More Than You Could Ever Know

Last Sunday morning, the first of December, was spent doing what I prefer to do best. Cradling a cup of coffee in my fingers, wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa.  We had been dog-sitting from the night before, and I had Harriet nestled upon my lap, curled next to the fire, listening to Micheal Bublé’s Christmas album.

Michael-Buble_All-I-Want-For-Christmas-Is-You-CoverWe’re listening to “All I want for Christmas Is you”, another favorite Christmas favorite.  It never falls to choke me up a little at the end of “Love Actually“. Even when Mariah Carey goes there, I can still get behind it.


It’s an ordinarily a fast-paced jingle, (What? Mariah Carey co-wrote it? Huh, who knew?) but Bublé makes it a slow love song.  I am feeling aglow with holiday spirit.  Feeling hopeful for the month ahead.  Benjamin is checking his email and spots a message from Immigration and Citizenship Canada.  He says my name aloud in a stunned tone and reads the email to me.  His permanent residency application had been completed.  We simply had to pay a fee and we would be contacted regarding a time in which to meet an immigration official.  Benjamin joins me on the couch, Harriet still nesting near me.  We kissed and cried as Bublé crooned along.  All we want is to be a normal married couple, free to leave the country, free to make long term decisions, free to make a home. And how lovely that this news comes to us before Christmas.

kiss5 The December calendar has a lot of writing on it.  Meetings, events, parties, concerts.  It’s all so busy and exciting but unfortunately the temperature is so bone cold that it would normally take dynamite to blast me out of the house. It was -20 yesterday, and I can’t say that I love that.  There’s not even the magic of snow.  It’s that part of the snow cycle where it starts to look like cookie dough, mud and chunks of rock and debris in thick slushy slabs.  The cold is bitter and is mood transferable.  I’ve been so anxious about winter driving conditions.  My tire fell flat the other day.  There was nothing worse than standing by helplessly in the frigid night air as Benjamin set up the air compressor to fill the tire so I could take it to the shop in the morning.  In a moment of sheer anxiety, practically frothing at the mouth my husband took hold of my shoulders.  “Alicia, you have got to accept that shit happens“.  Shit happens?


I know shit happens.  Have you read a newspaper lately?  Across the world and in your very own community lives are being smashed to smithereens.  I’d need both hands to count my major “SH” moments.  Natural disasters, major accidents, violent encounters, broken hearts, I’ve seen my share.  The agony of catastrophe, the inconvenience of tragedy.  Things take forever, and them they come and go too quickly.  Things get broken and need mending.  People make mistakes and need forgiving.  Shit is happening all the time everywhere.  Sure, I could cope better with frustration, I could be gentler with myself, I could go with the flow, but I don’t.  I don’t care for surprises.  Good or bad, I’d prefer ample warning.


From that Sunday on the sofa, feeling blessed, happy and relaxed, and all that shit happens stress in between, came Friday afternoon. I arrive home for my lunch break around 1:30pm and see the light flashing on the answering machine. “Hello this is Immigration and Citizenship Canada, bring your pertinent papers and we’ll see you in Vancouver next Wednesday. I’m not going to give you my name or number so just be there or be square. So…Bye.”  Uh…what? Next Wednesday? I looked at the packed calendar…this was not on the agenda. We have work. It’s so expensive, so close to Christmas. Such a long way to go on such short notice.  We’ve waited forever for news, and now it’s on our door step and the timing is utterly inconvenient.  Not to sound ungrateful; we want nothing more than to resolve this and move forward with our lives.  But it’s a bit like the old librarian in “The Shawshank Redemption“, he had gotten used to imprisonment.  He had a good thing going at the library, had a pet crow, good friends, he was used to the conditions.  When faced with freedom it becomes his undoing.

Shawshank-Redemption-Script-Brooks I called Benjamin, who shared my reaction.  It all seems so sudden.  Not even a week’s notice to make plans.  We speak briefly, and hang up to call our respective employers.  I begin looking up flights, weather reports, all while being on hold with the immigration call center.   I am trying to connect with an actual human on the phone, but an elaborate labyrinth of options always leads to something along the lines of: “We’re super duper busy right now, we urge you to check the website”.  The lunch hour nearly over, and not a single moment spent actually lunching, I try the old trick–to just press zero, but that wily old recording, she’s just not having it. I bellowed…no, raged into the phone. “I JUST WANT TO SPEAK TO A REAL PERSON”.

psycho I was desperate, angry, frustrated.  How foolish were we to think we had any control in this matter.  We did not dream of being called in December, we figured sometime between January and March…maybe in the spring at the latest.  Not next week.  When I finally got on the wait list, I was told there would be at least a thirty minute wait, which was time I did not have.  Okay then…let’s drive to Vancouver in the middle of winter. Why not?

vpb0044We’ve made lists and arrangements and are warming up to this new development.  I’m nervous about the weather, Ben is nervous about the meeting.  Of course, there’s nothing to fear, our marriage is legitimate and he has every right to be here.  In an immigration office I once saw an beastly, overweight senior citizen with his young Asian bride. She wore a basketball jersey as a dress with striped knee socks and high heels. She complained endlessly about the long wait and he snapped impatiently at her.  Certainly they had more to answer to than my husband and I…but you just never know.  Benjamin has sorted through all the required documents, and already we are discussing what else to bring…just in case.  You could bring every piece of paperwork you ever received, along with your marriage certificate, love letters and photographs and they’d be like “Everything looks great, if we could just get a receipt from the coffee you purchased this morning, that would be great”.   And the color would drain from your face, blanching at the memory of telling the girl at Starbucks to go ahead and keep that golden ticket.


It’s as if we cant possibly imagine our lives without that hanging over our heads.  From the moment we met, we have lived under a bureaucratic umbrella.  Separation was a very real possibility if we didn’t cling to each other fiercely, and fill out the appropriate paperwork for three different countries.  To think that by Christmas morning my husband would be a permanent resident, that we could think seriously about our future seems too good to be true.  I can’t let myself imagine the possibilities it until I know the outcome. If you ask my husband he’d like to acquire a dog, truck and a baby.  Those things sound perfectly lovely, but you know me…I’m also excited about being able to leave the country again.  Maybe we’ll get to Paris after all.  As long as we get there together.

Benjamin: husband, friend and bear…best of luck on Wednesday.  All I want for Christmas is vous.


             Images Courtesy of Google

Miss Mistletoe, 1939

Friends! Happy first of December! There’s so much to look forward to, so much to share!  I did dream of having time to write an entry today, but setting up a Christmas tree and watching “Love Actually” became top priority.  Still I couldn’t resist dropping by to say hello.

Miss Mistletoe

Look forward to some new blogs this month. In the meantime, please accept my highest regards from Miss Mistletoe.

La la la la la la la la love,

Alicia xx

Getting it Write

Okay folks, even though I will still be posting videos and photographs on a daily basis, this will be my last official blog posting until after August long weekend.


I was expecting this.  The droves of hysterical fans, screaming, crying, wailing, begging me not to stop blogging.

cryinggirl1963Okay, dry your eyes, and pull yourself together.  People are looking and this is getting embarrassing.  Listen, I hear you, I’m this strange fusion of James Joyce and Danielle Steel.  And you are one of a very enthusiastic dozen or so people that…as far as my blog is concerned…you just can’t get enough.  And I want to be here, dropping hilarious anecdotes like Dr Dre lays down tracks (is that still a contemporary reference?). But Mummy’s tired and she needs a break.

vintage mom is on the phone

“Girls, I can’t play right now, I’m just talking about quietly resenting you”.

I think about where I was when I started this project.  By the time summer ends I will have been at it for six months.  With the exception of a handful of “too tired/hungover/busy to write, here’s a picture of a pin up girl doing….something”. I have written every single day since the 1st of March.

pin up typewriter

Since that day I’ve written over 150 pieces.  And if I haven’t made it abundantly clear, after years of writer’s block, this is a pretty fabulous feat.  Recently, my friend Sheanna came round with tarot cards, she asked what I wanted to focus on.  “The writing, of course”.  Is this something that will happen for me? Am I wasting my time?  And of course, the cards reveled that there is some kind of mystical blockage getting in the way of success.  And that I’ve planted seeds, but the harvest has not happened yet. But what really hit me was that one of the cards suggested that I don’t celebrate enough.  I need to give myself a little more credit, and appreciate every “like”, every comment, every bit of positive feedback. I’m terrible for thinking “I’ll be happy when…”.  That’s a dangerous belief.  Why not be happy right now? There are times when I’ve sought validation, as if I need an external force to justify my direction in life.  In fact, it was not being long-listed for that writing competition when my life took a turn.  It was not directly connected, but after that day, my job changed, and my life opened up.  I had this month or so of freedom.  I took casual work, which led to actual jobs.  I took on a social media project, and it has been such a satisfying undertaking.  Doors have opened, and I’ve walked through them.


And so, I’m trying not to worry so much.  Note the italics here.  I fuck it up as often as I get it right.   But it’s fair to say that this blog has been a lifeline for me.  And now, after over 9000 views in over 50 countries, I am going to celebrate that. Am I counting the one time someone in Nicaragua had a gander? Yes.  Because I need to celebrate any one, any where reading my pieces.  Am I well-paid? Not really.  Am I writing while wearing a magnificent fur coat? No.  Am I happy? Most of the time, yes.  I’m actually amazed how life can sort of evict you from your circumstance.  I was in a job that made me so unhappy, that I had never-ending heartburn, an unsightly stress rash, and a soul that was crying  out for change.  And then, circumstances changed, and I could just walk away.  And it was only was the stress was slowly released, like air out of a balloon, that I realized just how unhappy I was.  And that’s no way to live.


But there’s something about my temperament that wants me to be stressed.  And I’ve got to work on that.  I’m pretty famous for stressing hard before a holiday, trying to accomplish everything before the break, so I can be truly relaxed.  But by the time to clock ticks to the holiday hour, I am so wound up, it’s like trying to untie an impossible knot.  And I don’t want that either.  So, there’s a bit of meditation to do on this break.  How I’d like to proceed with my life.  How I’d like to adjust my attitude.  How I’d like to be just a little bit better than I am right now.   And then I’d like to come back to this place and share with you all I have learned in the time I spent away.

Esther-Williams-in-Millio-009All Images Courtesy of Google

That Back to School Feeling

This past weekend has been chore-filled, and we have had a very productive couple of days.  We are like proper grown-ups, driving around in a spanking clean car with a full tank of gas.  My office is in good order, all loose papers have been filed, or tossed in the bin.  Everything has been dusted, everything has been organized.  Both Ben and I bought new clothes, and then stripped our closets bare, making enormous, intimidating piles.  There is always that moment, in the organizational process, when you think: why the fuck did I do this to myself? And then you wonder how long you could live amongst the mountains you made.  I pushed onward, and got my purge on.  And now my closet looks so organized, so clean…and I know in my heart that it will last approximately fifteen to twenty minutes.  But, I can’t think about failure now, as I gaze into the neat, color coded closet.  This space represents how I’d like to be: ordered, prepared, organized.


By the end of Sunday evening, with the last load of wash shimmying in the spin cycle, I am feeling very happy.  I love to go on holiday knowing that dishes are washed, bills are paid, and the check-list has been ticked off.  It reminds me a bit of one of the greatest feelings ever–that ‘back to school’ feeling.  I love that sense of preparedness, the idea of a fresh start.

orgnaized things

When growing up, my mother would take the last week of summer and try to resurrect some semblance of a school-year routine.  This meant lying awake in a not-dark room, while other children in the trailer park rode their bikes round and round the never-ending circular street.  Not that I would have been out there playing, even when I was a child, I wasn’t a kid.


But still, just knowing that others my age were out gallivanting outdoors, made me not want to be in bed.  Not able to sleep I’d daydream about the upcoming school year.  In my mind I would piece together my ultimate ‘first day of school outfit, where you could really make a definitive statement about who you wanted to be this year.


Who I was, what I wanted to be, and how I wanted to be perceived was never an easy mix.  I liked to imagine that I would be welcomed, accepted, popular;  be a part of a group, or be an object of affection for pre-pubescent boys.  Lying there in the lit bedroom, anything was possible.  The carefully selected outfit hung from the door-knob.  New shoes lined up nicely, the school bag filled with crayons, pencils, erasers, blank sheets of paper.  Of course, that wouldn’t last long, that level of neatness.  Even as a neurotic, tabloid-reading, less-than popular child, I didn’t always do myself a solid, and finish my homework or keep my room clean.  The foundation of success is organization, and having the confidence in knowing where everything in your life is.  I didn’t really learn that until my thirties. I wanted to be that person, bright and shiny, without fault, without mistakes, but I kept tripping over myself…all the way until my high-school graduation.  Still, there was that promise, before the season actually began, when anything was possible, and you would get everything right.

holidayAll Images Courtesy of Google

| Tagged Academic term, Children, Closet, Clothing, Education, Google, , , , Organization, Sunday

Lou Grant Me Serenity

For those of you who camp out in front of the computer, waiting for me to drop my latest track, my apologies for posting at 1130 last night.  I felt bad, showing up late to my own party, and then bumming everyone out by discussing the latest celebrity death.  But then I thought.  Why do I worry? I worry about so. many. things.  The blog should not be one of them.  It’s not like my boss is going to burst in and give me grief about deadlines.  As far as the blog goes, I am my own boss.


“Oh Lou, you lovable old curmudgeon, you can’t rush the creative process, now get the fuck out of my office before I scald you with hot coffee”. And then I’d toss my hat up into the air, just to let him know that I mean business.


It’s exciting, busy times, it’s summer and I’m in a happy place.  I’ve been able to bend my life towards a more favorable  position.  This  is why I haven’t been pumping out lengthier pieces.  Masterpieces  cannot fall from my fingertips on a daily basis; some days, it’s just a small token.  A quick phone call, a drive-thru transaction, a quick hug and kiss on the street, popping by for a short coffee.


My sister-in-law Kate is coming next week, and we are going on holiday.  I think I may take a blogging holiday as well.  I’ll still post something daily, but I don’t want to chain myself to this daily task.  I don’t want to resent it.  We often lament our jobs and occupations because we feel powerless, feel we don’t have a choice, have a say.  But when it’s your own project, why place the very constraints you hate most on yourself?  That’s like being cute little Mary Tyler Moore, but having some Incredible Hulk condition that turned you into grump old Lou Grant. I’d rather be a young MTM, if that’s all the same to you.

x lou_a

I’m trying to…accept things better.  Take what comes, come what may.  Sometimes I get so twisted up with stress about the slightest things.  Traffic. Current events. Money.  And…oh, I don’t know…the future? Immigration, writing, fertility, health, time, marriage, failure, success, tweeting, bathing suit shopping.  There will be forks in roads, and choices to be made.  How will it all work out in the end?  It takes time to unravel that kind of knot, and then a new worry washes over you, and the knot is not ever completely undone.  And because of that, you are never fully present in any given moment.  And then you worry about not living your life to the fullest, and in that very moment of worry, you are missing precious seconds of your life.  But I’ve always been a worrier.  When I was a child, I fretted so much that my mother actually gave me a framed copy of the Serenity Prayer to hang on my bedroom wall.


I kind of thought it was a stupid prayer.  Of course you worry about the things you can’t change…because you can’t change it…and that worries me.   I have an almost pathological need to not disappoint. So much so, that I think it’s a major cause of the heartburn that often makes a cameo appearance in my chest cavity. If you ever want to slay me kike a dragon, all it takes is the “I’m not mad, I’m just extremely disappointed”, and I will fall like Goliath.  (I’m sorry to mix metaphors, hope that doesn’t disappoint anyone). I never want to let anybody down.  But, in the end, that kind of mentality, though it comes from a good place, may lead to a bad spot.  It’s like putting everyone else’s oxygen masks on during an emergency, before you do it for yourself.  I need to take those stressful, helpless feelings and just treat it like a stray animal, drive it deep into the woods, pretend you to are getting out of the car, and then drive like hell the minute that wolverine is out of the truck.  Or just lead it across the street inside your mind, and try to be unfettered by useless, negative thoughts.  Not that I’m doing anything back breaking over here, or being put out by other people’s expectations of me.  I have so much to offer, and give of myself happily, but I recognize how I don’t always care for myself the way I do others.  I can see the value in knowing your limits, accepting change, rolling with the punches, and in taking a break, even if it’s from something that you love.

mtm_13   All Images Courtesy of Google

Dance All Night

You know when you are working towards a goal, a date, a time–graduation, marriage, holiday, and it takes forever to get there, and then it happens and suddenly passes? It all goes by so quickly, doesn’t it?  This weekend has come and gone and it was wonderful.  I was participating in two improv shows and a festival at the university.  I was prepared, I was excited, I was…perfectly terrified.

sad hep

What if…I choked?

audrey-hepburn marbles

In the end, ll was perfectly successful, which absolutely lifted my spirits. Home late last night, watching “Pretty in Pink” at midnight,  I felt like Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady”.  Undressing after the ball, when all the hard work paid off, and no one recognized her as the cockney flower girl she really was and totally bought her as a fictional aristocrat.  When she got home, she was singing “I Could Have Danced All Night”, and mooning dreamily all over the bedroom.  Those poor maids were hard pressed to get her ready for bed with her dancing all around, and admonished her: “It’s after three now/Don’t you agree now/She ought to be in bed”.

If my maids clucked about me swooping around my four post bed about my fantastic weekend, they would hear about it.   I can go from zero to sixty on the diva scale (which zero being Audrey Hepburn, sixty being Naomi Campbell) in ten seconds flat.


I’d shriek, “I don’t pay you to hold me back when I’m celebrating my fabulous good fortune through the majesty of song“.  And then I’d throw whatever was within reach at the offending servants before commencing with my song about loving the shit out of my life.


Don’t worry, I pay them handsomely.


I’m sort of basking in the glow of knowing so many good people.  I feel blessed. I feel reconnected to this feeling I’d thought I’d lost, a sort of existential emptiness with which you could not identity the source.  Turns out…having a stone-cold pack of theatre weirdos back in my life is what was lacking. My heart is bursting with happiness.

Cheers for the love everyone.  You know who you are.

audreyhepburn-myfairladyAll Images Courtesy of Google

The Mean Reds

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

kim k dress

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

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

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

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

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


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

diamants sur canapŽ

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

buddy ebsen

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


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

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

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

AH looking into window

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

Breakfast at Tiffanys moon river

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


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

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

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

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