An (east coast) Christmas story

Christmas in the Maritimes is something special.

There’s lots of dancing and singing and great food and drink. But chiefly, Christmas, or winters in the east coast of Canada – and by east coast I mean the true east coast, none of this Ontario east coast fakery that people in Toronto are always trying to pull off because they think that they’re living in New York.

(They’re not.)

Winters in the true east coast of Canada are defined by freezing wet snow and lots of it.

It makes it hard to get places, so people who move away rarely go back and people who stay, don’t ever leave.

In 2007, I was flying home to see my family.

For the first time in years and years of going home for Christmas, I was travelling through Ottawa – a true mainstay of central Canada  – and the weather was terrible. Every flight was grounded.

Every flight, weirdly, save mine.

It was strange to see an entire list of cancelled flights, while right at the very bottom, shining like a beacon of Christmas hope was: WestJet – Halifax – on time.

I thought: I’m either very lucky or my pilots are daredevils with death wishes.

Turns out – a little bit of both.

As we began our descent into Halifax International, the woman sitting next to me proceeded to throw up the two mini cans of Pringles potato chips while breaking every bone in my right hand, to which she was clinging for dear life.

I too definitely thought we were done for. I distinctly remember being so sad that I was never going to get marry Marc, as this was to be our last Christmas apart before we were married the next year.

Luckily, we pulled through. (The plane, Marc, and I.)

Leaving the airport, I marveled at our surroundings. Halifax, like my airliner, had been completely buffeted by winter. Snow, ice and fog were everywhere. Driving into the city, the snow banks lining the streets were the highest I had ever seen them, as if the fallen snow had been parted by a wintertime Moses, and not the city’s plows.

“They’ve got to be like 9 feet tall,” I said to my mum.

“You should have seen them last week,” she said. “Before it warmed up.”

I checked the temperature gauge in the car. It read -12 C.

It was in this moment that I realized that British Columbia had forever ruined me and I could never again move back to Halifax, lest I die immediately from frostbite due to -12 C somehow being defined as “warmer”.

But, nevertheless, we made it home to properly set off the Christmas celebrations.

My family and I – that is my sisters, mum and I – are really big on traditions. Baking and decorating gingerbread men, holiday concerts with lots of singing and dancing, setting up the tree – it’s all a part of how we make this time of year special.

In terms of Christmas Day, it’s fair to say that we like to keep things simple: Stockings. Gifts. Cooking. Eating.

Which is why as soon as I arrived home, we set out to prepare everything for the big day. We trimmed the tree and helped decorate the house. On the 24th my older sister Kate and I traipsed over to the Organic Earth Market (the very broke Halifax equivalent to Whole Foods) so I could load up on tubers and cranberries and chestnuts and so she could get our free range, organic turkey.

“We only have frozen ones!” yelled the guy behind the counter.

We looked at each other and shrugged. SOLD.

Home we went, to put everything in the fridge before going to bed.

The next morning we opened our stockings, opened our presents and then set about getting ready to cook our dinner.

I’ll never forget my mum opening the fridge door, pausing and then exclaiming:

“THIS BIRD IS FROZEN TO ITS VERY CORE!”

Kate looked up from the stuffing.

“Oh,” she said, quizzically. “I…I thought it would defrost in the fridge over night?”

My mum’s right eyebrow arched so high it hit the ceiling.

“Defrost? In the fridge?” She shut the fridge door and began pacing.

Jessi, my younger sister, sauntered into the kitchen, picking up a piece of one of the carrots I was chopping. “Yeah,” she said. “That’s never going to work.”

Kate glared at her.

I dropped my carrot and looked around at the metric tonne of vegetables I had left to peel and chop and yelled out: “Let’s just order pizza!”

I was already imagining us hanging out in our sweatpants and watching a movie instead of slaving away for the next six hours.

The looks I received from my family immediately withered my enthusiasm.

“We are NOT ordering pizza,” they all yelled back at me.

We were going to eat Christmas dinner on Christmas Day if it was going to kill us.

My sisters and my mum immediately set out trying to find a place where we could get a booking.

Unfortunately, trying to locate a space available on Christmas day for four people was hard. Very hard. Most places weren’t open and those that were had booked up months prior.

I was really starting to believe that my pizza wish was going to come true when Kate yelled out from the living room: “I did it! I found us a place! The holiday Inn Select will take us! It will take us tonight at 7pm!”

I nearly fell over.

The Holiday Inn Select? I had been making fun of that place since before I even know what sarcasm was.

“BOOK IT!” yelled my mum.

We were in.

At 6:30 pm we started the walk over to the hotel. In truth, it was probably only a 5 minute walk, but it had gotten so cold and windy that we budgeted a lot of extra time. We all huddled together as we exposed ourselves to the freezing night. Swirls of ice and snow flew across the abandoned expanse of the city.

Walking up the deserted street, I stared ahead at the glowing, fluorescent sign at Cruikshank’s funeral home, which advertised both the time and temperature of the day.

The numbers glowed eerily cold against the dark of the night: -26 degrees.

As I contemplated my life, walking to the Holiday Inn Select on one of the coldest Christmas Days I could remember, I ruminated aloud on how weirdly poetic it was to be walking towards a funeral home, as this was something of a funeral march.

“That’s not funny,” was my mother’s response.

We arrived at the hotel right on time for our reservation.

The Maître D immediately perked up when he saw us, mostly because my mother, despite her insistence on coming to the hotel, didn’t want to be confused with any of the other people who had really planned on being there for dinner. She was wearing a full-length ball gown that had been made for her a few years prior when she and her friends had gone to a gala to ring in the New Year.

It stood in stark contrast to not only the majority of the other clientele but to my sister Jessi’s low-rise jeans.

“Reservation for Gillis?” I asked, making one final wish for an Italian, wood-fired Christmas.

He escorted us to our table.

The dining room was huge – probably not the full length of a football field, but it certainly felt that way. And despite it being a ballroom, my mother was the only one who had dressed the part. Everyone else was sticking to Nova Scotia classic – jeans, running shoes and a hooded sweatshirt that’s just a little too big.

It wasn’t five minutes into our arrival that my mother had garnered her first fan.

A woman with a very thick Valley accent (Annapolis Valley, not California) came up to her and exclaimed, “YOU ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN I HAVE EVER SEEN. Can I take a photo of you?”

Over the course of the evening, my mother posed for no less than nine photos for this woman. To this day, I always wonder where those pictures ended up.

The dinner was a buffet so we all set about getting to our food. I’ve never been a big fan of buffets, so I mostly picked at a very large piece of cheesecake that I had topped with about a quart of cranberry sauce to give it more flavour. My sister Jessi on the other hand has always loved buffets and exploded the button right off of her low rise pants, effectively making them no-rise pants.

I laughed so hard I almost peed mine.

Kate, the most steadfast of our group, spent a lot of the night asking my mother to “keep her voice down” as she proceeded to provide colour commentary on all of the other guests and “what part of the province they had to be from.”

I wanted to say something about the bird not being free range, or organic, but I kept my mouth closed.

We sat, ate, talked, laughed and made plans for how to properly tackle our Christmas feast the next day. And despite the commotion of the ballroom all around us, and the cold of the outside night, I felt a distinct warmth between us.

On our slow, bundled up walk back to the house, my mum began humming one our favourite east coast Christmas songs and I immediately began singing along. Together we all linked arms, and began two stepping down the street – without any cars in sight, there was enough space for us to dance together.

Our voices rang out into the night.

And that – that more than anything, is a maritime Christmas.

Dear Momma: Here’s what happened in 2018

Hi Momma.

I know we talk a lot, but I wanted to take some time to lay out everything that’s happened since the beginning of March. It’s been such a busy, heartbreaking, extraordinary time.

Most mornings I wake up and forget that you’re not here.

Sometimes you’ll have visited me in my dreams – your way of stopping by and saying hello. I get glimpses of your life in New York or you’ll tell me about the old classmates of yours that you’ve decided to haunt.

I see your smile and hear your laugh and I when I touch you, it’s real.

Woznow04

Momma, I feel like I could pull you back into life.

Your magic, it burns brightly, everywhere.

You died on Thursday, March 8th. International Women’s Day.

I was holding your hand while Suzan Maclean held the other. I think that she, like me, doesn’t really believe in a world without you.

The day I flew back home, I took a lot of your clothes. I took your light blue jean jacket and your tight black pants. That striped heart sweater that you bought in Brooklyn and your gray crop-top turtleneck.

A few of your sweaters still smell like you. Sometimes I hold them and breathe deeply.

Because I wear your clothes every day, all of my friends are obsessed with your style.

Many of them also have your postcard pinned up in their offices. They tell me that you inspire them to take risks, to wear colour, to try something new.

Hearing this and writing this makes me cry.

In April I joined a gym to learn how to get strong. You would have laughed because when I went in for my assessment, I couldn’t even do one squat. But working slowly and intentionally with my trainer Jules I have developed a new-found respect and appreciation for my body.

And I am getting strong.

Last week I deadlifted ninety kilograms. That’s one hundred and ninety-eight pounds! I know you’re probably thinking, “I just got her to stop running marathons through the mountains, and now she’s doing this?”

But you know that it’s your spirit that drives me.

Thanks for that Momma.

I am sorry to say that I’m still not doing yoga but I do keep your beautiful bag in my office so that I see it every day. When I do start a regular practice, you will, of course, be the first to know.

I’ve started seeing a wonderful grief counsellor who has helped and continues to help me so much. I was seeing her every week and now go about once a month. I also have an amazing “grief community” here in New West, made up beautiful, strong and inspiring women.

You would love every one of them.

They are often who I call when I’m can’t drive because I’m crying too hard, or when I’m paralyzed by grief in some grocery breakfast aisle, or when just the thought of living in this world without you is too overwhelming for words.

Their love helps me.

So does that of my friends. And of Kate and Jessi. Marc.

They all hold me close when all of my pieces are breaking apart.

I cry almost every day.

I hope this doesn’t make you sad. Because I know that the only reason it hurts this much is because of the depth and the beauty of our love.

I think a lot about this when I run. There is a tree down at the river boardwalk here in New Westminster that I call “The Momma Tree”. It reminds me so much of you because of its vibrant colours and delicate leaves. Every time I run by it, I whisper a hello to you and high-five your branches.

Your magic, it burns brightly, everywhere.

This November I ran the Fall Classic 10k and placed ninth. It was one of the harder races I’ve run because I had just had gum surgery two weeks prior and couldn’t exercise at all in the lead up, because it might disturb my graft and slow my recovery.

Not to point fingers, but this gum recession is definitely genetic and it’s definitely from your side of the family.

At first I was so disappointed and I cried at the finish line. I’ve been chasing the elusive sub-40 time for so long and I felt so tired of trying and failing. But Marc held me and helped me.

I know you’ve always loved how delicate he is with me.

Here are some other things that have happened this year, so much with our strength and love:

  • In May, I attended my first New Westminster Community and Social Issues Council Committee meeting. That same month I also started working on my first municipal political campaign, helping my incredible friend Nadine Nakagawa get elected to city council.
  • In June, I presented at Pecha Kucha and spoke about you and grief and love and compassion. Marc and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary.
  • In July, I filmed my favourite story of the year at the Sharing Farm in Richmond. In total this year, I wrote over 70 stories for United Way and shot 15 videos.
  • In August, we welcomed beautiful Loic Stewart to the world, and I have loved every moment of being his aunty. I pour love into him. Just like you did with us.
  • In September, I joined the New Westminster Hospice Society’s board of directors. I was the first woman up Grouse Mountain for United Way’s Tech Grind, even though I couldn’t officially compete. (Yes Momma, I am that competitive.) I hosted a fun night of improv with a local feminist collective, MCed a wedding with twelve hours notice and managed to take another selfie with my mayor and council after presenting about United Way Day.
  • In October, I moderated the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce’s All Candidates Debate which was exhilarating and if there is just one thing I wish I could have had you there for, this was it. I started my Compassionate City Crew training with New West Hospice and hosted a very fun Halloween dinner party. You would have loved Marc’s and my costume – I was a lawyer and he was the devil, so we were The Devil’s Advocate.
  • In November, I took a stand against racism in my city, attended the annual civic dinner, completed my hospice training, moderated a panel on brand building and philanthropy, shared a story at The Flame about my absurd decision to get eyelash extensions and hiked around Whistler with Marc for our anniversary.
  • This month there are story performances and holiday get-togethers and both Kate and Jessi are making your gingerbread and I can’t stop crying whenever I sing along to the Barra MacNeils’ Christmas albums.

Just know that I think about you every day. I miss you every day. I see you in a soft rose gold sunset. In the wind that blows the hair from my face. In my dark roots that always grow in no matter how often I dye my hair blond.

You’re the blood in my veins, the green in my eyes. My smile. My laugh. My long legs and cold hands.

Momma, I carry you close.

And I will never stop missing you.

I wrote you this letter even though I know you know all of this.

Because you’re in the sky.

Sea. Land.

Air.

Mommm. Momma. Momma.

You and your magic are everywhere.

A change is gonna come

Isn’t it funny how we, as human beings, change?

Sometimes transformation happens quickly, and other times it is both painstakingly slow, and, well, just plain painstaking.

Sometimes changes happens and we aren’t even aware that it is happening.

Sometimes it happens because a judge has ordered it so (although hopefully not that often!) or because outside factors (non-court sanctioned of course) have come to dictate that the current path we happen to be travelling is no longer viable.

(Picture a giant Gandalf impersonater shouting, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” – or whichever knock-off literary reference you think most fitting.)

In the end, the result is the same: we as human beings change.

We grow.

We adapt.

We react.

I was thinking the other day about just how different my life is from this same time last year.

Sure, at the root of it all, many of the larger pieces that make me “me” are still the same: I am still with the love of my life, living in the same house, with the same mad cat.

But I have a different job, different friends (although I am lucky that many of the same old friends are still bopping about!); I am running more, and running faster.

IMG_20130407_084406
RUNRUNRUN (RACE)

I started comedy, and am having a harder time sticking to a regular blogging schedule despite the fact that I am trying to do more writing.

I play soccer.

Seriously.

I play soccer.

Now, for those of you who don’t know me – well, this is quite the departure from where I used to stand in terms of this sport.

I used to think it was pretty much the worst.

And now I absolutely love it.

IMG_20130901_160708
I like to watch it too!

Please let me explain.

But before I do, I will present to you the formal title of a three-part rant:

Things I used to hate, but now I love: How I came around to soccer, coffee, and camping

Part 1 – Soccer.

Or “football” in the parlance of all you readers residing outside of North America.

(Funny side-note: I also used to hate watching our version of football until a few years ago, and now very much enjoy it.)

Sporting evolution! It happens!

Anywho, back to soccer.

Like 99.9% of West Coast kids, I played this sport as a youngster. This meant weekends spent driving around in the fall and winter rain, running up and down soggy pitches, and trying my darndest to keep away from any and all actual ball-related action.

I was terrified of the ever-clashing elbows and ankles and shins and knees, and preferred to steer clear of both my fellow teammates and adversaries alike.

However, I did really love running, so most of my time was spent sprinting from one end of the field to the other as far away from the scrum as I could non-conspicuously manage.

I distinctly remember overhearing one of my coaches remark to a parent, “Vanessa is fast – but doesn’t seem to do much else besides run.”

Too true sir.

So – not as inconspicuous as I had hoped.

After a couple of years of this charade, and hours spent toodling around on different rec teams, I threw in the proverbial soccer towel and concentrated on the sports I actually cared about – running, badminton, and volleyball.

Fast forward to 2003, when I met the man that I would eventually marry – a lovely fellow who absolutely loved soccer, having played it at a very high level all throughout high school and who still owns two pairs of cleats (best be prepared I am always told) to this day.

During our formal courtship, he inquired if I would ever had any interest in playing soccer with him.

I promptly responded no.

But my reasoning behind my decline was no longer my fear of getting of getting hurt, or receiving a rogue elbow to a lip.

It was everything to do with the fact that, at that point in my life, I couldn’t partake in non-regulated exercise. My eating disorder dictated everything in my life (including any and all physical activity) to such a degree, that anything outside of my normal “controlled” environment was enough to bring on a panic attack.

The few times that I did try and play, everything felt awkward and wrong.

It was almost as though I could feel my body rebelling the moment I walked onto the pitch.

My skin crawled, and my stomach cramped.

In the end I told Marc that I didn’t like playing, that I thought the sport was boring.

It didn’t help, I elaborated, that I wasn’t any good at it. If I couldn’t win at the game, I said, what was the point in playing?

I passed on years of Friday night soccer matches. I watched Marc would go off and play with friends, while I stayed at home.

After my health improved I still stayed away from the pitch, afraid that the ghosts of times past would come to haunt me, the second my foot made contact with the field, the ball.

That was until, at the end of this summer, when a friend (a new friend, but a fab friend) invited me to his birthday party, the first half of which was a pick-up game of soccer.

Amazingly enough, I knew that this situation was a no-brainer. I didn’t just want to go out and play that Friday night, I needed to.

And you know what?

Despite the fact that I was the only on there without soccer cleats AND was clocked in the eye with another good friend’s shoulder, I had an absolutely fabulous time.

Instead of feeling clammy and self-conscious, I felt exhilarated and at-ease.

I actually ran towards the ball.

And I have played at least one a week since.

Marc and I like to head to the many parks in our neighbourhood and practice passing, dribbling, and penalty kicks.

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Blurry, but getting ready to kick some balls!

I have a sweet pair of cleats that make me feel like a superstar.

And heck, when I feel like it, for old time sake – I’ll go out and wind myself, sprinting the length of the field.

Again and again.

Because goodness knows, that never gets old.

Top tips to get you asked out by teenagers

I’m a twenty-seven year old gal who’s had more teenagers (or those freshly out of their teens) ask her out in the past six years years than, well, the entire time I spent as a teenager.

Now, in the sake of full disclosure, I was a pretty unfortunate looking person for a good chunk of my adolescent years – but even after I got hot as hell, I was still the one making the first move at the beginning of my relationships.

(This, I’m sure, is because people were so amazed by my overall transformation, that they were unsure as to whether or not I was the same person they used to know.)

I kid.

Kind of.

For serious, had I not had ovaries the size of basketballs, I would still be languishing in a sea of unrequited crushes, being tossed about by white-capped waves of sexual frustration.

I was a champ at asking people out (the two times I did it.)

Now, since I wrote earlier this week about how a twenty year old boy asked me out on skytrain last Saturday night, I’ve had quite a few friends ask me what exactly it is that I am doing to have this be a semi-regular occurrence in my life.

I didn’t have a coherent, non-self-deprecating answer at the ready, so over the past few days I’ve given this query some thought, and think I may come up with a probable (but perhaps totally erroneous)  hypothesis.

However, in the spirit of science, I’m forging ahead.

Ladies and gentleman, (but really ladies, because, well, I am one of you) may I present: 

Top tips to get you asked out by teenagers*.

*or those in their early twenties.

1.)    Ride public transit. Ride public transit all the live long day. Not once or twice a week – we’re talking multiple times a day here (and weekends too). Teenagers, for the most part, don’t have a ton of money, so if they need to go anywhere, they take the bus, or the skytrain, or subway, or streetcar, or what have you.

Duh, duh, duh, another rides the bus...

I ride transit all the damn time, so it’s inevitable that I’ll find myself sitting next to someone whom I could have babysat ten years ago, had I not  instead chosen the high school career of Safeway cashier. And because of this inevitability, it is in fact unavoidable that at some point one of them will strike up a conversation with me, and before I know it – BAM!

They want to take you me out to coffee (at bloody 7:45 in the morning.)

2.)    Wear quite a bit of colourful clothing. I notice more and more just how varied in hue and tone my wardrobe is compared to most of the other people who work down town. When I exit the train every morning, and the station is flooded by a stream of black, grey and brown, I am the bright red life boat, carried along by the push and pull of the tide.

1 coat, 2 coat, red coat...

I don’t necessary think that it’s my clothing per say that’s getting me asked out, but since I’m not afraid to experiment with, and wear a ton of colour – in addition to taking different risks with my outfits (wearing traditional mens clothing, and mixing formal with casual pieces) – my style seems to attract a younger demographic.

Teenagers in general like to make comment on my choice in clothing and, or colour palette.

Animal print and stripes.

Then they want to take me out to coffee to talk more about my fashion sense.

3.)    Read science fiction and/or fantasy books. My only caveat being – please, please for the love of pete, read good science fiction and/ or fantasy. None of this Sword of Truth/Sword of Shannara bullshazzle.

That will get you disqualified right out of the gate.

(However you’ll gain ten points if you read your sci-fi books on the bus.)

But to get back on topic: teenagers always want to talk me up about the books that I’m reading, but particularly if they are of these two genres. They want to talk to me about A Song of Ice and Fire (even back before it got all HBO-ed and coolified); they want to talk to me about Terry Pratchett; they want to talk to me about Richard Matheson. (Okay, so that last one’s more horror that anything else, but we’ll have to let that slide.)

Even Mr. Penguin wants to talk about Game of Thrones.

They want to talk to me about books and then take me out to coffee to talk about books some more.

4.)    Laugh to yourself. Whether you’re walking down the street, riding transit (seriously, RIDE IT!), sitting in a coffee shop, or waiting in line at the grocery store, be so completely lost in your own thoughts that you bust up your own gut like a busting thing.

I love to laugh. ALL THE TIME.

Older people will think your completely bonkers (and rightfully so) but teenagers want to know what’s so funny.

And they’ll want to take you out for coffee.

5.)    Quote the crap out of movies and TV shows. I was on transit once (did I mention that you should probably ride transit?), talking on my mobile, TO MY HUSBAND when I said, “that’s, just like, uh, your opinion…man” and the fella sitting to my right, spoke up literally, the second that I  hung up, wanting to talk more about the Big Lebowski (aka re-enact the whole movie for the remainder of our ride.)

And then he wanted to go to a coffee shop, to re-enact our re-enactment – just in case we missed a part!

Yowzers.

He was pretty surprised when I declined, citing the fact that I was, you know, a married woman.

Which brings me to my last point:

6.)    Wear a wedding ring. First, teenagers don’t look for wedding rings, so they are basically a moot point. Second, the longer I remain married, the more teenagers ask me out. And third, most of the teenagers who’ve asked me out haven’t cared when I told them that I am forever removed from the dating scene.

Ring around the rosie...

They all want to convince me of the reasons why I should no longer be married.

Over coffee, of course.

So there you have it ladies – six, very simple tips on how to increase the number of your youthful suitors.

But, let me finish off by saying this. Don’t wait around for someone else to make the first move. If you like somebody, go-go-gopher it.

It’s always better to know, and heck, if they like you back? Well, there’s no better feeling in the world.

Seriously, I’ll tell you more about it.

Tea anyone?

Strange things I have done, seen, and want to do this week

DID: Washed my hair in the kitchen sink.

Okay, some background.

This is what my dining room looked like last night:

Stuff.

And this is what was going on in my living room:

More stuff.

Mr. M is currently Mr. Fix-it, which means we have no bathroom in our bathroom, and most things that will end up going in our new bathroom are sitting, or strewn about, where we normally eat dinner.

Phew.

And because I am incapable of operating at a normal level without washing my hair every day (because, dear readers, it is so very thin and so very fine, and because of how much I exercise , I cannot live without a daily shampooing) and because we had no tub – I washed my hair in the sink, where thirty minutes prior I had scrubbed two frying pans, a colander, two soup bowls and a spatula.

PHEW.

Needless to say, before I got down to business, the side of the sink that I used to wash my locks was scrubbed to an inch of its life.

(And because I’m lazy, I left the other side the way it was, with a dirty knife and spoon lying next to the scrub brush.)

URG.

CLASSY!

No joke I nearly broke my back and cricked my neck for all of Canada as I limbo-ed my way to clean hair.

Also, it is dang hard trying to get all the conditioner rinsed away, when your giant five foot ten body is unable to manoeuvre itself to allow for your stupid head to rest directly under the water stream.

For CANADA!

Also, it’s at times like this that I realize just how long my hair actually is (when I dye my hair from a box is also another great reminder of this.)

I might not have a lot of it, but it’s getting to the length where I start to feel like a mermaid when I get out of the shower.

Speaking of which, today I did something shower related I’ve never done before – for the first time I brought a change of clothes with me to the gym and showered as soon as I’ve finished working out.

I was a little nervous to check out the state of its facilities, what with how dodgy the place is overall.

But despite the exposed pipes, and broken fan, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

It was very clean, with good water pressure, and honestly, quite a large stall.

I don’t know if I’m going to start pulling this stunt on a daily basis, but during the time that I’m living in a house without resources for bathing (kitchen sink not included) it’s a good reserve to fall back on.

The only fly in the ointment being that between my regular gym gear that I schlep with me to work, and the extra shower stuff I had to add to my kit, today I was (and tomorrow I will be) a bag lady and a half.

And a half!

Alas, t’is the price you pay for cleanliness.

SAW: These Air Canada Ads

Okay, a while back I wrote a post about the first generation of these Air Canada ads, focusing on (what I thought to be) a very white-washed advertising campaign.

No.

Here you are, marketing flights to large, Asian cities (each one, need I point out, very different from the other) and you have an all white cast, some of which are dressed in non-descript “Asian” dress, or holding chopsticks, or, what is that, practicing some kind of martial art?

No.

Jeeze Louise.

It’s painful just looking at them.

Seriously, has one person who worked on this campaign done any of the following?

  1. Gone to Hong Kong/Beijing/Seoul
  2. Looked at the majority of individuals flying back and forth between Vancouver and these cities, and then bothered to notice what they looked like.
  3. Gone out anywhere in the Lower Mainland and registered that its population is incredibly diverse, and not in fact racially homogenous.

It just boggles my mind (and also makes me laugh, because believe-you-me folks, I used to work at the airport and I’m very well versed will all of these Air Canada flights, and I know who is travelling on them, and it doesn’t matter if they are Canadian, Chinese, or Korean, but the average traveller does not look like this:

NO.

And I’m not saying that they cannot use white models in their campaign, but a little variety wouldn’t kill them either.

At the very least it wouldn’t make them look so casually racist, and overwhelmingly tone deaf.

Seriously.

WANT TO DO: Make out with Richard Hammond.

Because I am an ENFJ (extrovert, intuitive, feeling, and judging) on the Myers Briggs personality test, change to my regular routine is something I try to avoid at all costs. So as you can imagine, when I’m confronted by minor disturbances (such as having no working bathtub) my rabid need to control everything (and then not being able to do so) drives me a bit batty.

But just a bit.

In an attempt to help me calm down, I have been watching episodes of Top Gear on Netflix, drinking hot chocolate, and eating thousands of mini marshmallows.

I just started watching the show last week, and oh boy is it funny.

It hilarious and entertaining, and I enjoy Jeremy Clarkson’s acerbic wit, and it would be pretty fab to have the chance to play checkers against James May, sitting out on a lanai somewhere on Oahu’s North coast (in my imagination).

But mostly more than anything, I want to have a good old fashioned snog fest (in the parlance of his country) with Mr. Hammond (also in my imagination.)

Yes I did take this photo off of my tv. I have no shame.

He’s cute as hell, plus I get a kick out of the idea that in work shoes I’d be over half a foot taller than him. It would be just like every single high school dance I ever went to. Throw in some Mario Kart, late night McDonald’s runs, and a ton of laugh-fuelled bumbling and fumbling, and you pretty much have my grade eleven relationship down to a tee.

Plus – he’s from Brum, the city that owns a good chunk of my heart.

(And in terms of famous people who’ve come out of Birmingham, I’d definitely choose him over Frank Skinner and Ozzy Osborne.)

So there you have it folks.

DID. SAW. WANT TO DO.

And to finish off, if may ask, what are some weird things you’ve been up to this week? Seen anything barmy in the extreme? And who are you jonesing for a sweet, sweet lip-lock (if too, only in your imagination)?

Let me know, and I’ll think about it the next time I’m washing my hair (in or outside of my kitchen.)