The Devil, Willy Wonka & The Tunnel of Love

It’s the beginning of March and it’s snowing. Again.  Christ almighty, when will I be able to wear flats again? Walk on the grass? Feel the sun on my face.  Throw on a t-shirt and a skirt and head out the door.  My friend Monica said that nothing was more refreshing than strolling in a long skirt without any underwear.  It was like opening the window down below . When I lived in New Zealand, I once found myself at a music festival, swept up by reggae music, sun-kissed and stomping my feet into the dust, hair wet from the ocean, wearing nothing but a long white halter dress.  I felt truly free.  Like I could breathe, and not just through my mouth and nose.  The winter  season is such a bulky time of year, I’m starting to feels like later-years Marlon Brando, but with much smaller breasts.


I manage a facility that deals with children, anywhere between eighteen months and five years, up to school aged.  Each little friend comes complete with boots, gloves, hats, snow-pants, enormous puffy jackets, indoor shoes, lunch bags…and the occasional little roller bag with Dora the Explorer on in.  The first snowfall of the season, ( exactly one thousand years ago) brought that fear to the forefront of my mind.

all. those. puffy. coats.

Imagine all of those possessions, and then stuff them into a little cubby.  Then let a four-year old do it.  Watching a pre-schooler try to achieve this cleanly and swiftly is like watching a monkey stuff a cream puff through a key hole. Children, bless them, are precious creatures, but when surrounded by twenty of them, it does feel like being a ringmaster in a midget circus… but all the midget’s have all been drinking champagne in the hot sun, or they have just recently been tasered on a tilt-a-whirl.  They look stunned, confused, toddling around the room wrapped up in layers like little sausages.  No one knows what belongs to them, and everyday there is a lone mitten, or abandoned sock.  On more than one occasion, you have to line them up and hold up a sweater, moving slowly down the line trying to match the unlabeled item to their disoriented owner.  “No one? This sweater belongs to nobody, it just grew some legs and wandered from a store somewhere? That’s fine, I’ll just add it to the massive pile we call the lost and found”.  I dream about warmer days, and one layer per child.


    Do they usually come with this much baggage?

I feel like I don’t know how to write.  Or…that I can write, but I don’t know what to say.  Or that I know what to say but I’m afraid to be as honest as I need to be to tell the story.  I’ve just recovered from five days bed rest.  Infection stormed the castle of my immune system, and my empire lay in smoldering ruins.  What I love most about getting sick, (and when I say love, I really mean hate) is when you are ticking along, enjoying life, strolling on a metaphorical California boardwalk eating an ice cream cone, staring at the sunset…


…when someone runs up from behind and whacks you over the head with a crow bar, knocking the fun out of your day, and the wind out of your sails.


The mathematics of body chemistry. Busy schedule+winter+lack of sleep/hotel hot tub x dietary sensitives=five days of bed rest due to a spectacularly wicked thrush infection.  It came on with a furious swiftness, as if it were sent to me by the devil himself via the four horseman of the apocalypse.


Sweet baby Jesus, the tunnel of love is on fire.

devil inside

I woke at 6am and felt like moving my body would be the greatest feat.  I texted my boss and fell back asleep for hours.  When I finally awoke, I was weak and agitated.  I wasn’t going anywhere.  I lay there in the darkness, wondering how to pass the time.

gone with the wind

Okay…time out.  Listen,I’ve got to drop a disclaimer on y’all.  I’m not sure where this blog is going to go, but there’s a 98% chance that the subject material may get a little uncomfortable.  Right now we are cruising along in a little boat, on untroubled waters.  I’m giving you the usual tour through my ridiculous thoughts, and everyone is perfectly content.

badass-6The tide is about to turn.  Like that scene in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, when they take that cruise on the chocolate river that quickly turned into an acid trip.  It’s innocent enough, Wonka is singing a little ditty, and then it starts to edge on creepy, and then he starts screaming at everyone, and it really takes the sweetness out of a pleasure cruise in a candy factory.


This blog may do that.  I’m going to talk about my vagina.  Things may get graphic. Not in Quentin Tarantino or Larry Flynt kind of way, more Eve Ensler meets Katherine Hepburn. Still…I’m going to be giving you the worst side of Wonka.


I once sat in on a general meeting for “The Vagina Monologues”.  People would introduce themselves with: “Hi, I’m Debbie and I love vaginas” or “If my vagina could she would wear a fur coat and diamonds”.  The sentiment was a little too ooey-gooey for my taste.  We can all appreciate the good work a vagina does, but you wouldn’t want to sit across from one at a dinner party all night.  Although I suppose if it were Ensler’s she would plenty to discuss, be able to describe itself colorfully, and maybe wear hip horn rimmed glasses.  She would have sassy catch phrases like: ‘Read my lips”, and discuss her favorite childhood book ‘The Vulventeen Rabbit’.  When my turn came, I of course combated my vulnerability with humor, and compared my vagina to Mrs Roper from “Three’s Company”.


The last time I made a “Three’s Company” joke, my Kiwi husband didn’t get it.  It makes me wonder if the reference is just a bit too old and regional for my target audience.  “Three’s Company” is a wacky sitcom, a farcical web of high jinks and misunderstandings.  Jack Tripper fakes homosexuality in order to live with two women in a Santa Monica apartment with very opinionated landlords. Mrs Roper, the landlord’s wife is a feisty old broad who wears muumuu’s and plastic jewelry with curly hair. Despite her seduction tactics, her husband is sexually unresponsive. She’s sassy, nosy, lonely and a little sad.  She’s feeling her age, and desperate for a better time.


I never did participate in “The Vagina Monologues”.  They had given me a monologue about an aboriginal woman who is repeatedly raped and beaten by her husband; but how every morning she got her revenge but braiding his hair incorrectly, so that his point of pride was crooked.  Yikes. That meeting and the subsequent performance was not long after my friend Monica’s death, and I did not need that kind of story in my head.  I had also chosen that time to go and see one of my oldest friends instead.  It does remind me of a friend who did a performance in Ontario, with a group that was beyond lovey-dovey about their anatomy.  At the after party, the topic of menstruation (as it so often does) came up.  These women discussed their different flow methods; how some just…worked from home I imagine, and just bled out on their blankets. Many many made their own pads, and the hostess remarked that she would reuse her menstrual pads, wash them, and then use the leftover pink water for her plants.  It was just then that my friend noticed the plethora of lush greenery amongst the ceramic pots and modern art.  That woman’s vagina would wear caftans and smell like patchouli.  My vagina is more along the lines of Annie Hall…or maybe Edith Piaf.  dramatic, melancholic, misunderstood, traumatized, and a little bit outlandish.


Over the last five days I have thought less of my vagina as a person, but more as a place during a natural disaster.  A war zone in Vietnam, a zombie apocalypse in the Sahara desert.  Remember that scene in “Gone with the Wind” when Atlanta is burning? Now you’re getting the idea.

Gone with the wind

Oh candida, you are my nemesis.  I’ve written of my love of bread before, “Carbohydrate Brokeback Mountain”, will explain all.  Bread does not feel about me, as I do about it.  As I get older, the tolerance recedes with time.  The pain worsens; this infection was so consuming that I would have done anything to make the pain go away.  I was melting ice faster than global warming.  I can’t spend my life dodging the next candida car bombing.  I’ve been here before.  Eliminating the ‘danger foods’ from my diet.  As my girlfriend said to me–first, “Yes you can blog about your vagina” and second, “Bread is the coal that stokes the flames of Candida”.  What else you ask? What other food’s encourage the growth of yeast and should be avoided? What are the other culinary don’ts?

AVOID All sweets including hidden sweeteners in processed foods, such as soups, all fruit and fruit juice. Avoid grains such as prepared flake cereals sprouted grain cereals such as: Amaranth, Buckwheat, Corn, Millet, Rice, Rye, Spelt, Wheat.

Avoid Granola, Pearl barley, Instant oats, Cornmeal, degerminated Hominy grits, degerminated Microwave popcorn Blue corn meal

Pasta Pasta is flour and water, the flour may be white bread flour and it may be durum flour made from semolina. All types of noodles are made from the same base and they should all be cut out of the diet, with Bufin, the Japanese noodles, Ramen instant noodles, farina, semolina and white flour noodles and pastas.

Baked goods and Breads Avoid all cakes, pastries, cookies doughnuts or other processed baked food containing sugar. This list includes white bread, or any bread containing wheat, which includes parathas, nanas bread, pita bread, white flour tortillas, wheat dough tortillas, sourdough, or any other ethnic bread made from wheat. Mochi the sweet unleavened bread made from brown rice should be avoided.

Legumes Avoid beans and peas with sweeteners, bean sprouts, tempeh which a type of fermented tofu, tofu and textured vegetable protein.

Nuts & Seeds Coconut, Peanuts, Pistachios, Walnuts

Dairy Products Buttermilk, Soymilk (sweetened), All kinds of cheeses, Cottage cheese, Kefir, Milk, Sour cream Creme fraiche Sweetened yogurt.

Fruit Never eat dried fruit, and when you start the Candida cleanse diet it is best to avoid all fruit because of the fructose the sugar it contains. Once you have eliminated the current Candida infection then eat fruit with a moderate amount of sugar. Low sugar fruits are apples, grapefruit, melon, and strawberries.

Beverages Alcohol, Cereal beverages, Coffee both regular and decaffeinated, Fruit juices Soft drinks including the diet soft drinks. Processed tea drinks such as lemon tea. All fruit teas, Black tea

Condiments and Sauces No Ketchup or catsup or any type of tomato sauce Cream sauces such as Alfredo Steak sauce, NO Capers, Dried or powdered garlic, Miso, Dried or powdered onion, Pickles or chutneys, which include anything made with sugar and distilled vinegar. Spices, Distilled vinegar Sauerkraut.

Proteins: Meat products such as beef chicken or pork have added antibiotics and hormones and they should be avoided if you want to eat meat then eat free-range organic products. Smoked meats such as bacon, sausages and salami products such as pepperoni have added sugar and should be cut out of your diet.

Vegetables:Beetroot Canned tomatoes Carrots Cucumber skins, Mushrooms (all types), Potato skins, Prepared soups, Canned tomatoes

Don’t worry, there is plenty to feast upon that’s yeast free!

Antelope, bear, beef, buffalo, caribou, chicken, deer, duck, eggs, elk, all types of fish, frog legs, game hen, goat, goose, grouse (partridge), guinea fowl, moose, mutton, peafowl, pheasant, pigeon (squab), pork, quail, and turkey.

Oh good. No bread, wine, coffee, dairy, sugar, fruit…but all the pigeon I can eat?!? Jackpot! I’ll lose fifty pounds and call it the hobo diet.  I just live off bird meat, frog legs and rain water and be Sarah Jessica Parker thin.


In my five days of bed rest, I remedied my boredom with several seasons of “Sex and the City”.  I was mid-way through season three–which was set up in the bedroom DVD player for those days when Benjamin was tied up with his video games.  Set up with water, tea and a bowl of ice, I propped by knees up with a body pillow, and completed the third season, which lead to the fourth, the fifth and both parts of the sixth season.


When the show was at its peak on television all my peers were obsessed with the show. In retrospect, this show created expectations that are a kin to teenage boys and pornography.  People don’t always look like that. Sex isn’t always like that. Relationships aren’t even like that. Nothing is as exciting as New York.  Real life isn’t quality HBO programming.  Yet, it created an impossible standard of the kind of women we wanted to be.


The series finale took place ten years to the week of my illness.  I can tell you exactly where and who I was when that show ended.  A twenty-two university student, broke, broken, self-absorbed, thrift store fashionista, dreaming of bigger and better and not knowing how to get there.  I wanted to be a writer then, but didn’t write anything other than random journal entries or assigned essays.  I had plenty of material to work with.  I suppose I didn’t know myself, I was barreling through my life, crashing into people, and snatching at choices without a thought to consequence.  I was self-reflexive, but perhaps not brave enough to truthfully chronicle my life for public consumption.  Of course, the only thing worse than people not reading, is people reading.  And then…what would happen? Wouldn’t they know about my promiscuities, my bad habits, and worse yet, the bad habits of my friends?  That thought occurred while watching the program in this highly concentrated amount.  In theory, isn’t Carrie’s voice over her article being written? Aren’t her friends reading? Wouldn’t Mr Big be reading this weekly and have a better understanding of his partner’s needs? Wouldn’t just once Samantha say: ‘must you tell everyone just how much cock I’ve been gobbling?”

sex and the city meme 4

Of course, in a city of eight million people as opposed to a university town of 85,000…there’s a lot more freedom in anonymity.  It’s a lot harder to scream from the rooftops about the heavy flow of traffic being directed through the vagina’s of you and your besties when the skyscraper only reaches six or seven floors. It’s a bit like trying to replicate Carrie’s fashion sense in a city where the downtown strip is six blocks on one street, and the majority of time is spent in the library or computer labs.


On the streets of the Big Apple, anything goes; amidst the crush of busy people in the urban jungle, you can mix couture with thrift store, and wear your heart, and your even vagina on your sleeve.


Calm down Carrie, that’s not even the worst of it.  Going from episode to episode, I did notice one thing.  Carrie Bradshaw is a selfish piece of work.  This reminds me of a conversation with a university theatre professor, who had seen the entire series with his long-time girlfriend.  Great writing, great characterization, great acting.  The only issue? “Carrie Bradshaw is a cunt“, he says decisively.  “She’s selfish, inconsiderate, irresponsible, vain, careless. Look at what she did to Aidan, that’s cruel”.


For those not in the know, after years of the hot/cold, yes/no treatment from Mr Big, who eventually marries another (younger) woman, Carrie meets Aidan, big sweet loving bear, a carpenter with an understanding heart.  He loves, accepts, values and adores Carrie, who starts fooling around in hotel rooms with married Mr Big.  She confesses the morning of Charlotte’s wedding, hoping to absolve herself and move forward. Aidan is like…’uh no, because now I can’t trust you–what other secrets do you have stored in that enormous bun atop your head?’


Enter season four, Carrie reconnects with Aidan, pursues him ceaselessly, earns his love and trust once more.  They get engaged, Carrie crumbles under the crush of commitment, and then breaks his heart all over again.


Wow, she really is a cunt.  It’s all the more obvious to me because my husband is an “Aidan”.  The thought of hurting my bear like that made me feel awfully sad.  That’s the power of excellent writing, by the end of the series you still find yourself rooting for Carrie and Mr Big.  Of course, by the time you get to Petrovsky, “The Russian”, I’d rather Carrie drove off in the sunset with Miranda or Chewbacca from Star Wars than that humorless old bastard.

splat-01-1024I don’t care how hunky he was “back in the day”, no Russian for me thanks.  Look at that expression. Imagine opening your eyes mid-coitus and seeing that grimace looming overhead.  Blech.  When I would watch this program with one friend, who I visited after Monica’s death, we would bellow “BORING!” every-time he appeared on the screen.  Thank God the Russian is the only person in the world more selfish than Carrie, and she finds her way back to Mr Big, who takes about as long as a Canadian winter to finally be like–”okay, I’m finally ready, let’s shuffle away from this retirement home and really make it work, until we die of old age in about ten minutes time”. (Until the movie, where I ruin the wedding and you still take me back in the end, which leads to the second (possibly ill-advised) film, when you snog Aidan in Abu Dhabi while Samantha has to keep her face from melting in the sun”.


Don’t get me wrong, I was very committed to this marathon; it kept me sane.  I was emotionally invested in these lives, but it got me thinking about my friendships, romances, relationships, my youth, my memories…and my vagina.  I was in such pain, I couldn’t help but wonder how women recover after birth and actually have to take care of another human being at the same time.  What a terrifying thought. I’ve heard the stories, I could put the pieces together,  that’s a long road back for the lady bits.  Panic was rising inside of me.  In the climatic fever pitch of my illness, agitated and desperately lonely, deep inside my own head, I was lost at an intersection of fact and fiction, memory and reality.  “Sex and the City” inevitably turns to the ticking clock.  Charlotte can’t have a baby, Miranda struggles with hers, Carrie doesn’t know if she wants to have a baby; it kind of makes you sweat from all the options.


A dear friend calls me up to check in on my health.  We gab about “Sex and the City”, I vent about my illness, and she tells me that she is having a baby.  Mind blown.  It was like…’you can’t be pregnant, we’re only 22, smoking cigarettes and talking about our crushes “.  It’s an age so good that Taylor Swift wrote a song about it. I still trip over the fact that the young girls from the past, obsessing over dramas that are dust particles now, sleepless nights spent searching for Mr Right, (and/or Mr Right Now) are now married, or settled with careers, mortgages and children, and that time is but a blip on the brain’s fuzzy recollection.  Not that I would want to be that maturity level again, but having that kind of time ahead of me…that would be better than all the couture in the world.  If you think about it, I am the age now of Carrie at the beginning of the series, when I equated this show to being in my twenties.


In an effort to cleanse my body, I saw an acupuncturist for a candida exorcism.  In New Zealand, combined cupping and acupressure, gave you herbs, and you left feeling like a million bucks for about fifty dollars.  This was being left along in a room for an hour, penetrated by a thousand tiny little pricks.  I dozed for a spell, but then was wide awake, sinking into a new depth of loneliness.  I wanted to go back to New York,  back to bed. Once home, I tried to entice Benjamin to join me…”Please”, he said “I’m afraid the show will give me a yeast infection”. Which was fine, he wouldn’t understand anyway, he just doesn’t have the proper equipment.  I was on a journey of healing and self discovery, and I didn’t even have to leave my bedroom.  I crawled back under the sheets, where I was alone but in good company, just Carrie B, New York City, my vagina and me.

vagina depressedImages Courtesy of Google

Sweetie Darling

With Ben’s sickness spilling over into another week, we have been hitting the Netflix pretty hard.  Without “Downton Abbey” to lean on, we are back in the sometimes murky waters of movie selections. We start watching “Finding Neverland”, and then Ben starts to doze.  I’d seen this film before…and admittedly had one of those big ‘caught without a tissue and wiping your face on your sweater’ kind of cries. I figured if he was going to sleep, I might check another program out.  I select “Beautiful Darling”, a documentary of Andy Warhol Super Star, Candy Darling.


Looks like my kind of movie right? Ummmmm. I don’t know, I love me some pop culture education…but it was creepy and morbid.  Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for it, cause creepy and morbid is usually something I can’t resist.  The thing about Ms Candy Darling is that…she’s a terrible actress with a breathy voice, and watching her huff and puff her way through monologues feels like hot breath on your neck while standing in an elevator.


In a nutshell: James Lawrence Slattery, born 1944 in Forest Hills, Queens was a future transvestite with a dream. (S)he inspired Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”, made movies with Andy Warhol, added her own lashing of avante-garde, disco-glam style on the cultural landscape before dying of lymphoma at 29. 


It was uncomfortable to watch.  Darling is like your boozy aunt, only your boozy aunt has a penis and wears far too much rouge to compensate.


Furthermore, the Bear didn’t actually sleep. There’s that relationship osmosis when you know your partner is uncomfortable, and by virtue it makes you extremely cognizant of all the potentially uncomfortable aspects of your shared experience.  A girlfriend of mine once took her husband to “Brokeback Mountain”–and he didn’t know what it was about. That story never gets old to me, it cracks me up.  If my relationship osmosis theory was rooted in any actual science–that moment would have been a record breaker.  Still, he says nothing.  We sit in silence, I’m tapping away on the computer, reading about Andy Warhol and another Factory favorite Edie Sedgwick.


“Are you watching this?” Ben asks.  I’m aware of it’s existence.  I’m listening to it and occasionally looking at the colors and light.  It’s inspiring a new thread of nerdy internet research…but I’m not married to it.  There’s also this element of not wanting to admit that I think it’s weird.  I don’t want to be creeped out.  And perhaps Ben is also trying to ride it out as well.  It’s like a game of chicken…only it’s a new fangled visual, media aged ‘strange chicken’, circa sitting through “Two Girls, One Cup” and trying not to barf. Of course, the closest I’ve ever been to that vile piece of scatological nonsense was having it explained to me one long-ago Christmas morning while walking with my two brothers and my fiance.  I of course, had many questions. Who were these women? Did their mothers know where they were? How much would one get paid to shit in a cup and have someone vomit on your face? What made the director select “Lovers Theme” by Hervé Roy as the soundtrack?” “Did they look unhappy?” The more the boys explained, the more the urge to retch at the memory seized them.  My god, why watch that? Why do that to yourself? More importantly why  would you do that to Questlove?



Of course, if uncomfortable moments were salsa, “Brokeback Mountain” is medium, “2 Girls, 1 Cup” is hot, making Candy Darling a mild concoction.  Nonetheless, if you aren’t in the mood for salsa, even mellow Old El Paso is simply the wrong flavor.  If you want to throw a game of chicken to me, give me the tractor race in “Footloose”.


I’m sorry, by the time Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding out for a Hero” starts to peak, I’m holding my breath.


By the time Lori Singer is running through somebody’s daddy’s field, and Bonnie Tyler is full steam ahead, and I am running strictly on goosebumps and exhilaration.

(I couldn’t find a picture of her mid-sprint , but I can do you one better. I can post the link to the scene and offer you this bonus image: this amazing t-shirt and arm-length jean zipper is too good to pass up.  You can just image the photographer here “Yes darling, love it, love it…now point at the t-shirt…perfect! We got the shot!)



Good ole what’s her name.  Apparently Madonna wanted to play Kevin Bacon’s love interest Ariel, the promiscuous preacher’s daughter with her sassy red boots, but some casting agent was like “That Madonna  girl is a nobody, it’s Lori Singer who’s going to be a star”.  Now, I’ve seen “Footloose” a time or ten, and every time I do…well first of all,  I have a really good fucking time. Secondly, I cringe at Singer’s skeletal frame; I want someone to feed Lori Singer a little less cock, and a little more casserole.  My god, by the end of the movie when she’s fussing with her dress–”do I want it on my shoulder/off my shoulder”, expressing her self-consciousness with the majesty of fabric fiddling…I’m like, I’m sorry did we run out of money? Can we not cover these shoulders? How is Ren McCormack going to fit her in his yellow Beetle? Does she have to turn sideways to get through the door?


We all know what happened to Kevin Bacon, he’s six degrees away from Christ himself, but whatever happened to Lori Singer?


“Sunset Grill”? Now there’s a restaurant I won’t be eating at.  I’d rather watch ’2 Girls, 1 Cup’ than this cheesy train wreck.  They even airbrushed out her god-damned shoulders.  And who the fuck is Peter Weller? Peter Weller hasn’t even heard of Peter Weller.  From the look of the cover, the mustache, the dirty band-aid, that ‘held at gunpoint date-rapist intensity’…what appears to be a tie-die shirt, you gotta know that he is going to bad-act the shit out of it.  He’s the male Candy Darling…he’s Randy Darling, which would be an improvement from stupid ole ‘Pete Weller’, poor man’s Tom Selleck.  Poor ole Lori, probably thought she had properly broken into the biz with “Footloose”.  Singer’s probably clutching a highball glass slumping her expansive shoulders, glaring at a recent photo of Madonna–”that should have been me, those Gollum arms and immortal skin”, damn you “Footloose”!”


Yikers, she’s someone you wouldn’t want to bump into in prison.  I don’t really know who she’s fooling.  She’s older than the dinosaurs, but more muscular than Arnold Schwarzenegger before he married a Kennedy and made a love child with his maid, when she was supposed to be making the beds.  Of course, plastic surgery is a real point of contention.  Not that I’d deny you the right to just put whatever knives and needles and injectable toxic swill into your face if you think it buys you more time.  It really doesn’t, you’ll still die and you’ll look like Mickey Rourke in the meantime.  Do you want to look like Mickey Rourke? Will that help you feel alive?


Huge improvement right? And it only cost $100,000. Good call Mickey.  And the thing is…I came across some post-surgery Mickey Rourke photos just now…and let me tell you, I wouldn’t want to see Mickey Rourke on his best day, fresh from a bubble bath and tucked up in fresh jam-jams, much less post-surgery.  With these procedures, there is ample recovery time…which is great because you look like a wax museum after an arsonist attack, and no one wants to hire you because you’d frighten a feral dog looking the way you do. The more you tweaked, the more you had to recover.  Folks like Joan Rivers would live their lives in constant cycles of metamorphosis and healing; and surgery is no joke, to me, that’s a horror movie, it’s not a solution to self-consciousness.  Which brings us to tonight, when I picked a Joan River’s “Don’t Start With Me”, a comedy special.


Joan Rivers is someone I’d like at my dinner table, but not on the stage.  I think she is ruthless and fearless, and a true comedy icon.  I would love to sit through a bad movie with her (Sunset Grill, perhaps?), wander through a crowded mall and people watch…or maybe an afternoon at the zoo? I bet Joan Rivers would have a lot of opinions about all of God’s creatures. As long as I don’t have to stare directly at the blaring sun that is her face.  Mostly, when looking at the screen, I just focused on her fabulous coat.  After twenty or so minutes of her routine, which included a Oprah/Gayle/”sisters going downtown” bit, I was rubbed raw.  Forty minutes more I could not take, (yes, sometimes I do write like Yoda talks).  I guess that’s her schtick, aggressively bitchy and wildly offensive.  People were lapping it up, but again, it’s not really where I’m at.  It’s more a blueprint of my golden years, as opposed to the evening’s entertainment.  Oh, I like to get a little bitchy, maybe dip my toe and make a little splash, but I’m not ready for a big cannonball.  I don’t have nearly enough money to be that brand of bitchy.  The day I can pull off rainbow stripes, fifteen pounds of medical grade plastic, and that coat, I’ll throw out some real zingers.  They’ll just love me at the nursing home.


Images Courtesy of Google/YouTube

| Tagged Andy Warhol, , Candy Darling, celebrity, disappointment, Edie Sedgwick, film, , , , Lou Reed, Mickey Rourke, , Netflix, Plastic, plastic surgery, QuestLove, Television, The Roots

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.


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

Mazel Tov Cocktail

My friend Sheanna was expressing a need to acquire a few pieces for her wardrobe, but sighed in the same way Sisyphus maybe does when he has to push that god-damn rock up the hill again.  Shopping can be a huge drag, I’ve touched on this subject before–it’s a molotov cocktail of factors: the pictures of tall, thin models wearing the exact clothes you are about to try on, the florescent lighting, and the mirrors, and the change room, my god the change room, might as well call them the “hate yourself” room.  That inevitable moment in the cramped space, staring at yourself in the mirror, under the harsh lighting looking at all your imperfections, those charming cellulite dimples, stretch marks, an unsightly bruise, it’s suddenly all you see.  And why is every time you go shopping, it also happens to be on the same day when you wear mismatched socks or a pair of underwear so big you could tuck it under your bra and make a make-shift one piece bathing suit?  None of this applies to me of course, ’cause my body is fucking amazing.  I actually leave the door open just in case someone wants to sneak a peek at perfection.

streetstyle-stevie nicks 18

Because I understand the anxiety of shopping, I’m actually quite adept at dressing people.  I offer my assistance, and a shopping date is made.  Sheanna huffs that she wishes she could make her own clothes (she’s learning to sew as we speak).  She expresses a desire for flowing, earthy garments that billowed all around, and would actually look quite good if you were anywhere near a wind machine.

stevie_nicks wind

“So…you want to dress like Stevie Nicks“?


Oh my goodness, though I was making a joke, we both paused, as if to consider how wonderful life would be if we could just dress like Stevie Nicks, everyday, all the time.

stevienicks pink

“We should start our own Stevie Nicks fashion line.  With every outfit purchased, you’d get a free tambourine”


There could be different lines, the ‘Leather and Lace‘ collection, the ‘Blue Denim‘ collection, we could do a collection for teens called “Edge of Seventeen“.

There would be a hat line for sure, and we’d call it “Stop Dragging My Hat Around”.

balck hat nicks

But really, we want clothes that go from day to night.  These are clothes that you can snort copious amount of cocaine with your band in. You could be loving and leaving dudes like Don Henley or Lindsey Buckingham in these looks, and always feel comfortable and fabulous.

nicks outfit

There’s nothing I don’t like about this idea.  Sure, I might feel a little silly in the line up at the bank while wearing a giant, feathered top hat, my tambourine rattling whenever I shift weight on my feet. But at least I won’t feel bad in the change room.  Oh yes, and at our boutique,the ‘Nicks Knacks’, the change rooms are giant spaces with plush furniture, fabulous music and soft lighting.  But you won’t really need them, the items are so loose and flowing, that you can just try them on over your clothes.  And there will be a wind machine.  I’m looking forward to that.

stevie wait

Me neither Stevie, me neither.

stevie last pictureAll Images Courtesy of Google

Double Duchess

The general outrage and upset garnered from the recent closing of the local strip joint “The Duchess” is the kind of things that failing business owners hate.  “I can’t believe it’s shutting down…no, I was never a patron…but I was happy knowing it was there”.

kamloops-hotest-new-club_5242149I went there ten years ago when it was known as “Outbacks”.  It was dark and dingy, and it was there that I saw my first and only pregnant stripper.  At least…we were pretty sure she was, otherwise that gal was in serious need of an ab-roller and some bran muffins.  Outbacks was also the place where I say my first-and only wet t-shirt contest.  Three girls: over-weight, under-weight, under-aged and three dudes with spray bottles.  Now you could have put a wig on a dumpster and it would have looked better than these three combined.  Even the sprayers looked hard pressed to moisten the bra-less cotton clad participants.  Watching this like one witnesses a fiery car crash, my face is twisted in fascinated horror.  I feel a tapping on my shoulder, and I glance back at a leathery old man exposing a gummy, toothless grin.  “See that one right there? The one is the middle? That there is my granddaughter”.

Shut it down.

“You must be so proud”, I say, with as much sincerity I could muster.  I guess this girl didn’t take part much in the way of school plays or track meets.

The first time I ever went to a strip club was around my 18th birthday, at a place called “Pinky’s Show Palace” in Alberta.   I think I had seen “Flashdance” far too many times, because the real thing was kind of bleak.

Flashdance_011PyxurzOne performer, Misty, looked tried, bored, and was chewing gum like a cow does with cud. She didn’t dance, as much as she generally walked around onstage wearing nothing but clear plastic heels.  I slumped in my seat.  I figured there would be a routine.  I always imaged that if ever I were a welder by day and a dancer by night a la “Flashdance”, I would really do it up right.  I’d go by Audrey Rugburn, and my playlist would be as followed:

-”One of These Nights”, the Eagles,

-”Crazy in Love”, Beyonce and Jay-Z

-And…because it seems like a stripper essential, “Cowboy” by Kid Rock, but I’d add an unexpected twist, a mash-up with Bob Seager’s Night Moves”.

natalie wood stripper

But the sad stripper at Pinky’s clearly hated her job, and those who gawked at her goodies.  For the ‘floor number’, she writhed around on a plush blanket with a unicorn–you know the kind, those sold out of vans on the side of the road with Bob Marley and “Scarface” etched into the material.  (PS: Urban Dictionary refers to them as a”skanket”).  She hung keychains on her nipples, and stuck posters…in other places and customers would find new and disgusting ways to retrieve these prizes.  I thought the whole thing was rather unsanitary.  Patrons chucked coins at her nether regions, and her eyes were elsewhere while her naked body was pelted by someone’s filthy change.  I just felt so upset as she neatly folded up her blanket so as not to lose a single cent.


If ever a strip joint was visited, it was the “Rendezvous”,  it was a  popular spot, and always a good time.  Around one closing time, after many, many drinks and encouragement from equally drunk friends, I rushed up on stage to swing around the pole.

Props to the core strength of these dancers–for that shiz is not easy.

I grabbed the pole and slid down–”Swing, swing!” my friends cried.  “I can’t…it’s too greasy!”, I just slid down the shaft lamely.  Once back in my seat, a waitress came by to clear the multitude of empty glasses.

“Hun, I would go wash your hands before you touch your eyes”.


The Rendezvous was close to my one room apartment, a place that had become known as the “Hippie Hut”.  In the bathroom…well, in one corner of the room was a shower, in the other corner was a small enclosure with a toilet, and a pink sarong acting as a door.  For the longest time there was a poster inside said space of a stripper that had included me in her act.

I was sitting with friends along the bar that wrapped around the stage, the aptly titled “gyno row”.  This is not an ideal spot, as the strippers will crouch down in the middle of a set and have a chat, and there’s this rather large part of you that wants to ask–”Does your mother know you are here?”  Nonetheless, I’m sipping a gin and tonic, and watching the show, when all other members of the row start pounding their fists on the bar.  My G&T dances like a wind-up toy, and rat-a-tats towards the edge, dumping all over my lap.  And of course, I’m wearing light covered denim, so that spill is as obvious as motel room stains under a black light.  I panic, grab a fistful of napkins, and try to rub out the excess liquid.   Some drunken character draws attention to my one arm feverishly jerking back and forth, pointing out that it looks as if I’m doing myself a big favour. I then say possibly one of the top ten stupidest things of my life: “No-no, it’s not like that, I’m all wet!”  Hooting and hollering ensues.  I was hoping that I could sit long enough for the pants to dry, but clearly, between the rubbing and my inadvertent announcement of particular wetness, I decide to retreat to the bathroom and make friends with a hand dryer.  I get up, turn around, and the stripper makes a grab for me, pulling me from under my armpits and dragging me onstage.  In a packed club.  In my gin soaked jeans.  She then bends forward and dips her sweaty, glittery breasts onto my face, like apples into caramel–it was that sticky.  And then she gave me a poster, which I then used to hold over my crotchal region as I exited to the washroom.  With dryer pants and further cocktails, I saw the dancer later and she autographed the poster, saying something along the lines of having ‘power over men with another word for kitty-cat’.  And so, it came home with me, and was placed near the toilet, for all to enjoy.


The Rendezvous eventually closed, and the Duchess was the only place in town where you could get boobs, beers and a burger in the same place.  But now that her days are numbered, there is a considerable buzz about the possible importance of a titty bar in a city’s landscape.  There are women’s groups that support it’s closing, but there are other types of women’s groups that think it’s a darn shame that these professionals have to leave the province to find work.  I can appreciate both opinions, but I hate to think of this next generation of young people who are going to miss out on wonderful memories of gin-soaked jeans, expectant strippers, glittery breast sweat, and the souvenirs you’d get to take home…just as soon as you wash your hands before accidentally touching your eyes.

stripteaseAll Images Courtesy of Google

Paint Me Paltrow.

I wish I had Gwyneth Paltrow‘s problems. I wish I had her money.  I wish I had her wardrobe.  I wish I had her legs.


I wish I could make huffy remarks like: “When you go to Paris and your concierge sends you to some restaurant because they get a kickback, it’s like, ‘No. Where should I really be? Where is the great bar with organic wine?”…oh yeah, and you have to say it with a straight face.  And, furthermore, Paltrow complains about poor concierge recommendations, like “Where do I get a bikini wax in Paris?”  You just hear her fury loud and clear.  My god, this is a woman with her finger on the pulse.  She is touching on some serious issues that today’s woman really struggle with–being in a foreign country and having no one to tend to your solid gold snatch.

What’s embarrassing, is that she doesn’t already have a regular waxer in Paris.  Frederico has been doing me for years, and I always check in when I go there never.


Standing in line at the grocery store, looking seriously rough after a long day of work at the salsa kitchen. This is one of those moments where you’d bump into a dreamy ex-boyfriend or passive aggressive acquaintance while wearing a musty Cowichan sweater and salsa splattered yoga pants.

They’d squint their eyes at my tired, naked, possibly puffy face.  “Is that…salsa…on your neck?”

“Nope, that is blood…because I am a surgeon…a very important one…and I just saved someone’s life in the parking lot as a matter of fact”.

“I’m pretty sure that’s salsa”.

“He was a salsa…vendor.  So it could be possible”.

Luckily, the only person I bumped into was Gwyneth Paltrow on the latest cover of “Star” Magazine, and the haters have their claws out for ole Goop Founder G. Paltrow.

goop13The queue was taking a thin slice of eternity to move, so I helped myself to a quick skim for the details.  To sum up, everyone thinks she’s a dick, but secretly wishes that they could be her.  I mean I’m sure Angelina, Madonna, Reese and the two Jennifer’s are content with their own deal, but every else outside of that tax bracket would be up for a piece of that action.  But let’s be honest, she’s fabulous, has had some of the hottest boyfriends ever (hello? Brad Pitt?), and knows a lot of fabulous, important people.


If you are at the office or just have a bit of time to kill, Google “Gwyneth Paltrow, irritating quotes”, and whole hours will pass, you’ll be having so much fun. Her bourgeois, cultured, spoiled observations will have you in stitches.    Afterwards, when the cackle subsides, you’ll feel kind of sad.  When she says  “I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year”.  You can think, “yeah, it’s no summer at the Hamptons“.  I think you’d much rather pretend to be Paltrow than pretend to be me.  That’s okay, I don’t blame you, you’d get more bang for your buck with P-Fab, you’d be married to a rockstar and be besties with Beyonce.


But seriously, how much fun would it be to have so much wealth and success that you were completely out of touch with the rest of the world?  You could send your children Alabaster and Emerald to private school in custom Chinchilla stoles and little tuxedos made out of real penguin.  You could blog on your lifestyle website: “Now, when I fly my children to the moon, I have Mario Batali freeze-dry some organic kale jerky, and we laugh about it with Oprah!”


In cookbooks you could suggest ‘just a pinch of ground up gold dust’, recommend the nicest resorts to recover from plastic surgery–”They do the liposuction right on site, and you just roll off the hospital bed onto this lounge chair”.  No wait, that’s right, that’s not surgery, she’s just discovered the serum that actually causes her to not only age like Benjamin Button, but to simply regenerate, and thusly live forever.  And she’s sharing it with Madonna…so that’s another brag worthy tidbit you’ll have to look forward to.


I don’t hate the Paltrow, she is who is she is,  a product of her own good fortune.  She was born into a wealthy family, and moved seamlessly into the film industry.  She’s also had an excellent PR team behind her. Jokes aside, she’s a smart, fabulous woman and she is winning at the game of life; whereas I am trundling somewhere near the starting line.    And so, stuck at the end of a slow-moving train of customers– tired, grumpy, hungry, I laugh aloud about her “where’s the cool bars/organic wine” comment, and put the magazine back on the rack.  Paltrow’s appeal is easy to loathe, but for those of us that are in the ‘have not’ category, she is a window to peek through.  This is what its like to be fabulous.  There’s not much to do at the end of the line but flip through a tabloid, roll eyes and crack wise, because a chuckle is the only luxury you can afford.

gwyneth_paltrow_heroAll Images Courtesy of Google

Downward Facing Dog

Yesterday I was feeling slightly blah, so after I wrote my blog, I decided to partake in the lunch hour Bikram yoga class at the studio I occasionally visit.  I used to go regularly, and somewhere in the middle of the class I thought to myself “Why don’t I do this more often?”  Because of the $20 drop in fee? Perhaps, but mostly it’s because I often feel like that ballerina hippo from Disney‘s “Fantasia” in a roomful of beautiful swans.


And of course, that’s not the point of yoga, the point is breathing and stretching and pushing your body to the limit, all while quieting your mind, but I’d like to meet the bastard in the room who has a clear head and limber body, because I’d like to shake their hand, and then immediately karate chop them.  Especially those women who are head to toe in Lulu Lemon, with elegant topknots exposing graceful necks.  And while I am sweating like a hooker in a Baptist Church, they are simply glowing as they extend limbs with perfect straightness.

audrey hepburn yoga

Yes, that’s Audrey Hepburn practicing yoga…what a fun, serendipitous find on today of all days.  But this is the kind of gal I am dealing with.

audrey hepburn yoga 2

At the exact moment you are trying to twist your torso, breathe deeply and quiet your thoughts;  you are simultaneously dissatisfied with yourself while coveting the body types, abilities and outfits of others.  And I’m pretty sure that’s not the point of yoga.

vintage yoga

This is my kind of gal–just take a big ole nap in stripes a la Child’s Pose.

In reality, I hold my own in class and enjoy the exercise.  The yoga instructor was a robust woman, extremely curvaceous, but relaxed and smiling.  She looked happy, why shouldn’t I? Why should my life be less fabulous because I feel more like a cartoon hippo than a movie star.  In one breath I think: “I need to come here more, I want to look better, feel better”.  In another breath I think:  I want to be at peace with myself, but have skinnier thighs”. Then, “but I really need to be at peace with my body”.  Because in reality, I look perfectly fine–Victoria’s Secret would not hire me to model lingerie, but I also don’t look like Honey Boo Boo‘s mama.  I’m somewhere in the middle, and I need to remember that the middle is perfectly fine.  And another breath; the inhalations and exhalations like the ocean lapping the shore.

After class, while changing in the cramped change room, I overheard a variety of conversations.  Children, husbands, careers, renovations, travels, and weekend plans.  One woman was struggling with energy levels after a series of immunization shots, as she’s off to Germany before zipping off to Zimbabwe.  As for me, I’ve nothing planned other than going home to make the scrambled egg wrap that I started thinking about mid-way through class.  Then I will write, and accidentally mash hot sauce onto the keyboard.  It’s not Zimbabwe, but it was delicious nonetheless.


Courtesy of Etsy/Google &Disney

Fat Elvis Blues

Boy oh boy do I not have it in me to write today.  It’s been a two-job-day, with a meeting in between, and now it is after dinner–butter chicken and red wine, and I’m warm and cozy…but I’ll persevere…for the next minute and a half.  Wore my chic new black dress today to work…of course, I always imagine how good an outfit would look on Kate Middleton, and then feel undoubtedly disappointed that it doesn’t have the same effect on me.  Feeling almost relieved that the weather is still cool.  I like the layers.  I’ll miss the layers.  Winter time, with all its comfort food, inactivity and booze has left me feeling a bit like Fat Elvis, and I’m just not sure I’d suit the sparky jumpsuit.


The hot new looks in springtime fashion is Leather! Mint! Floral! Funky Pants!  You do not want to see me in ‘funky pants’…nor do you want to see me in shorts.  Especially those itty-bitty numbers you are seeing a lot of these days.  And that ain’t me babe…I’m like Diane Keaton, I like to be well-covered…happy in a turtleneck in the middle of a heat wave.

Image   I love black–I’m with Nora Ephron and Morticia Addams on this one…I have so much black in my closet, I’m like an Italian widow.  Though I’ve never been one to turn down a pattern or a frock, my standard day to day attire is: black, grey, jeans, leggings and scarves.  I don’t even wear jewelry, just plain gold hoops and my wedding band, and a watch that I wear on occasion.  I used to be such a flashy broad, now I like to keep it simple, easy, classic.



Summertime is approaching and soon I will be wrenched from my layers.  This means more cardio and less carbs, and that all sounds very unpleasant.  But I have a plan.  I’m going to single-handedly bring back the 1920′s bathing suit.


But then again, I’m not getting any younger, I really should “make an effort”.  Maybe I’ll start with three half-hearted jumping jacks, maybe a little jog around the block…tomorrow…or next week…as soon as I have finished this enormous loaf of bread.

Benjamin Bear

This morning, instead of plunging immediately into the writing, I clean the townhouse.  Scrubbing, organizing and laundering…you know the deal.  Too often my hard-working carpenter husband comes home to find the house in such a dismal state of emergency; as though burglars have broken in, gone through my clothing and makeup, scattered papers and books, and then sloppily constructing a sandwich before escaping.  And often he makes dinner while I finish the day’s blog (even though he realizes I am probably mucking around on Facebook or trying to understand Twitter). My husband is such a supportive hunk of man, but it’s not all selfless devotion; he is laboring under the fact that if ever I hit the ‘big time’ that he would receive “big things”—like a truck so enormous, I would need a fireman’s ladder to climb into it.  He often makes wistful remarks about wanting a truck.  He also makes wistful comments about how a ‘clean house makes him happy’…so hopefully one day I can just cut him a cheque and then he can just drive around in his roomy vehicle whenever creativity occurs and basic hygiene takes a back seat to all else.

I was introduced to Ben at a New Zealand music festival, and eight months later we were married. He was so much taller than me that as we spoke, standing side by side, his words came in and out like a bad radio frequency.  But I thought he was so unbelievably gorgeous that I just kept smiling and nodding when all I could hear was “And…was…music…think?”  “Yeah…” I agree, batting my lashes, “Totally!”  My neck ached from gazing up at him as if he were a dreamy, blue eyed sky-scraper.  Concern crossed my mind early on: if I wanted to kiss him, how could I pull it off?  I couldn’t really sneak a smooch without just mashing my face into his belly button.  But despite the odds, there was an immediate connection.  We spoke all night— from the festival to a café to several bars, and on every sidewalk in between. I asked him whether he felt he fit properly into the world.  His answer was a resounding “no”.  He always feels a bit like the world had shrunken around him as he continued to grow.  And soon I would know exactly what he meant.


We lived in this tiny downtown flat in Perth, with a Murphy bed and a loveseat as a sofa.  The shower head was low and to wash properly, Ben had to bend his knees as if he were a diver about to take a leap.  One afternoon, we were getting dressed before going out.  I went into the bathroom, and as soon as I closed the door, I heard what sounded like the shattering of glass.  I dashed out into the main room, and Ben was tangled up in a sweater, his face frozen in horror, his head and shoulders covered in the snowy dust of the fractured light fixture.  Ben’s arms were crossed and lifted as if tied crudely to the ceiling, looked at me with wild eyes. “What happened?”  “I…don’t know…I was just putting on my jumper and I must have punched the lights”.  “Sweetheart…” I said, leading him to a chair so I could sit him down (because I can’t help him all the way up there). “You are special, you can’t just be putting on jumpers wily-nily” I cooed, gently removing his sweater.  But this is something to look out for—I get a little nervous for him around ceiling fans as well.  And while yes, things are tight for him (see Sharing is Caring), what he cannot bear are the comments from strangers.

x bear

When asked about the worst ever comments, he says: “too many to choose from”.  He hears it all the time, and he has heard it all.  And by virtue, as his wife, I too get bizarre questions.  And who doesn’t love to be asked about your penis size or your husband’s prowess?  We love it.  We welcome it.  And as an added bonus, it’s totally appropriate.  Women do get a little swoony around him and the fact that he is a strong silent type, only sweetens his allure.  The cashier at our neighbourhood shop always smiles coyly at Ben, shaking her head in girlish disbelief:  “You are so tall!” before looking at me, “Isn’t he so tall?”  “Yes, he’s tall”.  I answer, not really knowing how to respond.  Sometimes people are so mystified about his height that I have to check and make sure I didn’t grab the wrong hand in the grocery store and am now at the bank with a Sasquatch.  At nearly seven feet, he’s very aware.  Yes, he’s tall.  That’s a fact.  And I’m small, which doesn’t help his case.  His size is a direct contradiction to his personality, for he is quiet, shy, and his face reddens when he’s paid attention to .  He’s a big gentle bear, and he’d rather you not gawk while he’s trying to do his big bear thing.

bear sweater 2

Still, people love to point it out as if Ben has been walking around his whole life wishing for longer legs.  And while sometimes he laughs along, mostly it just pushes his limits.  Recently in a Canadian Tire, this gruff old bastard hollered: “Hey STRETCH, just how short are ya?”  It was a double faux-pas—not only did he comment, but it roused the attention of the other shoppers within ear shot.  Ben’s jaw tightened and his face reddened.  I try to reason that people are curious and inconsiderate in equal measures.  But it embarrasses him, and who can blame him?   It’s occasionally sweet…like that store clerk who loves herself a big ole bear. And I totally get it… after all, I married him.


As his wife and partner, though I make a terrible housekeeper, I am an excellent personal assistant.  His comfort is important to me.  And spatially speaking, I will always work to ensure that he fits.  For example, we are heading to a play tonight, and I called the box office to reserve seats. Of course, it is not as simple as arranging names, numbers and nights, it is matter of specific seating.  We require an aisle row in the far back so Ben can stretch his legs, and I need a booster seat so I can see the fucking show.  With each seated event we go to, arrangements are made, because you do not want to be the poor bastard sitting behind my husband; and he doesn’t want your hatred boring holes into the back of his head.


When we were in Christchurch visiting Ben’s mother, she offered us two tickets to a Don Maclean concert. Though neither my husband nor I were die-hard fans, or terribly familiar with his catalogue beyond “American Pie” we happily accepted the tickets.  The theatre was gorgeous…it also had seating similar to that of a small aircraft.  As we inched closer and closer to the front of the theatre, I interrupted the usher.  I leaned in and mentioned that the seating would not suit my husband.  “The people behind us may not be happy”, I reasoned.  The usher looked up at Ben as if he were a great Redwood tree and her gaze fell back down to his tiny woodland nymph wife.  “You’ll be fine” she declared.  We sat down, and Ben had to splay his legs open therefore evicting my legs, so I crossed them under myself like a seasoned yogi.  He was shifting restlessly, trying to fold his legs in new and exciting ways when the sound of shrieking erupted behind us. “Oh my god…just my luck…look at this…I’ve got the HUGEST man right in front of me, the BIGGEST man, just my luck! Honey, honey-look, look I’ve got the most ENORMOUS man right in front of me…this is just terrible, TERRIBLE!” The woman stood directly behind Ben, pointing and barking to anyone that would listen.  His scarlet skin deepened to a plum colour as he tried further to shrink himself down.  She alerted our good friend the usher and complained about the audaciously tall man who had the nerve to step out in public.  We were angry but we said nothing (see Rebuttal Struggle). Sitting quietly, our hands clasped together, we noticed a woman coming towards us, who was as obese as Ben was tall.  (And in case I haven’t sufficiently driven this point home, Ben is extremely tall).  She squeezed herself into the seat, her brown leather coat clad exterior spilling over the modest space allotted for my husband’s frame.  Jesus, this night keeps getting better and better.

bear sadBen’s legs turned like a sun dial to face me, his face now pressed into my shoulder, and my legs were swung over the lap of the person next to me.  “That’s it!” I declared, “Let’s find you some leg room”.  We unraveled our twisted bodies and searched for a different usher.  I explained the situation: the useless employee, the abusive woman, that chocolaty leather rubbing against Ben’s shoulder.  She was sympathetic but then immediately countered it with: “My god he is tall! What are you two even doing together?”  But this kind of fascination suits, because she took us upstairs, introducing us to a sea of empty balcony seats and leg room as far as the eye could see.  And we enjoyed the concert in comfort knowing that from now on, we would always be sure to call ahead.

ImageImages Courtesy Of Google

What Wears Away

As winter thaws and spring has sprung, styles shift to accommodate the warmer weather.  Uh oh.  I liked the layers; the scarves over sweaters over t-shirts that disguise the soft curvaceousness that envelope my body like freshly packed snow on the hard ground below.  But in truth, on my best, most physically fit day…I’ve still got a considerable amount of junk in the trunk.  According to the style chart at the clothing store I work at once a week, I am known as a “pear shape”; the good news is that I am excellent company, as Beyoncé and Alicia Keys are “famous pears”.  How nice for all of us.  Just another thing we three have in common: beautiful, talented songbirds… with overly abundant booties.

big butt

In my years of customer service experience, I’ve seen and heard it all.  Once they are stripped down and vulnerable, women reveal their fears, their insecurities in the change rooms.  Every woman dislikes something about her body, and their hatred is augmented in the florescent mall lighting. Now this goes for any shop— the stress, the pressures and the expectations make even the strongest feminist a puddle behind the change room door(especially lingerie stores—how is that an effective sales tactic to display airbrushed images of models in the underwear you are about to try on?  You are setting your customers up for a fail before they even take their shoes off).

rosie-huntington-whiteleyI have actually held women in my arms as they sobbed, boiling over with self-loathing, drowning in the abject frustration over a body they simply cannot clothe.  And I get it.  There is nothing quite like jean shopping that makes me want to punch myself in the face and light myself on fire.  It’s that moment when you try to pull the pants up and your knees act as a border crossing to a Communist country, and only the most specific visa requirements will be accepted.  It’s the age old battle of cloth and curves, and defeated, you nearly tumble over in the tight quarters, with jeans you will never own locked around your ankles (sadly, one of the most slender attributes you have).  Glancing in the mirror you see nothing but flaws and failures, (why did I wear this underwear? Oh my god, has that mole always been that misshapen? I really must do more squats…any squats, really) and you realize that fashion does not suit you, you must suit it. Face it; you are not Kate Middleton with nice lean long symmetrical legs, looking chic in a skinny jean.


As for me, my thighs are like Godzilla, and my calves Tokyo, forever in the shadow of mythical proportions.  This is where I exhale wearily and look for an A-line dress instead.


Discussions about body-issues often arise at my other job.  What we don’t like about our figures, shopping pet-peeves and the like.  One of my co-workers has a similar body type, and while I occasionally lament my own shape, I think she looks adorable.  This is a version of reflective, low-grade body dysmorphia, when you think you look like a bit of a heifer, and yet someone else in the exact same frame looks perfectly acceptable. An issue that has personally plagued me for years recently came up in conversation, and I am astonished at the familiar suffering of others: the death of rare, beloved pairs of comfortable jeans due to the wearing out of the inner thigh.  A holocaust of holes where the thighs rub relentlessly together breaking the material down before its time. When someone mentions this, I throw my head back and laugh uproariously.  “Has that ever happened to you?” “Uh…only to every pair of pants ever!”  And we talk about the many botched patch up jobs, and the devastation that these pants can never be worn again, and you shake your fist up to the heavens, and lament the pears that ruin pairs of precious pants.

curvy pin up

A young woman from another department passes through the kitchen.  (We call her Legs LaRoux, as she has Middleton style gams).  We ask her whether she’s lost pants to thigh-friction.  Her face twists in confusion “I’ve never heard of that” (I’m not even making this up; she probably still has jeans from the eighth grade).  We all stare at her in silence…with similar sour expressions from the day she tried to offer up Bradley Cooper as a sexy counterpart to Ryan Gosling.  She’s clearly not one of us.

ryan-gosling bradley cooper

But what is one to do? If I hated every woman with a nicer figure than me…I wouldn’t have a lot of friends.  I’d like to be above that superficiality, not take too much stock in magazines, advertising and celebrity culture, but that would involve gouging my eyes out, and I’ve already punched myself in the face before setting myself on fire in this piece, so let’s just call it a day shall we?  A little self-acceptance is in order, appreciating beauty in all shapes and sizes.  And who doesn’t love a pear?  It’s not my most favourite fruit, but who wants to look like a banana anyway?

GotBooty1-viImages Courtesy of Google