The Main Vein

it’s time for draining the main vein of my brain. First things first, get the shit out if you wanna play the game.

And sometimes I get embarrassed by the rhymes that at first i think i cherish, but I don’t really give a feck so light a fire under your arse and take a hike.

Because this chiquita only eats bananas that are slathered with almond butter, not hydrogenated Monsanto blather.

I’m so fucking sick and fatigued of turning on the news and listening to Trump and Kim Jong’s greed, lust for annihilation and self-aggrandizing manipulation.

I just wanna go and hide my face in a bowl of childhood innocence and grace and forget that I live in a world with which I can’t keep pace.


Loneliness vs. Aloneness

Loneliness versus Aloneness

I’ve been obsessed with remembering my childhood from the age of 7 – 10. I think it’s because I was the most content at that age. I hadn’t yet gone through puberty, that time when suddenly everyone else’s voice is louder than your own. Once that happened, my equilibrium was thrown off.

Back then, my sister and I would play with these two brothers down the street, W and K. But we only played with them if we needed an occasional diversion. It wasn’t a requirement. We also had two friends who were girls – D and F – each one (respectively) about the same age as my sister and I – and we would see them, too, but even less often. Maybe once every few months.

But somehow I was still content. Content enough with my family, my room, our animals, our house, my imagination, the grass, the clouds, time. I don’t know how I filled my time but somehow (without gadgets except Saturday morning cartoons when chores were done) I was fine.  No after school soccer practice, no constantly revolving stream of extra-curricular activities. Nope. Pretty much nothing except my imagination, a few people, and nature.

And I want that feeling back.

Of course, I can’t totally get it back. I have a house now, kids, a job, bills, but I think it’s possible to get closer to that feeling.

Loneliness is a word with a lot of shame, but the problem is if you can never admit that you’re lonely (just like if you can never admit you’re an alcoholic), it’s hard to change. So I’m admitting it. For the past – I don’t know… 25 years? – I’ve been lonely at least some of the time. Not all the time, but sometimes, and I haven’t always filled that void with the healthiest of options. And the reason I can say this is… I know I’m not the only one. Ok maybe some people have all their shit together 120% of the time, but the reality is we’re all human and that feeling happens sometimes. So what do you do with it? Eat too much? End one relationship and begin another the same day? Become a people pleasing workaholic?

Loneliness is akin to boredom. If you’re bored, you want someone to play with (whether you’re 9 or 49). But the truth is, if you’re bored then you’re probably also kinda boring. You want some new gadget or person to amuse you. Maybe it’s a new boyfriend, maybe it’s switching jobs, or the town that you live in. Sure I can get a new job, a new town, or a new spouse, but can I try out new parts of me? Can I learn Spanish? Can I go square dancing? Can I start delivery pizzas and run into my students who will look shocked when I show up at their house? Can I start talking to strangers in checkout lanes at the grocery store? Can I do a social experiment where I eavesdrop on people in Walmart not because I’m a creeper but because it’s fun to watch people when they don’t think you’re paying attention?

When I was about 25, I was living in Denver and I decided that the reason I wanted to be in a relationship was because I was “bored being alone.” I told myself: “I already know myself really well and the only way to grow as a person is to be in a relationship.” What a crock of shit. Ok, maybe you do grow as a person in a relationship, but seriously. What I’ve learned since then is that if you are going into a relationship because you’re bored, then eventually you’ll get bored again once the novelty wears off. So you might as well learn how to not get bored on your own. Boredom leads to loneliness, but curiosity about you and your world turns loneliness into contented aloneness.




Pointless Passions

Even at the age of 13, I was obsessed with cats. And a lot of other things, too.

At this age, I was way into dieting, Scott Baio, and being preppie. My cousin and I attempted the Scarsdale Diet. It was awful. Like you only got 750 calories a day. I remember lasting about one day. All I remember eating was boiled chicken, unbuttered toast, and plain grapefruit. About a day and a half of self-imposed starvation later, I dramatically lay immobile on the couch. I was convinced I was going to die. Barely able to lift my head, I was determined to last more than a day, but I just couldn’t so I remember crawling on my arms and legs to the kitchen to make myself a bowl of forbidden oatmeal and break the fast.

Scott Baio was my next passion. I used to peruse my cousin’s collection of Tiger Beat magazines and see his angelic cheeks (face!!! Face cheeks!) glisten across the glossy pages. His sweet grin would send waves of happy zings in my belly as I gazed into his eyes and melted to Air Supply’s “All out of love” tantalizing my eardrums. If I had a new picture of Scott (or if I hadn’t looked at him for a long time) and I had the music timed just right, I could close my eyes and literally feel Scott Baio holding me in his arms. Not a harmful passion per se, just a tad unrealistic.

And being preppie. I discovered the Preppie Handbook with the help of my friend, Margaret, in Connecticut. I had to have the khaki pants in order to complete my outfit one day, so I remember giving my dad the cold shoulder treatment in the car for a long time until he agreed to buy me a pair. I must have acted morose until he pulled the truth out of me.

“What is it, Lara?” Silence. “Come on – what’s going on?”

Finally, I replied, “Oh, I don’t know. It’s just that… well… nevermind.” (sigh).

“Come on, now.”

“It doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about it…. It’s just… oh, you’ll never buy me these so it doesn’t matter…” I got the pants, but I also got a good dose of guilt since I still remember that fateful day I lorded it over my poor dad.

One thing I’ve realized now that I have teens: the teen years are all about passion. Highs and lows. Extremes. I’m kinda glad I’m not there anymore. The drama is a bit much. Passion is fun but I think the trick is figuring out how to be passionate about healthier stuff. Like it’s probably better to be passionate about exercise versus snorting cocaine. Or being vegan versus gambling. I guess Scott Baio and Preppiedom weren’t all that bad. Scarsdale and his diet though can suck it.














When I was a kid…

downloadWhen I was a kid, I used to walk down this dirt road next to our log cabin in White Rock, British Columbia. This was the same dirt road on which I learned how to ride a bike. All I remember being instructed to do was…. NOTHING! I was just put on this bike and pushed down a hill. A bit melodramatic I know. Probably wasn’t even much of a hill. More like a gentle slope but it felt like I was falling into oblivion. It was the same feeling I had when I was learning how to drive and my dad said, ‘Hey! Let’s leave the safety of this little park where you can just drive slowly around the outskirts and let’s instead go hit the hustle and bustle of a busy intersection.’ (Ok he didn’t really say it like THAT – my dad is not THAT crazy. I love my dad. But he is a drama king and I know he enjoys these tributes to our family’s insanity).

So there I was trying to maneuver a stick shift when the reality that I was entering an intersection with cars coming from all directions freaked me out and I didn’t see the bicyclist and next thing I knew I was plowing into him, squishing the guy’s bike in half but somehow luckily he came out unscathed. So, I guess the moral of these two stories is: when learning new things, at least in my family, expect to be traumatized?

But I do have nice memories from childhood…because the same dirt road also took me to the wide expanse of a special hay field. It felt huge to me at the time. If I saw it now it would probably be no bigger than my smallish front yard but back then it was endless. It was like traversing the Alaska hinterland, the fjords of Norway (not that I knew what a fjord was at 7 but it sounds good to me now… well now that I’ve looked up ‘fjord,’ it couldn’t have been that either. More like a ‘prairie’ I guess, but that doesn’t fit. ‘Grasslands?’ That’s more like it.

I would go out into the GRASSLANDS and just listen to the wisps of tall, wavy grass twisting and crisscrossing in the wind. I would hide easily if someone were to come down and look for me. It didn’t take much to crouch down and instantly disappear. I could see bears coming out of the woods to feed on critters scurrying around if I lingered long enough in my imagination. It felt quiet and I felt free. No one could touch me out there in the wilderness (not that I was molested as a child or anything – I just realized that sounded weird).

It was the same kind of anonymity I loved in the living room. I used to fall asleep on the couch in the afternoon. Everyone was busy doing their thing and I might watch some afternoon cartoons or read a book and then just drift off (or not) on the couch. If someone walked in, I would just keep on pretending to be asleep, thrilled at the thought that THEY would think I can’t hear them talk about me (if they’re going to talk about me) or do something weird like pick their nose and eat it. ‘Oh look at her there! So peaceful! Ohh, I can’t disturb such a sweet little angel’ (goober tossed).

My childhood: the good and the not-so-good. Doesn’t matter now. I’m just glad that I’m here and my mind is still intact enough to remember them.

What are you in love with?


We’re all in love with something or someone. But if I had to pick something because someones sometimes come and go… I would say writing/dancing in my kitchen.

What are you in love with?

I know someone in love with talking on the phone. Another person in love with working out in the gym. Someone else in love with dirty memes. And then there’s the person in love with…

  • Being constantly on the move
  • Taking a dip in the pool
  • Walking and talking
  • Quiet moments with close friends
  • Being boldly honest and raw and direct
  • Being alone
  • Slowing down time to its minutest parts
  • Talking to strangers
  • Drama and gossip
  • Being on the cutting edge
  • Reading
  • Music
  • Handwriting
  • helping kids stay kids at heart even when they’re adults
  • and so on….
  • and what about you?

My life story: the stone, cold facts

[Disclaimer: Why do I feel compelled to archive the memories of my childhood? Is it because someday I may not remember them at all so when I’m old and doddering in a nursing home, potentially living through Alzheimer’s, maybe someday someone will read them to me, and I’ll be sane again for a moment?]
I was born in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I was born on my sister’s birthday. All I know about my birth is that there is a picture of her holding me and she looks like she’s crying. For a long time, I thought they were tears of joy until one day I figured maybe they were tears of sadness because from then on out she had to share her birthday with me. I don’t know. I’d like to think the former. It’s probably a mix of the two.
[Sidenote: I was going to catalogue every single memory I could recall and then I realized how boring that would be so I’m trying to hit the highlights of the last 48 years. You don’t have to read on. This is an exercise in avoiding memory loss, remember? It’s nice of you to come with, if you don’t mind.]
When I was about 5, we lived in Horseshoe Bay. And I remember we had this very proper British neighbor who was always correcting my sister and I whenever we said, ‘Can I have some milk?’ She’d say, ‘I don’t know. “CAN” you?’ I also remember my sister stepping on a needle and getting rushed to the hospital although I didn’t go with her. Oopsie!
When I was about 5 we moved from Horseshoe Bay to White Rock, a small town that was more inland. It was a log cabin on an S-curve. It was an idyllic childhood in many ways. Cats, dogs, goats, chickens, a mum who stayed home (not that moms have to stay home but it’s nice when someone is home. It could be a dad. In fact, it was a dad later when I was growing up. Go figure.). We had a German shepherd named Igor who would one day bite a girl’s head because she was chasing me in the yard and he thought she was attacking me. On another occasion, Igor was forced to wear a ring of dead geese around his neck for killing the Dutch neighbor’s animals. Igor was really a nice dog. We didn’t train him to kill. It was just in his genes. We also had a Samoyed. A couple in fact. I think one of them got hit by a car? I know, it’s sad. But sometimes that is what sticks out from childhood. The trauma. There were good memories too. Sasha, the Samoyed, was beautiful. All white and fluffy. Igor was very loyal and we felt safe. Sorry but I remember the dramatic details of death and carnage first. I’ll try to remember more positive ones from now on.
We had goats. My mum used to go down and milk them and make cheese. I don’t remember liking the taste of it but I loved the idea of milking goats. And gathering eggs! I got to help carry the eggs in the house sometimes. One time my mum told me to hold on tightly to the egg as I walked with it. Well, I held on so tight I crushed the egg! Oops, sorry. More trauma. Poor egg.
My sister and I played piano growing up. We each were given lessons and when guests came over we would perform our little songs. One time, when we had guests over I remember taking a bath when my sister decided to play a trick on me. I think she knew I had forgotten we had guests over and so she told me that my grandparents from England were on the phone in the kitchen so I ran through the living room with just a towel barely around me, half naked in front of the guests. I used to cry a lot to get my sister in trouble. I’m sure I cried a lot that time. (to be continued… whether anyone is reading or not…)

blubbery glory

it’s good to be useless sometimes. pointless. unproductive. turn things in a bit or a lot late. push things away. procrastinate. wait a bit too long. make up some excuses.

i had a student once who talked about how in asia he had to go to so many hours of school. school all day long. like 12+ hours of school each day. he had so much school that he would get very good at ditching school and making up excuses for not going. i sympathize with him. what’s the point of it all if all  you do is abide by somebody else’s made up rules. it’s time to listen to the beat of your own drum. at least once in a while for chrissakes. how will this world progress if nobody thinks for themselves?

i am too good at being dutiful. too good at checking off lists and keeping up. i need to get better at ditching my duties and playing hooky.

this is why i celebrate remembering my childhood. because at least at that age it was more likely that i’d heed the beat of my own drum.

all kinds of studies have proven it again and again. being too ‘productive’ and dutiful eventually stifles creativity. if any company is going to grow, it has to allow its workers time to play and create (e.g. google) and not be on such a rigid timeline. and i think that goes for how to manage your life on your own time. stop being so damn productive.

i’m tired. tired of being good.

tired of checking emails and responding. tired. and i know the sooner i respond to them, the sooner i will get more so that’s why i put them off. keep it at bay. let the world solve some of its own problems and self-generated hysteria.

here are a few simple things i know to be true right now. true and devoid of negativity.

  • i found a new pen that i like. i like it even better than that other pen that i was convinced was the savior of all pens a few weeks ago. i want to order some of these new pens online. they’re amazing.
  • my cat willow’s fur is grey but it’s amazing. a dazzling grey. it literally sparkles and glistens at each tip. it’s got a sheen to it. and her blubbery glory is all the more merrier because of it.
  • going to sleep by 11pm is key. hardest thing in the world for me to do when i feel like nothing exciting enough has happened that day to warrant me the pleasure of going to sleep and letting another day slip by on this planet earth, but oh well. maybe sleep is the pleasure sometimes.
  • i want to go soon and use my pen before 11pm strikes.
  • if it weren’t for my students each new quarter, i don’t know what i would do. aside from my friends and family, my students are literally the happiest thing that happens to me each day. no matter what is happening, my students remind me to have fun, stay curious, and don’t give in to negativity. they’re too young to know any better. and i like being around that kind of energy.
  • i want to be outside more. always.
  • i’m working on ways to laugh more.
  • if anything, that’s my modest gift to the world. a need to find the pointless silliness in things. more stupid stuff to laugh at. be less serious. lighten up. take the big fat stick out of your ass and laugh. yup, that’s what i’m shooting for, if anything.






Rock on, single lady!

‘The joy of being alone’….I have NEVER in my life been able to say that and mean it. I mean really mean it. I might have had my moments, but to actually believe it for an extended period of time? Yup. I am finally there.

I’ve been reading about writers like Hemingway and Cheever and the necessity of being alone for creativity to unfold. And so far, all I hear from them is that it’s a blessing and a curse. Well, I’ve mostly felt the curse part of solitude. Now I’m feeling the blessing part, too.

Here is what I know about myself. I tend to focus on helping other people. I’m pretty good at it, in fact. That’s why I’m a teacher. The problem with being a teacher, though, is you forget to help yourself. You put everyone else first. And that gets sucky. You get so good at reading other people, that you forget to read yourself. You get so good at sensing what other people need or want, that you can’t remember what?…. huh?….. what was I saying?

I had this student once who talked about how she could never just sit still. How she always had to stay busy. It was almost impossible for her to lay down and rest, even  when she was sick. That’s how I am. But it’s not because I can’t sit down and chill. It’s because I feel like if I do, then the world is going to end. Bills need to be paid, dishes need to be done, cats need shots, the roof needs to be fixed, dogs need to be walked. There is an endless list of stuff always whirring around in my head so it takes tremendous fortitude for me to say ‘fuck it’ and just sit down and chill and to accept the mayhem that surrounds me.

Now, in 2017, I’m finally getting it. I finally understand why. I can’t sit still and not stay busy because I haven’t – in the past – liked to remember that I’m alone. At least if I’m doing things all the time (usually for other people, directly or indirectly), then I don’t have to think about the fact that I’m alone. Doing things becomes my way of staying connected. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s a thing. Like if I’m running around because I’m going to make a nice dinner for my family, then that’s nice. Or if I’m running around because the dog’s nails need to be trimmed to be happy, then that’s nice, too. But the part that is not nice is that I’m not running around enough for me.

So in 2017 that’s my resolution. If I’m going to run around, I’m doing it for moi more. And it may remind me that I’m alone but so be it. I’ll remember myself as a kid being happy on my own and hopefully that will be enough. I’ll remember that being content and being alone is an example that I can set my family. That nobody has to be there to complete you. That you are complete unto yourself. Because if you go through life thinking someone else is going to complete you, then you are fucked from the start.


I’m writing this because…

  1. I love my family and don’t see them enough.
  2. I have lived far away from my family for a long, long time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to share the tidbits of my everyday life with them.
  3. I’m sharing this with the world, too, because I think if we all shared a bit more about ourselves with the people we care about the most then we’d all be a bit (and maybe a lot) happier for it but all too often we hide away these little tiny details because we think they’re not important. So, believe me, I’m not going to subject you to this all the time (folks who aren’t in my immediate family) but just maybe you might think I’m weird and wacky enough and silly enough that, while you’re laughing at me, you might get a wild hair up your butt and try to do something wildly weirdly loving to your family, too.

To my immediate family (immediate in love and spirit but far away in physical distance)… here are a few things that happened to me today just so we can feel a bit closer despite the distance. I’d love to know the little things (and big things) that happened to you, too. Plus, I like lists.

  1. I just realized that I used to do this as a kid. Each night before I went to bed, I would lay down and recount all of the cool things that happened to me that day. Bad things, too, for sure but I tended to focus on the good stuff. Call me ‘mushy’ and ‘do goody’ but it’s true.
  2. I have been dancing and doing ballet plies and tendus a lot the past few days and my legs already feel stronger. They’re actually sore, in fact. I can only do a partial plie before it feels like knives are cutting into my thigh muscles. Yayyy for pain!!!
  3. My finances are going to be better in 2017. Not only is this a 2017 resolution but I’m also making a bet. I’m betting myself that I will get it under control by the end of this month. If I can do it, then I’m going to splurge and reward myself somehow. I don’t know how but I will. Maybe a banana split. Maybe a massage (that’s covered by my insurance). Something!!! If I don’t do it by the end of this month, then I don’t get a banana split. No, something worse. I have to run a marathon? No, I have to sit and watch all of the Star Wars movies back to back. Hahahaha oh now I am really going to lose some readers of this blog (not that I had that many to begin with).
  4. I’m committing to at least 5 minutes a day editing my one-woman show. So far so good. Well, yesterday I did at least. Today? Tonight? There’s still time.
  5. I took our cat Willow for a check-up. She actually has NOT gained weight for three years although she FEELS fatter than ever. She was very cute and cuddly in the car. She whined and whined and then finally lay on my lap and looked up at me and purred. The ladies in the vet’s office loved her to death, too. They all started giggling and laughing and smiling and cooing at her when she waltzed in in my arms.
  6. I found a piece of our roof that had fallen off onto the grass but then I got a good idea and phoned a friend who can take a look at it tomorrow. Whew!!! Thank God!!!!
  7. My friend is a godsend. She reminds me how important it is to slow down enough and quiet down my life/mind enough to be able to hear that inner voice that reminds me of what I want/need (and stop being a people pleaser/accommodator of everyone else’s wants/needs).
  8. I love making coffee the French way. Instant espresso crystals in a bowl of warm milk.
  9. I’ve learned how to harness the power of my own voice. When things get tough, when the world starts making too many demands, I literally slow down how I speak and punctuate each syllable that I speak in order to ground what I’m saying in reality. I refuse to be rushed. I make sure I believe every word that I’m saying so that I speak with conviction. This really works well with fast food restaurants when they think that I’m a guy ordering because my voice is low and they haven’t seen me yet, so I correct them after I’ve made my order. ‘THANK YOU AND ACTUALLY, JUST SO YOU KNOW, I AM NOT A GUY. MY VOICE JUST HAPPENS TO BE LOW BECAUSE I’M A FEMALE TEACHER AND HAVING A COMMANDING VOICE HAS HELPED ME MANAGE CLASSROOMS BETTER OVER THE YEARS.’ Ok, I don’t really say ALL of that but you get the gist.
  10. I am continuing to realize that I’d rather be alone and finding time to clear my head and figure out what’s up then keep running around with too much on my plate to keep up with. I’m finally more and more at peace with ‘LESS’ going on. I’ve always dreaded the ‘alone’ thing to an extent, but I’m finally finally finally really okay with less being more. I’m being more choosy with whom and how I spend my time, in other words. And yes, I know I’m repeating myself sometimes but like a mantra or self-affirmation that works, it helps me remember what I need to do to be sane.

Write it down

There are so many kinds of writing out there but part of me keeps holding myself up to some expectation that I need to be writing a certain kind of novel or play. That I can’t write too much memoir. It’s self indulgent. That I can’t write about certain topics too much. That I can’t do this and I can’t do that. So many fucking can’ts in one’s mind. Pretty soon you can’t go anywhere or do anything. I’m fucking done with it. Sure I appreciate knowing what other people think about my writing but during the act of creation itself you can’t take all those people along for the ride.

That’s the lonely but also the exhilarating part of writing. You are alone with your mind. But the fun part is you get to trust where it will take you. It’s like lucid dreaming. You’re both in control of where you want to go and yet something inside you propels you and gives you ideas about where to go. Which is, of course, like life. We all want to think we know where we are going, but really… what drives and pushes and pulls us? Nobody  knows.

I’ll never forget how, when I was in fourth grade, I began to slowly grasp the concept of what writing a letter was all about. Writing a letter was, to me, like talking on the phone. Why would you do it? What’s the point? What are you supposed to say? It baffled me. What is so urgent that I have to put it in a letter and wait for it to get to them? Why can’t I just wait until I see them? It made no sense. I’m still not sure I get it, but… I sorta do. I think writing, like a monologue, is just a way for us to make sense of our world. And when we are lucky, we have some people in our life who are patient and kind and maybe even love us enough to stop and listen and care about what comes out. There is something magical about putting that shit out into the world. Something final and concrete about it. We’re a little less crazy for it. That’s all therapy is, I think. Someone being paid to listen to your babble to help you make sense of it. And that’s a good thing. But you can do it for yourself as well. Or with a friend.

I don’t understand, for instance, why people read my stuff on facebook. I mean, I am super grateful, for one thing. But when people respond and encourage me to write more, I am completely dumbfounded. I don’t get it. I really don’t understand or can hardly accept that people want more of my stuff. It feels so vain and self-indulgent to post things sometimes, but then to actually hear that people want more of it? it makes me feel dirty. Yup, dirty because I am actually relishing in the fact that they’re enjoying it. I know! So weird, but true. Vanity is a weird thing for me. I am always deathly afraid of ever becoming arrogant and vain and yet, I know, I need to somehow accept that what I do brings joy and silliness to people and whatever else people get out of it. But it’s hard to accept (let alone type) it. It feels stupid. But it shouldn’t be that way. Why is sharing who you are a ‘sin?’ There it is. SIN. The word that I grew up with in the ole Catholic schools. God love ‘em those Catholics. I learned a lot but they also infested my mind with some pretty fucked up ideas (sorry friends who are religious). Vanity…is… sinful. Ok, yes it can be. Sure. Anything taken to excess can be a sin. Drinking too much Mountain Dew can be a sin. Watching too much porn. Sitting on your ass too much. Spending too much money when people are poor. All of that can be a sin..[Sin (in my definition) meaning causing harm to somebody, including yourself.] But what is ‘excess?’ is it excessive when you are simply stating what needs to be said and what might bring healing or joy or laughter or stupid fun to somebody else? I think the only time writing is truly excessive is when there is no longer a thought in your head in even the remotest sense that what you are doing is destined to be in anyone else’s hands or mind. When you are truly solipsistic. And even then… it’s ok to write. You just should probably not put it out there until it’s been looked at a few more times and considered with an audience in mind. I think the sad thing about our world is that there is a whole lot of chatter and nonsense every day, but we still so often don’t share what REALLY needs to be said to the people who REALLY matter. We are afraid. Afraid to tell them the truth about how we feel, good or bad. Afraid that what we say might embarrass us, or hurt someone too much and so we hurt ourselves in the process holding it in. But there is another option. Write it down. Fictionalize it if you have to but get it out. Don’t let what you want to say be squashed so deep inside you that you end up in the grave someday never saying the things that are dying to get out. Get them out. They will benefit someone somewhere who might also be inspired not to live a half-awake life either.