On Theatre Thursdays, I discuss topics related to theatre. I also write about local productions that I think #yyc should see. Today I’m talking about a show that I was supposed to see almost two years ago – Vertigo Theatre’s Cipher.

vertigo theatre cipher
Poster lovingly stolen from Vertigo Theatre. Credit to Tim Nguyen.

Cipher was originally set to open just a few days after what almost everyone I talk to cites as the “start” of the pandemic in Canada. (March 13, 2020, if you were wondering. Though there were cases in the time leading up to this, March 13 is when everything really came crashing down around us.) And, yes, I had tickets to opening night.

Almost two years later on January 20, I had tickets to opening night once again. And, yes, it was well worth the wait.

So, what’s Cipher all about?

There are lots of articles around that talk about the plot of Cipher and I’m not going to do that here. Better reviewers than I have already done that work and you know I’m not here to be helpful. Only emotional.

And the thing is, though it has a great plot crafted by Ellen Close and Braden Griffiths, I would argue that Cipher is about the experience, not the story. This story is a story meant to be told as a play. No other art form would do it justice. A good portion of the story is told entirely through choreography – some narrated and some not. I admit that it took me most of the opening sequence to “get” that it was choreography (I couldn’t understand why The Beacon Hill Body [Kaleb Tekeste] was moving the way he was), but once I got it, I was hooked. The choreography adds to the sense of mystery, obfuscating reality in the symbolic, and allows the characters that Grace [Ellen Close] imagines to populate the Beacon Hill mystery be ever present.

I also have to shout out the set and lighting design by Narda McCarroll. It is easily transformed and visually striking, allowing the actors to weave through different settings or moods in an instant. It is especially successful when paired with the sound design by Torquil Campbell and projection design by Jamie Nesbitt in order to establish the digital world that Grace and Ameen [Antoine Yared] navigate through.

Should I see Cipher?

Y’all should know by now that I only write about shows that you should see. Cipher is not what you think of when you think of Vertigo Theatre, but it is both thrilling and enthralling. You’ll want to talk about it with your seatmates after you leave. The show runs until February 13th and tickets can be purchased by visiting their website or calling (403) 221 3708. Do it, yo!


What I Read: December 2021

I didn’t realize it until I saw everything I read together, but December was a big speculative fiction month! I also got on a crazy Seanan McGuire (also known as Mira Grant when she writes sci fi) kick. This is pretty typical – once I read one of her books, I need to just keep reading them. Thank goodness for libraries!

The Desert Prince by Peter V Brett

The Desert Prince is a big book! I actually started this one back in November, but it took me a long time to read it, despite being a good read. I will admit, I think I need to go back and re-read the Demon Cycle books, then tackle this one again. There are a lot of references to the original series and Easter Eggs, which I think I would appreciate more if I brushed up on my Leesha, Arlen, Rojer and Ahmann…

Finale by Stephanie Garber

Finale is a super solid ending to the trilogy. As we know from my “What I Read: November”, I love Tella’s messy nonsense and I was glad to see more of it in this book. Plus a deeper insight into The Fates, a bit of a love triangle with two bad boys, some daddy issues… what a fun, easy, YA read!

Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Okay, again – just like The Desert Prince, Iron and Magic is the first of a spinoff series. The authors recommended reading this book between Kate Daniels #9 and Kate Daniels #10. I haven’t read a Kate Daniels book since the early days of the pandemic and I should have read in the suggested order. I’ll give a better review on the re-read, lol.

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant

This sweet little novella in the Newsflesh world is what hooked me back into Seanan’s books. Don’t get me wrong – San Diego 2014 is a book about a zombie uprising so it’s not sweet at all. No novella where you know most of your protagonists are doomed is sweet. But it is so compelling to see how they get dead and Seanan is incredible at researching/crafting her worlds.

Angel of the Overpass by Seanan McGuire

Despite being linked to her Incryptids series, the Rose Marshall books read very differently. I would compare the feel of Angel of the Overpass to the Diviners series I read at the end of 2020. In these books, we are building an American ghost story and it feels like all the good, bad, and messy pieces that make up America. (But also… ghosts!)

Feed by Mira Grant

This is the first book in the Newsflesh world I referred to above. I first read Feed long enough ago that I sort of forgot exactly what it was about. If you love books with solid science about living in the far aftermath of a zombie outbreak, you’ll love this book. If you love Seanan McGuire, you’ll love this book. Oh, and if you love World War Z (the book), you’ll love this book – it feels similar without copying at all!

When Sorrows Come by Seanan McGuire

You knew this was coming. I always pre-order the new October Daye book and read it when I’m on holiday break. When Sorrows Come doesn’t drive a lot of the world forward, but it does some awesome things for Toby. Besides. I love Toby and Tybalt, I love Quentin, and I don’t mind a light book. It felt like the characters deserved this break from heartbreaking nonsense for some old-school hijink-y nonsense.

I feel like I’ve been wrapping up a lot of my TBRs lately and now I’m getting back into re-reads. Which is totally cool, but I’d love to know – what great things have you read lately? I want to read them too!


Fitness Routine equipment

I have to admit that I didn’t exactly set out to brand myself as a non-fitness girl, but the more I think about it, the more accurate it seems. I’m just a girl who likes to move her body sometimes. (And always feels better when I do, as much as I don’t want to a medium percentage of the time.) And speaking of liking to move my body… I feel like a solid second Fitness Friday post is an old classic – my Fitness Routine.

Day-to-Day Fitness Routine

Psych! (Does anyone say that? Is it actually supposed to be “psych”? Like “psych you out”? Or is it “sike”? Why do I apparently think it’s 1999?)

Anyway, as if I have a day-to-day fitness routine.

Over time, I have learned that my life is too variable and if I try to make a pre-set, organized, rigid plan for each day, I will inevitably fail at it. And then I will be stressed out and beat myself up over it, which will ultimately lead no exercise at all because “why should I even try?!”. A classic shame spiral.

I have discovered that, while I love challenges (this is known), 30 classes in 30 days type things don’t really work for me. This is what growth looks like, my friends.

Okay, then what IS your fitness routine?

I’m glad you asked!

Though I won’t say “on Mondays I do this, on Tuesdays I do this”, I will say that I have favourite classes/instructors that I try to hit up every week, if I can. If I hit three of my favourite classes in a week? Ohhhh, that is a good week, my friends!

So, in a good week, this is what I would like to do:

  • 3 barre classes
    • I’ve been doing in person classes at Barre West, and I really like:
      • Jenn’s Wed 545 class
      • Janet’s 610 am class for weeks I have stuff after work on Wednesdays
      • Kate’s Fri 445 class for weeks when I go into work early on Fridays
      • Amy’s Sat 1030 pilates class
      • Morgan’s Wed noon class on weeks I’m not working – but there are lots of other good ones!
    • I also have some great online barre recommendations, but I think I will save that for another post
  • 1 spin class
    • I’d love to do more, but spin literally takes up your entire evening because of the sweat factor. Like, a 1-hr class becomes a three hour chunk of your night.
    • I go to Hotshop, mostly the Silverado location and I’m obsessed with:
      • Lindsay’s Sun 915 Spin & Reset (essentially a Spin & Yin yoga combo) – there’s also a Tues 700pm version of this class
      • the Sat 1145 Spin & Sculpt that Brenna used to teach – a good class to sweat out a night out
      • I usually go for the combos, but if I’m going to pure spin, I will always show up for Brenna, Amanda or Alex
    • I think Stax is going to start doing in person classes again soon and I could not be more excited
  • 1 yoga class
    • My hips lose their minds if I don’t do this.
    • I should probably get into a daily home practice but… I’m not there yet. Work in progress, baby!
    • I’m also not really in the habit of any go-to classes right now and the in-person yoga scene has changed so much in the past two years that I need to put some work into finding what I love again.
  • Walk daily
    • Again, I’m truly happiest if I walk for a bit every day.
    • Plus it’s a great way to feel like you worked out on days that you don’t want to or don’t have time to do a full workout.
    • Plus you get to listen to podcasts.
    • I recently read a blog post where someone talked about reading on the treadmill and I feel like I am all there for winter.

Final Thoughts

This is one of the first times I’ve ever sat down and tried to articulate what my perfect week would look like.

It’s fluid, it seems oddly achievable. It gives me space to try new things and not feel like I’m letting my plan down. If I decide I’m not chill with doing in person classes for a moment, that’s okay. In short, this “routine” works with my lifestyle. But it might not work with yours, so I highly encourage you to sit down and do this exercise too. (Ha! Exercise…)

So, speaking of new things… I want to try some new fitness things! New providers of things I like! So, you know what that means – give me your recommendations below!


Who would have imagined that on Day 12 of the beer exchange and Day 23 of blogmas, I would still be sitting here writing? Not me, haha. This consistency has been so good for me! And here I am, watching Thor and drinking the last bits of Beer 12. So… let’s just get right into it, shall we?

Beer 12 in fire place
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Oof, this post is going to be a late one going up. (Though… still on the correct day! It’s still going to be Day 21, which is the day it is supposed to be going up. Which makes me a success!)

Anyway, today I finally watched Tick Tick Boom, which I should have watched a month ago because 15 year old me would have been aghast that it took so long to watch a thing about Jonathan Larson, but life is life and here we are. I loved it.

I also watched Spiderman: No Way Home but I will say absolutely nothing about it because I understand very much that people have feelings about spoilers.

So, with all that nothingness out of the way, let’s move onto the penultimate beer of the Beer Exchange – Beer 11! Follow me through the cut, mes amis!

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It’s Day 10 of the beer exchange, Day 19 of blogmas and are things getting a little crazy?

Okay, they are not. Crazy is a wild overstatement.

But I am definitely in the place where I am trying my very best to try to make things as interesting for me as possible.

Beer 10 wrapped

Taking overly artistic beer photos? Oh, yes, I am here. (And thank goodness my partner-in-crime brother, Kevin, was up for developing something artsy.) Now, what beer is beneath that beautiful wrapping? Well… follow me through the cut…

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Beer 9 Wrapped

Can we talk about how cute the wrapping for Beer 9 is!? There has been a lot of great wrappings during the Beer Exchange (and a super borderline one that I did not post for my beer), but there is something about that gift tag that just tickled my fancy.

It indicated that there was something special about Beer 9 and it did not lie.

(Note: More information about the beer after the cut. But also more information about Survivor so just… like… read through with caution if you don’t want to be spoiled.)

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Can we just talk about how nice it is to spend a night at home sometimes, even during the holiday season? I know FOMO can be a very real thing (Rylee gets crazy FOMO when it’s time to go to bed). But, like… what if the thing you are missing out on is some quality time in your home that you spend a lot of money to live in?

I had originally planned to run a few errands tonight, maybe take a barre class, but it was crazy cold out and I just did not have it in me. Instead I had a super lovely evening in, with my treadmill, candles and a bath with a good book. I went super low-key for dinner (bagged salad with chicken strips on it) and soon it’s time for the season finale of Survivor. (Again… still Team Erika.)

But today’s post… today’s post is not about my nice night at home. Today’s post is about Beer Exchange Day 8.

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Y’all! Y’all! How are we here on Beer Exchange Day 7? How are we so far into this month?

And how has it been such a nice December? I feel like this time of year is often frantic and crazy. And, while this December has definitely been very full of social events and projects, it’s felt very manageable. I’ve been wondering if part of the reason it’s been like this is because I’ve been taking a few moments daily to come and check into this space?

I don’t know, y’all, but it’s been nice.

Beer Exchange Day 7 - Wrapped
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Oh my gosh, I am for real sneaking this one in just under the wire. I have had a busy day of holiday baking, podcast recording, toddler babysitting, and sibling game night with very little time to write… and when I got home, I discovered that I had left my laptop at my siblings’ house. Luckily my brother Kevin was way, way too kind and rushed it over to me just in time.

And it’s mildly appropriate to today’s post because today’s post features pictures of my family!

Beer 6 Wrapped

The best picture is the one with the mildly creepy Santa that Kevin is totally not in, even though he probably should have been there. (Was he scared of creepy Santa? Probably.)

But anyway, today is not about the Santa pictures… today is about the beer.

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