Tag Archives: humour

Books: I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman was part of my summer reading extravaganza. Nora, amongst many other things, is the screenwriter of Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally and for a brief moment in time she was married to  American journalist Bob Woodward.

Nora is funny. And she writes comfortably about the uncomfortable topic of women and aging. As a woman in that demographic I’m aware of the neck, the midriff and the hair. But the essay that killed me the most and made me feel that perhaps Nora and I, in another lifetime could be comrades in arms, was her piece on handbags. The essay is called “I Hate My Purse”.

We all know who we are when it comes to purses. A long time ago I gave up on the idea that I could fit whatever I needed in a tiny, well maintained, minimalist handbag.


In fact, I gave up when I asked my husband to buy me the biggest handbag he could possibly find for Christmas. And he did. And it’s huge. I spent 5 minutes thinking “I’ll put this here, that there and this here. Perfect. It will always be so and I’ll always find everything.” Evidently I didn’t know myself very well.

Nora , like myself, has everything in that handbag needed for every possible situation. We’ll begin with earplugs which fell out of the makeup bag which for unknown reasons can never be zipped closed.  The earplugs can be found at the bottom of the bag filled with hair and pencil shavings. The pencil shavings come from the pencil and sharpener I keep on hand at all times in the event I need to write something with a pencil and then subsequently the pencil requires sharpening  which means I need to have the sharpener. I can also find multiple lipsticks mostly without lids, often with pencil shavings in them with hair nicely embedded in the remaining lipstick.

Phone paraphernalia is always in separate compartments. Phone is in one, headset in another and cord in another. I have three hair brushes mostly because I can’t find them and so I keep throwing them in my bag. I have a hair straightener with me at all times because my hair is a shrill mess. I have a wallet that also serves as a small handbag. And of course, I have running shoes because you never know when you need to break out into a gallop (like today when I went to help a dog and its owner in distress). And of course an umbrella and a raincoat because I live in a rainforest. And I always have leftover airplane snack food that’s kept on hand (if I can find it) for emergency snacking, like if there’s an earthquake. Which brings me to the water bottle I also carry with me at all times. Again in multiples of at least two because as I mentioned I often can’t find things.

I haven’t even gotten to my lunch or my sporting gear which requires a whole other bag.

So yes, I liked this book. It made me laugh and at least for that chapter I felt there was a kindred spirit in the world. Nora also lived in New York which for me is a bit of a fantasy city. If only I had gone to New York instead of Vancouver when I left Toronto. Sometimes I like to waste time thinking about what if’s like that. She also likes to cook which is another thing I like about her and which she writes about with a great deal of humour. So ya, ladies, if you’re looking for a light read, this could be the book for you.


1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Random Musing 2016: My Grateful Life


2016 has not been the best year, not really. Even though I have a theory that the world has always been crazy and always will be crazy…this year felt like a special kind of crazy like we’re all tilting towards a precipice and we’re all going over the edge no matter what.

My sister and I have a theory that 2016 went haywire because for the first time in her life she had no game plan for her birthday. THAT’s the cause of all this mayhem.  The lady who lives life big didn’t plan her annual monumental February birthday bash and now everything is gone to shit. EVERYWHERE. Not just here. EVERYWHERE. Now there’s no bright light, no guiding star to get us through this darkness. People, can we please start over and tilt the world backwards, the right way this time. Come on. Let’s just strike this set.

Still I can’t help but ask myself if everything is lost. I am a person who fights for elephants to have the right to walk on this planet unchained and unviolated. That seems like a pretty hopeless situation to me but somehow I keep going although some days I’m not sure why. I just know that if I stop, and everyone stops then there’s no chance whatsoever. So I guess somewhere in there I must be hopeful. I can thank my mother for that.  It looks like she tossed  her half glass full set of genes over to me. Or maybe I’m like a compulsive craftswoman weaving life’s terrible and breathtaking offerings into a big carpet of life. These are all the things I am going to remember. These are all the things I’m going to feel, these are all the things I will carry with me moving forward into this uncertain future. . This is my grand reduction.

I will not ever forget the extraordinary ordinariness  of a phone call that brought me to a hospital to find out that my sister has brain cancer.

I am in awe of extraordinary courage. Because you never really know how you’ll deal with this kind of thing.  And the girl who lives large, brings her extraordinary gifts to bear in dealing with the issues that confront her.   She lives big no matter what.

I will never forget how beautiful it is to laugh in spite of every fucking blow that is being dealt her way. That we still laugh. Everyday.

I will never forget that it’s okay to say nothing because sometimes there are no words. And the ladies who like to live large can sit in silence, something they never imagined before.

I will never forget trying to climb a big scary wall after being convinced to do Tough Mudder by my sister.  That if you don’t think of the big picture, if you just consider the first small step, and then the next small step, if you trust in the people around you, that you can and will make it over the top. Step by step. That feels like hope to me.

I will never forget the moments in between. Those moments when Dave sits me down and introduces me to music and shows me the extraordinary in the ordinary. Or leading me to John Mavin who led me to myself and my creative mind and desire to build castles with words.

And the moments in between of  doing nothing. The beauty of nothingness. Just being.

2016 feels like a knock down and then get back up and fight kind of year. I’m not sure the road feels clear. Sometimes I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. But I often think of that wall and I know that step by step you can climb enormous walls. Don’t look down, don’t look up. Keep focussed. Be full of hope. Full of joy. And step by step I think we can get there. I’m happy to say my sister has filled the entire month of February with birthday festivities. I think this means the world will be okay.


1 Comment

Filed under Random Musing

How People React to Emergency Situations: For example, bear encounters, burning decorations and icy skids

So what was that I heard again?

I was listening to a news report the other day of a guy who came across a big black bear and he decided the best way to handle the situation was to lie down and play dead. The bear took his time smelling him up, down and around until he finally walked away. This got me to thinking about what I would do if I encountered a bear, the odds of which are quite high given that we live near bear laden woods where we walk Reuben.

You can never come to my desert island.

This led me to think about the time I was at a friend’s house and the Christmas decoration caught on fire above the fireplace. She yelled at me to go to the kitchen to get some water, call the fire department etc… Unfortunately the dancing flames from the fire had me mesmerized so I stood there admiring it while she yelled. Once the situation was under control (no thanks to me) she looked at me and said she would never want to be on a desert island with me (obviously doesn’t know the things I can do with my bra).

All of this has gotten me thinking about what kind of ‘responder’ I am in emergency situations. How does this fabulous brain of mine work when push comes to shove. Well, I’m starting to suspect that at this point in my life I’m a bit of a ‘stand there deer in the headlights kind of person’. If lightening strikes hug a tree. (while running from the bear possibly)

So let’s say I do run into a bear what would I do?

a) if Dave is there I would jump on his back and tell him to run . I know this because a rat was chasing me once and I did exactly this and thank god because it saved us both.

b) stand looking at the bear and try hard to remember the CBC Early Edition show I heard some time ago about what you do when you encounter a bear. What was it again? Wave your arms, scream and yell, look him dead in the eye and assume animal dominance.

C) or was it more like, whatever you do, don’t make a sound, only look at him briefly, wait, no don’t look at it him at all, stand as still as possible and hope he goes away? Or was that the grizzly bear?

d) continue hoping he goes away while fervently wishing you were somewhere else while hearing soundtrack  to be played at your wake (Body in a Box, please)

I had another situation when I was driving in a snowstorm. Suddenly the car skidded and my brain was forced back to driving school….that critical lesson of what to do when you go into a skid: a) turn into it b) turn out of it.

Well, I did the opposite of what I was supposed to do and ended up in a ditch.

Back to the bear briefly. I was hiking with some girlfriends yesterday and the question of the bear encounter came up. One woman in the group instantly said she would scream aggressively, wave her arms wildly, assert dominance but  not too much. I was impressed. She definitely knew what she was doing. If I was shipwrecked I’d want to be with her. She then went on to talk about how she had gotten trapped by vicious dogs in a bedroom and how she confronted them and engineered her husband’s escape. I had a similar situation and after yelling and screaming for help for quite a long time, I crawled through the world’s smallest bathroom window to safety. Apparently nobody missed me or could hear my shrieks.

I suspect there is nothing I can do to improve my emergency preparedness. This is who I am. And I’m still alive.


Filed under Random Musing