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Archive for the ‘Inspiring Peeps’ Category

A slightly goofy photo of me and my sisters on my wedding day – there’s moi in the middle, with Chay (left) and my other sister, Tara (right). (Another very inspiring peep who will be getting her very own “Inspiring Peeps” post very soon!)

Chay is my youngest sister (we’re a family of three girls – I’m the oldest). And what a fabulous sister she is. In carefully chosen adjectives, Chay is hilarious, smart, witty, talented, creative, adventurous, engaging, charming, loyal, sweet, sassy, kind, generous and so much fun to be around. Oh, and did I mention that she’s absolutely drop-dead, radiantly gorgeous? Yes indeed, she certainly is.

Hanging out with Chay often gives me that wonderfully exhilarated feeling, like on the first day of a camping trip, when you’re in the car with your fresh, steaming Tim Horton’s coffees and some Sublime or Cake playing on the car stereo.

Hanging out with Chay can also involve deep, soulful chats about life, the universe and everything. She’s an incredibly good listener, with lots of great ideas – I’ve called her many a time with a problem, and she always responds in a respectful, insightful way. Chay is an amazing friend indeed.

I think I have laughed my head off with Chay more than with any other person in the world. (The exception being Tara – actually, we’ve all done an awful lot of laughing our heads off together!) These laughing fits usually come from ridiculous inside jokes, of course – what else would it be with sisters involved?

Chay has a fabulous sense of style and a wonderfully attuned aesthetic. She could easily be an interior designer or personal stylist. And she makes the most amazing cakes. She made the cake for my wedding, and Tara’s wedding, and check out this awesome hamster cake she made for my birthday a few years back! (As anyone who knows me well is aware, I have a serious love of hamsters. I’ve been the mama to dozens of beloved little hammies in my life – mainly as a kid.) She’s got plans in the works to become a pastry chef – how cool is that?!

In addition to being brilliant in many other ways, Chay has a great physical intelligence. As someone who’s generally uncoordinated and pretty klutzy, this is something I’ve always admired about Chay. She bikes, she hikes, she runs, she can do it all and she’s like a beautiful gazelle.

Chay has an amazing gift with animals. As a little girl she championed the rights of snails and made little Kleenex beds for ailing leatherjackets, and since then she has befriended rats, volunteered with animal shelters, owned and loved several horses, and has been a loving mum to her crazy little Jack Russell, Georgia, for nine years. (Georgie, you’re nutty and we love you.)

Chay is a seriously wonderful auntie. Since Keaton came into our lives almost a year ago (!), she’s made us dinners, babysat, and helped us out in so many ways. Keaton loves her and she loves him. She may not want to admit it, but she’s a natural with babies. (You are so, Chay!)

So yeah, what I’m basically saying is that Chay totally rules. I’ve often said that Chay is the light of my life, and it’s true. You are my joy, Chay. Love you, my sis!

And I mentioned she’s really fun to party with, right? (Halloween shot – awesome!)

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Heather (left, looking very va-va-voom) & me at the Vancouver Folk Festival this past weekend.

Heather and I have been best friends nearly half my life – since I was 18. Since then she’s become a sister to me, and she is a very significant, inspiring figure in my life. I can’t even imagine what a huge, clueless dork I would be if Heather hadn’t come into my life in my most impressionable years, with all her wonderful influences. (Well, I’m still a dork, but I would have been a way huger dork if I didn’t know Heather!)

Heather is one of the most magical people I have ever met. No, let me rephrase that. She is the most magical person I have ever met. There is no one else like her in the world – which is too bad, in a way. The world would be a much better place if there were more Heathers. She is a singular, pure, brilliant, enchanting spirit.

We met across a crowded room, in a poetry class at college. I thought she looked like a young Mia Farrow with her short, blonde, gamine haircut. She thought I looked “ageless.” And we told each other so at coffee break.

Heather & I back in the day. This photo was taken inside her lovely old blue Volvo. I think we were on one of our nighttime drives to Whonnock Lake.

And a friendship was born. We both lived in Maple Ridge at the time (my hometown), and we developed a weekly ritual (often many times a week), of meeting at the local public library and then going to Subway, where we would discuss the importance of pepper on a cheese & veggies sub, and other things. She lent me her Bjork Debut and Cub CDs. We went for walks in the woods. We frequented Roots, the sweet little Maple Ridge health food store, for various types of tea. We went for countless wonderful drives in the countryside at night, sometimes stopping to lay on the hood of the car while stargazing and listening to Brave New Waves on CBC. We baked elaborate strawberry cakes and read each other poetry. We hung tin foil stars from tree branches and lay under them on an old quilt. We drove to Fort Langley on warm summer evenings and drank lattes at Wendell’s, the cute bookstore/cafe there.

We also developed, for many years, a ritual of daily phone calls – I remember the call that started it all: “Oh my god, Christy! Michael Stipe shaved his head!” (This was 1994.)

Before you go thinking she’s some dreamy fairy girl, I should add that Heather is totally hilarious and tells a fart joke like none other. And I love her darker, twisted, mischievous side.

Heather has an amazing personal style and design aesthetic that I have always admired. Receiving a present from her (and I have been the lucky recipient of many!) is a thing to behold, all wrapped in tissue paper and bundled with nubbly yarn, acorns and fern fronds. A staunch protector of nature, Heather spends hours hiking in the woods and volunteering for conservation organizations. The beauty of the natural world has intertwined with her incredible artwork, her fashion sense, her decorating, and the way she lives her life.

For the past six years I’ve been lucky to live just two blocks away from Heather – how cool is that? She and her lovely husband are moving into a condo that they bought, but luckily they’ll still be in the same neighbourhood, less than a 10 minute walk away, right next to Stanley Park. Which is a good thing – if I go too long without seeing her I get a terrible case of Heather Withdrawal, which involves depression, anxiety and the shakes. She has this healing quality about her, and I feel sparkly and fresh just being in her presence. Good thing I see her pretty often!

Life with Heather is dreamy, fun and fabulous. And I can’t imagine it without her.

You can visit Heather’s blog, and see an example of her beautiful artwork here.

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A semi-regular series about – the name says it all – the people in my life who inspire me. Me and Zoe on my wedding day (she was one of my bridesmaids).

Zoe is absolutely one of my most favourite people in the whole world. She and I met in February 2005 through an awesome Vancouver School Board program called Mentorship: Making Contact, where adult mentors and gifted elementary students come together to work on subjects like astronomy, French cooking, or in my and Zoe’s case, art and creative writing.

From the moment I met her at our initial “get to know you” program meeting, I knew we were meant for each other. She was 12 at the time, and was wearing a funky get-up with pink tights and a vintage purse. She was more fashionable than most adults I know (and continues to be!). I love the wacky, offbeat kids the best, and there she was, in all her glory. The classroom we met in had a mobile in it, I remember, and one of the things hanging off it was a sparkly Christmas ornament shaped like a fish, with bright red lady lips. Zoe and I were very taken by this fish (the mentorship facilitator even said that we could take it home with us). We decided to name the fish Edwina, and we made up an elaborate backstory on her – I can’t really remember what it was, but I think it involved Edwina selling Avon. As it turned out, Zoe and her mum (the fabulous Kimberly, who took our wedding photos) lived only a block away from us in the West End, and so we all rode the bus home together, plotting and scheming our fabulous mentorship.

And what a fabulous mentorship it was, indeed, a mentorship that quickly – if not immediately, became a friendship. Here Zoe and I were, in those early days:

Our mentorship meetings usually involved fun things related to our topic of art and creative writing, such as doing each others’ make-up and hair, and making extremely creative mocktails involving grenadine, lime cordial and food colouring. Lots of movie-watching, too, usually while doing said activities. Oh, and we liked to play dress-up, talk about our dreams and plan out short films we wanted to make (we never actually made them, but we had some great ideas).

We talked about Tim Burton’s aesthetic, and art deco. We put on costumes and played 17th century card games (lessons courtesy of my friend Laura, another inspiring peep), and we prank-called Sears and tried to order something from their 1934 catalogue (spats, I think it was).

During this time I was probably the busiest I’ve ever been in my life – working full-time, doing my Master’s degree part-time, with a busy social life. Zoe and I hung out about once a week or so, but I wish it could have been more often. One night while we were walking back to Zoe’s house, Zoe said, “You’re my best adult friend.” Quick pause. “No, actually, you’re my best friend, period.” Well, did my heart almost burst with joy, or what!

Zoe has the magical ability to make me forget all my grown-up woes – a conversation with her makes me feel light, carefree and gleeful. She’s brilliant, and affectionate, and all-around wonderful, with a creative mind unlike anyone else I’ve ever met.

Zoe’s almost all grown up now, in Grade 12 and graduating in a couple of months. She’s planning to move to London and be an artist. Or maybe to New York. (You know how it is at that age. I love it.) She came over for a visit last month, from her current home on the Sunshine Coast. I hope I’ll always be a part of her life and her adventures, in some way.

I get a little lump in my throat thinking about all this. I’d better stop before I get way too sentimental (oh wait, too late!).

I love you, Zoe!

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