table from us without a Chianti clue what was going on. As Casey poured us a second glass of vino, he started to tremble. “Mom, he said putting down the bottle, “I have something important to tell you,” he said sheepishly.
“What is it Casey,” she said, recognizing her son losing his lawful composure. “Mom, I don’t know where to begin, so let me just tell you the truth.” As the words to Paul Anka’s You're Having My Baby’ danced in my head, he shouted, “You’re going to be a grandmother!”
Casey’s Mom dropped her fork into her plate of seafood linguine and leaned over to give me a great big pregnant hug. “No,” Mrs. C, I shrugged. “It isn’t me. I’m not the one who’s with child. Go on Casey. You explain it to your mother.”
As the not-so-proud papa explained how he had a fling with one of the office secretaries, I watched his Mom shake her colour-treated brunette locks in disbelief. “I thought it was you Ineda," she said with disappointment.
The rest of that dark, northwestern night is a bit of a baby bumpy blur to me. But what I can remember is that Casey kept watch over the knocked-up secretary until her third trimester and onto the birth of their pint-sized daughter.
I spent a few weeks in solace because of that dagger to the heart. I was used, abused and deceived by that blood-sucking parasite of a lawyer. And I was angry at myself for allowing it to happen.
But it made me stronger.
So when I received a message from him yesterday on one of those online business networking sites asking whether I’d like to connect, I was partially-paralyzed from the mouse down.
“Why in tarnation would this scum of the Earth want to stay connected after all those years?" He also had the audacity to make a public appearance at my Father’s wake a few years ago. I barely spoke to him then. So why would I want to speak to him now?
And as the stomach turns, he felt compelled to marry the pregnant secretary after she gave birth. I do hope they're still happy.
No doubt, Casey played me and his mother like a jury back in 1987. But Like a slow,
debilitating cancer, emotional guilt can fester for years until it too, takes over. I committed no crime. But the verdict is still out on Casey – guilty as charged.
To life and living it,
I can’t believe the summer holiday invite I just read from a doctor who peeked at my profile on an online dating site.
There it was, in plain English, publicly displayed by a Vancouver medical professional …
“I am looking for a companion for a two week vacation at Lake Rosseau in the Muskokas, with the intention that this could lead to a long term relationship. I currently live in Vancouver, but have been holidaying at Lake Rosseau for the past 15 years,” says this West Coast practitioner.
“What sort of man would advertise such an open invitation to a lust-infested, 14-day retreat,” I queried. “And what kind of a woman would nonchalantly respond?” I asked myself.
Am I being gullible and naïve? Have the rules of hunting down a mate changed in the new dating millennium? Or am I just overly cautious and prudish? Should I jokingly respond with a hint of sexual prowess in my response? Not a check-up chance in hell!
Located about 200 kms north of Toronto Canada, Lake Rosseau is golden- lined with million dollar summer cottages dating back to the 19th ntury. It’s a peaceful spot to take in Mother Nature as well as the fresh water breezes off Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka. Many famous celebrities have summer retreats there like Goldie Hawn and Martin Short.
Like the snake that provoked virginal Eve to snag a bite from the forbidden fruit, this invitation is devilishly delicious and tempting. Continues Dr. Desperation, “This year, kids can't join me with their friends til mid July, so the first two weeks, I will be on my own.”
And his preference? “I’m looking for a fit, athletic lady who enjoys the outdoors and life on the water," seeks this 58-year-old divorced doctor (so he claims). Still mesmerized by this public invitation, I wondered – “Could this man be an axe murderer? And what woman in her right mind would accept; knowing virtually nothing about a man allegedly requesting
“My days are spent doing yoga, running, and swimming, cycling, golfing, waterskiing, and fine dining at the cottage with good wine and good music. Quiet times are spent reading, paddle boating and listening to music,” he adds, as he hunts for his female prey between the ages of 45 and 57 – athletic and toned, no doubt.
And like the high-pitched mating call of a sharp-shinned hawk, he chirps, “Does this sound like a way you would like to meet and possibly start a relationship? There are multiple bedrooms, if that is your preference – no pressure.”
No pressure! “How brazen of the good doctor,” I chirped back.
“Mostly", he reveals, “I’m looking for someone to have fun, to relax with, and hopefully filled with laughter, good conversation, and good company. Who knows where it will lead?” he
Well I’ll bet you one night in Amsterdam where it’s going to lead! I summarize a 14-day non-committal sexcation through the Muskoka’s sky-high forests, winding roads and mystic
trails. Is this a case for Dr. Love or will it be the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde?
Oh...and last but not lust....er....I mean...least...please respond with your age, height and weight before June 30th.
To life and living it,
I walked to save lives yesterday. And for good and gutsy reason. My sister Patrina has suffered with Crohn's Disease (CD) for over 4 decades!
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) has been promoting their Gutsy Walk - formerly the Heel ‘n’ Wheel-a-Thon - for nearly 2 decades. It's a topic you seldom hear about because it involves barfing, bowels, and bomb-smelling attacks to the toilet. And believe it or not, Canada has one of the highest incidence rates in the world!
So when the CCFC announced their annual Gutsy Walk across Canuck country again, I jumped at the chance to raise funds for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research - so Patrina and others could have a better lease on life.
According to the CCFC Web Site, Crohn’s disease (CD) is named after the doctor who first described it in 1932. Since he did not have the disease itself, it is sometimes more accurately
called Crohn disease. The inflammation from CD can strike anywhere in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from mouth to anus, but is usually located in the lower part of the small
bowel and the upper end of the colon. Patches of inflammation are interspersed
between healthy portions of the gut, and can penetrate the intestinal layers
from inner to outer lining.
CD can also affect the mesentery, which is the network of tissue that holds
the small bowel to the abdomen and contains the main intestinal blood vessels
and lymph glands. CD is a chronic (lifelong) illness. People who have it will experience periods of acute flare-ups, when their symptoms are active and other times when their symptoms go into remission.
I know - first hand - the side affects, the consequences, and the heart-wrenching pain associated with CD and IBD. I've seen this incurable disease suck the life out of my sister Patrina. The average risk of a flare-up in any given year is about 30%. Patrina is often hospitalized at a minimum twice a year. And by the way, I too suffer from irritable bowel.
CD can be located anywhere in the gastrointenstinal tract and symptoms can vary but most often include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and not surprisingly, weight loss and lack of energy.
It's debilitating. You're often embarrassed because you may need to find a washroom when you least expect it. And if you find one, you may be in there for more than 30 minutes. And it ain't pretty.
So there I was Sketchers and Fuji in tow. And I wasn't alone. My two sons also decided to join me in raising much-need funds; among the thousands who came to skip, circle, rollerblade, stroll and walk. I'll confess. I went to the gym 4 times last week to prepare for this gutsy walk. I haven't jogged in several years, so I wasn't sure if I would be able to keep the pace with my Sylvester Stallone-buffed sons. But they went gentle on me.
Rather than jog, we all decided to walk with guts. "Hurry up Mom," they said, as beads of sweat poured off their fine-skin foreheads. "I'm walking as fast as I can," I quipped back, chugging down my water like an ice-cold Stella.
Participation in national fundraising events like the Gutsy Walk are always dependent on the weather. The CCFC got lucky. It was gorgeous out there. Children were gutsy walking in high-tech strollers powered by persevering parents. Teen-agers were power-walking wearing the latest athletic gear in tangerine and lime. And then there were the 3 amigos - No. #1 son, No #2 son and me!
"Mom, boasted my No. #2 son, "I can run this 5 K in 20 minutes or less." "Glad you can, " I piped back, "but we're walking this one," as I wiped my brow.
My sons made me proud. And if their Aunt Patrina could see them (she lives in another city), she'd be proud as punch too.
It was chili-pepper hot out there that morning. So piping hot that No. #1 son and No. #2 son took off their muscle shirts and exposed their toned bare chests to the sun as we were about to cross the finish line.
We helped to rai$e million$ that morning. And then out of the blue came a rainbow-faced clown strolling down the path as part of the entertainment for the day. In a jovial tone, she shouted at my sons, "So what do I need to do to get you both to take off the other half?"
To life and living it,
Online carousing can be so pleasantly-appealing, addictive, and down right unpredictable.
I had full intentions of spending the night covered in flannel and watching the 4th round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But then my phone began to vibrate.
It started shortly after 7 PM with a call from Simon. "Hi Ineda," he said in an inquisitive tone. "Well hello there Simon," I quipped back. Simon and I have had a few dates together and I quite like him. After discussing our work day and critiquing Snow White and the Huntsman, he asked, "Do you have any weekend plans?"
Weekend plans, I thought. Heck - it's only Wednesday and I never think that far in advance. My "life and living it" philosophy, coupled with my one-day-at-a-time attitude couldn't provide Simon with the answer he was begging to hear.
As I was keeping watch on the puck between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils, my phone began vibrating again. This time it was Antonio. A former New Yorker with Italian blood. Antonio and I are in the early stages of the game. A 55-year-old CFO, this Italian stallion claims to be outgoing, good-natured and fun to be with. Decisive and analytical, his profile warns women that he wants it all. And why shouldn't he? I won't settle for second best either.
Antonio and I have spoken a few times but have yet to meet. "So, tell me a little more about yourself this evening Antonio? "Well," he said, "I'm seeking a professional woman who takes her work seriously." Wow, I thought. I take my work seriously. There was more...."Someone who can roll up her sleeves and work side by side with me as an equal. Someone who wants to be pampered, loved, touched, and hugged (a lot of hugging)," he revealed.
Typical male. They all love to be fondled. Nothing wrong with displaying warmth and affection - as long as it isn't excessive and distasteful in public. I've always felt comfortable with PDAs such as holding hands or a quick peck on the cheek.
But geez the game was in the second period. "Would you mind calling me back Antonio? I'm in the middle of preparing dinner and I'm watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs." "Oh...so sorry Ineda," he blushed. "But the reason why I was calling this evening was to ask you if you had any weekend plans. "Not sure yet," I responded. "But we certainly can try to make some plans. Would you mind calling me tomorrow, Antonio,?" I asked respectfully. "Not at all, Ineda. I will call you tomorrow. Enjoy the game."
An hour afterwards my cell vibrated for the 3rd time. What a pleasant surprise. It was well-heeled William - one of the most distinguished British gentleman I have ever dated. A self-proclaimed entrepreneur who made his millions by way of business ventures, mergers and acquisitions, William never tried to define himself by consumption. While he drove one of the most exhilerating and stunning, jet-black vintage Jaguars, William's conservative English upbringing kept him grounded. A generous kind-spirited man, he always lived within his means. And could that car fly!
"Hello there love," said William, in a soft, muddled British accent. "I just got back from the UK last night and I'm sitting here in the garden terrace having dinner with Harry," he added.
"We were both thinking about you. Do you have any weekend plans?"
Now this is where the story gets provocative.
A few weeks ago, I received an email from William's friend Harry via one of those online dating sites. William and Harry have been vintage wine lovers since they both had hair to speak of. Interestingly, Harry has been communicating with me online unbeknownst to William!
A wine and spirits connoisseur, Harry's profile reads like a true uppercrust Brit. "I came here in 1978," the 62-year-old purported. "I have been in the wine business for many years and I love what I do. Every day is exciting and enjoyable. I'm fit and in good shape and I love to work out at least 5 times a week."
A fond love for animals and anything furry, he says, ""I'm looking for a partner who wants to share in my life and share hers with me. A lady who wants to travel, especially Europe. Someone who enjoys dining out, but also just staying at home and enjoying each other's company. Someone who is emotionally available, slim, well-groomed and stylish." Well - welcome to the club Harry, I thought. His companion bucket list wasn't an impossible feat.
When William and I had dated, I vividly recall him revealing a few tongue-titilating stories about hot and horny Harry. This food and wine connoisseur loved his women just as much as his Sheppard's Pie. Harry's frolicsome forays with his femme fatales was classic Hugh Hefner-vintage playboy!
Mr. Casanova had a penchant for unrestrained indulgence in the bedroom. He would first seduce by lavishing the ladies with gifts of pure French silk lingerie, vintage spirits, exotic cruises or romantic weekend get-a-ways. Pick your pleasure. What a player!
So you can well imagine how surprised I was when I opened a message from Mr. Casanova a few weeks ago in my mailbox! "Care to chat?" he prattled.
"I'm sorry, " I said, in a precociousness tone. "This is not a cheesy pick-up line. But you look very, very, familiar. Do you have a friend by the name of William?" I queried.
You see, Harry and I had previously met when William and I were dating. Loverboy obviously couldn't recall our few and insignificant encounters when William and I were an item.
"Yes I do have a friend called William," admitted Harry. "Have we met," he said in a puzzled manner. "Yes, we have," I revealed. And as I went down memory lane with horny Harry, he simply couldn't recall the details of where and when with William.
Then suddenly like a bat outta hell - a stroke of cranial genius. "Now I remember," Harry retorted, "It must have been 2 years ago after the Italian wine tasting event. You were wearing that little, black sexy number, right?"
"Let me know about that drink will ya?," he said. "We may have a laugh together.
What an unpredictable set of vibrations this evening. Not only did Simon want to secure weekend plans with me; so did Antonio, William and Harry.
And as the evening fell prey to cheering fans over the New Jersey Devils' win, I too felt victorious.
To life and living it,
I work with some of the most pleasant people on the planet. I know - I've been blessed.
Take Blanche, for example. Born in the Peach State, this modern-day Southern Belle is well-educated in business as well as in areas of music, art, crafts and the French language.
But unlike her early 19th century ancestry, the purpose of Blanche's college education wasn't to prepare her for an advantageous marriage. Rather, this bold and beautiful woman has broken the glass ceiling in modern day corporate America; leading a division responsible for streamlining operations around the globe.
She lives out of a suitcase weekdays and heads home each weekend to this southeastern state known for their grits, ripe peaches and sweet, Vidalia onions. And like Miss Donna, she works hard for the money!
Blanche is often the first person to arrive at the crack of dawn and one of the last in upper management to leave. And she never complains.
Her southern culture and style is warmly celebrated and accepted throughout the office. A stylish fashionista, Blanche has a heart as big as her plantation and her chic wardrobe. "Just because we’re in the middle of a national economic recession" she whispers, "doesn’t mean you can’t look oh-so-fabulous!"
I like Blanche. She makes no grits about understanding all the rules to succeed for being a proper, modern day, Southern Belle in a man's world. She's also quite accommodating and one of the first high-powered executives to go out of her Georgia peach way to assist in any way she can.
So naturally I was touched when Blanche offered to help me with an online vitamin and supplements order I couldn't purchase - nor have delivered - to my home address. Adds Blanche, "that's because every smart Belle knows that half the fun of shopping is getting a great deal on something gorgeous - even vitamins!"
There goes Blanche again. She didn't have to do that. But it's the southern way of this Cherokee Rose.
To life and living it,