September 11, 2012

Thank You Gloria Steinem


"The truth will set you free, but it will piss you off first."
- Gloria Steinem

Before Gloria Steinem took the stage in the early 70s, feminists were seen as homely, lonely spinsters.  They were angry women, intent on wreaking havoc with the way things were supposed to be, challenging the balance of power, and (gasp) burning bras.  They had forgotten their place in civilized society and that they, like the children they were responsible for raising, were to be seen and not heard.

All that changed when a witty, intelligent and (equally important), beautiful Gloria Steinam added her voice to the movement.  Suddenly feminists were attractive?  And chose to be single?  Because of the face she brought to feminism, women were no longer seen only as the "weaker sex".  And because of her voice, what was being said was starting to be heard.  One of her wittier quotes "a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" sums up, for me, her feelings about a woman's real

Ms. Magazine turned 40 this year.  And Ms. Steinem is still going strong at 78.  Thanks to her, we, our daughters and granddaughters no longer think this is anything but antiquated hilarity.



"One day an army of gray-haired women may quietly take over the Earth." - GS

No Winning the Blame Game



A lot of who and what we are is hereditary -- things that are passed down through our parents’ genes. The colour of our eyes, the slant of our nose, Aunt Jean’s hips. We get a lot of other things from our parents too. Food, shelter, clothing, protection, and love (hopefully -- if our parents did a decent job). But we also get things which aren't particularly good or that are downright harmful. Low (or no) self-esteem, anger management problems, abandonment issues, financial irresponsibility, body image issues, no sense of direction, are just a few of the things our parents give us and we keep stored in the memories of our childhoods. And we blame our parents; boy do we blame them.

Now don’t get me wrong, we have every right to blame our parents. After all, they sired us and raised us by the book (thanks a lot Dr. Spock - the pediatrician not the Vulcan). And they did a horrible job. I mean, just look at us. We’re a mess. We have more “disorders” than you can shake a prescription bottle at. We’re slaves to the next biggest and brightest. We’re in therapy. We have personal fitness trainers and personal money managers and personal chefs. Hell, because of our parents we spend billions annually on the self-help industry. We hire life coaches. Is it any wonder we have issues? And god knows, we have to blame someone.

Danielle LaPorte brings The Burning Question series to her blog on a weekly basis. This week’s question, “What would you be more of if you let go of the past?” got me thinking about just what it is I blame my parents for. What do I refuse to accept as just my own stupid fuck-ups or really, really bad choices? What do I constantly make excuses for, because my parents didn’t love me enough? What do I let myself off easy over because, well how would it be possible for me to be totally awesome, based on the childhood I had. I mean, really!

So yes, really, what would I be more of if I let go of the past? If I let go of the blame and self-pity and actually acted like the adult I still feel the need to remind my mother I am?

I’d be lighter. Removing the heavy coat I wear of remembered slights and wrongs, negative chatter and past betrayals and abandonments, I can only believe it would feel like that first warm day of summer. Sun dresses and bare feet kind of days. Airy. Bouncy. Free.

I’d be braver, stronger, more committed. I’d replace 'I’ll try' with 'I do' and I’d keep doing until it was done. Failure would just mean I hadn’t succeeded yet not that I was worthless and pathetic and what the hell was I thinking, believing I could do that, be that, dream that. Hell, I’d believe in dreams and the impossible. Why not? I’d stand up and say “I can be who I want to be, who I always knew I was supposed to be” without a care for the opinions of others.

The past is done. Over. And as it was written by me and no one else remembers it in the exact same way, I can choose to close the book and put the memories back on the dusty shelf where they belong. Live in the present with the person I am, not in the past with the person I thought I was.

What would you be more of if you let go of the past?

 

August 28, 2012

What Are You Waiting For?


For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to still be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have. And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time … and remember that time waits for no one…

So stop waiting
until you finish school,
until you go back to school,
until you lose ten pounds,
until you gain ten pounds,
until you have kids,
until your kids leave the house,
until you start work,
until you retire,
until you get married,
until you get divorced,
until Friday night,
until Sunday morning,
until you get a new car or home,
until your car or home is paid off,
until spring,
until summer,
until fall,
until winter,
until you are off welfare,
until the first or fifteenth,
until your song comes on,
until you've had a drink,
until you've sobered up,
until you die,
until you are born again
to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy…

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

-Alfred d'Souza



August 22, 2012

Mini Cooper or Hello Kitty?

This might be the silliest thing I have seen in a long, long time.


August 13, 2012

5 Things I've Learned While Camping


#1 -
If you leave on a Friday after work you will definitely get caught in traffic.  Patience is required.


















#2 -
When you set your tent up in the dark, you will wake up surrounded by questionable neighbours (yes that is a very, very large slug).


















#3 -
If the water is green, while it's pretty, it's from a glacier.  It's...refreshing.


















#4 -
Big, old trees are beautiful and provide shade.  And spiders.














#5 -
Spending two nights in a mountain valley, on a quiet beach on the banks of a sparkling clean river, and two days with no cell phone or internet connection is one of the best things you can do for your body,  mind and heart (even the rocks understand this).


















(all photos were taken at Marblemount in the Cascasde Mountains in Washington State)

July 24, 2012

Letter to a Dear Friend

















Hi honey,

Sorry I didn't get back to you yesterday -- the day just got away from me. I've been thinking about you so much and wish there was something I could do to help you through this time. The only thing I can think of is to let you know that I'm here for you, to share things I'm reading and websites I find, and to let you know that I understand what you're going through -- maybe even more than you do (I know that sounds crazy but let me explain).

I'm sure I told you about my life at FedEx? I had worked myself into a position there that was comfortable, if not very challenging. I had been there for 20 years, had 6 weeks' vacation, and made a decent salary. But there was the typical BS that comes from large corporations -- the "our employees are our most valuable asset" insult -- and a boss that was truly insane. Really she was. Also, as a courier, I was starting to notice some physical limitations. Due to a bad knee, I physically couldn't do the job anymore. So I did the next best thing. I took another job within the company. Why give up my seniority and holidays just because I can't carry 30 pounds on my back for 8 hours and work for a woman who makes people cry?  I left my downtown co-workers and all my customers (whom I adored) and took a position at the airport, working in a department called Trace. This is where customers, looking for their packages, call to find them, have them redirected or redelivered. This is where really, really angry people call. This is also, as it turned out, an even more dysfunctional department than the one I left. And one where no "trace" of training was provided. I was thrown onto the phones and told to just figure it out.

So I tried. I tried my best.

While I was trying (and failing) I went to my doctor and told her I was beside myself and that, while I didn't want anti-depressants, I needed something. She gave me Ativan (lovely little drug by the way). I went back to her after a week of Ativan and said that I thought I needed to go on stress leave, that things were so out of control, other people were dropping like flies. She said to try meditation (WTF?).

I lasted 6 weeks.

I was on the phone with a customer, a man who so verbally abusive my brain couldn't register his insults fast enough.  Yet I was not allowed to say "excuse me Sir, but I don't feel this conversation is productive, nor am I comfortable with the level of abuse you are subjecting me to, so I'm going to hang up now". We were told that the customer is ALWAYS right and that we had to stay on the phone until their complaint was resolved. Realizing I would never resolve his complaint (I wasn't even sure what it was) I did the next best thing. I told the angry man that I was putting him on hold to look into his concern and that I would be right back. I got up from my desk, walked out the back door of the building, across the parking lot to the chain link fence that surrounded the FedEx property (picture a prison). There I stood, clutching the fence, sobbing -- gut wrenching, wracking sobs. Sobs so deep you can't breath.  So loud that the Purolator couriers standing across the field (100s of meters away) heard and suggested I scale the fence and come join them. The Great Escape! After I was completely dehydrated, I went back inside, splashed cold water on my face and walked into my boss's office and told him that I was done. He looked at me like I was a code talker and said that yes, if I needed to go for lunch that would be fine. I said, NO -- I'm DONE. I'm leaving and never coming back. I said that I was throwing in the towel on 20 years, 6 weeks' vacation, pension, the works, because my life was worth more than this. Because I was worth more than this. I said there was a man on hold -- by now a really, really, REALLY angry man -- and that I was leaving him on hold.

I walked out the door, got into my car, drove home, popped an Ativan and turned on the TV. I stayed that way for about two weeks. The boyfriend would come home from work (he still worked at FedEx BTW) to find me on the couch, wonky from drugs, crying over a Grey's Anatomy episode that I had recorded so that I could watch it over and over again (remember the one where there was a bomb lodged in a patient's chest and Meredith agreed to stay in the room with him -- and he exploded?).

After two weeks, I brushed myself off (remember I had quit -- no short or long term disability or employment insurance) and decided I needed to do something, I just wasn't sure what. So I started with lunch (well, actually I started with a shower...). I met a friend at her office downtown and while waiting I picked up a copy of the newspaper. The classified section as it turned out. And in there I found an ad for a maternity leave replacement for one year for ParkLane Homes.

So I do understand completely what you are going through. And I want you to know that you have two options. You can choose to stay. Or you can choose to go. Only you can decide what is right for you right now, but do know that nothing will change with your employer.  NOTHING!!! Even if you find a new position there, nothing will change. Even if your horrible boss gets hit by a bus. NOTHING!!! Even if you get validation from upper management that your boss is insane and you were right. NOTHING!!!

If you decide to stay because you are afraid of the alternative, then do what you can to listen to that fear and figure out why it wants you to stay and what it is you are REALLY afraid of. Read what you can (positive things that will help move you to a great new place). Take advantage of your employer's wellness support programs and go to a career counsellor.  Have them help with your résumé, your interview skills, even with trying to figure out what it is you'd really like to do. They are there for you and they can't tell your employer they are helping you work on the most kick-ass résumé ever. Then, take a deep breath, realize your worse fears are coming from your lizard brain and that you won't end up living in a van down by the river, open the back door, walk across the parking lot and get in your car and drive away. Drive towards the life you deserve, the life that's waiting for you to grab hold and give it a great big kiss.

Ok, here's my recommended reading for the week and website:

Escape from Cubicle Nation

The first 40 pages are going to rock your world (not that the rest of the book won't but you will recognize your employer and you will realize you are not alone, you are not crazy or ungrateful).

mondobeyondo

I love you and I want you to be happy. The best way is to feel like you have all the say in your life.  It's your life -- no one else gets a vote. NO ONE!!! You are not a democracy. You are a country of one so start ruling baby. You are Queen!

XOXO

L

July 3, 2012

La Grande Pomme en Paris




Some people love chocolate.  Some people love wine.  Some people love Cuban cigars.  But if you ask me it doesn't get much better than this.

June 29, 2012

It is a wonderful world.  Let's try to remember it doesn't belong to us -- we share it with all living things.



May 5, 2012

A Pitcher of Lemonade

I've been doing a lot of questing-resting-plotting-plodding-reading-needing lately.  You know, where deep in your soul you know you have to do something different?  But what?  So I turn to books -- Uncertainty, The Firestarter Sessions, The Creative Habit, life is a verb.  And through my reading I discover connections and new directions.

Reading Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields lead to the discovery of Erik Proulx who directed Lemonade.  We all know the saying "when life hands you lemons..." That's what he did when he was laid off from his ad agency job -- he made Lemonade.  It's light and dark, deeply moving and profoundly inspiring.  And it led Erik Proulx to his second movie Lemonade:Detroit.

Everyone knows Detroit.  Paris of the West, the birthplace of the automobile, Motown.  Everyone also knows that it's deeply in pain, it's suffering.  It's the poster child for what ails America.  But people haven't given up on it.  Lemonade: Detroit shows this love.

I watched the trailer and I also fell in love -- with David Blair.  Blair, as he was known, loved Detroit and through his words I can glimpse the city it hopes to be again.



Blair also gives me hope, through the beauty and passion of his words.  Hope that the glass is half full, that life's obstacles are often just great opportunities disguised, and that there is enough juice left for a tall, cold pitcher of lemonade.

March 1, 2012

Duplex-City


The boyfriend and I have finally lost our property virginity and are preparing to climb the property ladder by becoming landlords.  We just bought a square box of a duplex in Gatineau Quebec, just a 10 minute drive to Ottawa (our nation's capital). 


It was built in 1945 (the duplex, not our nation's capital) and has been lived in and loved by just two families over the years.  It's in great condition (even for almost 70) and has had a bit of face work done, so it really only looks 40. The current owner lives in the ground floor suite so we will have to find a new tenant but fortunately the top floor has been rented by the same family for four years.

I'm a bit anxious about being a landlord.  After being a tenant for so many years, and having lived through Landlord Hell, I don't want to come across as, well Pearl.




February 6, 2012

Here We Go

Super Bowl commercials -- love 'em or hate 'em but every now and then there is a message besides beer, babes, and brawls.  Check out "Here Weego" from Bud Light.  Let's hear it for rescue dogs.

January 19, 2012

StubbyDog



For all you animal lovers out there, I offer you this video.  I stumbled across it on my friend Pickles' blog. Please stop by and see what she's up to.


June 24, 2011

Serious Enquiries Only

I know, I know -- I have no excuses.  Life just got in the way and I've been extremely negligent.  Work has been stupid, home has been busy, and my brain just hasn't been thinking about blogging.  Days, no weeks, have gone by with no thoughts except "get up" "brush teeth" "put first leg in pants".  You know what I mean -- I know you do.

Anyway I was just on craigslist and felt the need to share.  This has got to be the best ad I've ever seen (the photo is my addition -- for all you Johnny Depp fans):


Don Juan for hire


Date: 2011-06-22, 3:19PM PDT
Reply to: job-wqwb2-2456649978@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]


I am an amateur writer who loves writing women. I am very successful at it and have wooed many women online.

I am seeking to help wealthy men who want to romance a woman via E-Harmony or whatever. I want to get paid for my services.

Sounds silly I know, but I can get you laid by the woman of your dreams.

This is a time-consuming process and it won't be cheap, so serious inquiries only.

  • Compensation: I want to get paid anonymously via paypal
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
PostingID: 2456649978

September 28, 2010

Never Stop



If you're like me, every time the latest iPad commercial comes on I can't help but tapping along.  No matter how many times I hear that damn piano riff I move my fingers and do-do-do along.

I finally decided to find out what the tune is.  It's called Never Stop by Chilly Gonzales -- a Canadian musician currently living in Paris (must get to Paris again!)  Check out the video (I absolutely love it).

September 26, 2010

Sunday with Magnum

I had a date this morning with a Magnum.

No, not a bottle of champagne.



No, not Tom Selleck.


Our friend Derek (of the lobster fame) called and invited us (me specifically) to come out and shoot some pistols.  Never a girl to say no to something completely ridiculous, off we went.

Now, I'm not a lover of guns.  I don't own a gun and I have no desire to own a gun.  I think guns are movie props and have no place in the real world.  I'm fortunate to have never felt the breeze of a gun being waved in my face.  But it so happens  I  know people who own guns.  Canadian people.  Male people.  And I happen to like and think highly of these Canadian male people, who own and shoot guns.  Derek is one of these people.

So when he offered me the opportunity to shoot a pistol, I thought that if I'm going to be against guns I really should see one in action.  Donning earmuffs and goggles I entered the highly secure range and found myself in a world that was strangely familiar (haven't we all seen these ranges on cop shows?).  Derek showed me the proper procedures for loading, cocking and firing, then handed me a 22 calibre pistol.  He sent the target down range.  I picked up the pistol, took aim and fired.


Flames and smoke came out of the barrel.  It was the old friggin' West.  And honestly, it was kind of cool.  The casing from the second shot flew back at me and seared itself to my neck, then fell down my shirt.  I, being no pansy, kept firing.  Once I finished the cartridge, I put the gun down, reached down my top and pulled the casing out of my bra.  My new Change bra (see previous post).  I don't think this is what my bra was intended for.   The 22 calibre is small stuff though, compared to what else Derek had for me to shoot (there is virtually no kick-back -- it's kind of like a water pistol on steroids).

Next was a 9mm pistol, which is what the Vancouver Police force uses.  It was actually lighter than the 22 calibre, but packed way more of a wallop.  When I cocked it (you all have such dirty minds), it felt substantial (still -- dirty minds) and when I fired it, there was a definite kick-back.  And it was insanely satisfying (This is all sounding so carnal, isn't it?  Maybe this is part of pistols appeal?).  Don't I look insanely satisfied?


Next -- Magnum.  It was a Colt 45 and was really quite a beautiful gun.  Derek loaded one bullet into the cartridge for me and suggested I just try it, as the kick-back is huge and it might hurt my wrist.  If I didn't like it he would give me the 9mm back.

Well this thing was crazy.  Shell casings were flying everywhere (I had done up my jacket though so none found the refuge of my cleavage),  and the smell of creosote was in the air.  It didn't hurt my wrist, it didn't hurt my shoulder.  It only hurt my target.


The Boyfriend and I shared this target, as we took turns shooting.  But the one bullseye?  That's mine.  Derek gave me the target and suggested I tape it to our front door and write on it "I Don't Call 911".  I think I will let The Boyfriend take it to work.  He's trying to get a pay increase and this might have some impact.  Besides our neighbour is Vegan, and I like her.

All I can say is that firing a gun is a strange experience.  I felt a huge rush of adrenaline and a real thrill.  Derek says that he's noticed that women seem to get more of a thrill than men.  I think it may be that we've always been seen as the "weaker sex" and that a gun acts as an equalizer.  A huge man and a small woman have the same amount of power when they point a gun -- whether at a target or a person.  It's the gun that does the talking.  And this is what makes them truly dangerous.

September 13, 2010

Change Will Do You Good

I had the great fortune to go bra shopping on Saturday. I think most of you women out there will agree, bra shopping ranks way up there on the "things we love to do" list. Right up there with bathing suit shopping, jeans shopping, and gynecological exams.

My old bra was barely keeping the girls front and up, where they belonged. The final clincher was when I pulled the old girl out of the washing machine and it came wrapped around my yoga pants and The Boyfriend's long johns (yes, we are aleady wearing long johns in Canada -- go ahead, have your little laugh. Global warming -- hmph) and it was now suitable for slingshot use only.

Amy, my dear hair stylist (whom you have met here before) had recommended Change but I was a little skeptical. Amy's somewhat less endowed than I am and is able to wear a much larger selection of bras. If I even go near La Senza my boobs pop out of my bra -- just in anticipation of me bending over. But I took her advice. And am I ever glad I did. It was the best bra shopping experience of my life. It may have been the best shopping experience. Period.

First of all the store was full of beautiful things -- all sorts of styles, colours, and patterns. Second, the staff were really knowledgable and helpful. They put me in a change room, measured me, and were back in no time with handfuls of bras. Yvonne helped me and she is my new best friend.  She brought me every bra she currently owns. The first one I tried on I'm still wearing today (well, I did take it off to sleep, but barely).  It's a gorgeous satin navy blue and is called a balconette. 


My girls feel like they are 20 again.  I walked out of the store with 4 bras in an assortment of colours (and an agreement to call Yvonne so we don't wear the same bra to the same event), my shoulders back and my head held high.  I even bent over to pet a dog.  No double exposure!  I also received a free gift.  A mesh bra washing bag.  No more tangles with the yoga pants and long johns. 

Whe I got home I had a good look at the bag.




Here's what the fine print says:

Clean Home Daily-using Commodity Co., ltd
Washing Bag - New product of 21th century

Usage Direction:

Choose suitable bag before washing.  When filling clothes, make it less than 2/3 of the bag's subage.  Put it into washing machine ofter drawing zipper.

Characteristics:

Protect clothes, reduce rolling and distortion in washing maching and make clothes in previous state.

Mesh disperse running water.  Bag surface cooperate with washing machine and makes washing easier and quiklier.

Protect crock of washing machine and lengthen the usage of washing machine.

Made of guilified material and being durable, it is the perfect washing article of modern family.

There are no typos above.  Honest.  I'm not sure what a washing machine's crock is or what guilified material is, but given the wink and thumbs up I'm sure to be very happy with my new product of 21th century.

This is one change that will definitely do me good.

September 11, 2010

Eat Love Savor



A few weeks ago I got an email with the interesting subject line of  "Friend of Gaylene".  My first reaction was that it was some sort of spam, but then curiosity got the better of me and I opened it up.  Turned out it was really an email from a woman who is a friend of Gaylene (And I actually know Gaylene too.  We used to work together.).  The woman, Angela Tunner, had mentioned to Gaylene that she was looking for writers for her online magazine Eat. Love. Savor. and Gaylene suggested Angela take a look at my blog, as I might be a good fit.  And I suppose after reading a few of my posts, Angela thought I was a good fit too.

I called Angela and we had a great conversation (over an hour -- sometimes you just click with someone) and we agreed to move forward with me joining her writing team.  Angela sent me a topic and it was up to me to do the research and write it up.

This past week my first article appeared and I couldn't be more thrilled.  Please check out Discover:  Lillet -- The French Wine Aperitif  at Eat. Love. Savor.  Check out the entire magazine.  It's just beautiful.  Angela has a great eye and I believe great things are going to happen for her -- and through her hopefully for me too.

September 9, 2010

Arcade Fire does the Suburbs with Google


There is this little band from Montreal called Arcade Fire. They are a husband and wife duo -- Win Butler and Régine Chassagne and the band has guitar, drums and bass guitar, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin and hurdy-gurdy. Incredible.  Their music is good too -- their latest release "The Suburbs" entered the Billboard Top 200 albums chart at No. 1.  But I think what they are doing with Google is just about the coolest thing I've seen in a long time.

Growing up in the suburbs is something a lot of us from "middle America" are familiar with.  And we can all appreciate the feeling of there being no place like home. Arcade Fire has just released an interactive video for the album's single, "We Used To Wait" using Google satellite technology.  Just enter your childhood home address -- sit back and watch the story unfold.

September 2, 2010

90210


Well would you look at the date today. It's September 2nd, 2010. And for all you Beverly Hills devotees, that translates to 90210. I was not a fan of the show, but it does take me back to 1990 and Seinfeld, Twin Peaks, Pretty Woman, and Tears for Fears. We had some fun back then, didn't we?

We all wanted the Rachel haircut,




Grunge


Doc Martens



Windows 3.0



On the other hand, maybe things weren't so great.

George Bush Sr is President




Operation Desert Shield begins




and so does the US Recession




Depletion of the Ozone layer over the North pole is detected



Hmmm...makes a girl pause to ponder. 

In 2010 we are still in the midst of a world wide recession,  still fighting Operation Iraqi Freedom and we now have Windows 7.  Oh, and there's a new 90210. 

It would appear that history really does repeat itself.  Too bad it wasn't the good stuff.

August 24, 2010

X Marks the Spot




I know that some think that Vancouver is the centre of the universe, but a giant X shaped cloud marking the spot might be taking it just a bit too far.  Besides, everyone knows the centre of the universe is Kamloops.

August 16, 2010

August 10, 2010

One Hundred Potato Chip Challenge



Now this is a challenge I'd excel at.  The training would be torturous I'm sure, but it would be worth the effort.

But the real challenge is push ups.  Normally when I think of push ups this comes to mind (probably to The Boyfriend's mind too):


But what we're actually doing is the One Hundred Pushup Challenge.


http://hundredpushups.com/
The boyfriend and I started about two weeks ago. The goal is simply insane (anytime something seems impossible, sign me up). After training for approximately six weeks -- only three times a week -- we should be able to do 100
(that's ONE HUNDRED) pushups in a row.  Without stopping.  Real push ups -- not those mamby pamby ones done on your knees.

Before beginning Week One we both had to take do a test to see how many push ups we could do in a row.  The Boyfriend did 18.  I did two.  I didn't believe that was all I could do so I tried again.  One this time.  On my knees (I will admit to being mamby pamby from time to time) I was able to eke out 10 (but it kinda felt like cheating and I wanted to do real push ups).  Based on these results, The Boyfriend was to follow training track three (for the most advanced).  I was to follow track one (for the physically impaired/nearly dead/over 100 years old). 

The training was broken down into sets of pushups with rest intervals.  My first day I was to do a set of  two with 60 seconds rest, a set of three, with 60 seconds rest, a set of two followed by more rest, another set of two followed by oxygen, and finally the last set was to be as many as I could do with three being the minimum.  Needless to say my final set consisted of me weakly raising my hand in the general direction of The Boyfriend and mumbling something about donating my body to science. 

But Day 2 I was feeling energized and brawny.  I was to do the following:

Set 1: 3
Set 2: 4
Set 3: 3
Set 4: 3
Set 5: as many as I can but a minimum of 4

And I did them!  And even managed to do 8 IN A ROW for the final set. 

Yesterday was Day 2 Week 2 and I managed to do a total of 33 pushups (14 for my final set).  I'm feeling psyched.  Though I have been reading other blogs about this challenge and it seems everyone hits a wall in Week 3.  I don't think The Boyfriend and I will though, as we are actually enjoying the training and the improvements we're seeing. 

See, look how much fun we are having at the beach.



July 29, 2010

Canadian Eh?

Once in a while someone does a beautiful job of describing a Canadian, this time it was an Australian dentist.


An Australian Definition of a Canadian
In case anyone asks you who a Canadian is . . .

You probably missed it in the local news, but there was a report that someone in Pakistan had advertised in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian - any Canadian..

An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one.

A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan.

A Canadian may also be a Cree, Métis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians. A Canadian's religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds.

But they also welcome the least - the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected.

These are the people who built Canada. You can try to kill a Canadian if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world have tried but in doing so you could just be killing a relative or a neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian.

Please keep this going! Pass this around the World. Then pass it around again.

It says it all, for all of us.



July 25, 2010

Perhaps the World Ends Here

Wonderful Jennifer from At The Table In My Sunroom said that  she thought of me when reading the following poem and that it perfectly compliments my blog. Thank you so much Jennifer -- it gave me shivers -- it's beautiful.




Perhaps the World Ends Here

by Joy Harjo 
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.
"Perhaps the World Ends Here" by Joy Harjo, from Reinventing the Enemy's Language. © W.W. Norton and Co., 1998. 

Serenity Now

I came across this gem that "lorocker" from Canada has created on youtube. It's a re-arrangement of Seinfeld scenes into an action-thriller movie trailer. The song playing throughout is "Vicious Traditions" by the Veils. The second song is "Scorponok" from the Transformers soundtrack. Even if you're not a Seinfeld fan you have to appreciate the genius.








July 20, 2010

Just One of Those Days


So I got up this morning, hopped in and out of the shower, dried off, got dressed, put on some makeup, dried my hair and took the dog out. Came back in, gave Cass her treat (She has come to expect a treat for going outside and coming back in. It's a great trick -- you should see it.), opened the cupboard, got down a glass for milk, went to the fridge, got out egg whites and feta cheese (The Boyfriend and I have decided to try the Caveman Diet -- or at least our own modified version of it.  Ours includes wine as we believe cavemen would have eaten rotten grapes, got a little buzz and figured out the whole fermenting thing), found the omelet pan, turned the burner on, poured the egg whites in and crumbled on the cheese.

I then turned to grab my glass and SMASHED my friggin' forehead into the corner of the friggin' open cupboard door. I could feel the bump erupting instantly. I went to the bathroom mirror and sure enough -- not only was there a huge bump on my forehead, but there was a big dent in the middle of it. Very becoming.

I made it to work with just a few minor annoyances (overflowing bus, bad drivers -- the normal things). I stopped for my morning coffee, showed my bump to the baristas and laughed at my folly. Got to the office and chatted with a few colleagues.

I just came back from the washroom and here's what I saw. My bump has a big splotch of dried blood on it, my left eye is noticeably twitching (it has been for four days now) and I forgot to apply mascara!!!  OMG!  I left the house without mascara?  I can live with a bleeding gash on my forehead, even the eye twitch, (both of which make me look a bit insane) but no mascara?  That's just scary.

I have three options.  Option 1 is donning sunglasses and rushing over to the drugstore to buy a new mascara (though I just opened a new one on the weekend).  Option 2 is donning sunglasses, closing my office door and hoping no one knocks.  I'm leaning towards option 3 which is blaming it on the Caveman Diet, as side effects may include being bonked on the head, twitchy eyes and a general lack of personal grooming. (Seriously -- notice the twitch in her right eye!)

July 18, 2010

We've Come a Long Way Baby????

I know it might be a little early in the day on a Sunday (depending where you're reading from) to be thinking about work tomorrow, but take a moment to consider how fortunate you are (if you're a woman) to have the job you have.  Thanks to someone who was obviously a visionary, the article below opened the many doors we women have walked through and landed us in the jobs of our dreams -- and the needed rest breaks to restore our confidence.  Grab your lipstick girls -- feel good about yourselves.  Yes, even you husky girls.


July 13, 2010

I've Got a Favour to Ask You


A colleague came into my office this morning and asked if I'd take the emergency calls tonight.  He's taking a motorcycle training course and tonight is the night they do their first road ride.  I laughed and said ok, but that he'd owe me.  He said he'd do it for me but I reminded him that when I took my motorcycle training two years ago, I was on-call and he didn't do it for me.  He said that he would have if I'd asked.

Seems so logical, but here's the thing.  I'd never ask.

If it's my job to do something I just do it. It would never dawn on me to ask someone else to do something I was supposed to be doing.  I would plan my social life to accommodate my work schedule, if need be.

This started me thinking about asking others for help (which I have a really hard time doing this).

I'm not interested in playing the martyr and don't moan about how much I have to do, or how burdened I am. I don't avoid asking for help so that people will say "OMG, look how dedicated/committed/capable Lianne is." I don't think others can't do the things I do, as well as I do them (ok, ok...but not all the time).

So why can't I ask for help?

I do know that I don't want to appear to be needy or weak, or incapable of juggling the many balls life throws at me. I do know that others have enough to do without having to do things for me too. I do know that if I've invited you over to my home, you are a treasured guest and I want you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. And I do know that if I really, really need help (like the time I was stuck up to my knees in a sink hole of muck), you will definitely know I need help.

I'm curious if this is a gender thing.  Or if it's an only child thing.  Or if it's not a thing at all and that's just the way it is.

What do you think?

July 12, 2010

You Know You're Getting Older When...




About a month ago a new barista showed up at my regular Starbucks. He was very cute (black spikey hair, dark brown eyes, cute smile) and very young (20 -- if). He poured me a tall Pike Place and asked if I'd like my receipt. I said no but he handed me one anyway and said "It's the survey". The survey receipt entitles you to a free beverage of your choice, after you've completed it. I took the receipt and completed the survey that afternoon. The next morning I handed my receipt for my free tall Pike Place to the same new barista and wouldn't you know it, up popped another survey. And another free beverage.

From then on,  the barista and I had a special relationship. He'd look for me, we'd make eye contact and smile at each other. I said I only wanted him to pour me coffee as he always gave me free ones. He asked how my weekend was and we commented on banal things like the weather. And he remembered my order. (You might not think this is anything special, but I have been going to this Starbucks for over a year and know the other baristas by name -- and they can never remember I want a tall Pike Place. They can remember the tall non-fat two extra shot mocha with no whipped cream at 200 degrees, but they can't remember "coffee").

Last week, after several weeks of pleasant exchanges, I was in line behind an older man. My cute barista looked right past the man to me and said "What can I get you". The older man huffed "I'm next" to which my barista said "Yes, I was asking you". The older man turned to me and said "Well it looks like he only has eyes for you." We all laughed.

And I thought --

"Aw, he likes me?  Must be because I remind him of his mother."

July 8, 2010

And Baby Makes Three


My darling hairstylist Amy is preggers with her first baby. She is due in September but has promised me that she will only take three months maternity leave.  It's going to be a very difficult time; sleepless nights, constant crying, excessive whining --  but I'll try not to annoy The Boyfriend too much with my complaining and carrying on.  I have no other option than to await Amy's return.

Despite the fact that she's leaving me and my grey hairs to fend for themselves I'm happy for her and want to give her a few things to make her journey into motherhood a beautiful thing. 

In 2001 I discovered Anne Lamott and her wonderful book Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.  As I always do, when I find a writer I adore, I bought everything she'd written.  One of her little gems (they were all great) was Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son's First Year.  A single mom with a bit of a drinking problem (and not joining AA anytime soon) she discovered parenthood wasn't all she'd been led to believe.  She'd been lied to -- and she wanted to set the record straight. It wasn't all sweet smelling baby heads and tender bonding moments.  It was actually alot of crap (literally), it could be totally discouraging and sometimes you really did feel like throwing the baby out with the bath water.  Not having kids of my own, this book only confirmed my decision.  But I felt her pain and I wanted to warn all of my baby-inclined friends. Every time a friend said she was pregnant, or that a friend of hers was pregnant, I rushed out, bought a copy, thrust it in their trembling hands and said "Read this!  Read this before you no longer have time to read, or brush your teeth, or shower."  And they all read it and laughed and wept.  And had more babies. 

So Amy gets a copy.


I'm a knitter and over the years have knit stuffed animals for all my pregnant friends.  I asked for their favorite animal so have ended up knitting a cow for Michelle, a penquin for Corin, a pig for Karen, a sheep for Brigitte, a cat for Gerda, a bear for Melanie, and an elephant for Parm (Parm wasn't pregnant and had/has no intention of getting pregnant but I didn't want her to feel left out). 

Amy's favorite animal is an owl, so an owl is what she gets.  It's adorable.




I also make these things called scübees.  I make them for babies, kids and adults.  They are these little scarf-tubey things that slip over the head and cuddle the neck.  They are great for babies and kids because there are no dangerous tails and they cozy right up the back of their little necks and under their wee chins.  I made one for Amy and she loved it. 

So baby gets one too.


And it's all wrapped in the cutest bag I have ever seen. 


I'm seeing Amy in about fifeteen minutes. I can't wait. I just hope this isn't the last time -- I'm not ready to be on my own yet.