So many balls in the air

So lately Marc and I have been watching a ton of World Cup soccer. This of course means that we’ve been hurtling back and forth from one crisis to the next, wrapped up as we are in the drama and beauty of this incredible sport.

(Seriously, I’m still not sure that I took a single breath during the last five minutes of the Belgium/USA game this afternoon. And I definitely didn’t sit down for the last ten.)

Because just when you think that a team has sealed the deal – KABLAM-O!

The soccer gods are right there to wipe any and all of your silly pre-conceived notions of victory straight from your mind.

(Or any silly, victory-assumed smiles straight from your face.)

Simple mortal! You thought it would be that easy? HAH!

*Soccer-Zeused*

But one of the great things about soccer (and there are many great things), is its constant inconsistency. The fact that you are never guaranteed a victory until those final three whistles is the very thing that makes it so thrilling.

Anything can happen.

And it often does.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes a little heart-pounding, “will they, won’t they?” action is just the thing one needs.

It adds a real spice to your otherwise vanilla afternoon.

The only real downside to this, is when a massive dump of paprika manifests itself in multiple late-in-injury-time Swiss crossbar deflections.

At that point I could really do with less drama and more equalizing goal scoring.

But I digress.

(And fully acquiesce to the fact that if there is anyone out there who really deserves to win a World Cup, it’s Lionel Messi. FO SHO.)

A few other notes about the beautiful game:

1. The Heat.

Watching athletes careen about a massive soccer field in the excruciating Brazilian heat immediately negates any excuse I might have for not strapping on my running shoes and heading outside.

I mean, these dudes are sweating. There is absolutely no reason that I cannot slip on a sweet pair of sunglasses and just go out and give ‘er.

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NONE.

2. ABS.

Oh my goodness gracious.

That’s all I have to say about that.

(Oh, and I also like all of those blogs that just post pictures of the players hugging. Hugging each other.)

Erm.

3. Costa Rica.

I nearly burst a blood vessel cheering for these fellas over Greece.

(Or Hellas, if you’re really into rhyme schemes.)

(Because let’s face it, who isn’t?)

Sometimes, you just need to root for the underdog. Especially when said underdog played the majority of the game a man down and has a goalie who dances like he’s got a colony of ants down his trousers in an effort to confuse and intimidate his opponents come penalty shots.

Because that – that is just excellent.

So well played sir.

And hard won boys.

4. Mexico’s Coach.

Is a Digimon character.

15b

Nuff said.

5. The jerseys.

They are awesome this year! What I wouldn’t give to get my hands on a Belgian-Swiss combo.

(If there are any enterprising and generous readers out there who may now be thinking “care-package”, I take a woman’s small. And thank you!)

I am also partial to how the fit of these shirts really highlights item #2 on this list.

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!!!

Okay, now that I have officially outed myself as a creeper McCreeperson, I am wont to bid you goodnight.

But before I do, I must ask –

Are any of you World Cup mad? And who is your team of choice?

I’ll try my very best not to sit down with you for the next ninety minutes that they play.

But breathe – that I’ll have to do.

Worth one thousand words

Well, another day, another dollar.

How are all you fab chaps doing of late?

It’s a bit bonkers to think that we’ll knocking down December’s door in but two days.

TWO DAYS!

Where is the time going?

Let’s take a breather and assess what’s been going round the cosmic kitchen over the past few weeks:

Soccer matches.

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Canada v. Mexico

Family fun.

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We are not awkward only incredibly good looking.
photo (8)
DA LADEEZ.
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Do we look fourteen?
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Mustachio. Pistachio.

AMAZING SIGNS.

Sign
Looks painful!
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The remedy for a beter sex life? Thank goodness!

My love!

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Le chat.

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The BIGGEST eyes!
Cat
Politician cat and bodyguard.

Selfie fun.

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Snow day.
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International spy.

Skyfall.

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IMG_20131124_095119Cookie monster.

Cookies
I will eat these until I die.

New friends.

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I told him to act natural.

PHEW!

There ya go. My brilliant little bonkers life on film.

And I, as always, encourage all you cool cats to share a snap or two.

Or two.

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.

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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.

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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.

I want you to take me out

Kids, I am absolutely knackered.

I don’t think I could do any more running about even if I tried.

(Spoiler alert: I will most likely be trying.)

So what’s been going down on this side of the cosmic kitchen?

Work, and more work. Some comedy action. Doing some speaking engagements, and celebrating my rad chums and their days of birth.

I’m just trying to keep my hair free of fire, whilst enjoying these long-lasting summer days with the mad man that I have married.

Also, BREAKING BAD.

What the what!

Seriously guys, Walter White is the absolute WORST.

And in the interim:

Post-wedding sunsets.

IMG_20130822_202304Bootleg chocolate bars.

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Titan = Snickers
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Meteor = Mars

Park adventures.

IMG_20130825_151303North Korean poems for children.

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Board game victories.IMG_20130827_222116All of the soccer (shenanigans).

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IMG_20130901_162039Post-date rainbow.

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Happy Monday you brainiacs!

Take care of yourselves, y’hear?

For the best day of my life

Hi friends,

As a palette cleanser from my last post, I would like to offer you a portrait of some of the incredibly rad ladies who populate my life, who not only accept me for my bonkers self, but who make me at least sixty-five percent less likely to blow a rage-out gasket and/or move to Baffin Island for a life of solitude and frost-bite.

Last week whilst I was out to lunch (there’s a double meaning in there somewhere, I’m sure of it) my mother phoned and left me the most heart-warming, highly comedic voice mail that perhaps has ever been recorded.

It went something like this:

Okay, let me explain why this photo of my mom is one of my favorite ever (she's the one all in black with the hood) A hurricane arrived just as my cousin was set to wed, so my mom went in her rain gear and helped keep everyone under control. Awesome sauce.

Hi there. You’re probably out somewhere, trying on clothes and taking photos of yourself, you weirdo. Just wanting to chat and I’ll try to you again later. Bye!

Holy smokes. This nearly bowled me over when I listened to it.

And while I wasn’t out skulking around my favourite fashion haunts, just knowing that this is what she pictures me doing on my lunch breaks not only cracks me up, but fills me with such a simple, sublime happiness, I could probably power a small household appliance (or at the very least, a key-chain flashlight) from the wattage of my smile alone.

Love you mom!

Today, along with of my two lovely coworkers, A and J, I ventured out at lunch in search of food-truck treats and a reprieve from the cloying warmth that has infiltrated our otherwise freezing office space. Seriously, the place is normally plagued by random frosts and sub-zero temperatures. Brutal!

Unfortunately, the establishment we were hoping to buy from had a 1+ hour wait (for a grilled cheese from a van? Outrageous!) so we decided to try out the Philly cheesetake cart and its offerings.

This, in retrospect was not the greatest choice, especially on my end – I don’t know whose idea it was to put fried onions, processed cheese and thousand island salad dressing on top of French fries AND THEN MARKET IT, but having tasted that vile concoction, I believe it should probably be banned in all ten provinces, and three territories.

Bletch.

A and J were wonderful in so far as they didn’t mercilessly mock me (when it could have been oh-so-easy) on my choice of food (and in my defence let me say I didn’t know the cheese would be processed and that the “secret sauce” would be the dressing equivalent of a bloody archipelago), nor did they take the piss out of me when they saw what said “meal” looked like.

Their food wasn't much better but at least there was no salad dressing to be found.

I kind of wish I had a picture to post on the blog, but at the same time I really don’t need to be reminded of that hot mess of a plate for the discernable future (aka for the rest of my life.)

These two ladies are brilliant, and beautiful (both inside and out) and make my days at work (especially the ones where my stress level is ratcheted up to eleven) considerably less overwhelming. Plus they can turn a lunch populated by long-line ups and tasteless gruel into a fun, funny outing where conversations range from the etymology of the word ma’am, to the absurdity of men’s couture fashion.

Because that stuff is just darn bizarre.

Finally, while I am not intimately acquainted with these women (in fact, I not acquainted with any of them in any sense of the term) I have had the opportunity to watch many of the Olympic Women’s Qualifying Soccer (erm – Football) Tournament and it has been awesome! Sure, the talent disparity between many of the teams exists, and has been evidenced by quite a few blowouts (mostly from the hands of the highly-skilled, incredibly fit American team) but I have really enjoyed watching the different teams play and interact with one another.

Now, you can ask anybody and they’ll tell you that I have been that big of a soccer fan – in fact I’ve lived the majority of my life with a never-hidden (and often voiced) aversion to the sport, but I feel as though this tournament has somehow completely erased this condition and replaced it with a healthy need to learn more, watch more, and maybe even play a game or two (I just need to get over my fear of headers. They scare the crap out of me.)

Our tickets on our, erm, colourful cork board.

I was supposed to go to two games last Friday, but alas the terms of my illness dictated that I couldn’t leave the confines of my living room, wrapped in a blanket, plunked down on the couch.

However, Mr. M and I will be going to the finals this coming Sunday and I am very excited to see the game live, and gather energy and inspiration from the passion, teamwork and dedication on display from these remarkable women.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again (and again, and again) – the power of sport is something to behold, and the way it brings together such a vibrant mix of people, from disparate countries and cultures serves as terrific reminder of the beauty and strength inherent to humanity that is so often lost among the folds of everyday life.

So thank you to the competitors, the dynamic duo that is Ms. A and J, and of course my answering machine comedienne mom. You, and all the other strong, stimulating women in my life help me breathe and believe.