Girl Talk

When I was not yet a teenager I had a good friend who was on the cutting edge of cool new trends.  She was obsessed with the board game “Girl Talk“, which was a slumber party staple in the late 80’s and 90’s.  It’s essentially a game of truth or dare, and the winner is the girl who gets fortune cards from all four categorizes: “Career”, “Marriage“, “Children”, and my personal favorite “Special Moments”.  If you bitch out on your truth or dare question, there was an enormous pack of “zit stickers” that you must wear somewhere on your face.  So as you see, it’s a feminist game for pre-teens–harmless fun!

girl talkAll Images Courtesy of Google

When not playing “Girl Talk”, “Dream Phone” was always waiting in the wings.  I didn’t dig this game as much.  I was too young to be interested in boys, and they sure as sweet Jesus weren’t interested in me.  The whole point is to figure out your secret admirer; and the big pay off was dialing a number and hearing a generic pre-recorded message: ‘I think you are special, let’s go to the sock hop together”

dreamphoneguys1So many choices! However is a twelve-year old girl to choose?  (Don’t they all look like nerdy date-rapists in training?)

Moving into the teen years with these kind of expectations jammed into my soft, malleable brain was dangerous.  It was all about the boys.  Seriously.  Does he like me?  Why doesn’t he like me?  Will I ever get asked to the sock hop? What is a sock hop anyway?  If I put the energy into boys into my schooling, I would have been a doctor by now.  But beyond schooling, I would tell my younger self that the most important thing are female friends, they are the tits, the business, and that is the thing you don’t want to mess up.  And of course you do, but that’s growing up–making an unholy mess of your life, and learning how to apologize and put the pieces back together.  You’ll do that about a dozen times before you finally get it right.

four friendsNow in my thirties, while I love my husband and the things we talk about; I crave female conversation.  We celebrated my 30th birthday in Monkey Mia, Australia, and spent the whole day on the beach, drinking champagne, swimming in the Indian Ocean.  And as you do on a hot summer day on a booze-soaked vacation–I chatted up other vacationers. I wound up chatting to several different women, and finally had a lengthy chat with this German traveler about books, films and life in general.  So refreshing.  I said to Ben later, “I mean, no offense to you…but it is so nice to talk to like-minded women”. To which my husband replied: “Alicia, I can be many things for you…but a ‘like-minded woman’ isn’t one of them”.  Very true.

Back in Canada, I have reconnected with some long-ago friendships, and it has rapidly become one of the most important things in my life.  Even though we have all settled down–most are married, many have children, we really have remained the same.  I am loving the frank and honest conversations.  Nothing is off limits: money, debt, goals, careers, ideologies and varying viewpoints.  In talking about the frustrations of marriage and motherhood; or how we’d like more children, or can’t have children, or don’t want children, the world opens up, and you feel as if you are heard.  Better yet, you feel understood.  These friendships is that they have grown up as well: we listen better, we care more, we are gentle and  considerate.  We appreciate the value of good old fashioned “girl talk”.

friends talking

Yesterday I was at my friend Trish’s house, visiting with our mutual friend Jenna, who was in from out of town.  I’ve known these two for many years.  In each other we have seen the best, the worst, and the very intoxicated.  Both  have had a child in the last year, and it was surreal to see them with babies in their arms.  The night before that, Trish and I texted about plans, and whether I should come by in the evening.  I text  “I have rehearsal at 6:30, but could nip out early and be over around 8:00”, thinking to myself “Gosh, that will be so late”.  To which Trish texts, “We are going to have to shoot for another time, I go to bed pretty early these days”.  Holy hell, I remember we wouldn’t even be ready to go out for cocktails at 8:00.  While sitting together the following morning, talking about every possible topic, we laughed about the texts being emblematic about the change in our lives.

So…yes, while maybe we’ve gone from this:


To this:

golden girls

We are perfectly at peace with that.

Filter Skelter

The art of marriage is a delicate tightrope walk–and I lose my balance all the time.  I have a patient, organized, gentle husband, he is a tightly structured concerto and I am a  jazz fusion of creative, emotional, occasionally hysterical chaos.

Yesterday my husband asked one thing of me, “Could you please pick up coffee filters?”.


“No worries!”

“Will do!”

“Not a problem!”…  Are examples of things that I said and that could be used later in court transcripts.

I did not pick up coffee filters.

I blogged and worked against a looming deadline for an essay contest, which of course meant mostly fucking around on Twitter in my sweatpants.

I’m building a platform Benjamin, I’m developing a process.  I don’t have time for coffee filters!

Which of course I did.  And there’s actually a shop right down the street.  And it was on the agenda, my husband didn’t assign this simple errand and I agreed flippantly, cackling wickedly with ill-intent.  I wrote all day, made dinner, and then went to a rehearsal for an upcoming show.  This naturally led to a stop at the pub afterward.  I said to my friend Vivi, “Don’t let me forget coffee filters”. So really, I think it’s his fault.   I drove him and another person home, and then went home, sat in the office, worked a bit, and somewhere around midnight….


Coffee filters!  I briefly consider going out and getting some, but I crawl into bed instead, poke my deeply sleeping husband.  “Psst.  Psssst. Psssssst! Hey…how important is coffee to you in the morning?”

And of course my husband bore his caffeine-free morning stoically.  And yes, I did feel guilty dropping him off and then immediately heading to a Starbucks. But I never said I was perfect, and there is no reference to ‘getting it right ever time’ in the marriage vows.  There are mild undertones of guilt flavor in my beverage…I wonder if caramel would cover that up.  But I feel bad, it’s such a little thing–filters, but coffee in the morning–I mean, that is the whole point of getting up.  We set the timer the night before, and it acts as a pre-alarm clock. You hear the brewing before your actual alarm goes off, and though soon you have to go to work, you know that there will be coffee waiting for you in the kitchen; this hot black liquid that has the capacity to make your day better before it even begins.

And I’m the monster that denied him that.

Sitting in the office with my guilt-laced latte, I think about potential blog topics.   I think about how someone once said “If you forget, it means you don’t care”.  I disagree.  I care.  I just forgot the fucking filters.  It doesn’t make the the world’s worst wife.  I search the web for a decent ‘bad wives’ list, and you know what? I’m not on any of those lists, so that’s the good news…or maybe that also means that nobody knows who I am so that’s the bad news.  But then, if I did become known, is that what I would be known for? Being a filter-forgetting insensitive wife?  But also, I didn’t find a really satisfying list of bad wives.  So I’m going to compile a wee list of historically bad wives (famous & fictional), which will be my way of saying…”it could be worse Ben, I could be Sharon Stone in “Casino'”.

sh stone“Yes, while I’m a heartless, ball-busting, drug addled, villainous hustler who cheats on Robert DeNiro with James Woods and Joe Pesci…but seriously, just how fabulous is my hair?

Ginger McKenna appears on all cinematic bad wives lists; it’s almost enough to watch me re watch Casino, but then I looked it up on IMDB, and shit gets real in that movie.  It gets an all round 48/50 for intensity levels, and I love whoever wrote the list. Amongst all the pen stabbing, hammer smacking, baseball bat smashing and head in the vice gripping, is a note in the Sex & Nudity section: “There is a brief shot of a woman’s bubble butt”…and it is (spoiler alert!) “beautifully shaped like a ripe peach”.  How is that a spoiler? “I want to know if I’m going to see some ass…but I don’t want to know if it is shaped like delicious fruit”.kurt and courtney

I bet Courtney Love forgot coffee filters from time to time.  It could not be easy to be married a woman who “Rolling Stone” magazine refers to as “the most controversial woman in the history of rock”.   And I can’t imagine her being a tidy bride either; heroin and housework are well known mortal enemies, a bit like Courtney Love and marriage.  In fact, in recent years their daughter, the unfortunately named Frances Bean, filed a restraining order against Love on behalf of herself and the family dog.  Apparently Love is not only a hoarder, she also just leaves uncapped pharmaceuticals strewn about, killing a slew of pets.  But there are also theories that Love was responsible for Cobain’s death, whether she pulled the trigger or he killed himself just to get away from her unhygienic ways. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors.

Surely Kim Kardashian should appear on a bad wife list–and most don’t realize that this was her second marriage.  She  married music producer Damon Thomas when she was just nineteen, and kept it a secret for a period of time.  Apparently he once punched her in the face and told her she needed liposuction.  And, before they were to go skydiving with Justin Timberlake, he smacked her around.  I love that she name-drops even in court transcripts, (though no woman should suffer physical abuse).

kim k

You know I love me some Drew Barrymore, but she had a rather lengthy run in the bad wives club.  She was engaged twice, the first time at sixteen, then married for the first time at nineteen.  Barrymore and the Welsh bar owner split up in less than two months.  Her recent marriage–her third–seems really positive, and they have a little baby, and she looks amazing.  Although anything after being  married to gross-out comic Tom Green, you could be married to an antique lamp, a lawn mower or a piece of masticated bubble gum and it be more mature and meaningful.


Cher wasn’t a perfect wife either.  She met Sonny when she was sixteen years old, and there relationship and career grew together in tandem.  At a height in their career, Cher grew tired of the Bono’s controlling ways, and their marriage crumbled (as did their show).  Three days after their divorce was final, she marred Gregg Allman, who she then divorced two years later.


Believe it or no, but I am writing this blog in almost the exact same outfit.

Hey, no bad wives list would be complete without ole Liz Taylor, that lady collected husbands like diamonds–and that bitch had a lot of both–even famously marrying Richard Burton twice, later spawning the delicious terrible Lifetime special, Lindsay Lohan vehicle “Liz and Dick”.  But really, you could drop Burton from the movie and the title would still make sense.


Also, bonus points for Taylor, as she also appears on many lists for the shrewish wife in “Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?”.  She is possibly one of the most boozy soul-crushing literary wives ever.

Virginia Woolf 1966

Marilyn Monroe was a gal who could not master marriage, but really wanted to get it right.  She took a crack at it three times. The first time, she was basically given away in marriage to get her out of the foster-care system.  The second time, to Joe DiMaggio lasted less than a year.   Her final marriage with Arthur Miller was the topic of “After the Fall”, a scathing portrayal of woman who could not be loved enough and could not be saved.

marilyn miller

Audrey Hepburn broke off  an engagement saying that she didn’t have “the time to be really married”.  She married for the first time–to Mel Ferrer who was already married with four children when he met Hepburn.  She remarried years later, to a philandering Italian doctor, had a baby at forty, and got another divorce.  At the time of her death, she had a long term partner, but they never married.  Jackie O did the same thing–twice divorced can still be classy, any more than that is edging on Taylor territory, and it’s a rare breed to make multiple divorces looks that look fabulous.

audrey-hepburn-wedding-mel-magpie-jewellery-dressAll images Courtesy of Google

And sadly, me–Alicia Ashcroft, unpaid writer,  a distracted, forgetful, messy, and occasionally hysterical wife.  But I’m always quick to apologize.  Okay that’s a lie, I hold onto apologies with pretty tight fists sometimes, but it’s a part of my ‘tough but tender’ charm.  But I am sorry.  I love my husband, and I want to make him as happy as he makes me. And I’m going to the shop right away. …now what was it I was supposed to pick up?

Tweets & Twats

My Twitter empire is dwindling…well if you say going from 19 to 15 is ‘dwindling’…or that 19 is an empire, so be it.  Twitter gives me anxiety.  When I try to tweet I feel like a twat.  Also I find the 140-character limit extremely daunting.  You see, I am a wordsmith, and literary geniuses like myself cannot have such limitations placed on ourselves.

There are extremely active comedians, actors and writers, dropping jokes and comments throughout the day.  It’s smart, it’s funny, and I just don’t have that much to say.  Well, obviously I have a lot going on in the old brain factory, but as for funny-throwaway remarks, it feels inauthentic.

I don’t tweet.  I’ve tried.  I’ve dropped a few words now and again, but I feel like such a dolt.  But I feel like a nerdy teen who hangs out in the audio-visual room at lunch, marching up to all the cool kids in the smoke pit and saying “What’s up bitches?” Or like in “Mean Girls” when Lindsay Lohan approached the table of “unfriendly black hotties”, with a ubiquitous African greeting “Jambo”, and then receives evil glares and stunned silence in response.   I don’t speak the language, and I’m just not that ‘cool’.

mean girls

I mean, don’t you worry, I am plenty groovy–I am quite hip to the trends, and people in the know think I am pretty neat-o.  But I think it’s my tendency to over think things, that ultimately causes me to either not tweet, or write a tweet and then not publish it.  “Do people care how delicious this sandwich is? I mean it is a tasty little morsel…but do people care?”  I think in this world of #oversharing, a little #overthinking is a bit of a virtue.

Maybe if I was Lena Dunham, people would eat up whatever I was saying.

pink dunham

But then again, people apparently tweet nasty things to her, calling her “fat” and whatnot.  My goodness, I would not enjoy being called fat, unless the ‘f’ was replaced with a ‘ph’, and in that case, let it rain!

I made a Twitter account with the intention of building my writing platform, but mostly with the purpose of following Caitlin Moran; author, humorist and all round awesome feminist.  caitlin

And then I followed others like Feist, Lana Del Rey, and Ms Florence…the girls I roll with on a regular basis.  Please–I wish they would ask me to sit at their table and explain that Wednesday’s are for wearing pink.




And I’d show up dressed like Ralphie is “A Christmas Story”, and they’d be like…”no…you don’t get it…you just don’t get it”.

This is the story of my life, this bunny suit represents how I fit into social media.  Before I started the blog nearly three months ago, I used the internet solely for email or research.  Now I find myself living and breathing this new world, but I feel like an outsider.  Facebook is my comfort zone–the A/V room, Twitter is the high school smoke pit.  So mostly I watch from a distance, witnessing effortless coolness in action.  And I’m over here trying to make catchphrases like ‘fetch’ popular, and it just may not happen for me.  And isn’t social media just like some big international high school?  There are cliques; the stars and the trolls, and we all want to be ‘liked’ and ‘followed’.  Bullying is now easier than ever, to be a ‘mean girl’ is easier than being popular. (But isn’t that the same thing sometimes?) And I am subtly trying to be within the realm, without being obvious or ostentatious.  With that being said, it seems it is the vulgarity that catches attention. So as far as this high school metaphor is concerned, I am roaming the halls until someone shouts: “She doesn’t even go here!”  And that wouldn’t be fetch…no it wouldn’t at all.

It doesn’t bother me that four people dropped me from Twitter; I don’t know them, and they don’t know me. I have been inactive at best, and I don’t blame people for being bored with me.  There is a daily tweet though, my WordPress account is connected to Twitter, and my blogs appear there daily.  And as we all know, everything I write is absolute solid gold.  Or gold plated at  least.  At the very least.

tweet mean girls

All Images Courtesy of Google

Bitch Please.

I’m currently on the market–job market that is, and it’s looking pretty bleak.  Don’t get me wrong, there are interesting jobs out there…just not where I currently live.  And if there are excellent career options, they are the employment equivalent of Where’s fucking Waldo.

waldo scene

I skim the job postings on the various websites…and it’s boring, and I’m bored.  At least, we are mostly beyond the days of dropping resumes off; I’d rather punch myself in the face and set myself on fire than pound the pavement with freshly printed copies of my resume in a little manila envelope.  Now you can apply for jobs in your pink bathrobe and no one will judge you.

Most of the ads are condescending: ‘looking for highly motivated dishwasher’, most are hastily written–spelling mistakes aplenty, unless there are new and exciting opportunities for a ‘made’ or a ‘sever’.  Bitch please.  And enough already with the capped letters and exclamation points.  After a healthy search of the websites, I made the conclusion: the more exclamation points, the worse the job.  So when you see URGENT!!! NEED SEVER FOR GRAVEYARD SHIFT AT LONELY TRUCK STOP!!!! It’s probably not going to be a good gig.

For me, I just want to be fabulous, but on a professional level.  I want to be paid handsomely to do yoga, read literature and have coffee with friends.  I would blog about being so deliciously amazing, and I would have cards made that said:

Alicia Ashcroft-


This would confuse people, because there would be no contact information, but they would know that I was sort of elusive…which makes me even more fabulous, don’t you think?


I would eventually teach courses and write an enormous series of books on “fabulosity”–which is a subject I will be identified as for generations to come. People would nod slowly, solemnly at mention of my name: “She really was fabulous” they’d say.

Of course, in my later years, I may get a little too fabulous; the fabulosity will effervesce like champagne fizz,  eventually eating away at my brain.  I would make outlandish demands–everything must be white! water at room temperature!  must play “Who’s that Lady?” by the Isley Brothers whenever I enter a room!


I may even start to dress like the Isley Brothers.

But the transition would be subtle—like young Liza Minelli:

Photo of Liza MINELLI

Into…having the ability to see ghosts, and realizing it while on the Home Shopping Network amid selling from my own line of sequin jacket and tank sets for just three easy payments.

Liza Minnelli odd appearance on HSN

From there is will be a Minnelli mudslide into my Norma Desmond, “Sunset Boulevard” phase.


Beyond the boulevard will be nothing but fur coats and safety pins, tap dancing at inappropriate and stray raccoons running through the house.


 And it’s going to be fabulous.

Images Courtesy of Google

Alpha Dog

My mother has a hilarious, yet strict policy;  if she does like not like a particular actor, or saw a film where said actor causes any kind of offense–she will not watch their movies.  I get what she means; I have had to lock away Stanley Tucci‘s performance in “The Lovely Bones” in a very dark place, and don’t even talk to me about Ryan Gosling in “Half Nelson” or Matt Damon in “The Talented Mr Ripley“.  So when “Alpha Dog“, the edgy star studded crime drama peaked Ben’s interest,  I decided to bow out.  In no way did I want to stand by and have Justin Timberlake ruined for me.  I want “Suit and Tie”, “Dick in the Box”, “Friends With Benefits” JT; I do not want a potentially violent thug JT.    After Ben watched the film,   I full of  questions.  Was it violent? Like really violent? Do people die? Aw, they killed Anton Yelchin? Did Justin do it? Was Justin bad? Aww so was he nice?

jt tattooed

In a nutshell, “Alpha Dog” is based on a true story about Jesse James Hollywood, a drug dealer who had the honor of being the youngest fellah on FBI’s Most Wanted List–(and they said you’d never amount to anything, and now you’re on death row, you’ve really hit the big time!).  Some guy owed $1200, so naturally, they kidnap his fifteen year old brother, show him a good time for a couple of days before knocking him into a shallow grave and firing nine shots.  Then director of “The Notebook” thought that this would make an excellent movie.  And my husband certainly thought so.  And I’m sure it is.  But I just don’t party that hard.

alpha-dog-poster-3-721678Though I couldn’t hack the visual, I read about the Nicholas Markowitz murder, and it was a careless and gruesome crime.  It’s also an interesting morality tale about drugs, power, corruption, greed, but in the hands of tweaking twenty-year-olds.  Certainly there are fascinating character dynamics…but it’s never the thing I reach for in a cinematic situation.  And, if you hadn’t heard me loud and clear, this is not how I like my Justin Timberlake.

I know that there are many serious, important films that I am missing out on, but meh–I like feeling happy.  So, if you’ve come here looking for a review about…well, a movie I’ve actually seen, but a generally morose or violent  picture, you’ll be disappointed time and time again.  I love a well-crafted film but I also love the “so-bad-it’s good” kind of movie.  I’m going to have my own movie review show called “Cinema that Suits Me”, and discuss movies like “Someone like You” with Ashley Judd, “Serendipity” with John Cusack, and “Straight Talk” with Dolly Parton.

dolly parton

Look how exasperated everyone is with “Dr Shirlee”, don’t we all want to explore why she looks like she doesn’t care?

I absolutely respect the right for any film to be made; this is not a censorship issue. I like to check in with the parental guidance guide on IMDB not because I am a prude, but because I like to be prepared.  There have been times where I have been “Sean Penned”, stumbling across a brutal flashback “Dead Man Walking”, or the time I was “Rob Roy’d” when Tim Roth rapes Jessica Lange over a table, and I’m like–‘hands to yourself motherfucker’!  And then she’s washing herself furiously in the river, sobbing hysterically, and I just don’t want to go there, though I feel for that character.  Maybe that’s the trouble with feeling too much.  But maybe I’d just rather be watching Dolly Parton make good instead.

Old Sport

Okay–full disclosure. In order to properly wrap my head around “The Great Gatsby”, I saw it for the second time.  And I’m glad I did–the previous time was overwhelming.  The 3D, the late night showing, the two lime margarita on the rocks I had with dinner…there was a rather rich and heavy stew of factors that kept me from properly absorbing the picture.  Seeing it in the daylight, mostly sober was a far better situation for a critical assessment.


There is a whole heap of unpleasant commentary about this film; (okay babies, if you haven’t seen it yet, be wary of spoilers).  The story within a story is gathering some heat; that Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is in some jazz-age rehab facility, coming to terms with his boozy summer where he was disillusioned by all he witnessed.  I didn’t hate that.  I didn’t hate most of the elements that the critics are lamenting.  The movie is decadent, emotional, beautiful; and when I sat in the cinema, I was absorbed into the story, and I thought of nothing else.  And that’s bliss.

What I keep thinking about is Gatsby and Daisy.  In Fitzgerald’s text, it briefly mentions that their original love affair lasted about a month.  Gatsby has been chasing this glittery tail for five long years.  He built his fortune up around his memory of Daisy.  Talk about a pre-Facebook era, Gatsby was throwing endless, wild parties in hopes that she would just show up one night, and what? Just casually roll up and be like…”Oh you go here? I go here too”.  I’m of two minds about Gatsby’s tactics–part of me is like, yeah I’d be into mysterious Gatsby/Leo DiCaprio (or hey, I’m flexible I would take the Robert Redford version as well)


I’d be into any of those men yearning for my flashing green light on the other side of bay.  But then he pulls out the I- heart-Daisy scrapbook and it gets a little embarrassing.  But there is this unraveling that occurs the minute that Gatsby and Daisy reunite, there is a great divide between the idealized, and the actualized.  It’s one thing to remember loving someone, to imagine loving someone, but when you have to deal with the day to day logistics of that love–“where will we live? How will it work leaving my husband? And what about that beautiful little fool I gave birth to?  I’ve only met her once or twice, will she have to come as well?” Still, Daisy and Gatsby get their own afternoon delight happening, and everyone is pretending that none of this is going on.  Tensions and jealousies rise until all hell breaks loose in a Plaza hotel suite. Gatsby pushes Daisy to not only leave her husband, but to refute her having ever loved him.  She’s like–“maybe I loved him a little bit somewhere along the line–but I love you now, does that count?”

No Daisy, it does not count.

Did Daisy really love Gatsby? Or was he just about the most delicious way to spend a sweaty summer?  He really did adore her–whereas her philandering husband Tom Buchanan is a racist brute with a working class broad on the side.


You’ve got to feel bad for poor old Myrtle Wilson, while everyone is guzzling champagne in white linen, she’s doing hard time in Ash City above a car garage.  Sure, Tom Buchanan puts her up in a nice apartment in the city; but then he’ll think nothing of cracking her right in the nose.  It’s hardly a fair trade-off.  And then she’s also trapped by her husband, a mechanic who is missing a few pieces from his tool box if you know what I mean.  But in a desperate moment,  she runs out into the street thinking she is running towards rescue, and instead meets her violent end, being pelted by a bright yellow roadster with some nervous and wasted flapper behind the wheel.


You know I’m just like Daisy in that I always find driving to be super relaxing after a hot summer afternoon spent quarreling over an endless amount of whiskey.  Here’s a tip: if you’ve been drinking heavily, been recently confronted by your husband and your lover, found choosing between them upsetting–by all means, you are not fit behind the wheel.  And nor should anyone hand the keys over if someone says that doing so will calm your ‘nerves’.  Be a man Gatsby, don’t be Daisy’s bitch, you’ve already lost a lot of ground with that scrapbook of yours.

And from Myrtle’s death, shit really spins out of control.  Mr Wilson, deranged with grief  is pushed over the edge by Tom, who takes the opportunity to pass the buck–“Sure it was Gatsby’s car–hey, I bet that’s even the guy she was boning” (Did they say ‘boning’ in the 1920’s? Oh well, they also didn’t have Jay-Z getting amongst it then either, so we are all taking liberties here).  Gatsby, waiting for Daisy’s call–one that would never come, goes for a dip in the pool.  Mr Wilson pops by the Gatsby estate to perform a quick murder-suicide.  And the brutal irony–Gatsby hadn’t used that god-damned pool once the whole summer and bam! Some Shakespearean misunderstanding takes him out before he even got a good breast stroke going on.


Daisy–who I think is a bit of a dick, dreamily caters to Gatsby’s desires–and then does absolutely nothing to mourn his death.  But then again, no one does besides dear old Nick.  And this always makes me feel a little sad.  The man who threw the best-ever parties would have the saddest little funeral ever.  (Although in the book, Gatsby’s dad shows up, marveling at all his son’s achievements, which is sadder than no one showing up at all).  While Daisy can’t be held responsible not living up to Gatsby’s lofty expectations, she could have provided the slightest gesture to honor him.  And not only that, she let him take responsibly for Myrtle’s death; lets the axe fall on a dead man.  Her silence is what makes her a dick.


But it must be a dark day in your marriage when both you and your husband’s extracurricular lovers die violently as a result of some strange tangled sexual web, and THAT’S when you stop and say “we really need to reevaluate our marriage”.   And only the impossibly rich could remedy that kind of damage with a denial and a long holiday.  (Oh yeah…we have a kid don’t we? Guess we can bring her along to).  But I wonder if Daisy was secretly relieved that Gatsby was murdered;   like she dodged a bullet because he took one.

daisy and gatsby    All images Courtesy of Google

Last Train To Plathsville

Oh dear.  This is the danger of a daily blog; the confessional aspect leads to texts and emails from concerned loved ones.  Surely everyone is allowed an off-day?  It couldn’t have caused too much concern, there was a Kim Kardashian joke, an “A-Team” reference, some fabulous shots of Audrey Hepburn, it was hardly Sylvia Plath‘s suicidal precursor “The Bell Jar“.


Plath, 30, famously left her two small children with buttered bread and then popped into the kitchen to stick her head in the oven.  “The Bell Jar”, and her other books of poetry had a small following, but her fame blossomed after her suicide.  (Because isn’t that always the way?)  She was being swallowed into deep waters of madness, where I was dipping my toes in pools of discouragement.  Plath gave up; and I’m not giving in–sometimes frustration can feel claustrophobic, and all one can do is find an appropriate outlet to let that out instead of holding it in.


After writing the blog, I walked down to the nearby yoga studio, and had a lovely class. Once home I curled up with some mac-and-cheese and ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ on NETFLIX. Ben came home early, and watched the film with me, cracking the occasional snide remark but not judging me for taking this movie a bit too seriously, or for referring to Javier Bardem as “hunky”.

javier bardem

Settled by a few creature comforts, I was able to just relax and not worry so god-damned much.  What can I say? I have a big, bruisable heart and I feel and want too much.  I think Sylvia Plath says it best:

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”

I hear that girlfriend, but what are we meant to do with these limitations?  My friend Robin says of some actors, that it is the audition where the really satisfying work is done.  That, even if the part is not won, that you performed within every inch of your capacity, and are still a success.  As it is with writing, whether there is a flush of readers or publishers, that the work is being done faithfully and with great joy.  And so I will never be a sailor, doctor, astronaut–or even a professional writer, and I will probably never get to all the places I wish to see; but what is there to do with this moment, right now…when few things are in your favor.  Focus on the things that matter most; feel grateful for those few pebbles in your pocket, and keep moving forward into this continuous present state.  sitting plath

Images Courtesy of Google

The Mean Reds

This week has been a real doozy.  It’s been emotional and frustrating and exhausting.  Today I don’t have much to offer and I sit in front of the computer screen, frowning slightly and wishing I felt brighter.  When not blogging, I’ve recently been working on a piece for a contest; the theme being ‘sustainability’.  I decided to explore the topic of rebuilding after natural disasters, and my personal experience with the massive earthquake in Christchurch.  And these are not fun topics.  And now I have enough of an essay, and the deadline is close enough that I don’t want to change topics, but it’s not a fun place to visit;  the memories of that treacherous time, the universal idea of disaster and destruction.  The world can be such a frightening place, tornadoes are ripping cities apart, soldiers are being hacked to death in the street, Kim Kardashian wore than horrible dress to the Met Gala (yes those are matching gloves and shoes)…nothing makes sense anymore.

kim k dress

My problems are all definably ‘first world’; the immigration process is moving at a glacial pace, my university degree is gathering dust, and I’m not yet living to my potential.  I have so much to be grateful for–a loving supportive husband, wonderful friends, and an amazing family.  I’ve got a roof over my head, bit of money in my pocket–I live near two different Starbucks, it’s hardly Darfur.  I have a solid support system who act as a life raft as I try not to drown in this rushing river of my life.  Still, why is it that I feel I can’t catch my breath?  That I feel so hopeless that I can’t stand it?

In “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”  Holly Golighty describes her mood to Paul Varjack:

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

All too often Ms Golightly, all too often.  Though I don’t have her problems either.

Mickey Rooney isn’t living upstairs pretending to be Asian.


I’m not a thinly veiled prostitute that has to cater to the boozy (and I mean 1960’s boozy) clients for “cab fare” or “powder room” money.

diamants sur canapŽ

I’m not a former child-bride being stalked by Buddy Ebsen.

buddy ebsen

I’m not refusing a gorgeous man who would love me unconditionally; (and who would one day star with Mr T in “The A-Team“–hello? how could you refuse?)


But sometimes I feel tired, stripped down, like I’ve been emptied out of hope and good humor.

sad Audrey Hepburn - Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

And I don’t quite know what to do with myself.  Holly Golightly reckons that the only thing to do about the mean reds was to “hop into a cab and head down to Tiffany’s”.

AH looking into window

Or if that doesn’t work, a hot shower and “Moon River” on the fire escape always does the trick.

Breakfast at Tiffanys moon river

But what do you do when you don’t feel fabulous at all? When the happy places won’t do.  When it won’t stop raining and you can hardly lift your lips into a smile?


No…seriously, I don’t really have the answer.  And I’m not sure Holly Golightly does either; nor do I think she’s an suitable role model for good life choices.  I don’t think she has the slightest clue what’s she’s doing with her life, and guess what? Neither do I.  She’s just trying to save a bit of cash for when her brother Fred returns home from the army,  so he can gorge himself on peanut butter on a ranch in Mexico.  I know what I want.  I can close my eyes and see the future as I would like to paint it, but when I look around me, I see nothing but obstacles.  This whole big world is saying “Don’t Walk”.  It’s not the time to make a move; though every fiber of my being is electrified with intent. But there are so few avenues where it seems my purpose has a place.

Breakfast-at-Tiffany-s-don't walk

Sigh–apologies to my darling readers for this lashing of  blues and reds on your fabulous Friday.  But I thank you for making time in your day, and for giving my thoughts a place to go.  Your eyes on my words is my diamond-gazing, little-black-dress wearing, pastry eating and coffee sipping in front of Tiffany’s.  And it means so very much.

25044-breakfast-at-tiffanys-sleep-mask_1                  All Images Courtesy of Google

On Target

When I lived downtown, in the bachelor flat overlooking the Catholic Church parking lot, I could also see the apartment building where my friend Margeaux lived.  If ever I couldn’t sleep, or was just wide awake late at night, I would look out my window and see if her light was on.  More often than not, it was, and I’d call and we’d go for a midnight stroll or head over to the nearby Denny’s for a bite.

For the longest time, the only downtown grocery store was a sad little market–AG Foods, with tiny trolleys, limited selection and limp produce.  While I accepted it as being a better alternative than taking the bus to a bigger store, Margeaux really hated the AG with a vengeance.  We’d often pop in together for provisions and always check out the seafood salad with a disgusting little octopus amid the shellfish chunks. (Who ever bought this I don’t know), we’d pass the little seven year old in his tie and apron, sorting apples and oranges (we assumed that he was the owner’s son…we hoped at least).  But the store was limited, small, and boring.  When news hit that a real grocery store was coming to the downtown, Margeaux was stoked, and I felt kind of sad.  But the character…I would argue  But the octopus salad, and justifiable child labour, and the tiny quaint trolleys, the painted mural outside of colorful balloons floating skyward…we don’t want that kind of thing to be defeated by an impersonal big box store.  Right?

The day of the grocery store grand opening, a day we were too cool to attend, until we realized we weren’t that cool at all.  Margeaux called.  “Do you want to see the new store?”  To which I responded before her question was uttered entirely.  “YES”.  And I had to admit, the store was beautiful.  Clean, well-stocked, and amazing.  And fickle me, I forgot all about my fight for the quaint store that was now dark and empty.

shopping pinup

Word had spread sometime last year that a Target was coming to town.  Ben and I often shopped at the Target when we lived in Perth, and came to depend on it as part of our weekly shop.  Still, I really hate those big box stores.  Ben recently got a Costco membership, but then got annoyed with me for never wanting to go there.  While I appreciate a good deal like the next person, I hate the human traffic jams, thoughtless people milling about, taking up space with their giant shopping carts, and the screaming children mid-tantrum, while the parents ignore these red tear-stained faces and continue to compare prices.  How else would you want to spend your precious spare time?

I used to love shopping, that was a legitimate pastime.  Now, I don’t have the patience for it.  I don’t love to spend money like I used to–I call it ‘frugal’, my husband calls it ‘cheap’.  Maybe it’s the uncertainty of our lives, the immigration process has me on edge, as if I can’t settle back into our life here; I don’t want to be too attached to any possessions if we have to leave the country.  As for clothes, I’m more into replacing something as opposed to buying something new for shits and giggles.

But the Target was creating quite a buzz in town–(which really means that we need more stuff going on other than the opening of a new store).  As a carpenter, Ben was doing work inside the Target building–and despite myself, I couldn’t help but ask with curiosity and wonder: “What’s it like in there?”.  Ben shrugs, “Like Walmart but red”.  When the store finally opened, there were fifty or so people waiting outside for the doors to open, and it was actual news in the local paper.

A few weeks after that, my friend Rikie and I decided to check the store out.  We passed though the entrance way, coffees in hand, and…”it’s just another store”.  I said.  I’m not sure what I was expecting…but it’s all the same stuff, all the same shoppers with their screaming children.  In Target’s defense, I think the store had been pillaged by eager shoppers, and therefore, by us being too cool to get inside the minute the store first opened, we really lost out.  But in reality, what do I really need?  There is so much advertising out there; to be this, you need to buy that–product placement is rife in film and television, and it’s difficult to remain outside of that realm of wanting.  But the critical thinker in me knows that I am being sold to–I’ve seen “Mad Men“, I know what kind of tomfoolery goes on behind the scenes.

mad men

There’s a huge part of me that’s relieved.  The cash in my wallet would remain intact, as there was little I wanted to buy.   After a full lap around the store, we return to any section that peaked interest; but it was not nearly exciting as we imaged.  By the time we head to the checkout, Rikie had pillows, a notebook and a few food items. I had thank-you cards, Q-tips, and boxers for Ben.  What a sad little haul.  There was no thrill of a purchase, no excitement to rush home and tear open shopping bags and review the many items that now belonged to you.  There was none of that. But there was also none of the guilt, the buyers remorse, the “did I really need that?” And there is a strange, quiet comfort from wanting nothing, at least nothing you can find on a shelf in a store.

vintage buyers                                                      *all images Courtesy of Google

Beyond “Annie Hall”

My husband and I watched “Annie Hall” the other night, and I figured that I would follow the movie with a cute little review for the blog.  As Ben tinkered in the next room, preparing dinner–I was reading about the film, and about Diane Keaton and Woody Allen.  I just recently watched an epic two-part film “Woody Allen: A Documentary” on Netflix; it was endlessly fascinating. This is a man who basically writes one screenplay per year.  This is a man who has a lots of neurosis and issues, but writer’s block is not one of them.  Some movies are brilliant, some not as such.  But I don’t think that bothers Allen, he just wants to make movies and be left the hell alone.  As a fledgling writer, I love his attitude.  He is not concerned with reviews or statistics, he just gets a story in his head, and makes the kind of film he wants to see.  Of course, while Netflix has some interesting films, it is also an cinematic hospice-where bad movies come to die.  While you could find a handful of Allen’s recent films…(and I think we can all admit his later years have not been the most fruitful),  “Manhattan”, “Sleeper”, or “Annie Hall” is not available.  In order to revisit these films you have to get in the car and drive to the Movie Mart, pluck the DVD off the shelf, all before getting harassed for late changes accrued over Christmas.

“This is why people don’t rent anymore! This is why these businesses are dying–we drove all the way across town to rent these!” My husband fumes.  Yes, we did drive to the other side of town, and sometimes, it’s hard to make it back in time.  In my world, late fees are a god-damned reality.  Like Marvin Gaye once sang in his classic “Trouble Man” there are three things that’s “for sho, taxes, death and trouble”…but I would have to interrupt Mr Gaye, mid-song, “Don’t forget the late fees Marvin”.

Marvin+Gaye+marvin08Okay…calm down, no need to get upset–it was just a suggestion.  Sheesh.

Once home with our DVD’s–“Forrest Gump“, “This is 40” and “Annie Hall”,  we started with Gump and finished with the Apatow comedy.  And how these movies are almost the exact same length is beyond me–Forrest Gump kept stumbling upon moments in twentieth century American history, so the length is justifiable, but what those whiny sons-o’-bitches are going on about for well over two hours is beyond me.  After those two movies; we decided to save “Annie Hall” for the following night.

Annie Hall titlesAnd so there I am, researching before the film, ‘presearching’ if you will.  Woody Allen and Diane Keaton had been in a romantic relationship, made several movies together, broke up, and then two years later, Allen wrote a film that was steeped in references to their failed partnership.   I love this, I love the idea of friendly ex’s.  “Remember how we dated for all those years, and then things went to shit? Well I’ve written a delightful little screenplay that rehashes the whole thing…oh and could you act it out with me?”

annie hall laughing

Though Allen would assert that ‘No, the film is not autobiographical’, Keaton would say that Annie Hall’s idiosyncrasies  were based on her.  Here’s a fun fact for you: Diane Keaton’s real last name is “Hall”, and privately, she goes by the name “Annie”, so you do the math.  (I’m just kidding, no one has to do math here).

As each scene takes place, I am flushed with fond memories for this picture.  I can not even begin to count how many times I have seen “Annie Hall”.  I used to own it on VHS, and nearly wore it out with all the watching, rewinding and rewatching.  This was one of the standard films that would be on in the background when I lived alone for all those years.  Each time I watch it, I find the older I get, the more educated I become, the more the movie reveals itself to me.  This movie is clever, creative, bittersweet, touching and brilliant.  Film critic Roger Ebert said that this film is “just about everyone’s favorite Woody Allen movie”.  It’s simply one of my favorites.

annie-hall-560-allen striped tshirt

More than anything, I simply cannot get enough of Diane Keaton in this film, and watching this 35 -year- old film makes me realize how truly timeless her style is.  I want those outfits.  Though I can’t imagine any good could come of me in full out men’s wear, but she does it well; she’s actually wearing her own clothes, which is so fabulous.  Imagine just showing up on set, and shooing away the costume team, that’s okay, I’m going to go ahead and start a fashion craze if you don’t mind.  This is also a woman who collected her Oscar for this very film looking like this:


She’s also wearing two skirts, cigarette pants, socks and strappy heels in this ensemble.  If I wore this I’d look like a crazy hobo, she does it and it looks so quirky and effortless. Like why wouldn’t you wear all those layers to the Oscars? Why not skip the ball gown and hit up a blazer instead?


As I’m reading about these topics, my research branches out beyond “Annie Hall”, and onto Keaton’s romances with Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, her eating disorder, and other films she did in her early years.  My interest peaked over “Looking for Mr Goodbar”, a film made in the same year as “Annie Hall”.


I read the book in my early twenties and was properly traumatized; the book follows a popular young teacher who hangs out at dingy bars with a good book and a pack of cigarettes, sipping wine and keeping an eye out for sketchy men to bring home for one-night-stands.  The book ends with her rape and murder.  Like…the last line of the book is the last thought in her head.  I then watched the film, (because I’m a glutton for punishment) and it was equally disturbing. The film ends in the pretty much the same way, but of course, the visual is always harder to bear.  A very young Richard Gere is (unintentionally) funny as a spastic street hustler, and Keaton is lovely but ultimately doomed.  I had always imagined that this movie was thought up as some kind of cautionary tale for young single women, but I discovered that it was based on the real life murder of Roseann Quinn.  The story follows the case closely.  This special-needs schoolteacher, in the midst of her masters for teaching the deaf,  lived this secretive double life, and sought her kicks with rough and dangerous men that she found in dive bars.  Her ending is brutal and horrible, and I’m not going to get into it here; but suffice it to say, the exact moment I am reading the sentence with the words ‘vagina’ and ‘candle’, my husband thrusts a spaghetti sauce covered spoon in my face.  I jerk my head back, as if waking up from a nightmare.  Ben is smiling, and trying to entice me into tasting his slow-cooking sauce.

“This is not the right time”, I tell him.

His smile drops, “Just try it”.

“Trust me, I’d rather not follow what I just read with that red, red sauce”.

Ben puts the spoon down, and I tell him about poor Roseann Quinn and ‘Looking for Mr Goodbar”.  When the shock passes, settled in with a delicious pasta meal and “Annie Hall”, I think to myself–“This is how I like my Diane Keaton, safe and sound, and wrapped up in all those layers.

diane keaton four