Pretty Woman & the Full Jackie O

I see ankle boots are a bit of a thing for fall. Frankly, I’m not thrilled. Aren’t they always in fashion?  I remember feeling vaguely unsatisfied with the boot styles last year as well. Every time the summer light starts to fade and the crispness of fall sets in, I venture out into the world to look for a classic knee high black boot to wear with oh, I don’t know, everything.  Either I can’t find what I’m looking for, can afford what I’m finding, or–it just doesn’t look as you imagine it. When I saw it on Jackie Kennedy, it looked a bit sleeker–a bit slimmer.

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When I go for the full Jackie O, I always feel more like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man from Ghostbusters.  The great gaping divide between how you want to look,  what you think you look like, and how you actually look can be quite alarming when that little Bermuda Triangle of expectation and reality collide.

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First of all. Why is the average changing room so drab? Audrey Hepburn wouldn’t look good in florescent lighting, so what hope is there for the average woman? Down to the socks and underwear–confronting our figures in a cramped, shadowy spaces bathed in unflattering light? The sounds of chatter, babies crying, toddlers sprinting through the racks, some upbeat non-descript pop song playing just a little too loudly in the background.  Cowering in the changing room at war with the fabric, the buttons, the zipper at it’s height of resistance.  Wedged into a dress/bathing suit/jeans–whatever it is that makes you feel like fat Elvis trying to fit into a little girl’s dress.

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Customer service is a dying art, and odds are, no one is coming to check on you. Put your own clothes back on and venture out into the store–avoiding the pictures of the models looking far better than you in the very clothes that you were wearing. Either buy nothing or something that you don’t really love. It can feel very, very grim.

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Shopping for a specific item can be such an annoyance. Like when you get a job at a place with a very specific dress code? Everyone must wear khaki pants! What better way to spend time and money: on clothes you hate as .for a job you need but possibly don’t want. Of course, khaki pants aren’t really a thing and now you have to roam from store to store searching for some vague equivalent. Worse yet, shopping for bigger clothes after a weight gain. Although, you didn’t really know that you gained weight, because you haven’t been paying attention. You head off to the change room with a size 8 and then require a 10, 12, 14. A most deliciously heinous feeling, trying to wedge one’s cheese filled sausage legs into fabric tubes, coming to quite the realization in a very public arena. Fuck it– I’ll have better luck with sizes at the food court, just going to wear ponchos and yoga pants for the rest of my life.

Image result for girl in a poncho vintageThough I love fashion, glamour, style, and elegance–shopping is not my favorite task. For that reason, I made an excellent personal shopper and was successful in retail.  I really tried to help a sister out–finding an outfit for a wedding, funeral, job interview, date, holiday, party, event with a lot of love, good humor and the occasional hug. Tears were a regular occurrence, as were self-deprecating remarks that usually start with “I hate my…” and end with “thighs, arms, belly, etc, etc, etc”. The key is to keep customers in the change room–bring them outfits that suit their body type and explain all the ways to mix and match. Make it fun, keep it light, and when necessary, a  generous dose of tough love.  Pull yourself together, god damn it–Leave your emotions at the door–and just find some fucking pants. 

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When I encouraged body confidence to others,  I avoided taking in my own reflection in the many mirrors around the store. The agony of a conflicted figure, feeling physically inconsistent with not only your sense of style, but your mental self image. Who is the real me? What do I really look like? How am I perceived by the outside world?  If the reflection is to your dissatisfaction, what is the option? Continue on with the self loathing or shift e gears? Along the way to weight loss, the thought of giving up will enter your mind a million times. If discouraged, frustrated, or exhausted-when you can’t do another stupid squat or count another calorie you need to reconnect with your “why”. Health and mental wellbeing is a noble motivation–but sometimes it’s not an accessible visual like: “Audrey Hepburn in a summer dress. Audrey Hepburn in a summer dress. Audrey. Hepburn. in. a. summer. dress”.

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A year since I began the Herbal One program, I’ve lost 42 pounds and 52 inches. It’s been a time of enormous change, growth and grief. My three weekly visits with Beth and Elisha have whittled down to one, but the beat goes on. I know now that it’s an on-going, never ending process.  Like Sisyphus, the rock and that hill.  Keep pushing–forever and ever.

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Poking around Winners on Labour Day morning, picking up a few pieces to update the professional wardrobe. After three years of working with children in a preschool and gymnastics club, it’s been a lot of stretchy pants and loose layers.  With a new job ahead of me, it’s time for a few fresh touches to the ole closet. I haven’t really had any kind of post-weight loss Pretty Woman shopping montage moments. Mostly I’m shopping in my own closet, wearing items that have been collecting dust on the lowest shelf. Now, that they all fit, I’m really getting a sense of just how long it’s been since I wore them–one pair of jeans that had a whiskering effect  made it very clear that it was not to be matched with this year’s ankle boots.

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Interestingly enough, despite all the life-changing results- I still head straight to the plus sizes in the store. It’s like driving to your old house after you move across town. Taking clothes that are way too big to the change room or dismissing something as too small and it fitting perfectly.  Or the irrational fear of gaining aaaaall the weight back after eating too much bread or skipping exercise for one day.  Ultimately, it’s my brain catching up with my body amid breaking long standing habits, exorcising past pains, and discovering whiskered jeans buried deep in the closet.  I wonder if I would suit ankle boots after all? An option worth exploring I suppose–important to question everything.  It’s the eternal adjustment to the reflection’s metamorphic alteration. Forever seeking the perfect fit, when expectation and reality reconcile with one another once more.

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Images Courtesy of Google etc.

 

 

 

Christmas Conspiracy Theories & The Truth about Claus.

I see old childhood photographs of myself with Santa Claus, and I look pretty tense. I mean, this is Santa Claus. He’s revered in books, film, commercials, and television specials. He decides who gets presents, and what kind of presents they get. All knowing, all seeing; this is a man who can make things happen.

Mother of Pearl, imaging meeting Audrey Hepburn and Santa Claus at the same time?  If I were that kid, I would be grateful for that bonnet for keeping my brains from exploding clean out of my darling little ringlets.

Meeting Santa is a huge deal; it’s like a job interview with a celebrity. Strong posture, beauty pageant smile, penetrating eye contact. Be sure to finish with a firm handshake and you’ve sealed the deal. If your name appears on a naughty list, it was game over. Let nothing derail plans of new Barbie dolls and her many fabulous accessories.

My older brother was insistent on blowing the whistle on the whole Santa fallacy. He’d use reason and logic to debunk Santa’s delivery schedule. “Even with the time zones and the International Date Line. It’s impossible”.

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Licking my lips nervously, I sputtered feeble arguments, but to no avail. His eyes narrowed conspiratorially, “Ever notice that Santa has the same handwriting as mom?”  No Anthony, seeing that I’m in primary school and not a seasoned forensic analysis and handwriting expert, I hadn’t noticed. My bad. I was too dazzled by the bright and shiny packages. My faith was waning, my brother’s rationale had planted a seed of doubt in my mind. The anxiety! The stress! How could I have a family of my own, not knowing whether Santa would deliver toys to my sleeping children? Should I have some extra presents on hand, just in case Santa’s a no-show?

vintage Santa Christmas Coca Cola ad.     Does anyone else find it odd that this boy child is in pink pajamas?  This was a 50s ad, and pastel pink and blue were very much gender specific colors. Heck it's still that way in the 21st century!  Many of the old stereotypes have been removed, but gender specific colors are still pretty prevalent. imo:

Like a frantic detective obsessed with the case, I was rapidly unraveling. I was going to solve this mystery or else. My young forehead was tattooed with frown lines from all the worrying and hang wringing. I turned to my mother for advice, but her vague testimonies about Santa’s legitimacy were frustrating at best. Airily she would say, “You believe what you want to believe”. If this had been a gritty crime drama this would be the point where I would reach across the table, grab the withholding witness by the collar: “Don’t jerk me around Mac, just give it to me straight”.

I was desperate, reasoning like a discouraged hostage negotiator, “Listen, I don’t care, either way I just need to know”.

“You believe what you want to believe”.

I set an action plan in place. I would skip sleep on Christmas Eve and stake out the scene.

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Listening for the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof, I wondered what I’d do if I saw him. What would I say? Hello? Thank you? My regards to Mrs. Claus? Be sure to peruse our fine selection of milk and cookies? He never came. Maybe it was my mother lurking outside of my bedroom door that kept him away. Like magic, the presents were tree-side anyway. My exhausted parents clutching coffee cups for life support, and glaring at me with sleepy eyes. “Now do you believe?” my mother yawns. I got everything I wanted, but not the truth. That would come later, in an elementary school classroom, when a spontaneous, teacher-lead conversation explored how and when we found out about Santa Claus. The children casually discussing their revelations as I sat there dumbly, eyes screaming behind my grim pallor and sweaty upper lip. The sting of the truth, the humiliation of holding on for a little too long. How cool and good humored my peers were about it. Knowing that there was a little less magic in the world was a quiet devastation;  still I was grateful that I once wanted so badly to believe.

Shirley Temple - ciao! newport beach: Very Vintage Celebrity Christmases:

Images Courtesy of Google, Pinterest, & the Internet at large.

Lights Out.

Winter is starting to creep in.  It’s pitch black by four pm, and the rest of the day is grey. No snow yet as of Saturday morning, but you just know that nasty bitch is coming for you.

Chilly morning spent in a quiet dark house. Radio off; tiptoeing in the kitchen, making coffee. It’s still quite early, and the odds are that Benjamin will snooze for at least two more hours. A sleeping husband, a hot coffee, a warm blanket, and a mellow dog content to nestle beside me on of the sofa. Pretty delicious combination if you ask me.

My social media newsfeeds are filled with Paris: reports, opinions, comments and loads of political propaganda. The death and injury toll grew overnight. My heart feels unbearably heavy…not just for Paris but for the state of the world. School shootings, online bullying, rape culture, extreme poverty, the threat of terrorism, actual terrorism, the unreliability of the media. The Kardashians. Global warming.  It’s all so terrifying. It’s like the planet is a pressure cooker on roller skates trying to cross a tight rope over a pit of wildly infectious vampire zombies. The odds are just not looking good as to whether it can get across safely.

It makes me sad. It makes me feel helpless. Every news story you hear about any violence is depressing, but the City of Light is especially upsetting. I’ve never been to Paris, and I’m quite keen to go.  It’s been high on my list for so long, it just hasn’t happened yet. Waiting for the right time to include it in an epic European adventure. Just me, the Bear, three to six weeks, two back packs and a couple of train passes.   Benjamin and I have gone on many adventures in the last 18 months–New York, Mexico, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Bend and Vancouver–with a trip to New Zealand planned for Christmas. I keep envisioning that Europe would be up next up for us. We take on extra projects, work weekends, and are always striving to get closer to the goal of seeing more of the world. It’s an insurmountable project and the investment has little value in regards to a mortgage or mutual funds. Sometimes travel is the only thing that matters, sometimes you wonder what it’s all for.  Still, there’s no place I’d rather be than to my next destination.

I think about the state of the world and the age of my biological clock and it all feels like one hell of a tight time line. Wondering how my time is best spent. Sure, I could pop out a wee one and then in twenty years go see what’s left of the world. That’s quite the gamble. There’s also the issue of what we leave behind for said offspring. Between all the worlds ailments…there’s not much more that can be said or done.

I am my truest self on the road. I am alive in a new place; all I have to do is eat and explore, take pictures and breathe.  When Benjamin and I were first married and heading off to Australia, we planned for a few weeks on the South Island. We would start with Christchurch and finish with a road trip. Then an earthquake happened. It was like the clocks had all stopped. The tremors forced a sudden self-governed state. Everyone evacuated, dogs loose on the streets, traffic at a stand still. Everyone trying to move forward.

It was easy as catching a Tuesday matinee on a rainy morning. Getting comfortable in your seat. Getting lost in a story. We had been exceptionally happy in Christchurch. Our trip was so pleasant. We had had a lot of immigration/visa related stress, and that had come to the end. I remember sitting on a bench outside of the Cathedral. There was a marketplace set up, and people milling about. Benjamin is buying a hat. I’m sipping on a latte, watching the passersby and catching short snippets of strange conversations.  An accordionist is on the church steps, playing music from Amelie. The whole thing was very Kiwi-Parisian. It was one of those rare moments in life when you feel feather light. No pain, no fear, nothing to avoid, no schedules, no agendas, no worries. To me, that’s pure bliss, the high of every holiday; to be a stranger in a foreign place.

Suddenly. Suddenly, we’re running though a forest, splashing through dirty water. Being pulled along by your wild eyed husband.

Hurry up.

Move faster.

Please.

Leaving the car behind and rushing across a broken bridge. This mass exodus of stunned survivors. Trying to get home. Trying to get to their people. Calls weren’t going through, and there was no way to know how anyone was. The crack in the radio announcer’s voice when he tried to get a message to his wife. They played a lot of happy songs. Bob Marley and whatnot. I wonder if there is pre-recorded music for states of emergency. Nothing sad or sentimental. Pleasant, respectfully mellow–maintaining positivity, but not so excitable that you’d need to break out the ABBA.

It’s the apocalypse after all, not Mardi Gras.

People can survive, cope, recover…it’s amazing really, the resiliency that forms when there is a sense of purpose. Supporting your neighbour, establishing a game plan, pooling resources, tending to children, collecting water, preparing food, developing a small community to weather the storm.  Treading water until things settle, or until the shock wears off and everything becomes a new kind of normal.

Obviously, a terrorist attack and a natural disaster aren’t from the same source. Terrorism is hateful, violent deliberate action–a blood spattered spectacle to capture attention and assert authority. A natural disaster is a brute force in itself, and there are no means to reason with it. Its intentions are not cruel though-that’s the only difference.  The consistent thread is how the worst of circumstances can bring out the best in people, the abundance of generosity. Of course, it also brings out the worst–but I’m trying to keep things borderline ABBA here.

The individuals who orchestrate violent acts, or those who abuse the circumstances of natural disasters (the looters, the thieves who scoured the news for names of the dead and pillaged abandoned houses) are without an explanation that I can provide. How they justify their actions to themselves is beyond comprehension. That’s not what we should focus on anyway. I think about the little boy standing on the sidewalk with a working garden hose, a bar of soap and one towel, offering an opportunity to wash your hands and face. People with access to power setting up movie nights and charging stations. Opening up their homes to those who were without. Humanity is a mixed bag. Is it naïve to think that people are more the spare towel and soap kind over the gun toting extremist kind?  I want to believe in kindness, in fairness, in forgiveness. I want to believe that Paris is exactly how Audrey Hepburn left it.

This attack exposes my selfish desperation to travel the world in its entirety, and the deep-seeded fear that I will never see the destinations I have yearned for since my youth. That the planet is spiralling out of control, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. It makes me weep alone in the darkness of my living room.

The sleeping husband and an obligation free Saturday was a tender mercy; I decided to soothe my blues with a little cinematic therapy.

Amelie is the obvious choice. It’s a sweet and melancholic love story that celebrates the small pleasures in life. It is also a perfect postcard version of Paris.

Amelie is lost and lonely; she finds her purpose in helping others…not necessarily in a practical way, but by appealing to their own secret small pleasures. She discovers this passion through a strange turn of events: hearing the news of Princess Diana’s fatal car accident in Paris causes her to drop her perfume lid, which led to the discovery of a box of childhood trinkets. She shuts off the news and focuses on returning the box to it’s rightful owner. Yes, life can be futile, bleak, forbidding and unfair…but there is something to be said for tiny treasures. Joy is endless when you insert yourself in the lives of others to bring the thinnest shred of comfort.

Colorful and whimsical, sincere and quietly optimistic, Amelie is comfort food for the soul. As always, Paris looks divine, and the length of the movie usually feels like a little holiday. Today fat tears fall down my cheeks as I watched Amelie gallivant all over. Crying because I love that city; because I don’t know it and wish that I did. Crying because darkness engulfed the City of Light. Crying for fear of suddenly; afraid of losing what little control I actually have left.

Images Courtesy of Google, Ashcroft & the Fine People Behind the Internet

Thick & Thin

Saturday afternoon of a long weekend.  This time off was so necessary. After a hectic, stressful, busy, emotionally challenging week I am feeling a bit like a filthy t-shirt you wear for the entirety of a four-day music festival.  I’ve seen all kinds of shit.  It was like crawling through the desert on one’s belly, the oasis always beyond one’s reach.  Then you find out that the desert is filled with landmines and the oasis is just a mirage.  Still, as all things must pass, the stress did recede like the ocean after an angry storm, and all was calm once more.  This weekend is the Richard Gere to my Debra Winger.

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To take my Officer and a Gentleman metaphor one step further…this week has been the Louis Gossett Jr to my Richard Gere, forever riding my ass and testing me to the brink of sanity.

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It’s like…”Thanks a lot universe, what did I ever do to you?”

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Leading up to the long weekend, Benjamin and I were making a lot of plans.  ‘Let’s go on a mini break’, “Let’s go to the lake’, “Let’s see people’. And now, past lunchtime on Saturday it’s like…. ‘Let’s never leave the couch ever again”.

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After the longest winter ever, the long work hours and Netflix on the couch I’m feeling…like I could use a little bit of a detox.  But then I hear about no bread, dairy, alcohol or caffeine, and I feel instantly bored.  As for activity, I love to be tricked into exercising.  I love my yoga, and a good long walk, but anything with a higher intensity level is too much to bear.  My favorite thing to do when I have free-time is research and write blogs.   I spend an inordinate amount on time on the computer, social media updates and promoting different events.  Endlessly searching Google images for the right picture to capture my particular vision.  It’s satisfying mentally, but it’s no cardio, and does absolutely nothing for my core.  I think about exercise more than I actually exercise. I think about it as I’m drifting off to sleep.  I’ll get up an hour early and exercise.  That’s what I’ll do.  And then the morning comes and I hit the snooze harder than I would hit the gym.  I should really make time, take up jogging, do it everyday.  Then again, nobody looks happy whilst running.  In reality, I’d only run if I was being chased.

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I mean, I walk briskly from the parking lot to the office, I move around a lot of work and I go to yoga class a few times a month.  But that’s hardly a calorie burner.  My friend invited me over and over to come to kick-boxing. The timing was difficult, but then I finally made it and it was awesome.  I resolved to buy a punch card, go all the time, be fitter, be better, perfect my round-house kick.  And then I took on additional projects and have never been available since.  Free time is feeling scarce, and I do need to maintain my creative life.  Thought admittedly, the writing doesn’t take nearly as long as searching for pictures.  Example, I’ve spent fifteen minutes searching “Baby Got Back”.  But aren’t you glad I did?

rvCPm_TAF7UlYou have to credit Sir Mix-a-Lot for being a true feminist, a pioneer for positive body image.

  • “I’m tired of magazines/Sayin’ flat butts are the thing”
  • “I ain’t talkin’ bout Playboy/Cause silicone parts are made for toys”
  • “So Cosmo says you’re fat/Well I ain’t down with that!”
  • Yeah, baby … when it comes to females, Cosmo ain’t got nothin’ to do with my selection. 36-24-36? Ha ha, only if she’s 5’3″.
  • So your girlfriend rolls a Honda/Playin’ workout tapes by Fonda/But Fonda ain’t got a motor in the back of her Honda

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Sir Mix-a-Lot is a true poet.  And he’s right about Jane Fonda.  She doesn’t have much going on in the Honda of her Fonda.  Led to believe that Mix-a-Lot ran a support group for big-bootied ladies,  I dialed 1-900-MIXALOT, to talk about my body issues.  When he said, “To the beanpole dames in the magazines/You ain’t it, Miss Thing!”, I really felt a kinship.  I felt empowered. I was trying to do as Sir Mix-a-Lot says, and “kick them nasty thoughts”, but I think I’ve misunderstood what he meant by ‘nasty’.  Unfortunately, the representative was rather crude, kept referring to his anaconda, and ‘doubling up on my juicy double’…whatever that means I am still trying to figure out.  I’m pretty sure it was Drake; he is long, strong and is always down get the friction on.

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Really, if you look at the lyrics with a critical eye, the rapper is still telling you to get a sweat on.  After all, he likes to keep [his] women like Flo Jo.

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Goodness me, Flo Jo was a fit lady, known as the fastest woman in the world. Wonder what her secret was, besides God-given talent and speed? The fastest woman in the world also had the longest nails in the world.  Pretty difficult to tuck into recreational snacking with those Freddy Kruger fingers at the helm.

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It’s a balancing act trying to please this body-conscious performer.  According to the Gospel to Sir Mix-a-Lot: “You can do side bends or sit-ups/ But please don’t lose that butt”.  He also heeds a warning: some brothers will play that “hard” role, and try to tell you that the butt ain’t gold.  Don’t worry, remember your affirmations ladies, your butt is plenty gold.  When non-big butt enthusiasts “toss it and leave it”, you can count on Sir Mix to “pull up quick to retrieve it”.  That’s comforting.  But it’s a lot of pressure to live up to.  Imagine deliberately trying to have a fat ass?

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The likes of Twiggy, Audrey Hepburn and Kate Moss were an anomaly in a world that once leaned towards the full female figure.  Certain retro advertisements were certainly geared towards curvaceousness as sexy, and skinny as lacking.

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Of course, for every Sir-Mix certified ad encouraging curves, there’s evil advertising that says…”you’re fat, stop that”. Loving this ad below, the clever ad execs behind this gem offered a pearl of a tagline for this product. Shape. “Stop eating”.  Subtle.

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Thank God that Warner’s has a Body-Do, because I’m apparently a ‘body-don’t”.   The pear shape is here to stay,  I had a big butt when I was a new born baby.  That’s just nature.  Good thing there are so many wonderful products out there to accommodate your full figure.

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Why must generous portions of lady curves have to be reduced to words like chubby? Where is Sir Mix-a-Lot when we need him more than ever?

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Easy on the sugar indeed. She’s so hungry and acidic from all the eggs and grapefruit that she’s seconds away from ramming that spoon us that smug bastard’s nose, in the same way ancient Egyptians yank out the brain for mummification.    Reduce this motherfucker.  Then she could enjoy a large cinnamon bun, sickeningly sweet tea and smoke a cigarette with sticky cream-cheese icing fingers while her husband quietly bleeds to death on the carpet.  This is why we need carbs people.

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I’m 32 now, skin elasticity is as fleeting as fertility and youth.  How can I have my cake and burn it off too? As always, I turn to Victoria Beckham for advice.  She is a busy mother-of-four, a designer, entrepreneur world traveler, and she is fit as fuck.  How does she do it?

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Naturally.  Take the fun of work and then add more work.  I would literally die if I tried to attempt this.  There is almost no space between the treadmill and the wall.  Isaac Hayes died on a treadmill and he was probably in suitable footwear. Me + typing + treadmill x those epic heels=suicide bomber’s certainty of personal injury.

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Bully for you Mrs Beckham.  Is that why you’re lying on the ground? I could wear stilettos all day too if all I had to do was laze about on my back kicking my legs in the air.  I will just need a pillow, my phone and somebody’s WiFi password…and David Beckham to pop in and bask in the glory of my beauty.  I don’t know, I have a difficult time prescribing to celebrity doctrines.  Sure, they put in the work to maintain their pristine figures, but if I had a team of people behind me I could make a hobo red carpet ready.   But wait–there are people far busier than you that look better than you, also without the luxury of extra help.

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I’d love to see this gal post this on the local Mom Swap Facebook page, and then read the 350 comments over a glass of wine.  This mother of three has a better body than me. What’s my excuse? Meh, I’m not too fussed really.  It’s not as important as everything else.  I mean, if I could naturally look like Audrey Hepburn, that would be ideal.

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Since I don’t have a dancer’s body, I can’t help but want to find the balance between happy to improve but happy to love myself regardless of my physical imperfections.

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Still, I catch the occasional glimpse in the mirror that makes me wonder whether some crazy-long Flo Jo nails would be a good idea.  Or maybe I should worry less about exercise and just take up smoking.

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Then again, you wouldn’t like me when I am hungry. It’s like those Snickers ads, only I don’t turn into a hilarious caricature, but a snarling werewolf.

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Hungry + angry =Hangry.  That’s my personal danger zone.  You wouldn’t like me when I’m hangry.  It’s like drowning and having no air to breathe.

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This isn’t sounding good.  I don’t want to not eat, all my favorite things involve sitting and a committed exercise regime is not suiting my current schedule.  This is a slippery slope between having a muffin top and being the mom from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

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My brother Mark and I got talking about that film on our morning hike. It’s too sad to ever watch again,  but it still resonates as a genuine fear.  How does that happen…you are born, you are a child–learn behaviors and eating habits, you grow up, and eventually become so obese that it’s easier to burn the house down than to remove your dead body through the front door.  Of course, there is a long road between thick and thin and back again.  You are usually just going along in your life, not necessarily seeing the changes in yourself until you catch a reflection.

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These photographs are a few years old now, but a terrific example of body shaming.  Jennifer Love-Hewitt is a happy and well-fed gal and the internet had a field day, hammering her for being “fat”.  For the rest of us, with bodies just like that, it sends a clear message that this is an unacceptable joke-worthy body type.

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If she’s happy, and her lover is happy, she is healthy, and her clothes fit, then what’s the trouble?  She’s on holiday, she’s relaxed. Does every day need to be met by a date with the treadmill?  Ugh, the idea of exercise…how exhausting.  The idea of fitting it into jam packed days is even more exhausting.  I wish I could adopt a fictional Gilmore Girls-esque all you can eat, movies and junk food couch potato lifestyle, and still maintain a spectacular physique.

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I flip through a magazine, read the weight-loss success stories and for a fleeting moment, wish I were just like the models in the magazine.  But then again, who would want to work that hard? Until the day comes that I shake from me the excuses and muster up the commitment to truly trim down, I’ll be happy as Love-Hewitt, splashing in the water, not for a second wishing I were any different.  What can I say? I like big butts and cannot lie.

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Images Courtesy of Google

Put a Ring on It: Collective Regrets from the George Clooney Women’s Guild

Winter has worn away at my soul.  I desire a luxurious getaway as one longs for a conjugal visit after years of imprisonment.  I am afraid of what I would do for a plane ticket to a hot far-off destination.  I would sprint towards a holiday like Whitney Houston did to Kevin Costner at the end The Bodyguard.  Mashing my face all over it’s face and while belting I Will Always Love You in the background.

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The later-years Beach Boys classic Kokomo recently came up in conversation, when I was expressing to a friend just how badly I wanted to be nursing a solid buzz on a beach with a trashy magazine in my hand.  One simply cannot discuss Kokomo, but must live it, sing it,  harmonize with it.  Hot skin and wet hair. Toes in the sand. Sounds of crashing waves. Salty kisses from island lovers.

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I proclaimed that the Beach Boys song said everything about my current state of mind. And I think a really good solution to all of my problems.

As follows: my personal top ten list of why I would like this song to be about my life.

  1. Now if you want to go and get away from it all (which I do, I really do)
  2. Off the Florida Keys, there’s a place called Kokomo. (There’s not apparently, but let’s move forward anyhow)
  3. That’s where you want to go to get away from it all
  4. We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow
  5. We’ll be falling in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band (I usually fall in love to the sounds of banjos so this would be a welcomed change).
  6. Afternoon delight, cocktails and moonlit nights
  7. That dreamy look in your eye
  8. tropical contact high
  9. Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahama, Key Largo, Montego, Jamaica
  10. Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand

When I Googled the lyrics of Kokomo, I realized that the line was be “tropical drink melting in your hand”…when all these years I thought that it was “tropical cake melting in your hand”.  I had even remarked that the other day: “I don’t even know what it is…but I want it”.  I imagine golden yellow slice, glistening with coconutty goodness, a thick slab in the palm of your sun-screened hand. Still…a gooey piece of cake is hardly beach food.  And why are they no plates at this resort? Could a sister get a wet-nap up in here?  Stand down guys.  It’s tropical drink, which when you come to think about it…that really does make more sense.  Perhaps this is because my first introduction to this super timeless track is when the Beach Boys appeared on Full House.  I would have been about six, and a stiff cocktail would have been no good to me.

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Wow. What kind of deal with the devil did these guys make in the 60’s to make an appearance on this saccharine-sweet sitcom in the 80’s? Look at the guy in the dead center wearing those ridiculous mom jeans…I really don’t know who was driving that style choice there.  His fly is longer than Mary Kate/Ashley Olsen’s leg. And ole pointy fingers on the end…leather jacket+ball hat+those sweatpants =my favorite person in this picture. Nonetheless.  The song grown had  with me, and now I would like to feel like the human equivalent to the saxophone solo in this sexy, ooey-gooey cheesy beach jam.  Haven’t heard it recently? Allow me to remind you.

 It’s one of my favorite things about YouTube: that some guy in Peru loved Kokomo, and the film in which it was written for (Cocktail) so much that he just plays full scenes of the movie. Not a montage in sight, just whole chunks of muted dialogue with the Beach Boys crooning away.  But what an ending to the video.  Ugh, when have you ever woken up and thought: “I really hope I don’t have sex in a waterfall today” or “Jeez I hope that a hunky bartender doesn’t try to get into my black one piece bathing suit”.  Cocktail is actually loosely based on a relationship I had.  Watching the footage actually makes me feel very emotional….in light of the current news.

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Whoa, looks like somebody’s gotten their priorities all out of whack at the Daily Express.  Hayfever hell? Boohoo.  My Georgey-Porgey is getting married–and I am having a difficult time coping.  When I first got word I…had a rather strong reaction.

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The Vicodin I took couldn’t touch my grief.  The three martinis I threw down my throat didn’t dull the ache. George, George, not you.  That’s when I starting smashing everything in sight.

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He said he never wanted to get married, only because I didn’t want to marry him.  It’s not that I didn’t want to be “Mrs George Clooney”. It’s just that he wanted to be “Mr Alicia Ashcroft” a bit too desperately.  George loved me so deeply, that it really was all-consuming.  We were young, met on holiday, and let’s just say he got ‘under the waterfall’.  He adored me.  Worshipped me.  Said I was perfect mix of Jackie Kennedy and the Pillsbury Dough Boy.  I loved him in return. We were the Golden Couple.

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Some of the greatest moments in pop culture were inspired by George’s romantic gestures to me. John Cusack in Say Anything? That has George all over it.  He actually had Peter Gabriel write In Your Eyes about me.

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In later years, he had inspired Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It), because he was trying to get a message to me.   I was hesitating and he was slipping through my fingers.  George actually said that to me one night, after a dinner party at our home in Lake Como.  He hissed it, so that the waitstaff couldn’t hear.  All the other couples were married and engaged, nannies holding gorgeous babies who are named after exotic locations and expensive cheese.  George was humiliated after Beyonce and Jay-Z pressed us about our single status.  Why couldn’t I give him those things? Why didn’t we have a little Camembert Dubai Clooney? Why couldn’t I put a ring on it?

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Not this again.  George, baby, things are so good why complicate it with things like marriage and children?  What if dating is like the first half of Cocktail, hot sex in a Jamaican waterfall and marriage is like the second half, when it gets all serious with unwanted pregnancies, angry parents and suicide notes?  A friend and I had both lamented that brief and glorious time when love is new and your lover doesn’t know you yet.  “Just dating” George Clooney was my life support.  Marriage was quicksand.  I pressed myself up against George, and swore my allegiance.  I knew his heart was breaking.

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Eventually we fell apart…around the”In your Eyes” era.  He needed to get married, and by the time I offered to throw him a bone and marry him just to shut him up…it was too late.  His heart had hardened to the whole institution of marriage.  I broke George Clooney. I regret everyday since that I couldn’t repair the damage I had caused.

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I don’t see him around much.  I hear things like the rest of the world does now….in the news, on the internet.  Do I get jealous? Well, sometimes I miss the Italian air, our housemaid Lupe, and the smell of George’s musk.  He had good musk.  When I see pictures of George trying to aptly describe just how enormous his Clooney is, and people like Sandra Bullock aren’t even paying attention to him, I get a little peeved.  That could have been me. 

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News of Clooney’s engagement has shaken the world through and through, inspiring bios on his new fiance Amal Alamuddin, and lists of “Clooney’s former flames”…or as I like to call it, “Clooney-Bear and the luckiest Bitches on Earth”.

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Don’t look for me, I’m not on the list.  I don’t know if this is TMZ’s mistake, or that George has worked so hard to forget me, that the press has forgotten me as well.  That’s fine…the paparazzi know me by name, but whatever leave me off the list.  I know what I had with George.  I don’t need to prove it with pictures of me on George’s yacht.

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Please…that’s obvi me…I would recognize those legs from anywhere.

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Oh this? Just George and I leaving after a nice meal out.  The photogs were really there to catch a glimpse of me, but snaps of George would do too.

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The other women knew about me as well. I was famous amongst the other Cloonists as having made his hair go salt and pepper from all the heart ache I caused him.  Many tried and failed to slay the dragon as only I and his ex wife Talia Balsam had done before.

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So…after all the replacements that George has tried to tried to fill the gap with…all the vivacious, intelligent brunettes he’s known–and all he could see was me.  And now…it seems that someone has finally ‘put a ring on it’ : Beirut born, London based human rights Lawyer Amal Alamuddin.

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Well let’s just acknowledge the elephant in the room.  That’s my doppelganger.  I’ve got piercing eyes and endless locks of shiny ravine hair.  The similarities do not end there. Amal Alamuddin? Alicia Ashcroft? Uh George, this is a little embarrassing for you, chasing the dream as you tend to do. At the last Clooney Guild meeting, the others offered scant details–just that George chases versions of me the same way a nerdy Asian teen tracks ever-evolving technology.  Amal Alamuddin is just a new i-Phone..a shiny distraction.  When news of the engagement spread, I caught a ride to the secret compound on Kelly Preston’s helicopter along with Stacey Keibler and the gal with the awful arm band tattoo circa Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire, who now dates the guy from Jack Ass.  We pooled together about what we knew of her:

  • She’s provided legal council to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
  • She served as council into the United Nations.
  • Legal advisor to the King of Bahrain…
  • She speaks fluent French and Arabic…
  • She’s a published author.  Apparently has written several  articles about international criminal law.
  • She was voted “hottest barrister in London” by a particularly sexist and ethically dubious legal blog called Your Barrister Boyfriend…for achieving “the seemingly unattainable ideal of contemporary femininity: she is both breathtakingly beautiful and formidably successful.”

Breathtakingly beautiful and formidably successful? That’s how most people describe me.  Frankly, it’s like looking in a mirror.  Although, according to this photo she’s like a little pocket-sized lawyer.  That’s never going to work. What is this? A bride for ants?

Amal Alamuddin dresses up on her way to dinner in New York City

Maybe watching Clooney up and marry my evil twin is my equivalent of The Beach Boys on Full House:  karmic payback for not appreciating the glory days.  I had him, and I lost him, and now I have to live with it.  All because of my foolish pride.  So there it is.  Goodbye George Clooney.  I will grieve this loss in only the most glamorous of ways.   One of the things he loved most about me.

charade-1963-720p-bluray-x264-cinefile01-13-28   Images Courtesy of Google

 

Good as Gold

After a certain length of marital life, my husband realized that he didn’t know a lot about my previous life in Canada.  From high school to adulthood Benjamin had lived in Hamilton, New Zealand.  He lived with a few mates, and it had been a revolving door of a core groups of friends as tenants in a few houses over the years.  Quite simple. A to B to C.  My story is not as simple…if his life is the alphabet, mine is more like that useless font “Wingdings”, where letters are nonsensical symbols.  I’m like the Littlest Hobo, I just roamed from town to town depending on the kindest of strangers willing to throw me a bone.

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During the immigration process, we both had to list all the places we had lived in the past five to ten years. Jeepers creepers, who can recall the exact address of that place you flatted with for six months when you were 23? Not me.  I could tell you about the emotional scope, or aesthetic details, not directions from the highway. And I’d have no means to deliver a package to the new owners.  I eventually just had all my mail sent to my parents house.

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As Dr Seuss once said:Oh the places you’ll go, all the couches you’ll sleep on”.  I was always in a transition, but not so much so that I didn’t know where I was going to lay my head each night.  Maybe…if I had to venture a guess, thirteen moves in eight years?   And that was before I graduated and moved to New Zealand.  Thank God for my mother, who had kept track of my whereabouts in her address book, which she had supplied a copy of for the Immigration questionnaire.  Places I had long forgotten about, and would not have been able to provide if Immigration really needed me to swear on a bible about where I was living in any given year. I don’t remember things linearly, I’ve mentioned my tabloid calender, if you give me a pop culture reference or major event, and it’s like… ‘Ah yes, September 11…which was in 2001, and I had just come back from a summer in Vancouver Island, and just started university’.  It felt like the world was ending just as I was getting started.    That’s a pretty universal example, but generally it’s like my life story is hand written scribbles on play bills, napkins and take out menus and stashed between the pages of history.  My memories are kept in a very unorganized library; it’s not the best way to keep track of your life, but it’s just how my brain works.

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I had just read that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was celebrating it’s tenth anniversary. I remember seeing that in a cinema in Victoria BC, during my reading break. (Student loan dollars hard at work).  This movie was devastating to me.  It’s achingly vulnerable piece about how even our worst experiences make us the people we are, and how those collections of memories shape our existence.

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I was twisted with anxiety  at the thought of those memories getting sucked up into some cosmic vacuum.

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Ten years ago, my 22nd year, was a time of great tempestuousness. I reckon it was the hardest year of my life.  I faced the darkest side of another person, and in turn everything I knew about myself was stripped away like one’s road-rashed skin after a high speed motorcycle crash.  I had gone to Victoria to visit some friends, and fell in love with the city.  How I felt in the city.  The newness of it all.  The distance from the scene of so much unhappiness.  I knew that I had to come back to live. I finished my semester, unloaded a vast amount of my possessions and went back to Vancouver Island for the second time in my life, this time with intention to make a new life there.  Which I did, for a time, but I eventually returned to my English degree, moving on to a Theatre Major, keeping me in school for three more years before finally graduating.

vintage_blonde_educated_lady_round_sticker-rf99db5468d634b4a8dec1d623d059fc6_v9waf_8byvr_512Which brings up another question from my husband–how did you make your money when you were in university? How else? Student loans and waitress tips.  I came into a bit of money a couple of times, but eventually it depletes like snow in the hot sun.  If I had a time machine that would be my first stop would be to take Thirties Alicia to Twenties Alicia, get her a gym membership and dance lessons, and pay for my education through the majesty of exotic dance.

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Student loans certainly seemed like a good idea at the time.  As a young, creative, self absorbed drifter who happened to fit in well with academia, eight years of school and part time work dominated the scope of my twenties.  A savings account was a mythological concept.  There was enough for all the essentials: tuition, cigarettes, wine, travel, clothing, weird thrift store knickknacks, kitschy coffee mugs and dusty records.   When I graduated, my traveling nest egg had come from winning a rather sizable scholarship before I graduated.  I waitressed at a Mexican bistro all summer and lived at a former professor’s house until I left the country. It was all about jumping to the next lily-pad and trying not to drown.

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Having to pay back my student loans was like imagining your own demise, it was too far away to fathom. Now, whenever I have any kind of a Stevie Nicks-Landslide-climb a mountain and turn around moment, I can look at all my wonderful choices, all those times that I should have been prepared but wasn’t, the times I should have listened but didn’t, and all those times I could have been a much, much better friend and couldn’t.  I could have been more financially responsible,and better organized in general.  But you know…I was busy, distracted, learning, growing up.  Who can keep track of time and money?

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I could pay my student loans back by writing a book about all the people I’ve lived with.  I once wrote a collection of short stories for a creative writing course about the most memorable people and places.  I got an A…why not a book deal and movie options? When recently organizing my office I came across the papers and was amazed at the dire conditions I have lived in for the sake of little or no rent.  I could write a Twilight length trilogy that would be a mash up Fifty Shades of Grey,  Girl Interrupted, The Complete Works of Shakespeare and all ten seasons of Friends.  

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Real quick–has anyone seen Jennifer Aniston lately? We just watched We’re the Millers, and bless her soul, her face just doesn’t look authentic.  It’s distracting.  It makes me feel sad.  As Benjamin would say, Jennifer Aniston is “tidy”.  Yes, she is fit and fabulous, and Lord knows she’s doing a hell of a lot better than me.

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Nonetheless, when the magazines crow over Aniston and Cameron Diaz, and all the other face-freezers… that ‘they’ve stopped time, can you believe it?” Of course I believe it, they’ve got a chef and personal trainer.  It’s not inconceivable that the better paid stars have NASA-grade accessibility to the best equipment to fight ole Father Time–anti-gravity chambers, access to experimental European dolphin semen serum, that is injected directly between the eyes causing you to live forever. Over time body parts are slowly replaced with plastics and by the year 2065 they’ll be robots that run on Vodka and Botox.  Sadly, science still can’t make your hands look young for Madonna is going to have to wear those little fingerless gloves until the end of time.  When anyone moons over Aniston in that film I feel a bit like Mugatu in Zoolander. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

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In the film version of my Couch Surfing trilogy, naturally Natalie Portman will fall at my feet to play me.  I guess I do look a lot like her, some say you can’t tell us apart. (Just to help you out, I’m the one in the white).

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Where am I going with this you ask? My youngest brother has moved to Australia, and conditions have proven challenging for him.  It’s a scary and frustrating time, and to me, I’m feeling very bothered about the situation.  Yesterday afternoon, I went into a yoga class and my mind wandered over to my twenties, my choices, and how I had come to make rational responsible decisions in my thirties.  I can’t tell anyone how to live their lives, convince them to approach things differently.  But if I could it would be this:

Hang in there. Have faith. Try again.Don’t give up. Fight Harder. Have fun.Do your research.  Be mindful. Be grateful.  Know you are loved.

Even though I was an occasional arsonist of my own life and have now rebuilt a sturdy foundation over once smoldering ashes, my advice is meaningless to someone who still needs to learn those life changing lessons.  As I imagine a parent would, I can’t help but worry…and wish I could do it for them.  But then one loses the all mighty life experience, the reward for all that fucking-up–becoming a true grown up. A graduate of ‘the school of hard knocks’

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When I left for Victoria, I stood on that ferry watching the mainland drift away from me, convinced that this was the beginning of a successful new chapter.  I had some good friends, all I needed was a job and a room to rent.  After the first few days, when the party died down and everyone else settled back into their studies and jobs, it was time to face the business of employment.  Ugh.  Which brings up one of my greatest ever pet peeves.  Handing out resumes is like those scenes in American high school movies. The new kid standing in the cafeteria, tray in hand not knowing where to sit.  Smiling and standing at an unnatural state of straightness.  Nodding enthusiastically.  Feigning interest.  After a generous portion of pavement pounding, I stopped into Lulu Lemon, and the salesclerk was about as kind at the shop girls in Pretty Woman. 

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The job application required details about my education, experience, history—which is another pet peeve of mine…”but all of this information is on the resume I just handed to you”.  Why am I transcribing all that information onto the page with the too short lines, eventually requiring you to scribble in the margins, when it is clearly laid out of the resume”?.  What a waste of time and ink.  If you want to get down to the personal deets–what was the last book you read, what’s your favorite color, how many dates do you got out on before putting out, then sure, let’s explore the psyche on a deep and meaning level before we book an interview.  At the Lulu Lemon, the question that stopped me cold.  “What style of yoga do you practice/prefer”? Um…something told me that the VHS copy of “A.M Yoga with Rodney Yee” that I used intermittently, would not satisfying the requirements of the tall, thin spandex clad.

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Utterly defeated–feeling like no job on earth belongs to me.  In reality, I’d only applied to thirty places…just that day.  There are so many variables to applying for jobs in a time sensitive situation.  These things take time.  I don’t even think I had a cell phone, so I would have to get home to listen to the answering machine to see there was any need for my services.  I had been there less than a week, and there was a terribly fearful creeping over me that I had made a mistake.  It always feels like a mistake when you first get somewhere.  You don’t have a place to live, no job–if you don’t know anyone it’s lonely, if you know people they are busy.  But it’s the desire to make it work that pushes you forward; something brought me here, exactly what lesson am I being taught?  That afternoon, I only made it as far as the pub.  I snagged a small table on the patio that overlooked a popular shopping area.  All these smiling tourists, shopping bags in hands, strolling by.  I ordered a beer, and exhaled deeply before I took my first sip. Putting it down on the coaster, distracted by the passing people, I mislaid it, causing my full glass to tip and pour all over my lap–a cool pair of khaki capris, now soaked in ale.  I sat in stunned silence as the beer slipped through my thighs, creating a lawn chair crotch puddle.  A waitress came over with a towel, and drew as much attention as I got liquid into the material.  I had to pass the packed patio to slink off to the bathroom to push my pelvis as close to the hand dryer as possible.

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I came back to the table, mostly to grab my manila envelope, and get the bill, but the waitress had mercifully followed me with a fresh drink.  Something to kill the time while my knickers dried, I guess.    The couple next to me gently cracked a joke about my predicament. They invited me over to the table, and asked for my story. I opened up about my frustrating day, my crisis of faith.  The couple was from Los Angeles, nearing retirement age.  He gave me his card: “Jack Gold”–he was a judge, with a much fancier title that I can’t remember –‘Super Judge’ or something.    They shared their story–which I can’t quite remember, but ultimately, this man was someone who climbed his way to the top.  In his mind, anyone could reach those heights, if they worked hard enough, believed enough, weren’t afraid to get your nails dirty scraping your way to a higher plain.  He had offered his services, to call that private line if there was anything I ever needed.

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Of course, I never called the private line.  Luckily I never needed to call in a favor with Jack Gold: Super Judge.  He provided everything I needed right in that moment.  I like to think that it’s some kind of cosmic force, like God speaking through a total stranger; telling you that even though you’re unemployed in a strange city and it looks like you’ve just pissed in your khakis, that everything is going to be okay.  Pants dry, wounds heal, embarrassment fades and failure becomes our best teacher.  Support systems also appear out of nowhere, take a half empty glass and make it brim–and that is worth is weight in gold.

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All Images Courtesy of Google

White Girl Wasted

Following the 18th annual Kamloops Film Festival, my immune system crashed like they thought the internet would following Y2K.  Sick over Spring Break. That’s like getting a giant school project assigned at the last minute when your plan was to sleep in, watch day-time television, ride bicycles, and lounge lazily in the sun. This is like the time I pinched a nerve in my neck when I was eight, and had to spend an entire weekend looking over my shoulder to stare out the window.

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I knew this sickness was coming, I could feel it’s shadow creeping over my sinuses.  I was working hard to prevent it’s viral blossoming–wheatgrass, acidophilus, as much rest as possible, but with the festival came late night after late night.  I’m no spring chicken, you know.  I need my eight hours.  I was dodging this plague like a fugitive from the law.  By closing night, fueled by gin and tonics (with plenty of lemon and lime, just for that hit of Vitamin C), I took that dance-floor like a death row inmate takes his final meal.

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As a rule, I don’t generally take dance-floors by storm anymore.  But back in the mid 2000’s…well let me tell you, I could bust a move to Destiny’s Child with the best of them, party until four am, and be at work the next morning like it was no big deal.  We celebrated opening night by following Oil Sand Karaoke–a fascinating mash-up about a Karaoke contest and the Albertan oil sands…with a Karaoke party of our own. Ignited by the spirited renditions of Meatloaf, Bonnie Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Tom Jones and Reba McIntyre…the sound-technician says right before midnight: “We’ve got two more minutes…do we have time for some Journey?”  Be still my heart. There’s always time for Don’t Stop Believing.  It was the perfect way to end that portion of the night.  Afterwards, a select few hit the town and continued with the cocktails. I’m like Romy and Michelle on the dance-floor filled with festival guests and curling enthusiasts from Kamloops’ simultaneous event,  The Brier Cup. My friend Mallory and I were in the somewhere in between denial and acceptance of looming early work days as the clock ticked well into the morning.  When the company, the music, and the vibe is this good, you’ve just got to cut loose like nothing will ever be that good again.

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Heading home at a late night hour, listening to the cab driver talk about the Film Festival and the Briar Cup, and all the folks he’s had in his backseat that night.  He drops a term that I need him to back track on.    According to Urban Dictionary, “White Girl Wasted” is more a cocaine related verb as in: “With this pile of cocaine, I’m going to get ‘White Girl Wasted'”.  The cab driver was meaning it more like teenage girl on prom night.  Healthy portions of giddy and sloppy, with just a dash of hysteria.  Not me, of course, I am the Audrey Hepburn of intoxication.

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Oddly enough he was referring to himself, and how he likes to party.  Apparently ‘white girl wasted’ is where it is at, it’s the crown jewel of good times, the Paris Hilton of partying.  The imitation that came from the non-white, non-intoxicated (I hope), non-woman was giggle inducing.  “Haha, WGW”, I chortle, attempting to make some kind of catch phrase and hip gang sign, but most likely looking like I had cerebral palsy.  “Er, what does that stand for?”, the cabbie asks.  “Uh…White Girl Wasted?” I respond.  Holy shit…did I just hallucinate that entire conversation? What was in those G&T’s? “Oh, heh, heh, yeah, right…WGW”, he chuckles, pulling into the driveway.   The trouble with me is that I’m too sophisticated, fabulous and complex that even the most perceptive cab drivers don’t understand me.

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If I’ve learned anything from Journey, it’s that for a smile you can share the night, that some will win, some will lose, that some were born, simply to sing the blue.  Still, no matter what happens, don’t stop believing and hold on to that feeling.  It’s a nice, uptempo reminder that better days are right round the corner.  When the long days of winter grind you down, the lack of light calcifies over the bright light inside of you, it’s nice to be reminded that you can actually be a whole whack of fun.  Sassy, wisecracking, fearless, flirtatious, adventurous are just some of the personality traits I can offer.  I am trying to clutch on to these feelings as this sickness colonizes my body.  Alas, never one to be totally bored during an illness, I make a point to surround myself with warm blankets, hot cups of honey laden tea, expensive orange juice, boxes of tissue, a stylish pashmina draped round my throat and of course, “cinema comfort food “. Well worn personal film favorites, that sometimes just play in the background as you snooze, doze, or just pant feverishly like a dog after running on a hot day.

My go-to cold and flu list is as follows:

  • Waitress
  • Annie Hall
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  • Amelie
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
  • Julie and Julia
  • Dreamgirls
  • Out of Africa
  • A Star is Born (1976)

Give me cheese, give me music, give me a happy ending, give me a sad ending, but no guns or car chases please.  This time, having just come off of the film festival track, (seven films in ten days) I opted to curl up with CBC 2 and a good book.  When the illness refused to budge, I went to the place that I dread most.  The walk-in clinic.  A most vile place.  A line up begins more than an hour before the clinic opens, and once inside, it is a cluster of coughing, sneezing, wheezing, hacking patients, noisy children squawking over 100 Huntley Street on the TV in the counter.  Horoscope disclaimer on the other telly: “not meant to replace intelligent decision making”.  The receptionists are unhurried, sipping Diet Coke at 9:15am, eating cookies and wiping their hands on their zip up hoodies.  This place is enough to make you sick.  When I return for my appointment later in the afternoon, I come prepared for a wait.  Wearing sunglasses and a large coral scarf, I brought an enormous juice, cough lozenges, tissues and a well-loved copy of “Eat, Pray, Love”.

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I hate to admit how much that story has influenced my life.  A copy of the book was given to me before Oprah got her hands on it, right when my fiance and I were dismantling our relationship and upcoming wedding.  That book tapped into a very primal urge. I too have a wandering soul, and hunger for self reflection; this need to move forward, this desire to look back.  In devouring of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, and through writing of my own, I made the decision to travel.  During that time overseas, I read and reread the book, underlining passages, and drawing conclusions about my own life through her experience.  Having read Eat, Pray, Love a number of times at different advents of my life, I saw it from a number of perspectives.  This past week has been the perfect time to re-re-re-read the primary source.  Now much closer to the age that Gilbert was when the book started, I see new similarities in our personalities, namely the deathly fear of motherhood equaling the death of adventure. But the true lesson of EPL is that despite the travel theme, that the answers have been inside of you all along, it’s all very Wizard of Oz.  If only at the end of a personal disaster you gain a greater sense of self…well, that’s better than nothing I guess.  A book deal to pay for the trip would also be an acceptable consolation prize.

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Like Gilbert, I met my husband on my journey of self-discovery and followed it with a years-long struggle with immigration.  She wrote a sequel called Committed, about how immigration issues forced their hands in marriage.  I read the book before we arrived in Canada and it was scarier than a Stephen King novel.  The longer the waiting process, the more limitations placed on you, all that effing paperwork….unraveling patience of a wandering soul.   What a way to take the edge of a happy ending Liz Gilbert. They traveled extensively while awaiting word from Immigration, we waited in Canada, unable to leave the country until the verdict was given.  And then when we were given the green light, the finances simply weren’t there to get back out on the road.   What I would give for the time and resources to travel the world and report back in colorful prose to the masses. I could eat all the pasta in Rome, detox in India and peruse Balinese marketplaces with Javier Bardem, and live to tell about it.  I would accept a pay cheque for that.

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For all intents and purposes, the film festival was like a little holiday: a whirlwind of parties, engrossing films, interesting guests, endless conversations about how we each relate to the stories of others.  One of those nights I heard someone ask aloud “How many times do we live?’–perhaps on the last night, when hipsters in nerdy sweaters were rolling on what looked like some rather exceptional Ecstacy.  One girl rubbed her lips on my cheek, knocking out my vintage earring breathing “Life. Is. Endless” all over my skin.  “Mmmm”, fastening the earring clasp I respond like I’ve a bad taste in my mouth but don’t want to offend the hopeful chef wearing an apron and a heart on their sleeve.  This is not the time to talk about the end of things.  Of course there’s only one physical life of indeterminate years, but to the film lover, you can have a thousand lives.  You can also get glimpses into the future, into the past, over the fence, into other eras, relationships and continents.  If a story is told convincingly, you can escape your body completely and experience this whole other life, gain a whole new perspective on our very existence.

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Following Oil Sands Karaoke film was Sex After Kids, with special guest Paul Amos.  The movie got huge laughs, and was a festival favorite.  In the Q&A that followed, Amos talked about the grassroots project–the film was financed by donations, scenes were filmed in everyone’s homes, actors used their own children, and shared their own experiences of life after baby. As a childless woman in her early to mid 30’s this movie was more slightly horrifying than humorous. Faithful readers know that pregnancy and motherhood is a sticky, oft-discussed subject within the walls of this blog.  To me Sex After Kids did for parenthood, what Before Midnight did for marriage; it’s well written reflection of this particular chapter in the human experience.  A transformation that one can not anticipated until this little bundle of joy lands in your lap.

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As I was heading to the lobby I saw a heavily-pregnant woman, rubbing her belly and frowning in thought.  I fought the urge to approach her and ask “Are you like totally freaking out right now? I’m freaking out and I don’t have a seven pound fetus pushing on my bladder right now.”  They should show that movie to teenagers in sex education.  Not so funny now is it?  I’ve traveled with my husband and his sister as ‘Team Childless’, and we’d laugh merrily at all the things we would never do as parents.  If this movie taught me anything, it is that children bend your tree branches until they snap like twigs.

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The closing night film That Burning Feeling had a similar thread of a fresh, modern, urban–a very funny, heartfelt comedy about promiscuity, sexually transmitted infections and the deliberate humanizing of our night stands.  Director Jason James was a delight as our final guest of the season.

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Le Weekend was a British comedy about a marriage in it’s thirtieth year; a weekend in Paris, where they honeymooned three decades prior.  The husband is struggling with forced retirement, a restless wife and is confronted by the wild successes of a former schoolmate–the deliciously smug Jeff Goldblum.    The Past (another film set in my beloved Paris) was infidelity, divorce, secrets, lies, a suicide attempt and a coma…which culminated in a rather unsatisfying ending.  What does it even mean? Did she squeeze his hand, what does it mean that he stayed in the hospital room? Is he choosing his new life? I’m not sure I get it…I’m not sure I care. Finding Vivien Maier was so interesting it needs a blog all it’s own.  Gloria was an excellent film, and we followed the viewing with a coffee shop discussion, which was jammed packed with guests.  Gloria was…a rather erotic film.  Surprisingly so.  Like…full frontal.  Audible passionate kissing noise, which had the same allure of an obnoxious date masticating with his mouth open. Lengthy scenes of intimacy which is a kin to walking in on your grandparents making love.   Talk about fifty shades of grey. Still, you had to love this smartly dressed “woman of a certain age” (mid-fifties divorcee), singing along to the radio, who gets her hands on some marijuana and a much older lover.  Her heart gets broken, and she takes that pain to the dance floor–girlfriend doesn’t even need a plane ticket.

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The Broken Circle Breakdown came early in the film line up, but I felt it necessary to mention it last as this piece will overshadows the rest of the list.  This film was magnificent.  There was not a dry eye in the house at film’s end.

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The story seamlessly shifts back and forth between a new love, marriage, parenthood, illness, loss, despair and the deterioration of a once great love…all amid a gorgeous musical collaboration.

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As the social media maven of the film festival, I had come to know all the movies well, occasionally stumbling upon some major spoilers. Spoilers don’t bother me too much, I like to be prepared.  I often check in with IMDb for content details, especially in regards to potentially violent films.  This was born after I was Rob Roy’d, thinking this was a Robin Hood-eque Liam Neeson vehicle, and suddenly Jessica Lange is getting raped on the kitchen table by Tim Roth and is then sobbing and bathing herself in the river in the aftermath.  I’ve also been Sean Penned, and it’s not something I recommend.  It’s not like me to like surprises.  I’m what you call “cinema sensitive”, I absorb the suffering like a sponge.

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I stumbled upon the mother-load of spoilers for The Broken Circle Breakdown, and went to the cinema armed with knowledge, and a shitload of tissues. Actually it was a wad of toilet paper that I wrapped like a thick bandage around my hand before stuffing the whole lot in my purse.  I did leave a no-spoilers warning on the Facebook page, gently suggesting that you bring something other than your sleeve for this event.  No matter.  By the end of this heart-wrenching feature about the deterioration of a once happy life, complimented by goose-bump inducting blue grass performances.  There’s something about crying in public that makes me feel terribly vulnerable…as it’s never as simple and elegant as a single glistening tear rolling down your cheek.

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…this was more like…funeral crying.  Snotty sobs, gasping for air, lips sputtering.  It’s something I prefer not to do publicly, which is quite difficult as I cry about as often as a new-born baby.  It’s not an attractive look in the slightest.  The toilet paper reserves were dwindling as the movie was jam-packed with emotional land-mines.  I had get creative by folding the sopping wad like origami, as if to make it like new.  Eventually I just sobbed into my scarf.  It reminded me of this time the airport–on my way to New York, a trip once slated celebrate my upcoming wedding with my maid of honor. Standing outside of the departure gate, in what turned out to be one of the last times I spoke to my fiance:  “I just keep thinking that you’ll change your mind”…I whispered, eyes cast on the ground, a volcano threatening to burst.  He smoothed the hair off of my face, smiled tenderly and said “…I won’t”.  I made it to the plane in the same way you drive all the way home, and realize you don’t actually remember driving.  Once in my seat, I was more unglued than Blanche Dubois in “Streetcar Named Desire”.

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Sunglasses firmly in place.  Airport napkins balled in a tight fist.  Planes are not a recommended place for a potential nervous breakdown.  There is little to do, and nowhere to go.  Sitting frozen. Staring out the windowThere’s something about sobbing in a airplane washroom that just takes depression to another level.  There’s also your neighbour to consider: the  poor woman next to me, was settled into a good book and blissfully unaware.  This a perfect metaphor for that inescapable sensation of grief–the crushing weight–the Alice in Wonderland outgrowing the Rabbit house.  Nowhere to hide from the hurt.  From this moment forward nothing will ever be the same.  This new reality is so much bigger than your earthly body that it threatens to burst right through your skin; an explosion of teeth, bones and tears and all that pain you felt would fill the room like a noxious gas.  Instead you calmly make paper cranes out of cocktail napkins as your broken heart seeps out of your eyes and nose.
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Viewing The Broken Circle Breakdown in the cinema was a transformative experience, one I would be reluctant to repeat.  Still, it was my favorite movie in the festival.  It did an agonizingly convincing job detailing how the clashing of ideals and the testing of faith can turn the tide.  How marriage vows– promises you made when life was good and love was easy can be irreparably broken by exterior forces.  That sickness ruins, that love is not a cure.  When the film ended, the credits were rolling and I was still sobbing as others were reaching for their coats.  The storyline jumped to the beginning, middle and end so fluidly, tattooed songbird Elise unravels, as pragmatic Didier tries and fails to save his wife and child.  It’s nearly too much to bear. Though I knew the twist in the ending, I was properly devastated nonetheless.  Everyone mingled in lobby afterwards, puffy eyed and sniffling.  Catharsis at it’s finest.  It certainly garnered a very large glass of wine in a dark bar afterwards, where stories were shared, and new levels of understanding occurred.  This is the power of cinema, the shared experience of a story;  how it reminds us of our own battles, fears, desires, and memories that shape us as unique individuals.  All is not lost, as the light dims on another day…  the band plays on regardless, even if the song no longer means the same thing.

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All Images Courtesy of Google

Sink or Swim

Though the limitations of our immigration process was no longer looming overhead, we struggled to wrap our brains around the idea of freedom. Now that a new year is upon us, it felt necessary to take an hour to treat our personal lives like a business and write out a five-year plan.

*What are your projections for this year?

*What do you wish to achieve in the next five years?

*What do you wish to achieve in January…what will you have hoped to achieve by June…by this time next year? 

*What are your goals and what responsibilities in making such achievements?

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It’s a really interesting task in one’s marriage to touch base like that.  How are we doing? Could we be better? How can we improve? How are we spending our money? Where are we going? How are we getting there? Are we going there together? Personally, I love a list for even the most mundane of things.  I need a list if I’m going to get it all done.  Writing it down is like a commitment, a contract of sorts. And there’s nothing better than crossing something off your list.

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When I was engaged, and the wedding was on the brink of cancellation, I used my love of lists to try to find an equal ground.  I said “Let’s write separate five-year plans and see how they match up”.

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Ideas flowed from my pen; my future flowing like black ink, making my mark all over the page.  First, I’d graduate university, and then I’d get married, and then I’d go to grad school, which would ultimately satisfy the need to move to a different cityTravel to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Asia, East Coast Canada.  I added a baby last…just as an after thought really…just because I thought it said something about me if I didn’t.  When we compared notes, my paper was brimming and his paper was non-existent because he didn’t participate in the exercise. You could cut the symbolism with a knife. All unraveled shortly thereafter, and we went our separate ways.

runaway38I used that list as a guideline, what I loved before I loved you. What was the most important thing to me? Travel.  Seeing the world was all I ever wanted.  Come to think of it, I actually wrote that list five years ago now.  I crossed quite a few things off that list. I moved to New Zealand, where I met my husband.  We moved to Australia, and saw Sydney, and the entire west coast of the continent.  We went to Indonesia for our wedding anniversary (which satisfies my Asia requirement if necessary).  When we came to Canada we started in Ontario with my best friend Evelyn and her husband and we drove to Prince Edward Island, stopping in every province along the way.  Really all that remains is grad school, Europe and a baby.

vintage_1930_s_mother_holding_baby_mother_s_day_poster-r5c686f6175594805a1e72d988d4638f9_wvw_8byvr_512 Naturally, when one has been married over three years, is over the age of thirty and looking at a five-year life plan, it’s not unreasonable to question where procreation comes into the equation.

My husband asks me outright, jutting his chin towards my papers and handwritten notes. “Where do babies fit in to this plan?”

o-VINTAGE-COUPLE-FIGHTING-FURNITURE-facebookI respond by shuffling the papers and muttering under my breath.  Where do babies land on this list…in five years I’ll be (gulp) 37.  And from what I’ve gathered, the fallopian factory gets a bit more semen selective after the age of 35.

“Don’t you want to have a baby?”

Goodness yes…later on.  I welcome it.

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Benjamin, very gentle, presses on step further.  “I mean…you’re 32 now, and if 35 is the cut-off…um…”

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Welcome to my window, and it is closing.

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Alec Baldwin can become a father again at 55, but for the ladies out there, there’s only so much time before you have to look into renting uterus’ or become a science experiment in golden years gestation.  There’s a fine time line to walk in these few years of fertility.

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After the mumbling and paper shuffling, Benjamin smiles.  “You didn’t really answer my question”.  I look down at my writing.  My husband tries a new angle “What would you need to do before you want a baby?”.  There’s about twenty different countries that come to mind.  I look out the window now, watching the cars pass along on the highway.

“So we need to go to Europe this year then”, he says, because I haven’t.

My lips quiver into a smile.

That would be nice.

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Sometimes I feel genuinely anxious about never seeing the world. That Benjamin couldn’t leave the country made me feel terribly claustrophobic. Now that we could hit the international terminal with ease, now it brings up the issue of cost.  As we crunched the numbers over our new year budget, (yes we did the math), we realized that we could afford it, at the expense of…oh I don’t know a down payment of a house?

collage-house-suburbs-rewardyourselfLucky bastards.  Back in the day when men wore suits, women wore hats, houses were cheap and smoking was good for you. “It’s your goal. Write it down” Benjamin says.  But how does one afford that? Get a second job waiting tables three nights a week and save all of the tips for a holiday? Not bad.   Get discovered by some media mogul who pays me to travel and make witty observations? Better.  Wherever you are, generous benefactor, now would be a good time to show your face and dollah bills.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d love to have a little baby bear with my big Benjamin Bear.

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I love the idea of this little buddy lying between us in bed kicking chubby little legs, smiling, slobbering, giggling.  Sitting on Benjamin’s shoulders, resting comfortably on my hip while snoozing into my chest. Hearing their little voices, their opinions and thoughts. The intimacy of making a family, raising a child.  I even have baby names picked out.  Hey, I work with children, I 100% get the appeal.

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But when my husband wants to put a finger on the calendar to estimate my readiness, I can’t offer that to him.  Yesterday, I visited with my good friend Trish and her baby Melody, who is heart-meltingly adorable.  Trish asked about our family planning future, and I articulated my best possible answer. She, like all the other mothers out there gives me a general answer.  Babies are amazing, but are all-consuming. After you’ve had a baby, you are never not a parent ever again.  So… A) There’s never a ‘good time’ to start a family B) But take your time if it’s possible.

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I don’t know why I feel like having babies is something that other people do.  Like for myself, it still seems way too early.  But I’m 32 now, I’m not a kid.  I’m happily married, my husband and I are gainfully employed, mentally stable and caring individuals. I’d be a perfectly loving mother, and I have that love to give. Still there’s something generally panic inducing about cranking out a little one.

rosemarys-babyFirstly…as a rather petite woman with a nearly seven-foot tall husband, I do fear the size of the offspring.  My mother has on more than one occasion confessed a similar fear…on my behalf.  Which is unnerving, seeing as she gave birth three times without so much as an aspirin, because “cave-women didn’t have painkillers and they did just fine without them”. Therefore she could paint a rather clear portrait on the realities of childbirth, therefore I’d like to go the opposite route as cave-women didn’t have painkillers…but “smoke ’em if you got ’em, is what I always say.

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I mean, you can dress it up all you want, but there’s no easy, attractive or painless way to get that baby out.  I wish it were as easy as it was in my Barbie Doll era…this bitch even gets a flat stomach immediately after the baby is removed.

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I think my fear of childbirth can be directly linked to Melanie’s experience in “Gone With the Wind”.  We used to watch this movie on a yearly basis in my childhood, and that bit was always perfectly terrifying.

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If a baby is stuck…how do you get it out anyhow?  If someone told you they know everything about giving birth, but then at the last-minute said that they didn’t “know nothing”, and the only person that can help you secretly hates you and openly loves your husband, and the civil war is laying waste to all fine young men, keeping every capable doctor occupied.  Wouldn’t you be nervous?

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Granted…my situation is not anywhere near “GWTW” territory.  The fear and doubts would subside.  Maybe what I hadn’t achieved beforehand didn’t matter.  It’s not like I’d give birth and immediately fall off a cliff.  I’d still be me, just plus one. I would love this baby.  If we had a baby we’d be perfectly happy.

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But I’d like to explore the options, gamble with the numbers.  How late could I push this time back?  33, 34, 35…Gwen Stefani?  She’s 44 and fabulous and doing motherhood her own way.

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Halle Berry had a baby at 47, Kate Winslet, 38.  Then again these women are also richer than God, so who knows the amount of money poured into the enterprise.  It’s like Angelina Jolie; only when you are that wealthy can you start collecting children from other countries the way I do scarves and knickknacks in far off marketplaces. And keeping them well-educated and well fed ain’t cheap either.

So if the issue is not if–but when.   How can I take my goals by the horns and get myself where I need to go?

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How can I get to the point that I am pushing out this twenty-five pound baby and saying–“I did what I wanted while I wanted and I have no regrets!…also I love morphine!”

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And then a new adventure could begin with our new little buddy…and we’ll take them everywhere.

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Listen, if I don’t have an answer for my husband or myself…then I really can’t even dream of making something up to finish this blog with a nice conclusive ribbon wrapped around in.  I think as far as all dreams go, it is pretty rare that someone knocks on your door and hands that dream to you.  You need to go out and get what you want.  With the help of carefully drawn plans, we can now set our sights on the future, have some control over our lives.  And this whole baby dilemma will feel a little less like a nightmare.

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Images Courtesy of Google

Carbohydrate Brokeback Mountain

I call my husband “The Bear” and it’s a nickname that’s started to stick.  As with most nicknames, it spawns spin-off expressions.  He calls me “Goat”, or on occasion “Sheltland Goat”, with many variations.  Once in a silly mood, I called him ‘chunky bear‘ and the sound of it made me giggle. Obviously, he didn’t care for it, as it does imply that he is ‘chunky’.  It was not an often used name, but it does come out now and again.  Truth is; winter has come and so has the carbohydrates; we’re both feeling a little soft around the edges.

therightcarbs_heroStanding in the walk-in closet, attempting to pack for our last minute trip to Vancouver.  I catch an unflattering glimpse of myself.  Well..not like seeing an unflattering glimpse of myself is the equivalent of aurora borealis. It’s not rare to catch a glimpse in the mirror and feel varying degrees of dissatisfaction.  I’m not Victoria’s Secret, I’m not even her dirty little secret.  I’m not really their market audience.  I’ve got itty-bitties up top and then all the action is down below.  As I always say, my thighs are Godzilla and my calves Tokyo.  I lean into the mirror.  Oh crap.  Has my face gotten fat? Am I looking a little puffy?

Kim-Kardashian-instagram-selfie-2461622I implore my husband for some consolation. “Aww…” he says,chuckling a little and pinching my cheeks: “My chunky-goat-wife”.  I took this remark like an absolute champ.

Jenni-in-a-Calmer-Moment‘Chunky goat wife?’ Scientists couldn’t extract adorability from it and a public relations expert couldn’t spin it into a frothy confection.  At least ‘chunky bear’ sounded a bit like a yummy pastry.  “I’ll have an non fat cappuccino and two chunky bears please”;  at best ‘chunky goat wife’ could be a poorly translated name for a questionable looking hot dish served in the Mongolian mountains.  He really ran with that bit, which is fair I suppose, I did start it. But doesn’t he realize? It’s only funny when I am the one dishing it out. I’d like to keep my plate clean of comebacks thank you.  Needless to say, I spent the next hour pouting, glaring and poking my chin contemptuously.  Then ole Chunky Bear had the nerve to complain that I wasn’t being more helpful with the packing.  Uh, well here’s a tip, if you want your wife’s help, best check yourself before you wreck yourself with the pet names.

f5b7828531a537ab9eb7f44a4272d530I don’t want to be one of those wives that you have to lie to…but I wouldn’t mind being the kind of wife you bend the truth for.  Nod and smile and back away slowly.  That’s how you get it done.  I don’t want to be one of those women who are weight-obsessed.  I am who I am, and my body is shaped as it is.  If it were fifty years ago, my perception of my physical circumstances would be a different story.

ad1Of course, I’d be a fool to say I didn’t wish that I had legs that went on forever.  Truth is, I was curvy even as a little kid.  In my late elementary school days, someone started calling me “Chunky Soup“, saying that like the famous soup line, I too could be eaten with a fork or a spoon.  I didn’t know what that meant…but I was certain it was a nickname Audrey Hepburn never got pegged with.

largeChubby knees, stubby legs and dimply thighs are super cute when you’re a naked toddler running around the backyard.  As one gets older, and possibly more modest, such is best kept under leggings, trousers, pantyhose and A-frame skirts.

Fkowt Don’t get me wrong, I think Lena Dunham is awfully brave.  In her television series “Girls”, she is fearless when it comes to being vulnerable.  Sure, it’s her character Hannah being portrayed in those uncomfortable sex scenes and unflattering rompers, but Dunham is writing herself into these situations. She is deliberately exposing to the cast, crew, professional partners, advertisers and the audience.

Lena-Dunham-nude-topless-bush-sex-Girls-s2e5-2013-hd720p-15 It’s brave, bold, revolutionary, but I wouldn’t participate.  If I was director, writer, star and producer of my popular HBO program, I would have an iron clad nudity and romper policy.  The show would still be brilliant; it would be the new “Girls” which was the new “Sex and the City“.

66301_parker93_122_499loThe main theme on my show would focus on a love triangle between myself, Ryan Gosling and George Clooney; Clooney being a wealthy suitor, and Gosling a young man from the wrong side of the tracks.  They fight for my love and affection, (this will go on for years) and as we slip into old age, the winner gets to repeat the story to me over and over about how I dicked everyone around until I got dementia.  It’s a completely original idea, and it’s going to blow minds.  And never in the years of the beloved series ‘Love Sandwich’ would you see me scantily clad.  I would dress like Katherine Hepburn and in all my love scenes I’ll wear a scuba suit.

hepburnSometimes I think to myself…”I could stand to lose a few pounds”.  And I visualize a montage of myself doing sit ups, and jogging in the streets, and punching large slabs of meat.  I would be so fit.

44-sexy-fit-women-13My problem is…I love bread.  I love cheese, red wine and creamy lattes .  And bread.  I love bread so much that if I was on death row my last meal would just be various types of bread with things to spread, dip and place on top of it.

creepy girl stares at bread and jelly cello54aI used to go to this amazing restaurant when I lived in Victoria where they offered an all you could eat soup deal with the greatest bread ever.  Hot, buttery and pelted with chunks of rock salt.  I could have ordered the special and sent the soup back in the same way my friend Robin does with a wings and beer feature at the local pub.  She wants the cheap wings, but tells the waitress to give the beer to someone else cause she doesn’t want that cheap piss anywhere near her face.

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Fair enough, life is short, take only the good stuff.  I don’t even know who this Franz character is but I wish that I were that duck so I could eat all his bread.  Alas, this is a world full of limitations, boundaries, rules and limits.  Bread is a dietary no no, and most would recommend cutting out yeast and flour based products.  My love for bread is like the love in Brokeback Mountain. I just don’t know how to quit you, carbohydrates.  I love you, I hate you, I want you inside my mouth.  (…too much?)

Brokeback Mountain I really can’t remember “Brokeback Mountain”…though I did wind up seeing it twice at the cinema.  But I do remember just sobbing my little heart out.  I meant to re-watch it recently, but got distracted on Netflix and watched “Bring it On” instead.  It was just too sad to watch again. Maybe that’s how I can justify comparing the film to carbohydrates and plump thighs.  It was devastating to me that you could just miss your whole life by not being true to yourself; and for Ennis that was Jack Twist, for me it’s twist bread.

tumblr_md3ixfsZKW1rbear9o1_500Okay, I’m sorry for you situation with the forbidden love and all, but this is my blog and I can say what I want.  I’m comparing your love to my love of bread–deal with it.  In reality, I’m perfectly average. Not Karen Carpenter, not Mama Cass, just somewhere in the middle.  When I look at old photos of myself I balk at how young and slender I looked.   Of course, when that picture was being taken, I had that same voice in my head that compared and criticized.  In a year’s time, I could look at a picture of myself today and think I looked perfectly lovely.  With this in mind, I try to do my future self a favor and look at myself in the present as she would do in hindsight.

fun-house-mirrorImages Courtesy of Google

Atwood, Oprah & Jesus

How lovely.  The writer of “Ramblings of a Mad Kat” nominated “Pin Up Picks Pen Up” for The Liebster Award.

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What an uplifting moment that was.

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The night before I found out about my little prize, I had written exactly one line.  The blog was a place I used to come to.  There was a period where I was cranking out daily postings, my brain was a buzz with activities and ideas. My office was the first place I’d go to in the morning, coffee cup in hand, CBC2 in the background.  I would fill my notebook with ideas for future pieces, I used to work every day…sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and late into the night, words tumbling out of me, fingers feverishly accosting the keyboard, pounding out phrases.

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I entered a couple of writing contests, and I was never considered.  I got a little discouraged, got incredibly busy, and then…now, enough time has gone by that it’s gotten weird between us.  Like running into someone you used to be close to, there’s history there so it’s hard to be casual.   Or like when you bump into someone you know at the grocery store.  Say, you once took a class together, or worked at the same job one summer.  You like and respect them, wish them the very best.  You say, “nice to see you…we should really have coffee sometime”.

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“Absolutely” they say, nodding earnestly. Boy is it a nice idea, chipping out a little time for this old friend, grabbing a latte and catching up.  But let’s be honest.

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I hear you girlfriend.  That’s how I feel about the blog these days.  But I want to get back to that place.  Without the blog, without the creative outlet, I feel a little lost…a little deflated.  I’ve been through a trying couple of weeks.  I’ve gotten into a bit of a slump.  I’ve been feeling gold medal, black belt levels of the blahs.  Today I called my best friend, organized my closet, got a hair cut and bought a few new items for the winter season.  I spruced up a little; wore a dress and boots to the mall, and left feeling much lighter.  My husband and I visited with friends, and now I am at home taking the time to visit with an old friend of my own.

I’m to answer these questions about myself, so here goes…

1.       If you could be any animal, what would you be? 

My husband calls me ‘goat’, because I am stubborn, small and have been known to head butt .  I call him Bear because of his stature and magnificent beard.  In the animal kingdom we would be a goat and a bear and we would still be best friends.

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2.       Invite three people to dinner, living or dead – who are they? 

I wish I could honestly answer this question more academically, Margaret Atwood  Oprah and Jesus and whatnot…but I’d have to go with Audrey Hepburn, Nora Ephron and Tina Fey. 

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3.       What’s the best Christmas gift you could get?

Plane tickets with a big red bow. 

4.       What is your favorite blog entry you’ve written – please, post a link for us to read.

Oh I’m sorry…did you say my favorite five…no it was ten? Okay then!

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/06/06/double-duchess/

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/07/12/mazel-tov-cocktail/

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/05/29/tweets-twats/

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/07/19/ten-sense/

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/03/14/intensive-care-union/

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/09/22/something-blue/

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/08/15/guns-mom-jeans/

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/06/19/beyonce-it-isnt-so/

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/06/11/day-in-the-life/

https://pinuppickspenup.com/2013/07/10/rules-of-the-roadhouse/

5.       Who is your greatest inspiration? 

Nora Ephron, David Sedaris, Tina Fey, Elizabeth Gilbert, Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep and Audrey Hepburn.

6.       Most embarrassing moment (that you are willing to share) 

Good Lord, how much time do you have?

7.       Name one thing that you wish you had done in your life thus far.  

Traveled to Europe.  To me, Paris is a necessity. 

paris  

8.       What’s your favorite food?        

I love food in general; curry, satay, pasta…I prefer vegetarian but I eat a little meat.  I’m more savory than sweet.  My death row, last meal would be various kinds of bread with lots of things to dip into. And french fries.  Yes, definitely french fries.  And then I’d have a latte.     

9.       Cheesecake or Cake?   

I can appreciate both, but wouldn’t turn down an exquisite slice of cherry cheese cake. 

10.    Favorite Olympic sport?     

Ha ha, bitch please! 

11.    If you could ask your great grandparents one thing, what would it be?

Were you happy?

I’d like to pass the award onwards to some of my favorites.

1) An Opinionated Girl VS. The World. http://lilynichol.wordpress.com/

2) Entrepreneur by Nurture. http://www.effectiveenterprise.co.nz/

3) Vinyl and Pearls vinylandpearls.wordpress.com

4) Lonely City http://lonelycityperth.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/allow-me-to-introduce-myself/

5) Vodka, Unicorns and Lincoln Logs http://dagmartully.wordpress.com/

There are so many great blogs out there, and I wish you the strength and perseverance to continue…no matter how busy life gets…cause once in a while you get a little reminder about just how fabulous you can be.

oscarpix17f-2-copyImages Courtesy of Google