Keeping house

Birthday time for the brother. Me, nine years old; him, three years old.

My brother Darcy turned 22 on Sunday, so while this picture turns out to be appropriately timed, it also serves another purpose – it shows us at the ages of the diary entry I’m about to share with you. I’m sorry this feature went away for a while, but I packed my diaries without thinking, and I just unearthed them the other day.

While I was cleaning the kitchen sinks today, I was thinking about how much I hate cleaning, and yet how much more of it I am going to do before my parents arrive on Friday for their weekend visit. And later, while thumbing through my diary, I came across two entries in a row in which I was exhausted (but proud) of the “chores” I had done. Oh, to be nine years old again!

July 6, 1992

Dear Diary,

Today I helped my mom a lot! I swept the floor, watched Darcy, did the lunch dishes, helped with the supper dishes, and bathed Darcy. Whew! What a working day!

July 7, 1992

Dear Diary,

Today I am not really going to write to you. I am going to make a list. A list of what chores I did. Is that OK? Good!

1. Made bed

2. Washed lunch dishes

3. Played with Darcy

What a rough life I had!

Weekend wear

Shoes, Puma; jeans, Jacob; brown T-shirt, gift from mom; sweatshirt, Forever 21 (from this shopping trip); jacket, boutique in Toronto (I can’t remember the name; it’s that store on the corner of Avenue and Eglinton with the mural on the outside wall. Ring a bell, anyone?); scarf, Ardene; purse, Old Navy.

Buttons, from top to bottom: free from Book Expo Canada; gift from co-worker; gift from Susie; free from Book Expo Canada.

Here’s a glimpse into my front hallway, and into what I wear on the weekend: minimal makeup, jeans, and my faded pink and gold Pumas. When these pictures were taken, I was on my way out to the grocery store, where I spent my hard-earned money on the supplies for the homemade hamburgers and fries the boyfriend was going to cook for supper that night. What else did I buy this weekend? Hot chocolate and a chocolate chip cookie at Starbucks, a sock-puppet bookmark from Chapters for the boyfriend, and a cinnamon-bun breakfast/brunch at the Sugarbowl for me and a friend (best cinnamon buns EVER; thanks for a fun Sunday morning, Kelsey!). Ahhh, isn’t it nice to have your own money to spend on things that make you happy? But, remember when you were, oh, say, 15, and this wasn’t the case? I certainly do:

August 11, 1997

Dear Diary,

Hello. I am absolutely sick of having no money. I’m as poor as hell. Money can’t seem to stay with me. I’m not lucky with money either. I always buy scratch tickets and win nothing more than two dollars. Wow! I’m on the road to riches now! And I couldn’t believe it! Darcy won twenty dollars today! As if! Sometimes I just want to throttle that child. Ever since about twelve-thirty today, I’ve been irritable. Just the littlest thing set me off. My mother was bugging me too. Everytime I’d ask where we were going next, she’d say “don’t ask me! Grampie’s driving, ask him!” Well sorry! I just thought that maybe you’d been informed about what is going on. I’m getting kind of irritated even writing. The heat is getting to me. I’m going to go now. I just wanted to jot down this little bit because I haven’t written in a couple nights. So, I’ll be talking to you later, maybe when I’m in a better mood.

Eeek! Sorry, mom!

Now, for some back story: this entry was written while on my family’s annual summer vacation to P.E.I. to visit with all our relatives, hence the mention of my Grampie in the car during what I imagine was our traditional day-trip to the New Glasgow Lobster Supper; I had a job as a papergirl (and faced much ridicule for it as a 15-year-old), but that was in Ontario, not P.E.I., and because I probably hadn’t saved any money in anticipation of going on vacation, I was “poor as hell;” scratch tickets were $2 in P.E.I., which seemed cheap compared to the the $3 they were in Ontario, so my parents and grandparents would let my brother and I give them toonies to buy us tickets as a treat (some treat! All I ever got was angry!); and, in addition to the boyfriend being named Darcy, my brother is also a Darcy (first discussed on my blog here), and he is the one who won the coveted $20 that made me want to throttle him.

Any other questions?

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Dear Diary…I need to get rid of this perm

Hi! It’s me in Grade 5! Let’s get the obvious critique out of the way, shall we? Perm: I wanted a perm SO BAD, not thinking that perhaps it wouldn’t be the best idea with short hair. After all, it was SO going to turn out like the older blonde girl’s in the church at Christmastime, right? Um, no, it was not; hello, sad triangle-head! Mom, why did you let me do this?! Moving on, don’t even think about laughing at my glasses…OK, who am I kidding, you can definitely laugh at my glasses. But, I dare you to find someone from 1991-92 who didn’t have big, oversized glasses! I dare you! And, my teeth: big hair, big glasses, all the better to go with my big teeth! Not that there’s anything I could do about those…I just had big teeth, OK?!?

And with that vision of beauty, I give you more from my diary…

April 13, 1992

Back to school again! I didn’t want to get up this morning. Neither would you! Today Martin drove past the end of the street!

April 14, 1992

Today Martin came again! Except this time I hung around with him! Yesterday he was with Perry, Francine and Heather. Today he came with Taavi! Carolyn and I hung around with:

1. Francine

2. Heather

3. Taavi

4. Crystal

5. A girl I don’t know

6. Martin

What a bunch!

It’s all about the hair

Shoes, Aldo; skirt, Smart Set; T-shirt and belt, Urban Outfitters; bracelet and clip-on earrings, vintage.

This T-shirt is near and dear to my heart. I bought it in 2002-2003ish after I experienced much remorse over NOT buying it the instant I saw it. It was about $35, I think, and I thought that was an outrageous price for a thin little T-shirt such as this. But I should have known better after I lingered in the store, picked the shirt up, put it back, went to look at it again, felt it, put it back. How many times had I seen a shirt for redheads, anyway? Um, zero! I wanted this T-shirt SO BAD. But I passed because of the price, and then went home and thought about it…and thought about it…and thought about it. But because I was on a trip to Toronto when I saw the shirt, once I got home, I just couldn’t skip back to the store and buy the T-shirt-of-much-regret. So, my big master plan to obtain the shirt involved me ordering it online, getting it shipped to my aunt who lived in the U.S. and then getting her to send it to me to apparently save on the U.S. shipping costs. Slightly more complicated that the whole process needed to be, but who cares now?! I still wear the T-shirt, so the money I shelled out for it has made good.

Now, time for more diary entries! Here are two excerpts, the first one from my 10-year-old self, the second from my newly turned 15-year-old self:

November 15, 1992

Today I got home from Marita’s. Soon as I got home we went to the Santa Claus Parade. My mom brought my snowpants for me and I didn’t want to wear them. But am I glad I did! It was freezing! Tonight I was going through my baby book, I found my JK class picture! Martin was in it! He’s even cute in kindergarten! Wow! Stud muffin!!!


August 7, 1997

…That perfect guy would be Erik von Detten. At least I think so, judging by his drop dead gorgeous looks. Mmmmm…luscious! Now, why couldn’t he move to my town forever?…I just have to write one more thing – what I would like to name a boy and a girl. The girl would be Brooke Leigh. The guy would be Jakob Taylor. Both with the last name von Detten. Naturally!!!

Now, readers of Tiger Beat, 16, et al., circa 1996-97 should recognize the name Erik von Detten. He was in the remake of Leave it to Beaver, and well, I have no idea what else. And who cares when he’s so “luscious”? Other teen idols of mine were Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Andrew Keegan. I mean, come on, what better breeding grounds for sexy were there than Home Improvement and Camp Nowhere? Hilarity!!

Who were your teen heartthrobs?

Remember Transit?

Shoes, Transit; tights, Old Navy; brown tube-dress, Spoof; sweater, Dynamite; bracelet, Plaid Giraffe; brooch and earrings, vintage.

So, do you remember Transit? The cheaper Canadian shoe alternative to Aldo? It’s now known as Spring? I spent a lot of my hard-earned paper-route money at Transit, and I remember buying my first pair of fashionable boots there, and they were about calf height and army green with a chunky heel. I was quite proud of them and thought I was being pretty daring with my fashion choices in buying them and strutting down the halls of the high school in something that I thought was SO different. But really? A chunky, square-block heel? *Insert peals of wild laughter here.*

My longtime friend, KL, and I, driven by our mothers, used to take day trips to Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario/Michigan to get all the “great” shopping finds on the American side. Along with copious amounts of Mint-a-Burst gum and Jane makeup from Wal-Mart, one of my “coups” was a pair of black, chunky-heeled clogs from Payless. Yes, that’s right. Black. Chunky. Clogs. Sure, clogs are back this season, but not mine. Trust me.

But, back to Transit. I have had  the pleasure of owning the shoes in the above pictures for a long time, obviously, since I didn’t buy them at “Spring.” I’d say about, oh, seven years? I remember there was a high-heeled version as well, but because I was in college/university, living at home, and not going out to the bar, or to an office, I reasoned, at the time, there was no need for them. Younger self, what the eff were you thinking?! Years later, I’m still pining away! But, I do think these flats are pretty great, despite showing a bit of wear and tear. I have gotten many compliments on them, and can recall wearing them with friends PP and SG in Toronto when a large, purple, hooped earring I was wearing fell out and rolled and bounced across the street. My chivalrous man-friends came to my rescue and I still have that earring set today. Could that be in a Spring commercial? Girl meets two boys. Girl rips out her own earring because of clumsiness. Boys scramble across traffic to seek out earring and almost die. Girl ignores this, hopeful that earring didn’t fall down gutter (she REALLY likes them!). Boys retrieve girl’s earring. Ladies on girl’s comic-book shoes wink at camera. Aaaaaaaaand, scene.

Speaking of memories, my mom has been e-mailing me diary entries written by my 10-year-old self from an old journal she found at home. They are hilarious! I was obsessed with a boy named Martin, and almost every entry talks about him in some way. A sample:

Today was Jill’s bithday party! Yahoo!! Not!! It was so boring and painful, well, at least for me!! Martin said he couldn’t dance because “PAM” isn’t here! Then he went off and danced with Jill and Dana G. I almost just sat down and cried.

Look at that Martin, crushing my young hopes!

Reading these entries got me thinking, and I dug out another old diary of mine that begins in 1997, the day after my 15th birthday, and continues through to the end of high school and into some college/university. I never thought of myself as boy crazy, but looking back, I really was! Daydreaming about love, romance, and being swept off my feet were recurring themes. I’ll post some excerpts from my teenage diary in my blog when I come across something funny and/or particularly teenager-y, like this:

August 7, 1997

…I can’t seem to fall asleep, so you (dear diary) were my next choice of what to do. I was reading and I was getting tired, so I stopped. Then I was listening to my new Grease soundtrack and I got awake by listening to the music. I think that it would be so much fun to be involved in a Grease production. Maybe Mr. Maskel is going to do that this year in drama. The only thing is that I can’t sing. I’d have to be part of a chorus – maybe Frenchie because she doesn’t sing except for one line alone in Summer Nights. And it’s kind of nasal, so I could do that. In truth, though, I’d like to be Sandy. That would be fun being her, especially at the end when she dresses up in that sexy leather outfit…

Mr. Maskel never did do that production in drama (I see now that I was extremely mistaken about the capabilities of my high school’s drama department) and I therefore never got to sing that one line in a professional capacity, but I am still very confident in my ability to sound nasal (and extremely shrill, if need be), so as long as I have that,  my hopes for international superstardom on the Grease stage don’t have to die.

More to come from me, the teenager in the chunky-heeled Transit shoes…