Drink #22

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I always think of Robyn as my dopple ganger and I always tell her that when I see her. I hope she doesn’t mind. We don’t necessarily look alike but I think we’d be described the same way on paper. “You know that girl, probably late 30s, tall, long kinda messy/ wavy blondish hair, a little bit boho, works in television, used to be at network A, then went to network B, then left network B…” The list I discovered over our Wednesday night drink goes on. We both bought houses within blocks of each other, we both have older brothers who are the brunette versions of us, who know a lot about a lot and fix our respective computers and internet when they visit. We both play tennis, own cats and we have over 60 mutual friends on facebook. Yet we’ve never hung out “on purpose” that is to say, we’re two working women who cross paths every few months at weird events or weirder house parties. The drink was far overdue.

The difference between us (and yes I know we are different people) is that she went ahead and did what I fear the most. She left the safe salary life to go at it on her own. She is currently taking career risks and it appears to be paying off. She’s gathering credits like director and creator and writer whereas I for fifteen years have only had the word producer beside my name. She told me over our cheese plate that it’s about recognizing what you’re good at which I can do. Then you fake it ‘til you make it which I think I’ll never be able to do. If one could pay for confidence I would have been saving pennies since the 90s. But on the flip side I know deep down and am very good at what I do, it’s just the selling myself part that’s uncomfortable for me. Luckily thus far my abilities have stood for themselves and I’m fortunate to have people who believe in me and keep employing me. Thanks guys.

I spent a lot of time in an edit suite with Oprah the other week. Scrolling through two hours of footage for five days, some words started to stick. She said your instincts can not fail you you must recognize your ‘purpose’, and also some thing about ‘whispers’ - I mostly fast forwarded through those parts but a little bit of it got in. Maybe that’s what happens when you are 40. The self improvement stuff you roll your eyes at in your 20s/30s might begin to make sense. 

Drink #21

photo file_zpscdd75713.jpgMeeting up with Chris is usually half business and half pleasure. It wasn’t always that way but I guess when you are a parent, you have to make the best use of your time, especially social time.  This particular night we met about a project we have in the works. It might possibly be the fiftieth project Chris and I have tackled together over the last twenty years. It’s hard to put into words the influence this relationship has had on me, my career, my art, my taste, my opportunities. From meeting in school in 1991, Chris and I lived through some pretty exciting times, often he was creating the excitement on stage and I was documenting it on film. I did well in that role and I honestly think it set me up for who I am and what I do now

The east coast will always inform our secret handshake though we’ve both been in Toronto for over a decade. There’s a group of us here carried over from the old days. Some people call us the Halifax Mafia and say we’re hard to penetrate. I would hope that’s not true but it’s also not hard to understand.  Through a shared experience we created that sort of mutual understanding short hand that’s at the same time comforting and stupid. It was our high school and it’s easy to sometimes feel like you are still in it especially on a night like this. Truthfully I don’t see Chris nearly as much as I used to now that he has an awesome family, and never one on one, so when we do hang out it is fun to indulge. 

On this night our meeting involves a lot of memory work, back to 20 years ago as the said project is all about looking back. Nothing makes you feel more like an adult then not being able to remember things you did when you were already an adult. Fortunately Chris and I are supreme documenters which is another reason our friendship has lasted this long. The difference is without his obsessive productivity my photographs would stay in their fireproof cabinet. Instead I’m soon going to get to share them with the (very small) world (of people still into collecting 90s Cancon indie rock). 

Drink #20


I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my night with Tyler. Had she been a guy and it had been a date I would have walked away really hoping there would be a second, debating when to text to say I had a good time. I managed to wait until 7am the next day to send Tyler an email. 

Tyler shaped a lot of 20-30 somethings’ lives in Toronto in the mid 00s definitely including my own. She threw THE best parties for the myspace generation fully equipped with make-out booths, fortune tellers, dance cards and of course those coded single or not-single name(less) tags. I lapped it up. Also under Tyler’s watch I dressed as a zebra and beat a drum down Queen Street and another time participated in a flash mob before anyone knew what that was. Her distinctive artwork graces my bedroom wall and the music of her record label provided the soundtrack for many a trip to the island or summertime bike ride through Trinity Bellwoods. When I think romantically about my early Toronto years, I realize I owe Tyler a big thank you.

So it’s surprising that absolutely none of the above came up in conversation during a cozy Wednesday night drink at a newish Dundas hangout. With Tyler everything is about the present and future. Her present involves acclimatizing to motherhood and balancing that with a thirst for creating her next great project. And don’t think for a second she won’t succeed at both.

We talked a lot about art making and how hard that first seed of an idea is to come by. We compared anxiety notes and our mutual need to fill time. We ran down our own “dance cards” so to speak and filled each other in on new unions, marriages and babies. Times have certainly changed since those early days when we first met. I can’t help but feel they’ve changed more for other than they have for me but maybe i’m just in a glass half empty mood. It’s the dead of January. Give me a break. 

Drink #19


Regrettably for Sarah she was on a cleanse the night we met up. I did my best arm twisting but evidently hers is not made of rubber. So with her water with a touch of lemon in hand (my hand held a Dark and Stormy), we settled in at a newish winebar that has yet to be ruined.

There is a lot to talk about with Sarah. Our paths interweave in complex ways dating back to young and foolish times (Halifax in the 90s). Everything and everyone has changed yet nothing has changed. That’s why it is exciting to me that Sarah has broken the mould and enthusiastically accepted a marriage proposal a couple of months ago. It’s the kind of news that, once made public, spread like wildfire in the most positive of ways. Great guys are out there! Love exists! Commitment is romantic! Yay! Of course nothing is without its complication, but ya know… Baggageless marriages in one’s 20s and kids by 30 has never been a fathomable reality for anyone I know. Or at least any graduate of the forever young scene Sarah and I both come from. Is it because we were all too self involved? Driven? Lazy?

Our night didn’t go too late as Sarah was on the job the next day. She’s a stylist/costume designer for a large portion of underfunded Canadian films and their red carpet premieres. She dresses the same actors that I eventually book to come talk about their projects on my show. It’s always fun to compare notes.

BLIND ITEM - This B- list actress who has yet to break out of Canadian film likes to get naked and … Oh I can’t do it. This industry is way too small.

Anyhoo… we wrapped it up and headed over to visit aforementioned fiance at his hip bar where hip people were unironically singing 90s karaoke because, as we realized in horror, they didn’t experience it the first time around. Is that what people in their 50s think when we sing Fleetwood Mac with unabashed love? I’m blowing my own mind right now.

Drink #18

PhotobucketPaige has lips to match her hair which matches her nails. For a while - too long - that’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge. The girlfriend of a friend, Paige always struck me from afar as very together in appearance and personality. Years later now to find out she is STILL in her 20s kind of blows my mind. Also the fact that we had never got to know each other even though she is wracking up the years with aforementioned boyfriend, needed to be rectified.

I chose a swanky hotel bar equidistant from our work places and befitting of Paige’s overall fanciness. We sat fireside and discussed a recently released list of Toronto’s Most Influential and the merits of YA. Paige writes about parties and style for an established Canadian brand but as evidenced by the Judy Bloom book in her bag, has an obsession with youth culture (even though it was the adult “dirty” JB book). It’s likely indirectly through Paige I know anything at all about Taylor Swift or Gossip Girl (spoiler alert: it was Lonely Boy). So I felt pretty damn good when I told her about what I thought was going to be the next big teen trilogy and she hadn’t heard of it yet. Good thing this internet thingy doesn’t stay around forever to prove me wrong.

Paige’s life changing moment could be coming up shortly with a move to LA. It’s an extremely popular dream currently among my friends, some of whom have already packed their bags and left. I am asked weekly if I would ever do it. My gut response is always, YA!. What’s not to love about sun, nature, warmth and opportunity? But when you have all that and still are left directionless, what do you blame then? I’m obviously not talking about Paige anymore here. She would do very well there, especially with that youth on her side. I on the other hand may well be too (un)comfortable by now with Canadian winters. The conversation always makes me feel I should have been more proactive in my 20s. 

Drink #17


I once told Tanya she had the ideal life. She scoffed. Maybe I just wish I had my ducks as much in a row when I was her age. At 28 mine had ruffled feathers and a fear of getting their feet wet. Hers are marching in single file determination toward a golden pond, or a dirty puddle, or a loaf of bread, or whatever ducks want in life. That’s how it seems on the outside anyway. Over our drink she pointed out the cracks in her idillic (my words) facade. I guess it’s possible people don’t wear all their problems on their sleeves. Her sleeves this night incidentally were made of leather and attached to a great sweater gifted to her by her loving boyfriend for Christmas. See what I mean?

Tanya and I work together and sit about three feet apart. As what happens when you spend the majority of your waking hours with one person, our lives have synched. We frequently discuss and share memes of our current mutual TV show obsession, notify each other of secret samples sales and share cleanse friendly recipes. We also, as is the nature of working in daily media, mutually experience the unfolding of world events second by second. I am always interested in Tanya’s take as she is a smart young woman with deep understanding and thoughtful insights. See what I mean?

On this night, over dinner and drinks before attending surely the hottest Toronto party to take place the first thursday in January, we talked a lot about relationships and the institution of marriage. Is it necessary, a waste of money, romantic, parent pleasing? Again these are things I really don’t think I thought much about in my 20s and as it appears, I really should have more. I have this eternal view that marriage and children are things adults have and until I reach that point, I’ll keep gliding along - like ducks playing on the frozen lake instead of marching towards the future. 

The night wasn’t all introspective navel gazing and we had a lot of laughs and saw some amazing art before saying goodbye until 9am the next morning. 

Drink #16


There’s a old Friends episode in which Monica dates a guy named Fun Bobby. I think I will from here on in call Mike, Fun Mikey. Maybe it is the mutual eastcoasterness, I don’t know, but when I started a new job a year and a half ago, Mike was a shining light. As soon as we recognized we were both from NS, we became unstoppable Maritime Maties. We had the obligatory do you know this person, do you know that person conversation which lead to one pretty strong crossover connection. I don’t know if it’s fair to say everyone from the east coast is nice but I sure like the ones I know in Toronto. Mike especially. Smart, laugh out loud funny, a dead on mimic, good worker and always up for a good time.

Case in point, Mike sent out an email the other day to everyone at work hoping we would join him at a local trivia night. Fun! And we did ! Fun! And we did terribly but yelled the whole time. Fun! Before our ultimate demise and before the peanut gallery showed up, Mike and I shared some pumpkin beer and some laughs. But like the best fun people, Mike has many more dimensions and it took spending one on one time to learn about them. In case it hasn’t become apparent, that is the purpose of this project.

Without getting in to details, because the purpose of this project is NOT to betray people’s privacy, we really got down to some things. These are the times you realize everyone pretty much has the same fears and worries and anxieties even if they seem to have ideal lives on the outside. An important point to remember. 

As mentioned above, we did not fare well at trivia that night (it was Christmas themed) but I had a really good time with people I don’t ever see outside the office. This is grown up. This is 40 (has Judd Apatow copyrighted that yet?). 

Drink #15


It’s harder to get the motivation to organize drink sessions when it’s cold out. In fact on this first day of wearing my winter coat it was a miracle I got up off the couch to go meet Jose at Get Well, a newish bar his pals opened up. But the thing about being in a friendly bar on a cold Tuesday night is, everybody is in the same boat and is just happy to be inside, among the company of others, drinking brew under the warm glow of candles and free video games. 

There’s always a lot to catch up on with Jose. He’s capital A Ambitious which appears to be paying off for him in full these days. Fresh off a let’s-get-the-party-started business trip to L.A., he had plenty of stories of what could be. He’s one of those kinds of friends you never really know exactly what he does until his name pops up in the cool publication you happen to be reading anyway, or he’s tagged in a “multi-layered narrative experience" you saw in someone else’s Facebook post. If everything goes as planned we’ll be seeing his name in the opening credits on a larger screen in near years to come. Right under the word "Original Screenplay". 

Jose and I share a love of movies (and TV, pizza and cute animals. So basically we’re normal humans) and have attended many a gang cineplex outing together over the years. He’s someone who I can rely on to see the good in the really really bad, and vice versa. No culture is too pop or brow too low for this guy. That’s kind of the linking factor of the friend group in which we met, a bunch of developmentally arrested adults making television for teens while desperately trying to impose the “smart” layer. It’s 10 years later now and most of us have moved along but our meeting of minds sessions are frequent and often take place around the release of new Twilight movies. Ya ya, it’s tradition.

Our night was pleasantly interrupted by Drink #13 as the bar began to fill up (Tuesday night!) then Jose was off into the cold to move and shake a bit more before his head hit the pillow. 

Drink # 14


I haven’t spoken much here about my career aspiration mainly because I don’t know what they are. But when I had an after work drink with Trish, it really got me thinking about them and about the landscape of Canadian television. Trish works for a private broadcaster which I have done in the past though now I’m with that public one, God help me. Where as I for years now have held respectably upper middle job titles, she gets to actually be a top decision maker and use her own TASTE! Amazing. What’s even more amazing is that we met at 5:30pm, albeit a friday. Still, it’s been a while since I literally walked the sidewalks among the actual 9 to 5ers. 

I met Trish through mutual friends. I don’t really know how those friends met Trish but when you work to put stories on Canadian screens big or small, the degrees of separation are quite few. Anyhow, upon our first meeting I focused in on her like a laser, which in my style means quietly mentally bookmarking her existence  This was someone I needed to know, learn from, share ideas with, share wine with… good thing I have this blog.

Our drink was short as she had dinner plans because that’s the kind of powerful modern successful woman she is ( I’m typing this with a Tina Fey voice). Actually I had plans too. We talked about our mutual neighbourhood and home owning. About coming to Toronto from the non Toronto world, relationship balancing acts and then - BLIND ITEM ALERT - a Canadian up and coming actress who could be about to break but should really leave her over hyping publicist behind.  Maybe that’s what the Canadian star system needs, more gossip. That could be my next project after 40 drinks. And maybe Trish would do it with me. But if you ask us we’ll deny it because we’re classy like that.

Drink #13

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The fact that it has taken me this long to have my “drink” with Jesse is funny considering I used to see him almost every single day. We met when he came to work at a job I had already been in for probably too long and it’s likely the friendship we developed kept me there even longer. Several of my entries here have been about coworkers past and present but I would instead define Jesse as a friend I used to work with. We do inevitably talk about our jobs when we’re together but not in a mundane office gossip sort of way. We talk about drive, career goals, future possibilities and how we can be better at what we do.  I don’t think I know anyone more driven that way and as probably my biggest supporter I think he has made me more driven too. 

But this night wasn’t about work at all. For a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is cracking into his 30s, Jesse has been making a lot of life changes. Six months ago he lived off burgers and PBRs, popped chocolate covered almonds while watching TV and wouldn’t set foot in a restaurant with anything unpronounceable on the menu. He rarely left the house on weeknights and wouldn’t commit to anything that could lead to a post 10:30 bedtime. So when he suggested going to a party after work on a thursday then a late dinner at a hot resto de jour who was I to say no. 

The first part of the evening consisted of free drinks at a men’s magazine launch filled with people more dressed up then us who all seemed to know each other. This is a typical industry party experience for me even though I’ve been going to them for years. After an hour of being up to no good playing party games between the two of us, we put our names in for a table at our second destination and waited at the bar. This is when Jesse hit his stride with his regular line of questioning. “How would you describe my beauty?”, “Is this haircut fantastic?” , “If you had to sum me up in one word what would it be?”. Whether it’s a defence mechanism or pure egotism, it doesn’t seem to matter. This is Jesse and he makes no excuses. Those who like it, like it a lot…

An hour and a half later we got our table. We were tired and hungry. Being fabulous can take its toll. Also not eating meat at an asian fusion noodle bar can be unsatisfying. But the company was good and we went home with gift bags. What more could one want?

Drink #12


Rebecca and I have a storied history. We first met back in the Martimes when she was not yet dating the best friend of my at the time recent exboyfriend who I was still good friends with. She had an eyebrow ring, a fact of which I always remind her. Cut to five years later and the four of us were all living in Toronto, hanging out several nights a week watching movies and eating a ridiculous amount of junk food. Then she and her boyfriend broke up. Then she and my aforementioned exboyfriend fell in love. Oh and we also played in a band together for several years before she quit after having her second child with the ex. Mine not hers. It’s now about 16 years since our first eyebrow ring meeting. 

I see Rebecca often. A stay at home mother of two is usually very welcoming of visiters. But to go out one on one is a real rarity. Our drink night got off to a shaky start after our meeting place ended up being booked for a private function. I walked, she rode, through the almost rain to find somewhere else. We happened upon an unclaimed wine bar and settled in. 

Our conversations are always easy, not the topics so much as the flow. We have a low, slow, underanimated rapport which I’ve realized, for me at least, is particular to her. We in no way have to impress each other. With that out of the way, we have a very honest relationship. We talked mental illness, relationships, home repair and her kids, who I will never tire of talking about because I love them to death. 

Rebecca stayed out until after 11 that night which makes me feel proud for both of us. 

Drink #11


When you are a teenager, two years is the world. That’s why even though Peter and I went to the same highschool at the same time we didn’t socialize. I was older and as it turns out, I still am!

I don’t even remember how we re -met but it was also a very long time ago. Like so many of my friends now, but not a lot of people from Dartmouth Nova Scotia, Peter also ended up in television. In fact he is back living in Halifax enjoying life as an executive big wig on a hit show.

Over drinks we talked a lot about the city we both hold close to our hearts. Inevitably those who didn’t scurry towards the bright lights of Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver have settled down with spouses and kids. That doesn’t leave much of a nightlife for a for a man in his 30s workin’ for the weekend. I know the feeling of going back there and, after visiting all the toddlers, not having much else to do.  I hate to say it about the place that made me who I am but  I can’t ever see going back. Peter probably didn’t see that for himself either but sometimes work calls.

Our conversation then took a (more) depressing turn. We shared our knowledge of who from highschool has now died. Yes, this is happening already. These aren’t accidental deaths, these people have lost their battles with the spectrum of killers that make up the statistics that I never feel apply to me. Only adults get heart disease and cancer, right? I guess after turning 40 I’m securely in that zone.

Though sad on paper, or I guess on screen, my drink with Peter was delightful. He’s ambitious as all get out and I thrive off that. We talked a bit of business, a bit of gossip, then headed to a 40th surprise party. Thank God there are enough people in this town who also have no place to be the next morning.

Drink #10


Carolynne is a new friend. I first met her through Nobu (see Drink #2) about 10 years ago but it wasn’t until last September when we started working together that I “got it” . Carolynne is awesome. She is a woman. She is tough. She is funny. She is brutally honest which I’m told is a “Chinese thing”. She is also a mother which is not a common factor among my friends. 

"Do you have something to discuss?" she said when we sat down. She, like quite a few people, hadn’t fully grasped my email with the subject: "Free for a drink?" and just a link to this tumblr in the message. I explained my motivation and she got cutely shy. For a strong woman who is definitely on the scene, she’s prefers anonymity. Too Late!

Carolynne gets right to the heart of all matters. The question of whether I want children dominated our lunch. She had a lot to say on the matter as someone who made her own decision late in the game. Career vs Family is an extremely hot topic among my girlfriends. The guys, not so much. 

The rest of our time together involved her delicious salad vs my cole slaw with sauce on the side. I’m on a cleanse for some reason. It was awful. She also introduced me to some film makers who I should know. She’s really good about that. I’m getting better at it. 

Drink #9


I often wake up in the morning to find 2am texts from Taraleigh asking me where I am. That’s just the way she rolls. One might describe her as “good to go”. I’m not sure where she gets her energy but I admire it. 

I first met Taraleigh when she was in a very different place in her life. In the last two years I have watched her transform with such determination and heart it really makes me want to live my own life more fully. 

For our drink we did a Sunday night catch up. Sundays are her Saturdays and I think she gets frustrated with us Monday to Friday types. But this night I was all hers. She filled me in on her latest goings-ons because there is ALWAYS something new going on. I told her everything is the same with me. It’s a true example of only getting back from life what you put in to it. Taraleigh walks into a party and introduces herself to everybody. I head for the kitchen and hang by the snacks. She leaves with a new handful of Facebook friends, twitter followers and next weekend plans. I usually leave yawning and fantasizing about watching the next episode of whatever TV show I’m currently addicted to. Her openness is not without consequence of course. You never know what’s on the other side of a door until you open it. She’s found some jackpots and her fair share of disappointing parting  gifts. She takes it all in stride.

Over our drink though TL talked about dreams of leaving the city and returning to the country life from which she came. I think she could do it but I’d miss her. It is having people like her around that pushes me to do projects like this one. She thinks I should be having drinks with 40 strangers but my transformation is going to be slower than hers. 

Drink #8


There’s no one I’d rather get stuck in the middle of nowhere with than Aleysa. So luckily when my car broke down on the highway about an hour outside of Toronto, she was my willing passenger. After realizing something was seriously wrong, Aleysa said “put it in neutral, I’ll push it off to the side”. I’ll note here that both Aleysa and I were wearing our summer sundress bests having just come from a very civilized weekend in the country. No matter. She pushed, I steered, we got out of harms way. While she made calls on her phone to find a tow truck, I waved over a van with coincidentally “Alternators & Starters” written on the side. And after a quick inspection, turned out it was indeed my alternator that died. So for the next hour, while our saviour stranger went to work, we had an amazing time, photoshoot and all. 

That’s the other reason Aleysa is the best person to be stranded with. She knows how to squeeze the ultimate amount of fun out of any situation. Within seconds she had the local beer we bought up North in hand, telling me THIS should be our “drink”. No, I thought, it doesn’t follow the rules, we didn’t make a plan, the photo won’t match the format… . While others in my life might agree and suggest a time we could meet for real, Aleysa just gave me a look that made me realize my rigid ridiculousness. 

In ways we’re quite similar. We both are (semi)mature career women who know how to get shit done. She makes commercial, I make television. We’re both motivated procrastinators who put way more time and energy into other people’s projects than our own. We both love to eat but where Aleysa is a phenomenal cook, I prefer to eat what Aleysa makes for me. She is hands down a good time gal who I’m thrilled to call a new friend. But more than bringing the party, what I like best about Aleysa is her motherly quality. She will hate that but it’s true. She’s the person I ask the proper oil to lemon proportions for dressing, what colour would most suit my walls, what I should do with my back yard, what’s too much to pay for a purse I will “have forever”, what TV series I should download next, what are the must see movies at TIFF… whatever it is, she just seems to know. Except when it came to how much it costs to get an new alternator, she was at a loss. 

Drink #7


I was thrilled to learn Jill was in town and would be able to meet up for a drink. 40 Drinks project or not, we always try to see each other when we are in the same city. Jill is from a suburb of Toronto, spent some time in Halifax long after I had left, and now lives in Vancouver where she moved for love. We came into each other’s lives many moons ago when I dated her bother. As I told her over our drink, she’s one of the best things to come out of that relationship.

We’ve each seen each other through several boyfriends since. She now has a fantastic husband and together they are in the daunting process of trying to buy a house in Vancouver. In fact as we drank, she was awaiting news of whether their current offer would be accepted. I gave as much advice as I could as someone who put in at least four offers before getting the house I’ve lived in now for the last eight years. Buying a house is one of the most excruciating, nerve wracking, insanely stressful and “adult” things one can do. Fate will bring you the right house I said. She wasn’t so sure. [Update: They got the house!]

Jill was in Toronto as it turns out for her aforementioned brother’s wedding. She was hesitant to talk about it with me but I assured her it was quite alright. Part of the new 40 year old me is to let things go, but truthfully I had let that one go a long time ago. The older you get, the older your exes get too and these things happen. Another ex got married two weeks ago. The others are in domestic partnerships as far as I can tell. I’m happy for all of them, or I don’t really care. Either way it’s all fine. Seriously. That’s the 40 year old me talking. 

Drink #6


My drink with Dan perfectly exemplifies why I chose to do this blog. We met a couple of Superbowls ago. I can’t even remember what season that was let alone month, that’s how much I know about football. But at this particular Super Bowl party, no one watched the game anyway, we were more interested in the half time show. What struck me about Dan was his exuberance toward the Black Eyed Peas performance which generally got trashed the next morning. He was just impressed by the scope of it. He was being positive. 

We became what I like to call “party friends” and I even sang on his band’s album with my choir (the one I’m no longer in, See Drink #2) but I had never really gotten to know him. 

He suggested going to The Black Hoof Cocktail Bar. These people take their meat seriously. I haven’t eaten meat since New Year’s Day (I will likely explore that more in another post). While I gorged on peanuts and he enjoyed something much more appealing in smell and presentation, we really chatted up a storm for several hours. He told me how his parents first met when they were fourteen in a hotel in South Africa. I told him how I missed my cousin’s Majorca wedding where Carla Bruni was a guest to attend my high school graduation.

Dan is a good story teller and I did my best to keep up, except when it came to talking about his work. To plagiarize from his web bio, “Daniel Werb has worked extensively in the fields of HIV/AIDS, addictions, and the impact of drug policies on vulnerable populations as a researcher at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and co-founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy.” Yeah. This is when I shut up and listened while he became very passionate about the war on drugs then apologized for yelling. It’s the kind of thing that really puts the stresses of my TV job in perspective which is an extremely important thing for me to do. Thank you Dan.

Drink #5


What’s even more difficult than meeting up with an old co-worker is stealing some time with a new mother. Hannah is both and also a friend so we kept trying until we found the time. She suggested we go to a Toronto edition of Slideluck Potshow, a name which she informed me is a “spoonerism”. 

Hannah is a writer so she knows these things. Though when asked by a stranger at the event what she does, she shrugged and said “I’m a writer but not really that much right now.” I scoffed but did the same thing an hour later when she introduced me as a photographer. I always qualify that with “I used to be.” Fully embracing an artistic title is tricky for me. 

But Hannah is a writer and these days mainly documents her own motherhood experiences. I told her that every time I write a new entry for this blog I think “why should anyone care.” She told me that acknowledgment is half the battle. We’re both people who have been seriously trying to grow since we worked together making mostly mindless television for teenagers. While I moved on to entertaining older demographics, she went to NYC to study creative writing, got married and had a baby. Now she reads books on the challenges of women wanting it all and I work my ass off and worry I have nothing. 

But standing in the sweltering hot room watching photographic montages set to pretty great tunes was hugely inspiring and made me feel like I want to be a photographer again. Or rather, I am a photographer again. It made me feel good. And I think getting out of the house made her feel good too. 

Drink #4


Having a drink with Amanda is not an unusual occurrence. Having a drink on the roof of Toronto’s Drake Hotel is. Actually, I learned, it’s called the Sky Yard. The night started with a text:

Amanda: Wanna go for a drink to the drake lounge tonight? They’re voting for Toronto’s hottest chef.

Me: Is that a joke?

Amanda: Nope!

This is classic Amanda. If she wasn’t in my life I wouldn’t have attended half the events, parties, festivals, readings, screenings, yard sales, wine tastings, night markets, dive bars or parades (?!) that I have. These excursions aren’t always home runs, but I’m usually glad I went.

So this night I said sure. We arrived just as they announce the winner. It was a woman which I don’t think is what we expected. We opted for the rooftop to get some air. There we met her old Halifax pal of which she has an endless supply. He bought us drinks all night and we were set. 

To be honest I don’t really remember what we talked about. A side effect of free drinks? Likely things like what our weekend plans are, how hot it is out, what the humidity is doing to our hair… But make no mistake, we know how to get deep and have on hundreds of occasions. But the best thing about good friends is that you don’t have to all the time. We’ve known each other for 16 years give or take. We know what our issues are and we accept them. Sometimes it’s better to just have a drink and enjoy. 

Drink #3


Truthfully, Tamara and I had already scheduled our get together before I launched 40 Drinks. She’s better about staying in touch then I am and I’m thankful for that. Years ago she nicknamed me Kitty Cat for which I’m also thankful. 

Me and T used to be coworkers on a TV show and then she became my boss. We don’t work together anymore which in a way makes us closer. Workplaces are funny. You spend the majority of your waking hours with people someone else chooses for you, and sometimes you become work friends and you might even hang out after work, then when you no longer work together you really don’t see them anymore and that’s usually ok. The older you get and the more jobs you go through, goodbye parties become more honest. Goodbye, good luck, see you never. But if you do stay in each other’s lives, it’s by choice and that’s when friendships flourish.

I’ve been really lucky to hang on to some solid people I’ve met throughout my career. Tamara is one of them. As we met over tea we did our summer catch ups, talked shop a bit, guardedly compared plans for the Toronto International Film Festival and new season launches… then she got an alert on her phone about KStew cheating on RPatz and it all went to hell. Celeb gossip is a pretty easy conversation started or in this case, conversation ender. But it can be fun and we went there. She thought Ben Affleck was cooler when he was with JLo, I disagreed.  Yadda Yadda Yadda.

Frivolity aside, the industry is small and competitive and harsh and I really think hard working women should stick together because one of us will end up ruling the world.