Tickling your fantasy

I used to be an incredible literature snob.

Until about the age of twenty-one, I would only read real books.

“Oh me?” I would snottily opine. I’m a real Dostoevsky, Dickens, Austen, and Grass kind of girl.”

I could never understand why my boyfriend – my brilliant, cerebral and completely badass boyfriend (who now happens to be my brilliant, cerebral and completely badass husband) – read so many graphic novels, and books with picture of trolls, and dwarfs, and dragons adorning their covers.

How could he be interested in such stuff?

And despite his best efforts, for the first three years of our courtship I staunchly refused to crack one open.

“Sorry,” I would say. “I’m just not into that stuff.”

“You really have no idea what you’re talking about,” he’d say. “But I’ll wear you down eventually.”

And wear me down he did.

My first “non-book” (oh how wrong was I!), was V for Vendetta by Alan Moore which blew my brain harder than anything that had come before it (and I seriously thought I could ever again undergo anything as soul-shaking as the time I first read Devils and Crime and Punishment.) Next came the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman which I inhaled in about a day and a half, and then Watchmen, and Preacher, and about every other comic series on which I could get my hands.

It took me a little longer still to get into “fantasy” and “science fiction” (oh how I now loathe our need to classify so much brilliant literature as such!), but I finally caved and picked up A Clash of Kings a few months after my twenty-second birthday.

And once again, I underwent a kind of mind-exploding madness.

How could George R. R. Martin write so seamlessly and brilliantly from one character to the next? How could he be so heartless and beautiful all at once? WHY WERE ALL OF THESE PEOPLE SO AWFUL?

After burning through the entire Ice and Fire series (in what was then it’s most current incarnation) it was GAME. ON. The floodgates were opened, and it was nothing but a steady, raucous and ever more passionate ride filled with Bradbury, and Asimov, and Heinlein, and Tolkein, and Guy Gavriel, Scott Card, and Neal Stevenson, and Susanna Clarke, and so many more (and more and more and more!)

And then, ladies and gentlemen, Marc introduced me to one of the most brilliant, gut-busting, world-creating satirists English literature has ever known.

He brought me the world of Terry Pratchett.

This man made me laugh, cry, think, pace, question, believe, and most of all read.

My goodness did I love to get lost in his worlds and read!


To this day, I always know when Marc is (re-)reading a Pratchett book because of the sonorous laughs that all but explode out of him.

He’ll then read the offending passage aloud and we’ll both cry-laugh together. More often than not, we’ll just end up reading entire sections of the book to one another.

These truly are some of my most treasured literary memories.

And so when I found out last Thursday that Mr. Pratchett had died (via Guardian update from my mobile phone) I immediately phoned Marc to tell him the news.

I couldn’t even finish my sentence before collapsing into my tears. I sobbed straight into the receiver, my whole body wracked by a terrible, melancholy palsy.

And then, in the most Pratchett-ian of fashions, I was immediately catapulted back to laughter.

Marc, speaking slowly into the receiver, said, “This – this makes me really, really sad babe. But – unfortunately I have to go. The arborists are here.”

Because, of course, we were having the dead cherry tree removed from our backyard, and yes, at 8:13am on a Thursday morning, the arborists had arrived to facilitate that removal.

I immediately burst out laughing, even though my tears kept streaming steadily down my face.

I cried for the better part of the entire day, and I really don’t think I’ll ever get over the loss of such a brilliant, kind, compassionate, passionate, and life-changing man.

But I know that I, like the world, am so much better off for opening my mind, heart, and soul to his beautiful works, and the zany, madcap brilliance of Ankh-Morpork.

And like Marc before me, I’ll continue to encourage people to read his works.

So that they too might laugh. And cry.

But really mostly laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

Roll the clip

Alright folks, let’s get a few things straight.

Today is September 20, 2014.

We are approximately three days away from the beginning of the Autumnal season.

I am twenty-nine years of age.

You are whatever age you currently are.

This is where I am sitting:


Everything is both beautiful and terrible. Everything is both unadulterated brilliance and unmitigated bonkerness.

Everything just is.

Sometimes, whenever I start to get really down by all of the fuckery that seems to dominate our world’s discourse (not to mention actions!), I just really try and focus on all the amazing, beautiful, and breathtaking things and events of which I am privileged enough to both behold and partake.

And sometimes, I just think about the quiet world of my early morning, pre-work runs.

When the sky is a mottled blend of purples, pinks, greens, and blues.

When the sky is the most beautiful bruise.


I run down along the boardwalk with my heart in my throat, and my tears in my eyes. My legs feel as though they are six miles long, and my arms pump, just like my blood pumps, and everything feels right and strong.

And I know that I am flying.

Sometimes I feel silly and trite writing again and again what it feels like to run. How propelling myself forward as hard and as fast as I possibly can brings on such infinite joy.

But I can’t.

Just like running itself, I cannot stop.

I cannot swallow these words.

They are a compulsion.

They are a joy

Work has been a little batty of late (50+ hour weeks), spent zipping about like zipping things (zippers!!).

However, seeing as though my fellow colleagues are gentlewomen and squires of the highest order, I cannot bring myself to complain.

The fact that I am passionate beyond a thought about my job and the work that I do is, of course, another boon.

However, this is not to say that we can’t have a great laugh at our own expense, especially in the lead-up to a very large event, of which we have been working on since March.


Case in point:


I, like we all, have the capacity to be a grumpy cat.

Hence, I am actually grumpy cat.

Remember movies?

I do, but barely.

And this leaves me feeling a little melancholy.

Because movies used to mean so much. They used to mean so much to me.

I recall the first movie that I ever saw in a theatre.

Beauty and the Beast was everything a movie should be (in my very discerning six year old mind). It was funny and scary. There was a beautiful, brilliant, strong female lead who loved to read and who wouldn’t take crap from all the ridiculous idiots who populated her “provincial town.” She, rightly, loathed Gaston, and held her own when it came to The Beast’s infantile temper tantrums.

In truth, it’s probably the only Disney princess flick I’ll ever be okay showing my future kidlets (but that’s another post for another time.)

I am fairly certain it was my nanny Suzanne who took me to the movie, and it was her gift to me on my sixth birthday. We went to the old (and now sadly demolished) Capital Six, back when Granville Street was in its full grunge-tastic glory.


The first “grown-up” movie I ever watched in theatres was when Shona Langmuir, Patricia Beckerman (aka “The Girls”), and I went and saw The First Wives Club when we were in grade five.

Note: please let me emphasize the term “theatres” in the above sentence. My family were rather lax when it came to flicks seen by us kids, and we were viewing adult movies at a very, very early age. I remember watching the Fugitive on Easter Monday in grade two.

Nothing like collecting a bunch of chocolate eggs and then sitting down as a family to watch Harrison Ford clear his name!

Good grief.

But I digress. Holy damn did I ever dig The First Wives Club. Sure I didn’t get a lot of the jokes, and the scene where Brenda eats dinner by herself absolutely destroyed me. But it didn’t matter. It was three women who loved each other, out in the world, kicking ass and taking names.

Too this day I re-watch it at least once a year.

You don’t own me!

Looking at both this film and Beauty and the Beast would you say that there seems to be a pattern emerging as to the type of movie that really resonated with my younger self?

Oh to be that wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, newly emerging feminist!

There are so many more movies that, collectively, with the thousands of books, songs, and other miscellaneous artistic detritus that I’ve encountered and loved along the way, have helped inform who I am as a young woman today.

For instance: I LOVE Forrest Gump.

Next time you see me, ask me to quote the entire movie. I will do this for you.

I also love Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and A Fish Called Wanda, and I will always adore Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

I saw Amelie in grade eleven with my first boyfriend and spent the entire summer pretending to be her.

I adore Kieślowski’s Three Colours trilogy. My favourite of the three films being the darkest and most brilliant black comedy of all time, “Blanc.”

I will go to my death extolling the cinematic virtues of The Big Lebowski. For me, nothing will ever be funnier than this brilliant pieces of the Coen Brothers subconscious. I quote it all of the time and there are total parts of my and Marc’s vernacular made up solely by movie lines. I can also never look at a bowling alley the same way again.

It’s weird.

I love dramatic films as much as I do comedy, however I just am never one to really revisit these masterpieces, and as such they don’t influence my life to the degree as my favourite comedies.

And it’s not as though these two genres cannot exist simultaneously. In no uncertain terms are they are not mutually exclusive concepts.

It just takes one hell of a filmmaker to pull this off.

(Like the Coen Brothers.)

But isn’t movie watching also so much about the experience? The memory of that time spent in the theater? Where you were? Who you were with? Where you were in your life?

Probably one of my most cherished movie related memories is from the first few months of Marc’s and my courtship. Only four months into what is now an eleven year love affair, the two of us went to see Love Actually on a dark, went and very cold Vancouver November afternoon.

I had spent the night at his place and, because I was in my weird “only skirts, no pants” phase, I was wearing a pair of his cords because I didn’t have a clean pair of tights. They were absolutely huge, and I looked a bit of a sight. We had spent the morning at a community theatre on the Westside where I auditioned for a part in an upcoming play (spoiler: I didn’t get the part!), and then had bussed downtown. Arriving at the theatre (also the Capital Six!), we ran up the escalator so we wouldn’t be late for the previews.

I so wish I could properly communicate how much I felt watching that movie, sitting next to the man (the boy!) for whom I felt so, so, so strongly.

My body completely electric as I held his hand, I laughed at Bill Nighy’s amazing portrayal of Billy Mac and felt my heart break and break and break for Emma Thompson.

I just loved it.

I hate that I am even typing this, but for me, at that moment in my life, love truly was all around.

(I’m sorry!)

But it’s true.

And that’s why movies matter.

And why, despite the fact that I never go to the theatre anymore, and I only use my Netflix to watch old episodes of QI and MI5, I’ll never let them go.

I couldn’t even if I tried.

Waking up to a sleepy sun

This morning I caught the sun before it went back to bed.


I often have the privilege of witnessing the early dawn sky.

Unfortunately, the reason that I am this lucky is because I struggle with anxiety, and the majority of the time it manifests itself in early morning heat attacks.

Seriously, it’s like my whole body is engulfed in flames.

Often times it’s very difficult to fall back asleep, so I instead just get up, and get a really early start to things.

So this morning, instead of subjecting Marc to my sauna-inspired tossing and turning, I slipped out of bed and tiptoed downstairs.

I sat quietly on the sofa, with a cup of coffee in one hand, and watched as the sun got up, stretched, and then lay back down to sleep, in (what I can only presume to be) its bed of rest, located just behind the Fraser River.

As someone who finds this sort of thing practically impossible (falling back asleep after getting up), I was more than a little jealous. If I only I could learn its secrets!

So knowing full well that there was no way I could possibly go back to bed (even if my life depended on it!), I decided instead to lace up my runners and go out for a fast 4.5km run.

I managed to complete my route in eighteen minutes, which is a good time for the number of hills that populate the course, and it made me think that maybe (just maybe!) I will be able to run a sub-40 10km at the Fall Classic on November 19th.

The weather was just perfect – the air was cool, but not so much to make the insides of my ears burn, or make my lungs ache. A slight breeze to bring bounce to my ponytail and pink to my cheeks; fallen leaves crunchy underfoot, while the balding trees overhead presented a delirious kaleidoscope of greens, yellows, and browns.

I could smell the magic aroma of coffee and other miscellaneous breakfast delights, drifting from the different houses that mark my path to the park and back.

Sprinting the last four hundred, a lone tear slid from the corner of my left eye.

It’s funny.

I can’t for the life of me remember what I thought about while I ran.

I’m certain there must have been a few musings about Halloween, and the party Marc and I are attending tonight.

The lovely dinner we had with friends last night.

Michael Chabon’s latest novel, currently taking up real estate on my bedside table.

My stride length, and whether or not I was landing on the balls of my feet.

A series of short vignettes, starring a sleepy sunrise.

I remember when I was a little girl, I would always try and wake up as early as possible on the weekends, because Saturday and Sunday mornings were the only times my sisters and I were allowed to watch TV.

The earlier we woke, the more episodes of Inspector Gadget, or Rescue Rangers, or Duck Tales, we could watch.

I don’t know when exactly I stopped racing out of bed, and started sleeping in, but I feel as though I have now come full circle.

I am back to being that girl, that pre-sunrise child.

I just need to make sure this is due to my love of cartoons and not the heat of a worry that’s setting my alarm.

And she’s all out of bubble gum

Today I am saying goodbye to my very good friend, and long-time partner in crime Kristy (although our heists have unfortunately been coming few and far between over the last couple of years, as she embarks on a new work adventure in the good ol’ United States of America.

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First stop Texas.

Then onto the Big Apple.

As if I needed another excuse to keep visiting New York!

For people who don’t know Kristy – give it a couple of years.

Before you know it, she’ll be running the darn place.

The girl will be kicking butt and taking names.

Now, I’ve written about this lass before – once to give you a general overview of our completely bonkers, and ever important friendship, and the second to regale you with our absolutely absurd fandango of a trip to Boston for a badminton tournament in 2002, but I feel the need to tell you more about his amazing gal (what with the inevitability of her one-day becoming our benevolent business overlord.)

Let’s start shall we?

First, she is a laugh riot when it comes to photo shoots.

We’ve had many over the years. Most normally devolve into us play-acting completely ridiculous situations (such as wearing bikinis and posing as the “before” and “after” of diet pill commercials) or as illustrated below – “pretend to be as drunk as you possibly can be.”

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It really is amazing neither of us has attended the Academy Awards for our spectacular acting skills, let alone taken home multiple Oscars.

Second, if there is one thing you should do before you die, it’s attend one of her birthday parties.



Third, she is one of the most dependable people I have ever known.

In this day and age it is super easy to flake out on people (heck, depending on the season and the crazy level of my life, I am guiltier of this than most), but Kristy?


And the girl is not sitting at home all day crocheting afghans.

(It makes me feel weird that spell check wants to capitalize afghans WHEN OBVIOUSLY I AM TALKING ABOUT THE WRAPS HERE GUYS NOT THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY OF AFGHANISTAN. JEEEZE.)

But back to business.

I cannot really communicate how much it means to me that she is there for me whenever I need her – to come see a show, to talk about life and all its madness, to share a laugh, or eat a fish taco. At the risk of sounding like a Ford truck advertisement, the girl is solid as a rock.




Stop that.

And finally, what I admire most about Kristy, is her fearlessness, her drive, and her independence.

I truly believe that if we were all a little bit more like her, the world would be a much better place.

Because if this were true, I am fairly certain there wouldn’t be diet pill ads to make fun of in the first place.

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Straight, no chaser

I don’t know about you guys, but lately I have been listening to all of the jazz.

And believe me when I say ALL OF IT.

There’s just something about the start of fall that makes me want to cuddle up in bed, crack open a really great book and listen to some Lee Morgan until my eyelids droop, and my breathing falls slow and steady.

I want to herald my dreamscape with these fantastical riffs, these trumpet strains.

It’s funny.

I have such a strong memory of this exact same scenario being played out, over and over again by my mum, most nights growing up.

As we kids wound down and slowly adopted the more melodic (and ultimately less manic) postures of the late-night, I can see her so clearly: her in her nightie, washing her face, slathering her skin in moisturizing cream, and puttering about her bedroom to the soft and oh-so cool musical stylings of Thelonious Monk, or Cole Porter, or Quincy Jones.

Sometimes she’d say something like, “I just love this music.”

Other times, she would just close her eyes and sway to the melody.

CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has a number of fabulous jazz programs, and they will be forever married to these memories.

As we chatted about our days, my sports-teams gossip, and her work drama, we’d let the notes dance about us, almost like invisible fireflies, lighting up the night.

It was nice.

It was a nice way to unwind.

As much as I loved those evenings, I never really thought much about jazz as a teenager.

It’s not that I didn’t like it – it was just in the grand scheme of music, there was always something pop-ier, or rock-ier ready to take its place.

In the teenage canon of cool, there’s not much room for Benny Golson.

Much like the sky, or the natural scenery beholden to Vancouver, the beauty of jazz was one I took for granted.

It was just there.

I didn’t need to appreciate it, because it was a part of my everyday life.

Now, I sit at my computer and am practically moved to tears listening to these incredible tunes, these notable notes.

They make me imagine Parisian streets, lit up by a watery moon; cobblestone alleys, flecked with raindrops, and lovers sighs.

They make me imagine red dresses, and strappy heels; an empty café with a lone couple, dancing cheek to cheek. The sweet scent of candle wax, espresso, and wine, hanging in the air.

They make me imagine.

Sometimes I feel as though I was born with the capacity to feel too much.

Everything – every word, every song, every glace; every thought, every sound, every jest seems to rush through me, straight to my heart.

I think too much, I worry too much, I care too much. I am incapable of divorcing myself from my work, my loves, my passions, my friends,

My family.

Everything and all that they are, I pack tightly inside of myself, and work desperately to make sure they are kept safe.

Kept pristine.


When I sit here, and I listen to this music – this fabulous noise, these perfect sounds, I can feel my chest swell.

I can feel myself expand, feel these worlds rushing out; I watch as all this love that lives inside me is unleashed, and I relive this memory.

Reliving it as though it happened yesterday.

And it hurts so much, because I want to be back there.

I want to be sitting in that bedroom, listening to Quincy Jones.

I want to feel my mum’s hand in mine, the soft fabric of her sheets on the backs of my legs.

I want to look outside of her window and see the glow of our neighbours lights; hear the patter of the rain on our roof.

I want to listen to the jazz without thinking about listening to jazz.

I just want to listen to jazz.