Saturday, April 18, 2015

L'Oréal Paris Fibralogy: A Product Review!

"Bleach it," I always tell the hairstylist.  "But that will make your hair so coarse!" she always replies. "You call it coarse, I call it thick!" I always insist, with a professional smile, followed by a that's what she said. 

Since the beginning of time, my hair has been thin, but luckily, I have lots of it.  I don't like to overload it with too many hair products, and prefer to keep my regime simple: shampoo, conditioner, de-tangler.  Recently, however, I was lucky enough to receive a l'Oréal Paris Fibralogy Vox Box to test this new product that promises to make your hair thick.  What's different about it is that in-between the shampooing and conditioning, you put a serum in your hair that really seals the thickness deal. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical because I've tried a lot of products before, and I would hate to write an entire review about how much a product sucks, but I would also never lie.  However, I'm excited to report I was not disappointed!

Here's how the line looks... in the Vox Box....(what a fun surprise to receive! the postman was surely jealous...)

 Step 1 is the shampoo part...pretty standard. You just lather and rinse as per usual...

Step 2 is to apply a dime sized amount of the thickening booster. This is really the activating agent.  Leave it in (do not rinse out!) and then you're ready for Step 3...

And Step 3 is business as usual: a nice dollop of conditioner.  Lather, give it a few minutes to do its thang, and rinse!

I haven't used an 'adult' hair line in a long time. Most of my stuff, as you probably noticed in previous blogs, is fruit scented or is tear-free for babies.  The Fibralogy line smells like something a woman in her late twenties should use- grown-up and elegantly fragranced.

It was a sad day before I received my Vox Box. It was a sad day because my hair was flat and thin, like this:

After washing my hair with the shampoo, and treating it with the booster and conditioner, I blow dryed it quickly and...holy moly:

I was really impressed by how sleek my hair felt, without any other product in it, and without needing to even be straightened after. It just sort of perfectly fell into place.  It certainly felt thicker, and so, so, so voluminous that I didn't know what to do with it.  I absolutely loved it, and loved that I didn't need to do anything else to amp it up afterwards...

For a lower cost product, you really can't beat this one: it really does what it claims to do, and with only one extra step in your simple hair care routine.  Thanks to Fibralogy, here's what I do now, all day, every day:

While I received this product complimentary to review, all views expressed are my own - why wouldn't they be ? :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

David Usher Strikes Again

Remember that blog post where I went on and on about my obsession with David Usher? Well, whether you do or don't, I'll spare you the verbal details of my one-sided maniacal passion, and will instead go to town with the following photos, which I've been collecting like a shrine to this ageless, timeless, beautiful beast.

My love for David was not entirely my fault. As can be seen, he led me on a fair bit:

In addition to that, we were in quite a serious pending relationship for a good long while:

For my 26th birthday, my girlfriend got me a cake with his picture on it...and, I mean, come on David. You "love" it...? Just quit playing already..

So, I tried to quit David. I really did. But then this past Christmas GUESS who was on the CBC Christmas ballad special? You guessed it. Well, you guessed it if you guessed David Usher. Because that was who was on the CBC Christmas ballad special:

So then I thought, you know what..that's fine. I'm over it. Flash your big ol' bling all you want. I'm done. I am movin' on up.  And then you know what David did?

David wrote a book.

It's called "Let the Elephants Run" and it's a book about unleashing your creativity.  I read it over two afternoons, and here are some highlights.

One of the first exercises thrown at the reader is this blank page on which we are urged to scribble and doodle and basically let loose. Letting the elephants run is a way to unleash our creativity, David explains, the kind of creativity that we used to have as children, but lost along the way.

Then there's this picture, which I feel like if seven year-old Coco tried, she could do a better job drawing.  I'm pretty sure I would try harder if that was my book, but you know, that's none of my business. It's not like David Usher is my dad. And you know what, don't hide behind your age either.

And then I came across two ideas that I actually found very useful in my own pursuit of creative drive.  I've been thinking, and planning, and writing, and re-writing on scraps of paper, and picking through old notes, and revisiting old stories of mine, trying to find the inspiration, the spark that will push me to finally type out at the very least a working draft of the book I'm working on.  I keep thinking there will be a perfectly quiet afternoon, a cozy space, a week where I can't think about anything other than writing, a spot in the shade (under a palm tree? in a coffee shop?), somewhere, sometime where I can finally focus and get it out there. But there never is. Life doesn't give you that creative break so I've found I've had to sort of chop it out of my day on my own.  I was really happy to read this part, because it reaffirmed to me the fact that the absence of a quiet moment or a creative area does not mean it's not the right time to write. It just means I have to try harder to create that silence in my head and write already. Are you waiting for perfection?

And the second idea is one that challenges this thought I've had gnawing its way through my head (eww, why?). The thought that if I were just talented in something, things would happen naturally. I remember many years ago, I was painting with a friend, and I nearly had a meltdown because I couldn't even pick a color let alone decide on what to draw.  He was flipping through three art books, and calmly looked up at me and said, "It's not about creativity. It's about inspiration." That usually helps me when I can't decide what to write or how to write it: I find inspiration from someone else's talent, and let it create mine. Not in a creepy plagiarist way but in a way that recognizes that creativity means effort, and just because ideas don't randomly explode in your head, doesn't mean you aren't talented. You just need to keep working at it. That idea in itself - that talent is malleable - is so, so inspiring to me.

And you know it wouldn't be a David Usher masterpiece if David didn't quote himself in it.  This is probably my favorite part of his book.

Keep doing what you're doing, David. You'll always have a fan in me.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ribbons and Kindness

I was brought up thug style: my mom is a hardcore advocate of telling it like it is, whether it’s asking someone why they chose to wear a certain hat (“What? I’m genuinely curious as to why they thought it would look good!”) or disagreeing with my creative visions (“Your painting doesn’t tell me anything. Is it supposed to be something special?”)  And I grew up armed with the sole strategy of being blunt, because where I’m from, being honest = being blunt = you say what you think, even if it hurts the other person.  Over the years, through amassing detention slips and hating the sound of my own voice when I say things I now understand are harsh, I’ve learned what belongs in the outside world, and what is a subjectively derived thought that is far too sharp for another person’s ears.  On that front, I’ve figured it out, with the occasional unintentional slip, of course.

What I’ve recently realized (and embarrassingly so, for being so recent) is that there is another aspect of human interaction that requires a kind approach.  When it comes to someone doing something that straight up pisses you off, here’s a fun concept: don’t be a jerk in expressing that to them.  We bake our loved ones banana bread and hold hands at the movies, but when we argue – sorry, when I argue – I tell it like it is.  And y’all already know what ‘telling it like it is’ means, and it’s completely unnecessary, and only ends up hurting the other person.  And what's worse is that it happens like this: you tell the person what you think they're doing wrong, and why you hate it, and by some miracle you work it out (because hellllo they’re your friend because they’re an understanding, wonderful person, after all), and everything is great again, but now you’ve got this knot, this yucky memory, made up of all the words you said when you were angry. And knots are very hard to forget. Why are we so kind when everything is great, but don’t extend that kindness when things are falling apart? Whether you’re treasuring a friendship, a relationship, or any other person whom you want to keep in your life, I think the secret lies in never, ever compromising on the warmth, the love, and the kindness you foster every single day.  Kindness isn’t selective. It’s the ribbon around the life you choose to live, and that ribbon better wrap each and every word, regardless of how you feel.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Ventral Tegmentum in Love

I was thinking about one particular item on my 30 before 30 list - to put together a collection of photographs - and about how what I really wanted to accomplish was to have something I made be showcased. Photographs are great, and one day, I might even put all of the ridiculously expensive photography courses I took to use, but to have something exhibited would undoubtedly be much more challenging. I figured it would push me out of my writing-infused comfort zone, forcing my ideas to be critiqued by complete strangers, and that idea scared me so much that I knew it belonged on that list more than the photography project did.  There's something addictive about breaking down your ego, plunging into a space where you will likely feel like a douche, as you surrender and let that feeling get all Christian Grey on you (will I ever stop referencing a movie I couldn't even get through?? Like I don't even know what I meant by that..)

A friend of mine is doing his PhD in Neuroscience, and invited me to an annual Society for Neuroscience Art Show held at the Orange Art Gallery in Ottawa, and after checking out their website, I noticed a call for artwork submissions. Looking at the previous years' pieces, I was both overwhelmed and inspired: Ottawa has a lot of talent, and nobody boasts it until you attend one of these events.

I decided to submit a piece anyway, and while I didn't think I would make it in (they did remind us that space is limited so not to get our hopes up too high), I was just excited to attend an art show that was all about the brain. I mean, it was practically guaranteed to be cerebral (*applause*). I've always been interested in motivation and exactly what part of the brain guides what thought and behavior. Or, more generally, the fact that something so tiny in our brain is responsible for a movement of the shoulder, a coy gaze, a forced laugh, a lonely memory, or the flutter of those butterflies when a stranger smiles at us on the metro. As I thought of ideas, I looked at diagrams of the brain and realized that not one of them ever depicted it in a beautiful way, so I decided to start with an aesthetically focused representation of this inevitably grey matter. It would be a watercolor brain, so that each synapse and nerve could seamlessly harmonize with the next.

I chose kraft packaging paper for the base, so that the water would dry to form texture. Then I cut it out and pasted it onto a canvas which I filled with white and pink acrylic paint undertones, then a thin coat of varnish.
And then I thought about the most exciting part of the brain. The most unpredictable, confusing, and elusive part: the part that makes us love. It's called the Ventral Tegmental Area or the Ventral Tegmentum, and it's a group of neurons that are responsible for all those times your heart skips a beat when he or she looks in your eyes. And then I thought about my favorite poet, E.E.Cummings, and how I can barely ever get through his poems without becoming breathless from the intensely palpable, all-consuming pull at my heart with every word.  And so, I came up with the idea to depict the Ventral Tegmentum as the creator of the emotion behind the poetry of this incredible poet. I don't think I can explain it in a different way than how I did when I submitted it, so here is what I sent with my submission:

They say “follow your heart”, but what guides our hearts is a microscopic synapse that happens in the right place at the right time. This phenomenon is what inspired this piece: the idea that a tiny elusive spark in our brain could lead to somebody writing words that can then elicit similar feelings in others. The excerpt is taken from one of my favorite poems, “Love is More Thicker Than Forget”, and speaks to me of the importance of this feeling in our lives. I couldn’t imagine a better poet than E.E. Cummings to conceptualize the marriage of the tangible – the brain – and its most beautiful creation: love.

Oh, and here is the final product, with an excerpt of the poem stemming from the little yellow dot, the Ventral Tegmentum, as its muse.

And this is the part of the poem that's a little tough to read:

"Love is (more) thicker than forget
More thinner than recall
More seldom than a wave is wet
More frequent than to fail"

I can go on a huge tangent about what the words of that lovely poem mean to me, but really all I care about is that they mean something different to each person who reads them. 

Here is the rest of the poem, because it is so breathtaking, but could not all fit onto the canvas:

"it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky"

Amazingly, my piece made it into the vernissage (what???) and soon, it was time to check out what the rest of Ottawa is up to, in the world of visual art.  We saw some bubble-blowers:

And a piece that really reminded me of Egon Schiele's work, probably because of the haphazardness of the lines:

And ugh, this is just brilliant. My all-time dream would be to know how to paint like this:

And these pieces could really brighten up a white space...

And here's how it looked altogether:

Oh, and here is my piece, The Ventral Tegmentum in Love:

And here is my friend, The Benisa in Love (with Gucci, for the time being):

Oh, and in case you're wondering, it's really, really nerve-wracking to listen to people discussing your work. Some people would pause and contemplate, while others would immediately dive into discussing their observations, meanwhile..

And at the end of the night, my piece was sold in an auction that donates all proceeds to a local charity. This year's donations were given to Ancoura, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing and support for individuals with mental health issues. And, not to sound insensitive, but I was really just effing stoked that someone wanted to take my piece home.  I imagine them looking at it now, feeling the same way I felt when I found the right words to describe it, their heart slightly warmer, their brain a shade of raspberry pink.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Heron Restaurant at The Wakefield Mill

I don’t write about restaurants very often, but I was recently invited back to the Heron Restaurant at the Wakefield Mill for dinner, and was so blown away by the attention to detail that I thought it would only be fair to share it here with the rest of you lovers of food and great service.

If you haven’t yet visited Wakefield, you’re missing out on a little jewel of a town close enough to Ottawa for an afternoon trip, and far enough away that it truly feels like a vacation.  Wakefield is great for long walks, through the hills and by the water, and what’s great about long walks is the appetite they sometimes build up.  Enter the Wakefield Mill.

Image: Tripadvisor
 Upon arriving, my date and I were promptly seated at a lovely little table near the window, overlooking the waterfall.  You really can’t beat the ambiance of a room made up of windows.

And the duck confit I had there for lunch a few weeks ago was absolutely unforgettable...

Our dinner-time waiter was exceptionally courteous and made several wonderful suggestions, including for us to order a bottle of wine and “drink the rest of it at home”…how did you read my mind? I thought, answering: “No, no, a small glass will do. I’m not that kind of girl.”

Our meals took a little long to arrive, likely because they were made fresh, and so, a short while later, we were presented with a beautiful appetizer to tide us over:

Salmon with a pineapple vinaigrette and candied Meyer lemon, and a delicate lychee sorbet with a beet sauce reduction: a light amuse-bouche that still left me hungry enough for the main course, which is good, because I hate it when I’m not hungry.

My date ordered the duck confit (which I, of course, recommended wholeheartedly), and I, channeling my inner Mister Big, ordered a medium-rare beef medallion with those soft, buttery Québec style french fries…

Dinner was absolutely, impeccably delicious, and I really appreciated the Restaurant Director, Anthony Mason, coming over to personally greet me and to make sure everything was to our liking. It’s this sort of exceptional service, dedication, and care that draws you into the warmth of the Heron Restaurant, and why I will certainly return on many more occasions.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Home is Wherever You Are Laughing

One of the items I had included on my 30 before 30 list was to help my mom with a project. I had some ideas for things I could help her with, but nothing really stood out as the perfect opportunity, until she told me she had bought a new house. Up until that point, she had been living in a little townhouse in a sketchy part of town – the type where you see ten year old boys pushing old Christmas trees in shopping carts in March, and fourteen year old girls with mushroom cuts, kneeling on parking lot pavements, drawing dicks and the f word in different fonts. “At least she isn’t doing other things,” my mom would always say, proudly. In the summer, our communal backyards were a playground for Malik, Malachite, Ledandra, Crystelle, and Kara. At least, those were the names we heard shouted at them as the sun set. “Dinner! NOW!” was what usually followed. My sister and I used to watch them from our bedroom windows, and one day, we realized they had been outside for over ten hours, rehearsing a dance routine they – a group of pre-teens- had created themselves. It was absolutely insane. Some were doing breakdance moves, others had sexy solos. Creepily, I made a video, and here’s a shot from it:

Everyone is breaking it down to Britney Spears' "Freak Show"
One great thing about that neighborhood was the Tim’s down the street from our house. On a sunny Sunday morning, we’d walk over and grab coffees, as well as my mom’s famous wtf order, that went like this:

Mom: I would like maple pecan duh-nish. But could you please choose for me specific one?

Cashier: What?

Mom: I want one roasted with most nuts!

Cashier: What the fuck… (paraphrased)

Me: She’s saying she would like a maple pecan danish that is very well roasted and has the most pecans on it. She will show you the one she wants. I am so sorry.

There has never, ever, in the history of my mom’s co-existence with maple pecan danishes, been a time she didn’t ask for a specific one. Never has her order not been followed by “roasted with most nuts”, and, subsequently, my profuse, red-faced apology.
This was the kind of place you never had to wear make-up to, as the majority of its clientelle included families permanently outfitted in pyjama pants and velcro winter boots, Kenyan men congregating around laptops, discussing what always looked like mass purchases of Vitamin C, and, what we coined the Blueline Headquarters – the left corner of the shop, where you would always spot about seven to ten taxi drivers. Savouring our honey crullers, vanilla dips, and the roasted with most nuts, this little shop became where we gossipped about the week’s events, mended each other’s broken hearts, and divulged any great news. “This is Iran,” my mom always introduced me to her friend, a cashier who already knew my mom’s compulsive danish choices. “Are these your daughters?” Iran would point at us. “They beautiful!” My mom would always introduce us and we would smile as if we didn’t go through this entire spiel the weekend before, and the weekend before that, and the weekend before that.  It’s hard to say what was going on in Iran’s head, but we appreciated the sentiment.  One time, instead of Iran, there was a very tall Nigerian man at the cash. Shortly after we drank our coffees and left, I received a text that read: “Dis R-Poc, your mom say you lay tracks. I looking to produce album.”
“Why did you give him my number?” I asked my mom. “Because he is hot,” she answered. 

Our last visit to that glorious Tim's. My dark roast, Milhouse's double double, and mom's black with a roasted with most nuts

Despite all of the memories, it was time to move, and I was glad my mom finally made the decision to leave her comfort zone.  I decided that my big 30 before 30 project would be helping her with the move, and while she assured me everything would be taken care of, I knew better than to believe it.  The week before moving day, she had packed maybe two boxes, at best. “Don’t worry about it,” she assured me again, “All we’ll need to do on moving day is throw the stuff in boxes and go!”  ...right, that is how moving works. My dad had some hardcore surgery on his arm that week and though he assured us he was fine to carry 70lb boxes with the muscles in his arm freshly fused together, I threatened to call his surgeon if he showed up.  So, that left my eighteen year old sister who (sorry Milhouse) has the arm strength of a butter statue, my mom, and myself.  And…an entire house full of stuff.  This was when I realized we needed to hire movers. 
I found some dudes on Kijiji who claimed to be highly professional and by some stroke of luck, were available on extremely short notice, and when they showed up, I felt my soul seep out of my body.  I’ve never been to prison, but this is the closest I’ve come to seeing its occupants.  Mover #1 had black eyes with no white parts, like an octopus. His neck and half of his face was tattooed, and he wore white children’s winter gloves with the fingers cut off.  Mover #2 walked with a very serious limp, and had a braided goatee hanging down to his pelvis, which would shake as he chuckled- and how he chuckled.  Mover #3 had no teeth. 

As soon as they started walking through our house “assessing the work”, I considered the possibility of being murdered and/or having all of our things stolen.  As they kept walking around (with Mover #3 emitting hissing sounds) I motioned for my mom to come downstairs with me so we could figure out how the hell to get them to leave.  As we strategized, Mover #1 picked up my cat and then turned to us and said, “Is this a hairless?” 

“No shit it’s a hairless,” Mover #2 limped over and took her from him, “My cuz got one like it too. You see she’s timid, she ain’t seen you before.”  Well, she also ain’t seen black eyes before, but there’s a first time for everything.  Luckily, the movers told us there was “too much work” for the initially quoted price, and that they needed to speak to their boss outside “by phone” to make sure the price shouldn’t be going up.  They exited our house, as we took a collective sigh of relief, and then proceeded to pound on our door saying the price had now doubled. “That’s okay, we won’t be requiring your help then!” I shouted through the comfort of three inches of steel.  Over the next hour, our doorbell was rung about fifty times, our phone ringing constantly, until I picked up and got into a fight with their boss who promised they would do the job for the original price if I “would just give the guys a chance”.  *shudder* No. We were done with that. 

But the boxes still weren’t moved.

It was then that my mom remembered that she had been speaking with another moving company in the weeks prior, and that they had negotiated a price, but my mom didn’t want to pay it. (???) I quickly called them, and engaged in a conversation that I am still proud of. There was a lot of them hardballing me and me calling their bluff, and them saying they’re too busy, and me threatening to go with another company, and them ‘speaking to their boss and calling me back’ and me ‘speaking to my client and letting them know later if the price was acceptable’ and finally, we reached a deal, and they drove over.  These guys were ripped, with their boss, a Lebanese gentleman wearing diamond earrings and slickly defined facial hair, instructing them intensely and professionally.  They came in wearing matching shirts, had indoor shoes, and did not complain about my mom’s brooms and tiny statues of Mozart standing in their way.  “Talk to me, Irina” the boss would say to her, when she called out his name at thirty minute intervals, offering him cookies or beer, or to tell her about his relationship with his parents and if it influenced his decision to start this lucrative business. In addition to their efforts, I ended up driving about twenty cars full of stuff, and the move seemed to last not hours but weeks, but when everything was taken into the new house, and my mom sat on the floor with Mr.Diamond Earrings drinking tea, there was finally a sense of finality.

Nousha is the biggest fan of the fireplace
Now, when my mom drives to work in the morning, we pass farms and she points out goats and horses, and the sunrise. “I promise to drive straight if you promise to look at the sunshine!” she likes to say. She lives near a conservation area, and it’s very quiet all around us. Her front doormat says “Hello!” (of course), and the granite countertops are big enough to accommodate her obsessive fruit collection. She has already befriended her next door neighbors (“Marty gave me a push the other day because I didn’t shovel my driveway again! Lol!”) and begs me to move back in on a weekly basis, offering me the master bedroom and even the ensuite bathroom that has one of those enormous tubs for at least three people. I’m yet to be swayed, unfortunately. 

Yep. Big fan of the fireplace.

This counter space is now entirely filled up with various fruits

In hindsight, this blog post should've been about Nousha
Of course this severed hand made its way into my mom's new cupboard

When we sit by the new fireplace, my mom complains that the house is so big she can never make it to the phone, and then we reminisce on our old house. It was so small that everything was literally within reach, at all times.  The living room was the kitchen and the dining room. The bedrooms were the size of my mom’s new walk-in closet. But we were so happy, piling over each other on the big L-shaped couch, watching Friends for the millionth time with my mom laughing at the same jokes over and over again, with the Christmas trees in the shopping carts in March, and the dicks on the pavement, and the road that leads to Tim’s, and the words “happy birthday” stuck on the broken balcony doors, melted from years of summer sunlight, and the time we laughed so hard we couldn’t fall asleep, and the New Year’s Eve my parents danced together to Abba, and all of it, the place that we used to call home. 

My dad, having won four Hornies from our 2010 New Year's Eve Hornies awards

My favourite picture of all time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Esoteric Business of Life

When I first got into my daytime job, I didn’t think I’d be staying. This was about six years ago, and back then, my hipster boyfriend and I had bigger plans. We were saving to move to Brooklyn and while he would continue his work with MTV, I would start writing for Psychology Today and The New Yorker.  Right around the time I received my first rejection letter from the latter publication (a classy letter, might I add), it became apparent that, while Hipster Boyfriend would continue his stint in Williamsburg, I would have to stay in Ottawa to make all of da mad cash money. Having passed the interview and obtaining a full-time job that paid the bills on the apartment I now occupied alone, I defiantly took every writing course I could find, planning for my big escape to the big apple.  This was a ‘jobby job’ as we hipsterly called it, not a career. A career-we believed with a steadfast hunger- would be the confetti of our lives: an explosion of the elusive symbiosis of talent, passion, and success. Anything less was bullshit.

As a side note, this is what I kept in a folder called 'inspiration', back in those days. I don't even

This too, but this makes a bit more sense
A short while later, Hipster Boyfriend disappeared like Harmony Korine’s creative flow in Spring Breakers (lol right???), and I was left alone in the nation’s capital with a job that mocked me. So, I mocked it back, by wearing donut sweaters to work, and using the word “masturbatory” in meetings, among other elitist wanna-be edgy terms, to the inevitable horror of my coworkers.  I hated what I did because I thought I could do better, but I didn’t know what better I could do, so my hatred remained stagnant and unproductive.

Maya Angelou said: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”  I’ve thought about those words for years, but as with most quotes, they look much easier and prettier on paper than incorporated in real life.  And yet, something in me knew that there was no purpose in complaining about a job that I didn’t know how to leave. I didn’t know where to go, so I began to consider the thought of actually enjoying what I did while I was there. A short while later, I started taking on extra projects, joining committees that were agents of change for issues I cared about, and asking for extra assignments at higher levels. Then, one day, I was offered a temporary promotion, just until they found a person to staff the role permanently.  The promotion was incredibly high and suddenly, my words were appearing in policies, and the writing techniques I had developed in those courses I had so defiantly taken while wearing my ironic t-shirts were now guiding my sentence flow in communication documents that were being read by hundreds of thousands of people across the country.  It wasn’t an underground oil painting collective, it wasn’t an SNL gig, or a screenwriting partnership with Terry Gilliam (or even Terry Richardson),  but it was a difficult job that left me feeling proud for those moments that were few and far between, when I did it right.

Then, the staffing process was announced, and I worked my ass off applying to keep my own job, despite the competition, despite how little I thought of my capabilities. Of course, some of the most stressful moments of my life had to coincide with the day my application was due, and I remember on several occasions, having to step out of the office to cry because my 70 million word job descriptions wouldn’t fit into the 200 word limits.  Over the next few weeks, I studied everything I could find about my job and its requirements, and while it meant me basically not having a break over the winter holidays, I’m glad to say the work paid off.  Just a few days ago, my managers and director shook my hand and offered me my position permanently, and when I left their office, I felt my eyes welling up with the kind of tears I had been reserving for Brooklyn.

My very sweet coworker treated me to a maple latte to celebrate...

And my thoughtful boss left a honey cruller on my desk! He asked if I would share it with my family and I said yes LOL k
What I’ve come to realize, and why I’m writing this now, is that a person’s happiness is not dependent on the type of job they do, but on how the job makes them feel.  A couple of weeks ago, I had provided some comments on a document that was later reviewed by my boss. I was later told that he had forwarded those comments immediately to his boss, because they had introduced an idea that nobody had thought of before.  On paper, that sounds utterly bureaucratic and dry. In real life, I must’ve smiled like an idiot while staring at my stuffed office monkey for about ten minutes. My silly ol’ words were resonating with a bunch of middle aged men! Wtfbbq! Also, my new office has a huge window so it’s always bright and sunny, which has been awesome for my new garden, and I’m far enough away from everyone that I can play my top 40 hits ad nauseum (a guilty pleasure since the end of my Placebo/Weeknd snob days)…

The flowers on my windowsill!

This morning, I found myself telling our boss to demand our stakeholders take the lead on a procedure that aims to establish roles that should have been defined in a working agreement years ago.  Then I did my nails and watered my roses. My job isn’t an eternal stream of happiness and creative out-pour, but it lets me balance who I am with being able to live a life of travel and endless desserts.  I wouldn’t be able to take my mom on a trip if I were working a low paying job in an over-saturated creative field, but with this one, I bought our tickets to Cuba for next month without worrying about what it would do to my Visa. You know what you just can’t top? Making another person happy, especially when you know that person could really, really use a break...

And on that note, I’m happy. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve come this far in this difficult job, that I haven’t lost myself, and that I’m this much closer to living the kind of life where we value today, and honour it, instead of worrying about where we aren’t, or about the things we can’t have.  Maybe I’ll discover another career path in the future. Maybe I’ll follow this one for a long, long time. I watched a video called “Status Anxiety” recently, from a series called The School of Life (you can YouTube it, it’s very cool) where, in the end, they say: “There remain so many vital sides of us that will never appear on our business cards, that don’t stand a chance of being captured by that maddeningly blunt and unimaginative question, ‘So, what do you do?’” So really, if all else fails, remember that you are so much more than where you sell your time for 7.5 hours a day. For me, that was the most difficult thought to live with, and something I wish I had stopped worrying about sooner.

Loving the job you have means taking all of the great parts from it and realizing how lucky you are to have them. I have a feeling the rest of life works that way too.

Alright, so back to being less serious…