Rose Royce

GwYesterday afternoon was an extremely slothful day.  I wore sweatpants that could easily fit another person, giant socks and one of Ben’s shirt. All with a pashmina of course, because after all…I’m still a lady.

McCall's Magazine cover, Woman wearing scarf

I felt so tired that I couldn’t read, write…but I also couldn’t nap.  Which is my curse in life…my inability to nap–I wonder if this is how a Vampire feels about never getting to die.

Ben is happily immersed on the old X-Box, so I curl up on the air mattress with Sex and the City: The Movie. And I’m sorry for the SATC haters out there…yes it’s just horrible, sexist, materialistic, ridiculous…yes, the movies (namely the sequel, which was a bit of a misfire and was vaguely racist) diminished the street-cred of the SATC franchise, but I’ll still tear up when Miranda and Steve reunite on the Brooklyn Bridge. Furthermore, when you feel like all your energy has been usurped from your being…there is no better way to spend two hours and fifteen minutes.


After the film, I ran a hot bath, lit a few candles, and soaked in the dim bathroom with a stack of People magazines that my mother had saved for me.  I selected the Most Beautiful Woman issue…which was…thank you, not me but Gwyneth Paltrow.


She’s such a fabulous dickhead.  You hate her only because you’re not her.  I wouldn’t mind the legs and the bank account, and passport stamps.  Also to call Beyonce a dear friend, and claim Brad Pitt as an old flame, you know she’s got some good stories.


She talked about a day in her fabulous life…and how she ends each day with a bath.  Oh goodness me, I’m just like Gwinney.  I soak in the tub, my knees jutting up like two flesh colored icebergs among dated seventies tiles, with four tea light candles and the faint sounds of Randy Bachman‘s Vinyl Tap, a Sunday radio program that ran with different themes each week. This week’s program was disco-one-hit-wonders. You know, those songs with those complex lyrics.

Get on up on the floor
Cuz we’re gonna boogie oogie oogie
Till you just can’t boogie no more (boogie)
Boogie no more.

I have a real soft spot for disco, the haters can try to bulldoze disco records in rock radio station parking lots all they want, but it’s fun in a cheesy gold lame kind of way.


I mean, nobody ever died from listening to disco.


Though..I think it’s safe to say that someone may have died when listening to it. There’s a difference.

studio54-ny-1978-mandancingshortsMaybe that’s the band “A Taste of Honey” meant in their seminal track “Boogie Oogie Oogie“, that when you can’t boogie oogie no more, it means that you die…or pass out, or sit down cause you’re tired from all the strenuous dancing in platform shoes.


I finished the Paltrow article, got out of the tub and returned to my giant sweatpants.  Though I had spent the whole day relaxing, taking care of myself, I couldn’t shake the exhaustion.  Another classic, “Car Wash” by Rose Royce starts.  It makes me think of this funk compilation album my best friend had when we were growing up.  I am very familiar with “Car Wash”.


In a split second, I went from perfectly exhausted, to feeling as though I was in a bit of a danger zone. I exhale and inhale deeply.  I say aloud to my husband that I am feeling unwell just as he brings dinner to the living room.  I stand up, as if to go for the patio door, suddenly overheated and in need of cold fresh air.  I wrench the pashmina from my throat, and promptly collapse into a puddle on the air mattress.  Thinking I’m to be sick to my stomach, I use what remains of my energy, and get to the bathroom. I catch a quick glimpse of my green face before I slide down to the floor, using a towel as a pillow and panting like a nauseous dog. Ben has followed me to the bathroom, and his voice is nervous.  He suggests going to the hospital.  But I just lay there, panting and feeling like the bathroom floor is the only place I am capable of being.  I loathe the hospital, and the wait.  But he’s starting to sound scared, and that’s starting to scare me.  My eyes are closed and my head is against his knee.  I felt myself actually fading, Ben nudging me and trying to capture my attention.  And all I can muster in my mind is the thought “Please God, don’t let me die during “Car Wash“.    A fever broke, and like a storm it passed as quickly as it came.  Ben helped me up, I changed my clothes, and quietly ate dinner, falling asleep at 830 and not waking up until 700 this morning.  It was terribly frightening, not to feel unwell, but to hear that palpable fear in your partner’s voice, that makes you think that it’s far worse that you imagine.


Surely nothing bad ever happens during “Car Wash”, surely when the good Lord decides to bring me home, he will do so when I’m 102, and listening to “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, or “Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy. Health scare and dizzy spell aside, I’m feeling much better. I’ve still got plenty of boogie oogie left in me, don’t you worry about me.

abbas-15Images Courtesy of Google

Animal House

My friend Chelsey and I were exchanging a few messages about the fact that the house she rents with her husband is going for sale.  What an inconvenience, especially if leaving is not your choice.  I gently brooch the subject: “Could you buy it yourselves?” She says that the house is a cool $500,000.  To which I reply ‘What? You don’t just have half-a-mil lying around?’.  How embarrassing for her.  I said this outright to which she begged me not to spread word, for she feared she’d never be able to show her face at the yacht club again.  And I don’t blame her, she is the belle of the ball when it comes to being a seafaring siren.


But she’s not the only the gal at the club, and to be frank, she often struts about like she owns the place, which obviously she doesn’t because she can’t.  Like…what do you want to do when you want to buy a house? Save for it? Get a loan? You don’t just buy places to keep your expansive shoe collection? Buy a flat in London because you go there once every two years?  Buy a beach house in Fiji, just cause you’d like to go to Fiji someday? How does one live?


This information could really elevate me to a higher level of popularity at the Boca Del Rio Club.  Not that I need it.  People know me there.


Truth is, I don’t have half a million myself, I don’t even have five dollars.  I don’t even own that captain’s hat.  So, what does one do in this kind of economy?  Just take it? Just pack your bags and slink away because your landlord wants to lose the pleasure of receiving your measly rent cheque just so he can make half a million, when you know he probably paid $50,000 in 1960?  Yeah, that’s called injustice and I don’t think she should take it. I tell her to look on the bright side.  “I totally smell a ton a wacky hi-jinx where you can deter potential buyer”.  Oh the hilarity.  “Isn’t that the theme of Animal House?” she responds.


Confession time. I had to confirm with IMDb whether that was the general premise.  It’s not exactly my friend’s case, but I think it’s fair to take those subversive shenanigans and use them as the basis of our war against the real estate crazed owner.  After all, not only did I learn about the general gist of the film, which I saw many, many years ago, I realized that this movie is actually a rather big deal.

 In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed Animal House “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. It was No. 1 on Bravo’s “100 Funniest Movies.” It was No. 36 on AFI‘s “100 Years… 100 Laughs” list of the 100 best American comedies. In 2008, Empire magazine selected it as one of “The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.

So, clearly “Animal House” is a commendable source, and it’s just the beginning.  What other crazy things could we do to scare away potential buyers?  Just spit-balling here, but I think a meth lab would be a great start.


She asks whether I could commit to chemistry classes at night school . I don’t know how to make meth…apparently neither does Chelsey.  You think you could get two attractive intelligent women in a room together and scrape up half a million dollars and a meth lab.  Sadly with us, you’d get spare change and a delicious smoothie.  But maybe that’s the problem.  We’re not bad ass enough.  We’re both married women, we keep our houses clean, pay our bills, and live generally quiet lives.  Therefore, we must go under the radar.  Create super identies, in which we could really do some damage…without ruining our credit rating.  Chelsey will be Anastasia Beaverhausen…


and I will be Shanequa la Fontaine,  and neither of us are going to take anymore of anyone’s nonsense.


As of this press date, Chelsey-er Anastasia is trying to rustle up some rough and tumble boys who can be fast and loose with some cans of spray paint.  This could help with our meth lab cover.


To that end, I think we should get cute kittens to run said meth-lab.  Mostly so we can get on with our daily life.  And second, so if the cops bust in, they’ll be so knocked out by the kitten in the charming glasses and think. “I’m going to let this go, but being this adorable should be illegal”.  Also, because I really wanted to find a way to include this picture in today’s blog.


As for me, let’s just say that  Shanequa’s got her work cut out for her.  I’m going to scrounge up a pack of loud mouthed ne’er do wells. Preferably, chain smoking night owls, that get into passionate, profanity laced arguments at four in the morning.  When all is said and done, we could devalue the property so much,turn it into such an animal house, that they could buy the house for a cool buck fifty.  Wish us luck.  It’s about to get raw like sushi.

3qyyutImages Courtesy of Google

Foam Finger Crazy & the Lime Green Tomatoes

The last time I blogged, I created a rather Himalayan-esque pile of tissues throughout the writing process.  Then I watched “Fried Green Tomatoes“, which was literally dehydrating.

fired green poster

That movie is comfort food for the soul; it’s engrossing, well-acted, set in Alabama in this romantic time (not counting the KKK whipping the help and throwing rocks through window). Still there’s a whole lot of tragedy mixed in with all the fried chicken and biscuits.  And for me, by the time Jessica Tandy tells Kathy Bates that “best friends” are the greatest thing in life, tears shoot out of my eyes like vomit out of the mouth of a teenage girl after a ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl.

fried green

I’d really like to come to the table with something light and jokey–maybe discuss Miley Cyrus, and how my only issue with her controversial VMA twerking, was use and abuse of that god-damned foam finger.


Listen, Miley is a little bat-shit, I’ll grant you that.  But she has been employed since she was 5, working hours that would break a grown adult, her father is Billy Ray Cyrus…plus she’s got a rocking figure, and if I looked like that, I’d rock beige latex and rub my foam finger all over Robin Thicke‘s wang.  You only live once right?


When I came home from work last night, Ben was on the phone looking rather serious.  He was listening intently, but being equal measures of concerned and nosy, we had a brief game of “Is everything okay?”  “Is everyone okay” “Is someone dead?” “Is it your Nana?” .  It’s possibly the worst game show idea ever, but I really excelled at the task at hand.  But it’s not really a fist pumping, couch jumping, ‘in your face’ kind of moment.  It’s just sad.  And when things like this happen, you feel so very far away.  Like you wished you could hop in the car and pop down the street to comfort the ones you love.  Or just have a cup of tea and a chat.  But we’ve all scattered to the winds, and really the glue that holds us together is the internet.  I immediately send some messages, make connections with Ben’s family, who are so much more than in-laws to me.  I say to Ben that we should write a little something so someone can read it.  Ben shakes his head, “That’ll never make it in time”.  Uh, well there’s this new invention called the ‘interweb‘, and apparently you can just send things and people get them instantly.  But that’s fine, grief does strange things to us all, forgetting the internet is a symptom of loss.

I kid, but of course, it breaks my heart.  Especially when Ben starts reminiscing.  We go for a walk, and after a moment of quiet Ben starts talking.  His oft-mentioned memory was visiting their Auckland home, one with a grand pool and a hot tub.  His Nana would always put on quite a spread.  His eyes really light up at the mention of the food, and he always called it a ‘spread’.  Apparently at Nana’s house, you’d just eat and swim and soak up the rays. Then you’d eat an amazing roast dinner with these amazing potatoes that you couldn’t even cut.  They were that crispy.  And she wore delicious perfume and gave excellent hugs.  “She was a good Nana”, he said, his voice husky and soft.  I couldn’t get that picture out of my mind, the thought of my husband as a child, lounging poolside, a full tummy, a face smiling.  I always imagine him smiling.  He has mentioned this often enough for it to make me believe that that was a childhood happy place.  When we were last in Auckland, we went to visit his grandparents at their home.  We had champagne in the same kind of glasses they used in “Casablanca”, and the whole thing was very civilized.


Their home looked dusty, rough around the edges, the pool was empty and the shrubbery had grown over.  Ben saw small repairs to be done anywhere, and it bothered him deeply that he was leaving the country soon and couldn’t do much.  We were days away from leaving for Canada, and this was our last visit with them.  Last night, lying on the air mattress, talking about his grandmother, an invisible thread was spun between this blissful boyhood experience, with the disrepair of their home, the weathering of time, to this moment when she was gone, and we were so far away, and all we could do was remember quietly in the dark.  Ben, feeling bereft and homesick this morning, took a personal day.  I started later, so I could sit with him longer, nestled on the couch, coffee in hand.  I wanted to be with him all day, but didn’t want to miss work, so I thought about getting home for a bit of lunch, and trying to nip out a few minutes early.  All day my mind was stuck on my husband.  How was he feeling? What was he thinking?  Was he coping?  Of course, of all days, fate intervened and I got so busy at work, and traffic was thick, and once I burst in the door and I had all but ten minutes to see my lover.  On the radio was a very soulful rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, which was a real steering wheel gripper.  Gulping back emotion, I park the van in the loading zone and sprint up the stairs and burst into the front door.  Ben is playing X-Box, and pauses momentarily to acknowledge my presence.  Clearly this is a man who did not just hear “Bridge Over Troubled Water” while playing online.  He also feel asleep before “Fried Green Tomatoes” ended, so I don’t think he’s as emotionally amped as I, even though it’s technically his loss that we’re dealing with.


Now I’m bugged, and really regretting having sprinted up the stairs.  I could have gone to Starbucks and had a latte, but instead came home to be ignored by you.  But…wouldn’t you like to sob into my bosom while I hold you like a baby?  Wouldn’t that be a nice use of time? “Is this how you are reflecting today?”  I make that squinty face that many women make, when they are trying to appear hip and ‘with it’, when really we want you to change that shirt.  He’s fragile, I know, he’s dealing with a loss, so he should pass the time as he likes.   Ben makes a squinting face back at me, in the same way most men do when trying to assess whether his Mrs is being serious, kidding, or just fucking crazy.  Not quite Miley Cyrus foam finger crazy, but somewhere in that neighborhood.  “What do you want me to do? Wear a black veil?”.  Well, yes, I know that life goes on and all, but there’s protocol.  But it’s difficult when you are far from home, absent from the planning, the service, exempt from collective grieving.  I remember when my Welsh-Grandpa died, the next morning I wore florescent lime green socks.  I was a young, rather conservative kid dealing with a first brush with death, it was a real ‘what the hell, live a little’ moment.  Some bully made a point of joking about my socks but I was indigent.  You don’t understand, I’ve suffered a loss; these socks are my way of cutting loose.  So, I suppose we take our losses, and bury them somewhere under a bright color, or in whatever gets over those waves of bereavement: talking, working, reading, writing, blogging or gaming.  A good movie, a yoga class, a warm blanket and a lingering hug.  You still got to have a little fun.  After all, you only live once.

tumblr_lsyficrco21qeut50o1_400-horzttImages Courtesy of Google

Something Blue

First day of autumn.  Grey and chilly. A touch of wind.  Everyone wearing an extra layer. I like fall.  I like the spicy overtones.  Went out this morning and did our weekly shop, bought a few warmer things, and smiling at the idea of merino wool and a scarf resting snugly against your throat. I had a fantasy about charcoal grey knitted boots with buttons on the side, and I found them…amid a sea of a rather dismal selection in the shopping center.  Of course they are edging toward $200, and there’s a huge part of me that simply can’t justify that cost, even though my bare feet feel like a silky minx on a bear skin rug.


I had geared up for this big purchase, and in the end they didn’t have my size.  When I was told I could order them, I just shrugged.  I didn’t want to drop a couple hundred bucks on the idea of something.  I wanted to leave bag in hand.  Annoying.  But, on the grand scale of bothersome things, its a mosquito among mountains.  I had to actually creep down the hall to pluck the box of the tissue from the living room, to bring it into the office.  I’m extremely aware that writing is going to open up a whole can of weepy whoop-ass.  Ben was facing the television, doing god-knows-what on the X-Box, and so he didn’t notice me doing so.  Not that he would care, it’s no secret that I like to resolve me things with a good sob.  I cried at the end of “The Guilt Trip” last night, and it was just totally out of my control.  So when it really counts, when it actually belongs to me, when I find it in my back yard, there will be tears.


It was my friend Shannon’s birthday the other day.  Her thirtieth.  Just days before marked the fourth anniversary of my moving to New Zealand.  Four years…astounding.  In a week or so it will be my third wedding anniversary.  And it becomes a rather reflective time as the leaves begin to fall.  I was in New Zealand for a few days when I got word that Shannon had been in a car accident, on the way home after a birthday holiday with her fabulous boyfriend.  She was alive in a legal sense, but was in a coma, and her entire being was in great distress. And I felt like I was living a different planet.   earth-from-space-day-night

Having moved to the other side of the world because of a broken heart and a cancelled wedding, I was already feeling jet-lagged and fragile.  Learning this about one of my bridesmaids, one of my most favorite people in the world –was one of the worst moments of my life.

{Tissue Break}

She’s still alive, but in a different form.  I had only seen photographs before I met her for the first time last summer.  When I went to see her, in a neighboring town, in a place that’s somewhere between a hospital and a home.  I brought along my husband and my brother, and the plan was to drop me off, and then go out for dinner and bowling.  It was my idea, for the fear that the sight of her would shatter something inside of me that I could not possibly piece back together,  And bowling seemed like a suitable diversion.  I went into the building alone, wanting to find a washroom to clean my hands and take one last calming breath.  Of course, I went further than the directions I was given allowed, and I passed Shannon’s room.  Her name on the partially opened door.  I hear a fluster of activity, and so I slink past unnoticed.  Well, it was more of a scatter, I bolted in the proper direction.  I washed my hands, swallowed a grapefruit sized lump, went back outside and called her mother, who was expecting my call.

For those in her inner circle, most have adjusted to a point of normalcy, or at least routine. I had been so detached from the situation, that for me it was like it had just happened.  I was freshly devastated.  I loved this girl. She was like a slapstick comedienne, mixed with Lana Del Rey, and a healthy dose of the musical “Hair“.  She was impossibly optimistic, active, beautiful, well traveled.  Wasn’t the most exceptional dancer though.  I remember going out to a bar with her, and watching her dance and feeling sort-of surprised.  She rocked everything else, but she was never going to win “Dancing with the Stars“.  Which I told her, which made her laugh.  I knew her from university theatre, and we were in Arthur Miller’s “After the Fall” together. She was the Marilyn type, and me the embittered first wife.

after the fall

She taught me so much about the acting process, and her enthusiasm was deeply infectious. I lived with her one summer in this little holiday town.  We waitressed in the same spot on the lake, and after busy nights, we would leap off the dock in our clothes and walk home soaking wet.  We always had a good laugh and honest talks. When I was engaged, I asked her to be my bridesmaid, more specifically, my something blue.  As a vivacious red head, she wore blue like nobodies business.


The night I first saw her was at a party.  She was in a dark blue trench coat, and was terribly drunk.  She kept leaning against walls and sliding down them dreamily.  I remember thinking that if that were me doing so, that I was look like such a dick. On her, it looked strangely ethereal.  When I came across that coat last summer, when I was organizing her clothes, I wept into the fabric.  A few items of clothing got that treatment.  Occasionally pausing to remember the ridiculous girl who tromped around in tasseled cowboy boots and wore impossibly tiny shorts. I took many things to the theatre, kept a few personal favorites, and shared the tinier sizes with the girls I was working with.  Being such a clothes horse, I felt comforted at this fashion reincarnation, that they would continue on in some way.


Shannon always brought things back from trips for me.  In that first week in New Zealand, the strap on the purse, the string on the colored wooden beads, and the pin of a peacock brooch, all things she gave me, they all broke in the days leading up to her accident.  That bothered me.  Tasting that bad omen like it was acid on my tongue.  I’ve kept them, stored away with other trinkets and actually carried the peacock with me, along with a dime on the day I got married.  She gave me many scarves, which I still wear.  When I went to that psychic reading in Auckland, the medium was picking up on a very strong presence.  “Did I know a person in a wheelchair”.  ‘Nope, sure don’t’ was my first general response.  “Are you sure? Because she’s with us in the room, and she’s holding a big bunch of wildflowers and they are for you”.  I immediately think of my passport, more specifically of the picture I carry around in my passport, a snapshot of Shannon I kept tucked in the middle.  Standing in a field wildflowers.  She said she wanted to meet me and travel to Australia and Bali, and so when I went to these places, that is how I took her with me.  ‘I guess I do know someone in a wheelchair’. Anyway, Shannon totally commandeered the reading, and the psychic was saying a whole bunch of stuff that made me sob uncontrollably.  Then she looked at me, and said “When you dream of her, she’s dreaming of you too”.  Ugh, I just cracked like an egg then.  I would dream of her, and she would always be as she was when I knew her.   She would never speak, but would sit serenely.  And I would be crying because I was so happy to see her, alive and well.  In the heat of emotion, I wrenched my pashmina, a raspberry color, another Shannon present, from my neck. Like fog, her presence lifted and then she was gone.


I was able to celebrate her birthday last year, in a large hotel room with her mother and other family and friends.  What struck me while looking at the girls around me were their new last names, new babies, pregnancies, travels. Everyone was a little bit more grown up, a little more refined.  Careers instead of jobs, mortgages instead of rent.  We were all growing up and changing, and on that level Shannon’s journey has ended, though her heart keeps beating.  And this was along the vein of thought that was choking me the morning of her birthday.  I paid my Visa bill, folded my husband’s laundry, puttered around in my bare feet as I sipped coffee and listened to the radio before heading off to work.  And it made me sad that she would never have these silly little things that we all take for granted now and again.  The dignity of independence, the blessing of perfect health, the last days of summer.  And so, as the fourth year passes by, and I am still no closer to knowing how to grieve for her.  Though we are now in the same province, I still feel like on that different planet; missing someone terribly even though you could still sit across from each other, reach out and touch their hand.

shann and me

Happy Birthday, my lovely friend.  May you know in your heart just how much you are loved.

marilyn-monroe-birthday-black-and-white-cake-Favim_com-670370Images Courtesy of Google

Chateau Marmont in the Middle of the Night

While riding bicycles in the park with my husband, my mind was spinning along with the wheels beneath me.  Now, sitting in my rarely used office, I am staring out the window, watching one dark and stormy cloud crawl in front of a marshmallow patch of white.  Suddenly the thought of writing something is like catching butterflies in a net…during a hurricane.  What was I thinking about as I rolled along the pathway, with summer extended into the middle of September, the temperature still blazing at times.


I really anticipated that September would be a change of season, the leaves would turn, the air would crisp, and I would start to wear cute boots and light sweaters.  My life would just melt into a new routine, and I could mold my time into what ever shape I needed.  But then I got sick.  The first time I’ve been sick since I’ve been in Canada, the sickest my husband of three years ever saw me.  I continued with my life on a strictly skeletal basis.  I never missed any work or deadlines, I just ceased to participate in anything social.  I was running on empty, chugging along for far too long.  But it was in the middle of the night,  every night for weeks now, waking up at three in the morning, writhing feverishly, my head feeling like a balloon about to burst; my neck tense, brittle and burning.  There have been very few times when I felt badly enough to think I would never get better.  I began to feel this way within the last few days.  Will I ever be able to shake this cast-iron-clad feeling, dragging it around like a prison sentence?

Sick girl

I remember being young(er), and flipping the bird at my health.  I must have been twenty-one or so, and being sick for like a solid month. Like, having the worst cigarette and whiskey voice in the world, a shattered immune system and was still running around at four in the morning, kissing strange boys and never wearing a bra….like ever.  Whatever, you think you are young and free, and will live forever.  Now, in my thirties, getting back to a healthier place was my new full time job.  By the end of the first week of my new career, I woke up the Friday morning, at three am, feeling as though I was haunted by a viral ghost.  I got through the work day, and spent that weekend chiseling away at my ailment.  We are still sleeping on the air mattress in the living room and so I watched four movies, napped, took hot baths, drank fluids, and felt satisfied with my efforts.  By Sunday evening I felt as though I had licked my illness.  But, once again, three am, and I felt more haunted than ever.


This continued.  And it began to dominate my life.  I missed a friend’s birthday party, opening night of the production I worked on, a special showing of “Before Midnight” at the cinema.  I have declined a number of invitations, and was beginning to feel like the girl in the Norman Rockwell painting that my mother had framed in put in my childhood bedroom.

sickI would stare at it as a young girl, and really feel bummed out on this gal’s behalf.  Missing the big dance on account of a miserable cold.  I thought about that picture, as the clock crept past four am, five am, knowing that soon I would have to go to work.  And this job is such a blessing, such an excellent fit, such an opportunity, and by the second week I’ve arrived on the scene looking and feeling like the living dead and sounding like someone’s boozy old aunty.  To preserve my husband’s health and sanity, (as writhing and profusely sweating on an air mattress on the middle of the night is not conducive to a good night’s sleep for those around you), I started to sleep in the bedroom, taking enough cold medicine to sleep through the upstairs thumping…until I was woken in the middle of the night.  I developed the habit of sipping hot water and lemon, and reading a book on the history of the Chateau Marmont. 


In those moments, potential passages would pop in my head.  Blog topics, vague ideas, random punchlines that I could fit into something, somewhere along the way.  But I didn’t write anything down, I just let it drift in and out of consciousness, as I absorbed vintage celebrity gossip.  And each night passed, and I didn’t write.  I didn’t lie next to my husband.  I started to feel as though I was living outside of my self. And now, here we are, and I am writing after a nearly two week absence.   In case you hadn’t noticed.  And I appreciate that this is a problem.  When I lost my wallet, around the beginning of the accidental writing hiatus, my friend Sheanna reckoned that writing would bring it back to me.  I wrote, and I didn’t find my wallet, I just lost another thing.  My voice.  On a physical and metaphorical level.  That symbolism will get you every time.  Yes, I am a little lost on a creative level.  Yes, there was a time that I was pumping out a rather decent yarn of material for an extended period of time.  I was once bursting with creative juices, a plump grape surging with delicious nectar, and now it’s a little more like that last shitty raisin at the bottom of the box that you got on Halloween, and begrudgingly opened and ate well after all the good candy had been consumed.  But what can I do? Chastise myself? Torture myself? Hardly. My immune system is doing it’s part in tearing me down.  I have to believe that I will fully recover, and that I can always go back to writing, come home to the art form, no matter how many days have passed me by.

  sorry your sickImages Courtesy of Google

Wichita Lineman

Apparently this song is a thing, and it never occurred to me. Although, when it came on the radio, the speaker announced this song, and described it as possibly the ‘greatest pop song ever’, and the first existential song. And Glen Campbell, Mr Rhinestone Cowboy sings it? Ugh. Where have I been? Ben said that he loved this song growing up. I’m feeling very out of the loop. But I get it almost immediately, it is instantly captivating and melancholic. A little sad, and a little cheesy, so it suits my temperament completely. This song seems to capture the image of light dimming into dusk, when everything is a golden yellow, and you’ve never felt more lonely in your life. And I wanted to share it with you.

End of (Summer) Days

The fellow on the radio is bumming me out. It is the second of September, the last official day of summer, and the radio personality is comparing September to death.  While Ben is sprawled out on the air mattress, I’m happily typing away, researching.  Though we have plans to barbeque, and went out for a lovely bike ride before enjoying a quiet afternoon,  the CBC 2 is working overtime, making me want to squeeze the damp dishcloth of summertime and wring out every last drop.  It is reminding me that time is fleeing, that summer, youth, life is dwindling second by second, and soon it will slip through my fingers.  How do you want to spend your last summer day?

Jean-Harlow lounge by the pool

Ben and I are thinking about how to spend the afternoon.  It’s very much a childish…”What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”.  Seize the day, I guess.

bathing suit ball

Yup, that’s what I’ve got to do…carpe diem, and whatnot.  Load up the car with beach chairs, refreshments, a few towels, a Frisbee , your portable radio, and head to the water. Take back the power from old man winter, who’s now waiting in the wings.  Come on gang, beach party in ten minutes!


Ben is napping, which is for the best. When he is exhausted, he becomes something somewhere  in the middle of a Kodiak Bear and an over-tired toddler at Disneyland.  It’s not pretty.  I just wish he could do it on the beach, near the ocean, he could snore lightly in the dimming sunlight, and I could watch the sea water heaving back and forth, breathing loud sighs of salt water.

heart shaped glasses

I don’t know why I suddenly feel so sad.  Perhaps it’s because this nostalgic a-hole is playing the most melancholic number, “September Song“, performed by Willie Nelson.  It’s songs like that that makes leaves fall.

mm picture-4

What’s so great about summer anyway?  It’s a blonde season.  It’s romantic, it’s youthful, the nights are long and hot. Music festivals and bare feet. Windows rolled down and the open road. Naked moonlight dips in black glimmering water.


Summer time = good times. Frolicking, swimming, holidays, road trips, adventures and fun…Vintage Snapshots of Summer Fun on the Beach (19)

Summer means sexy flings, that are often as sweaty and maddening as an August heat wave.  (I love this couple, “I’m glad she likes my giant muscles, because my penis is teeny-tiny“)


Summer is spending time with fabulous friends, and that usually involves cool drinks, and that wonderful ‘ice cube in glass’ sound that chimes in the background of lazy conversation.


Summertime is barbeques, ice cream cones, cold apple cider, and all sorts of beach front food fare…

bettie page eating

Then again, it’s not my favorite season.  I dig the crispness of fall, the freshness of spring.  I like the colors, the spices, the sweaters.  Summer fashion is not my favorite.  I’m not one for gallivanting poolside in my two-piece. I’m not really into excessive male shirtlessness and bikini tops in the grocery store. I believe that short denim shorts are a privilege, not a right.  For me, I do love to dress for an occasion. How often do you get you rock a caftan?  Light layers. Tell that to all the shirtless dudes out there…it can be done. Whenever possible I like to emphasize the slip and slap, of the “slip/slop/slap”  trilogy of Australian sun protection.

vintage beach 3

When my sister-in-law came for a visit from New Zealand, we had arranged to spend an afternoon floating down the river, a pretty standard summertime activity in this region. I asked the night before about what she was wearing.  She glimpsed at me strangely, “I don’t know…a bathing suit?”  As for me, I wore a man sized white collared shirt, black and yellow scarf, and a white brimmed hat with a black band, and enormous sunnies of course.  I looked like an aquatic Diane Keaton, a scuba Annie Hall.


About an hour into the three hour float, Kate was feeling extremely exposed as the floating device drifted down the river. No hat, no shirt, just a bikini and a light white scarf.  As were the other girls on the float, my friend Margaret and her two friends were in swim suits. But they had the means to roll on different sides.  We were in tubes which kept you in quite stationary , and to try to exit would be graceless at best.  I offered Kate my pashmina, which she used in conjunction with her scarf.  I felt terrible that maybe I hadn’t pressed the point that she might like to keep the top she pulled off at the last minute.  I wished I had an extra scarf. I worried whether losing the pashmina took my floating ensemble from a solid A+ to a plain ole B.  If so, that’s going to be a real problem for me.


Later in the evening, I apologized for leaving her unprepared. She just laughed.  “Honestly, it didn’t occur to me that it was for sun protection.  I just thought that you were ashamed of your body or something”.  True, I am not beach ready in the way swimsuit models are, but that’s not really the issue.

hard bodies

I just like the layers, it’s comforting.  As a rule, fall suits me just fine.  When the normally soothing voice on the radio actually utters the phrase “Speaking of death…” in reference to the last day of summer, it fills me with a sense of loss.  I try to entice Ben out to the beach, to a lake, an afternoon drive, but his energy level matches mine.  “Isn’t it nice to be at home?” he says.  And I let go of wishing summer would stay and that time would stand still. Instead I I wrap myself in the idea of another season passing away.

mm nudeImages Courtesy of Google

Sleep No More

It’s Labour day weekend here, which is my favorite summer holiday.  It’s this lovely pre-cursor to autumn–which is my favorite season.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few days to catch my breath.  Yesterday, my husband and I made sloths look like a a spastic sugar-laced playground bully.

sweet-sleeping-baby-sloth-lucy-cooke-IIHIHIt’s nice to rest.  It’s nice to just sprawl out and let your mind go blank.  Let the world go quiet, which has been an easier feat   since we’ve set up the air mattress in the living room.  All major amenities are within arms reach.  Last night we feasted, and drank until when considerably intoxicated, one just had to roll off the couch on to the mattress.  You know you are getting old when the most fun you’ll ever have is falling asleep.


Really, what is the most fun, is not being woken up in the middle of the night.

hepburn sleeping

I’ve mentioned the neighbours before, but my god, MY GOD!  It’s not their fault that the structure of the townhouses lead to these kinds of trouble.  Now, I’m not in the business of telling people how to live their lives.  Stay up all night, drink, carouse, invite your friends, fill your boots, just don’t do it right over my head.  And this is a version of what I said in a little note I tucked in their mail box, this is what I said when I knocked on the door the morning after a loud party.  This is also what I said in my pink bathrobe at 1am, when I rang their doorbell.  I don’t want to ruin your life, but I don’t want you to ruin mine.

vintage yawning pin up

Weeks were going by, and the edges of our sanity are getting awfully blurry.  We weren’t able to fall asleep when it was quiet because we would just be waiting for the noise to start.  Alternatively, we would fall asleep and most certainly be woken up by crashing, panting, tapping, rolling and yelling.  No matter what, sleep was being lost, and the effect was bleeding into our waking life.  The night before my wallet disappeared I made another pink robed appearance at their front door.  This time there was no politeness; it was spitting, sputtering, venomous.  My shaking hands reaching out t, as if I was choking an invisible midget.   “What are you even doing in there?


And that was a legitimate question, as Ben and I had a solid month to make a plethora of guesses.  The sixteen year old at the door, pops her hand on her hip defensively, “Well, I’ve got my siblings here, and they’re retarded“.   I’m not sure how to take that…’like that movie was so retarded’ retarded, or are you being literal and non-PC?  I don’t even have a response, I just start sobbing, and repeating “I’m so tired”, “I’m so tired”.  The girl is mildly apologetic, and her friend’s pop up behind the partially opened door.  Her mates explain that they are no making noise, they are all sitting quietly on the sofa.  So this means that my husband and I have mutual schizophrenia, and share this hallucinations the same way twins are a made-up language.  “Well, I’m not standing here because I am sleeping soundly” I spew.  Her indignation rises and she goes off on me, that she and her 56 year old grandmother, and all these retarded children were going to be kicked out and homeless because of our complaining.  “Oh, and she’s a pregnant sixteen year old’, did I mention that?  “Are you happy? We’re going to be homeless, and I’m pregnant, where am I going to go?”  Well, from the sounds of it, you’d have a good crack at a reality television program.


We had not yet made a former complaint, we were trying to take care of it ourselves.  I don’t say this, I just say that ‘it’s not my fault’, I just want to sleep, I’m not asking for the moon here.  The following night, the noise was as worse as ever; our complaints meant nothing, their landlord’s threats meant nothing.  I cannot express how truly desperate Ben and I felt, desperate and despondent, as if we would never sleep again.  Anxiety was at a fever pitch, I was weak with helplessness.  Wandering through the house at three in the morning, I kind of fumbled in the hallway, and dropped to my knees.  I was so tired, so unnerved, that I wondered if this was what dying felt like.  And from the anxiety stemmed white hot anger, blood red rage.  This my friends, was a bit of an emotional danger-zone.

night terrors

Having lost my wallet, being kept from sleep, and knowing the I’d have to wake up early to drive to another city for a specialist appointment/buying trip made me extremely tense.   As an added bonus, the doctor said one of the most dreaded phrases ever:  “I don’t like the look of that, not one bit”. There’s nothing quite like having potentially cancerous material dug out of your leg on virtually no sleep, and then searching for extremely particular pieces of furniture.  It’s not my holiday of choice, frankly I’d prefer an Alaskan Cruise.  Anyhow, on the drive home, (my husband took a personal day to accompany me, bless him), Ben declared that he was going to set up the air mattress in the living room.  And so he did, and there we’ve stayed.  We might sleep in the living room forever if it means we sleep soundly, and wake up smiling.

vintage wake up smilingImages Courtesy of Google