Putting my best foot forward

I wrote this story with my momma in the Fall of 2016. All names have been changed to protect the innocent (and barmy).

After a panel interview with seven senior administrators – at an unnamed Maritime University – I said to the headhunter, “So are you hiring me for this position? Or are you hiring me for the job of campus president?”

I nearly fell off of my chair when, instead of answering my question, he told me that the next step was providing him with nine references.

Nine references!

Three from people who were in superior positions, three from my peers, and three from individuals who were my junior in the professional world.

I said to him – “This is paranoia gone crazy.”

At this point, I didn’t even know if I even wanted the job anymore, so I told him, “I don’t know if I want this job anymore.”

You would think that was the end of the line, but you’d be wrong.

After providing nine positive references and a blood sample, (I’m kidding but I wouldn’t have been surprised), I was told that the person to whom I would be reporting needed to speak to my current boss. Flabbergasted, I asked the headhunter how he thought that would look to my employer.

“There is no way this is going to over well,” I said. “Where is the win-win for me?”

It’s also at this point that I should point out that everything about this process had done a complete number on my self-esteem. I had begun to think that the university had discovered some hidden malfunction within my character, and each step down the rabbit hole was one new way of checking to make sure that I was indeed a legitimate candidate.

The whole experience was so stressful that after I received an offer of employment (and accepted it), I literally had to flee the country.

In an effort to relax, and mend my frazzled nerves, I booked a holiday cruise around the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, my imminent, sun-drenched relaxation was immediately railroaded by an emotional breakdown at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport – the catalyst being watching every flight take off for Florida, except for mine.

My healing process had been usurped by a crash course in full-blown disfunction – courtesy of Air Canada.

As I stressed about missing my trip, some hapless flight agent told me, “Oh don’t you worry. Cruises never leave on time.”

I asked her, “Wanna bet?”

This did not make my flight leave any earlier.

Because of my tears, Air Canada did bump me up to business class – probably out of fear that I would completely fall apart in coach and traumatize everyone within my immediate flying radius. Never mind that the reason for my distress was Air Canada’s awful and unreliable service in the first place.

I spent my entire flight worrying about my cruise.

Unfortunately, upon my arrival in Florida, insult was immediately added to my misery. Even though the airline literally ran me off of the plane, I couldn’t get to my luggage because the baggage carousel had broken down. The cruise van was hustling everyone to get be on board, but I steadfastly refused to get on the vehicle. Instead, I stayed behind, defiant to get my clothes. There was no way in heck I was going to wait two days for my stuff.

After half an hour, I got my bag. Upon exiting the terminal, I could see that the ship hadn’t yet left the harbor.

I threw twenty five dollars to the nearest cabbie and ordered, “GET ME TO THAT SHIP.”

The guy was pretty happy as it was only about a two minute ride to the dock.

When I got to the boat, there were six cruise personnel waiting for me. Each one of them practically carried me up the gangway and threw me onto the boat. As I brushed myself off, I heard the captain announce our departure, apologizing for the delay that was due to a “rogue passenger.”

Four thousand people delayed because of little old me!

Once I put my luggage in my room, I went to one of the ship’s bars and ordered the biggest drink the bartender would give me. This ended up being gin and tonic the size of a milkshake, filled right to the brim.

I met some people and they told me, “Oh! You were the one that was holding us up! We kept getting announcements.”

My claim to fame.

The thing about that trip was, I had never before been on a cruise and I was concerned about getting seasick. A friend had told me about the gravol patch that you wear on your arm, so I went out and bought a pack.

Turns out, that stuff really threw me for a loop and I was stoned for the entire trip.

I would go to the gym and couldn’t move my legs. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on!

It wasn’t until I returned and started my new job at said aforementioned unnamed Maritime university that I finally figured it out.

After recording my out of office answering machine message, a colleague told me, as diplomatically as possible, that “it sounded a little strange.”

I listened to it and was horrified to hear that beyond strange, I sounded completely out of it on the other end of the line!

There I was – the candidate that survived three interviews, nine references, one reference from my immediate boss – unable to string together a coherent sentence.

And I am sure they were wondering, “Who have we hired? And how didn’t we find this out sooner?

Nothing to fear, but fear itself. (But also dying. That too.)

Want to know a secret?

This past week I ran away.

Well, not really.

On Tuesday night, I left behind the rainy streets of Vancouver, in exchange for the rainy shores of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

(That’s a paradox, no? A rainy Sunshine Coast?)

For the next two and a bit days, I camped out in front of a fire and wrote, ran, read (and Netflixed) my little heart out.

It was the VWOZNOW solo retreat extravaganza of 2014!

You see, at my job, (which I love), I accrue quite a bit of overtime, and I am lucky enough that I am able to bank these hours and take them as time in lieu.

Which means that before the bell strikes twelve on December 31st, I am required to use up all of this vacation, lest it all be for not.

So being that time was a-ticking, and knowing how much I love the wild woods of our province’s eerily beautiful (and desperately sodden) temperate rain forest, Marc suggested that I take a bit of this time and have an adventure or two on my own.

Sad of course that he couldn’t join me, I did quite like the idea. I mean, how often is it that you are gifted with extra days off, combined with the chance to do all of the things you love so dearly?

So, after work on Tuesday, I jumped in our little car and drove to Horseshoe Bay to catch the 5:20pm ferry.

I arrived a little early, so I bought a chai latte and walked around the village, marvelling at the strings of Christmas lights, twinkling along the darkening waterfront.

Clutching my umbrella and trying my best to dodge the many puddles freckling the almost-empty streets, I wished that I had brought a pair of gloves and that I had thought to wear better shoes.

Once back in the safety and warmth of my car, I engaged in some Twitter tomfoolery with the CBC’s As It Happens, and was for a brief moment, a social media superstar.

When I arrived at the Langdale terminal an hour or so later, I hit the road in earnest. I swore it could have been two o’clock in the morning, what with how dark the evening had fallen. It was also raining like a raining thing, which forced me to be extra careful as I drove.

I stopped briefly in Sechelt to purchase some stuff for dinner and breakfast, as well as a bottle of wine and a bag of G.H. Cretors Chicago Mix popcorn, because, alas, I am addicted to this crack-cocaine (disguised as popcorn) life-ruining snack.


Anywho, I was soon back in the driver’s seat and on my way to the cabin. I had made three mixed CDs for the trip, and in between my loud singing jags, I listened to a number of interviews on the on-going botch-up of Veteran’s Affairs here in the Great White North.

(Hence the need for the loud singing jags.)

Eventually I made it to my home-away-from-home around seven o’clock, and I set about to settling in.

Unfortunately I was met with two, how shall I say, uncomfortable and unforeseen circumstances that needed immediate attending.

The first was that both of the cabin’s fire alarms were out of batteries and they were going off at different intervals.

Now, anyone who has ever before heard a fire alarm knows that their sounds are incredibly jarring and weirdly disturbing. Plus, one of them had a voice that kept announcing the same phrases over and over again: “LOW BATTERY – DISABLE” or “CARBON MONOXIDE – MONOXIDE DE CARBON” or “FIRE – FEU”.

(You’ve got to love living in a bilingual country as it affords you the curtesy of having the crap scared out of you in both of our official languages! I look forward to thanking my parents for all of those years in French immersion come the day when I burn to death in a very unfortunate Dark Souls-related candle accident.)

Anyways, the other unfortunate factor was that when I entered the kitchen – after putting my bags into the bedroom – I noticed that the second door (the one that opens into the kitchen) was about five to six inches ajar.

Meaning, open.

To the night air.


I stood there, frozen, feeling my blood run cold.

“SERIAL” and “KILLER” I think were the first two words that popped into my head.

Let me tell you, the fact every thirty seconds two separate fire alarms kept going off, announcing my impending and immediate doom, was one thing I really could have dealt without (especially at what seemed like a very critical juncture of my life.)

Grabbing my phone, I texted Marc.

He didn’t understand what I was talking about, so I phoned him and explained the situation as succinctly and as quickly as I could.

As he voiced his concern, I tried to find a sharp, easily wieldable knife.

“What are you going to do?” he asked.

“I am going to go room by room with you on the phone. With this paring knife,” I explained.

I looked down at the small blade in my hand.

“Good luck,” I told myself.

In hindsight, really, not that brilliant of a scheme.

As the hilarious Jackie over at Ambling and Rambling put it when I afterwards told her of my cunning plan:

Oh, so, [Marc] could hear you being murdered by the man who disarmed you?

To which I replied:


Anyways, I managed to swallow all of my thoughts of Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees, and searched the entire place.

Once convinced that I was, indeed, alone, I set about to finally quieting the damned fire alarms.

An electrician, folks, I am not.

However, I did eventually manage to silence my bilingual nemesis. I then made a giant fire and turned on the first Neil Diamond record I could find.

By this point I was pretty hungry, but between my shattered nerves and ringing ear drums, every single notion I had about cooking a meal had flown right out the window.

So I just opened the bag of popcorn and poured myself a giant glass of wine.

Which, all in all, was not a bad way to kick off a relaxation retreat.

(Oh, and the popcorn and wine helped too.)


We like to camp it up

This Friday I went and watched Marc’s last soccer game of the season (he coaches the senior boys at his school) and for an hour and half I had the chance to enjoy the late October sunshine and cheer on the team.

Standing there, basking in that golden glow, all I wanted to do was pack a bag, grab our tent, and head off into the woods somewhere for a weekend of autumnal camping.

TENT! Nice Marmot.
Nice Marmot.

CAMPING. My love!

But boy did I ever used to loathe this pastime.

It’s true – I was definitely a late-bloomer when it came to my love of tent life. For many moons I openly rejected the idea of sleeping in a bag, eating with sporks, and wearing long-johns as pants.

I was firmly averse to forest-bound adventures.

And now?


Long johns!
Long johns!


Camping as a kid just always seemed to conjure up images of frigid downpours, mouldy tents, leaky tarpaulins, awful food, soggy socks, and over-cramped quarters.

It was the worst.

Factor in that I was a bit of a prima donna, and you can imagine just how awful it was to have me hanging around whatever campsite my dad and sisters happened to be visiting.

As soon as I ate what little junk food we had managed to persuade my dad to purchase for us, I would settle into a deep, dark sulk that would last right up until the moment we pulled up stakes and headed back towards civilization.

I remember one trip with my dad and my little sister. One morning we woke up and I demanded that we go to White Spot for breakfast. I was adamant in my claim that I would not eat one more dry bunch of shredded wheat (you know the ones – they look like mini bales of hay) for my morning meal.

My dad, who remains until this day a truly passionate anti-White Spot kind of guy, tried his best at negotiation, and offered up this doozy:

“How about we go to a bed and breakfast, and see if we can pay for just the breakfast?”

I sat there, mortified.


What kind of person would even think of such a thing?

I told him flat out that I would in no way partake in this ridiculous scam. If he even attempted such a charade I would hide in the backseat of the car.

Of course he called me on my bluff (either that or he just didn’t have any energy to deal with my drama queen behaviour).

So there I sat, trying my hardest to remain unseen as I peeked out of the car’s back window, watching as he and my little sister (whose sweater was so dirty that she was now wearing it inside out) rang the bell of the first bed and breakfast we had come across.

Seriously, they looked like they had just jumped off of a passing train car. All they were missing was the bandana tied to the end of a broom stick.

Hey buddy – can ya spare a dime?

Needless to say, they didn’t get the breakfast.

And we ended up eating at White Spot.


After that, I really didn’t camp again for a long, long time. Not until I started dating Marc and he made it very clear that he loved spending time (sleeping time especially) in the great outdoors, and he very much wished to share this love with me.

I thought it was high-time to give ye olde tent extravaganza another try (it had been a good twelve years or so since my last camping trip), and I agreed to head to Harrison Hot Springs for a weekend.

The plan was to participate in a slow-food bike tour around Agassiz that morning, and the camp that evening.

It was going to be all fires, and hot chocolate, and sleeping bag snuggles.

Instead, we bicycled through a monsoon, Marc forgot the sleeping bags, and our air mattress leaked.


We spent the entire night shivering under our car’s emergency blanket, taking turns pumping up the mattress, and listening to the thunder storm wreak havoc on our surrounding environs.

But you know the craziest thing?

I actually loved it.

And to this day, we laugh just thinking about that weekend.

Since them, we’ve camped a number of times, all around BC and Oregon, and each trip has been absolutely fabulous.


I’m also happy to say that I no longer eat at White Spot.

And I’d probably still only eat the breakfast, if prefaced by “Bed and.”

Because you know what they say  – some things will never change.

All thanks to everyone; run runaway

This weekend we ran away.

We made our escape Friday afternoon: M commandeered the getaway car, stopping only briefly outside of my office building so I could throw my bags into the backseat, before sliding my little self into the front.

With the sun shining down on us, as well as lighting up the long-missed cerulean sky, we drove out of Vancouver proper and made our way to the, most aptly named, Sunshine Coast.

This, my friends, is a place filled with magic.

And I would like to share with you some snaps from our brief stint in paradise.











Sometimes I have great difficulty sleeping. I am either thinking too much, or I wake up in the middle of the night soaked in sweat. Whatever the case may be, my anxieties have a tendency to wreck havoc with my achieving the recommended eight hours.

Last Friday night, the night of our arrival, I slept better than I have for months. My head hit the pillow sometime around ten o’clock and I didn’t stir until eight the next morning. When I woke, I  felt clear-headed and refreshed, as if emerging from a warm, safe, (and oh-so snuggly) cocoon.

Marveling at the early morning sunshine, M and I drank steaming mugs of dark, sweet coffee, and watched the families of ducks as they dived and dashed about in the water surrounding the dock.

We would have sat outside had the temperature not hovered around zero degrees celcius. There are only so many blankets in which a person can be swaddled.

Around ten thirty I set out for my weekly long training run. It’s always a bit of shock to the system, the first few minutes of the run, as the fresh, cool, coastal air, rushes in my nose and down my throat, frost tickling my heart and lungs.

But eventually, as always, I adapt, as does my stride and pace – although never my hands. My hands ache from the cold, and warp into hard demi-claws, that chap red and painful.

I run facing traffic, although on a Saturday morning, there is little to be found. I often smile to myself, as I am fooled again and again by the strong wind in the trees, that I too often mistake for an approaching engine, or tire.

The specter of a car.

I ran fifteen kilometers that morning.

I felt as though I could have run forever.

It’s like I said. 

It’s magic.

Call me home and I will build you a throne

Hi kidlets.

Today my love and I are up on the Sunshine Coast, drinking dark, sugary coffee, sitting in front of the fire.

The bay sits cool, and calm, just outside our window; every so often a duck armada will sail past, marking a course for the next dock or rush.

They call out to one another, “Over here!”

Oh boy, do I really love ducks.

M and I are up here for an extra long weekend, relishing the opportunity to just sit back and breathe, and actually spend some time together.

We’ve both been running about with our hair set on fire, and looking forward, well, the next few months aren’t exactly going to be relaxation central.

So we’re going to revel in this beauty and eat, drink, run, read, laugh, and love.

In the meantime, Fry-up time!

This doesn’t actual seem “cosmopolitan”.

While standing in line at Safeway the other night, waiting to pay for my raspberries, eggs, mint chocolate ice cream bars, granny smith apples, and unsalted butter (aka THE STAPLES), I came across this:

Oh Cosmo.

Champion that it is of the high-brow (not to mention safe haven for intellectually rigorous prose), it never, ever fails to surprise me with the depths of depravity (and inanity) in which it is willing to sink.

And don’t even get me started on the people who buy this shite, because if I do I will spend the next half hour alternating between banging my head against the wall and falling to my knees shouting WHHHHHYYYYY?

Instead, let’s have some fun shall we?

For instance, what are some alternate answers to the question:

“So you ate a cupcake?”

Are you allergic to cupcakes?! If yes, you should probably go to the hospital!

Was it chocolate or vanilla? WAS IT MARBLED? Never trust a marbled cupcake.

Did it fall on the floor first? Remember the five second rule. Longer than five seconds and I’ll have to eat it.

How do you feel about being a cupcake murderer?

Is it weird that one of the first things that pops into my head when I hear cupcake is Katy Perry’s boobs?

I hate Katy Perry.

Cupcake in French is petit gâteaux, which in terms of a french word is lame as heck.

Would you like another one before we start the self-flagellation? Self-flagellation starts in five.

And finally: Who bloody very well cares? YEESH.



But seriously, don’t beat yourself up over one stupid pastry.

It totally defeats the purpose, because after all, cupcakes are made from happiness.

They should make you happy.

p.s. My tips for hot late night sex? Sleep all day first.

Stripes and waves.

I bought a few pretty pretties this week:

The skirt is from H&M and the sweater is from Joe Fresh.

I am massively in love with the skirt because it looks like it is made up of little white-capped waves. I wore it to work yesterday with a black turtle next, grey tights and little black boots.

Basically, I was a superhero.

Also, I probably should have just bought one of these sweaters in each available colour because goodness knows I had a hard time deciding which one to purchase.

Stripes are always the best.

What can I saw, I love me some old-timey jail bird chic.

East meets west.

Seeing as though we’re away for a couple of days I thought it best to bring a back-up book just in case I finish the one I am currently working on.

I started Wolf Hall a lifetime ago, and although I really liked  it, somehow it fell by the wayside and I didn’t make it past the half-way point.

Now I’m back, knee deep in Tudor gossip and intrigue.

If I do in fact finish this tome, I have brought some Dostoevsky to satisfy my literary urges.

I had my first real Russian love affair with Mr. Fyodor when I was in first-year of uni. Somehow I’ve managed to read most of his bibliography, save for this work, so I look forward to finally cracking it open.

There is something about his mastery of the macabre that just delights me to no end.

This could of course say more about my deranged psyche than his fantastical wordplay, but I’m one to stay positive.

(Unlike, of course, Mr. D.)

So there you have it folks.

I wish you a weekend filled with good books, delicious food, crackling fires, wind-swept walks, and all the laughs your abdominal muscles can take.

And have a cupcake or two – on me.