Archive for January, 2014


There’s not enough. It doesn’t exist.

We’ve all thought that, felt that, said that and believed that on random occasion, specific days and every time we attempt to follow our dreams.

And when we think in terms of days, we’re right. There are precious few hours to commute, work, parent, clean, shop and participate. When we rest our overtaxed heads on our feathery pillows at the end of a task-checking day, we do in fact deserve to sigh a deep sigh of contentment and completion.

Alright, content maybe, but complete? That’s the question of the month, of the year…of our lives, really.

Are we complete?

I truly love what has evolved to be my fundamental flannel onesie. Being a wife, being a mom, being a make-up artist, being what I’ve always meant to be.

But am I complete?

Are you?

I have penned poetry and prose on lined tattered pages, wielding a short pencil dented with teeth marks. I’ve printed my work on dot-matrix line printers and typed on a Macbook Air.

It’s been twenty-seven years.

There’s time.

The time shall pass anyway

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“Fifteen hundred calories? Oh, I can’t do that.”

“Huh?” I murmur barely looking up from my menu.

I drove my daughter, Ava, down to the States a couple of weekends ago to visit family friends. As previously mentioned, Ava had just turned thirteen and one of her wishes was to head down to Everett to visit close friends that moved down there a couple of years ago.

Our family is lucky enough to live just a ten-minute drive to the US border and are able to cross frequently to get cheap gas and the odd, umm, bottle of wine. We can be there and back within 20 minutes, give or take.

Thankfully, Everett is also a short drive. What’s two hours between friends?

Being that this visit, or anytime we get to visit them, is cause for celebration, we headed out for some afternoon delight. In this case, that refers to shops, eats and admittedly, drinks.

So there we sat, at a glazed wooden table inside The Cheesecake Factory, where we were promptly handed a library. A library? (I sense confusion from behind my lit screen) Yes, maybe not a literal library, but it was definitely a full array of reading material, sporting page upon page of, what proved to be, very valuable information.

My friend and I have both been on somewhat of a health kick since the start of the New Year. No resolutions mind you, just a few minor cutbacks and cutouts.

On that note, we were both thinking greens, of course.

My nose buried in the menu, I was perusing the oodles of scrumptious components that miraculously constituted a salad when I heard her repeat,

“I can’t do fifteen hundred calories for one meal…one item. I just can’t.”

“I thought we were talking salad, crazy girl. I’m having the…”

“That is a salad. Fifteen hundred calories for one salad.”

I tut. “Well, I’m going to have the Asian. It sounds nice and light.” I don’t even ask her what kind of crazy ‘salad’ she’s considering.

“Oh my God, the Asian is eighteen hundred!” She proceeds to release that guttural cackle I miss out on having to communicate with her mainly over text and email now.

I grab her menu, even though it’s the same as mine and squint even though I’m wearing my glasses.

“Good Lord, you are right. It does say that. Is that even legal?”

Luckily we eventually found, amongst the documentation laid out in front of us, a menu entitled – Skinnylicious.

It included listings of the regular menu items, complete with alterations, and grouped into uncluttered calorie categories such as: Salads Under 590.”

Dreamy, right?

This meant we were able to happily order our respective salads and the non-Skinnylicious item, Pineapple Upside-Down Cheesecake.

Knowledge is power, my friends. It’s also delicious.

Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake

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Oh, my Friday Post gives me a giggle as I read it now. Note that I said now. As I wrote it on Friday, I was anything but amused. In fact, I was delirious and fevered. Sweaty and in the process of transporting down a swirling hole that sucked me into an abyss…mal place where I floated on intervals of molten lava and glacier waters. It held me hostage for forty-eight hours, but seconds before I succumbed to its strong suction I somehow managed to finish, tag and publish that post.

Thank goodness, right?

I mean, had I not, you would never have known to worry about me or concernedly check my blog for a new post and update on my current state of health.

You see, it was an entirely selfless act.

But you can breathe easy now, friends. I’m good! The abyss softened its grip on my tortured soul yesterday morning just enough that I was able throw in a load of towels (seems the rumors are true – there are no laundry fairies) and shower off the shudders in time to head out to my daughter’s soccer game.

Sunset Soccer

There’s something about spending two days in one room, propped on a bed, not moving unless entirely necessary, that made me appreciate all the more, the enormous privilege of standing in the freezing cold, sipping hot coffee, blowing my nose and cheering as my kid’s team ruled the field.

They won their game and obviously, so did I.

*Today’s post has been brought to you by the letter W and is sponsored by run-on sentences.

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I believe the past, oh, two weeks, have been a warm-up. I ‘ve been running on the spot, swimming laps, stretching sore muscles and working out the kinks. Trying to breath. Priming for the pistol.

As of this morning, I’m at the starting line, prepped, but not ready, for the gun to go off. The sun is hot and I’m trickling sweat. That may be my fever and sinus drip but I digress.

I’m in position, squinting into the distance, trying to make out the finish line.

However, despite all my training, I know I won’t come out a winner. I’ve seen how this goes down…everyone goes down. I’ve been watching the others as they trot along, thinking they’re picking up steam, believing they have it beat and then wham, their shoelace comes undone and and they’re faced in the dirt, inhaling the dust of all those before them.

There’s a lesson in here somewhere, but I’m far too focused on my unfocussedness to go searching for it at this very moment. But right now, I’m sure it must have something to do with this:

Writing is the best pastime in the world, as you can do it in any position or condition and still see it through to fruition.

Happy Friday, peeps.

Fetal position

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Breaking glass cuts the thin walls and fighting ensues but it isn’t the shattered shards of Champagne flute that’s caused it.

They’ve been struggling since I can remember. There is no beginning or end.

It just is.


A jukebox full of themes seamlessly moving to a new genre even before the last pick comes to a quiet.

I slice red peppers, add them to the oil and onion in the pan…let them sizzle over the crescendo next door. Leaning, one elbow on the counter, I stir slowly, splashing red wine into the mix and a little extra into my glass. My mouth waters as garlic rushes the air. Even the diced Romas seem particularly fragrant tonight. I scrape them off the board and into the fusion – juice, seeds, skin and all.

The bellowing gathers into a twisted tornado of assault and injury. Another glass breaks. Something’s thrown against our shared wall. Sounds like a book. Could be a shoulder.

Once the water is on to boil and the bread in the oven, I kick off my shoes and flop. My wine is spicy, my feet sore and my mind roaming, but soon the muffled throbs of next door subside, as much as they ever do, and I laze through a magazine, alternating page flips with sips of Syrah.

I text, I flip, I wait and sip. I relax.

Just as the smell of my sauce seduces me off the couch, the doorbell rings.

“Anna! Thank you so much for inviting us. Um, we hope you like Champagne…?”

I take in her slightly smudged liner, their entwined fingers, his insane grin and their green bottle of bubbly with the shiny pink label.

I smile.

“C’mon in, guys. It’s lovely to have you.”

Duplex 3

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I’m starting late today. It seems my body wants to be sick, but my mind disagrees. Family’s dropping like flies all around me and I grow weary of the self-torture inflicted by my stubborn side. I wake up with sore glands and go to bed feeling nauseas, but in between all that, I run around doing what I do and believing I’m in perfect health.

C’mon already!

Yes, I know what I just did. I challenged it…called it out…jinxed what has merely been a touch of turbulence.

Well, what can I say? Let’s get it over with!

After all, walking around feeling the pokes and punches of perturb and living with the taunting ghost of a fickle fever is surely more exhausting than being able to succumb to a moody malaise. There’s something to be said, for hiding your head, under 350-count thread, and simply staying in bed.

Enough said? Yes, enough said.

All in your head

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My girl turned thirteen and with that I officially and forever lost the privilege of nattering on about my “little” kids. All three are now teens. (I had to put that in writing because I can’t believe it myself) We moved into this house when number one was three and exactly two weeks before I had number two. I sit here, in the same living room where I’ve probably changed over 15,000 diapers and spent the same, give (give, give) or take, amount of hours feeding, feeding…feeding baby after baby.

My oldest son will be eighteen in June, the middle, fifteen in May and as I say, my daughter turned thirteen…yesterday. I’m new to this, a mum of teens. I’m thankful to my boys for easing me in gently. So far, knock on this virtual paper that would have once been wood, they have been trouble-free and catastrophe-clear. Nothing beyond the everyday challenges that occur to most everyone with kids or a beating heart.

There have been coughs and colds, flus and fights, (amazingly no fleas despite the many pets that have crossed our paths) sports and spills, good grades and the odd less than desirable dud. So far, we’ve avoided lice, premature diaper changing, illegal activity and skirted ‘round underage drinking and drug use. Yes, we’re friendly with fortuity to say the least.

So here I sit, in the same living room where all of this did or didn’t take place, where so much has changed and somehow stayed the same, the room where ideally all my girl will drink is a duplicate of the teen behaviour potion her brothers are saturated in  (except of course, she will like hanging out with me a little more than they do, right?) and everything and nothing will change over and over and over again.

Ava Gondola Banff

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“When I read your blog, it doesn’t sound like it’s you.” My daughter tells me with her brows knit just a touch.

“Well, I… Wait! You read my blog?”

“Not all the posts, but most.” She rolls her eyes on the word ‘all’ like expecting her to read 138 short posts over the past two years would be just waytoomuch. And then, she returns to texting a friend.

So that’s what I’m left with. My writing doesn’t sound like me. Is that normal? Is that common? Is that…alright?

I hear murmurings now and then of something called “writer’s voice” and how all writers are looking for this and how most writers are ever so relieved when (and if) they ever come to find it.

Is it “writer’s voice” that my daughter is hearing? I didn’t hunt for it. It wasn’t a conscious effort. I didn’t try a few on for size before picking one, but I’m not completely oblivious to what she’s saying. I do know that when I started blogging, a certain approach and definite characteristic always came to the forefront. That still happens.

Writing is a craft after all. Thought should go into putting words on a page. Care should be taken when displaying them for all to read. Hopefully skill slides in there somewhere as well. I like to think that most people, non-writers included, scrawl very differently than they speak.

I’ve decided I’m flattered by my daughter’s observation and what she probably perceives as an oddity. After all, what are writers if not odd? Besides, it makes a notion I have of myself that much more notorious…

I writer better than I talk

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“Do you think your feet still smell when you’re dead?” All I can see is the top of his little head, hair glowing like raging fire under the warm lights above us.

My voice strangled, I half scold him; “What a thing to ask, Sam. Now is not the time.”

I instantly regret my reaction as his blue eyes turn to watery seas and his chin, a dollop of Jello. Peter’s mother stands to the side shuddering like a blanket being shaken. It’s hard to watch. Hard to comprehend. Hard to believe. It’s all just plain hard.

Peter’s skin is powdery and I can see they’ve tried to blend blush across his cheeks and up over his ears. A little of it has reached the soft, blond hair framing his face and turned it pinkish. Carmex sits thick on top of his slack lips.

He is not in a suit, but dressed in one of his favorite blue Superman shirts, the bright yellow “KA-POW!” on the front, making quite an impact on the guests. His hands are folded across his tummy, the left one, sporting a fat, wobbly, Superman style “S” had been placed on top of his right. I’d heard his mother had specifically asked them not to remove the black ink.

I grab Sam’s hand and although I’m trying not to let him see me cry, a tear darkens the red carpet as I look down to lift his chin.

“I don’t want to go any closer.” He says. “He wouldn’t want me to.”

I kneel down so we’re face to face. “You’ll regret not saying a proper good-bye, son. C’mon. I’ll be right beside you.”

He looks down again and this time, his tears make the carpet change color.

“But I already made his mom so sad. If she sees me…” His voice trails into silence but his tears get louder.

“No Sam, it’s not like that. Best friends fight. C’mon. Trust me. It’ll be alright.”

And even though I’m doing my best to sound reassuring, I am shaking inside. I have no idea how Pauline will react to us and the last thing I want is to cause more upset.

I steer him towards the coffin, but at the last minute he leaves me. I watch as he heads over to Pauline and tugs on the back of her flowered dress. She turns slowly and immediately drops to her knees.

I rush over to help her but she grabs on to Sam. Hugs him so tight I think he’ll pop open right there.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Kerry. I didn’t meant to…” He chokes.

“Oh Sammy. Peter loved you so much. I’m so sorry you had to see what you did and I’m…” she takes a breath, “I’m so very sorry he’s gone.”

Pauline held Sam for a smidge longer, patted his eyes with her hanky and then her own and told him to go say his good-bye.

Sam and I had spent many hours since Peter’s death, discussing why it wasn’t his fault. How kids tease each other and tricking Peter into letting him draw that “S” on his hand was just a joke among friends. I’d often heard Sam tease Peter about his smelly feet and told him many times to stop even though I could tell it was all in good fun. But when Sam had drawn the “S” and then teased Peter that it stood for stinky, Sam could never have known what would happen next.

Peter had chased him out into the street, but as Sam made it to the other side, he’d turned to see his best friend being dragged along the pavement by a silver Chevy pick-up truck.

This time, as we approach the coffin, he stays on course, a determined look in his eye. We stand a moment and I stroke his hair and rub his back. I do all the things mommies do in an attempt to make-believe things better.

Having held it in for so long, I lose my battle as I watch Sammy take a black marker out of his pocket and carefully write “uperman” on Peter’s right hand.

Kapow 1

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in·spire ( n-sp r )
v. in·spired, in·spir·ing, in·spires
1. To affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence.
2. To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion:
3.a. To stimulate to action; motivate
b. To affect or touch:
4. To draw forth; elicit or arouse
5. To be the cause or source of; bring about
6. To draw in (air) by inhaling.
7. Archaic
a. To breathe on.
b. To breathe life into.
1. To stimulate energies, ideals, or reverence
2. To inhale.

A wrecking ball smashes into a building

What makes you tick? What twerks your Miley? Or should that be…Miley’s your twerk…okay, moving on. I promise.

I’m not asking where you get your stories from or your general writing ideas. I’m talking about what spurs you on to actually do it? And not just writing, but whatever your passion pushes you to pursue.

I like writing and whether I’m good at it or, more often than not, bite the big one, I obviously feel compelled to continue. Why is that? I mean, I could just read. There are plenty of novels in which to bury my brain and countless instructionals to whet my wits. I already have a job in make-up artistry and when I’m not doing that, I’m plenty busy in the homemaker department. I don’t actually have to write. In fact, I need to steal time to make that happen and honestly, it can be quite stressful. Did I really just say that?

Me, I tend to be inspired by understanding and authenticity, kindness and sincerity, compassion and positivity. Promoting what’s loved rather than bashing what’s not.

I’m also encouraged by support and recognition. Yes, I do it for me and would continue to do so even if no one ever took notice, yadda, yadda, yadda, but when it comes right down to it, I am very motivated by these two things as well. There’s no other feeling in the (writing) world quite like the appearance of a gold (really it’s orange, but in my mind it’s gold) star at the top of my blog telling me someone’s ‘liked’ my post. Or better yet, a plus sign signaling a new fan (really these are called followers, but I don’t like that word so much) and even better still, an interview published for all to see because of a writing contest I placed well in. Yup, mega motivating, albeit cheek-reddening and sort of bewildering.

** You can read my interview here! **

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