Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Oh the weather outside is frightful… which makes this a perfect day to write a blog entry.

Today is officially Day 10 of my 16 days off this holiday season and it’s finally decided to snow. And boy is it snowing! This is the closest thing to a blizzard we’ve seen this season so far and I am so very glad we don’t have to go anywhere today. Most people have heard me proclaim my hatred for winter, but to be honest, I actually find the snow very pretty – if I can watch it from inside my warm home. What I hate is risking my life outside in that same snow. You see, slippery surfaces and I have never gotten along. I have no real sense of balance and the slightest slip will cause me to fly head over heels and usually injure myself in some way. For some reason, my car (any car I’m driving for that matter) seems to adopt this problem in the snow as well, so really, I’m not safe anywhere in the winter except the cozy confines of my own house. When I think back to all the injuries I’ve had in my lifetime, most have been winter related – a broken wrist on a toboggan hill (going UP the hill at that!), lifelong TMJ from a slip on a patch of black ice, countless sprained ankles and wrists thanks to mandatory ice skating trips in elementary school…is there any reason why I prefer to hibernate through the winter rather than risk life and limb? But today, on this day of doing nothing, I find myself drawn to the window to watch the snow cover the landscape, Christmas lights glowing through the mounds of white stuff piling up on them…THIS is the type of winter day I love. Bring it on…but just for 6 more days. Then it has to stop, because I have to get back to work!

Christmas came up out of nowhere it seems this year, and I’m still having trouble believing it’s over already. We did the dinner, the gifts, the visits…but something still feels like its missing. I watch my friends with children (ok, I creep them on Facebook) and I see how much more special Christmas seems to be to them. Are children the missing ingredient? If we had a little one waiting for Santa Claus, would we feel the spirit of the holidays more? I’m sure we would. And who knows what our future will hold. But when I think back to this past week…a week of relaxing with my husband, going on a Christmas lights tour through the city, making a Christmas feast together, opening our ‘zero dollar’ Christmas gifts (thanks for the idea 30 Rock), and lounging in front of the T.V. in our new Christmas pajamas, I can’t think of anything I would have wanted to do differently. This is Christmas OUR style, and while we may not have stood in line to meet Santa, or left cookies and milk out on Christmas Eve, we still felt the magic of the season just by being together and frankly, that’s the definition of a Merry Christmas to me. So maybe nothing really was missing...

Now we’re on to New Year’s…a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the year ahead. I’ve never been one for making resolutions, mostly because I’m not great at keeping them, but I do have a good idea of what I’d like the year ahead to look like, and will work towards that throughout the year. New Year’s Eve for us is low-key. Every year we talk about getting dressed up and going out to a New Year’s party somewhere and dancing the night away, and then as the time gets closer, we remember that our favourite New Year’s Eve involves good food (mmm fondue), comfy clothes, a funny or romantic movie in front of the fireplace and the big countdown with Dick Clark. We’ve invited friends over in the past, and frankly, counted down the moments until we were alone again and could get comfy. Does this make us anti-social? It very well may, but it also makes us happy. And I think Dick Clark would miss us if we weren’t there to count down with him.

My wish for you - family, friends and acquaintances alike – is that all of your hopes and dreams come true this year. There is nothing more important than health, happiness and true joy. May you all experience that in your own special ways over the next 12 months, and, in turn, spread that joy to others who may need some help finding their own. Happy New Year everyone!

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep is this: To rise above the little things.
~John Burroughs

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
~Bill Vaughan

What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.
~Vern McLellan

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.
~Ellen Goodman

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A long overdue return

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted a new blog, and I have to admit as I sit here, I’m having trouble deciding where to start. I could talk about all the reasons why I haven’t been writing – 16 hour work days, 2 DreamLifts that took me to Florida and California, stress, fatigue, trying to keep my marriage alive in the midst of all of the above – but really, those who are close to me know all of this, and those who aren’t close to me likely don’t care. I could talk about all the things that have happened in the world since my last post in July, but to be honest, the same things that kept me from blogging also kept me from being on top of many of the current events happening around me.

This past couple of months, and really this past year in general, has made me think about life and how I live it in new terms. I have always been a driven person, and have always demanded the best out of myself, but this year I pushed that to the limit. I enjoyed great professional success and reward this year and I can honestly say I have never been happier in my career, and am so excited for what is still to come. I am challenged again…something I haven’t felt in a while. I am able to be creative, which as past blogs will show is so very important to me. And I feel like I’m working to my potential finally, rather than always thinking I was capable of more than I was doing. I am excited to kick off the New Year and the new adventures that it will bring at work, and I can’t say that has always been the case in previous years.

I also, however, found myself faced with the realization that in my quest for perfection in my work life, I lost the work-life balance that is more important than anything. 16 hour work days and a mind spinning at 100 miles per hour at all times means that something has to give, and for me, the things that gave were the things that are most important to me…time with my husband, connecting with friends and family, taking time to relax and spend time doing things for myself. I lost 47 pounds without ever once thinking about it, or trying to make it happen…it’s amazing what stress can do to you. It took a while for me to see what was happening, and it almost cost me everything that I hold dear, but I vow that moving forward, that balance will be regained. I need it for my happiness, for my health, and for my sanity. The New Year will include lots of hard work, I’m sure, as I learn a new career, acquire new skills and put some others into practice for the first time in a while (I’m sure my championship speech writing skills from Grade 8 will come back to me, right? J). But this year will also include some fun as well. Drum lessons (what am I thinking??), voice lessons (I feel bad for whoever takes me on as a student) and finishing the book I started 6 months ago, that has been collecting dust on my flash drive over these past few crazy months (thank you honey for convincing me to save it to a flash drive just before a Trojan virus wiped my entire laptop).

So as this amazing, insane, emotional, scary, exhilarating and exhausting year comes to an end, I choose to look forward rather than back. Look forward to a new year of learning, laughing, loving…to new experiences and new friends, reconnecting with old friends, relearning old talents and gaining new ones. There is so much ‘out there’ to do and see and explore…so much more that I can be…so much more that I want to do. The trick will be harnessing my ambitions enough that I don’t burn out trying to be and do everything all at once. Because the one thing I have never held the ambition to be is Wonderwoman. I mean sure, the outfit is cute, and really, how often do you get to wear a gold crown on your head unless you’re the queen, but I don’t need that. A simple tiara will do J Happy holidays friends.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

You're reading this, you're really reading this!

As I start this blog, I have no idea what I will be writing about, but I feel the need to write one having just looked at the view count on my site and realizing that it has had 340 hits! Unless one of you checks it dozens of times a day, I obviously have more followers than have identified themselves as public followers, and frankly, I’m kind of flattered. Thank you for reading…I hope it has been interesting, and that it stays that way. And I hope that each of you buys a copy of my book when it is out!!!

I spent last night at the Hawk Rocks the Park concert in Harris Park featuring Shane Yellowbird (hottie), Aaron Pritchett (also a hottie) and Big & Rich (just awesome) with Cowboy Troy (huge AND a hottie). The concert is a fundraiser for the Bethany’s Hope Foundation which supports research into Metachromatic Leukodystrophy which is a very rare and incurable condition affecting children and the Foundation is able to contribute tens of thousands of dollars to this cause each year thanks to this concert series. So needless to say, I felt terribly guilty knowing that I got my tickets for free from one of the sponsors! I’m sure I’ll be making a donation to them soon to make up for this. (By the way – if any of you ever need a mortgage broker, I owe mine a favour for this rocking night, so let me know and I’ll pass on his info. He’s awesome!)

The concert was a lot of fun, and I find myself having trouble moving today thanks to 5 ½ hours of standing and dancing, but just as much fun as the music was the people watching. I’m an avid people-watcher, and places like outdoor music festivals are awesome for this because they bring out such a huge cross-section of people. There were an awful lot of young people there, which I wasn’t expecting, but many of them seemed to be true country fans singing along to each song. They were also the most generous offering everyone around them, including grandmas and children, puffs off their marijuana joints. Who says kids these days have no manners? These guys were perfect, slightly mellow, gentlemen.

There were also a lot of older folks, many dressed to the nines in their country finery. You can tell the folks who attend country concerts all the time by the number of country pieces they have in their wardrobe. Apparently the thing to do is to wear them all at the same time, as evidenced last night. Wow. Some people have some serious styling issues. It was all good fun though, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. And I must admit I regret not buying the adorable looking cowboy hat I tried on. Next time, I will not talk myself out of it. I have to fit in after all.

For my husband, the most exciting part of the evening was getting a prime parking meter beside the park which allowed us to pull right out while everyone else battled their way out of nearby lots. He’s very proud of it, so I thought it was worthy of mention here. And it sure helped to be close as the path out of the park is all uphill and we were already feeling pretty old by the time we got to the top. The trip was, however, made much more enjoyable by the more than slightly intoxicated guy behind us who was carrying a stolen 5 foot by 5 foot Molson Canadian sign, promising his girlfriend that she could sit down once they got to Solid Gold, which is a local strip club. But not before he stopped to sing along with the guy on the side of the road who was busking for change, and then offering to sell him the stolen sign for $5. Ah, it takes all types, doesn’t it? Good times.

This was a great kick-off to a week of vacation bliss which we are starting into. It’s supposed to rain every single day of our vacation…not sure what’s up with London weather this summer…but since the plan was to get as much R&R as possible, this may not be such a bad thing. In fact, it’s currently Saturday at 6:30pm and I have yet to get out of my PJs. I consider it impressive that I had a shower today, even if it was only 2 hours ago. This is the kind of vacation I love, and that I desperately need. I hope this week doesn’t go too fast!

Well, time to get back to writing the novel now. If I keep going at this rate, it should be finished by the time I retire. But before I do, I would like to offer a movie suggestion. I don’t do it often, although I have offered a couple already on this blog, but I think the message of this movie is one that everyone can appreciate. The movie is called One Week and stars Joshua Jackson from Dawson’s Creek fame. It’s a Canadian film, and not a wide release, so be advised the actual filming quality is not the greatest (at one point you can tell the camera is filming through a car window while it’s raining out) but the story is moving and without telling you too much about it, if you have ever found yourself wondering if you are on the right path, this movie will appeal to you. It’s available at your local video store. If you watch it, let me know what you thought.

And if you take nothing else away from today’s blog, at least remember this….Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm back

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new blog. It seems writing a book drains all the creative juices! I think this is going to be a long, slow process.

I decided, however, to take a break from the never ending novel to talk about a few things, but mainly, I want to feel like I’m accomplishing something. Despite writing a little every night, my masterpiece is far from being anything I should be calling a book. It’s more like a few pages that have changed focus, direction and even font over and over. I wonder if this is how Steven King or J.K. Rowling start their novels? I certainly hope so because I’m aiming to have their success one day!

A lot has happened since my last post…and most of it, for me anyways, seems to have revolved around death. I lost a friend last week - one who I now regret not staying in closer touch with. It always amazes me how it takes something drastic to make you realize that you should have done more. Should have emailed more, responded to Facebook statuses more, attended events you were invited to. This isn’t the first time I’ve wished I was a better friend, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. All I know is that he was a great guy, and is gone much too soon. And I should have been there.

A few celebrities were buried in the last weeks too. I’m sure I don’t have to mention their names, but I hope they are all at peace. But more important to me was another funeral which, as weird as it sounds, I feel privileged to have witnessed. There was a young Ontario Provincial Police officer killed in a motor vehicle collision last week, Alan Hack, 31. He had been an OPP officer for just one year, and was to be married in August. His funeral mass was held at St. Peter’s Basilica which is right near my office. He was given a full police funeral, and I have to admit, our entire office was glued to the window in awe as we watched 2000 police officers from all over North America stand at full attention, lining the busiest street in London. The procession was led by the Police Pipes and Drums Band playing Amazing Grace (guaranteed to make me cry every time), and was truly the most moving thing I have witnessed in a long time.

It is a shame that it takes a tragedy to make us realize how precious life is, and how incredible it is that there are citizens who are willing to put their lives in danger every day just to make sure that we’re safe. I did not know Constable Hack, but I certainly appreciate what he did to protect the community. And I feel for his fiancé. I cannot imagine the pain she is feeling, and will feel on what should be her wedding day. I hope the outpouring of support from the policing community helped to comfort her. I know it had that effect on me.

On a lighter note, I am on the two week countdown to a week of vacation! I have never felt like I need a vacation more than I do right now. Unfortunately while I would love to be preparing for an exotic trip, or a weeklong hideaway somewhere, this year we will be enjoying a ‘staycation’. The plan is to visit a different beach every day, in order to trick ourselves into feeling like we are going somewhere. Sounds lame, I know. But we plan to make it as nice and peaceful as we can so that hopefully we will both go back to our busy seasons at least a little bit recharged. It’s going to be a long autumn otherwise!

It’s hard to believe that August is just around the corner. It promises to be a fun month for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious is that it’s my birthday, so how could that not be fun? And it’s my 35th, so I feel like it’s a mini-milestone birthday. Age means nothing to me, but when I recently realized that I will no longer be able to check the 25-34 age category on surveys, I have to admit, I felt a little lump in my throat.

The other reason is that my cousin is getting married, which is always exciting. I love weddings and don’t get to go to nearly enough of them for my liking. Sure they’re pricey…you need new clothes (well, I do at least), new hairdo, hotel, gift, etc. But weddings are so romantic that I think they’re worth every penny! And they afford the opportunity to dance which, frankly, I don’t do enough of. I’m not good at it…in fact I’m pretty bad…but its fun and let’s me feel like I’m young again. And since we’ve just confirmed that I am about to be old, I’ll take anything I can get!

So that’s my life in a nutshell right now. Hubby is having a hard time getting used to the new, creative me that spends hours at the keyboard trying to get something literate and somewhat entertaining out. It’s not an easy process, and I spend a lot of time allowing myself to be distracted by other things hoping that they will inspire me. But in the end, I know it will be worth it, if only for the purpose of making me feel more like the person I know I am.

Who am I kidding…it will be worth it when all of you are saying you knew me when…LOL. A girl can dream…

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On My Way

The last 30 hours or so have been possibly the most exciting hours I have experienced in a while. I did not do anything particularly remarkable. In fact, I barely did anything at all. But I made a plan – one I have been thinking about for a while – and it has energized me. As I mentioned in my first blog, if there is one thing that my life has been missing, it is a creative outlet. That was the reason that I started this blog and it is the reason that last night, I began to write a novel.

Now, I won’t pretend that I have gotten very far. Heck, I don’t even really have the foggiest clue how to get anywhere! But I have a plot outline which may or may not be the basis of the book, and some characters I am working on, so in my mind, day one of being an author has been a success!

When I proclaimed to my hubby that I wanted to start writing a book, the first thing he offered to do was to build me an office so that I would have a space where I could write uninterrupted. Now, this also translates into me no longer sitting in the bedroom on my computer, hence freeing up the television for whatever shows he decided he wants to watch, so I think it was a win-win, but it was a lot of work for him, and I am thankful that he cares enough about my need to pursue my long buried passion that he was willing to give up his weekend to renovate and paint. I’ll have to remember to mention him in the book credits!

And so, I am off to write and re-write…to labour over characters and plot lines…to pray that in the end, what ends up on the page is a cohesive story that someone, anyone, would want to read. I have read website after website about writing your first book, tips for creating characters that people will love, or love to hate, forming strong plots that have a beginning, middle and end…the tips are endless and although helpful, I think my best bet will be just to start writing and hope to pick things up along the way. They say the best thing you can do when you decide to write a book is to tell as many people as possible so that even on the toughest of days, when ideas just won’t come, you feel the need to push forward knowing that others are waiting to see a finished project – so that’s what I guess I’ve just done. Wish me luck!

I’m having a hard time believing that the weekend is almost over. I guess my research has consumed a lot of time, because I feel like I lost a full day somewhere! I am happy that Wednesday is a holiday in Canada, although a Monday or Friday would have been a little nicer! My favourite parts of Canada Day are the fireworks displays in the area. I am a fireworks fanatic, and can’t help but beam as I watch every one of them explode into beautiful, colourful formations across the sky. I have plans to go to two displays – one on the beach at Port Stanley and the other being London’s largest display in Harris Park. Thankfully one is Tuesday and the other Wednesday. The only thing threatening to foil those plans is Mother Nature who at this point may decide to rain us out both nights. I will be keeping my fingers crossed, and my lawn chairs ready to go! Oh Canada!!

So as the weekend winds down, I sit in my new office, in front of a blank page currently entitled “Book” (don’t worry, it will get better!), wondering where this path will lead me. The plan this evening was to begin writing chapter one, but as I hovered my fingers over the keys, it occurred to me that a blog would be much quicker and easier to write – and indeed it was. So don’t go rushing out to your local bookstore just yet to look for my masterpiece. Something tells me this might take a while!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reflections on life...

Well, the world lost 2 well known personalities today – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Whether you loved them or hated them, the fact is they both went too soon.

I have already talked on this blog about my new-found respect for Farrah and the absolute hell she has been battling. I hope that she will finally be at peace. She fought the good fight.

Michael Jackson…where to start? There was a time when I was absolutely an MJ fan. I had the albums, the posters, the gloves. And I think it would be hard for anyone to deny that the man was an extraordinary musical talent. But you know, the guy was weird…and possibly a child molester…weird I can deal with…perv I can’t. So I’m having trouble processing whether or not I’m upset about this. I mean, I certainly feel bad for his family. I wouldn’t wish death on anyone…well, ok, maybe people who kill children, wife abusers, child molesters…huh, maybe I would wish it on him.

In other troubling news, Jon and Kate Gosselin of Jon & Kate Plus 8 fame have filed for divorce. It was obvious this was coming, but what is coming as a shock to me is how nasty things are becoming, and how quickly. I understand that divorce is rarely an amicable thing, but sitting down for interview after interview to slam the mother/father of your children is not only undignified, but downright wrong. Years from now those kids will read those interviews, and if they aren’t already traumatized by the never ending paparazzi who trail them everywhere, they will be when they find out why it was happening. Sad. Will I still watch the show…likely…which isn’t the answer I know I should be giving. But sometimes a train wreck is just too hard to ignore.

On a much lighter note, I finally saw The Hangover this week and have now become the biggest advocate of this movie ever! It has been a long time since I’ve laughed so hard at a movie that I cried, but folks, it happened with this one. Without giving too much away, all I can say is that the best part of the movie happens in the last 5 minutes…trust me…go see it.

This has seemed like the longest week ever to me. Work is insane, which is frightening considering this is just the tip of the iceberg. I love my job…I love what I do…I love the people I work with…I love the kids I help. But the grind of working in not for profit, where one person often ends up doing a job that 3-4 people would cover in any other environment sure can wear you out. I’m not sure how much longer my aging mind and body can handle the demands, but I know that for the next 6 months, I will need to suck it up and push ahead. So I will. Mickey Mouse is waiting for 200 kids to come for a visit, and who am I to let Mickey, and 200 kids, down? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

I think the week has been a long one because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about several friends who are going through rough patches right now for various reasons. I hate to think of anyone in pain, but particularly my friends. I am careful to surround myself with only the best, most caring, people I meet and therefore it is extraordinarily difficult for me to see any of them hurting. I hope they all know that they are in my thoughts, and that I am always just a phone call or email away if they need me. I can’t call myself the best friend a person could have…I know that I don’t stay in touch the way I should…but I will always be here if any of them…if any of you…need me.

On that note, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow is a new day, and I, for one, hope that it will be a day full of happiness and peace for everyone.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A whole new world

As I sit here, looking out the window at the blue sky, slightly pink from the setting sun, I wonder what others around the world are seeing out their windows. I have spent a lot of time in my life wishing I was somewhere else. The saying is true that the grass always seems greener on the other side.
I have spent years… literally years… wishing that I lived in Prince Edward Island. I wanted it so much that I actually applied to the UPEI, even though I knew that I would never be able to go there. It’s such a peaceful place, a slower pace, nice people and water as far as the eye can see. Heaven.

But as I have gotten older and wiser, I have taken a closer look at the province…the unemployment rates, the lack of modern healthcare, the absence of both The Keg AND Costco and I have come to realize that this idyllic spot is maybe not the perfect haven I once thought it was.

One trip in December to Vancouver has made me think that maybe this is the place for hubby and me. After all, it has water AND mountains, and is really very beautiful. But then I read the news and see stories about a rash of gang-style killings and think…hmm…the worst thing gangs are doing in London is writing graffiti on the walls. But we don’t have a Granville Island, Stanley Park or Purdy’s Chocolate. Well, the last one I can live without, but the first two are fantastic.

But there are so many places in this world I could imagine us…Chicago is awesome, I know I would love NYC, we enjoyed St. Maarten immensely when we went there on a cruise, I’ve always wanted to see Australia and I’m sure it would be fun to live there, at least for a while.
And what about all those places I've never even considered. Maybe I would love Morocco, maybe Norway is my perfect place, or what about Italy...I can live on pizza and pasta, I'm sure of it.

But I can’t help but wonder if it’s the destination that is really important, or the fact that it would be a change. It’s easy to get into a rut sometimes, and you find yourself doing the same things day in and day out, not even thinking about the world that surrounds you.

Some people are quite content to settle in for the long haul and are happy to have the same routine every day. I am that type of person, to an extent, but a little voice inside of me tells me that there is so much more out there for me to see and do. It has nothing to do with unhappiness…I love my husband, I love my job, I love our life…but rather the fact that I never want to look back and regret not having experienced all that this life has to offer.

I have always lived life on the safe side. As a child, I was much more grown up than many grown ups are today. I spent a lot of time trying to take care of those around me, and in the process, didn’t allow myself to have the same childhood that my friends did. Oh, I played with toys and got in a few good games of Hide and Go Seek, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t enjoy my youth with reckless abandon, and for that I’m sometimes regretful. But is it too late to recapture that youth? My tired body and grown up mind seem to think so, but my heart isn’t sure.

So as I watch lightening streak across the sky, lighting up everything around it, I wonder what life holds in store for me. Will there be an opportunity for me to explore the world around me? To be brave and try something new and exciting, just to say I did it? To visit a place I never thought I would get to go?

It’s hard to know what life has in store for us, but there is one thing I know for sure … when I listen to Great Big Sea, or crack open a lobster, or sing my favourite Anne of Green Gables song, I am instantly transported back to my little piece of heaven and maybe, just maybe, that’s good enough.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The blog that didn't want to happen...

I am watching something I bet no one else I know is watching right now….the Tony Awards. Most people would say, “The what??” My husband is so excited, he’s chosen to spend this time breaking down boxes and putting out the garbage J The Tony’s are, of course, Broadway’s version of the Oscars, and darn it, they are where I should be! Broadway is my first love…there’s nothing like live theatre where anything can happen at any moment. Like the microphone that was just run out to a performer whose hidden mike wasn’t working…all actors dread these things, but a good one will never let it show…this performer is a pro and didn’t miss a beat!

I’ve been out of touch with the shows lately…in fact there are a few nominated that I’ve never even heard of which means I need to get my act together. They all look fantastic! If only I had the budget to fly to NYC once a month or so! I’d be in my glory!

Got my hair done yesterday, hence, the new profile pic. I love it when my hair is straight, and the only day that it is truly straight is the day my stylist, Tom, does it for me, so I decided to take a few photos for posterity. It’ll be a couple of months before it looks good again! I have been going to Tom for 10 years or so, and he’s been telling me to get a straightening iron for all 10 of those years. I have trouble spending big bucks on myself (the hairdo is expensive enough), so forking out $300 for a straightening iron is a little hard to justify. Maybe someday…until then, I look forward to my bi-monthly ‘do.

I’m proud of myself, because for the first time in months I did not check my work email once this weekend. In fact, I haven’t checked it since Thursday, because I was out of the office on Friday. It’s been nice, and I think I need to force myself to do it more often. I can only imagine what I’m walking into tomorrow, but I’ve decided not to worry about that until tomorrow!

So, for lack of anything better to talk about, I need to share with you the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Bear in mind, when hubby first showed me this link, I thought it would be something stupid that I would hate (love you honey). But it is hilarious! It is an actual page, advertising a t-shirt. What’s so funny about that, you may be asking? Well, I encourage you to read the reviews of this t-shirt…there are over 1000 of them! And they are so funny!!! The t-shirt is this ugly as hell thing with 3 wolves and a moon and obviously one day, someone thought it would be funny to write a review on how awesome this shirt is…and it’s snowballed from there. Here’s a sampling of the reviews:

So I'm looking for threads that say, "Hey baby...I'm real boss!" when I stumble upon this epic creation. The wolves spoke to me in a language all their own; it was like German, Mongol, and Bitchin all mixed together. I mean, one wolf howlin at the moon is major...but three??? I ordered next-day air (if only there was same day!), and, of course, a size smaller than usual to ensure the closeness of the wolves to my chest hair. When the package arrived, I tore it open, and I SWEAR angels sang. I think it was Freebird. I immediately removed my "No Fat Chicks" shirt, and replaced it with this finery. Lemme tell you: AW YEAH. I'll spare the details of my conquests since I started wearing this shirt; suffice to say, I'm swimming in a sea of babes the likes of which are usually found on those K-Tel infomercials. I'm also more confident at work, and expect to be promoted to cashier soon. I owe everything to this shirt (I should say "shirts", since I now own 23 of them).
This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that's when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to 'howl at the moon' from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called meth. I told them no, because they didn't have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn't settle for the first thing that comes to him. I arrived at Wal-mart, mounted my courtesy-scooter (walking is such a drag!) sitting side saddle so that my wolves would show. While I was browsing tube socks, I could hear aroused asthmatic breathing behind me. I turned around to see a slightly sweaty dream in sweatpants and flip-flops standing there. She told me she liked the wolves on my shirt, I told her I wanted to howl at her moon. She offered me a swig from her mountain dew, and I drove my scooter, with her shuffling along side out the door and into the rest of our lives. Thank you wolf shirt. Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the 'guns'), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark.

From now on, when the local news comes to interview me about drug arrests and sewage problems in my neighborhood, I will wear this shirt instead of the stained "Tigger" shirt I previously wore on such occasions.

Want to read more? Come on, you know you do…

Well, this blog has officially taken me 6 days to write, and contains absolutely nothing of value, so time to give it up. I need sleep and I'm sure I'll be in much better shape to write the next one. Thanks for suffering through...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What is reality anyways?

I’ve spent the week debating whether to talk about something or not. Not because it’s anything scandalous, but more because it’s something that has both frightened and yet intrigued me at the same time.

I have been a fan of the show Jon & Kate plus 8 since the day it premiered. I have followed this family from the infancy of their twins and sextuplets, through their first days of school, their move to a larger home and now, through what appears to be the most trying days of their marriage. Now I don’t know these people…I know what their show portrays, and I know what I read in the media, but I have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors. The one thing I do know is that I have watched through the years as a seemingly strong marriage and family fell apart in front of my eyes. And that scares me.

My husband and I have a strong marriage…some say too strong. We do everything together, we go everywhere together, and we know each other inside out and backwards. And in my mind, I never, ever see that changing. But what if Jon and Kate didn’t either? How do marriages fall apart? If you love each other completely, what would have to happen to change that?

It’s easy for me to judge others…I have always said that Kate nags Jon way too much…but if I stop to think about it, I nag my husband. What if he cracks some day? What if I make one too many helpful driving suggestions…or remind him one too many times that it’s garbage day…

I thought the kids were probably a strain on their relationship. But since we’re trying to have our own right now, what if that happens to us? (There’s a new tidbit of info for some of you J) I don’t anticipate having 8 children…in fact, I can say with 100% certainty that we won’t. But what if we have twins or triplets? Could we handle the pressure? We have enough trouble remembering to feed our cat some days.

And then there are the cameras always in their faces. I firmly believe this is the root of their problems. It’s been obvious that Jon has been tired of them for a while now, and who can blame him? If I had 8 kids, the last thing I would be thinking about in the morning is getting dressed and doing my hair so that I look good for the cameras. And who wants to eat breakfast in front of a TV camera? With the way Kate yells at Jon, I’m sure it’s a little embarrassing for him to know his friends and family are all watching every ‘wrong’ move.

My husband and I spent time Monday night after the show talking about this very issue…trying to reassure each other that we are nothing like Jon & Kate. In my mind, I vowed to stop nagging as much…just to be safe. And then we went out…and the helpful driving hints came out again. Oh well, he’s put up with them for 9 years already… I just hope it all works out for the best for Jon & Kate, and even though I know I shouldn’t, I’ll be watching every week, hoping for the best.

This week was a busy one at work. There is always so much to be done, and never enough hours to get it all completed. It’s good though…I like a challenge. I’ve been losing weight like crazy for the past couple of weeks. Not sure why…I’m not trying to…but all of a sudden I’ve stopped being hungry. I can take 2 bites of a meal and be full, so I find myself doing just that. If I didn’t have so much to lose, I might be worried, but I’ve decided to give myself 50 lbs. before I worry. Since I’m losing at a rate of a pound a day, I figure a check up in late summer will be in order! I have a couple of theories as to why it’s happening, both healthy reasons, so I’m going to hold on to those and see what happens. I had a phase like this in university once that reversed itself quickly enough, so I’m not holding out much hope that it will last!

We went to see the movie “Up” last night. What a good movie! It’s a Pixar film, so it had one of those cool short films at the beginning which I enjoyed as much as the movie itself. The movie had a sweet story to it, and literally had me crying within the first 15 minutes or so. I encourage you to see it. It’s 3D, so you get cool Corey Hart-esque glasses to wear too.

It was our first time in the new Westmount VIP Theatre, which was cool, but kind of weird. The site of 20-somethings pouring pitchers of beer through the movie, and eating sushi and sweet potato fries was slightly distracting, but the fact that we were watching a kid’s movie without a single kid in the theatre was kind of nice! The first row is La-Z-Boy recliners which we tried out once most of the theatre had cleared out. I don’t know what it would be like being so close to the screen but damn, were they comfy! I think I’d likely fall asleep in them!

I’ve found my tastes getting more and more expensive over the years. I would think nothing of spending an extra $10 to go to the VIP theatre again for the added comforts, even though 4 weeks ago, before the theatre opened, I had no issues with a regular theatre. I find it almost impossible to stay in a hotel with less than 4 stars now, even though I spent my childhood in crappy motels on family vacations and never wished for more luxury. I have a hard time ordering steak anywhere but The Keg…in fact, I don’t. But really, our budget does not – should not – allow for us to be known as regulars there. And yet, we are, to the extent that we get free drinks, staff discounts, hell, we exchange emails with some of the staff! I know which waiters are students, which ones are budding musicians, which are lifers there. And I like that. I don’t think I’d ever get that level personal attention and service at Arby’s or Pizza Hut, and really the place and the people are as important to me as the food.

So, basically, I am becoming a snob…and a poor one at that! Unfortunately my employer does not seem to be keeping up with my higher cost of living, so that’s a problem. What’s a girl to do? I guess I could always invite a reality show into our home…

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thoughts in C-sharp

When I was younger, the thought of listening to a country music song was enough to make my want to run screaming from the room, likely shouting something profound like “gag me with a spoon”…ah, to be a child of the 80’s again! But over the years, I have found myself being drawn more and more to the catchy, if often heartbreaking, lyrics. I don’t know when my tastes began changing, but I think I’m slowly figuring out WHY they changed.

When you hear a song called “Live Like You Were Dying” at 15, it probably doesn’t have much of an impact on you. I mean really, how many 15 year olds a) are thinking about dying and b) know what they would change if they were. But add 10 or 15 years to your life experience, and chances are good that you have faced your own mortality at some point. Maybe you had a health scare, maybe someone close to you did. If you’re in a line of work like mine, working with people who are faced with their own mortality constantly, you find yourself counting your blessings every day, and asking yourself what you would change if you were faced with the knowledge that your remaining days were numbered. I do it almost every day. Following through on those things…now that’s a different story.

Or take your heartbreak songs. My current favourite is “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascall Flatts. My apologies to anyone who has come close enough to me in the past few weeks to hear me belt it out. I sing it to my husband, who of course looks at me with fear in his eyes since it’s a break-up song, but I just love the melody. As a teen, this song would have been pathetic. As an adult, this song puts a lump in my throat because I know how awful the pain of losing someone is. Rascall Flatts is particularly good at this type of ‘missing you’ song, and I love every one of them. Unfortunately, I also love singing every one of these songs, even though their lead singer’s voice is a couple of octaves higher than mine. I wonder if that is why my cat is deaf?

And THEN you get to the good songs…the drinking songs! Now I don’t drink. In fact, I’ve never been drunk in my life. But for some reason, when these songs come on, not only do they energize me, but I find myself singing them like I’m drunk. Why???? The king of the rocking drinking song is Toby Keith, who I have a love/hate relationship with. I love him because he’s hot (sorry honey). I hate him because he’s a redneck hick who loves George Bush, guns and war. But he’s still hot…

Songs like “You Ain’t Much Fun Since I Quit Drinking”, “Beer For My Horses”, “As Good As I Once Was”…kids can’t relate to beer brawls…well, actually I can’t either, but somehow I can appreciate them more now. It’s that bad boy thing again, I think. You’ll notice that as a theme on this site!

Now that I’ve risked losing half of you who have never heard of any of these songs…well, I hope you’ll go to You Tube and look for them…they’re really good! But it’s not just country songs I’ve come to respect. I have found myself gravitating towards pop and rock songs with messages…songs about love, hate, ignorance, faith. Although, I must admit, this genre doesn’t lend itself to quite as many profound tunes…I guess Flo Rida, Soulja Boy and Lady Gaga still have some growing up to do. They could all use an English class or two as well!

I am a huge fan of Jason Mraz, although I’m still not sure why he bends over backwards to check his tongue in the mirror. Surely there are easier ways of accomplishing the task. I was loving Fergie until “Boom Boom Pow” came out…not really sure about that one. I feel like I should be angry when I listen to it. And Pink’s “Please Don’t Leave Me”…and better yet “So What”. Here’s a lesson ladies…don’t write a song about how much you hate your ex if there’s a chance you’re going to get back together with him! Because then you have to put him in the video and it just gets awkward.

As you can tell, music is playing a huge part of my life lately. I guess it’s just where I am right now…living, loving, learning. If I could keep a beat or hold a tune, I have no doubt that right now I would be trying to get into a band…can you be a lead singer and a drummer at the same time though? Could prove tricky. It’s probably best that I just remain a listener and an ‘alone in the car’ singer. It’s too late for my poor cat, but at least I can protect the others.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Just me and my Kleenex box

It’s not hard to make me cry. I cry at just about everything. Happy stories, sad stories…doesn’t really matter. I’ve been watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for 13 minutes and the tears are already rolling down my cheeks. What is it that makes me so emotional?

Of everything that makes me teary, the stories of underdogs doing what no one thought possible are the most heart wrenching, and awe inspiring. I am inspired by others daily. In my job, my social network, the world in general…there are so many great people doing amazing things. Sometimes I feel like I don’t do nearly enough to make a difference.

The guy on EM:HE is raising his children as a single parent. The house they’re living in is a wreck. Plumbing doesn’t work, mould everywhere, not nearly enough room for the family to live in…yet, this young man still ensures that his children receive the education they need to make a better lives for themselves. They spend time at the library, in museums, learning about things that children much more fortunate than they are will likely never be bothered with. Outstanding!

And then there is Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent. Have you seen this video?? I felt the lump in my throat start the moment I saw her, because I knew she was about to be ridiculed, and I HATE watching people being made fun of. But then, all of a sudden she opens her mouth and….oh my god, her voice is incredible. Whether it was staged or not, watching the stunned looks on the judges faces, and hearing the cheers from the audience, I knew that this simple woman had done something incredible for those who were to watch that performance…she would remind the world that there is much more to a person than their exterior…that passing judgment on someone based on looks alone is not just wrong, but foolish. You cheat yourself when you dismiss others for superficial reasons. You risk missing out on getting to know some of the most beautiful souls, the most talented spirits, and most noble hearts. I, for one, will be cheering Susan on through the finals, and hope that in the end, all those who were touched by her performance look at their fellow men and women in a different way.

This lesson was hammered home to me again this past weekend as I watched the Farrah Fawcett story on television. Now, I have to admit that I have, in the past, judged Farrah for being TOO beautiful, and for being an airhead, your typical ditsy blonde (sorry to all my blonde friends!). But watching this movie documenting her daily struggles with a brutal form of cancer…I have a new appreciation for this woman’s strength and courage under tremendous pressure. I think back to her last appearance on David Lettermen…she was obviously stoned, and therefore an easy target for laughs. What no one likely knew is that at the time, she was heavily medicated due to the excruciating pain her cancer was causing her, and that her appearance was her attempt at living her remaining days as normally as possible. Maybe someone should have suggested that she not appear in that state…maybe someone did…but in hindsight, I feel bad for laughing. I bet David Letterman does now too. This movie was a brutal, honest look at the devastating effects of cancer…if you didn’t see it, I encourage you to try to find a copy to download.

I used to feel foolish for crying and would try to hide the tears, but I have come to realize that they are natural, normal…and a sign that I am affected by the world around me…I consider that something to be proud of. Although I still don’t want to talk about Marley & Me…seriously, I don’t even like dogs!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What am I doing?!?!

So, I’ve decided to write a blog. Peer pressure has combined with my need for artistic expression, and I have made the leap. The only problem…I have no idea what to write about! I know what I care about, but will anyone else? Does it really matter what I write about…who is going to read this thing anyways? I think the best plan will just be to write what I’m thinking about and see how it all turns out.

Let’s start at the beginning…who am I? I am a thirty-something female, living in London, Ontario, Canada. I work in a job that is truly rewarding, and very fulfilling, however I find myself constantly wishing I had followed my first love – acting. Lots of things have kept me from following my passion, but I am sensing that I will need to do something to work towards it if I’m ever going to feel completely happy.

What has kept me away I hear you asking? (Weird that I can hear voices now...hmm) Well…I wanted, at one time, to be a Broadway actress. The only problem – I can’t sing well, really can’t dance and actually am not that good of an actress either. You can see why that didn’t work out! But I love the feeling of being on a stage looking out at adoring fans – I’m a Leo, what can I say?!

The idea of stand up comedy was slightly appealing, but I’m not great with rejection and if a joke bombed, I’d probably run from the stage crying, so best to stay away from that.

I watch the Oscars every year and cry – not because I’m happy for my dramatic heroes, but rather because I should be up on that stage! Funny thing is - film making has never appealed to me, so I’m not sure how I justify this sense that I should be an Oscar winner!

I truly want to be a talk show host, but how do you even make that happen??? If you know – tell me! I see myself as a cross between Oprah and Ellen, mixed in Rosie’s body with a hint of Larry King’s ability to get to the heart of an issue, cutting out the crap. That has to be a winning combination, right???

I even thought if I couldn’t be a famous artist, maybe I could run a theatre and hang out with famous artists, but my high school marks were 1% too low for acceptance to the Arts Administration program at university. The universe REALLY doesn’t want me to pursue this field!!

So what’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re me, you go into your second love – helping people. I love people…I love learning about them, knowing what makes them tick, seeing them at their best and at their worst. When it became clear that I was not going to be the next Kristen Chenoweth or Meryl Streep, I decided to pursue a degree in the Social Sciences, determined to help society finds solutions to all its problems…ahh, so naïve in those days!

I set about practicing my favourite psychological theories on my family, diagnosing each and every member with at least one or two serious issues. They all seemed thrilled as I told them in great detail what was wrong with them and how they could fix their flaws. I think they were really wishing I had become an actress! I still find myself diagnosing people regularly…seems there are more troubled people in this world than non-troubled people! Thank goodness I’ve learned to recognize everyone ELSE’s faults!

It’s funny, because my whole life, I have found myself drawn to the people who were a little different…who needed a friend…who didn’t quite fit into the mainstream. Maybe it’s because that’s how I identify myself, maybe it’s because I thought I could help. Whatever the reason, it allowed me to meet some of the greatest people I’ve ever known.

I’ve also found myself attracted to “bad boys” all my life, which is funny because they intrigue me and scare the shit out of me at the same time. But deep down, I’ve always felt like these rebels just needed a patient, loving woman – preferably one with a psych degree - to show them the way. I’ve felt this way about a litany of celebs, many of whom have calmed down greatly since they’ve met special women…Robert Downey Jr., Eminem, Charlie Sheen, Christian Slater, Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell…I still think one month with Tommy Lee would find him singing sweet love songs, and passing the days doing charity work!

In reality though, I am in love with one of the sweetest, least-bad boy men you could ever meet. My husband is my greatest love, and reminds me every day why we are married. He is gentle and loving and treats me like the princess that we both believe I am! We live in our newly purchased home with our old, deaf, half blind cat. She’s had a series of names since we got her…she’s deaf, so it’s not like it matters. Currently we’re calling her Stinky…I’d explain, but you don’t want me to.

We’re both creative types, in different ways. Hubby likes building things, tearing things apart – mostly computers – and making them do things they’re not really meant to do. He’s started his own tech blog – part of the peer pressure I’ve felt – and seems to be enjoying it.

Well, I hope I haven’t bored you too much with this first entry. I see this blog as a forum to talk about the issues of today…maybe a new topic each day…maybe a chance to share my viewpoint on things. Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy it. And if you don’t – well, its step one to being a more fulfilled me, so it’s still worth it.

Live your dreams…