Friday, October 29, 2010


When I am home alone in the daytime, I revel. This may take small forms, like staying in my pyjamas until 2pm, or reading at the table. I keep the blinds open so I can see the grey day unfolding, and I cook, or I clean, or I spend too much time on the computer. I practice my juggling until the person downstairs must be like: enough already! Stop dropping those balls on the floor! I've taken to playing Baroque music on internet radio recently (or as one station intriguingly calls it, "Barock Music") because it is old, stately, beautiful, and never, ever, schlocky. Simple, small, domestic things that only feel so good because I don't always have to do them day in, day out. Yesterday and today I have been: cooking delicious meals, making my place look nice, and fielding calls about my next job, a job that will pay me a very nice sum of money to play my accordion for one of Vancouver's biggest theatre companies. I find the word "blessed" a bit precious, so let's just say I feel pretty lucky right now, alright?
Lucky, but slightly disconnected.
Disconnected as in, well, here's a weird little image for you:
I'm fishing, and all around me are lines that I'm supposed to be managing. Some of them have some pretty big fish on them, wonderful fish, but the lines are so long and the fish are so far from me that it's hard to reel them in.
Some of them are close to me, but the fish are tiny, so I just pull 'em out from time to time, look quickly at the fish, and put them back in the water.
Some of the lines that I thought held a juicy fish now seem to be empty.
And there are lines that I haven't even checked yet; lines that may contain the most brilliant, plump, nourishing fish I've yet to meet.
Substitute friends for fish and maybe you see where I'm going with this.
I'd like to be a better friend, but sometimes the rules elude me and I feel like a total beginner. Distance and Facebook and my ever-changing jobs don't help any, and I blame them loudly and often to J, to my blog, in 'counselling' (when I was having that), but I think I need to stop blaming and start trying harder. Facebook is a too-safe place to dip into, leave little remarks, and withdraw, but if push came to shove, if things got hard, how many of those "friends" would give a damn about me? Would do more than write "OMG I'm so sorry lol" and move on with their days? And to be fair, how many of them would I do more than that for?
Friendship should be messy sometimes, and awkward. Friendship should be about being there in tough times and getting drunk together and babysitting the kids when there's no one else, and having it out when you're angry and celebrating the things that are awesome. I wish I had more friends like that; hell, I wish I WAS a friend like that, but I'm not. Not often enough.

Actors and musicians? Stevie Nicks said "Players only love you when they're playing", and ain't that the truth, more often than not. Just because you're my BFF right now doesn't mean it will last once the band breaks up/the show closes. Even if we have the best intentions, we probably won't see each other very much.

Girls? I haven't been great at girlfriends since high school. School was easy. School was she's my best friend; those two/four are inseparable/this is my group, that's who I hang with now and forever. And yes, I am well aware that it wasn't like this for everyone, that school can be the worst time, but I was lucky. I had steadfast friends. Always. After school is I'm moving 2000 miles away. It's boyfriends and husbands and children and differing lifestyles and work and snatching time in the midst of All This. I honour and love the girlfriends I have (a short but lovely list that happily includes my mother) but sometimes (like today) I see a report card and my name and a comment that says: could do better.

Guys are easier, until they're not, and you're thinking well, I like you a lot, which also means I find you attractive, which is a can o' worms and no mistake. I don't want to live in an all-woman purdah, but if I'm hanging out with a guy then there are unwritten rules, right? Like, coffee once in a while is okay, but calling you to go to a play or a concert because my guy is busy/not interested might be weird/predatory/seen as cheating. I pause here and think that maybe I'm over-analyzing, but then I think of my other 'coupled' friends and how often I hear them say that they went out with a guy who wasn't their partner. Which is practically never. I don't want to just have friends that are 'our' friends- although I value those highly-I want some of my own, female and male. But I think this is hard to do.

So what, then?
Today I'll wrap up this blog, which has taken a long time to write. I'll cook dinner for my man, who is one of the best friends a girl could hope to have, because he is working sick today and little things like dinner mean more when you feel gross. And I'll go to the theatre with a girlfriend, one of the good ones, one of the ones who stuck around through the kids and and the distance and the different life paths and I think we'll have a great time.
And I'll keep myself open to new friends, and try to be better and more honest to the ones I have, and I'll stop checking Facebook so often because I don't think that what's on there is the best kind of friendship.

Monday, October 18, 2010


There's something about autumn that makes me want to get cozy. You know, cooking and cleaning and the like. I guess a lot of us are like that, and not just humans. Underneath everything, we are all just animals, sensing the return of cold weather and storms, and wanting to prepare for them.
Both my current jobs require me to be outside, sometimes all day and late into the night. While I am loving this, when I am at home I find myself cooking and cleaning up a storm. Add the fact that we are trying to save money right now, and that we are getting most of our groceries delivered these days, (thanks, SPUD!) and you have a lot of nesting going on!
Jon has long been able to use up leftovers in a delicious and interesting way, while I am more the type to go and spend 40 bucks on groceries to make one lousy meal. But lately my inner penny-pincher seems to have finally kicked in, and I am getting better at grabbing the wilting spinach or the last few eggs and making a meal from those. Here's a dish that J and I both love, which is the ideal way to use up slightly over-the-hill veggies and pretty much anything else you have lying around:
Baked Frittata:
1. Chop up some veggies. This morning I had a sad-looking red pepper, some basil, and a few cloves of garlic, so that's what I used. Oh., and turn on the oven to about 425 degrees.

2. While you are chopping, you may want to be boiling some diced potato. Usually I use those little mixed red, white and blue ones, but today it was a good ol' Russet potato.

3. Meat is good, although optional. I had to use these up today, so in they went.

4. Seasonings make it taste way more interesting, and are a good way to use up wilted herbs and containers of stuff in the fridge that really should be used before they go bad... I find that I can't get enough thyme these days, so I use it in a lot of stuff.

5. Once the potatoes have softened (but not too much!), start browning the meat in an oven-safe skillet. I bought this one in Barkerville and have been loving it because it cleans so much better than a cast-iron one.

Now would also be a good time to add the seasonings, like that pesto, and some old salsa you found in the back of the fridge.
6. Once the meat is cooked, add the veggies. and stir. Oh, there were mushrooms in the fridge as well.

7. Don't cook this stuff for too long. Remember, it's going in the oven soon...
When everything is nicely coated in oil and seasoning, smooth it down with your spatula and turn off the heat. Pour in some beaten eggs. I use 4, but you could use more if you wanted.

8. Stick it in the oven. It'll probably take about 15 minutes. Take it out once the eggs are cooked, but not too dry! This is what the end result looks like:

9. Wait a couple of minutes so that the eggs firm up and the frittata will slice properly. Then cut it up, eat, and enjoy!

The awesome thing about frittata is that there are no rules. You can use pretty much anything you want, as long as it goes well with eggs. Pretty much anything that would be in a quiche, for example. You could also just cook it on a stovetop, without the baking, but I like the oven-baked consistency better. And like I said, it's a great way to use things up. AND, the perfect autumn-day nesting-inside food. Yum.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Alison continues to explore the grimy blue-collar underbelly of show business daily at the pumpkin patch and nightly at the Ghost Train."
This is my latest Facebook status update. I try not to post updates too often, but the phrase slipped into my brain today and I couldn't resist.
I'm not really complaining. I'm happy to be working, although I enjoyed having a few weeks to nest at home after so long away. Running, cooking, cleaning, exploring east van again, finding new pictures to capture my beautiful, troubling, grubby neighbourhood.
But tell them this at theatre school: if you're lucky, VERY lucky, you will get to work at one of our big theatres for a while, and life will be sweet. And if you have ideas and confidence and drive, you will create your own piece and if it's good you'll ride the wave of critical success for a while, and life will be sweet.
But in between those heady times will be the meat-and-potatoes work, including what I just did for the last couple of days, which was: dancing around in a giant pumpkin costume for over five hours a day.
Stay in school, kids.