Behind the bar : Your waitress is smarter than you

waitress 2

“So,” she asked me over the clanking of ice in the shaker, “what do you do in real life?”

I breathe a sigh of relief. Not that there’s anything wrong with being identified as a waitress, but I’m a shitty waitress on a good day and my maroon lipstick tells my patrons everything they need to know about how seriously I take my job. Oh, I like the small talk alright, but my ability to mix an old fashioned the same, twice in a row, is non-existent.

“I’m a writer,” I said.

Here in the dimly lit brick-enclosed space that smells of muddled oranges and spilled bourbon, I can be whatever I want. “Real life” is out there. In here is a three month overdue Telus bill and a used car with $11,000 of insurance on it’s back. In here is the blood in the veins of the hustle, and everyone knows there’s more to the story.

No one wakes up one morning and says “I’m going to be a waitress!”

Unless you’re me on Monday — I said those words because I needed some fast cash.

In here are ten fanny packs, six pouches of change and forty notepads from the dollar store, all waiting to have “medium rare, seat 1″ written on them. There’s nothing glamorous about wiping tables and spilling mayonnaise on your Chuck Taylors — but at midnight on a Thursday, The Black Keys playing through speakers above your head, shoes sticking to the splattered patterns of Jim Beam on the laminate, $120 dollars in your pocket and $70 in the bank, you feel slightly superior.

Not because $190 is enough money to pay half of your overdue Telus bill, but because this is the one job you can have that people won’t use to define you.

“How about you?” I asked her as I handed her the whiskey sour to take to a table in the back.

“I’m in my last year of neuroscience,” she said.

We all have to start somewhere.




Why you should say yes to saying no

just dont do it

This week’s InfoNews column is up and it’s all about screaming “NO” like a two-year-old when you don’t want to do something. And why that’s totally OK. If that sounds like something you need to hear, you can read it by clicking THIS.

Also, after almost 4 years of blogging I just decided to join bloglovin . . . so if that’s your thing, you can click the drawing of the naked girl in the right hand column.


Sunday Confessional: How I choose who to sit beside on the bus

you cant sit with us

Ever since that story came out about that guy who chopped up his seat partner, I’ve been a little extra cautious when I sit down on the bus. I mean the rule of thumb is that we don’t judge others — as good Christian folk we try not to notice a person making the same mistakes over and over, and we ignore the extra wing of eyeliner that in theory is a good idea but in practice just looks ridiculous. But the truth is, under every single one of our gazes lies an inner dialogue that — despite our efforts — ain’t always nice.

When I travel by Greyhound it’s because flying within Canada is stupid expensive and because my travel plans have been so last minute I couldn’t have made it to the airport in time. It’s not really by choice is what I’m saying. It’s a necessary evil of being on the go. There isn’t one single person ever, probably, who was all “man, I just had the best Greyhound trip.” That’s just not a sentence people utter.

I mean, if there’s one place in my little town that people go when they want to learn the definition of derelict — it’s the Greyhound station. It’s very transitory, very post-apocalyptic, the coffee tastes like gasoline and costs fifty cents, and absolutely everyone is traveling from somewhere like Fort McMurray or Moose Jaw.

And see? Just like that — judgement.

So how do we do it? How do we determine, through our horrible squinty eyes, which judgements take priority? I personally like to be the person at the window seat so I don’t have to be the one who decides if she’d rather have dread-locked smelly guy or sleeping mom with screaming baby — but I can only maintain my self-important bitch face for so long before someone’s pillar of judgmental priorities has me at the top.

And sometimes, I don’t have the luxury of getting on the bus first. Sometimes I have to wait my turn and — GASP — make that call.

I know we can’t judge books by the cover. I know what Jeffery Dahmer looks like and I’ll be the first to admit I think he was kind of hot in a creepy ’80s way.

I know we can’t judge the players of Big Brother by their first game.

I’ve been trying to convince my dad for years that just because someone rides a Harley doesn’t make them a criminal. I just happen to have always accidentally picked the criminal ones. My bad, dad.

People are filled with so many surprises. The beautiful 20 year old with her nose in a book — the one you think you’re safe beside — yeah, she conjured up some freaky shit after she read 50 Shades of Grey.

We just never know! Sure, the cover of a book can probably tell you what income bracket someone lives within and whether they like to lift, bro, but that’s about as far as it goes. It’s a horrible, horrible practice. And the thing we always seem to forget is that everyone knows we’re doing it.

So I’ve developed a method of madness that is still totally judgmental, but that makes the whole process a little easier. I simply sit down beside whoever looks like they wouldn’t mind having me fall asleep on their shoulder accidentally. Yeah, maybe it’s because they want to chop me up. Maybe it’s because they’re leaving Fort McMurray for the first time in 60 days. Maybe it’s because the lady is reading a Bible in her seat and she knows that the nice thing to do is just let me rest my eyes for a bit at her expense. Whatever the reason, I judge based on what I think they think of me as opposed to the other way around.

Then I get off the bus and think to myself great, now my face smells like patchouli. 


How not to text: tech advice for your parents

How not to text phone
**This post was written for

I remember the conversation vividly — I was in the produce aisle looking for artichokes. I don’t cook, so I have no idea what artichokes look like, I just know they come in cheesy dip. You could say I had been there a while.

The text came in, accompanied by the iPhone notification noise that — depending on the day — can sound like a dog whistle straight from Satan.

“Can you pick up some homosexual milk and some strawberries?”

“Uh, sure mom. Do you want straight strawberries? Or . . .”

My mother, bless her, was just beginning to understand the perils of autocorrect. In an attempt to abbreviate the word “homogenized” she thought the iPhone would know that she — a middle aged children and youth counsellor — would not be attempting to slander the LGBTQ community by typing “homo.”

Oh, how wrong she was. Siri has serious political views and she’s all “no homo” whenever she can.

The thing about our love of the text message is the speed at which we like to rapid-fire off answers. We text for convenience and because we can do it while multitasking (and, depending on your local laws, driving). We do it for brevity and we do it for concise yes, no, two-per-cent-milk answers.

But, it all goes awry if we don’t proofread our 160 characters. Autocorrect or no autocorrect, rule number one of HNTT: No homo.

Our generation — the tech gen — has developed entire language systems surrounding the limited space we’re given to work with in our text screen. We say “LOL” instead of “hahahaha,” we say “BRB” instead of “gotta go, bye,” we say “!!!” to indicate thrill, “. . .” to indicate annoyance, “.” to indicate we’re more than a little ticked off and ALL CAPS to indicate we mean business.

Just like in the English language and its there/their/they’re’s, texting involves a lot of reading between the lines and trusting context.

Enter: Emoji.

New phone operating systems do the work for you and provide a slew of smiley faces (and they also provide — as a German friend of mine calls them — sad smiley faces, angry smiley faces, and confused smiley faces), but back in the day we had to use the text equivalent of HTML coding and do it ourselves. However, the infamous “: )” can go horribly awry if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing:

eye patch smiley face

There is literally a group of people involved with Unicode who have the job of deciding what emojis should be created next. Presumably, part of that $700 you paid for your iPhone goes to them. They would be horrified at you. Rule number two of HNTT: leave it to the professionals.

So, you’ve mastered the art of sending two word replies and poop symbols. Congratulations! We’ve come a long way.

Now, you get to experience the text-happy syndrome the rest of us do. You are a slave to your phone, your carpel tunnel has returned for the first time since you took that secretary job in the ’70s and you know the difference between “I’m fine.” and “I’m fine!” Life is good, so you want to party.

mom text

Sure, mom. Blame your contacts. Rule number three of HNTT: Lay off the hooch.

And, there you have it! Three simple rules to make the lives of those who receive your text messages a little easier. And, let’s face it, you’re only texting your kids anyway — and you want them to like you.

xo & yw

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How to make KD without milk or margarine


This week’s InfoNews column is up and it’s all about me in the kitchen. Some of it’s embarassing, some of it’s gross, and all of it is a testimony to who I am. If you want to know how to make Kraft Dinner without milk or margarine, you can read it HERE.

xo & yw

Why you should go climb a mountain


On Saturday I climbed a mountain.

I don’t mean figuratively, either — I mean I literally climbed a mountain. Now I know that some of you are all like “so, you hiked,” big f-ing deal, right? No. This was not a hike. I literally just looked at a mountain, turned around and said “hey, you wanna climb that shit today?” This did not involve a trail, or a dog, or a Nike app. Not that all hikes involve those things, but mine usually do.

mountain 4

One foot in front of the other was my theory. It didn’t look intimidating from the front — I wasn’t expecting to have to rock climb. I wore running shoes and lulu lemon leggings and kept my bangs down for chrissakes.

What I should have known from my experiences in these hills as a child is that there is no such thing as a non-intimidating mountain. Trust me — I have the cactus needle scars on my butt to prove it.

mountain 2

“You know we’re doing exactly what Search and Rescue warns people not to do, right,” he yelled at me from ten feet above.

I was stuck between a rock and a hard place at that moment — probably in the exact position whoever created that saying was in when they blurted it out. My only problem was that both the rock and the hard place weren’t solid. In fact, every time I shifted my weight I caused a landslide of slate to go barreling down the hill — usually my foot with it.

My simple theory of one foot in front of the other wasn’t so hot in practice. At least not while the ground didn’t believe in staying put. One foot up, two feet back.

“We’re going to have to find another way down,”  I said, “this way will kill us.”

“Once we get to the top we’ll look for a trail down,” he said.

There was nowhere to go but up.

mountain 3

When we reached the top — sweaty, proud, and a little freaked out — we realized there was no other way down. Bruised, cut, bonked, scratched, dirty, prickled, stiff, bloodied we made it to the bottom two hours later.

Looking back up the mountain we had just conquered I was impressed, but it looked smaller than before.

“It looks so easy,” I said as I picked cacti out of my runners and rocks out of my palms.

Isn’t that always the case though? We see people’s successes, people’s happiness, we witness the rolls people find themselves on and we never stop to think that maybe, just maybe, things look different close up. Sturdy ground isn’t sturdy, rocks aren’t strong enough to climb, sagebrush is too brittle to grab on to and all they’ve been doing is trying their best to continue to put one foot in front of the other because they’ve realized turning around would be just as hard.

Sometimes we have to stand still for a minute and figure out our next move — judge the path of least resistance. Sometimes we have to keep plowing forward, not thinking about the ground slipping under our feet as we move. Sometimes we reach the top and realize the battle isn’t over.

Just because you can’t see the stepping stones doesn’t mean someone was able to fly — sometimes we’re just too far away to spot the uphill battle.

Everyone has a mountain to climb. None of them are easy.

xo & yw

pictures HERE