She sells, sea shells

Okay. So cruises are crazy.

Did you know that people come onto these things and just, like, make a new life on the boat? For years at a time?

How is this even a thing?

Tonight my mum and I decided to partake in a little pub trivia, and the two couples who joined our team had already been living on the boat for sixteen days! SIXTEEN DAYS!

I feel like they that might be able to lay claim to some sort of squatters rights.

Also, full disclosure: Team “The Queen Is On Our Money” claimed top spot. We were originally two Canucks and two Aussies, and we had little time to accommodate our last minute New Jersey draft picks, who, luckily, remained unperturbed by the royal reference.

This morning I was again up at 4 AM, awoken as I was from my sweet bed of rest by the evil triumvirate of: a rocky engine start, a mid-night spectre looking for her lost bathrobe, and the sweet sounds of said spectre’s symphonic sinuses.

I beginning to think I will never sleep longer than five hours ever again.

I tried my absolute hardest to stave off wakefulness, but in the end acquiesced and resigned myself to the day. I stole about our darkened stateroom for an hour, ordering (and devouring) a coffee and a cheese plate – the only thing on the 24 hour room service menu that wasn’t a burger, a dessert, or a Caesar salad – and just generally feeling like the depraved Gollum figure that I am.

What’s in my pockets? Oh yeah! It’s my sense of majesty, ready to be incinerated in the fires of Mount Doom.

After satiating myself, I threw on some workout garb, and again found myself exercising at the crack of dawn with all of the other crazies.

The saving grace? That I was able to watch the sun rise over the water as I sprinted my cheese-coated guts out for forty-five minutes.

By the time I arrived back to the room, my mum was ready to motor. We got ourselves ready, and at 8:30 AM we were heading to the beautiful and quaint seaside town of Helsingborg, Sweden.

We knew that we wanted to rent bikes to explore the city, and were nervous that it may not happen. Today was the holiday after the shenanigan and booze-heavy Midsummer celebrations and absolutely nothing was open.

Luckily, we were able to find a small bodega inside of the central bus terminal that had two low-rise bikes to rent. Call it serendipitous, or call it weird as heck, but somehow we made our way to the most random of renters and we were able to procure our rides.

Thus, we spent a glorious four hours peddling around Helsingborg and its different environs.

The town is itself a study in contrasts: long stretches of seaside, punctuated by art installations and pungent sea salt air; its roadways flanked by octogenarian bathers and million dollar (turn of the century) mansions.

The main cycling path is approximately 20 kilometers long and takes you from beach, to town, to university, to industrial wasteland, to quaint sea side village. It’s a veritable personality disorder of aesthetics, and yet at the root of it all, everything is grounded in a simple beauty. A red brick and ancient stone; areas that once stood for so much more than e-commerce parks and paper packaging plants, that despite it all, remaining standing.



We visited parks, and castles, and ponds. We dipped our toes and hands into the sea, and we burned our arms in the bright, blazing sun.

We laughed until we cried over pistachio cannoli and blood orange spritzers. I bought Swedish candy which we ate as we marvelled at all of the flags waving in the late afternoon breeze.

After returning our bikes, we continued to explore the downtown core, traipsing about cobbled sidewalks and sun bleached piers.


When we arrived back to the ship, we stole away to the library, where we ensconced ourselves in another world of make believe.


Because isn’t that so much the root of travelling? Letting everything go that has come to define your day to day? Your character and your arc? What you need and want (and what you think and want?)

We are nothing but small bit parts, showing up at a Swedish beach town, ready to rent bicycles and steal away into the sunshine.

Everything else is but a dream. And what an exquisite dream to be.

Putting in a little elbow grease



Please play this song as you read this post because I am utterly obsessed and listen to it constantly and I like to pretend that as I walk about town that it’s the soundtrack to my life and we’re just at the mid-way point montage and everyone is like – WILL SHE MAKE IT?

And the answer is YES! YES SHE WILL!

Dear readers.

What adventures have you encountered of late and which hearts have grown five sizes from the lips of new kisses and which faces have been warmed from this bright sun’s wide strong rays and which eyes seem ever the brighter from a clear sky that looks to float just out of arms reach, and yet touches everything with the softest of fingertips so that we might all blush the lightest blue?


Regale us with your stories.

Because of late everything is so beautiful.

On Saturday morning I woke up at six, pulled my legs out of bed and ran seventeen kilometers. The early morning air was cool enough to keep me going, but I cannot say that the heat did not creep.

Because the heat always creeps.

Afterwards, I arrived home, showered and then hopped on my bike.

It’s been over a year since I last rode atop my noble steed. My “champagne green” beauty of a cheapskates find that I love because once I get into that saddle I forget all pretense of “taking it easy” and just GO GO GO.

Biking is funny to me because I never think of it as exercise because I am utterly committed to “looking cute” any time I do it.

I will never, ever ride a bike in running shoes.

I would rather be strung up from my (non-running shoed) toes.

And yet I will never go slow.

I am a study in contrasts.

And sillyness.

I biked to the Big Sisters BBQ and then back, a journey which totaled another twenty kilometers in the searing mid-day heat of a long and magnificent Vancouver summer day.

Once home I took a few minutes to sit.

The next day I biked from News Westminster to Kits Beach.

And then from Kits Beach back home.

This too is pretty far – about 56 kilometers.

Coming back, the sun was slowly sinking back from whence it came (Godzilla’s guest bedroom?) and the breeze kicked up and everything felt aglow with the possibility of a summer, and Sunday nights and family dinners, and young romances, and new friendships, and everything was heightened by the butterflies that fluttered about my stomach because I truly believed that anything and everything is possible and so very likely to happen.

Arriving home at nine, sweaty and salty and sand-touched and sun-kissed, I ate all of the Greek yogurt and blueberries that one famished and helmet-haired gal could manage.

I am also a master of disguise.

image (2)

On Friday night we ate a lot of nachos.


On Saturday I watched Old Boy.


I need to start investing in some iron clad undies because goodness knows I really don’t sufficiently gird my loins when taking a chance on more, shall we say, non-traditional cinema.

As perfectly summed up in a text message between myself and the friend with whom I watched the film:

ME: You had sex with your daughter and then you cut your tongue out?!>! O________________o

HIM: I hope no one reads my phone now.

ME: HAHAHAHAHA. Good point.

I am learning to see.

See so many things.

“Oh, what strange wonderful clocks women are. They nest in Time. They make the flesh that holds fast and binds eternity. They live inside the gift, know power, accept, and need not mention it. Why speak of time when you are Time, and shape the universal moments, as they pass, into warmth and action?” – Ray Bradbury

Enjoy these long, eternity-tinged days.

For you and they are filled with magic.

That old black magic that you weave so well

My sisters and I didn’t watch a lot of TV as children.

For many years our television set didn’t even pick up basic cable, so whatever cartoons we were watching came in the form of The Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Movie or The Three Caballeros (or whatever we owned on VHS at that specific time.)

One time we discovered our mother’s Jane Fonda’s Workout video and we absolutely killed ourselves laughing at the clothing/hair-dos as we danced around half-heartedly mimicking the exercises.

Every Friday night we were allowed to rent one film and goodness knows there was a period of time when we must have watched Mary Poppins for upwards three years straight. Steppin’ time is RIGHT, Bert.

Also, for what it’s worth – those Bugs Bunny cartoons still crack me the heck up. I am pretty much incapacitated by giggles every time I hear things like “What a way to run a railroad,” I’ve also started to re-populate my vocabulary with some of his saltier insults, and I have been using “should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque” since time immemorial (or you know, grade school.)

However, there was a time when we finally entered the 20th century, and procured a television set that was neither steam powered, nor cable intolerant, and I was introduced to all the magic and majesty that was the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s children-friendly programming.

(For only two hours every Saturday, mind you.  After all there were limits on how far my parents were willing to travel into said new century.)

Still, limited hours or no, we were introduced to the brilliant likes of Under the Umbrella Tree, The Polka Dot Door, Fred Penner, and Sharon Lois and Bram – seriously folks, this stuff is the stuff of legends.

Take the opening credits to F. Penner & Co.:



Good grief.

I still remember my favourite episode – it was the one where he found a four leaf clover, and the whole episode revolved around teaching us kidlets about good luck and superstition.

Through song. SONG!

One of my most favourite shows however (and one that not a whole lot of people my age seem to remember) was called Today’s Special, which was set in a downtown Toronto department store, after closing hours.

You see, once the place shut down for the night, a mannequin named Jeff would come to life with the aid of his magic hat. (Oh, and someone had to say “hocus pocus alimagocus”.)

What? Like that’s weird or something?

If the hat ever came off of his head – POOF – he turned back into a mannequin.

(This often resulted in a huge number of shenanigans.)

The remainder of the cast was made of up Jodie, the store manager (and Jeff’s totally badass “human” mentor), Sam, the store’s security guard (a puppet, mind you), and Muffy Mouse, the resident rhyming rodent.

To say that I loved this show would be totally oversimplifying it.

I dug it so hard, that if I was actually going through the motions I would have made it all the way to China and back.

I really believed that magic – magic like what was needed to bring Jeff to life every night – was real. It was just up to me to find the right source, and figure out what role it should play in my life (beside of course making me invisible, giving me the power to fly, and helping me learn everything I could possibly learn about everything in the world in – oh, about a day and a half.)

As you could imagine, I was a pretty laid-back kid.

I’ve been thinking about this part of my life quite a bit – a childhood not only wrapped up in enchantment, but the never-ending search for magic – because in the past two weeks I have read Dandelion Wine and The Magician’s Apprentice, and at present I am currently halfway through The Magicians – and it seems as though I cannot stop reading about it.

I cannot stop reading about magic.

These are three (very different) books, but they are all compelling and heartbreaking in their own way.

Dandelion Wine had me shedding tears every morning as I rode the rickety skytrain into work – I felt as though my heart was going to burst out of my chest, so overwhelming was my nostalgia for a life I have never lived, but knew so well – almost as if the words themselves were already etched into my heart, punch drunk on the possibility of an endless summer, so many long years ago.

The Magician’s Apprentice is a fabulous read, but almost deceptive in its outward simplicity – much like a magic trick. But like said trick, it stays with you the long after it is finished, and you find yourself going over it, again and again in your mind – trying to figure it out, and understand it – trying to relive it.

I am not yet done The Magicians, but I am enjoying it very much. I am realizing that should I ever have had that chance to find my magic as a child, I may not necessarily have been in control of this power.

(I will keep you posted once I am finished.)

In the meantime, we sun-dipped mortals (or is it muggles?) are racing about this ball of blue, full speed, arms akimbo, waiting on the next adventure.

We found this feather on the Sunshine Coast. I am sure it has magical properties.

We’ll pick a card.

Any card.