Who’s the boss?

Picture the summer of 2005.

Where were you? What were you doing? What were your passions? Your obsessions?

Who did you love?

Who did you love?

I was twenty years old, fresh out of my second year of university, and living in Halifax.

Marc and I had been dating (and living together) for just under two years. Knowing that I would be spending the next four months across the country away from the small little home we were building together had left me heartbroken. Although looking back, I am confident that on some subconscious level we both knew that it was these long stretches of time apart that was keeping our young love alive.


Having just applied to (and been accepted by) the Creative Writing program at UBC, I felt like my whole life was falling into place.

I was reading everything I could get my hands on, exercising too much, and working two fantastic jobs.

The first was at a fair-trade coffee shop where I made adequate espressos and sold delicious pakoras. The second was at a local bar where I worked the door Wednesday through Saturday nights. Basically my job was to flirt or strike up conversations with individuals as they entered the establishment, in the hopes of convincing them that they really did want to pay the cover charge, when really they probably just wanted a drink or dinner. My take-home was determined by how many people I got through the door.

And I was really, really good at this job.

Can you imagine? I was getting paid to talk to people and listen to great music. It was my dream job, incarnate.

I witnessed a lot of really weird things during those four months. There was the man who unscrewed the light bulb from the fixture over his table, placed the bulb in his briefcase, and then lit up the giant candle he had brought from home.

A man once tried to pay me to steal one of the bar’s paintings for him, and even left a twenty dollar “deposit” wrapped around the stem of the white wine glass he had ordered for me on his way out the door.

A young man once careened in the bar and breathlessly asked if he could hide out in our restrooms. After about half an hour he emerged, only to tell me that he had been evading two bike cops who had caught him and his friends drinking up at the Citadel.

Gordie Sampson hit on my underage sister, and I learned that Gordie Sampson is a tool.

I also saw some of the most incredible live performances from some of the East Coast’s most wonderful performers.

Ron Hynes played a beautiful, intimate set, and everyone in the bar sang along to Sonny’s Dream. When he died last year I cried remembering the magic of that evening.

Jeff Goodspeed was always a treat and the week that we played home to the Halifax Jazz Festival’s “late-night venue”, the proverbial roof was blown away each and every night.

But my most favourite part of working this job was Wednesday nights.

Because Wednesday nights meant Matt Andersen.

And Matt Andersen always meant a huge crowd of people who really, really wanted to pay the five-dollar cover.

But even better than that, Matt Andersen meant the most beautiful blues.

I would have worked at that bar for free as long as it meant that I was allowed to sit there for three hours and listen to him play.

Every night, during his cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’, I would walk over to the end of the bar and lean against one of the pillars that framed the entrance to the dining room. Just closing my eyes now, I can remember so clearly how the music would wash over me.

Run through me.

How the hairs on my arms would stand on end, and my eyes would tear up, and how part of me wanted that moment to last forever but how the other feared that if it did my little heart might crack in two.

Matt was also a gentle giant, who would pick me up and drive me to the bar if he’d see me walking on my way downtown. He would ask me about the books that I was reading and the subjects that I was studying in school.

It never occurred to me to stop and think how that summer was real life (and not the undergraduate make-believe in which I was firmly ensconced). Now I wish I had the foresight to tell Matt how much I loved his music and made the effort to stay in touch.

Tonight my parents-in-law are at Matt’s concert at the Vogue downtown. Marc and I bought them tickets for Christmas and I am so incredibly excited for them to experience his music for the first time. I can only imagine what an amazing show it will be.

For me – I am wrapped in warm blankets and sipping tea, listening to Youtube compilations remembering those make-believe days and warm summer nights.

And I hope I can introduce you to Matt.

And that you will love him. Wednesday nights, and every night.

Love, love me do – you know I love you


This week has been absolutely bonkers.

And I am knackered.


Some big news:

Today is my last day at my current job. My new position starts July 22nd.

This means I have three weeks of relaxation time (with that fab chap of a husband of mine!), before starting what is, for all intents and purposes, my dream job.


Also, speaking of Marc, five years ago today this happened:

Official Wedding 271

It was a very good day.

That morning he wrote to me:

I am waiting to see you for the first time again. (It will always be for the first time, every time I see you.)

I love you, until the end of the world.

And I wrote to him:



I love you with so much of my heart, that none is left to protest.

Tonight we are flying away to New York for my sister Kate’s wedding to her brilliant fiance. I already refer to my soon-to-be sister in-law Mel as my sister (and have so for years!), so I couldn’t be more excited for this marriage if I tried.

What can I say?

I really love love.

I do.

So let me end by reiterating how much I adore all of you beautiful bloggers. Your words, your passions, your love – it makes the world sparkle.

And remember:

We love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. – Nietzsche

Official Wedding 268

Is it worth it, let me work it

I have worked a number of crazy jobs in my relatively short time here on planet earth.

Like many other young ladies, I started out as a babysitter, but quickly learned that it wasn’t really my jam. I never cared for the portion of the evening that included the kids being, well, conscious, and it was pretty devastating to learn that most of the families that I worked for had mediocre pantries at best.

If I was going to give up my Friday night, I figured I might as well get a week’s worth of junk food stuffed in my face – AM I RITE OR WHAT LADEEZ?

Anyways, after my failed and relatively short-lived foray into the world of child monitoring, things took a turn for the serious, and I was hired on as a Safeway cashier in the summer after grade ten.

For my then teenage self this was HUGE. I was making eight dollars an hour and I got to nonchalantly creep on all the weirdos who came into the store.

(And by creep I mean epically judge them based on the goods they were purchasing.)

This job was nuts for many reasons, the first being I had the absolute WORST assistant manager of life.

Sanjay* was a young, cocky, sexist jerk who was constantly on one giant power trip. The guy wouldn’t allow me to wear sweaters (so instead I would just wear the massive winter coats that were reserved for the dudes who collected the shopping carts at night) and he once made me cry in the upstairs back room by telling me I had failed a secret shop, despite having no material evidence to back up his claim.

According to him, I hadn’t thanked the secret shopper by their name on the store receipt. For my “punishment” he made me read aloud the names printed on about two hundred receipts, just so he could be sure that, and I quote: “I could, in fact, read.”

I pretty much sobbed through the entire thing, choking out the names, my cheeks burning with shame and embarrassment. Every so often I would squeak out, “This…this isn’t right…”

You can imagine how, for anyone, let alone a fifteen year old girl, this kind of thing can be pretty darn traumatizing.

I ended up filing an informal complaint against him (and by informal I mean I stuttered out my frustration to the actual store manager, letting him know how I thought it was unfair that Sanjay would let other girls wear sweaters but not me, and about how he told me I had a failed a test when I clearly hadn’t.)

And that yes, I could read, thank you very much.

I never expected anything to come from my actions, but amazingly from that day forward Sanjay never spoke to me again. He wouldn’t even make eye contact with me when he would come around to give me more change/bills for my till.

Just remembering those tense, awkward exchanges gives me the heebie jeebies.

Other than that, Safeway was pretty par for the course in terms of high school jobs. Working crappy shifts, bonding with my co-workers, having a laugh when my friends come through my line.

Also, I am strangely proud of how Speedy Gonzalez I was on the till. I had those PLU codes DOWN (I will never forget bananas – 4011), and would often make it a contest to see how quickly I could clear my register.

Sometimes customers would even be nice enough to compliment me on my mad skills.

(Or maybe this was just because I looked a bit like a rapper in my massive, massive winter coat.)

Anyways, my tenure at ye olde Way of Safe came to an end when I received a job a small café the summer after grade twelve.

I literally left a letter in the upstairs office that read: Please accept my resignation effective today.

Looking back, it probably wasn’t my finest hour, both in terms of politeness and leaving on a positive note, but by then I was so worn down by the store’s rampant culture of apathy and soul-sucking awfulness, that I really didn’t care.

After the café (which ended after that summer) I worked a number of jobs throughout my time as a university student, including stints at an international newspaper and magazine store (which also rented international movies and had a massive pornography section).

In the two years I worked there only two dudes came in to rent from the latter category.

I just figured they must be crazy traditionalists.

This job was great because I got to keep a ton of the magazines, which meant my collection of international fashion, nature, political, and photography periodicals grew like (paper) weeds.

I also watched a lot of great foreign flicks.

After that, I was hired as a temp at a chocolate store to help them in their lead up to the Easter rush, worked as a receptionist at a physiotherapy clinic, and then as a barista at a coffee shop down at Granville Island (MY FAVOURITE JOB OF LIFE).

After my stint with BIG ORGANIC FAIRTRADE COFFEE, I tutored and then took on a two-year stint with immigration with the government of Canada.

And now? Well, a girl has to have some secrets, doesn’t she?

Looking back, I wouldn’t trade in any of these jobs.

They introduced me to lifelong friends and provided me with experiences (both good and bad) that have helped shape who am I.

Which is of course, a rapper in a giant winter coat.


*Name has been changed, despite rampant douchbaggery

Working for the weekend

So I received a lovely comment the other day from an equally lovely reader (and one who seems to have fashioned his own form of English – reading his phonetic language is at time akin to deciphering some kind of code) asking me if instead of toiling away in employment obscurity, I am living off of the royalties of a amazing invention or product (seeing as though I don’t talk all that much about my place of work on ye olde Rant and Roll.)

Alas, as much as I wish this were true, it is in fact not the case.

At least, not yet.

I do work, and while my experience with my job doesn’t require me to write long-winded diatribes about the injustice and inhumanity of it all, it certainly isn’t all satsumas, rainbows, and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (cut out in the shapes of owls and otters.)

Sometimes I stampede about my office, ready to rip out my hair and the vocal chords of whatever poor sap who just happens to be shuffling by with the printer paper refill order.

Sometime I am all rage, all the time.

But honestly, when it comes down to it, I like my job.

I get to research and write policy recommendations to the provincial government. I write news releases, speeches, and editorials, ghost-write and edit for professionals who need help with their pieces, conduct interviews, manage social media, and do some pretty large scale event planning.

And when I say that I bloody-well love some of my co-workers, there isn’t one kernel of untruth in that statement. There are four ladies with whom that I work whom I love dearly, and I can honestly say that if they weren’t there for me day in and day out, I would have packed up my bags (and Mr. 8”X 11”s vocal chords) one heck of a long time ago.


But despite all of this, there are times when I feel myself getting restless.

On the surface, everything is a-okay. My head bobbing above the water, I am the spitting image of perfectly calm, perfectly collected.

Just keep swimming…just keep swimming.

However, peer a little closer – down, deeper into the depths of the lake (or whatever body of water it is in which I am swimming) and you’ll see me limbs thrashing about every which way, desperate to propel my body into a new direction. I crave to be constantly on the move – doing new things, making new plans, setting new goals.

Which is why outside of work I take on as many ventures as I possibly can, pushing myself to do as much as possible, driving myself to the brink of sanity and exhaustion.

I have been a Big Sister with Big Sisters of the Lower Mainland for almost four years, and since January have been working as a media ambassador for both their mentorship initiatives and the organization as a whole. I volunteer with Vancouver Co-op radio as a co-host of the Storytelling Show, a program dedicated to the telling and sharing of women’s stories and I’m constantly in the process of training for a new competition – my next race is the Fall Classic Half Marathon taking place November 18, 2012.

My next big goal is to finally, FINALLY give stand-up comedy a go.

And of course I have my blog (my baby!)

Rant and Roll is one of my most favourite projects and because I am so darned in love with it (and even more so with all of you gorgeous jerks) I want to make sure that every time I push ‘publish’ the product I am putting forth is as brilliant as it possibly can be.

Writing so much every week has been such a phenomenal exercise in getting me back into “writer” mode, that I believe when the time is right I will be able to make the full switch from writer-in-training, to Writer (capital W – no training wheels, no manager looking over my shoulder making sure I’ve memorized all the correct produce codes.)


But back to work.

Currently I have been in my position for a little over one year. This is the longest I have ever been in a full-time position.

Going from undergrad, right away to grad school, I never had the time (or attention span?) to stay in one specific place for long.

Grad school grad-u-meation.

I live day to day with a very serious affliction: I have an incurable case of nomad-itis – it’s  the way it’s always been, and the way it will always be.

But for the time being, work things are good. And all my extra-curriculars are fabitty fab, brillo pads.

I don’t need to complain here because whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, I take comfort in the absolute brilliance of my love, my family, and my friends.

Because those are the things that I focus on. They are the things that make my heart sing.

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!