They come in threes

Chapter 1

So remember last weekend, when I wrote about running in Lynn Park and how I almost destroyed myself over the course of my route?

Well, today it actually happened. I absolutely rocked myself about seven kilometers into a twelve kilometer run.

I was careening along a long, gravel straightaway and stubbed my right foot on the tip of an unseen rock. From this point, I launched myself right into a baseball slide (arms first), straight across the pathway.

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:


I hate falling.

For all of the usual reason, yes: it hurts, it’s embarrassing, it totally messes up your plans, and it makes bathing and clothing yourself equal parts excruciating and ridiculous for days on end.

But what I hate the most about falling is that strange nebulous time frame between the actual trip, and the moment you make contact with the ground. Your conscious, rational self knows that a connection with the earth is imminent, and yet, you still try to think of all of the ways you could stop it from happening. And then, right before impact, you resign yourself to your fate, and brace for the carnage.

After coming to a complete rest, I always try give myself a moment to take stock and check for bad cuts and injuries before getting to my feet, because I always just want to keep running and get away from the crash site as quickly as possible. Today, my adrenaline was going like crazy, and it’s at times like this that I have to be particularly careful not to start again too quickly.

I was also pretty angry with myself for making such a simple mistake, and my gut reaction was to beat it out of there and just get on with completing my run. But noticing a large stream of blood pooling in the palm of my left hand, I thought it better to be safe than sorry, so I ran back to the park’s entrance and washed my wounds at one of the water stations.

A small part of me contemplated just running back to my car and heading home, but most of me couldn’t fathom not finishing what I had set out to accomplish. So, with my cuts stinging like crazy from the antiseptic handfoam I got from the closest outhouse, I ran back to the route and finished.

It wasn’t until I was actually driving home that the extent of my cuts and scrapes really came to the fore. They stung. Stung like mad.

I made a quick pit stop at London Drugs to stock up on Epsom salts and Haribo, and upon my arrival at home, booked it straight into the bathtub.

For the next hour I sat, soaking my wounds, eating candy and listening to Hari Kondabolu stand-up shows.

Not the worst way to spend a Sunday morning, but good grief, next time I’ll elect to do it without having to gently scrape the dirt from my bleeding elbows.

(That’s more of a Tuesday morning chore.)

Chapter 2

Everyone has silly little things that made them smile. For instance, I love recognizing Vancouver in movies and television shows. I always get butterflies when people address me by name in conversation – whether face to face, over the telephone, or via text. And I will always, always love a song that has some kind of hand-clap section or chorus.

It’s an inevitable truth of life, and there is nothing to be done. I have resigned myself to this fate.

So you can of course understand why I currently have this song on constant repeat, much to the chagrin of every human within earshot of my musical devices.

I just cannot help it. It’s so darn catchy and it just makes me want to dance about the world, nonstop forever.

(My cat, unfortunately, was very unimpressed by this yesterday, and staunchly refused to join in.)

Some others that I enjoy:

Where It’s At (Beck)

Beck was one of my very first music loves. I asked for, and received Mellow Gold for my 11th birthday but I loved Odelay even more, because of this song.

Cecelia (Simon and Garfunkel)

It is always, always summer whenever I hear this opening refrain.

Women’s Realm (Belle and Sebastian)

This band. Goodness, this band.

Chapter 3

I have a recurring dream – or nightmare, I suppose – where I am caught outside wearing nothing but a t-shirt.

No underwear. No shoes. Nothing.

It’s just me, my t-shirt, and the elements. I find myself rooted to the ground in a busy town square or being jostled about by the teeming crowd of an emptying lecture hall. It’s the weirdest experience, trying desperately to both cover myself and creep away without anyone noticing.

What’s even weirder is that it’s exactly the same – the panic, the fear, the discomfort – every time.

I don’t dream this dream as often as the one where all of my teeth are falling out, nor do I find it as terrifying as the one where I am two seconds away from falling off of the chair lift, but nevertheless, it has firmly ensconced itself into my personal narrative and never fails to leave me shaken up.

Because, let’s face it. Nudity is a pretty weird thing.

But the fact that we clothe ourselves all of the time, even when we are alone, can seem equally as weird. Knowing that we are all just a bunch of penises and vaginas, cleverly hidden away, traipsing about the planet is an idea I rarely give time to, but find utterly bizarre when I do.

Sometimes when I was a pre-teen, I would take moments and try to visualize all of the adults, outside of my family, naked. I would try to imagine them having sex, or being “sexy”.

It was both strange and hard, and the moment was always fleeting. (Insert joke here about the parallels between this exercise and the first time I found myself naked with a boy.)

I am not exactly sure that the answer is, nor what exactly it is that I am looking in terms of this dream, or my ideas on nakedness and nudity. I think, for me, the most important thing is identifying my hang-ups – hang-ups I am sure shared by many – around being nude, about being naked (literally and metaphorically), and the overall social expectations and politicization of what it means to be naked (also literally and metaphorically).

My friend Emma Cooper, who is a local comedian and artist has said that when comes to nudity, “Men are not allowed to be vulnerable, and women are not allowed to be sexual.”

Whenever I think about this statement it hits me like a sack of bricks, and is an idea that I remain sensitive to, and cognizant of whenever it is that I find myself thinking about these things.

Now if only I had something to help me, during those moments of peak vulnerability, when I’m standing in that town square.



Happy Sunday my little loves.

Bits and bites


This is a very true story about a magic worm.  His name was Wimmiin.

One day he fell into a toilet and drowned.  Being magic, he thought he would be able to swim, unlike most worms.

He was wrong.

He just drowned.


I slept in my bed last night. 

It was good. 

After my conversation with you I went for a long jog along the track.  Then I came home and went to my haircut and colour.  My hair is now very black. 

This could be good or black. 

I will wear my hair to the airport when I come to meet you. 

What colors of paint did you choose?  And did the blueberries go down well with the water, on the sand?  I find nothing tastes as good as oranges at half time, so I do not fully appreciate your blueberries.   I probably missed the first five minutes of our conversation this morning as my mind was not yet awake, but oh it is so nice to start the day off by having a nice chat with you. 

I have also started a story for you:

Once upon a time, a gargoyle found himself made flesh and pale in the rocky world. I will finish it for you when we go away; when we lie in that warm place.

I’ll whisper in the shell of your ear the sussurus of a life – like a river bed, like a whirlwind. 


Semi-reclined, this skin sobbing salt water
Arid air agitated and abrasive against
that tallowy tan


For fabulous dusk’s cool silence and,
Her thirty billion twinkling eyes

In a dream you waited to drink.
In that heat you shuddered
(alone and uncovered)
In my dream you rose up, and met me
Waiting, and impatient, at Gobi

That you have but slumbered here (while these visions did appear)

Close your eyes.

I dreamt I met a boy
with deep set eyes
and sand scrubbed skin,
sitting in the grass
that tickled my knees –
while he played hide and seek
with the fishes.

I blinked when he kissed

the pink skin (on my shin)

smooth like a skipped stone.

Looking to the sky,
drinking still-sweet raindrops
whispering and

of windswept walks
and Easter egg Sundays.

Clicking our heels

on the cobblestone streets,
we saw sunshine
stretch its strong arms

across a lake of lace.

And our hearts raced
when we remembered the sensation
we had tore from our
and drank from our

And when I woke,
I cried
for the boy, with a heart

warmed by the heat of one thousand
dragon sighs
who traced my shadow
with his powdered chalk
from when he was but six
and pebble sandwiches
were all the rage.

And miles to go before I sleep

Hi Friends,

Is it just me, or are any of you itching for an excellent and exciting escapade in a fantastical foreign landscape? It’s been two weeks since my return from the land of palm trees and face-lifts, and while I very much enjoy my employment here on the West coast, (I actually really do love my job) I am already daydreaming about the next big trip Monsieur M. and I will take together.

Or small trip.

There is just something undeniably awesome about international travel and intrigue…

I'm like a bird, I want to fly awaaaaaayyyyyy.

So pip pip, my passport is expiring at the end of March and I am putting together my application for a renewal.

Because everyone knows that a top spy-cum-adventurer needs two things at her disposal at all given times:

– valid passport

– excellent sense of humour and improvisation. (Okay, this might qualify as two things in some circles, so I beg of you to cut me some slack.)

A cute outfit, a quality camera and an ever present willingness to take on the unknown probably never hurt anyone either (in my experience at least.)

I’ve been surfing the internets quite a bit, researching all sorts of magnificent and mesmerizing locales – everything from Sweden to Salt Spring Island; Costa Rica to Colorado; Morocco to Montreal.

Seriously dudes, as much as I rail against the morally bankrupt ways of that ever elusive one percent (has anyone been able to find a contact number for them yet?), sometimes I can’t help imagining how lovely it would be to live with unlimited funds.

Sweet cash dollars would not only buy me many terrific trips, but countless beautiful shoes and a villa in the South of France.

(Lest you think me superficial, these are but other must-have accoutrements for said previously mentioned spy. Plus they’re pretty!!!)

This fantasy, however, always comes crashing to a (rather spectacular) halt once it veers into the territory of what I would actually have to do or condone in order to get that wealthy.

This knowledge alone would undoubtedly ruin all the splendor of that villa (and those shoes) and eventually turn me into some tragic pseudo-Lady MacBeth.

All in all, pretty darn grim.

And that is why I am happy sitting and planning out The Next Great Travel Thing! (Copyright Ethel the Dean, 2012).

In the meantime, let me share with you three snapshots of times past, spent in brilliant places, with beautiful people.

Someone once asked me: why do I love to travel? why do I need to travel? The following are just a part of the answer.

Hawaii 2007

M and I travel to Oahu’s North Shore where we stay in a beautiful one-floor, many bedroom-ed beach house with five hilarious, and very accommodating friends.

The view from our house. Heaven.

We end up sleeping on the sofa bed in the main room and I fall asleep every night to the sound of the breaking surf, just steps away from our lanai, while our friendly neighbourhood gecko makes quick work of the few flies that made it past my feverish guarding of the patio bug screen.

We go swimming with sea turtles and sting rays, eat chunks of fresh pineapple and laugh as the juice trickles down our cheeks, tan ourselves brown (such a contrast to the white of the sand) and learn that Vancouver’s Starbucks obsession doesn’t hold a flame to the ABC stores in Waikiki.

The shell my ring was hidden under.

On the third day of our visit, M asks me to accompany him on a sunset walk. There, on a beach, a few miles outside of the quaint seaside town of Haleiwa, with the sky the colour of one big Shirley temple, he asks me if I will spend the rest of my life with him.

I cry. And cry, and then I cry.

And then because he is just sitting there, looking at me, I tell him yes, of course yes.

I will.

I will until the end of the world.

Greece 2008

M and I have been married for exactly one week.

We set out on our honeymoon, travelling to a place the two of us have only read about in books (he especially, and we’re not exactly talking about contemporary literature either. I mean, say what you want about the relevancy of Ovid, et. al. but we’re not exactly getting any younger here.)

Greetings centurion!

The weather is excruciatingly hot, but we travel light, and from the moment we arrive it is as though we have been instilled with a boundless energy – so eager we are to explore and experience and indulge in the decadence of this dream-like world, that we walk until our legs our coated with a fine dust, our lips chapped dry.

We came early to get good seats.

An ancient city, a modern time.

During our time on Crete we visit King Minos’ home, pay homage to Theseus (and the Minotaur) and visit Matala, an ancient Roman graveyard.

Old spirits greeting newlyweds, teaching us the secrets to a long life, but longer lasting fame.

Switzerland 2009

Christmas in Geneva. The streets are frosted white and the mercury dips lower, and lower with each passing night. The air here in the city is so much crisper, so much cleaner than that of Birmingham, our home for the past four months.

People look healthier hear. (People sound healthier too.)

There must be something said for chocolate and cheese.

(And I’ll be the first to say it.)

We stay with M’s cousin. The way she speaks French is a bit difficult to describe. It sounds almost as though she is singing. The tone and cadence so gentle yet lively – a quality particular to the Genevois people and I love it.

On our third day in the country we travel to Bern.

The beauty packed into the city’s old town is as striking, as it is astounding. The history of this place is breathtaking to behold, but the so is the cold, as it sneaks into my boots and down my coat and around my ears.

Be still my heart.

I munch on roasted chestnuts as M and I walk to Einstein’s old apartment.

We watch out for bears. But on this day, it seems there are none to be seen.

Holding hands, we catch snowflakes on our tongues and I whisper sweet French nothings into his ear.

Just like a song.

Singing and scattering pamphlets all the way

This Saturday, M and I went and fulfilled our civic duty by voting in the New Westminster municipal election.

There is something about voting that just feels good.

For me, it’s a mixture of excitement, appreciation, pride, nerves, and just a pinch of je ne sais quoi – it’s a time to ponder the unknown, the possible, perhaps even the regrettable, but any way you slice it, it’s an opportunity for a fresh start.

I also can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be one of those names on that ballot.  I mull over what it would be like to put my job security on the line, nay into the hands of others, having to convince complete strangers that I would be the darn best individual to represent both them and their interests.

That seems pretty scary, pretty bold, pretty cocky and a HECK of a lot of work.

After we cast our ballots, we went for a long walk down to the quay, checking out the different artisanal shops that have opened up in the market.  For a mid-winter afternoon, the weather was just about as exquisite as it could get.

As we were walking, I got to thinking about all the different “things” I have wanted to be.  To put it mildly, there have been many.  Since, well, since I was aware that one day I was going to have to be “something,” so it would probably be a good idea to think about what it was I wanted.

Below is a list of just a few of the things “things” I have contemplated “being” during my relatively short time here on this great big ball of blue and green, formally known planet oiyth (in Bugs Bunny speak, if you will).

1. Age 4.  Veterinarian.  This didn’t last for very long.  I went to a Charlotte Diamond concert with my kindergarten class and Charlotte, that old battle-axe, asked kids in the audience to volunteer what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Being the total team player that I was, I raised my hand, ready to let everyone know just how committed I was to our fury little four-legged friends.  But when she called on me, I suddenly got super nervous and had a hard time choking out “veterinarian” so I just yelled out “vet” instead.  Well, what with the concert taking place in a tent that could accommodate upwards of 500 people, the acoustics were a little lacking.  C.D. misheard what I said and proceeded to make fun of me in front of the entire gosh darn group.

“A CAT!?” she laughed.  “Young lady!  You can’t be a cat when you grow up! AHAHAHAHA…” (And of course the entire tent well followed suit.)

Boy did that ever chap my ass.  I seriously wanted to jump up and yell “Hey Charlie!  NO SHIT I can’t be a cat!  What do you take me for?  Some kind of Bolshevik cretin!?  THANKS TIPS.” (Only, in you know – 4-year old speak.)

It was that moment right there that killed that aspiration.

I should have just said “Je suis un pizza” and called it a life.

2. Age 8.  Model/Singer.  I discovered my sister’s YM magazine.  All the girls in it were stunning and looked as though they were having the BEST. TIME. EVER.  I practiced signing songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat on my neighbors trampoline when they weren’t at home.  One day their teenage son snuck up on me and scared the ever living daylights out of me.  My mortification knew no bounds and I immediately burst into tears.  As he tried to calm me down, I couldn’t help but notice that he kind of looked like that guy in the “some people say I eat too many chocolate bars” acne cream commercial.

To this day that advertisement both makes me laugh and breaks my heart.

That incident on the trampoline, combined with my rapidly developing, all consuming love for sports made for a quick  end to my YM dreams.

I still know all the words to Go-Go-Go-Joseph though.

3. Age 14. Sports Medicine Doctor.  This dream had a long shelf life until the first time I sustained a serious injury playing badminton and I found out that bodies = disgusting.


4. Age 18. English Professor.  Growing up I wasn’t exposed to much literature outside of the classical English canon.  I loved all of Austen, Montgomery, Alcott and Bronte; read Dickens and Homer and Wilde and Elliot and Stoker and Shelley and Coleridge and, well, pick up any English lit. anthology and I’ve read it and loved it.  And not knowing anything else, I thought that I would enter university and continue along that path.

That was until halfway through first year when I picked up Dostoevsky’s “Devils” and had my mind blown so hard that, eight years later, I’m still picking up the pieces.

English professor?  No siree Bob.  I have every genre, time period and country to explore – if I tried to pick just one I would probably end up pulling a Raskolnikov, and I have no intention of introducing an Inspector Porfiry to the already packed group of kooky characters that populate my life.

5. Age 20+. Too many to count!  Or simply just: ?  The possibilities are endless!  Although bearing witness to just how amazing my kitty-cat’s life is makes me think this whole thing just might have come full circle.  I would be lying if I said I have never fantasized about switching places with her because, simply put, her life is ridiculously awesome.  Plus look how pretty she is:

I don’t know about singer, but she could definitely, most definitely be a model.

Go, go, go go!