In which Nutty will never be a pretty pretty princess.

A while ago I blamed the stress of an audition for my utterly failing at missing a day of Nano Poblano.

The audition was for Once Upon a Mattress, and if you’re currently giving that title the side-eye, get your mind out of the gutter because it’s just a retelling of The Princess and the Pea.

Mind out of the gutter, I said!

The show is a hoot. There’s the requisite princess and the obligatory pea, but there’s also a heavily infantilized prince, his overbearing narcissist mother, a mute king, and an entire realm of people who are antsy because none of them are allowed to tie the knot before Jocasta’s Queen Aggravain’s precious widdle baby boy is wed to a princess she deems worthy.

The latest princess to show up – after 13 other failures – is the queen’s absolute worst nightmare. She’s spunky, she’s snarky, she doesn’t take shit from anyone, and she’s determined to pass whatever egregiously unjust test Aggravain has schemed up to try and prove she’s not princess enough for the heir to the throne.

I fucking love this princess.
They had me read for her.
I had a chance at being this awesome princess.
Casting notifications went out Thursday.
I am not the princess.

The last time I was a princess was 27 years ago. Had I known my one and only shot at being onstage royalty would occur at the ripe old age of eight, I might have taken the time to savor it more. Alas, I was eight, and thought the world would always be my oyster.

Which, granted, it kind of still is, it’s just the pearls don’t always come from where you might expect, and some of them are a bit wonky and maybe a little marked up and scratched from having been dropped repeatedly and gnawed on by the dog. You still wind up with an interesting necklace in the end, it just doesn’t remotely resemble any of the really perfect-looking ones you’ve seen in stores and you have to learn to be okay with that.

The pearl I received from this audition is not smooth and round and fit for a princess.
Instead it arrived in the shape of a knocked-up lady-in-waiting whose boyfriend is kind of a prick.

Meet Lady Larken. She and her knightly beau Sir Harry did a little spontaneous cookin’ during a sunset tryst, and now she’s got a bun in the oven, making her in desperate need of either a shotgun wedding or a way to hightail it out of town before everyone learns of her disgrace.

But with no one able to marry until the prince does, that shotgun wedding’s not looking so possible.

So Harry, being a semi-decent guy, goes princess hunting to help speed things along and returns with the aforementioned royal badass that I don’t get to play. But not before blaming the couple’s pregnancy predicament entirely on Larken for her “moment of weakness”. See? Kind of a prick.

Larken then proceeds to:
– mistake Princess Winnifred for a servant and be mortified about it
– have a fight with Harry
– unsuccessfully try to run away
– unsuccessfully try to run away again, this time dressed as a boy with the help of the king, the court jester and the minstrel
– have another fight with Harry, who has been unconcernedly passing the time since their first fight by dancing with a pretty French girl whose entire English vocabulary consists of the word “yes”

– have a heart to heart with the princess (who also thinks this is all Larken’s fault, because if Harry didn’t try any funny business with her when he was traveling with her back to the kingdom then obviously he’s a stand up guy who would never knock a gal up one minute and then go get jiggy with a little French trollop the next – note: this is the only thing I don’t like about Winnifred)
– go back to Harry and have one of the most unsatisfying reconciliations imaginable.

So basically, while everyone else at court is drinking and dancing and celebrating Winnifred – or reviling her, if you’re a bitchy queen – I get to be belittled, drag luggage around fruitlessly, and weep.

I mean, okay yeah, I’m still the third most important female character after Winnifred and the queen, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

But sometimes you just wanna be a goddamn princess.

Liquid banana bread and the disappearance of everything good in this world.

Every year I wait for the local drugstore to bring in its annual quota of holiday teas. The particular brand they stock every winter (and only ever bring in for the winter) offers flavors like Almond Biscotti and Carrot Cake and Black Forest Cupcake, and the best part is that the teas actually live up to their names when brewed, which is something that can be hit or miss for novelty store-bought sachets.

Anyway, there’s this one tea called Banana Cinnamon Spice which is basically banana bread in a cup and I love it and adore it and buy twenty billion boxes of it every December.

Every December except this one.

My liquid banana bread is nowhere to be found.

Because anything Nutty loves has to be taken away. It’s the law. Nutty likes it? Not allowed. Discontinue that shit. Nutty wants to buy it? Oooh, sorry, we don’t carry that product at this location anymore; have you tried Ontario or Nova Scotia?

This is why I stockpile. Nutty Hubby used to laugh at me for hoarding products I was afraid would be taken away too soon to that great big retail space in the sky, but then he began to see firsthand why it was necessary.

There was the piña colada flavored drink I loved that used to be sold in every convenience store in the city. First my regular store stopped carrying it, then my alternates, then even the little specialty hole-in-the-wall places that sold shit like bacon and celery soda quit stocking it. Nutty Hubby managed to find me two last bottles of it in a store by his work, and then that was that.

I am a curse on menus. If I like a restaurant dish enough to order it more than once, they’ll either change it beyond recognition or stop offering it altogether. I have been the killing blow for an unacceptable number of Nutty Hubby’s and my favorite appetizers. I have wiped some of the best entrees in the city out of existence. I am become death, destroyer of unique and flavorful side dishes.

One time I thought I lucked out. One of my favorite salmon dishes got a makeover, and for once I absolutely loved everything they changed.

They changed it back almost immediately.

I have been the harbinger of doom for countless hair products, bath products, makeup items, and candy flavors.

And now my tea is gone.

I had a minor panic attack last night at the liquor store thinking my most prized holiday beer (Whistler Brewing’s Winter Dunkel, if anyone was curious) had peaced out on me too, but luckily they had just changed the packaging a bit – and by “a bit” I mean it now comes in little dwarf bottle four-packs instead of the massive single bottles you used to be able to use as a defensive weapon in the event that anybody tried to take them away from you – so it wasn’t immediately recognizable. But I found it in the end.

Sadly, change of any kind has usually signaled the beginning of the end where it involves most beverages I have loved and lost, so I guess I’d better drink every bottle of this year’s haul as if it were my last. Because for all I know, it might be.

Every so often, though, miracles do happen. Remember how I’m a hoarder?

Guess what I found buried at the back of my tea cupboard when I got home? (Yes, I have a tea cupboard, don’t fucking judge me.)

Paranoid Hoarder Nutty to the rescue!

This needed celebrating. With tea.

I put the kettle on. I set out my favorite mug. The water bubbled; the Nut poured; the tea steeped. And then    a little milk, a little sugar, a little Evan Williams, and…ahhh, liquid banana perfection.


…what? You don’t put whiskey in your tea?

Pfft. More for me, then.

NanoPoblano, Day 19: Important things I have learned this week.

When I’m not busy blushing and begging people to stop praising me over my upcoming New York Times bestselling novel, due to hit shelves on November 23, 2062, I’m a regular person just like you.

(Okay, maybe a slightly better person than you. But I would never say that to your face.)

I’m not perfect (no really, stop protesting, I’m not), I don’t know everything (just most things), and I, too, am learning new facts about myself and the world I live in on a daily basis (like the fact that even if you’re a future famous author, people will still feel free to cut you off in traffic).

For instance, one situation being a future famous author doesn’t protect you from is accidentally overdoing it at the gym your first day back after a three week hiatus.


Apparently skipping your usual upper body workout because your preferred resistance machines are all currently taken and deciding to go to town on your legs instead will have the result of making your legs very, very angry with you.

Especially when you remember you haven’t done calf raises in approximately two eons and decide in the adrenaline of the moment to do a few extra sets to make up for the lapse so you’ll look extra good in your new 4 inch heels at your husband’s work’s Christmas party on Saturday, because logic.

Make sure you do this on Monday, so your calves will still be nice and pissed at you for your weekly Wednesday skating night.


Also, if possible, schedule this lapse in common sense so that it coincides with the draining and maintenance of your gym’s whirlpool so you’ll have absolutely no chance to relax in its hot bubbling bliss and let your riled-up leg muscles unwind a bit before they have to power walk back home in the freezing rain.

This is also a good week to be reminded of the fact that when the disposable coffee cups in the main lobby say “biodegradable” on them, they mean IMMEDIATELY.

Most days I remember to tote my industrial-sized travel mug with me when I have cause to visit the building wing with the “good coffee” at work, but on occasion I forget, and it’s then that I have to call on my speed drinking skills unless I want to witness composting in action at my own desk.

These ultra-biodegradable menaces of a paper cup display the requisite illustration of a large green leaf as proof of their environmental friendliness, and are covered in text extolling their own virtuous status as a fully renewable and compostable member of the temporary tableware industry whose contents could be extremely hot.

They do not, however, mention the fact that if you dare to take a break between sips, chances are your much-needed dose of scalding liquid alertness will just go ahead and start eating right through the bottom of the fucking cup.

As someone who enjoys drinking their coffee in a leisurely fashion from the lip of the cup as God intended instead of sucking it out frantically through a crater in the bottom as one does with a melting scoop of ice cream in a broken cone, I don’t think I’ll be forgetting my mug again anytime soon.

Speaking of things bursting loose from their containers, on Tuesday I took myself on a little mini-shopping trip to make sure I was fully stocked with the appropriate undergarments to ward off any potential fancy blowfish moments in my pretty new navy lace dress.

As I wandered through the lingerie department of the Hudson’s Bay Company, marveling at the sheer volume of shapewear and other self-loathing quick fixes available for purchase, I came upon a rack full of Spanx.

At this point I’m sure you’d have to have been living under a rock never to have heard of Spanx, but this was somehow the first time I’d ever been in the actual physical presence of the legend.

Spanx were all the rage on the wedding forums when I was a bride to be. I had never heard a bad word said about them, apart from the obvious cursing during the struggle to get into the damn things. “Magic!” everyone said. “I’ve never had such a perfect figure in my life!”

And now there the sainted garments were, dangling right in front of my nose. Of course I had to try them.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first: I failed at Spanx. I am the first person I am aware of (possibly the first person in recorded history, for all I know) on whom Spanx did not perform a miraculous demonstration of slimming and smoothing. Quite the opposite, in fact.

My Spanx CREATED fat rolls where there were none.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no size double zero Victoria’s Secret model with .5% bodyfat and a cellulite-repelling genetic heritage, but I do all right. All I was looking for was a little something to help keep the holiday food babies at bay.

Instead my midsection looked like someone’s failed attempt at making sausages.

Tearing myself away from the horrifying image in the dressing room mirror, I pulled out my phone and Googled Spanx’ sizing charts, wondering if I needed to go a size up.


My measurements were spot-on. Apparently Spanx just hate me. I am incompatible with Spanx.

But I’ll say this, I had a whole new appreciation for my body in its natural state when I rolled that overpriced sausage casing back off. And you know what they say – the best things in life are free.

I look forward to many more enjoyable years of not purchasing Spanx.

The butt dial of destiny.

Someone called me on my cell phone yesterday.

Yeah, it surprised the hell out of me too. Do people still talk to each other on those? Is that a thing? “My phone is buzzing, but it’s not a text. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS.”

Anyway I didn’t pick up because I was at work and regardless I don’t answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize. So I just let it go to voicemail. I thought that would be the end of it, but to my further bemusement, the caller actually left a message.

Sort of. It was ten seconds of silence.

I was pretty sure it was a junk phone call, but I don’t like blocking a number unless I’m absolutely certain they’re up to no good, so I did my customary Googling to check if the caller was a known spammer. No spam reports came up in the search results. But a résumé did. Someone in the film industry listing a bunch of assistant director credits.


Curiosity and boredom compelled me to click the link and begin stalking my mystery caller’s work history. Nothing too impressive, a couple of campy films, a DVD feature or two, a few obscure TV shows…

Wait a minute. I know that TV show.

I was on that TV show.

Shit just got real.

Ten years ago, I spent one extremely lucrative day as an extra after being tipped off by a friend about an open casting call (my friend would later suffer some minor butthurt over the fact that I got hired and she did not, proving no good deed goes unpunished). The episode I appeared in was in the third season of the show…the very season on which my mystery dialer had been working as second assistant director.

Getting a random call from the 2nd AD of a show you were involved with for a mere 16 hours a decade prior would be strange enough in itself. But you have might have figured out by now that when it comes to strangeness, my life never strives for just sorta strange – it makes a beeline right for absurdly strange.

Because it occurred to me several hours after the fact that I don’t even have the same phone number anymore.


Option 1: Mr. 2nd AD developed a mad crush on me during my 16 hour stint on set, but it took him ten years to work up the courage to do anything about it. Upon learning that my old phone number now belongs to someone else, he went full stalker until he finally tracked down my new number.

Option 2: Mr. 2nd AD was so captivated by my stellar performance of drinking a cup of flat Coca-Cola coffee in the background of a cafe that he absolutely had to have me back to reprise the role in the new project he happens to be currently working on. Upon learning that my old phone number now belongs to someone else, he went full stalker until he finally tracked down my new number.

Option 3: Fate is fucking with me.

I’m 99% sure it was Option 3, but 1% of me thinks that’s still one excessively coincidental butt dial.

Why can’t I have this kind of luck with the lottery?

The Ukrainian glassblower.

The mall kiosk was laden with dangling, glittering things. Blown glass in forms of both achingly beautiful simplicity and fantastical detail, all clearly wrought by skilled hands. A fledgling collector of unique glassware, I stared in unabashed awe as I walked slowly around the display, hands clasped firmly behind my back to avoid the temptation to touch. “Look with your eyes, not with your hands,” I recalled reading on a sign somewhere once. Advice worth following. I would not want to break any of these masterpieces.

The artist approached me with glowing eyes and warm smile. “You like?”

“They’re great,” I replied truthfully. I was 16 and as shy as shy gets, but I could admit that much before retreating back into my shell.

“I am from Ukraine, and these are all made by me with my two hands.”

I nodded politely, suitably impressed. “Wow. Well, they’re gorgeous.” I turned my attention back to the glass, but The Ukrainian Glassblower’s eyes stayed on me.

“You are from here?”

Sigh. Please just let me look at the pretties. “All my life.” I forced a chuckle.

“Your city Vancouver, it is gorgeous as well. I have not been here long, but what I have seen, it is beautiful.”

I smiled and nodded again, not really knowing what to say. I’ve never been a good acceptor of compliments, even when they’re not about me.

“Tell me, what is good to see here? Someone yesterday tells me I should rent a bike and go around the Stanley Park seawall. Have you done this?” He reached up to adjust the position of one of his glass pieces and used the motion to casually move slightly closer to me.

OH SHIT, IS HE FLIRTING WITH YOU? HE IS DEFINITELY FLIRTING WITH YOU. ABORT. ABORT. “Um, no, but I know people who have and they say it’s great. You should definitely do it!” I began inching backward in the direction of the food court. “Anyway, uh…”

Too late. The Ukrainian Glassblower was already leaning in and turning up the smolder. “But this is perfect, you can come with me then! Are you free next weekend? Saturday, Sunday? We can get lunch, spend whole day in the park!”

Oh man what have I gotten myself into I just wanted to look at the pretty glass I can’t afford and now this guy wants me to be his tour guide slash date and okay so he’s cute and has an accent and he smells good but he’s like thirty and I’m only sixteen and- “Um, well, actually I have a boyfriend and I’m pretty sure he’d rather I didn’t go off cycling around the seawall with every Ukrainian glassblower I meet. But, uh, thanks for asking?”

The Ukrainian Glassblower’s face instantly fell. “Oh,” he said sadly. I thought I detected the slightest hint of a pout. And I was just starting to feel irrationally guilty about how crestfallen he looked, when suddenly he shrugged, beamed at me and said, with a wink, “He can come too!”

So much for guilt.

That’s a paddlin’, or, “Everything I know about pest control I learned from Home Alone.”

In 2001, my friend Andi moved away to Massachusetts to attend college there. I was staying in Vancouver for university and was sorry to see her go. There were only a handful of people I bothered to keep in touch with after high school, and of those, she was the only one I spent time with regularly. Still, we had the internet. We kept up such a flurry of online conversation that pretty soon the miles didn’t seem to matter so very much.

Of course, that didn’t stop me from jumping at the chance to go visit when she invited me to spend a week with her during the summer of her second year. I booked my flights and then counted down the days in giddy anticipation as Andi went into planning mode, trying to cram as many places and activities into our schedule as she could.

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The Nut, a ventriloquist and a dummy walk into a bar…

Every time I start feeling like a well-adjusted, productive member of society, the powers that be roll up their sleeves and devise a new scheme to remind me that life is essentially one big ongoing joke, and I’m just one of its many punchlines.

Sometimes I lose my birth control pills to horny arachnids. Sometimes I get trapped in bathrooms at formal occasions. And sometimes, I’m just a plain ol’ dummy.

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