Magic & the Big Reveal

Grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon. What can be more uneventful?  After leisurely sauntering through the aisles, I guided the trolley to the shortest checkout lineup.

Image result for vintage woman grocery shopping with cart

The cashier is a young woman. She is wearing pastel Easter bunny ears in commemoration of the upcoming holiday season.

Image result for girl in easter bunny ears vitnage

After a pedestrian exchange of pleasantries, she casually, yet conspiratorially reveals her evening plans in a manner of two gals chatting over cocktails. She’s seeing a man that she’s been “talking to…a lot.” Her mouth wraps around the words.

Image result for Women Vintage Party whispering

“Have you met him before?” I ask, leaning in slightly.

“Yes, but this is the first time we’re going to really hang out. We have so much in common; there’s so much to talk about,” she sighs.  

That seizes my heartstring a little bit. That twitterpated-kind-of-feeling is simply magical.  And really, it’s the only thing in life that matters. That friendship connection. That spiritual recognition. When that you meet someone, and you know that you know. Or you know that you want to know them…you know?   It’s like finding other people that seem to share a slim fraction of some ancient soul.

Image result for lovers vintage

It’s also exactly like when Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly discover their commonalities after a brief feud in “Stepbrothers”.

“Did we just become best friends?”

“Yup!”

Image result for step brothers did we just become best friends

The cashier was enthusiastic but cautious. Clearly, she’s been burned before.  “There are guys on ‘POF,’ that just message: “sex?” When it clearly says, ‘no hook ups’ on my profile.”

I furrow my brow trying to figure out what “POF” means. Finally blurting out “Oh, PLENTY OF FISH?”

“Yeah,” she says with just a hint of “Duh.” Obvs, lady, catch up.

Image result for duh  girl vintage

He lives alone. She still lives with her parents. As the owner of a rather sizable dog and rodent collection, she’s finding moving out a challenge.

The date will take place at his home (naturally). The plan is to watch YouTube videos.

The containment of her excitement is like steam whistling under a pot lid.

Image result for lovers vintage

“I’m looking for something lasting, you know? I just want to be honest. I just want to be myself.”

This girl hungry-hearted girl is killing me.  Jamming cans and loaves of bread together in the same bag, while pouring her soul and exposing her loneliness. She speaks with absolute certainty; as if she wants to believe it, but can’t quite conceive it.  As if love is like wanting to live on the moon and wear nothing but flamingo feathers and Chanel.

Image result for living on the moon woman vintage

“Well, that’s a healthy attitude,” I say, reorganizing  the provisions in the bags. “Sooner or later, our true selves come out.”

What is “our true selves” anyway? Under the aesthetics and armour we simply skeletons and skin stuffed with sad stories. We’re red hot messes, emotional icebergs, tangled twisted piles of traumas and tragedies.  Still, we cling to the veneer for as long as humanly possible don’t we?

Image result for vintage monsters

Whenever a relationship was on the cusp of ending– when all those red flags were flapping in the wind as the storm started to pick up, I’d think about the beginning. I’d remember being coy and unfamiliar as you approached intimacy. When you didn’t know about each other’s failings. You weren’t disappointed yet; you were all hopped up on the possibility of finding everything you were looking for. Isn’t that a Feist song? Let it Die?

“The saddest part of a broken heart/Isn’t the ending so much as the start…..the tragedy starts from the very first spark?”

Yes, yes it is, and now I’m listening to the album in its entirety. Let’s go down that emotional rabbit hole, shall we?

Image result for fesit let it die

“The last guy I was talking to, he met me once, and then never texted again. I mean, what did I do wrong? I wish he would just tell me,” the cashier huffed.

Sheesh, what do you say to a single bunny with shaky romantic past?

Image result for girl in easter bunny ears vitnage

Sometimes, it’s not about doing wrong; it’s about not being a right fit. Ultimately, it’s about not having the emotional connection that equates to the matching of ancient necklaces. Or you have the matching necklace, but you get taken you in opposite directions. It doesn’t make less of the love; it’s just that you sometimes just have to go.

OMG, this is SO Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford in “The Way We Were.” How those two couldn’t make things work out is beyond me. Still, the love is unending. In the final scene, she brushes the hair off his brow, and gives him a look that says, “Get out of here you gorgeous bastard before I kiss you on directly the mouth.”

Image result for ending of the way we were

At the root of this fear, is that all magic is just an illusion? When we reveal our “true selves”, perhaps it’s more akin to wrenching the mask off a Scooby Doo villain as opposed to a magician pulling a rabbit out of a top hat.

Image result for scooby doo villains reveal

Where did I go wrong? Did I reveal too much? Too soon? Too late? Not enough? Too much? In the matters of love, a sleight of hand is essential part of the act.

Image result for magician with a bunny vintage

We all want to love and be loved, accept and be accepted. Meanwhile we build walls around ourselves to protect and defend from unknown enemies; we tear the wall down and then…build up new walls, brick by flipping brick. We trust, break trust, fail, fall, open up, clam up and clamor back up to seek that connection.

Image result for lovers vintage

I pay my bill, and wish ole bunny ears the best of luck with her evening plans. I leave the store, my mind buzzing from that conversation.  Love can be quite the magic trick. Some days it’s about illusions, distractions, angles and disappearing acts. Other times, it’s such an inexplicably magnificent experience that it’s best not to question the spectacle.

Image result for vintage grocery shopping

Images Courtesy of Google, and the fine people behind the internet  

Pinot Noir, Popcorn & Piles of Laundry

The 2016 Kamloops Film Festival has come and gone. Le sigh. There’s so much work and momentum leading up to these all-consuming cluster of events–it’s a whirlwind of film, food and friends–full on red carpet and red wine. So. many. outfits.  Suddenly it’s two weeks later, and you’re alone in your office,  wearing a battered old pink bathrobe on Easter Monday, trying to remember every detail for the #KFF2016 review.

For me, the festival is such a fabulous time of year. I tend to immerse myself in all social aspects of the KFF. I clear my schedule, I rearrange my life, I forsake sleep.  I wind up at the Commodore at 1am, dancing like nobody is watching.  It’s like a holiday in my hometown; a fantastic social explosion. Drinking wine and grabbing meals with other committee members and festival goers. The awesome conversations that transpire in between all those film–the tears, the laughter, loads of red lipstick–pure bliss.

This year being my third, I was able to truly organize myself in a way that made the rest of my life seem perfectly manageable. I had learned a thing or two since the first year.  (See: White Girl Wasted– https://pinuppickspenup.com/2014/03/21/white-girl-wasted/). The morning of A Night with Oscar, I spent some quality time in my closet, selecting a variety of outfits to be worn throughout the entire festival. That’s a highly recommended KFF survival tip, put together ten to fifteen fabulous, and that’s one less thing to worry about. Time is tight, life is short, and you never want to be left wondering what to wear at the last minute.

In fact, I received a impromptu invitation to grab a quick Pinot before watching Holocaust drama Son of Saul. Fugitives running from the law have not moved as fast as I; out of my dog walking clothes, and into a preplanned ensemble, out the door, and drinking wine at Blue with my good buddy Tanya within twenty minutes. That was a real proud moment for me. Organization is key to drinking fabulously!

How those carefully selected pieces gathered height and momentum as they began to pile up over the edge of the bathtub as the festival progressed. Like fabric clockwork expressing the passing of time. Laundry can wait-life is happening right now! Although, the whole devil- may-care approach is super charming when you live alone, but if one has to be a considerate human being to spouses and flatmates. It’s nice to take a quick second to do something considerate and helpful before buggering off…again. Another fun life hack, do a whole bunch of nice things before the film festival begins, and then, make it up to them on the other side of those ten days. Better yet, bring them to a movie, and make it rain at the concession stand that’ll also do the trick.

The first order of business following the festival; besides sleeping, slothing and sorting through enormous piles of laundry–was to sit down for a lengthy lunch with Dušan Magdolen, the KFF Chair and long time friend. I adore Mr. Magdolen, we met a million years ago and our first conversation was about movies.  I saw him after years away overseas, and we talked about movies. His invitation to participate in the planning of the film festival was a total no-brainer. Naturally, it’s completely necessary to discuss all the films together over hot cups of tea.

In the end, I saw sixteen out of the twenty films. As promised, I ditched Darkfest, but did feel a teeny bit of frightful FOMO–especially The Witch, which is ridiculous, in no way do I cope well with scary films.  Due to such high numbers on opening night–they had to open another theatre!-members of the Events team skipped Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World to prepare for the Q&A and the Mingle & Jazz that followed the documentary.  This film was eventually voted ‘favorite’ out of the twenty;  it was a shame to have missed it. Ultimately, it was the best call for the committee members to check on everything one last time, before tucking into delicious appetizers and Pinot Noir at Hotel 540 with our lovely entertainer Cathi Marshall.

The first film I saw wound up being my favorite.  Mustang was a truly powerful story. The last twenty minutes was agonizing. Stressful, thrilling, and perfectly gripping. I sobbed out of sheer relief for the characters by the end.  In fact, I kind of had to lurk in my seat as the credits rolled and audience members milled out of the Paramount. Once feeling composed, I made an attempt to leave, and then wound up jabbering incoherently and tearfully in front of another committee member. Sheesh. Maybe just sit this one out–and avoid eye contact as you hustle off to the car.

I powered through all four films on the first Saturday; which wound up being a day of catharsis. Three out of four films made me cry–including the children’s film Snowtime, which wound up being a total anti-war film.  The child I brought leaned over, “I think something bad is going to happen”–I consoled her, “everything is going to be just fine”, and then something bad happens–to a dog no less. Introducing crying jag #1. Sushi at Sanbiki, and the next movie with my parents.  I love me some Maggie Smith, as did my folks and the rest of Kamloops.  The Lady in the Van had the most audience members, which was perfect, as it was also our Film for a Cause–with the Kamloops Food Bank collecting items at the door.

Following dinner at the Noble Pig; (one of my #KFF2016 haunts) I returned to the Paramount for James White and Youth.  James White was a truly devastating film–and won the Ugly Cry Award for me this year.

Other committee members were quite drained after that film, and decided to call it a night. I felt I had to cleanse the palate a wee bit, end the day on any other note. Youth was beautiful, sensual, life affirming, and quite touching. Jane Fonda shows up at the end and devours her scene. A main character commits suicide, and it’s completely unexpected,  and once again I blubber like a baby in the darkness.

Nothing like a Sunday matinee, except I found Victoria to be a bit of a challenge, and gave me motion sickness. It was a really fantastic production, nearly two and a half hours in one continuous shot, but all the jerky camera movements made me rather queasy.  I briefly entertained the thought of leaving, but managed to hang in there for the length of the movie.

No Men Beyond this Point was my favorite comedy of the season; the actors Patrick Gilmore, Kristine Cofsky and Tara Pratt were delightful during their Q&A. Gilmore and Pratt joined committee members at the Noble Pig, and more Pinot was enjoyed. Who needs sleep??

Born to be Blue and wine with my friend Trish, and My Good Man’s Gone with members of the KFF team. A Q&A with actor Robert Baker, and writer Nick Citton. More wine at the Noble Pig.

A Royal Night Out was another favorite; light, frothy, historically grounded. A simply delightful cinematic experience –Brewing Discussion at Red Collar to follow.

Before Macbeth, Mittz Kitchen with Benjamin for lamb and risotto. Met my brother and his girlfriend for the film.

Macbeth was a really beautiful yet severe picture. Made worse by the man sitting a row ahead of us, shaking a mammoth cup of ice before munching on it during the quietist parts of the movie. It was infuriating to the point of hilarious, and being overtired, it gave me the giggles, and I had to leave the cinema. I came back and Lady Macbeth was dead. Perhaps she died from all that infernal ice crunching, who’s to say?  Wine-ing Discussion at Hotel 540 afterwards, made the humbling mistake of approaching former TRU professor Connie Brim, and exposing just how long ago I studied Shakespeare. The table collectively exchanged notes about acts and scenes that were cut or altered, speeches that were shortened, changes to classic characterization. And me, like a deer in the headlights–totally not remembering much about the play, and thusly having little to contribute. When in doubt just say…”Does…everyone like…wine?”, and then back away slowly, and read the Macbeth synopsis on your phone.

(This is the actual moment being captured by photographer Jen Randall Dustin, this guy is on a hilarious rampage about the adaptation, and he is slaying Connie Brim–brilliant Shakespeare expert–with his witty repartee. And I’m all……”I like the Fassbender when he comes out of the water”.

Thursday Double Feature, Oscar winner Son of Saul, a grim and heartbreaking Holocaust drama and Ben’s At Home, a light independent comedy of little consequence. Donuts and warm beverages at PDK afterwards.

A note about the food: there was so much delectable numminess throughout the festival; and I was smack dab in the middle of a clean-eating, weight loss program.  Beyond the Pinot Noir, my official #KFF2016 beverage, I was not participating in the snacking at any of the events…with the exception of a partial sugar -coated donut that I had in my purse for my husband. Walking back to the car, I reached into my bag and took one big massive bite out of the pastry, a la a Black Widow chomping off the head of her mate. Without missing a step, the donut was out of my bag, chomped into a sugary horseshoe and was thrust back in my bag, my pace quickening as I licked sugar off my lips. No regrets!

Final Friday of the festival, Kamloops Art Gallery for samples of Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs, before seeing a film about his life. Followed Eadweard with Pinot Noir and Green curry at Mittz Kitchen and gin and Karaoke at the Central with special guest Meisha Lowe, photographer Jen Randall Dustin, and ladies of the Events Committee, Tanya and Nathalie. We took Bohemian Rhapsody to a whole other level, and it was glorious.

I came home at midnight and then proceeded to reorganize my whole life. Drunkenly cleaning one’s home is a highly recommended activity. It makes the act of cleaning popcorn kernels out of every purse you’ve ever owned a real hoot and a holler. Pump up some sweet jams, and take on at least a dozen tasks at the same time. It’s also an unbelievable delight to wake up to. This is a legitimate #KFF2016 life hack. #Cleanwhiledrunk.

I caught the first Saturday matinee, Anomalisa; the Charlie Kaufman penned animated feature. I didn’t love it as much as I expected to…and there was a very thorough sex scene that had some…ahem, audible qualities, that was cringe worthy at best.

I skipped Embrace the Serpent and the Painted Pony Steeping Discussion to spend some time with my dog Bluebear–(a shout out to my husband, who was in Vancouver for closing, who had taken care of so much during the festival).

Saturday night: sushi at Oriental Gardens and Forsaken with my mother and two aunts.

After the movie, I scuttled over to Hotel 540 for the Closing Night party. More Pinot to be had! The James Welsh Band was a seriously groovy musical group. All in all, a perfect celebration with the marvellous #KFF2016 committee.

Once all duties were over, and the crowd gave way to the late evening, I danced the rest of the night away; finishing the festival as I tend to do–at the Commodore.

Falling asleep at 4am, another festival finished;  a head full of cinematic stories, a belly full of wine, and a pile of laundry higher than the Himalayas.

For more information of the Kamloops Film Festival, check out the website: http://www.kamloopsfilmfest.ca/

 

Photos Courtesy of Jen Randall Dustin , Chris Warner & the  fine folks behind the Internet.

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

Loss Vegas.

Started the morning off right.  Making healthy choices from the moment I open my eyes, and still going strong an hour later.  Solid breakfast, supplements, loads of water.  Truth be told, my standard holiday mode can get a little loose, and I have been known to be a imbibe in promiscuous doses. Total food slut. In an attempt to redeem that quality, I am setting a positive tone for a holiday where good choices will be made.  Good thing that I’m headed to Las Vegas-the Thunderdome of bad choices.

Off to the land of liquid calories and I am on self imposed budget. I mean, I’m not under duress,  I walk this path willingly. Recently I had reached out to Beth McBride, owner of Kamloops’ Herbal One. Just to ask a couple casual questions about her services. No big deal. It all happened so fast. There I am, standing on the edge of a pool, looking to dip a toe, and Beth pulled me right on into the deep end. Just get in the water already! 

It’s kind of like learning to swim; splashing and gulping and sputtering, but with a life guard on-hand. I’ve agreed to document this flail fest, and share my journey into a smaller dress size. What a daunting task. How exposing.  It helps to police one’s self when you have to hand over your food journal to a fit and gorgeous blonde woman, who scrunches her face gently when asking whether the bun I documented eating was whole grain. There’s something to be said for having someone beside yourself to be accountable to.

At the airport in Calgary, feeling pretty empowered after declining the complimentary snacks on the way from Kamloops. High on said empowerment, there may have been a breakfast sandwich. It came with little potato sidekicks, glorious little greasy nuggets, made better when plunged into ketchup. I gave half to my husband and relished in my self-restraint. Not yet anywhere near the state of Nevada and already feeling like a real winner. Nor had I really felt the potential pressures of the many caloric delights that awaited me in the City of Sin.

In general, travel is a calorie land mine. Food has an essential, vital role in survival, while good food in my world is an absolute necessity. Benjamin and I remember meals like we remember landmarks and people. It’s connected to a memory. That white fish in Kalbarri, Australia–served with avocado and sweet potato, enjoyed with a gorgeous unoaked white wine; a meal so good that I kind of drunkenly wandered into the kitchen to thank the staff.

The cannelloni with rose sauce, a glass of red wine and the accordionist in New York’s Little Italy.   Ice cold apricot cider, frito pie and freshly made California rolls in Portland; two for one margaritas in Mexico–served on the rocks with all kinds of salt, served with warm chips and guacamole. Sitting on the beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea, right next to a wedding party.  Late night, freshly made donuts in San Francisco. Poutine in Quebec. Room service in Bali, noodles and ice cream sundaes eaten in bathrobes. Fluffy scones served with cream and raspberry jam in Otarahonga, New Zealand. I once had a mocha mousse with a dense dark chocolate foundation with whipped cream and the tartest raspberry coulis that it caused me to burst into fit of giggles. I don’t even remember where I was. The feast was a part of the adventure.

Carbohydrates, chocolates, ciders and cheeses aside, a well made latte is the crowning culinary jewel. Made creamiest on the Southern Hemisphere, there is few more joyous things than a proper latte in a cozy café in a foreign place. There is no glory greater, or luxury grander than a warm mug of espresso and frothy milk in hand.

Something about the memory of feasting makes me want to cry.  It does make me cry. When I think about these moments I am imagine myself being happy. Making yummy noises and eating with my hands.  On holiday and feeling no pain. Fostering that perfect buzz where alcohol makes you feel fuzzy as a kitten.

I have lots of other fond memories: swimming in beautiful bodies of water, walking in spectacular bits of natures, relaxing on beaches, watching the sun go down while standing on a mountain–and that moment when you want to absorb that moment. Drink it in fully. Take it with you when you go. That’s the lure of travel, that’s the high. That’s when the child inside of you who longed for these adventures beams with pride. Butterfly stroke in the Indian Ocean, in a little cove off the side of the road–sun kissed and in love, everything you really need tucked in a camper van.  Somewhere between where you always wanted to be and a place you never knew existed.

Still, life is always better when there’s food to pick at. When I think about eating–think of changing the calcified habits that surround that ritual…it is rather tough to swallow. It feels profoundly emotional. Vulnerable even. Food is everywhere. It is social. It is a comfort. It is a gesture. It’s part of the celebration. It also has a way of really sticking to your skeletal structure over time, like tectonic layers of some truly awesome meals.

Of course, not everyday is a holiday and not every meal is yummy noise-inducing. We’ve been on holidays when eating becomes ‘something to do’.  There was this time in Planet Hollywood (yes, Planet Hollywood–my husband’s choice, not mine) in New York and the “everything deep friend platter”. We didn’t need it, it wasn’t very good, and it was kind of expensive. The server, who had up to this point been quite pleasant, brings the billfold on the table, smiles sincerely before very seriously reminding us that we were in America, and in America you tip. Ewwww.  I tip well when the moment is merited, but telling me to do something makes me not want to do it.  I wrinkled my nose at that one. It was not a minty compliment to an otherwise fine meal.  The whole thing felt like a huge mistake.

I know ‘food envy’ is a commonly known sentiment, but to me, there’s nothing worse than food regret.  I wish I never knew you calories. They weren’t special like the rest.  When the feasting makes a rather seedy affair out of a once promising romance. And the day to day act of feeding one’s self can feel like such a chore. That’s why I was so thin when I was single and living alone; I was living off of restaurant food from waitressing jobs, fruit and spoonful’s of cottage cheese, eaten out of the tub over the sink. Having a husband has been a shock to the ole eating plan. Mainly that he cooks a solid 90% of the meals that we ate. During my busy periods, if it were up to me to feed him, all he’d get is two sugar packets and apology note. I think of myself as busy now, but I used to be much busier, going straight from work to a rehearsal/meeting/project, buying food on the go. Eating what my husband made, at nine o’clock at night. Time goes by and that adds up becoming another layer you one day wish to shed. Every day that desire to change is alive and well–but then I leave my house and face the outside world. Good intentions unravel, meals are skipped, blood sugars dip, more coffee than water, and go-go-go for ten to twelve hours straight and then eating a big meal on the couch–watching Netflix with bleary eyes. Sleep, wake, repeat. Tired and over-scheduled, there were so many moments where I had to wish to make a change, but feeling stunted as to how. The wishing would evaporate like fog on a glass.

So…Las Vegas, one week into a weight loss journey. There were some wins and losses. Ate too little on the first day (should have eaten all of those hash browns!) and then was befallen by a $20.00 Michael Jackson themed drink at a Cirque du Solei show.   It was like a shot gun blast of intoxication. One minute I am enjoying the plethora of glittery dancers on stage, the next minute I realize that if I close one eye, that there are significantly less dancers on stage.

I hate getting drunk like that.  I don’t have the stamina to reach that level of drunkness and continue on with my night a la The Hangover. I just want a grilled cheese sandwich and a pillow for my head.  Due to my death by MJ cocktail, I proceeded with caution with the booze henceforth. Probably for the best.  The adage of ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ does not apply here, as the weight scale is nothing but a dirty little snitch.

On the last night of the trip, before a glamorous showgirls performance, my travel companions and I went to The Buffet. Who needs a clever name when you have every food under the sun in one room? I loaded up half my plate with salad and wandered around the space judiciously before settling in with my choices. I took two very long and luxurious laps around the space instead of getting a second plate. My arm linked into my friend’s, ogling the feast as we wandered through the edible museum. Anything you could ever want to eat was right within reach. It didn’t belong to me, I didn’t feel a responsibility to consume it. No envy, no regrets. There may have still been dessert.

Images Courtesy of the Fine People of the Internet

Pin Up Picks Zen Up

Rainy, miserable October the second. That transitional crisp, faintly Indian Summer sensibility–that too warm for your sweater by the afternoon–kind of feeling has faded considerably since the first rain fall of the autumn season.

Glad to be at home. Blanket over the lap, dog at my feet, watching the rain from the sanctity of my office window. Bad weather is delicious only if you have nowhere to go; if you are inside, fire adjacent, thick socks and an even thicker book, a hot kettle and someone to steep your tea. Throw in a Lazy Boy chair and a pastry chef, and this is literally how I’d like to die.

Like yesterday, today that was filled with challenges and annoyances. I was interrupted, disappointed, frustrated, irritated…and then I got out of bed. The day unfolded with these intermittent moments of sheer… [insert angry, lengthy snort, and clenched fist here]. I also had a good cup of coffee, hugged my husband, snuggled my dog, had fun with children and some of those laughing until crying moments with truly wonderful people. It’s a rollercoaster. Above all, good friends and co-workers do help blow the steam out of the life’s little agonies.

My husband bought me a book called the “Little Book of Mindfulness”. Rather, he placed it in front of the necklace and coffee mug I was buying in a shop in Oregon, and the sales girl added it to the tab and popped it in a bag, and didn’t eally see it again until we got home. Mint green with gold lettering, the book has small little sections that essentially repeats the message of mindfulness. All you have is right now. The only thing you have to think about right now is your breath.

So I breathe… like the ocean tide gently lapping the sand. I do this when things aren’t going my way, when I’m tired, frustrated, anxious, challenged, confronted, which is all day every day…and then I wind up sounding like a Lamaze class attendee in an 80’s sitcom. I’m huffing and puffing like some ole cartoon wolf, and all I’m trying to do is get some peace

Following a meeting, I was keen to get home to the dog and some leftover chicken. There was an accident along the normal route I take, and unthinkingly took a route that was overflowing with construction and road works. An eternity of staring at the back of a dingy trailer, creeping along Columbia Street in the rain. Breathing deeply. Focusing on the radio. Cranking up the heat on my chilly toes. Watching the windshield wipers. I wonder what the chicken is up to. How the dog is. Trying not to get annoyed, Trying to be A half hour has passed.  I’m spending my lunch break like a Zen master who placed Bronze in patience at the Mindfulness Olympics. All I have is my breath…and every fucking red light ever.

Is this grumpy girl about town thing getting a little repetitive? Look back at the blog. Note the common thread of each piece and how I’m simply finding a new, elaborate and poetic way of saying.

“I was annoyed today”.

I even started my own group, I called it ‘AA’, which stood for Annoyed & Anonymous; held the first meeting…it was just a bunch of drunks.

That annoyed me.

I do fret though, always have. I could worry professionally. My job can be quite busy and stressful. There’s always something happening, and my ‘to-do list’ is more like a ‘wish list’, of things I try to achieve in small pockets of precious time. Any other time it’s kids and noise and variables galore, and sometimes I try to do math with a symphonic explosion of a pre-school age gymnastics class: music, laughter, yelling, crying, and a sea of little voices saying such classics as: ‘Look at me, Look at me’, “Coach, Coach, Coach’, “Teacher, Teacher Teacher”, and “He/she’s Buuuudging” featuring Pitbull. It’ll be a hot new dance craze inspired by the childhood crime of one stepping into a line without waiting one’s turn. It’s very Electric Slide meets Latino heat.

Seriously though. Nothing gets a kid’s back up more than the ole budging the line bit). There are a million little injustices in a kids day, which leads to the pinnacle of kidisms: “No fair”. To use phrase correctly, you must spread out “fair”, and add a twang and a higher octave halfway through. You really want to ramp that whine up if you want to hit a-ir just so. I get to hear aaaaaall about it as I answer calls, emails, solve problems, wipe noses, stage manage and occasionally do math and complex paperwork.

I love my job dearly, I love all those children and the entire staff. But… let’s face it, some times to really be truly productive, you wish you could shut out the world.

Yesterday was my fifth wedding anniversary. It is also the day that our dog Bluebear decided to chase after three massive deer and drop out of my husband’s sight. Benjamin calls me about ten hours into an action packed work day, as I’m about to delve into a administrative tornado heading toward me.

Earlier that day Bluebear had gotten her little paws on a vintage hat that I had saved as theatre memorabilia. Bits of blue velvet and feathers, bits of netting scattered across the office floor. It was like the murder of an exotic bird backstage at a Atlantic City Magic Show.  That pissed me off. She’s like that sometimes, you come around the corner and she’s quietly chewing the face of the Buddha you brought home from Bali. Casual as hell. She unapologetically destroys an irreplaceable item, and moves forward like it ain’t no thing. Ordinarily, she is my best buddy–my therapy dog. She is good to have around, lowers the blood pressure. I feel calmer when I’m with her.  When she stops to smell the ‘everything’ or rolls in the grass in absolute ecstasy, it forces me to pause. Dogs are very zen I find; it’s all about the moment, and in the moment it’s all good.

Unable to leave work just then, I went through the motions with this stunned, numb queasiness, hands shaking and heart pounding thinking that Bluebear was hurt, lost, dead or half way to Mexico on the back of a motorcycle. Dogs don’t know how to use pay phones…pay phones don’t even exist anymore, they’ve disappeared like record stores…which frankly is another thing that upsets me. Now she’s gone and I had been mad at her for murdering my hat. I would lavish her with many fancy accessories to eat, if only I could have her back.

Still, the show goes on, and I work until I get the call that Bluebear is safe at home. I burst into tears, which I was trying to contain; it looked like a weird involuntary watery eye sneeze. Blame it on the anxiety casserole, layers upon layers of stress, baked at 425. You’ll know it’s ready the minute I burst into flames.

Even on the not-so-dramatic-days of the stress casserole, I do get my daily servings of stress cereal, or stress stew. There’s always a mashing of factors.  I get bothered easily, get angry quickly. Like the children, small injustices drive me to aggravation. External forces cause me great distress. The news is a total buzz kill. Gun control is a disaster in the States. Stephen Harper is endangering my beloved CBC in Canada. Europe is in upheaval.  The world seems to be a mess. All that trauma and turmoil certainly puts your own small inconveniences in perspective. But then again, those are some pretty big tickets items to worry about. The environment, the economy, war, famine, disease. Bill Cosby. Kim Davis. Kim Kardashian. Donald Trump. The horror. The horror.

To be a writer and a mild disaster magnet make magic of my misfortune. When I was much younger–I had shared some sob stories with my dear-now deceased friend Monica. She would listen intently, but never grieve always laugh, saying “What a great scene that would make“. The darker the better, the more humiliating the funnier. Her tar black sense of humor helped shaped my own view of myself. I need to remember that. Even under the worst circumstances, I know that there is a funny story there.  As Nora Ephron was known to say:  ‘everything is copy’.

Perhaps it is best to follow the Tao of Ephron. Live in the moment, accepting that the present may be painful, but in the future it will be funny.

*images courtesy of the fine people of the internet*

Bold & Beautiful

Reeling from the loss of the indomitable Joan Rivers, I turned to her comedy for comfort and renovated an old blog in the process.
#anoldiebutagoodie #canwetalk

"Pin Up Picks Pen Up"

Boy oh boy, Joan Rivers. Dead at 81. This one really hurts my heart.  Following the suicide of Robin Williams, which was a proper tragedy….but this is a differnt kind of tragedy.  If life is a party, Williams quietly slipped out the back door. He made a choice to leave early.  Rivers, on the other hand was still holding court in front of the crowd, and hadn’t even finished her drink.  Award season is just getting started.  That seems like a cruel joke from the universe. Her red carpet commentary is the very best.  I no longer have the E channel, but when I lived in New Zealand, that channel was my North American touchstone, and Joan Rivers my acid-tongued fairy Godmother.  Feeling homesick, lonely or blue? For my money, it doesn’t get better than Fashion Police.  

Fashion Police - Season: 2012

I loved her fearless, searing, ruthless cracks. That kind of ‘axe to…

View original post 1,937 more words

The King’s Speech

Though I’ve been a rather absent landlord to my beloved blog, there is still plenty growing on the plantation. Readers are still working their way through the backlog and I’m grateful that I haven’t been completely forgotten. This got a bit of play today and I wanted to share the love #anoldiebutagoodie

"Pin Up Picks Pen Up"

When the deadly 6.3 magnitude earthquake happened in Christchurch in 2011, my husband and I were in a downtown cinema watching “The King’s Speech“.  This film, which went on to win many accolades, including Best Picture and Best Actor, was the last thing I ever saw before the world tried to end.

kings speech yellow

Deeply engrossed in the death of the King George V, abdication of his successor for his twice divorced lover, and the stammering Duke who was choking on self doubt and fear;  I did not think about the outside world. Throughout the film, Colin Firth‘s Bertie is angry, frustrated, and in need of a friend, whom he finds in Geoffrey Rush‘s speech therapist Lionel Logue.  We are on the cusp of World War Two, the country needs a strong voice of reason and Bertie needs to sort his shit out.  I am…

View original post 774 more words

Musical Car Crashes & the Slutty Snooze Button

I’ve gotten into the habit of getting up early and…well, mostly I’ve been going to bed around 9:00pm, and waking up at 6:00am, because we are still sleeping on the air mattress in the living room, and Benjamin likes to watch breakfast television while he has his toast and coffee.  While I was sick, I would toodle off to the bedroom and flop down on the bed for another hour or so.  But then I was getting pretty slutty with the snooze button.

wake up smilinh

Officially committing to physically abandoning the bed happened around 7:15am. Technically, I should be out the door around 7:45am, but I get pretty slutty with my E-T-D’s as well, so there’s a very solid chance that when the 8:00am news starts, I am still on the highway.  The good news is I am very up to date on my current affairs, which is altogether enlightening and depressing.  After this quick run-through of all the death, war, crime, injustice and corruption, I park the mini-van and head off to spent the day with children.

sound-of-music

And bless all these little ones, running around like drunk little midgets, in tiny little pants, crying for their mothers and calling their yoghurt “yogies”. You gotta wonder what the government, environment, the general state of humanity will be by the time these slobbering, sticky fingered, little yogie spillers are my age.  And then…there’s that crushing responsibility of having any part in molding young minds.  And you really wish you had not been so slutty with the snooze button, and had started the day on a brighter note.

ovaltine_old_ad

Lately, I’ve been up at 630am, and it’s pretty blissful to have time in the morning.  After a leisurely coffee, I putter about, listen to the radio, and do a few housekeeping duties, or answer a few emails.  But then I get Girls Gone Wild  with my spare time, and then I have to do an Olympic speed walk through the parking lot to the minivan, and am made to face the news again.  But, I’m far more relaxed, less rushed, and I can take things like, oh the collapse of the American government, with a bigger grain of salt.

female-radio-listener-vintage-radio-01

Things are achieved before work, and then I get home for a half-hour around lunchtime, and I also take care of a little business then as well.  So, come time when the work day is done, I can come home and have spare time on my hands.  Time well spent, I think, drinking a rather large glass of red wine while Googling Ryan Gosling memes.

ryan golsing, sewing

My husband is working late, and I am busy with “work”, which means getting increasingly drunk, while blogging and perving on Ryan Gosling photos.

c7bb4876cbe032c86f34e6e10a71f678

Oh Ryan.  It gives you a little faith in this dark world, seeing  things like this.

Ryan-Gosling-5-GIF

Don’t worry Ryan, I’m not going anywhere…I’ll just bring the wine bottle into the office so I never have to leave you again.  Or…about ten seconds before my bladder bursts.  Finally Benjamin called.  He wasn’t coming home for a while as he was going to the pub with a workmate.  This is exciting news.  Now was I off the hook for making dinner, and was free to cyber stalker Mr Gosling and then do some drunk blogging.  It’s also nice that Benjamin is meeting people, and making friends.  I do wonder how men approach one another and make friends.  And I want for my husband what any woman does.  I want him to meet a nice young man.

80-best-ryan-gosling-hey--large-msg-136752203289

I was pleased to hear that he was going out.  But I hoped it wouldn’t turn out to be one of those “Hangover” type situation, where he calls me from a drunk tank in Tijuana. He had committed to staying up until 10:00pm to watch the very special of Glee, where Cory Monteith‘s “Finn” dies.

cory-monteith-glee

I don’t really even watch “Glee”, this show is like that person you knew in high-school that you never talked to but always smiled at.  Yet I am so curious as to how they are going to handle this situation.  It will be like a train wreck of music and emotion. A musical car crash.  And I am going to be there with a box of tissues and whatever is in the bottom of the wine bottle.    So this can mean one of two things.  That Benjamin has met a nice man and is chatting about men stuff over a few pints at the pub, or that he made the story up to avoid watching “Glee” and is sitting alone at the bar while I sob myself into a Glee-induced Coma.

alonein-a-barHe’s since come home…and wondering where that delicious stir fry I promised I’d make, while I was commending his decision to go out for a pint.  When I was fresh from the grocery store and feeling like a productive wife.  Before the red wine and drunk blogging.  And now it’s nearly 8:00pm and I should have been to bed hours ago.  Damn you Ryan Gosling, you did this to me damn you!  I know I said I would stay here forever, but I’ve got a pressing stir-fry. But thanks for the dreamy eyes and positive affirmations.  They need to put these on the ceiling at the dentist and gynecologist offices.  Because sometimes, your spirits just need a lift.

ryan gosling glassesImages 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.

80c869bf-a2dc-498c-8743-4d5099815eaa_miley-foam-finger-gallery

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?

article-2406313-1B792AAB000005DC-260_634x819

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.

VictoriaMoore_2306708b

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.

1000x1000

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

Before Sunshine

Once, I was sitting in a sauna at the YMCA when I overheard a woman vehemently criticizing one of my all time favorite films, “Before Sunrise“.

before sun

“They just walk around…talking…the whole movie! Nothing happens”.

Nothing happens? Everything happens! Two people meet on a train and wander around Vienna, and talking about magic and memories, about spirituality, travel, life, death and metaphysical energy, and they fall in love in the process.  That’s the greatest night ever.  That’s everyone’s travel fantasy.  I was obsessed with this film in high school. What I would have given to meet a man like mid-90’s Ethan Hawke.  How I wanted to be ethereal and mysterious like a young Julie Delpy.   How I wanted to explore a European city– to go places, to have been places.  To have something to say and to truly be heard.

Still, I can appreciate the woman’s complaint.  The movie is hardly action packed, it is very much a conversation based piece.  There are no bad-guys or major obstacles, it’s extremely mellow.  It’s walking and talking.  But it’s impossibly romantic, and mildly philosophical slice of life picture.  Also, the photography is excellent and the actors have serious chemistry.  Ordinarily I would say something, I like to defend the things I love, but she didn’t deserve to understand how special this film was.

before-sunrise-record-store-perusing

Before Sunset” followed a few years later, and I also love that film.  The original has an ambiguous ending, and so the follow-up was completely necessary and totally satisfying, like catching up with old friends.  Most recently a third film was released.  Sadly it was not released in my city, but I wait with bated breath the day I get to experience “Before Midnight“.

before-sunrise-sunset-midnight

As for today, my husband and I, worn down from the week, had downgraded a planned night out for dinner and a movie, to nachos and rented DVD‘s.  At the Movie Mart, I spotted the series on a shelf.  Four dollars for both films, I’d be a fool not to snap them up.  And so, while my husband played a bit of X-Box, I tucked into the office, a place I have not spent much time, and half-watched the film as I puttered about.  What I love about this movie, now almost twenty years old, is that within the scenes and dialogue are my own memories and aspirations: what I wanted for my life, where I wanted to go, who I wanted to meet.  How this film reflected a romantic version of the life I craved.   I grew up in a small town, and had a perfectly dark and difficult youth.  This movie was so light and lovely that it genuinely brought joy into my claustrophobic existence.   To watch it now, many years since the last time– having traveled, having found love, having grown up–it’s interesting to compare the then to the now.  And it’s the strangest feeling, how you can suddenly feel like a teenaged girl and a grown woman at the exact same time, like this cinematic quantum leap; like being able to tell your younger self: You will go somewhere. You will meet someone.  You will be alright.

Images Courtesy of Google

Seagulls at Sweet Sixteen

One of my current occupations is a contract position for a local theatre company.  I am to collect all the props for an upcoming production.  It involves some of my favorite things: organization, lists and research.  One of the required items was the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull“.

Book_211_635

I feel like this is book that everybody’s heard of, but nobody’s read.  But, this just in, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” is a thing.  But, there was something about it, that felt familiar yet unfamiliar.  Right? That’s deep.  Even thinking about reading this book makes me a better writer.  A better human really.  I feared the book would be difficult to find, but it was surprisingly easy.  When I popped into the book store to pick it up, the clerk highly recommended it.  “This book was very important to me when I was sixteen”.  Now I’m not a doctor, but I’ve known a lot of sixteen year old boys in my time…and I can’t imagine any of them tucked under the covers with this classic.  I’m also not a gambling man, but I reckon teenaged “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” fans don’t get out much in the way of adolescent intimacy.  So what’s this book about anyway?

The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads a peaceful and happy life.

seag

But I keep thinking…how do I know you, Mr J.L Seagull?  And then it hits me, like a glorious beam of light while crouching on a beach, as a gentle breeze blows through your feathered hair.  Of course.  How could I forget Neil? I owned a Neil Diamond album that was a soundtrack to the film version.  I remember being in a thrift store, handing over twenty-five cents and chuckling over a cornucopia of images and ideas.  How they could turn this into a feature length film? Is it just a seagull flying and pondering life? Is there a voice over? Subtitles? Neil Diamond narrating from the beach? And oh Lord can’t you just imagine how serious Neil  would look in the studio, laying down tracks for “Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Movie”.  Argh, the mind reels.

neil diamon

I love Neil, I love his album covers, in fact I’ve had a Neil Diamond wall montage in a few different apartments.  I’ve always loved his serious expression looking back at me.

neil_diamond-moods(2)Though I reckon I was alone in that, after breaking up with my ex, he was standing by as I took the albums down.  He said he felt “kinda relieved” to be freed from his “judging and self-righteous glare”.  Don’t worry Neil, I understand that your genius makes you look like a bit of dick.  It’s because you care so much, almost too much, and that’s why you look like that.  On further inspection, I realized that old Richard Bach, writer of  “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” (How does this seagull have a fucking middle name? Why not Jonathan Livingston Seagull Esquire? Jonathan Livingston Seagull the Third? Jonathan Livingston Seagull Jr?) Anyway, I came across many inspirational quotes that relate to this book.   In the exact same apartment as the Neil Diamond record, \\ I once owned this varnished wood decorative piece that was inscribed with:

large

I bought it, you know, cause it was fifty cents at a thrift store.  But over the years I would stare at it from my bed, feeling heartbroken or lonely…and the saying sort of pissed me off.  That’s just about the saddest thing ever, loving something and setting it free, and knowing that it doesn’t belong to you.  Good for the seagull, for absorbing that sentiment.  ‘Letting go’ has never been my strong suit.  Maybe it’s easier being a bird.  Obvi, I’ve never read this beloved tale, but one would assume that  the novella expands on the lessons of seagull named Jonathan, who I’m sure learns plenty about life and love on the high seas.

BirdWatchingImages Courtesy of Google