Macaron gone macawrong

macarons_wow

This week’s InfoNews column is up and it’s about perspective. And doubt. And looking at the glass half full. And it’s also about dessert. You can read it HERE if that sounds like a recipe for a good time.

image here // or if you want to see MY macarons . . . here

XOYW1

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Why you need to start your own detective agency, STAT

Melissa Chaib 1

The house on Dever Drive was green stucco. One of those early 80’s shoeboxes that we tried to make feel like home, but that always ended up smelling like something we never cooked. We had lived there for four years by the time the yard sale rolled around.

My brother Colin and I took on the responsibility of the extra float. We also manned the lemonade stand. You don’t know this when you’re a little kid, but lemonade stands are pointless. Nobody ever wants lemonade, they just buy it because you’re a cute 8 year old.

It was July, and it was hot. Desert hot. Dry heat that refuses to let you sweat but makes you feel constantly thirsty. Colin and I propped our little table up in between the two crab apple trees in our front yard, taking extra care to avoid getting tangled in hanging caterpillars.

We sat there for two hours while my Dad heckled with neighbors over the price of his ham radio gear. Our youngest brother, Stephen, lay napping on the grass beside us in his diaper while our last brother, Ben, was busy trying to re-claim all the toys he had previously decided to put up for sale. No one wanted lemonade. The yard sale was full of too many other goods.

“I have an idea” I said to Colin. “Let’s become detectives.”

Colin, 6 at the time, was thrilled to participate. I got smelly markers – orange and cherry scented – and wrote the words out on a piece of cardboard.

DETEKTIVES AT YOUR SERVIS

As I propped the sign up in front of the lemonade, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace from across the street came over.

“Whatchoo got there?” Mr. Wallace boomed.

Oh, we’re detectives now!” I called out.

“No, no” he said “behind the sign?”

I turned, deflated, to get him a cup.  “It’s our Mom’s lemonade” I said “fifty cents.”

He drank it fast and asked for another before leaning in to whisper something to us.

“I’ve got this problem, you see” he began “…it’s my apple trees…”

Colin climbed up onto the table excitedly, prepared for whatever was to come.

“The apples just keep going missing. Do you think you could sort this out for me?”

We took his ten dollars, with a promise of ten more to come when we gave him the answer. He took another glass of lemonade.

Mrs. Wallace looked at him with sparkling eyes and as the two of them walked away — Mr. Wallace to the ham radio and Mrs. Wallace to the Tupperware — Colin and I made the decision.

“Racoons!” we yelled after them. “It’s got to be raccoons.”

Colin held out his hand for the other ten dollars.

And we both knew at that moment our detective careers were over.

***

When did we start to feel self-conscious about reaching for the stars and falling short? When did we start worrying about the logistics of our big dreams and stop doing it because it might be nothing except for kind-of fun? What is it about the dread pirate responsibility that stops us in our tracks? Why, as we grow into the ages where the possibility of success is two-fold, do we pop the top back onto the Pringle container? We don’t need to fear rejection letters and bad Trip Advisor reviews — the only thing we have to fear is not putting the sign up.

This week, go forth and start your own detective agency. Who knows, you might even make a quick 20 bucks.

XOYW1

image credit: Melissa Chaib

What happens when you accept bad vibes only

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When was the last time you had a week?

You know the kind — everything spirals into a giant catastrophic bad day, every day. It’s like that scene in Finding Nemo where the super cute sea turtles are riding the current all crazy, except they were all like “woah, dude” and you’re all like “fuck, man.”

Well, I’ve had one of those weeks.

So much so that when I woke up this morning I had to put myself back to bed because I was so miserable. I was all maybe I’ll try waking up again, and not being such a colossal C-U-Next-Tuesday. Of course, it didn’t help at all, because Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” woke me up and informed me that I was now late.

Everything from forgetting really important birthdays to smashing Steve’s car to getting ready to move into a new place to having freak-outs about asbestosis . . . (that was totally warranted, FYI. I wasn’t being paranoid) this week has just made me feel crappy.

And it steamrolls. Oh man, does it steam roll. If Monday’s bad you just know nothing good can come from it.

But, last night, in an attempt to make up for that forgotten birthday I told you about, I took a girlfriend out for a well-deserved dinner. The moment I stepped into her car, my entire world was rocked.

Radiating out of this woman, and literally punching me in the face, was the most incredible and powerful and positive and beautiful energy. She told me stories of how she had recently opened herself up to accepting things from *The Universe* (put in asterisks because you can insert whatever you pray to here) and how everything was falling into place perfectly.

& I was like . . . what am I doing wrong this week? I am attracting all the bad vibes. All of them. Every single last bad vibe on the planet I am attracting to myself. But other people are attracting good vibes only. What is the difference between a person who attracts all the bad vibes and one who attracts only good ones?

good vibesI think it’s that whole you get what you give mantra that they use in all those crappy financial advice books. For the record, Scotiabank, I’m not richer than I think, no matter what I invest with you.

Anyway. If all I’m sending out is negative, high strung, whiney energy, it kind of makes sense that those are the “vibes” I’m going to have reciprocated.

Which is why, earlier this afternoon, I thought I was really onto something when I started sloughing things off and slowing down and keeping my complaints to myself. I thought I was doing it right.

But then I bent over and the zipper on my pencil skirt exploded from the pressure of my bass (seriously, how stuck in your head is that awful song?!) and I just stood there like . . .

REALLY?

But in the scheme of things, it’s my weekend now, so I’m just rocking the 1990’s around-the-waist sweater trick until I have a chance to change.

How do you guys attract good vibes only? I wanna be more chill, bro.

XOYW1

Why you might not be ready to let go

cotton candy ice cream

The last time I ate cotton candy ice cream I was 18 and crying over it.

Actually, I was crying over my boyfriend breaking up with me, which he just so happened to do over a bowl of cotton candy ice cream, but I just naturally associate the two.

Thing is, before he broke up with me, cotton candy ice cream was my favorite thing in the world. The way it makes your poop blue for two days because of all the food coloring.

Just kidding, I liked it for the taste.

Anyway, after that whole debacle I kind of swore it off. The break up debacle, not the blue poop. Gross you guys.

I’ve been craving cotton candy ice cream since January, though, and as the most beautiful Indian summer  (thanks global warming!) comes to an end, I thought I better woman up and shove my face full of it before the October rain makes me want cotton candy tea instead. Which I’m not sure is a thing, but it probably is.

As always, I made it a big deal. And by big deal I mean I made sure it was real ice cream and not gelato and that my boyfriend Steve would eat it with me so that I could consider it some kind of grand non-break-up feat and not like a re-enactment of the opening scene of Bridget Jones’ Diary.

“So, are we breaking up?” he asked me on the park bench over my cone of artificially colored and flavored frozen milk. He knew the story.

It was a good question. That would be smart. Complete the circle. Welcome cotton candy ice cream back into my life with a fresh new purpose. I could be in control of the dairy product’s fate once again.

The ice cream started to melt down my hand as I sat there contemplating half-heartedly his suggestion. I licked it up. It melted more. And before I could do anything besides Instagram it, the entire child-sized ice cream cone left my hands and landed face down on the pavement.

Now was my chance.

“No,” I said as I reached for the bowl he had in his hands, “nope, we’re not breaking up.”

As I spooned the ice cream into my mouth in a much less fashionable manner than I had been moments before I realized that sometimes we hold on to things longer than we need to, simply because we’re waiting until we’ll be able to appreciate the fact we have let them go.

I don’t know if cotton candy ice cream will ever be my absolute favorite again — I’m pretty partial to Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked — but I could certainly have a cone-full every now and then and bask in the glory of knowing I’ve let one more thing go.

Because let’s face it, if we’re going to make room to hold any grudges at all in our lives, it certainly shouldn’t be over something that makes your poop multi-coloured.

P.S. I want you to know I asked Steve if he minded being introduced to you all in a post where I talked about poop. He told me he trusted my creative judgement. So, a break up may still be pending.

XOYW1

 

Why You Need To Do Something Stupid, Immediately

This past weekend I left my Grandmother and Aunt in the London suburbs as I flew to the Channel Islands to visit my Disney sister, Tori. The last time I saw her I was riding Peter Pan drunk and throwing my cell phone into the air as opposed to my Mickey Mouse ears. It’s hard to think it has been 8 months since I left the tropical storms of Florida behind and moved back to Canada (brr.)

Seeing as I’m always in the throes of some sort of identity crisis and right now is no exception, I figured nothing would centre me more than showing up on her doorstep and reliving what was – I maintain – the simplest four months of my entire life.

Anyway, I couldn’t come all the way over here and not see her. What’s the point of taking shitty foreign jobs if you can’t make friends that last a lifetime, amiright?

Maintaining friendships when you don’t like staying in one place is tough. First of all, there’s the whole international-texting-cost-a-million-dollars-thanks-Rogers-communications thing, but secondly, it’s difficult to remain close to someone if you’re not actually close to them.

I mean we’ve all dabbled with long-distance relationships, but that’s what PornHub and FaceTime are for.

Unfortunately, while I love my girlfriends and frequently send them sexts to edit before I use them IRL, the situation doesn’t have a temporary quick fix. You kind of just have to make the most of it when you are together.

I’ve learned that the best way to bond with someone is to do something stupid together. Get accosted by the police in a church parking lot, take a spontaneous trip across the border, go skinny dipping at midnight, purposefully let the car run out of gas in the middle of the desert, drunk dial your boss when you’re at a Metallica concert and tell him you’re both going to be sick tomorrow . . . you know the drill.

You remember stupid things. You remember things that make good stories. You remember things that put you out of your comfort zone and most importantly, you remember the person you experienced them with.

So while I’m not telling you to go off and drink a 40 of Jim Beam and see where the night takes you, I’m going to gently suggest that the next time you only have a moment to spend with someone important to you, you do something stupid.

Jump out of a plane, go sing hip hop karaoke, crash a wedding with an open bar, break into your parents house and make bacon at 3am even though you don’t live there anymore . . .

And I promise that the next time you see them – even if it’s 8 months from now – it will be like no time has passed at all.

xo & yw

 

 

Why You Should Listen To Your Whims

Back in September I wrote a blog post about how I was deciding to live minimally and refusing to buy a couch.

When I say I was refusing to buy a couch, what I really meant was I preferred to eat as opposed to have something squishy to sit on while I ate. Money isn’t really one of my playing cards these days.

So, I made the best of it. I set up a corner of my living room that was dedicated to having a permanent floor bed and I rejoiced in the idea that — one day — when I was a mother of three and financially responsible enough to own Anthropolgie furniture while at the same time still able to afford lunch meat, I could give my kids epic story times.

“I remember when I was so poor I had to use my carpet as a couch and eat rice noodles and soya sauce four nights a week!”

And they’d be all “Mom! You own, like, forty pairs of Louboutins. That did NOT happen.”

But that day dream got boring REAL quick, seeing as I don’t plan on having kids for another . . . very long time.

So, still being poor, I added an extra activity to my morning routine. After I had coffee and planned my imaginary life for 20 minutes on Pinterest, I would scour the less-than-$100 couch section of Kijiji.

I have been scouring the less-that-$100 couch section on Kijiji since November — that’s how shitty the less-than-$100 couch section on the Kamloops, British Columbia Kijiji is.

My apartment started to make me angry because all it housed was 1000 books and 100 pairs of heels. And a cat (who, if you can’t tell from the above picture, is about the size of my entire apartment #fat).

My productivity dwindled down to nothing when I was at home because I was just so much more tempted to look up “how to make an empty apartment look full” as opposed to writing papers on the chivalric code.

I realized that — whether I was a fake minimalist or not (not)— in order to be “happy” at home, home had to feel like home. And — whether I liked it or not (not) — deep in my heart I knew that my home needed a couch.

That’s why, four days ago, when I saw the most perfectly hideous, but also totally presh couch and chair set for sale by the cutest old couple ever I chose not to pay my phone bill, and why I am now currently being productive on my brand new-old floral print couch.

I feel like a new woman.

And no, not because I’m sitting on the most hipster couch ever.

I feel like a new woman because I allowed myself to listen to what it was I felt I really needed, despite how trivial it seemed.

It’s my experience that we have a hard time doing that for ourselves. We tell ourselves that we are going to remain minimalistic, because it’s practical. We tell ourselves to only get an Americano as opposed to a white chocolate mocha, because who really needs to drink 500 calories when you can drink 0 and still get a buzz.

It goes back to that old parental statement I got all the time growing up — you don’t NEED it, Andria. You WANT it.

Maybe. Maybe I didn’t need a couch, because my carpet was perfectly functional. Maybe I did just wantone.

But what’s the difference if what you want makes positive changes in your life?

Waking up this morning and walking into my living room that now appears to actually be a living room, I knew I had fixed something that had been irking me since I moved in. It wasn’t that I wanted a couch, I simply needed a home.

Sometimes our whims are the best indication of what it is that’s really eating us.

So, if I was you, I’d just get the white chocolate mocha already and see what happens.

xx

Being Grateful for Fear

praise

I sat there listening to the sermon.

I reminded myself to breathe properly; in through my nose, out through my mouth, directly into my diaphragm. I felt heavy.

To my left sat my Mother; straight back, eyes open, fully present, collected, calm.  To my right sat my Father; hunched forward, chin resting on his hand, making direct eye contact, absorbing, feeling. They both occasionally pulled out their iPhones and made notes.

“That could be useful for me” my Mom leaned in and whispered.

“Yes, I might use that in my message tomorrow” my Dad would respond behind my back.

I would breathe.  In 2, 3, 4 Out, 2, 3, 4 In 2, 3, 4 Out 2, 3, 4.

That morning, I was drawn towards a change. I didn’t know what the change was, only that I didn’t have time for it; didn’t have the energy to accept it; didn’t know how to go about letting it into my life. At the same time, I knew I didn’t have a choice.

We are all given permission to change ourselves. I do not know why we tell ourselves it must be done slowly, must be done safely, must be done in small increments, must be at the right moment, must be comfortable – but I do know that is false. Change occurs inside of us in an instant; it is the breaking of the camels back, the last straw, the sense that we have been overcome. And yet the external aspect of change holds us back. How do we appear/act/seem to have changed, on the outside?

We have no reason to fear waking up anew – the ability to do so is the gift we were given as humankind – and yet I sat there inhaling stale air and exhaling the desire for new breath. I wanted change to stay out.

Because I feared failure.
Because I feared not being accepted.
Because I feared incoherence.
Because I feared fear itself, which is such a pivotal part of making changes.

I still fear these things, but I am grateful for this fear. Its consistent presence allows me to recognize there is nowhere to go but forward, into change, into development, into new birth. It reminds me every minute of every day that change is not optional, it is not passive, and it is not easy. It assures me that right this second I have the ability to inhale new breath and exhale the old.

I understand that change and all it encompasses isn’t built in a day, but sometimes I am reminded that Faith can be.

xo & yw