Hitting Reset


I've set up shop, like all good 30-somethings, in my Mom's basement. The notion hit me last night as I downed my third beer, a Granville Island Winter Ale I bought last Christmas that my Mom despises which is why it was still in the fridge. Actual photo taken last December.

I've been here for about a week now and I can't begin to tell you how much good it's done. I feel rested and motivated to work. The primary difference from working alone at home is that I know I have to take regular breaks to visit with family so I'm actually getting more done with the time I have. And there's always food in the fridge! What a novel concept.

Would I actually move back in? God no! I also know when not to overstay my welcome and my next adventure begins as early as next week. But in the meantime, this has been a lovely little oasis. A place to reset and put all the pieces into place on future projects. I'm incredibly excited at what's coming down the pipeline and grateful for this opportunity to wrap my head around it all.

Thanks Mom!

I love you.


Featured Image Photo Credit: Great Beyond via Compfight cc

Summertime Blues


How appropriate that it's raining right now as I write this. It's been over a week since my last Fringe adventures in Toronto. I was just a patron, but I still felt like I belonged. Over at the New Ottawa Critics, Brie MacFarlane pretty much hits the nail on the head:

What is it about the Ottawa Fringe that feels so, for lack of a better word, magical and inclusive for ten straight days? And why are we all so dang sad when it’s over?

There's a reason many of us keep coming back year after year. I've finally come to the realization that Fringe isn't the thing I do and then go back to my real life once it's over. Fringe is my real life. The rest is just the stuff I do in-between. I try to take solace in the snippets of film I get to see from last year's tour while I finish off a few grant applications.

After almost two months of various guests coming and going, my apartment feels empty and quiet. Too quiet. I'm grateful for the flexibility I get in working from home, but it can become very isolating. I feel lonelier than I have felt in a very long time and yet it takes incredible effort to go out there and meet with people. I've forced myself to start working out with people, otherwise I just won't bother going to the gym.

I've consciously stopped drinking. It's been 10 days (only 10? feels longer) since my last sip of alcohol, which may be a new record. I don't know how long I will keep this up, but for now I'm telling myself just one more day.

I've been battling with fear, depression and learning to trust that I am on the right path. I'm meditating everyday now and walking more. Trying to enjoy my own company. I'm in transition. I know that and it's not a bad thing.

It hasn't been easy to shift gears into a slower pace. I'm learning to embrace it. The world is going to speed up soon enough anyway.

Photo Credit: caruba via Compfight cc

There Will Be Blood


I recently returned from the Toronto Fringe Festival where I had the pleasure of seeing 9 shows over 4 days. One of those shows was Morro and Jasp do Puperty. Spoiler alert: The show is about periods.

Right off the bat, Morro is freaking out on the toilet and then comes out to tell what I am assuming is typically a female audience member a secret. On my night, the audience member said that it was totally ok. So Morro asked her to tell everyone in the room. Suddenly it wasn't ok anymore.

We all laughed at the discomfort, of course, but something else stayed with me.


I both identify as a woman and have all the working ladybits that come with that biological designation.

A few weeks ago, I was in Toronto for work and I was also on my period. Since I have been getting periods for the better part of my life, I am well acquainted with the ahem ebbs and flows of my cycle. My day in Toronto would fall on my "heavy" day. No matter. I was prepared.

Work started at 9:30. I popped a Super Absorbent tampon in and added a liner for safety's sake.

11:15 break - everything normal on the southern front.

12:15 lunch - I was fortunate enough to have booked an audition with a prominent theatre company while I was in town and work was kind enough to let me go on my lunch break. I went to the washroom and, to my absolute horror, realized that I had had an accident. My underwear was completely soaked through. I had not had a situation like this since my teens and I was mortified. As if it was something I could control and my body had suddenly betrayed me. Fortunately, it didn't seem to have reached my pants. Doubly fortunate: since I had spent the night in Toronto, I had brought a suitcase and packed way too many clothes for an overnight trip.

I cleaned myself off, refused the kind offer from my coworker to let me borrow his bike, and walked to my audition. I mentally congratulated myself on choosing to wear dark grey pants that day and sauntered into the audition room. But something didn't feel right. They were behind schedule so I asked for the washroom.

Once again, I was absolutely mortified to find out that in the 15 minutes it took me to get there, not only was my underwear soaked through but it had also seeped into my dark grey pants, leaving a giant crimson stain. I was grateful I had another tampon in my bag but freaked out that I had left my clothes at the office.

I quietly panicked in the washroom stall. What about my audition? I couldn't just leave, could I? Actually, yes I probably could have, but they had already seen me. I couldn't reschedule since I would no longer be in town so instead I made the decision to go in and be honest about it. As I paced in the lobby, a gentleman walked by and said I could have a seat. I took one look at the plush seats and, as sweetly as I could, muttered a "Nope, I'm good."

Minutes later I walked in dead set on explaining my predicament, but I froze when I saw there wasn't a single woman in the group, only three men. I suddenly felt embarrassed and thanked the universe for the small favour of a plastic chair in the room. We had a brief chat as I clamped my legs together praying for... I don't know what. Not to be a woman anymore?

Now time to deliver my monologue, I felt grateful that the whole scene took place on a bus. "I'm going to be sitting down," I said, proud of my own quick thinking.

Oddly enough, I pretty much killed that audition about a young woman on a bus feeling awkward and embarrassed when the guy of her dreams walks in and sits down next to her. Gee, I wonder why?

High off a job well done, I heard the words tumble out of my mouth before I was able to stop them: "So, you also wanted me to read for another character in the script?"

No! Nonononono, stupid actor brain! We don't want to read for anything else, we want to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible.

But before I knew what was happening, I had new lines in hand and I was jumping around the stage, praying that they were just looking at me from the waist up. And... it went really well. Again, addicted with performance power, I heard the words: "You also wanted a song, didn't you?"


So I did a song. And it was lovely. I finally FINALLY said my goodbyes and made a beeline to the pharmacy next door.

At this point, the adrenaline rush was leaving me and panic was setting in. I grabbed supplies and ran to the pharmacy station.

"Excuse me, I need to talk to a pharmacists."

A bright-eyed, twenty-something asian kid proudly answered me: "Well he's busy at the moment, but I'm a pharmacy assistant. I can help you!"

Oh kid. I sighed and asked if we could speak in private. Behind closed doors I took a deep-breath as I explained my situation. How this had never happened to me before. That soaking through 3 super absorbent tampons in less than an hour felt excessive. I told him my worries looking for an ounce of reassurance.

His face fell as the eagerness drained from his eyes. "Um. I'm going to get the pharmacist."

I asked for the nearest washroom. In the backroom of the pharmacy, a staff member pointed me in the right direction. To my absolute dismay, there was no toilet paper. I ran back to the staff member who left to get more. I'm sure only took two minutes but it felt like two hours. He offered to put it in the holder for me as I quickly snatched it out of his hands. "No thank you!"

Back at the pharmacy counter, the elderly male pharmacist was finally able to see me. I quietly asked if there was a woman I could talk to. He tells me she wouldn't be in until 5. So I took another deep-breath and laid out my story once more, now with 4 tampons instead of 3. Without missing a beat: "You need to go to emerg."

"Excuse me, what?"

"That is excessive. You need to go to the emergency room."

I am now royally freaking the hell out wondering what to do next. I'm feeling wet, dirty and ashamed and now I'm worried that something might be really wrong with me. I rush to pay for my supplies but I am living in a fucked up sketch comedy show meaning the lineup for the cash register is all the way out the door. I decide to go to the makeup counter instead where the girl refuses to serve me because my things aren't from her section.

I'm about to cry and I plead with her that this? Is an emergency! She sighs and starts punching it in. Where the hell is the sisterly support? I hate her and her stupid eyeliner.

Stepping out into the world, I can't imagine myself walking back to work so I flag down a cab. I thank whatever deity there is that the seats are leather.

In the meantime, I call Telehealth Ontario and speak to a nurse who also tells me to go to the emergency room. I had hoped the pharmacist was just trying to get me out of his hair, but it looked like I had no choice but to go to the hospital.

At the office, I approach my male supervisor and explain the situation. He is incredibly understanding. He gives me access to a private washroom so I may once again clean up and change. He even offers to flag me a cab and get someone to go with me.

"Can it be a woman, please?"

Feminine hygiene product count: 5 in 1.5 hours. At this point, I've switched to the Ultra Super Mega Absorbent kind.

The emergency room at Mount Sinai was all kinds of alright. The staff was incredibly friendly and patient. Not to mention unbelievably attractive. All those doctor shows you see on TV? They were probably based on this place.

At this point, I'm feeling pretty miserable & scared but grateful that the staff here seems to be a majority of women. So of course the universe sends me the super hot twenty-something male nurse to deal with me.


He asks me what's wrong and I take a deep-breath as I look him directly in the eye. Hold onto your hat, we're doing this.

"I'm bleeding from my crotch. Like a lot."

For a split second, I see a shadow cross over his face, but he recovers quickly (Note to pharmacist's assistant: this is how a professional behaves). He is very kind and in good spirits. He takes my vitals, some blood samples and sends in the doctor. The coolest hippest woman I have ever met. Have I mentioned how great the bedside manner is at Mount Sinai? If you're ever in Toronto, you should go.

Feminine hygiene product count: 6 in 2 hours.

I'm given some pills to help reduce excessive bleeding and I wait for my test results. I wait a couple of hours and the doctor approaches me again. My test results are all... normal.

Excuse me, what? This whole thing is not "normal" to me.

The doctor tells me sometimes excessive bleeding just happens. And now I feel incredibly embarrassed. I'm told I shouldn't be. As I was flying out that night, it was a good thing I came in to make sure everything was ok.


I spent that entire nightmare of a day feeling varying degrees of shame and embarrassment. I kept having to talk to men and I didn't want to because I figured everyone of them would recoil in horror (and a few kind of did).

This whole situation made me realize that I still have a lot of issues around being a woman and periods in general. And if I feel this way, I can't imagine what it's like for a girl in a developing country. It took me well into my twenties to not be embarrassed to walk down the feminine hygiene aisle, to carry a box of tampons in my hands, to pay at a cash register manned by a, well, man.

Why is that? Because we don't talk about it. And feeling like I couldn't talk about it made me stress out even more.

Which brings me back to Morro and Jasp do Puberty.

Not only is this a super fun, funny and at times cringeworthy show, it's true bravery comes in tackling a topic that rarely gets any attention.

The show sold out most of its run at the Toronto Fringe and is getting extra performances as a Patron's Pick and Best of Fest before heading out to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. Check out the show if you can or support their Indiegogo Campaign to help them get to Scotland.

Let's be more open about this so it can eventually be the best period of our lives.

*Yeah, even I groaned at that last one.*

Vacation Guilt


As a workaholic, I approach vacations like a cat needing a bath. But just like bathing, I've learned to appreciate vacations as a necessary thing. cat-hates-to-take-a-bath

At the end of my tour last year, I was burnt out. Remembering how rested and refreshed I felt after my trip to Thailand, I started looking at other travel opportunities. Shortly thereafter I found out that my cousin would be getting married in Mexico and so I knew I had found my destination.

But something weird started to happen: the closer I got to the trip, the less I talked about it on social media because it was stressing me out. I was feeling guilty for going on vacation. It felt not only frivolous to take a break, but disingenuous when I am still trying to raise funds for my documentary.

I read a passage in Amanda Palmer's book, The Art of Asking, that pretty much summed up how I was feeling. In the book, Amanda is talking to a musician friend (Sam) who has a Patreon campaign but was going on vacation with her boyfriend. She felt guilty because she didn't want anyone to think she was using the money entrusted to her to go on vacation. She didn't want to look like an asshole to her fans. The answer given in the book is too extensive to get into here, but this passage struck a chord:

I told Sam about another songwriter friend of mine, Kim Boekbinder, who runs her own direct-support website through which her fans pay her monthly... Kim had told me before that she doesn't mind charging her backers during what she calls her "staring-at-the-wall-time," which she thinks is essential before she can write a new batch of songs. Her fans don't complain; they trust her process. - Amanda Palmer, The Arts Of Asking

This need for rest, for idleness, it's something I am slowly beginning to understand is actually an integral part of the creative process. Over the past few months, as I lived my life on tour in Vancouver, I found myself busy, but uninspired. Somehow, taking a break to refuel and recharge, never occurred to me as a possible solution and yet that's exactly what happened when I returned from my trip. New and exciting ideas had started coalescing in my brain. As Tim Kreider states much better than I ever could:

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. - Tim Kreider, The Busy Trap

To be fair, I also used my own money (credit card) to go on vacation, not the money associated with the project, and what I do with it is nobody's business but my own. And yet, even after seeing the tangible benefits I got from a period of rest, I still find myself feeling guilty...

Fellow artists, does this ever happen to you? How do you get over it?



The Kids Are Alright


Photo Credit: UV Fedor via Compfight cc Sidenote: I'm going to apologize now for all the swearing. As I can't really swear on tour, I'm using this as my fucking outlet. Ya dig?

Don't tell the gang at Monster Theatre, but I think performing for children is the most fucking terrifying type of work any actor can do - and if anyone from Monster Theatre is reading this, you already hired me so you're stuck with me. Suckers! No takebacksies!

While I have done a school tour in the past, twice actually, with A Company of Fools, it was for high school kids, who are already way too cool for this shit. It wasn't unusual, especially at 8:30 in the morning, to see tired and cranky teens rolling their eyes at four grown ups in pantaloons. I can deal with that because I expected it. And we always won them over in the end.

Why would anyone roll their eyes at this?

But this production is for the kindergarden to Grade 7 set. These are children. Scary, impulse-driven children. While teenagers are too cool for your shit, children just won't take your shit. Worse yet, they will be VOCAL about it. Are you boring? They will tell you. Are you mean? They will tell you. Did some technical function just fuck up? Oh you bet ya they will tell you. It's what I imagine doing theatre in Shakespeare's day must have been like except no one is passing around rotten tomatoes for them to throw at you. (Thank Jeebus!) We've even had, in the past 4 days, one child drop his pants and pee on the floor as we were setting up and another burst into uncontrollable sobs as soon as the show began. Because critics.

You might be asking yourselves why I would put myself through this? Well, that's a pretty easy question to answer. In my day-to-day life, I am a control-freak. I love planning and knowing exactly what's going to happen next. But as an actor, I need to listen to my impulses, go from moment to moment, and enjoy this crazy ride of life without a safety net. The real reason performing for children scares me so is that they truly are the greatest actors. They somehow know how to do all those things and society hasn't beaten it out of them just yet, though you can already see it happening with the older kids. Basically, children are just fucking rocking at this game of life because they innately get that it's all a game.

That kind of pure, innocent self-actualization is powerful and fucking scary to me.

While they will be direct when they don't like something, I should also add that they will be just as loud when they love it too. Is your character sad? They will try to cheer you up. Are you saying goodbye and going offstage? They will scream at you not to leave. And man, let me tell you that there is nothing quite like a room of 600 kids in stitches at something you did or said to make you feel like the funniest fucking person in the whole fucking world.

In one post-show talkback, as I was taking one last question, a little girl looked me right in the eye and said: "I love you." No pretence. Just love. On another day, a little boy was following us around as we packed up. I remembered him since he had sat in the front row and I had chosen him for a question. He told us it was his birthday, so Tara pulled out one of our puppets and had it sing him happy birthday. A teacher who was watching then offered us a birthday cupcake. I may never see that kid again, but he is for sure going to remember us. And I will remember him.

Because cupcakes. And love. But mostly cupcakes.

I can only hope my presence in these shows will have some kind of impact. That I will inspire a few kids do to something or other. But at the end of the day, I think I have way more to learn from them then they do from me.

Looking Back on 2014


Feature image credit: Takashi(aes256) via Compfight cc I usually try to get my year-end recaps out by the end of December, but my December 29th was spent on planes to Vancouver where I had to jump into rehearsals for The Little Prince the very next day. With rehearsals, New Year's and settling in, things have been pretty hectic, so blogging had to, once again, take a back seat. But on one of my few days off, I find myself enjoying the sun and mild weather as I reminisce on the past year.

Dear 2014, you were really good to me. Crazy, crazy good. It started with a shot-ski bang after a closing performance of You're a Dead Man, Charlie Brown and a massive hangover cured by a delicious breakfast from a generous roommate. Then there were rehearsals and the run of Pop Fiction in Ottawa where I got to wear the coolest costume of my entire acting career so far.

I'm the one on the right just waiting for you to go ahead and make my day.

Experiencing one of the biggest cold snaps ever in Ottawa, I was thrilled to head out on vacation to Thailand with a close pal. It was an absolutely life-changing experience and opened my heart and mind in ways I still feel affecting me to this day. It also gave me a major travel bug. Which is a good thing considering how the rest of the year went.

From March to May, I was back in Ottawa getting ready for the biggest project of my life thus far. If you've been any kind of regular follower of mine, you know I'm talking about the cross-country tour of Roller Derby Saved My Soul, as well as the accompanying feature-length documentary, On the Fringe.

I had to get back into shape for the show and I found the best outlet for that was through the Ottawa Stilt Union. Their acro sessions were just the kind of fun workout and training I was looking for and it's one of the biggest things I miss about Ottawa these days. If you ever have the chance to work with them, I highly recommend it.

2014-04-17 11.45.53-1

Creatively, while I was working on rewrites for Roller Derby Saved My Soul, I took some classes early in the year with the incredible Alix Sideris, the same pal I traveled with to Thailand, in Laban work. I'd never tried this type of work before and it really opened up new possibilities for me as a performer. Oh and I finally took my violin out of storage and buckled down with some classes. Though I by no means became an expert, I can muddle through a passable 'twinkle twinkle little star' that would make the parent of any 8 year old proud.

Spring also a period of massive fundraising, where we managed to not only raise over $10,000 through an Indiegogo campaign, but also create a wonderful partnership with Hunt Club Volkswagen in Ottawa who became our official travel sponsor for the tour.

I never would have been able to accomplish this without the incredible team I had assembled. Yes, 2014 was the year I put on my big girl pants and expanded my operations by hiring staff. Best decision I ever made.

And then there was the tour!

2014-10-08 11.01.24-2

From the end of May until the end of September, I found myself of the road, hitting up a different city every 10 days or so, documentary team in tow. It was an unbelievable adventure and an incredible opportunity.There were plenty of sold-out houses, good reviews and awards (including a Canadian Comedy Award nomination for Best One Person Show), but there was also some heartbreak, tough notes to take and a few health concerns. It wasn't always easy, but it was definitely worthwhile. If you want to know more about all that, please feel free to check out the play-by-play in the blog archives.

By September, I was in Vancouver, finishing up the tour and taking acting classes with my favourite teacher. Then in October I hopped in the car and took a mostly solo trip back across the country where I returned the keys to VW Passat *sniff* and headed to the family home back East for some quality downtime.

In November, I took my first trip to Los Angeles to once again study with my acting teacher and her incredible team, before settling my affairs up in Toronto and heading back to the family home. At this point, I was pretty burnt out and looking forward to the comforts of home before the craziness know as the "Holidays" began.

Once there, I was finally able to sit with all my administrative work from the summer and gear up for the next chapter in my journey, which brought me back to Vancouver on December 29th.

Though this year may have started with a bang, it ended in a quiet night with friends and colleagues influenced by jet-lag and wine. The perfect way to end a year filled with so much movement and excitement.

Goodbye 2014! You were a gooder, that's for sure. Hey, 2015! Tag. You're it.


Up next, What's Up 2015!

Thank you for being a friend


When I reach this time of year, I usually like to pause and reflect on everything I've accomplished and everything I still aspire to do. This year was definitely a big year for me, but the crazy thing is (and this is where I think something in me might be broken) it doesn't seem like enough. I know that I am a very ambitious and at times incredibly intense person. This gives me some kind of laser focus when working on specific projects and I usually manage to channel that energy into something positive, but this constant striving for more also leaves me with a deep sense of dissatisfaction in my own life.

I've had to come to terms with this deep-rooted dissatisfaction in multiple areas of my own life this past year and it wasn't always pretty. When I fall down that well, I can quickly become anxious, bitter, insecure, jealous and resentful. And those negatives become present with the same amount of intensity as the positives, which make me absolutely unbearable to be around.

If you were around during any of those times, I'd like to sincerely apologize for anything I put you through. Please know that I am aware of this behaviour and I am actively working on it every day.

Not only was 2014 a big year in terms of accomplishments, but it was also pretty huge in terms of personal growth. If I learned anything this past year, and this is still scary difficult for me to admit, it's that it is enough.

I am enough.

It doesn't mean I'm going to stop striving, but it does mean I can stop being so hard on myself about my place in the world.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Your love and support has meant the world to me and carried me through when the dark times and doubts come along.

I'm very much looking forward to 2015.

Next up: a recap of 2014 and what's in store for 2015. Stay tuned!

Audio Inspiration


If you've never driven across the country, I highly recommend it. The scenery is gorgeous and changes drastically on a daily basis. And if you're doing it by yourself, you should definitely download a bunch of stuff to listen to since you won't have access to any sort of reception, be it phone, WiFi or radio, throughout much of the trip. For myself, after consulting the Facebook hive mind, I checked out tons of new (to me) podcasts. Now, although I've recorded my own podcast during my time at the Ontario Arts Council, I never really got into listening to them. I feel like I miss out if I have them on in the background and I don't have enough time to give them my undivided attention. Well, if you're spending a week driving in a car, that problem pretty much resolves itself.

A couple great ones to check out if you ever find the time: WTF with Marc Maron (although I stuck to interviews with people I actually knew, this great post by Sam Mullins makes me want to listen more). I've always been a big Alan Cross fan ever since I first caught the Ongoing History of New Music on radio, so his Geeks and Beats with Michael Hainsworth is a treat. Be sure to check out the one called the Ongoing History of Alan Cross if you want to know what's happening with OHNM now! CBC's This Is That is great for a laugh and Serial, by the same folks who also created This American Life, is an ongoing true crime story that has me anxiously waiting for the next episode. - Side note: while I was in Vancouver I got invited to a live talk by Ira Glass and sat in the second row even though I had no idea who he was.

Feel free to hate me now.

But there were two specific podcasts and episodes that really got my synapses firing and I would highly recommend any creative types out there check out when the need for inspiration hits. In my case, that was somewhere between Wawa and Sault Ste-Marie.

The first one was a Kevin Smith interview on The Nerdist Podcast - another podcast where I saw the host, Chris Hardwick, live at JFL 42 a few years ago yet had no idea who he was or what I was watching... I've always been a huge Kevin Smith fan ever since I saw Clerks in University. My friends and I used to quote it and Mallrats all the time. That last one was why we started calling ourselves the Caférats since we spent all our time in this one coffee shop on campus. I've seen all his films and loved his hour-long talks, which I think you can now find on Netflix. But this interview was super special to me. He talks a lot about social media and how it now affects the movie-making landscape, how he's done with the Hollywood system and how he's just going to go out there and make what he wants to make because he just doesn't give a fuck. Honestly, it's way more crass and eloquent than what I am saying, but that's because KS (may I call you KS? Ugh, never mind, that sounds stupid) is a much better writer than I am. But the one thing I really took away from that talk was how we have to stop saying things like "Wouldn't it be nice/cool/awesome if someone did X." If you catch yourself saying something like that? That someone is you.

The other one is a podcast run by a guy named Tim Ferriss who wrote a great book called The 4-Hour Work Week. That book changed my way of thinking a few year ago, so when I found out he also had a podcast, I decided to check it out. And am I ever glad I did! I highly recommend you listen to the one with Tony Robbins and Peter Diamandis on Thinking Big. It blew my mind and made me realize that I can take everything I do to an even higher level. Drive and ambition know no bounds, people!

Let's get to it!


Mental Health Day in Jasper


Well, the Edmonton Fringe was alright after all. Though I haven't added up my final numbers, I don't think I ended up losing any money though I didn't make as much as I did last year. I also closed the show to my biggest house of the festival, filled with an incredibly appreciative crowd of Roller Derby players, including the famed "Roxy Balboa" & "Justin (now going by Dixon) Cider". That said, knowing that we would have a brief window between the close of the Edmonton Fringe and the mid-week preview night in Victoria, I decided the best thing for us was to take a mental health day. And since I had heard amazing things about Jasper, but had never been, I knew that was exactly where I wanted to go. So, after dropping off the fabulous Randi, who joined us in Calgary and followed us to Edmonton to work on the documentary, and Cory's always awesome heterosexual lifemate Tony at the airport for 5 a.m., I packed up the car and a few hours later we were on our way to the mountains.

Now, a "mental health day" should entail no work being done whatsoever, but of course that didn't happen. On our way, we stopped a few times to film some more footage for our Hunt Club Volkswagen Road Trip Diaries, there were plenty of discussions about what/who to film in Victoria and we've started talking about post-production & distribution of the film. But when the scenery around you is so beautiful, is it still really work?

And Cory got to scratch off "Getting picture taken with wildlife" off his road trip bucket list.

Cory and Natalie had no idea where we would be staying because I wanted to surprise them. Weeks ago I decided I would splurge a bit and ended up with a great deal on a room at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Of course, we couldn't tell anyone Cory was with us, since there was an extra charge for an additional person in the room.

Nope. No Cory here...

The Lodge was, of course, pretty fantastic. We went swimming in their heated outdoor pool, had a great dinner and enjoyed some free smores by a campfire. It was everything I needed to relax.

Uh... I don't know who this guy is.

The next day we woke up early, said goodbye to our awesome room and made it to Victoria in good time. For the first time, we were all being billeted separately, but fortunately all our places turned out to be really nice. Cory headed off to pick up his girlfriend (and my assistant) Emily from the airport while Natalie and I got ready for preview night.

And the next chapter of our journey continues in Victoria...

What Is Success?


The other night, while flyering, I ran into a couple who told me their friend saw my show, loved it and had already come up with her roller derby name - Green Widow. I thought it was a pretty cool name, making the mental association that it was some kind of Black Widow reference. They said they were pretty sure she was going to try out for roller derby now and thanked me profusely for helping her out. I told them they were being too kind, but the woman kept going, saying that it was really nice to see their friend getting interested in doing stuff again... As she got chocked up telling me this, I finally clued in: Green Widow - as in "new" widow. Not knowing what else to do, I gave the woman a hug, told them I looked forward to seeing them at the show and walked away in a daze. Small houses? Bad reviews? Fuck them all.

The knowledge that something I created had the power to do that? Priceless.

When it gets rough, and it always gets rough, these are the things I need to remember.



Youth Infringement


Apologies. This was scheduled to go out this morning, but somehow Wordpress messed up.  

Youth Infringement

Tonight, the Youth Infringement Festival opens in Ottawa.

Back in December, I was asked to mentor three young playwrights as part of the festival. I had three very different playwrights, with significantly different writing styles and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I had ever had. I didn't think I had much to offer these kids (I call them kids but they're all in their 20s), but they seemed to have benefitted from the experience as well.

There were 13 playwrights total participating in the scriptwriting process, however due to the nature of the festival, only 6 get produced. This is no slight on the quality of the other plays, but more on the interests of the 6 directors. If the scripts I read were any indication, this is going to be a solid festival and I highly encourage you to attend.

On Thursday, I also have the pleasure of being on the panel for a discussion about finding work vs. making your own. That's at 7:30 p.m. at Arts Court Theatre.

As always, I'll be seeing you at the theatre!

Who's In Your Front Row?


2014-05-02 23.12.20 I've been anxious a lot lately, but talking about my anxiety helps.

A few years ago, while in a workshop with the divine Barbara Deutsch about making your career happen, though I forget the exact context this was said in, I distinctly remember her asking, "Who's in your front row?" Who are the people who are going to be there for you no matter what?

Because this business is rough and rife with uncertainty. There are plenty of people who will tell you you can't do it. Sometimes, those people might even be inside your own head. So, who can you call on when...

  • left your agent, broke up with your significant other, and are considering going back to graduate school?
  •'re performing an 11pm show on a Monday night at your local Fringe festival, it's 5 minutes to show time and you've got 2 people in the audience?
  •'s 2 a.m., you're drunk and you're about to text that guy you know you shouldn't be texting?
  •'re moving?
  •'s Tuesday and you think you should quit? Again?
  •'re not really sure who cares about you and what you do?
  • just want to give up and eat ice cream?

Sure, the general answer should be "Call your therapist!" but if that's not an option, call your front row. Those people who will pick up the phone, rush right over, tell you you're awesome and that those pants make your ass look amazing. They might not be in the same city as you, but they are there. Once you start making that mental list, you'll also start to realize there are way more of them then you could have possibly imagined.

And if they're really good. They won't even tell you not to quit, but ask you why you want to. They'll make you realize on your own that you didn't want to quit after all. Or maybe you do. And that's ok too.

I've been calling on mine a lot lately. To you, and you know who you are, I say thank you. I couldn't do any of this without you.

Let's all have ice cream, ok?

Money Matters

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Thomas Leuthard via Compfight

I grew up in an immediate family of business people. People with a head for numbers and finances. Something that as an artist has never interested me in the slightest. I just wanted to perform and make shows. Who cares about money, man? The Universe will provide for me, right? No worries!

My mom was always on my case about my finances, probably because I was always asking to borrow money. By the time I turned 30, I was at my lowest point. I was broke, often bouncing cheques, heavy into debt, and even though I owned a condo, I was virtually homeless. I felt alone, was prone to depression, and making my mom sick with worry that I couldn't even function in society.

That's when something kind of snapped and I started taking control. Counterintuitively, I quit a job that was making me miserable and called around to former employers I liked. By the next week, I had a new job for the summer, finished Roller Derby Saved My Soul and moved to Toronto in the fall. I then took a good, long look at my finances and realized I was still fucked. So I took the advice of the wonderful Gail Vax-Ozdale. I could spend less or make more money. Well, it really wasn't possible to spend less, so I went the other route. I made the very grown-up decision to get a full-time job (and then cried for a week in the bathroom that I had to have a "real" job.)

I turned things around.

That was three years ago. Now, as I near another birthday, I am proud of what I've accomplished and entering a new stage of financial management & education. I now have a company and staff to take care of. I'm currently funding everything out of pocket thanks to my "joe job" and my head swims as I move through budgets and payroll and remittance and I owe the government how much?

But every time I start feeling crazy lost in everything, I think back on those super dark days and remember how I got out of it. I took control. So, I go back to the budget, even though it's the last thing I want to look at, and I play around with the numbers. And I feel better.

It hasn't always been smooth. I still sometimes cry in various bathrooms. But I'm figuring it out.

Because in the words of the phenomenal and inspiring Danielle Laporte, I'll figure it out.

Thanks, Mom. I'm sorry it took me this long to hear you.

Never Ever Hold Your Breath

About 10 days ago, I returned from a three week trip to Thailand. My first vacation in ages. No work obligations and mostly unplugged, it was an incredible experience. Life-changing, even. The weather was glorious, the people incredibly kind, and the adventure was eye-opening. We did plenty of awesome activities like ride elephants and take a Thai cooking class, but the one thing that stood out the most for me was accomplishing my life-long goal of learning to scuba dive. I love the water. Growing up on the East Coast I have a fondness for salt water in particular. But I also love warmth. And I figured if I ever wanted to scuba dive, learning in the warm waters of Thailand would be the best, not the mention the cheapest, option.

I don't know what I thought would happen when I learned to scuba dive, but I don't think I was quite prepared for how far out of my comfort zone it would take me. Multiple times I had to fight the little voice inside my head going "ARE YOU CRAZY??!? Why are you still underwater? You can't BREATHE down here!"

I panicked. Multiple times. In fact, this panic lead to one of many self-realizations: Whenever I try something new, if I don't "get it" right away, I stop breathing and brace myself for some sort of impact that is sure to come and kill me, which leads to an unreasonable amount of panic. And then usually I give up, because this fear of dying due to trying new things must be a legit one that is just trying to keep me safe.

Oy. I do this in my acting work too.

But see here's the thing with scuba diving, the most important rule actually: NEVER, EVER, HOLD YOUR BREATH.

Wait a minute, so now I can't fall back on my old panicky habits and I have to sit/hover there under gallons of water and just... breathe? Because there is nothing wrong? My equipment is secure and my scuba buddy (always swim with a buddy) is right there.

Fortunately, I had a very generous and patient instructor who was with me the whole time. And eventually, it hit me. There is nothing wrong. I can breathe through this, I will survive and I will be stronger for it.

Not only that, it opened the door to a whole new world of wonder & fun. Beautiful fish swam around us, gorgeous corals were all over the place, secret crevices were hidden inside underwater rock formations... And then we had a blast striking superhero poses underwater because if you're going to hover in water, hover like you're a goddamn superman.

It was the most fun I'd had in a long time. And to think I almost missed out on it all by closing my eyes and holding my breath.

With my Sail Rock Divers instructor Emma looking like badass superheroes with messy hair.



Fear and the Art of Mountain Climbing

I live on the right side, I sleep in the leftThat’s why everything’s got to be love or death. Yes, this fear's got a hold on me.

-Death by the White Lies

I've got a bunch of projects on the go. Projects that seem so fucking big when I take a minute to stop and think about them. And that's when the fear kicks in. Over the years, it's gotten better because I've started to recognize it for what it is.

It's like deciding to climb a mountain for the first time. At first, you're so excited because the thought of conquering a mountain is unbelievably appealing. You picture yourself at the top, smile on your face, hands on your hips, superhero cape floating in the wind... Because you did it! You beat the mountain!

If you're ambitious enough, that image and the joy it gives you gets you going. You're excited. You make plans. It's going to be fun! You start telling people about the mountain and researching the mountain on the internet.

And then perhaps the comments start pouring in: "Wow! You're going to climb that? That's going to be hard." or "Good luck with that. Other people have tried to climb the mountain before and they didn't make it. But you know, you can probably do it."

And in your research you find out how big the mountain ACTUALLY is. And how much work you're going to have to do to get ready. And maybe it's going to cost a lot more than you thought it would. Maybe there are more regulations and hoops to jump through first. The path might not be clear and you think Goddamn it! Why do I have to be the one to go up first? Why do I have to lead?

So you get scared. That anxious, breath stuck in your throat, tears welling up in your eyes, what the fuck am I doing kind of scared.

I feel that way a lot. It's brief, but always intense. I panic because there is a giant fucking mountain looming in front of me. But when I breathe through it, and remember to just take it one step at a time, it gets better.

It also helps that I have been gathering a better support network around me. A team. An A-Team. The confidence to build and lead a team is very new to me. I need to remember to use it when I need it.

Let's move mountains, shall we?

When literal & figurative mountains collide: Grouse Grind in September anyone?

New Year, Same Story, New Beginnings

RDSMS Photo 1 Wow! 2014! You're looking pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

And what is looking to be so amazing about 2014, you ask? EVERYTHING!

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Today I'm back into rehearsals for Pop Fiction. A wicked new work in both French and English that is sure to impress. I can't say much more than that for now, but stay tuned for future blog posts. The show runs from January 22nd to February 1st at the Arts Court Theatre Studio.

I've also just launched the new website for Roller Derby Saved My Soul. It's still a work in progress, so feedback is appreciated, but I am super proud to finally have that little gem out there in the world. And speaking of RDSMS, in 2014 I will be taking on my biggest tour to date: 8 cities, possibly more, from Orlando to Vancouver from May to September. And and and if THAT wasn't enough, I will be creating a documentary of the tour. Again, more on that in another post, but I am thrilled to announce that, yes this documentary is happening!

Are you excited yet?

But wait, there's more!

I have a birthday this year. I know, I know, I have one every year, but this is a bit of a landmark one, one of the last landmarks for a while: my Jesus year. I never do anything special for my birthday. I never really bothered, but this year the timing is just too perfect to ignore. My birthday is in May, a mere week or two before I head out to the Orlando Fringe. So, to everyone in Ottawa (Yes, everyone! Someone call the mayor!) you are invited to one heck of a party where, for one night only, you will get to see the newest version of Roller Derby Saved My Soul - I'm taking new sound design, new choreography, new set - and then we will party like I'm turning 33. More details to come, but think of this as your official save the date for May 3rd. All proceeds will go to help finance the tour and the aforementioned documentary.

I did say there would probably be more than 8 cities to this tour. I guess that makes 9.

Oh and for those of you who remember Dolores, well that one is still on the table too. I'm still in talks for venues & festivals, so keep an eye out for that. We will also be going into pre-production for a film based on my translation of the script.

I'm excited. I'm very excited, but I know I have to be careful and pace myself. I've spent the past month working from home. I love it. I absolutely do. But I've noticed how easy it is for me to just sit at my computer doing work and not taking a break since I don't have to go anywhere. This is how burnout begins. I suffered one towards the end of 2013 and I definitely don't want to go through that again. Having staff is going to help, but going on vacation in February is probably going to help more. I'm going to Thailand and for the first time since... ever, I'm going to be off the grid for a whole three weeks. No work. No thinking about work. Just taking care of myself.

And when it comes to 2014, this is just the stuff I know about. I wonder what other surprises and adventures are in store for me? Let's find out together, shall we?


Looking Back on 2013

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seyed mostafa zamani via Compfight

Is it really the end of the year? Where the heck did the time go? Definitely not into blogging since I feel like I was pretty lazy about it this past year. I got my "Annual Report" from Wordpress and it seems I only wrote 50 new posts, which makes it difficult when I want to look back and see what I have accomplished.

Why is that important? Because I forget. In the past, I've had a nasty habit of thinking I haven't done anything, not really, whatever that means. In some ways, that's a good thing because it keeps me motivated, ambitious and working hard. In other ways, it's a very bad thing because then I get mad at myself for not being successful *insert your own adjective here* enough. Again, whatever that means.

So, it's good for me to look back and remember. Let's get to it, shall we?

I ended 2012 not knowing what was going to happen with Roller Derby Saved My Soul. I was going to do the Edmonton Fringe Festival, but that was it. Man, did that ever change quickly enough... Funny thing is, this year I end 2013 knowing exactly what I'm going to be doing with Roller Derby Saved My Soul next year (and more on that in my next post), but who knows? That could change as well.

I also like that one of my last posts in 2012 was about getting my financial act together. I'm proud to say that I end 2013 in an even better position than before. I'm excited and feel confident that I am on the right path to bring in even more abundance into my life in the new year.


Now, I started 2013 in Toronto, but I definitely didn't stay there. This past year was one of major travel that included the usual trifecta of Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal at the beginning of the year, but as of May it went something like this: Toronto, Moncton, Toronto, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Victoria, Halifax, NYC, Moncton, Fredericton, Moncton, Lameque, Moncton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Whistler, Vancouver, Whistler, Vancouver, NYC, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Moncton, Ottawa.

I'm a little dizzy looking at that. Best part? Visiting my family 3 times this past year, which is more than the 2 trips I had in 2012.

And guess what? The list for 2014 is going to be even longer and more diverse. I. CAN'T. WAIT!


I received an email a few weeks ago saying I had celebrated my "5 year anniversary" on Twitter. One of my longest relationships to date, it seems. While I continued working my day job in social media for a major rail transportation agency in Canada, I also picked up another contract doing similar work for a campaign that falls under the banner of the Queen's representative in Canada. I continued creating podcasts for the Ontario Arts Council until March and I have been approached by them to continue some work in the new year. I also started teaching workshops on crowdfunding through Theatre Ontario and I am doing consultation work on the side.

Oh and one of my most popular blog posts this past year was on Theatre Marketing Done Right thanks to the fine folks at Wold Stage TO.


I finally completed my CanFit Pro Fitness Instructor Certification! Though I got too busy to push that much further, I also taught my first ever Zumba class to a willing friend, which was pretty awesome.

I got much better at roller skating thanks to some great sessions with the ladies of roller derdy. Special shout-out to the Rollergettes at the West End Wayward Roller Skating Association in Toronto who really helped me grow, as well as the fantastic Elizabeth Beserkeley (aka Jen Jarvis) from the Capital City Derby Dolls who took the time to coach me one-on-one.

As for mental health, I feel better than ever. I've taken an active role in making my life better from the inside out. I've been working to love myself more. I've also learned a valuable lesson this past year: It's ok to get help.


Roller Derby Saved My Soul was well-received at Zoofest in Montreal, as well as at the Edmonton and Atlantic Fringe Festivals. By Edmonton, we had a new sound design thanks to the great Steven Lafond, as well as a new show trailer. Rave reviews abounded, additional awards were won, and there was many a sold-out performance.

Yeah, baby!

And let's not forget about Dolores! My first attempt at translation was very well-received, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the phenomenal Tania Levy again, as well as the incredible Martine Roquebrune. Our little show in a kitchen was incredibly well-received and we walked away with the award for Outstanding Drama at the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Not to mention raising over $500 for women's shelters in the Ottawa area.

Dolores director, Tania Levy & I with our Outstanding Drama Award

And although I thought this was it for my year, I started rehearsals this past month for Pop Fiction, a co-lingual show that goes up at the end of January in Ottawa, and I was thrown into my very first show with Eddie May Murder Mysteries after a cast-member got sick. Best way to end a year.

If I was going to be a real-live Peanuts character, Lucy would be it.

I shot a few student films in the beginning of the year, though I now realize I haven't even seen any of them yet.  I took some incredible acting classes that have pushed my work to even bigger and better places. I also participated in the Industry Series at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, which was probably one of the best decisions I could have made as it provided me with contacts & leads that I'm still following up on today.

Oh and I now find myself mentoring a group of emerging playwrights for the Youth Infringement Festival, which has been a very inspiring and enlightening experience.


It wasn't all roses. I was incredibly stressed out for most of the year. I made money on some projects , but not on others. I loved and lost. I moved away from my very awesome roommate. I left my agent and found myself self-represented for the first time in ages. But in all these trials, if you can even call them that, I grew. I learned that new opportunity and even more love comes from letting go. And I had one heck of an adventure  throughout it all.

So, that was 2013 off the top of my head. But enough about the past, let's look towards the future...


Happy New Year!

Level Up Your Life

Koh Ngai []Creative Commons License Darren Johnson via Compfight

As some of you know, for the past few years, I've taken a greater interest in health and fitness. I feel really good about that, but the thing is I don't want to just feel "good". In the words of my guide for all things awesome, Jes Lacasse, I want to feel awesome. A couple days ago, I came across a website that wants to help me do just that: Nerd Fitness.

A couple months ago, I had seen a nutritionist who had recommended the Paleo Diet as a solution to my chronic fatigue and general feelings of grossness - which I think is the proper medical term. Of course, she said not to start while I was on tour because that would be crazypants, but now that I was almost back in Ottawa, I had decided to actively look into it some more. Which is what led me to Nerd Fitness, Steve Kamb and this post in particular. His proficiency with linking back to previous posts and articles sent me down the rabbit hole and I spent well over an hour reading through everything. I was incredibly inspired by many of the transformations he profiled on the site and realized that this was something I wanted to do too.

More on that in a second.

The website is also waaaaay more than just a fitness and nutrition guide. I started reading post after post relating to living a better life in a way that I could totally dig: through sci-fi and video games.

I remember playing the Sims or World of Warcraft and starting to associate things I did in my real life to video game quests (i.e. Just learned a new recipe? That's another 10 points to my cooking skills. Or I need to go to the bathroom know, the toilet bar must be low... Don't lie. If you're a video game nerd, you've probably done the same thing.)

For more on that, check out his Ted Talk:

If you can't watch the video, know that Steve decides to turn his life into his own personal video game, levelling up every time he completes a quest on his Epic List of Awesome. This. This was something I could get behind.

Honestly, go give Nerd Fitness a look. Posts the spoke to me in particular include no longer saying "I don't have the time" but "It's not a priority" (makes more sense when you click on the link) and having specific goals in mind (inspired in part by Tim Ferriss' 4-hour Work Week, which is an awesome book you should definitely read).

So, back to me.

A month ago, while having brunch with a good friend in Ottawa, out of the blue she asks "Do you want to go to Thailand with me?" Since this past year for me has been all about living a more spontaneous and adventurous life, the word "Yes" came out without hesitation. Two nights ago, the tickets were booked thanks to an incredibly good deal. We fly to Bangkok on February 13th and will be spending 21 glorious days wandering Thailand and the surrounding areas.

That's when everything finally clicked together. In order for a goal to be SMRT S.M.A.R.T (specificmeasurableattainablerelevant and time-bound), it needs to have a deadline. February 13th is mine.

To do what, you might ask (if you've actually been reading this far)?

In the past, I would say "get into shape" or "have visible ab definition" or something vague like that. And after reading through the some of the amazing transformation articles on Nerd Fitness, I am more convinced than ever that the scale is a big fat fatty fat liar liar pants on fire so it's not about losing weight either. No, it's going to be about body fat percentage. Although I can't check with a device, the images in this post make me think that I'm in the 24-26% range. I would like to be in the 17-18% range.

So there you have it: I want to have 17-18% body fat by the time I fly out to the beaches of Thailand on February 13. Since working out hasn't done all that much to change me, the problem then is my diet. I will therefore reach my goal by continuing my strength training but also gradually changing my diet to a Paleo Lifestyle.

I'll be posting updates and photos here in the weeks to come. Encouragements welcome in the comments section.

What I Had for Breakfast

I've been trying to get back into a regular blogging routine and, since most of my views come from Facebook, I decided to ask the fine folks who consider themselves my internet friends what they thought I should write about. That... did not go as well as I thought it would. Suggestions ranged from salacious stories of immoral activities (which, honestly Jessica, those are private for just you and me) to the complete history of cheese (which I don't feel like looking up right now). General consensus though seemed to fall on "breakfast". So without further ado, here is what I had for breakfast this morning... Well, at least it's got me writing again. I also wish I had taken a picture. Coffee with almond milk - my sister got me hooked on this wonderful almond/coconut blend which I've only been able to find at Safeway here in Vancouver. Since Safeway is a bit of a hike from where I am, I settled on this Almond Breeze thing, which was on sale at the Independent Grocer and is nowhere near as good.

Leftovers from yesterday's breakfast - Salmon and egg scramble

Last week, I bought salmon steaks for dinner, but didn't have time to cook it. Since I didn't want the fish to go to waste, I decided to make my own fancy brunch dish. If you want to make your own, you'll need:

1 tbs of coconut oil

2 mushrooms, sliced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 lb of salmon, boneless/skinless, cubed

3-4 eggs, scrambled in a bowl

fresh dill

about half a cup of sour cream

lemon juice and zest from half a lemon

fresh ground black pepper

cayenne pepper to taste


Heat up the coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic and 3/4 of the shallot for about 1 minute. Add the salmon cook for about 3 minutes. While there is still some bright pink inside the salmon, add the egg mixture (I usually add some black pepper and/or hot sauce to my eggs before putting it in the pan). Scramble everything regularly.

While that's cooking, put the sour cream, rest of the shallot, lemon juice & zest, chopped up dill, black & cayenne pepper to taste in a bowl. Mix it all up. When the eggs are done, pour the sauce into the pan. Stir it up for about a minute or two.

Add any leftover dill as a garnish. Serve it up with a nice garden salad and some mimosas if you're feeling super fancy.