Wait-Loss Wonderland.

The weight loss journey is one seriously rocky road, like wandering though a twisted fairy tale, a calorie-conscious Wonderland with all kinds of detours, obstacles, distractions, forks in the roads and the occasional rabbit hole.

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It’s easy to lose track of your starting point, how far you’ve come, or how much you’ve changed from that day you took that first step in that direction.

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Ten months spent in this weight-loss Wonderland has been a deeply transformative time. Not just of my appearance, or my dress size, but as layers of myself have diminished-now forty pounds and 42.5 inches, I have suffered, struggled—and travelled through my memory—and ran the entire gamut of emotions.  Memories of food; of overindulgences.  I am a certifiable comfort eater. I am my own Italian grandmother serving up heaping portions of creamy, saucy, gooey, salty goodness. Eat! Eat!  It’s the cure for all things: anxiety, boredom, depression, loneliness. It’s not as though gaining weight was a deliberate, conscious act. It just becomes a reality that feels unchangeable.  In my office, there’s a giant glass picture frame with a wedding photo of Buster Keaton, (random I know but the image amuses me). It sits on my desk, and I could see my reflection in it—so I covered it up with papers.

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In retrospect, that action strikes me as sad.  In order to not see myself–and face some hard facts, I refused to see something that brings me joy. Then again, denial, like loose fabric and stretchy pants are necessary accessories of avoidance.  Of course, the cruel irony of this vicious cycle is: feeling unhappy with yourself + self medicating and overindulging + feeling unhappy with yourself + self medicating and overindulging =not living your life out loud like you’d really like to. Knowing that you are on the verge of a great depression; or deep in that chasm with no way to get out—knowing, in an abstract sense, that a healthier lifestyle would be a benefit—but not knowing how to break that cycle—because frankly, you won’t see results on day one, two or three. It becomes quite the waiting game. You simply have to trust that each day, you are a little bit more different than the day before.

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Even after change has become to take shape, sometimes you need reminders. Those Facebook memories that pop up on the ole newsfeed are effective tools, and can be occasionally mortifying—or inspiring, depending on your mood. There was a photo of me in Mexico that really stands out in my mind—I’m rather stylish in the group shot—beachy hair, my smile dressed in red lipstick, a purple silk scarf draped over my shoulders, all tucked into a chunky belt—but oooh, that belt was not the only bit of chunky in that snap shot. It was staggering to see. I showed it to my mother, who was quick to insist that I not feel bad about it; I assured her that I didn’t look at the picture with sadness—I was celebrating New Year’s Eve with some marvellous people in Mexico, and have zero regrets about aaaaaall those guac and chips and margaritas. It was more about realizing how far I had come, when I had kind of lost sight of where I was on the long road to fitness. That was then. This is now. I can’t cripple myself with regret for not starting sooner—or for having a problem at all. Regret, sadly does not burn calories, and is therefore pretty damn useless.

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In the mix of dealing with health improvements, my issues with anxiety are the whack-a-moles that I must endlessly smash with my big mallet. Anxiety is the internal Debbie Downer that leeches joy and distracts from motivation.  That bitch needs to get up and go. But, if she won’t leave, and she sticks with you like a bad tattoo you got in your teen years, how does one redesign it in order to deal it on the daily?   In my case, how does one apply self-comfort without stuffing one’s face? Cups of tea, a cozy blanket, my husband Benjamin, our dog Bluebear, a good book, writing, curling up on the couch, a hot bath, a long walk, a visit with a friend. Chatting with Beth and Elisha at Herbal One, laughing through squats and plies at Barre Kamloops.

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Living life in bite sized increments,  mindful of the moment. By all means plan for the future, but focus on today. Especially in regards to health and weight-loss. So. Many. Times. I would eat as if I were being shipped off to the electric chair at dawn. Tomorrow I’ll be better; I’ll start fresh on Monday.  Excuses start to fly like baseballs at the batting cages. Monday is the worst day of the week, why make that the day to start anything? I’ll start on Tuesday…Wednesday… Thursday… ah, it’s the weekend, best treat myself…to bigger pants. You won’t see change in one day—so what’s one more day of not seeking change? There in lies the need for that mindfulness. You may not see rippling abs on the first day you decide to make a change, so you have to find the ant-sized successes in the daily choices that benefit your long term goal.

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My relationship with food is much friendlier.  I spend more time in the kitchen than ever before–prepping, planning and preparing. The other night Benjamin and I were lying in bed discussing all these delicious meal ideas like two children whispering secrets in the dark. Sunday’s are my food prep days, and there is nothing more satisfying than looking into a perfectly stocked fridge filled with washed and chopped produce and ready to go meals. Take that Monday! If the opportunity arises for a true indulgence, I don’t shy away from it; last night for example—live music, three glasses of pinot noir and two kinds of fondue at the Commodore (swiss cheese and dark chocolate). Do I have a wine/cheese/chocolate hangover today? Hell yes, I do. Do I have regrets? Not at all. I completed a 10-day cleanse, treated myself to a mani/pedi, and enjoyed a very special date night with my sweetheart; I savoured, celebrated and absorbed every bite and every sip.  (We also shared a salad, just for good measure).

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This time has been one of great reflection; recollections of all the injuries, accidents, disappointments, heartbreaks, disasters, losses, betrayals. How I’ve been hurt and hurt others. How I have failed myself and failed others.  Taking responsibility, accepting my actions, forgiving myself, letting go.  Letting go is not my strong suit. I’ve been carrying around past agonies in my heart for so long, punishing myself for my mistakes, torturing myself for every misstep I have ever taken.  I’m still carrying around some of those things in my emotional gunny sack—but I’m learning to leave things behind as I walk along that road. Seeing myself as different people. The fretful child I once was, that 14-year-old girl, that 22-year-old, that 30-year-old—on and on, I can only see them as separate from my present-day self.  Sure, our past selves are a part of the patchwork quilt that is your collective existence, but it’s not the definition of your entire life.  Still, I have to love her—apologize to her for the things that broke her, how I didn’t know how to help her, take care of her. I was weak and imperfect and riddled with flaws. I could have done better for so long, but I didn’t. I can’t punish myself any longer for something that is gone; I can’t change the tides that threatened to drown me. All I can do is today. Breathe. Release. Laugh. Love. Stretch. Forgive. Connect. Be Patient. Cry whenever necessary. Eat fondue occasionally. Be grateful for every mistake and heart break, just don’t let it weigh you down.

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Nobody’s Mother, Nobody’s Aunt.

This has not been my finest collection of hours. My mood is dark, feeling very much between a pre-menstrual pre-teen and menopausal matron. Down and out and wanting to crawl under the covers. John Lennon is present in the news, its the 35th anniversary of his assassination. Gun statistics, Global Warming, Anti-Muslim propaganda, Donald Trump. It all feels so bleak. I’m scattered, like my brain in a twister and my thoughts are all the random items picked up and swirling around. My sense of humor is a faint heartbeat.

Despite the unshakable funk, I press on with the work day.  I pass one of the teachers walking a small group of boys to the bathroom. One little boy, blonde bowl hair cut and big smile asks me: “Who’s Mother are you?”. “Me? I’m nobody’s Mother” I said, “But I have a puppy, does that make me her Mother?. Um. No. Not in World According to Bowl-Cut. Ask a three year old a serious question, and you get a serious answer. I’m tired, grumpy, and I’m nobody’s mother.

Driving in the afternoon, the thought of that child overlapped into a memory of my friend Monica and this t-shirt I used to own. Well, I actually had it made after catching a random episode of The Simpsons, it was inspired by gnarly spinster aunts Patty and Selma.

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One of them was wearing a t-shirt that said “Sexy Aunt”, I thought it was rather funny.  Not an indication of my now enduring elegance and style, I bought a black baseball style shirt with pink sleeves that had glittery rock n’ roll lettering, that in fact made “Sexy Aunt” look like “Sexy Avnt”. No matter.  My brother was a father, and I was young and ironic, surely that justified the purchase.

“You’re nobody’s aunt”, Monica spits out the words at the sight of my t-shirt. “Yes I am”, I scoff…” What a thing to say..Nobody’s aunt. “Who?” her face is contorted in disbelief. “Who are you an aunt to?” “My older brother has a kid”, I retort. “Oh”, she lowers her guard. “You never told me that”.

It was quite possibly the only thing I hadn’t told her. In the time spent as neighbours and friends in a little building on the corner of West Seymour Street, smoking cigarettes and playing records in her eclectic little top floor apartment, we hammered out a lot of issues.

I lived downstairs. I met her in the laundry room. She said she needed a roommate, she used the expression ‘cheap like borscht’. I liked her immediately. I brought her cupcakes after our initial meeting; she in turn called me ‘Cupcake’.

The first time I came to her apartment was not by her invitation. Her dreamy new roommate saw me reading outside on the little stoop and invited me upstairs for a glass of wine. Because I was a twenty-something nitwit who willingly paid for a t-shirt that said “Sexy Aunt”, a glass of wine upstairs with Mr Tall, Dark Stranger sounded perfectly reasonable.  He had just moved in, and there was boxes stacked in his room, with a mattress on the floor. Nowhere to sit, we moved into the living room, where Monica was sitting on the sofa. Monica’s shelves were stacked with well worn books, she had a glorious music collection; she owned Jeff Buckley’s Grace–which is a completely unifying and friendship inducing album.

The space had a dusty, disorganized bohemian vibe: funky thrift store art, old photographs, punctuated by little piles of papers, costumes, clothing.   Her bathroom was teeming with Jesus imagery. Technically, the bathroom’s theme was “JC”, there was some Jackie Collins book, and there a picture of Johnny Cash right at eye-line when sitting on the toilet. Aggressively flipping the middle finger. Mostly, it was about Jesus and The Last Supper.

Once, while walking home, we spotted this very old and fragile woman lugging home two four-liter jugs of milk. Monica called out to her, and asked if she needed help. The woman brightened up immediately and thrust the jugs at us with new found super human strength “Sure!”. Monica thought that was funny, but worried for that trusting old lady, who let us into her apartment without hesitation. She offered us a milkshake, talked about Mussolini funded summer camps in Italy,  prattled non-stop as she puttered about busily among all her own piles. Monica spotted a picture of The Last Supper. It was perfectly hideous and wrapped in a ornate, ten pound gold frame.

Monica passed along her compliments. “Take it!”, she flapped her hand dismissively. Monica hesitated and the woman insisted “Take it, I’m not taking it with me when I go….” and after an uncomfortable amount of time….”to Italy”. Monica and I locked eyes from the across the cluttered room. Mouths twisting up into smiles. How did we even get here? Within the confines of that friendship, I found myself in so many strange rooms with her and random people. She would talk to absolutely anyone, get secrets out of strangers. As we left the old lady’s apartment, Monica thanked her, but cautioned her from being too friendly with strangers. Poor thing living all alone.

Who were we to talk? I lived alone, and after her roommate left, so did she. We became family. I visited her daily. She made tea out of an orchid tea pot where the spout looked like a vagina. Her kitchen was filled with oddities. Sushi earrings, random plastic fruit in a buster wicker basket.  Her sense of humor was present in all that she did.

We once got an unstoppable case of the giggles at a neighbour’s funeral. Bad weather and a broken vehicle held us up, and we wound up leaping out of a cab, and sprinting into the chapel soaking wet from the rain. Such a violent shift of emotion, you’re pissed off that you can’t get there, and then suddenly you’re there and it’s a funeral. As we settled in, like drowned rats dressed in black, I leaned in and cracked some remark to Monica. Holding hands in the back row, our faces were straining from forceful laughter that wanted to burst out of our mouths. Church giggles are one thing, but funeral giggles are only acceptable if you’re Mary Tyler Moore.

Cherie lived down the hall from me; she looked like a later years Karen Carpenter, dressed in velour bathrobes, and wore make up but her short hair was always rumpled. She never left the house. She would send her husband round to bring me expired food from Liquidation World. Grant had a pot belly and a fanny pack, harboured this little black and crooked mustache above his top lip. He said “alrighty”, and stared at you a little too long. Her death wasn’t a huge surprise. She was made of brittle glass and blue eye shadow; her ashes were placed in an urn with a majestic wolf on it. The thought of Grant selecting the best urn for his fragile lady, broke my heart.

After the funeral, over milky mugs of coffee, Monica retold the story of the time she inadvertently stole an ambulance from Cherie. Monica had gone out to help assist her, but then had a seizure herself and they took her instead of Cherie. Even though Cherie was now in a majestic wolf urn, we howled with laughter. When the giggles subsided, we sobbed our hearts out.

Monica taught me about grief. How to live with loss, wear that itchy wool  until it’s a second skin.  The memories that hurt most, that weight you carry, it’s the lines on your face, the grey in your hair, it’s in absolutely everything you do whether you know it or not.

She had mementos from the past, dead people’s possessions. She once referenced a shirt she wore into oblivion, and then cut it up and turned it into wash rags. I was quietly horrified. Wouldn’t you just save the shirt? Tuck it away and look at it whenever? Her reasoning was that it took up space, on a number of levels. Let it dissolve in your daily life. I had that thought when Bluebear stared to pick at a pair mittens that a long-lost friend had given me. Sure, I could save them and take them with me everywhere, but never wear them, or I could let my dog unravel the colorful pattern joyously. As if the material and the memory regenerate into new and possibly practical forms, and it becomes a new style of letting go.

Like Cherie, Monica’s death was neither expected nor was it unexpected. Monica would have been the first to tell you she wouldn’t be pulling silver-haired hi-jinx at the retirement home. I think she knew her time was short and she acted accordingly. She lavished in the small pleasures. She was reckless, and infuriating and apologetically slow-moving. She told extremely long stories, with even longer subplots. She would fake injures and cause public spectacles. Sometimes it was hilarious, sometimes it was endearing. Sometimes you just wanted to run some bloody errands quickly and efficiently.  As the years went by, I was consistently bothered by her health; I wished she took better care of herself. I wished I was better equipped to take care of her. At the time, I could hardly take care of myself.

On the day of her passing, I popped by the box office where she worked, where I sat with her many times. She wasn’t at work, and I didn’t wonder why. She was unwell a lot. Then, after the show it was announced that she was gone. I wanted to believe there was a way to bring her back.

In the middle of my no-good bad day, one of Monica’s oldest and best friends posted something on social media about Grand Marnier to celebrate her birthday. That’s what Oprah refers to as an “Ah-ha Moment”. That explains a lot–the haunted undercurrent of my sour mood. Both of us being December babies, it’s strange that her birthday slipped my mind. I don’t keep track of dates well–and really, I think of her every single day anyway…so it was not uncommon for a memory of her to overlap with my random everyday nonsense as if it were a reflex. “I’m nobody’s Mother/ You’re nobody’s Aunt” is all a part of the constellation of my daily recollections.  In every moment is another moment.  And then–nearly eight years after her sudden death, it’s still as if it just happened, and I’m still that kid being told about it in a room full of people.

She would have been 51.  I would give anything for a warm drink in her cluttered kitchen, one of her famous hugs where she gave you an extra long squeeze just before she let you go. I cried all way home, big fat tears free falling down my cheeks. Wearing the familiar feelings like a well-worn sweater: missing her, wishing I could have saved her, and wondering if there is still a way to bring her back.

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Live at the Sahara Tahoe

Long weekend. Coffee and Baileys. Someone else making breakfast. Isaac Hayes Live at the Sahara Tahoe crackling away on the turntable. Wishing you all well.

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For years I lived alone in a downtown bachelor apartment with bright yellow walls, hardwood floors, a quaint little kitchen that overlooked a church…and a bathroom that you had to share with the person across the hall.  That wasn’t always ideal, but $380 a month could not be argued with.  I filled every square inch of wall and ledge with kitsch.  Neil Diamond records tacked on the wall, this strange motif of old men with pipes, painted velvet, you can imagine–I was a mid-twenties theatre major, you just know there was a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” poster up in there somewhere.  A place of pride in the flat was my red record player and stack of albums.  I absolutely loved that crackling sound of the record.  I’ve owned a record player since I was a teenager, after my dad brought one home for me.  I went on a school…

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The Last Supper Club

Happy Easter to my lovely readers. A revamped #oldiebutagoodie.

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I always intended to see “The Passion of the Christ”, if only to see what the fuss is about.  But, if ever faced with the option of actually renting it–the thought of choosing it over a a light romantic comedy, taking it home, putting on your comfy pants and curling up on the couch to watch the Romans soldiers beat the crap out of Jesus.  Just never felt right.  And listen, I am sure that if you can trust anyone with the sensitive issue of Jesus’ crucifixion and Resurrection, it’s Mel Gibson.  But it’s just never happened…so there that is.  I’m more a “Jesus of Nazareth” girl, or as my mother always called it, “the one with the good looking Jesus”.

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I personally struggled with the Easter story. Poor Jesus, I personally the part of the story where he’s a sweet little baby.  But then, I would get depressed in…

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Good as Gold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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All Images Courtesy of Google

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.

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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.

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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.

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    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…

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…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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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?’

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Year of the Hoarse

Glorious Sunday.  We woke up early.  Six in the morning.  Curled up under the blankets, chatting quietly in the dark, we eventually fell asleep, waking up sometime round 10:30am.

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The intention was to enjoy the great outdoors.  Go sledding. Perhaps go to a Super Bowl party.  Attend a yoga class.  Visit friends.  Instead I am lying on the bed, wrapped up like a blanket burrito, drinking earl grey tea with heaps of honey and baking vanilla, and watching “Sex and the City”.

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Our only public appearance this Groundhog Day was a triumvirate of errands: going out to a thrift store to look for a teapot.  We skimmed the shelves, found nothing of interest, then got a latte at Starbucks as a consolation prize.  Before heading home we stopped by someone’s house. Benjamin occasionally buys tools on an online trading site; he had met this woman before, so he stepped inside the house and closed the door.  I didn’t think much of it, in reality he could have been carrying on a torrid affair with a spicy middle aged woman, and he could have used my utter disinterest in tools to cover his tracks.  He eventually was gone for long enough that I thought that maybe…just maybe that he had been murdered.  Or maybe they’re just lost in the endlessly fascinating topic of carpentry.  I figured I’d give it another minute, and continued to scroll through my phone, reading news about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman dies on Super Bowl Sunday by overdosing on heroin in the Year of the Horse.  That can’t be a good omen on Groundhog Day.

groundhog-day-1961-report_12532_600x450What do you think that means? Going beyond six more weeks of winter, and entering into a new arctic Armageddon.

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Here’s a lesson in word origin history.  Heroin got the nickname ‘horse’ due to the unlikely relationship between the two (As explored in Dorothy Ours’ “Man O’ War”).

In the wild, pursued by predators, a horse runs as fast as he can or dies. Given narcotics, a horse feels unnatural sleepiness creeping into his nervous system–sleepiness like the shock caused by the fatal bite of a carnivore. So the hopped up horse runs without reserve. If kept in his stall, he trots in circles until the dose finally ebbs. Let loose on a racetrack, he outruns any normal inhibition. In the United States, cocaine, heroin and morphine were legal for anyone with a doctor’s prescription to buy from a drugstore, until prohibited by the Harrison Act of 1914, and could be bribed from pharmacists long after that. But using those mixtures was a fine art. Prudent trainers experimented during morning workouts, discovering the right dope and dose for each horse.

Imagine a time when there was so much legal heroin just lying around that people were like…”It’s just going to go bad if we don’t use it, lets just give it to the horses!”

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Ugh, it makes me sad, the waste of human life. That addiction overshadows talent, status, fortune and prestige.  The tragic detail about Hoffman being found in his New York City bathroom with a needle in his arm will take precedence over a proud legacy.  I think about all the things I want in this life, things that other people already have…and for a some that sum still doesn’t fill this eternal gap inside of their soul.   I wonder how melancholia breeds madness, when everything went wrong because everything had gone right.  There are wars inside of ourselves that are often losing battles.

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The night before, I caught the open letter Dylan Farrow wrote to the New York Post rehashing her sexual abuse allegations towards Woody Allen.  This too bummed me out.  The letter started with “What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?”, then describing the molestation in disturbing detail, pleading to Diane Keaton and other actors known for working with Allen to acknowledge the crime…and then concluding with “So what was your favorite Woody Allen again?” Man. Way to take the fun out of Annie Hall.

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When Benjamin and I finally crawled out of the bed, we curled up the living room with our coffees.  I told him all about the ballad of Woody and Mia.

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Around 1980, Allen began a relationship with actress Mia Farrow, who had leading roles in most of his movies from 1982 to 1992. Farrow and Allen never married and kept separate homes..  They jointly adopted two children, Dylan Farrow (who changed her name to Eliza and later to Malone) and Moshe Farrow (known as Moses); they also had one biological child, Satchel Farrow (known as Ronan Seamus Farrow).

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However, in a 2013 interview with Vanity Fair, Farrow stated that Ronan could “possibly” be the biological child of her first husband Frank Sinatra, whom she married at 21 in 1966, and with whom she claims to have “never really split up.” Who can blame her.  You can take the girl out of Sinatra, but you can never take Sinatra out of the girl.

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In 1968, Frank Sinatra had blindsided Farrow by having divorce papers delivered to the set of “Rosemary’s Baby”. The film was going over-schedule, and she had to back out of her next acting commitment–in Sinatra’s upcoming feature.   In that same year, André Previn, married film composer and symphony conductor, met a newly single, 23-year-old Farrow in London. They began an affair, and she was was pregnant within a year.  Previn divorced Dory, his wife of eleven years, and married Farrow.

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Poor old Dory Previn. The humiliation and betrayal caused Previn to snap like a twig. She was subsequently institutionalized and subjected to electroconvulsive therapy.  According to sources, it led to more introspective songwriting…and did wonders for her hair.

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She subsequently expressed her feelings toward Farrow and the end of her marriage in the song “Beware of Young Girls” on her 1970 album.  ‘Beware/ Of young girls/Who come to the door/Wistful and pale/Of twenty and four/Delivering daisies/With delicate hands…taking my own sweet man’.  The lyrics are thinly veiled,  basically calls Farrow out for rolling up to the Previn compound with flowers and silver.  She could have just called it “”Fuck You Mia Farrow” and called it a day.   A dainty little china Trojan horse; admiring her home, her ring, her unmade bed, and meanwhile is infiltrating her marital home.

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Dory Previn really laid the blueprint for Jennifer Aniston, trumped by younger and newer. Mia Farrow, humanitarian and mother of thirteen children is the OG Angelina Jolie.

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Previn was clearly the Brad Pitt of this time–this gorgeous hunk of scarf and side swept bangs has been married five times. Who can blame the ladies for fighting over this prime piece of real estate.

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The fact that there were ever two women quarreling over Woody Allen…I find slightly more difficult to imagine.

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Long story short–(this is the bit you’ve probably already heard), one of the children adopted by Previn and Farrow was Soon-Yi Farrow Previn. About twelve years into Woody and Mia’s relationship–Farrow was in Allen’s apartment (with the famous view of Farrow’s home across the park), and discovered nude photographs of a twenty-year-old Soon-Yi just lying around, waiting to be discovered.  Beware of young girls indeed.  Hurts don’t it? If this proves anything though–you certainly can’t help who you’re attracted to.

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Around twenty years ago–in the same neighborhood as the Soon-Yi scandal, Allen was accused of molesting one of their adopted children.  He was never tried and convicted, but that stain was never properly washed away.  Now that this accusation has been given new life, it feels as though Allen is a hard man to defend.  When you write it all down on paper it looks rather…hinky.  As for their “biological” son Ronan–though who are we kidding here? I’m no doctor, but even Helen Keller could be able to see that Ronan is a Sinatra. My god, look at that bone structure. Regardless, neither are fans of dear old Woody, and they are not ashamed to say it.

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  • Following Allen and Soon-Yi’s wedding, Allen’s biological son Ronan Farrow said: “He’s my father married to my sister. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law. That is such a moral transgression… I cannot have a relationship with my father and be morally consistent.”
  • Ronan, who has been disparaging about Allen, tweeted on Father’s Day 2012: “Happy Father’s day – or as they call it in my family, happy brother-in-law’s day.”
  • The night of the Golden Globes he tweeted: “Missed the Woody Allen tribute–did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?

Not cool Ronan.  If you weren’t so cute, smart and dreamy; and if your tweets weren’t so funny I would really hate you.  As for Woody Allen, I don’t want for that to have happened.  I love Woody Allen, I love his films, his sense of humor. The image of him molesting a child while she focuses numbly on an electric toy choo-choo train really hurts my heart.  Yes, he is a little creepy and yes, his past behavior is questionable.  The letter describes some pretty horrific things, and if I were to let it into my psyche, it really would taint “Annie Hall” forever. I’ve been through enough in my life.  I just can’t get creeped out by “I lurve, you I loave you, I luff you”.

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On the other hand, I feel for Dylan Farrow.  Those are tough things to live with.  Whether it happened, or it was a scenario that was fabricated; over time the fact and fiction has blended together.   And let me state: not wanting it to be true, is not accusing her to lying.  Still, one must wonder the motivation of such a public spectacle.  What is Dylan Farrow seeking–absolution, revenge, forgiveness, attention? Does she want to destroy him? Does she want to spoil his chances at an Oscar? Or is this her way to heal?  Either way, there are no winners in this scenario, just an awful lot of broken people.

woody-allen-quote-frase-mix-de-coisas (1)It does makes you wonder…what lurks inside of people.  How someone could molest a child or rape a woman, commit a violent crime and then just get right back to the business of living as per usual.  How we masquerade addictions, and convince others of our health and sanity.  Waltzing into the City of Troy with enemies inside the Trojan Horse.  La de da.  The question is–is it  possible to separate the art from the actions?  Then you wonder…has this whole time he’s been charming audiences with neurotic intellectual comedies and dramas, he’s harbored these terribly dark secrets. What is driving Dylan Farrow mad two decades later is the continued success of a talented filmmaker.  I wonder how those justify their actions and move forward in their lives. As Philip Seymour Hoffman was once quoted:

I think that’s pretty much the human condition, you know, waking up and trying to live your  day in a way that you can go to sleep and feel OK about yourself”.

And here we are, back again to Philip Seymour Hoffman. Good ole Lester Bangs from “Almost Famous”. Dead at 46 from a perfectly preventable death. Another one bites the dust.

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We could talk about this all night, until our voices were raw and hoarse.  Death cannot be undone, tragedies cannot be unlaced like a Christmas ribbon.  Feeling chilled to the bone, exhausted and feeling perfectly existential, that was when I crawled back into bed to watch some classic “SATC”.  Season three–when Carrie had big hair, and before she broke Aidan with her affair with Big.  Poor Sarah Jessica Parker, she catches so much grief about the shape of her face.  I don’t mean to drag her into my horse motif, but things have gotten entirely too serious and I’ve really got to lighten things up around here.qSC1732879

With all the additions and accusations, wars inward and outward, the world seems to be teeming with misery. The internet brings all that to your door if you let it. Once in a while, you’ve just got to laugh–despite the odds against us.  That’s all we have really, that fleeting moment when you are free to horse around.

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Blogging & Blow Jobs

Everybody stay calm.

The inevitable has happened. I’ve hit my winter weather wall.

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It was snowing the other morning. It hadn’t snowed in a while.  The sight of the fat flakes falling and settling over the hard and crusty slabs of December snow was not welcomed in the least. A huge sigh leaked from my lips, a huff, which worked in conjunction with a massive shoulder slump.  You could practically hear the theme from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

cb_DepressedStanceLeaning on the kitchen counter with my coffee, flipping through Facebook on my phone. There were slew of photographs of beautiful friends in New Zealand and Australia, looking tanned and relaxed, smiling  in sun filled rooms and on luscious beaches with blue skies and green seas.  They look happy. They look warm.  It makes me remember a time when Benjamin and I used to ride our bicycles on deliciously warm nights, cruising along the dolphin filled Swan River under endless palm trees in Perth.  There was this sudden ache–like a shot through the heart, and not in a Bon Jovi, ‘you give love a bad name a bad name’ kind of way.  Genuine homesickness for the other side of the world.  A physical craving, a hunger pang–the same instinct that Dr Richard Kimble from”The Fugitive”, gets when he knows that the cops were right behind him, and the one-armed man is only one step ahead. Time to move on to the next town.

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Blame it on Blue Monday; and the rat tail days of January when the snow is no longer magical but a muddy slush speckled with dog feces, litter and the sediment flakes from the decay of time.  What’s Blue Monday you asked? Oh you didn’t? Well this is my god-damned blog and you’re going to listen to every word I say. Sorry that I spilled my drink of you, it’s just that I am practically dripping with diamonds.  I could literally kill a man with the rock on my hand, so I can barely hold the glass.

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Firstly, I’ll let Wikipedia take the reigns with laying down this explanation:

Blue Monday: “where weather=W, debt=d, time since Christmas=T, time since failing our new year’s resolutions=Q, low motivational levels=M and the feeling of a need to take action=Na. ‘D’ is not defined in the release, nor are units”.

\frac{[W + D-d] T^Q}{M N_a}

In short, that scientifically measurable moment when the Christmas train runs out of steam.  When those credit card bills start to roll in, and the true cost of Christmas rears its ugly head.  When you combine what you spent, and what your earned often clash together like the Titanic and that darn iceberg.   Although most scientists reckon the theory is a real load of bullocks, but there’s got to be something said for it.  The famine following the feast.  Feeling fat, cold and so very very poor.

Gold-Rush-Eating-boots-N_54Ordinarily Blue Monday is the third Monday of January;  this year it was decided that the 6th, the first Monday after the holiday, was the official date.  That’s not depression, that’s the last day of summer camp.    For me, it came late–Monday 27th, I felt the beginning of a funk in the same way you feel a cold coming on.  And then it overstayed for a solid week.   Perhaps Blue Monday has expanded to become the depression equivalent of Boxing Week–when one day just isn’t enough.  I can’t put my finger on the issue I just felt…bothered.  Emotionally itchy.  Like my soul was wearing wool sweater with a large tag scratching the back of its neck.  I thought that perhaps I need to work out my issues through the majesty of blogging, but once seated in front of the computer I am greeted with a whole lot of nothingness.

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I jot a few pages of notes–shorthand scribbles, as if I’m too annoyed to bother with full sentences. After a measly handful of half-written phrases, I abandon the work for Pinterest. I don’t write for the rest of the week…letting the serial killer chicken scratch marinate in my battered journal.  Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  Truth is I don’t want to open that box inside my heart.  I don’t have the energy to break the anxiety down, find its source and record my findings in a humorous and pop-culture laden essay.  Obviously, that’s the low-grade depression talking as work usually comes before the reward.  It’s a bit like wanting to lose weight by staring in the mirror and wishing you looked different.

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You have to sweat a little bit, I suppose, pay your dues, bide your time. Then again, I have been pursing my lips at the whole blogging front.  I don’t know if I am quietly blowing minds or if people are just blowing chunks.   Elsewhere, someone writes benign pieces about movies, books, or celebrities; or angry tirades about customers, lovers, jobs and children, and readers…and the internet community as a whole are hitting that like button as if it would add years to their life.  Someone posts a picture of a snow-covered tree accompanied by a Robert Frost poem, and it gets 38 likes and 52 comments.  Nobody likes Robert Frost that much.  I mean come on, who do you have to blow to get that kind of response?

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(Okay,time out.  I won’t actually blow anyone for better ratings, but I would make a fine cup of tea and allow access to my fine record collection.  I hope you like Barbra.)

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You know, I wore something very similar to work the other day…and it was not well received.  Yet Babs shows up at a fashion shoot and lets the photographer snap one picture (as long as her nails and pinkie ring got to photo-bomb the shot). Ah Barbra, now there’s a lady who does what she wants, when she wants, and could claw your fucking eyes out if necessary.

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For me, there are few “likes”, and the only comments I get are from “use Rocket Spanish” who writes

“I think the admin of this web site is genuinely working hard for his web page, for the reason that here every stuff is quality based stuff”.

Now there’s a sentence that makes sense.  Regardless, I’m glad that someone appreciates that the admin of this web site is genuinely working hard.  So good for me.  Thanks spam!  I shake it off, I think to myself, that it’s just ego–that wanting to be liked that interferes with artistic honesty.  But–if there is no response at all–it’s like…well, sure why not? Let’s go there–blowing someone…if they make absolutely no noise, you’d think you were doing a bad job.  Maybe you’ve taken him to pleasure town and he’s left his own body and is floating above himself admiring the work of a great genius…or maybe he’s kind of bored and lost interest half way through.  To borrow a line from a Kevin Smith film: (which admittedly I thought came from “Mallrats, but was actually from “Chasing Amy”–who knew?)

“Chicks never help you out. They never tell you what to do…. Most of them sit there frozen like a deer in headlights. When a chick goes down on me, I let her know where to go- and what the status is. You gotta handle it like CNN and The Weather Channel–constant updates.”

Blogging and blow jobs…it’s an awful lot of work and you’re really doing it for the other person.  Feedback is also essential. So it’s pretty much the same thing.  How’s that for a math equation?  That’s why they call me the songbird of my generation. When it all comes down to it, I like what I write. I like that each blog goes where it wants…I never know where I’ll end up.  Did I think I was going to mention blowjobs when I started this piece a week ago? No.  Did I have any idea what I would find when I searched Google Images for “Blow Job, vintage”?  Did I think long and hard…(he he, long and hard) about posting one or two of them? Yes.  That’s the journey, and I’m happy to follow the thread where it leads.  But the occasional spoonful of validation never hurt anyone. A sip of water on the long road to the slimmest shred of creative success.  I’m bratty like that…like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka’s factory, wanting everything right away.  Not trusting that everything will fall into place as things ordinarily tend to do.

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Let’s be honest. Veruca Salt was a dick, and I’m pretty sure she dies in this movie.  Her impatience was her fatal flaw, and I share that with the late Ms Salt.  I’m trying to do as the bumper sticker tells me and just “let go and let god”, which I do, for increments not longer than it takes to finish a Tic-Tac.  I’m of two very distinct minds: more than anything, I want to pay off my student loan debt. It’s a sum that collected over eight years of schooling.  I suppose I’ve always been aware of it in the same way that one imagines their own demise–it’s too far down the track to imagine the inevitable day when the Grim Reaper…or in my case the Government of Canada, arrives and says “pay up sucker”.  On the other hand, I am giving hungry eyes to every map I see.  I want to walk on foreign soil, I want to zig-zag cross the globe, I want to see so many places. And yet, it all seems impossibly out of reach.  There’s only so much money to go around, and the persistent adult living inside of me is saying that now is the time to scrimp and save.  I’m 32…and it feels like that sand is burning it’s way through my hourglass.  I am reliable at work, pay my bills on time, obey road rules. I am a functioning member of society…but my soul is a gypsy wanderer that sometimes wants to disappear into a crowd.

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Benjamin is working overtime to lift my spirits.  Like a tap-dancing bear, rattling off the many blessings in our life while I sob and snivel in the shower. He’s right of course.  He’s a permanent resident.  We’ve finally settled. We both have excellent jobs, a nice home, solid marriage.  While I love my career, my home, my husband…there’s still an extremely large part of me that wants to be in-transit,  heading towards the next destination.  And I’m at war with myself about it.  The idea of properly settling down makes me want to hang on pretty tight to the door frame of adolescence and only pass through only if pushed.   When we look at our future, where anything is possible, there is a blight on the plan.  My student loan debt is the genital herpes of my finances.  I fear I will have carry that around forever; that it will be the obstacle to my most cherished plans. The way I am feeling right now is the very reason Peter Pan refused to grow up.

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My poor husband is hovering along the outer perimeter of the house.  Walking along the walls, giving his wife plenty of breathing room.  He’s sensed for sometime that I am a panther ready to strike…or a wounded orangutan who would swap at you weakly…(it’s been a real low energy week).  I’m crying, and I feel like I can’t stop, he rubs my back and says: “You’re crying for no reason…this confuses me”.  Poor bugger.  Finally, he drops the gauntlet…”Alicia, do you think maybe this is PMS?”.

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The Bear gets a multitude of bonus points for the endless love and support.  The glass half full, cheer-leading approach is truly uplifting.  But everyone knows that suggesting being ‘tired’, ‘hungry’ or ‘premenstrual’ to a depressed and slightly irrational woman is like putting a loaded gun in your carry-on at the airport.  The end result is not going to be in your favor.

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It very well could be PMS, it’s usually hard to tell because of my IUD, I really only experience symptoms every four months. Whenever I dip into an existential funk, I can often console myself that it is simply hormones making a fool of me.

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Meanwhile, my sandpaper sentiment rages on.  I can’t write it out, and so it brews inside of me like a toxic tea.  Why can’t I see the positive?  Why does everything feel like the worst case scenario?  When Ben was listing our lengthy tally of blessings–I could appreciate every one.  We do have a good life.  Maybe it’s my own scientific quota: debt/dreams x age ÷ fleeting years of fertility.  This hit the nail on the head when I’m crying in the shower; Benjamin said that there were no ‘deadlines’, that there was room in our life for everything, that there was ‘lots of time’.  The thought of a pre-baby time crunch made me cry even harder.  Fuuuuuck, where is the time going? Why does 32 feel so old?

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As I finish the blog, I’ve come a little closer to accepting that I am right where I need to be.  That everywhere I’ve been was where I was meant to go.  I haven’t reached all my goals because I’m just not there yet.  It’s not my time, I guess.  I’ll just keep walking this path, keep writing, and not hate on Robert Frost so much. (He actually suffered immensely in his life, lost a lot of love, and wrote the line– “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world” which was later engraved on his tombstone.  Now I feel kind of annoyed with him all over again. I feel the same way about life and wish I had written it first).  But that’s just my ego talking.  A new season will come around.  Moods will lift, PMS will pass; the days longer, the sun shinier.  The snow has to melt sometime.

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Images Courtesy of Google

Gap Toothed Grief & Billie Holiday Blues

The thought struck me that I couldn’t remember the last blog I did.  Lo and behold, it has been a well over a week since I’ve jotted anything down.  Truth is, the past weeks have been a blur.  Wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving weekend, the Sun Peaks wedding where I did a real Bonnie Tyler to my vocal cords and ultimately, broke my voice box.

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I can’t pinpoint that exact moment when the headache started.  It feels like it’s just always been there.  My cold has lingered like that unwashed guitar playing dude at the end of night at a crazy college party, strumming along obliviously, preventing you from pouncing on the cute guy you’ve been making eyes with all night.  This headache is basically cock blocking me.  I’m not enjoying anything as much, when I laugh, talk, sing (which is all the time), it sends shooting stabbing pain straight into my jaw.  And then, it traveled behind my eye, this incessant scream in my brain. It was distressing to say the least.

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To remedy the eye pain, I would scrunch my ocular cavity. Now it looks as if I were eying you up suspiciously…or trying to wink flirtatiously and failing miserably or that I was a peg leg short of being a pirate.

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And the thing is, if I worked in a library or a quiet office, it would be manageable.  In my profession, I am surrounded by  joyous, excitable noise.  You put twenty children in a room together and things can get pretty rowdy.  Laughter, crying, complaints, it’s all at a rather bold decibel.  During the day, it’s children’s music, and there are moments where the children’s version of “Crocodile Rock” really takes you right on the edge of sanity.  For the afternoon parkour classes, the coaches sometimes crank some pretty intense house music.  I’m sure it’s super inspiring music, but if you are hunched in front of a computer, feeling as though your right eye might cave in from the pain, you just wish they had a little Billie Holiday on tap.

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Each afternoon, I pick kids up from school and bring them to after-school programs.  This is one of my favorite parts of the work day, listening to the conversations of 5-7 year old children, hearing their thoughts about life.   One recent afternoon, when this headache was squealing in my head like a whistling kettle, there was one child talking so loudly and excitedly, that it was actually painful to listen.

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The pain had resonated within my neck, shoulders, jaw, and then my head become a glistening orb of blistering pain with a long staff of twisted gnarled muscle mass connected.  Come Sunday morning I was in shambles, feeling sickly and whimpering like a child on the sofa.  Our landlord wanted to show our townhouse, and whenever anyone comes by, we make a point to leave. It’s too weird watching strangers appraise your home.  I pushed the time back as much as possible.   I just couldn’t leave the house.  I texted my friend Sheanna, a spiritual healer and all round amazing person.  She brought along her dachshund Harriet, who nestled over my belly as I reclined in the chair while Sheanna pressed gently on my neck and shoulders.

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This beautiful lady then proceeded to work on me for Philip Glass‘s Metamorphosis and Miles DavisKind of Bluetwice.  And that that album may only have six songs, but its 55 minutes and 26 seconds long.

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All the while, a very patient and kind friend works away at this geologically dense, sedimentary layers of tension.  Little clusters of worry or distress, collecting slowly overtime.  As she placed pressure, she asked questions, and I found myself recalling memories, things that were forgotten or stored away.  A childhood carnival ride that gave me whiplash (and made me barf up hamburgers…not a pretty sight).  A drunken night in high-school–vomiting in front of a beau at a sexy viewpoint, a car accident…no vomit but going off a rather sizable embankment and being tossed like a rag doll, and my various dental traumas.  Each memory had common themes, mostly of being quite vulnerable or exposed. But it was like fragments of those moments had stored themselves in amidst of the threads of my insides and began to decay over time.  I think it also speak volumes about that it all comes back to my mouth…which has often gotten me into trouble in the past.  If my parents got a dollar and invested it for every time they read “Alicia talks too much in class”, I could have paid for my university education and possibly have some left over for a summer home.  As I grew up, I was always yapping and wisecracking, saying too much and repeating gossip, and never knowing when to shut up.  I had braces when I was twelve, and a year later they were taken off. Meanwhile, there was a rogue, undescended tooth bulldozing it’s way through roots of potential neighbours.  I learned of this in my early twenties, a totally inappropriate time to get “Braces: The Sequel”.

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From there, about six different oral surgeries followed.  All with a healthy dose of Ativan, because I’m not just going to lie back and let you drill into the roof of my mouth without a fight.  And then, after the procedure, it is the distinct pleasure of whoever is waiting for me in reception to get incoherent, boozy me, with a mouthful of blood and holes.  There are a slew of funny stories from those times, but I couldn’t share them here…only because I don’t remember much from them.  The taste of blood, forgetting my address, breaking a vase, and attempting to play “Raining in My Heart” by Buddy Holly on my record player.

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What’s worse is not being totally fucked up the next day, with this raw hamburger in your mouth.  All for what? Trying to dredge the tooth from the roof of my mouth as if it where a sunken ship?  And then, after all the exposures and Ativan laced interludes, the dentist was defeated.  That tooth, along with two others would have to go.  Which again, is not the greatest news a mid-twenties bride-to-be wants to hear.  Dentures was not on the menu, thank you very much.  Alas, the teeth had to go, and I was devastated.  As time passed on, when my wedding was cancelled, that was one of the first things that came to mind.  Meeting someone knew, and being all cool, funny and sweet, but then taking him home and putting your teeth in a fucking glass on the nightstand.

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Shortly after my breakup, and right before I left for New Zealand I took part in a Fringe Festival.  I was feeling raw, and felt I’d done terribly in the last performance. I was at a closing night party, and someone had bumped into me, and I then knocked into an actress I admired who split her beer, and then spewed venom at me for the accident. I was horrified, felt totally alienated.  I felt terribly alone, and so I stepped outside, and called my ex.  That’s the worst part about breaking up with your friend because you get all Barbra Streisand to Robert Redford in “The Way We Were”: “I just want to talk to you about someone we both know”.

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I stood outside, at one am under an awning on a rainy night, next to a rather busy gentleman’s’ nightclub…and talking to someone I used to know. After the conversation, I stepped inside, sat down on a sofa. I felt an unfamiliar looseness on my teeth. I open my lips and there, like two tiny bones are the dentures divorced from the device inside my mouth.  It was like being kicked when down, only it’s God kicking you.  I traveled all the way home without my teeth and to me, it felt like walking around naked.  People said “It’s only teeth”. To those people, I invite them to go around without their cuspid and lateral incisor and get back to me.  It’s not cancer or a prison camp, but it’s not pleasant, and I’d prefer it wasn’t so.

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I was days away from leaving New Zealand and had to borrow my parents car to drive back to the place I just moved away from to get them fixed.  My mother, who was a real champion in my jilted bride chapter, said “Never look back”.  And when I had to return she said “Okay then, get your teeth fixed and then never look back”.  Of course, I dropped them off first thing in the morning and they said “Come back at the end of the day”.  I got my hair cut, and avoided looking into the mirror.  I bought a large pot of flowers and went to the cemetery, and stood a long while at my friend Monica’s grave.  I figured it was a safe place to be; the dead don’t really care and Monica wouldn’t have minded.  I picked up my dentures at the end of day, and I didn’t look back.  Of course, when I met my husband, that fear cropped up, that missing those two teeth made me ugly.  In the heat of a moment, slightly drunk and trying to tackle kissing a nearly seven foot man, he confessed an insecurity.  He was sweet and vulnerable, and also a little bit drunk so I replied “That’s okay, I don’t have all my real teeth”, and in that moment we accepted every thing about each other, and were already falling in love.

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But still, there are moments of being caught without them.  Once in New Zealand the police came to the door, looking for a friend of one of the flatmates.  I was like someone you’d see on cops, flapping my lip, all gap toothed and ghetto “. Honestly, I could fill a rather “War and Peace” length tome of toothless anecdotes.    Moments where having all teeth like guns a’ blazing would just be better. Occasionally  I catch a glimpse in the mirror and I resent that gap along my gum line.  And lets be honest, it would be cheaper to get breast implants than to get tooth implants, and it feels like a very long road before I can get fancy new teeth…or boobs for that matter.

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All these thoughts come to me as I lie back with my eyes closed.  Harriet on my lap and Sheanna pushing down on calcified concerns trapped in my jaw.  By this time, my landlord has popped by with a young Asian couple. We’re listening to Philip Glass, a Wayans brother movie is muted on television, my spiritual healer is working on my throat muscles and there’s a wiener dog nestled on my lap.  When she returns with another person, I’m fielding work texts and frowning slightly, looking ever the pampered movie executive trying to get a moment’s peace.

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Once the house is shown, and our space is returned to us, I begin to weep as I  confess these things.  This is something that I truly hate about myself. I live with a constant, genuine frustration from the pain and pressure of wearing a partial. Never properly tasting food, being so painfully aware of my mouth at all times.   And of course, the issue of receding gum-lines and decreasing bone density, the only solution being more painful and expensive work in the future.  Admitting this aloud is like poison begin drained from my body.  Sheanna continues to push and press and exorcise some of this pain that’s been stashed away.  When Sheanna finished, I felt ten pounds lighter; my thoughts clearer, my mood brighter.  I felt relieved, like I’ve been holding my breath for a century and finally got to inhale. Sheanna and Harriet went home, and I was able to reclaim my Sunday, going for a walk and cooking a meal with my husband.  I crawled into bed at nine pm, nestled next to my husband, my two teeth nestled in another room.  And for a split second I wasn’t defined by what was missing.

gallery_main-demimoore-tooth-twitter-052609Images Courtesy of Google

Before Sunshine

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images Courtesy of Google