Just hold on tight – don’t let it in

Okay, some things.

1. Marc recently purchased Dark Souls II.

For those of you who are not versed in From Software’s latest release, this is a game famed for its incredible difficulty, infinitely unforgiving structure (you cannot ever pause gameplay), and relentless onslaught of terrifying and hard to kill monsters.

So of course my husband (and millions of other gamers the world wide over) love to drive themselves crazy engaging with this insanity.

Marc, in particular, really likes to set the right tone before picking up his player console, and as such, this is what our living room has been looking like for the past few nights:

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I mean, I’m all for mood lighting, but I’m not sure if the candlelight is really fulfilling its intended function if he is still rage quitting every time he accidentally gets obliterated by a boss, or inadvertently walks off of a cliff.

This game, man.

It destroys lives.

(And souls)

2. Last Tuesday night I went to see the band Jungle in concert.

It was AMAZING.

Due to my slight crotichiness and very busy life schedule, it really takes a lot for me to stay out past my bedtime on a school night.

So to find me at a club downtown (on a Tuesday no less!), waiting for this band to storm the stage at the ungodly hour of 11pm, I was beginning to question whether or not my choice to come out and see them had been the correct decision.

My dance mate (my very good friend Chelsea, whom I had invited to accompany me as a “Holy crap you just published a book” gift) was equally as skeptical – she being of similar mind and crotichiness.

But sweet mother of pearl, I’ll tell ya. As soon as the first strains of their song “Platoon” propelled forth from the stage, I knew we were in for a treat.

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This band is very, very good.

For the next hour we danced our little hearts out to the most epic of new soul-funk-rock tunes, dazzled by the most brilliant of accompanying light shows.

It’s not often you’ll go see a new band (they formed in 2013) that is so tight, and polished, and all around AMAZING.

They were playing at The Imperial, and I doubt they will be playing such a small venue the next time they roll around in Vancouver.

They will be selling out the Commodore in no time flat.

And I will be there.

And I won’t question that decision for a second.

  1. Young Scamps

That’s me on the right and my big sister Kate on the left.

Kate and V

Ah love.

Would you look at us?

As ridiculous as it would seem – I remember that outfit so well. I was absolutely mesmerized by the plums!

I am also fairly certain that this photo was taken somewhere in the east coast of Canada, during one of our many summer sojourns in and around Nova Scotia – only I cannot for the life of me pinpoint the exact location.

I’ll probably bolt out of bed sometime around 3am tomorrow, having remembered the date and time, and also the fact that I forgot to pre-set the coffee and switch the laundry into the dryer.

The stuff of which my nightmares are made!

But until that time, I’ll just enjoy it for what it is.

Unbearable cuteness.

And joy.

So that’s a couple of things swinging about our corner of the jungle.

Vancouver has been having the most inconsistent and mind-boggling weather of late – one minute it’s raining so hard I keep expecting to see kayakers navigating their way along our roads and side streets, and the next it’s so hot, entire hordes of people find themselves simultaneously engaging in the terrifying practice of frantic and communal disrobing.

(It’ll be a trial sport in the next summer Olympics)

I am becoming a champion of layering all of my outfits, all of the time.

Halloween is also coming up, and I’m having a hard time getting into the spirit of things.

I think I may have done myself in on the creativity front last year – I don’t think I am ever going to top my Samara from The Ring.

However, should things change, I’ll keep you posted.

I hope all of you are warm and dry, wherever you find yourselves tonight.

And beware of dark souls (of any form).

So light a candle. Or two.

Good strong words that mean something

So there’s this scene in Little Women, when all four sisters are lying in bed together. It’s just after Amy has fallen through the frozen pond while ice skating (arguably almost dying, had it not been for the speedy response of Jo and Laurie), and she is apologizing to Jo for being just THE WORST© (seriously, Amy March has always been my least favourite March sister and I won’t even get into the fact that she is the one that ended up with Laurie, because WHAT THE EFF right?) because she had burned her sister’s book in anger over the fact that she was too young to attend the opera with her and Meg.

Too convoluted an opener? Then you must, MUST read the book!

Or at the very least watch the movie version with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon. It is really bloody great.

Anyways, Amy then asks her sister, “Do you love Laurie more than you love me?” and Jo responds aghast, “I could never love anyone as I love my sisters!”

MEEP. My heart hurts just thinking about this phrase.

You see, that folks – THAT is exactly how I feel about these gals:

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My sisters are two of the most important people in my entire life, and it absolutely slays me that they live so gosh-darned far away, as this means that the majority of the time I see them is when they are looking back at me through their respective computer screens.

It also means that usually one (or both) of us is lying in bed, completely knackered after a day of racing about our respective cities, desperately trying to stay awake and concentrate on what the other one is saying.

When all I really want to be doing is sitting on a sofa with both them, drinking a glass of wine, and laughing about all the ridiculous things we do in our lives, whether together or separate.

For instance, always thinking we can recreate that scene from Little Women and sleep in the same bed together (often on Christmas eve), only to just destroy ourselves in the process of trying.

And in only one week’s time, this will be a reality!

(Hopefully sans shared bed, of course. Seriously, I also end up stuck in the middle.)

Holy crapola, I cannot wait.

I am especially excited because this Sunday I am headlining my very first comedy night, and Kate (my older sister) and her wife will be here to see it.

YEAH!

I have fifteen minutes to bring all the laughs that I possibly can.

Elsewhere on the docket, they are currently filming Supernatural pretty much right in my backyard:

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I used to get super jazzed about television and movie filming in my city, (Kate and I actually used to steal those arrow film signs you see littered about Vancouver and we’d use them to decorate our respective bedrooms. And by we, I mean she did it first, and I, as the younger sister, copied her lead) but now I’m pretty blasé about the whole thing.

It has to be a show I really, really love for me to get all shirty over something like that. (However, I’m pretty sure I would live in a perpetual state of bonkerness if Marc and I were ever to move back to the UK and put down roots in London because I would just constantly be on the lookout for all my favourite panel show comedians. Good grief.)

Oh, a this also happened:

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And finally, in but three days I will be on vacation until the 6th of January.

During that time I will be doing nothing save running, eating, laughing, writing, reading, sleeping, and spending all of the time with all the beautiful, magical, brilliant loves of my life.

I so very much hope that all of you will be doing much of the same.

Ready to tie the knot

Lord help us.

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IMG_20130801_223403Bride!

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Ah, love.

So many people, who mean so very much to me, are getting married this summer!

Tomorrow I celebrate the marriage of my amazing sister in-law (also Vanessa!) and her fabulous fiancé Joe.

It’s going to be a day of magic and marvel, of love, laughter, and light.

(I am also pretty excited to be emceeing the reception – all the jokes and witticisms are belong to me! Plus I just can’t wait to lead a toast to the happy couple.)

So in celebration of all the nuptials that currently make up my life, I encourage you all to give your special someone a extra tight hug, an extra long kiss, and just let them know how brilliant it is to have them in your life.

Because what, if nothing else except love, makes this world go round?

Happy Friday to you all!

 

Tis the season

I’ve been thinking.

It’s funny the memories that stick.

No matter how hard I try to focus on one single moving, sentimental, emotionally wrenching moment that my sisters, mum, and I have shared, the first thing that always pops into my mind is this: a snap shot of us sitting on our the living room floor, parked in front of the roaring gas fireplace, Christmas day eve.

My little sister is eating a bowl of bran buds cereal.

She sits cross-legged on a lavender and brown floor rug, her roomy sweatpants covered in cat hair.  What is left of her Christmas day finery is swamped by a large, black hoody and the thick, knit scarf she received in her stocking earlier that morning is looped loosely around her shoulders and neck.

A Christmas cracker crown sits on top of her head, lopsided, sagging slightly to the right side, like the droopy smile of a dreaming child.  Her back rests up against the steamer truck my mother uses as a coffee table and she is laughing so hard, tears repeatedly spring to the corner of her eyes; one after the other the come, each taking the place of the others that are now streaming down her cheeks and dropping to the floor.

Her face flushes deep scarlet and as the trill of her giggles descends in pitch from high heehees to low hohos, I catch an eyeful of all the freshly masticated bran that sits dead square inside of her mouth.

My mother, my older sister and I are all laughing as well.  Jessi has been complaining for a couple of days that she hasn’t had a good “go” in almost a week, and is worried about the lack of fibre in her daily diet.  After a solid twenty-four hours of hearing about our sibling’s lack of progress in this sensitive, intestinal department, we’ve decided that the digestion of one big bowl of roughage should not only help her out, but should also be a family affair.

At first reticent to the idea, as clearly emphasized by her emphatic “don’t-look-at-me!” pleas, Jessi eventually wholeheartedly embraces this experience, and even acts the color commentator to her progress, using her spoon as microphone.

(All of this happens in-between her bursts of gut-busting laugher.)

As Jessi slowly makes her way through her late evening snack, she pauses a moment, dries her eyes, and lets us know, unequivocal in her sincerity, that she really hopes that this endeavour will work in her favour.

We let her know that we too, are rooting for her.

And she’s set off again, laughing so hard we have to give her a swift whack on the back.  Little flecks of bran that originally flew down the wrong tube are quickly assigned a new trajectory, and their landing pad sits clear across the living room.  A bedazzled reindeer get the worst of these food fireworks.

Our cat Simon, skittish on a good day, beetles quickly under the nearest sofa, spooked by Jessi’s demonic half-cough, half-cackle.   His increasingly whacko behaviour has me more than certain he is only half-cat.

After a few sips of water and a more tempered back rub, Jessi picks up her spoon and takes another bite of her now soggy, limp buds.

“That was a little scary, she says.  She pauses before continuing.  “I would never want to die constipated, full of bran.”

Oh how we roar, alongside the flickering flames of the festively-decked fireplace, on that Christmas day in the evening.

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These summer nights

I am seventeen years old.

My hair is very long, and its natural chestnut brown fights a never-ending battle against the bottle red I desperately want to be.

My sister is fifteen years old.

She also has long hair, much thicker than mine, into which the sun has burnt beautiful blond streaks, evenly, so that it reflects both a silver and gold shine under the street lamps, at night.

It is the last week of May, and the time of day is so late that it is now in fact early, and I am not sleeping.  I haven’t slept properly is many weeks.

To keep the insomnia madness at bay, I am reading in bed, curled tightly around myself, like a croissant.  My bedroom door slowly opens, and Jessi tiptoes into my room.  She is wearing tight jeans and a man’s dress shirt, oversized on her tiny frame.

Tonight her hair sits tucked under a stained trucker hat that she insists on wearing, and indeed loving.

She looks stunning.

“Let’s go for a drive,” she says, as she crawls over my blankets to lie down next to me.  I close my book and turn over, facing her.

“Where do you want to go?” I ask.

“I don’t care.”  Jessi pauses as she snuggles down into one of my pillows.  She rubs her face aggressively into it, like a cat.  “How about the airport?”

“Sure,” I say.  The airport is a good choice.  It means highway speeds and the opportunity to gawk at the perverse grandeur of the wealthiest neighbourhood in Vancouver.

I sit up and put on my glasses; lean over and pick up the sweater lying on the floor next to the bed.

“What are you reading?” Jessi asks.  She gets up and walks over to my closet, absentmindedly flipping through shirts and skirts.

“Dracula,” I respond.  After I put on my sweater, I pick up the book and offer it to her.  She shakes her head.

“Is it good?”

“Yes,” I tell her.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes,” I say.  Come on, let’s go get the spare set of keys.”

The warm, wet air whips around the car as we trace the lines of the Fraser River.  Jessi has her feet pressed up against the glove box, her knees scrunched up under her chin.  Tiffany blasts from the CD player and she and I sing as loud as we can, belting out the lyrics with a zealous, almost manic energy.

“OHHHHH, I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW.”

I know the words much better than she.  She mumbles her way through the bits she is unsure of, only to sing twice as loud during the chorus. I call that “pulling a Mr. Bean.”

“It’s not that I don’t know the lyrics,” she tells me as she shifts herself around in her seat, tilting her face up, so she can meet the rushing night winds and the rushing night, head on.  “I just like mine better.”

She cracks herself up.

It is in these moments that I feel what can only be described as complete love for my sister.  I want to wrap up my soul with hers and drive on, keep moving past the trees, mountains, water, and stars, until we might float up and away.  Away from our earthly bodies, gravity-bound, held down.

Growing up, our mother would always tell us the story of how when we were small, she visited a psychic with a friend.  The first thing the woman told her during her reading was that she had borne twin girls.  When my mother told her no, the woman was confused.  Instead of continuing with the reading, the woman reiterated her previous statement.  In response, my mother stated that she had three girls.  Her two younger daughters, born two years apart, almost two years to the day, who were birthed at the same hospital, on the same floor, in the same room, assisted by the same doctor.  The psychic nodded and smiled. She now understood.  These were her twins of which she had spoken. 

We were her twins. 

One of us had just waited a little longer to come out and play.

As we pull up to the international departures drop-off, I look over at my twin, a girl sewn up in a beauty intricate and rare, bronze skin, eyes of onyx, fingernails of jade, and all I want to do is tell her that I love her.

She looks at me, smiling, her voice feverish.

“I never want to go to school again,” she says.  “I wish we could just do this forever.”

I put the car in first gear; slowly ease my right foot off of the clutch, while gently lowering my right onto the gas.  I look at her and smile back.

“Where to next?”

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