only me.

Hello, friend…

I’m in Montreal for the weekend, back in my hometown, telling jokes and dining on the BEST eats with family (pro tip: when dining out, make sure one of your family members is a chef and knows the chef of where you’re eating- because… ohmylord, I’m being treated like a Queen!!).

Anyway. So last night, at a gig I had, this nice looking guy offers me a drink and we talked a little, and he got me another drink and it was really lovely! He asked what my plans were while I was in town, I told him about my other show, he invited me to a party… amazing, right? Right. So he takes my number, calls me so I have his number and we part ways. I am on cloud nine. (Literally- there was a lot of pot being smoked at this gig.)

And I get in the car. And I check my phone to add his number. And my heart sinks.

He clearly hung up when calling me too quickly because I NEVER GOT HIS PHONE NUMBER. My phone had no missed calls. Why didn’t I check it as he called me and not simply assume all was well??!!!

NEVER ASSUME, FRIENDS. NEVER.

It just makes an ass out of u and me.

seinfeld-saying-newman-meme-1432838940

 

xo.

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My Top 5 Amazing Women of 2017

Hello, friends…

A lot of lists float around this time of year and I will happily add to the pile if you don’t mind. 😉

I know SO MANY AMAZING women and this is stupidly hard to chop down to only 5 to mention but… these are ladies you should know about & follow on the social media. Because they are awesome and I don’t know how I got so lucky to know them.

 

My Top 5 Amazing Women of 2017

  1. My niece, Charlotte … she’s kicking butt in the kitchens of Montreal and growing up into the coolest lady.  aaauuuggghh….  I AM SO PROUD OF HER!!!!! 
  2. Ashley Wittig…  co-owner of Bunner’s, teacher at Misfit Studio,  and just all around really really awesome lady (who I don’t see enough of really- must change that in 2018…). Follow her on Instagram @ashleyhalston
  3. The ladies of Baroness von Sketch… if you’ve not seen this show for some reason, please change that NOW.  I am blown away by what they’ve done and insanely proud of how my friends Jennifer Whalen & Aurora Browne have grown since I first met them many moons ago. Follow them on Twitter @BaronessShow
  4. Through making my documentary No Responders Left Behind, I have gotten to know some PHENOMENAL women… widows of 9/11 responders, sisters, wives of responders and responders themselves. So to ladies like Caryn, Taylor, Jennifer, Rebecca, Wendi, Marzena…. I marvel at you. And adore you. I won’t share each of their social media handles, but I will ask that you check out organizations that mean a lot to them:http://www.johnnymacfoundation.org/
    https://www.theraypfeiferfoundation.org/
    http://fealgoodfoundation.com/
  5. I have to give a LOT of love and thanks and gratitude to my editor at Hello GigglesRachel Sanoff because she is just the best. 🙂 Thanks to her, you get to read my essays and I get to share my stories with so many people. She is the best. And you should go check out Hello Giggles because it’s a great space to learn and share…  follow us on Twitter @hellogiggles

 

In truth, I could list 50 women on this… but it’s a small, amazing drop of the amazing people I know. My mom is up there, my sister and sister-in-law, my friend Jenny who’s starting her own wedding organization business, the wonderful women who run amazing comedy rooms in Toronto and invite me on… I cannot wait to see where we take things in 2018.

xo

the power of 2017

Hello, friend…

Winter is officially here. Christmas is a few sleeps away. 2017 is slowly coming to an end.

Before I head off to a stand-up gig tonight, a few thoughts on this year. Now, at the start of the year with Trump being sworn in and the gong show that has continued on since… at the start of the year my overall impression of what I thought 2017 would have been like wasn’t a pleasant picture. I’m still devastated he’s in charge in the States, but what the past few months have given me is waaaaaay more hope than sadness.  And that has surprised me, to be honest.

But just the power of people coming together for common good has been good for the soul. I’m still concerned where things will go on this planet, I worry what the world will be like when my nephews and niece are my age BUT… for now… for now, I look back at this year and I’m happy.

Did I fall in love? Um, no. No, I still really suck at establishing a solid relationship.

BUT. Before you think “well, what else matters, really?” First off, shut up… secondly…

This year I became a contributor at Hello Giggles. My first story with them (insert shameless plug here)…

https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/money-career/left-entertainment-industry-became-a-waitress/

… well, that landed me an interview on CBC’s Radio’s Fresh Air program.

I started doing stand up in ANOTHER PROVINCE. The fact that my first gig outside of Toronto was in Gatineau, Quebec still bewilders me. That in January 2018 I’ll celebrate my 2 year standup-versary bewilders me. My stand-up career started at the tender age of 38. Amazing. 😉

My nephew turned 1 this July. The tiniest Zemnickis is just beginning his adventure and I marvel at simply watching him watch the world. This is all new to him. Hummus is new to him and the little man really loves hummus and making silly faces. I think he if he can hang onto that as he grows up, he’ll be set.

My documentary, No Responders Left Behind, my FIRST documentary with my friends Rob, Kristine & Jaime completed filming and was sent off to the Tribeca Film Festival for consideration for 2018. I am going to crap my pants if we get in.

I know, I know… I didn’t find love in 2017 but… the year isn’t over yet and truth be told… there was a LOT of love around me this year. On the good side, my friends Heather & Jeremy got married and invited me to their wedding. My friend Zane married his love, Willa. And people I loved so much, Ana-Alecia and Ray, well they lost their battle with Cancer but they left behind SO much love and light I hope their magic stays with me for always and always.

And the MeToo movement. MY god. What a beautiful thing that has been, because those of us who have been silent and hiding our scars… We can SPEAK UP and SPEAK UP and SPEAK UP. I just… I love it. Because those scars are heavy. And they need to gooooooooooo. And even if you can speak up, you know that you’re not alone and you’re loved and BELIEVED that it’s not and never was your fault.

Power is a good word for this year. Some have taken it in a bad direction, but I think the power of good is winning out. And we will Care Bear Stare the pants out of it as 2017 ends and 2018 begins.

 

 

xo.

 

funny / not funny

Hello, friend…

I’m about to dash off to work but I need to get something off my chest before I head off into the world today. Yesterday, on the ol’ Facebook, I spotted a cartoon someone shared making light of how many people seem to be coming out with their stories of sexual assault. There are a lot of people. I get it.

I just started at my computer, looking at this cartoon.

And my thought was simply “oh. boy.”

Here’s the thing. There’s power in numbers, right? If you see a lot of people speaking up, this beautiful domino effect occurs, you can tell you story at long last. Because the truth is, when you experience something utterly horrible like rape or sexual harassment you tend to feel like the person who did that to you will be believed before you will. Because most of the time, a lot of the time, that is the case. So you keep quiet.

And this thing bubbles inside of you for YEARS.

This will likely make ZERO sense if you’ve not had this happen to you.

Those of us who have not spoken up yet, or are doing so after 30+ years aren’t “jumping on the bandwagon”, this isn’t a sports team for fuck’s sake. It’s happening because we feel safe to speak out, well those who can and are able. Some are not. Some may never be. I had something happen to me when I was a teenager- I still cannot speak of it and I’m almost 40 for christ sake.  (That sentence is the MOST I have ever said aloud about it. Really.) I’ve experienced sexual harassment at work, taunted “because I wasn’t in on the joke” and called a bitch because I wasn’t being “one of the boys”.

Sure, I will acknowledge that some people lie and pretend they are in this shitty, shitty club for a moment of fame. I have no idea why, but people can be dumb. They make those who have actually experienced stuff really really scared to come out. You turtle back inside of your shell.

I love turtles, but. Anyway.

Person who made that cartoon and those who shared it, please don’t be surprised SO many stories are coming to light. Be supportive that folks have the courage to speak up.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go to work and then prepare a roast chicken dinner party and then transcribe for a documentary. Because I got shit to do.

 

xo.

confidence

Hello, friend…

What a day it’s been. You see, along with writing & stand-up & filmmaking… I also work in bakery. And today, man, you’d think at the first signs of winter here in Toronto folks were thinking they had to stock up for the next few months… we were slammed. Which is great! For any business, especially a small one, you want that much foot traffic. And for the most part, everyone was super to deal with today which is awesome. (Though I could really deal with less of watching couples making out in front of me. It’s like, cool… you’re in love… you are so stoked we have cinnamon buns that you feel the need to make a baby in front of me…. but please, just order something and then rip each other’s clothes off. Pleaseandthankyou.)

At the end of the night, as I closed up, I went to the washroom and I smiled at myself in the mirror. Sure, I felt as tired as hell, but I looked good! I’ve not worn much, if any, make-up for a month or so now… not for any empowerment reasons… I actually haven’t had the money to replenish stuff… ANYWAY. I just caught a smile in my eyes or something, mostly because my teenage self would NEVER have permitted herself to leave the house without LAYERS of make-up on. I had cystic acne as a teenager… my skin wasn’t soft, it was speed bump city.

And I wanted to hiiiiiiiide. And now… well, you better like me for me or you can leave. 🙂

It makes me laugh a little, just at how my teen years were spent in a fight between figuring out who I was and how to get as far away from her as possible. I wanted to be older, I wanted to live in Florida, I wanted to be SOMEBODY, anybody other than who I was. And that was LONG before I’d know what social media was. (And for that reason alone I want to hug every teen in the world right now, I do not know how you find peace amongst all that noise. I’d be a MESS if I was 16 nowadays.) Granted, I still judge myself more than I should… whenever those life markers pop up in my head and I compare myself to others. Who are married, have stable incomes, have families… I question at times why that isn’t me. And then I yell at myself “Because that’s not supposed to be you right now! Jeebsus!”

(Insert Cher slapping Nic Cage in Moonstruck here. Snap Out of It!!)

Being 39 these days, actually, being 39 and single these days isn’t easier either. Online dating is my Achilles heel. But last night, watching the good egg that is Nick Offerman at Shea’s in Buffalo, he said that when he met the woman who’d become his wife he was doing some work on a theatre they’d soon be performing in. He was in his element and whatever light that came from him, must have caught her eye. He championed NOT trying to find love online, but in doing what you love … that way you’ll really connect with someone.

The man’s got a point.

When I’m in my element… I can feel it, that glow.

Confidence is a good thing, ain’t it?

Hmm… maybe a Tinder break is needed. I just did “Sober October”, maybe I can make… um… “No-Online Dating- Vember” a thing. (I will work on that title.)

 

xo.

a dash of perspective

Hello, friend…

The other day I went to my optometrist. I go every year, which might sound unusual to some, but a while back (during an emergency appointment- for something I can’t recall completely) it was discovered that on my right eyeball sits a mole. Like a mole you’d have your doctor check on your skin. You can get something similar  on your eyeball. So every year, as I head in to see my lovely optometrist with my stomach in absolute knots, I tell myself “if it’s Cancer, we’ll be okay”.

And (knock on wood), I’m absolutely fine. It’s not changed shape. It’s just sitting there, just as it looked last year. Phew.  Though I asked her this year, if it ever becomes the Big C, would I lose my vision? I’m told not completely. But it’s nothing to concern myself with. I’m okay. Vision is still perfect. My stomach unwinds as I leave.

I’m lucky, I’m so very lucky. Cancer has run its way through my family like a pinball in a pinball game. My dad is a two-time Cancer survivor. Today he celebrated his 83rd birthday.

But I can see. I don’t take that for granted.

Nor do I take for granted the fact that I can type and hold a coffee cup or keep my head straight. You see, I have something called Essential Tremor. Which is the DUMBEST name EVER… but it mimics symptoms of Parkinson’s. Except that you notice my tremor when I am doing… holding a wine glass (I always hold it with two hands), holding a box… It affects my arms as it has for over 20 years now. But it may decide to travel upwards and grab hold of my neck and my vocal chords and my head.

But it has not decided to do that, for which I am so grateful. I still decide what my body can and should do, and I deal with jerks who say “Oh do I make you nervous?” when they hand me a drink and I can’t hold it steady. I share this tremor with the late, great Katherine Hepburn… so perhaps one day I too will have an Academy Award and a New England accent and a longtime love who is… um… still married to someone else. ANYWAY.

I can (for the most part) control my body. I don’t take that for granted.

SO TELL ME THEN… when I can take joy in the smallest things… how a guy breaking a date with me because my answer to his question of “Do you own a garter belt?” was “No” upset me as much as it did.  WHO MAKES THAT THEIR DEAL BREAKER?!?! And why does this bother me that this was his deal breaker??? 

I can’t seem to control my heart and my hopes. There they float… when a guy makes my heart beat fast…

I kind of hate that but… I can see he was NOT someone to pursue. And as long as I’m still in control of my movements, I will punch him in the face if we ever do run into each other.

xo.

in view

Hello, friend…

Life has taken some really cool people from this earth recently… Tom Petty… and our national treasure, Gord Downie. Men I never met, but absolutely respected and adored. Solid musicians. Life never takes the arseholes, it seems… takes the good ones away more often than I’d like it to. I don’t know why that is, and I doubt I ever will. Though I do believe people leave when they’re meant to, they’ve taught and shared all they could and off they must go.

To infinity and beyond.

I was hoping to see a friend tonight, but ended up staying at home and catching a documentary called Long Time Running about the last year that Gord Downie’s band The Tragically Hip toured together. Gord had been diagnosed with brain cancer. This is how he chose to live his remaining days, sharing his heart with his fellow Canadians. I had learned he was not well when my own documentary, No Responders Left Behind, had started filming in May 2016. A friend I made on that journey, Ray, was to be diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after Gord. Both lived their remaining days with grace, not letting everyone in on how much pain they were in. The pain was there, yes. But the love emitting from us just gave them… something back.

I can only imagine when you get news as they did that, if you’re strong enough, you must sit back and go “okay- let’s enjoy every thing, every day, every one person who comes my way”. There’s a, I don’t know if peace is the right word, but I guess there’s a letting go that all the meditation I do still hasn’t given me. That ahhhhhhh…. you let go of the crap, and embrace the good.

But knowing what Ray experienced, and his family experienced, gave me the smallest glimpse into what Gord and his family must have gone through. Or my friend Ana-Alecia’s battle with cancer and how that affected those of us who loved her… man, I admired her strength. Man, I wish I could have made her cancer go away.

What I loved about the documentary I watched tonight is that it brought back memories with the songs I heard, and for those 90 minutes Gord was back. He was in my living room. He was here. Just like when I watch footage from my film, there Ray is. Talking. Present. There with me as I take notes and listen. I spent a good portion of my teen years thinking I’d become a music video director, the videos I saw by The Tragically Hip influenced me greatly… but then my life took me in a different direction and I forgot for a little while that I loved to tell stories and create. But I’m back where I am supposed to have been all along… telling stories… telling Ray’s story…

As much as I believe that people go when they’ve taught all they can teach, I don’t believe that people ever leave us. They’re there, on film, in photos, in song… ready for when we need them.

I’ll leave you with In View, one of many Hip songs I really dig. And it’s a video set in NYC. My worlds collide. 😉

 

xo.