Think before you speak (and post)

16 Dec

hiding-computerI’ve always been a positive person.  I wake up feeling happy and look forward to seeing what the day is going to bring me (and what I will bring to it).  If someone ever gave me a set of pajamas that say ‘Don’t Talk To Me Until I Have My Coffee’ they wouldn’t know me well at all.  I like to think I am ‘realistically positive’.  Not the type of positive that you want to kick in the teeth.   There are things I find hard to be positive about –  winter for one. There is a whole lot of ugly commentary that goes on in my head surrounding winter. But then I am able to move on from it as my it is my choice to live in a part of the world where winter happens.   I remember going to my confirmation classes with our priest and one of the boys asked facetiously ‘Father, do I have to confess EVERY dirty thought I have?’ to which Father MacDonald replied ‘If you confessed you that you had 13 dirty thoughts today I would beat you and say I had 19’.  Kind of like dirty thoughts – everyone has negative thoughts.

I’ve noticed something lately though and it is eating at my positive self. Media and social media has caused our society to become this cesspool of negativity.   Trump consumed people for months and the media/people posted every awful thing he said or did. It was as if the world was ending. Post after post of hysteria.   Police officers, drivers, developers, healthcare – no one is safe from this online judgement.  Where I live there is the threat of a teachers strike right now.  There is work to rule action in place – meaning that teachers are only doing what their contract binds them to do.  It seems every other person is posting some awful accusation or critical viewpoint of teachers or the government.  It is as if social media has given all of those ugly inner thoughts we have a place to be displayed and confessed.  In the past it meant going over to someone’s house to talk or writing a letter to the paper or going to a public political meeting.  It takes balls to get up in front of a group to speak publically about a criticism you may have and it takes skill to write a well crafted letter which the paper will print.  It doesn’t take much courage or skill to post negative/critical comments online.  In fact, any donkey or educated person (who statistically are actually the most critical) with an internet connection can do it.  Just like the earlier mentioned dirty thoughts – not every thought you have needs to be confessed.

It is the holiday season.  A time when we are historically especially stressed. And we all know what stress does: it brings those ugly-inner-critical-of-others-thoughts closer to the surface.   We are rushing around searching for presents, getting groceries, travelling.  Here are a few facts: it is going to be busy.  The parking lot is going to be full.  There are going to be lines.   And if you’re travelling the airlines might lose your luggage.  But what we must remember is that we are choosing to do whatever it is that we are doing. Set yourself up for success.  Have a drink before you go.  Go for a run.  Get laid.  Whatever it takes to get you into a good frame of mind.  Don’t go to Costco at 2 pm on a Saturday.

Before you go take a minute (or rather 4:23) to watch this video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl2_knlv_xw.

I hope reading this has encouraged you to think before you speak, post or share.  The fact is: teachers are people who also have children, politicians are people we voted into power, you’ve been the person who didn’t see the light turn green and should remember how jarring it is to have someone blare their horn at you, you’ve been helped by a police officer before and our healthcare system has saved the life of someone you love.  I know you’re better than that.  Come on team let’s look on the bright side of things.  You’re alive.  Use your input in a more powerful way.

Think:

T: is it true?

H: is it helpful?

I: is it inspiring

N: is it necessary?

K: it is kind?

 

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Do It. Now.

5 Dec

tomorrowisnotpromised

I deal with loss on a regular basis through my work – I meet women who I get to know well, become friends with and often times they die.  This past weekend someone especially impactful died.  She was funny.  She was feisty.  She was smart. She was independent.  She was strong. She was 39.  She died from ovarian cancer.   Her death was a stark reminder that being gifted with a long and healthy life is not a guarantee.

Our society has somehow been fooled into having bigger houses, more stuff, more debt and needing to work more (and longer) to pay for all of it. Yet when faced with death the most common things people say is that:

  1. They wish they worked less
  2. They wish they spent more time with family and friends
  3. They wish they expressed their feelings more
  4. They wish they had worked on being happy / being themselves
  5. They wish they did the things they wanted to do

Everyone is always so incredibly ‘busy’.  Research shows that smartphones have increased our work days by 2 hours per day.  2 hours per day!!  That is 10 hours per week.  That is an entire work day (and then some) we are not getting paid anything extra for or given time in lieu for.  On the weekend one of my brothers and I were talking about political parties.  Steve said – if the PC’s and NDP’s took the time they spent pointing fingers at the Liberals and replaced it with thoughtful contributions, can you imagine how much more productive they would be?  Can you imagine if you freed up 10 hours of your week by working less what you could do with that time? That is a full work week per month.  That is 3 months of freed up time per year!  You could spend time with friends and family, you could learn something new, you could sleep, you could exercise, you could read… doesn’t that sound oddly like the things people wished they did before dying?

We no longer need to grow the garden to have food, to raise the cow to have meat, to sew the dress so we have something to wear.  Nor do we have to wash the dishes and clothing by hand so we have dishes to eat off and clean clothes to wear.  Nope. We have so many modern conveniences that allow us to free up time.  We have fewer kids. We have more choice. Yet, I most commonly hear people say they are so ‘busy’.  We’ve managed to fill our days being busy and being overcommitted doing things we choose to do.   Isn’t that ironic?  A birthday party used to be a bunch of kids playing, eating hotdogs and chowing down on ice cream cake from the DQ. Now it is an Oscar like production with Pinterest inspired treat bags and cake, pictures for social media and really what is it for?  I am guessing kids might have more fun running around, eating hotdogs and chowing down on ice cream cake.

I make a concerted effort to do things I enjoy and make time for people I love.  I try to limit stress and up my fun factor daily.  Granted, I am single and do not have children, but hopefully I will be able to keep up my habits if I ever have a partner and children to manage. Thankfully up until now I’ve been blessed with good health. Often times people need a big fat slap in the face to jump off the treadmill so many are on. A cancer diagnosis, a heart attack, the end of a relationship, the death of someone we love (who we feel guilty for not spending more time with) or the realization that it has been months since you picked up the phone to talk to a friend.

So whoever you are reading this… get your shit together and DO IT.  NOW.  Don’t wait.  Work less.  Give the gift of presence.  I mean really who wants their obituary to say that you were such a great employee – he/she worked more than we paid him for?   Sleep more.  Exercise More. Spend more time with your parents.  With your kids.  With your siblings.  With your friends.  Book the trip.  Buy the shoes.  Ask someone you like out.  Forgive.  Go on a date with your partner.  Sign up for a class.  Get out of that relationship that is bringing you down.

Because if tomorrow never comes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the love of travel…

9 Nov

packing

There are few things that excite me more than checking in for a flight.  I love getting out of dodge, hitting the skies and landing somewhere different than where I live.  I literally equate most costs I am considering down to the value of a plane ticket.  I currently do not have a car as every time I consider the cost I quickly do some math.  2 months worth of a payment/insurance and gas adds up to the price of a plane ticket to say Munich.  4 months adds up to the total cost of a trip to Munich where I could get to visit my sweet nieces.  For now I am willing to walk, take taxis, shuttles or rent cars in an effort to keep my cash conserved for taking off.  Being single and childless my vacation and time use is up to me.   I choose to spend my moola and time on travel.  Tomorrow evening I am heading to London for a little f-u-n (and hopefully get away from all of this atrocious Trump talk) with a girlfriend

I wouldn’t even be able to count the amount of flights I’ve taken over the years.  Definitely 100’s of flight segments.  You know how they say the more you do something the easier it gets.  The more practice you have the more skillful you become.  I am not sure where my brain is when it comes to packing for travel, but it always seems like it is somewhere else.   It is kind of like getting your period.  I got mine when I was 12.  I am now 36.  That is 24 years.  Since I’ve never had a baby  that is 12 times a year for 24 years.  That is 288 periods.  I’ve had 288 practices and I still don’t have suave skills. Only in recent years have I kind of finally gotten it together around my period.  As one of my girlfriends said – one of the greatest challenges of my month is getting to my underwear before my period does.   Why do I feel so abnormally tired I will be thinking?  Why is my lower back sore I will be thinking?   I mean my phone can manage my period if I wanted it to, but that isn’t my style.  Success with your period is having all of the right stuff in the right place at the right time.  Just like what is in your suitcase when you are traveling.  All the right things need to be there for success.  Even though I’ve packed 100’s of times I just never seem to get it right.

My parents live in a rural community.  I’ve been known to show up at home for the weekend with a leather dress, high heels, a pair of jeans, no tops, no flats… you get the picture.  Not only is the mix not at all practical, but it is hard to even make an outfit from it (pants but no shirts).  Let’s focus on that word practical.   In its dictionary meaning it is: inclined toward or fitted for actual use.  Here is the thing, when I pack I think my mind wanders to — what COULD happen and that gets me distracted.  Like, what if something fun comes up while I am at Mom and Dad’s?  Therefore I should have a leather dress and heels with me.  So could you say that I am practical in that I think to pack things which are of use for non-practical things which might happen?   I can stack wood in my pj’s but if a date or event in a town of 20,000 came up unexpectedly I couldn’t wear lulu’s – I am prepared for the unexpected (although the unexpected is extremely unlikely – as in it never happens).  As I mentioned above I am willing to walk (usually in heels of some sort) instead of having a car… so I do have a somewhat practical nature just not when it comes to clothing.

Earlier this year I spent 5 weeks in Australia.  Packing for 30 degree weather made it easier, but this little over dresser successfully left home with a backpack and that is it.  I shocked myself.  I’ve managed to cut down what I pack in an effort to avoid those atrocious airline baggage fees.  I can pack at least the weight of my 6 year old niece into an airline approved carry on.  But then folks there is the way back.  If I buy even a pair of socks I don’t have room to put them in my carry on as every square inch of it is already occupied.  I usually end up with some awkward shopping bag strapped over the handle of my roller.  The bag usually flips off or rips.  Which usually results in me cursing.

On this trip things are going to be different folks.  I am going to change my ‘non practical bad packer’ habits.  I promise you (and myself) that I am going to be light and lean.  My footwear is going to be sturdy, my outerwear meant for the elements, my lipstick stock limited to 2 and my sequin count zero – but my pants will be leather and my jewelry not so subtle.   It is London after all, if I need to buy something juicy it is a great place to do that and I will have room in my suitcase to take it home.

All dogs go to heaven

24 Oct

all-dogs-1024

I’ve always been a dog lover.  As a kid I had a Dogs Annual Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds and  I literally memorized most of them.  My soft spot for dogs is similar to chocolate for some or football for others.

We had some great dogs growing up and after  years of wanting my own dog the time was finally right and so six years ago I got Millie a West Highland Terrier.   She is very cute, athletic, loves to watch TV (and bark at every dog and horse who dare come into our living room), follows me everywhere I go (she only sleeps if I am sitting still), extremely smart, territorial with certain dogs and is 100% obsessed with me (and squirrels).  Other than me going away or doing social things she can’t come to – we literally spend 24 hours a day together as she comes to work with me, sleeps with me and goes to parties, visiting, etc.  My cousin nicknamed her ‘The Diana Ross of Dogs’ as she is a bit of a diva.   When I got Millie I started to take her to a school yard around the corner from where I lived as I heard there was a group a people who congregate there at 7 am with their K9 sidekicks.  Every morning, Monday to Friday for the 3 years I lived in that neighbourhood in the sun/wind/snow or rain I would stand on the field with my dog friends.   There was a real mish mash of young, middle aged, older, men, women, weirdo’s and normal (somewhat) folks.  Not as extreme as Best in Show.  We had a lot of solid laughs over the years as we stood there freezing our butts off, picking up dog poop and chatting about what was happening in each others lives.  John would make fun of Ray and Judy who were neurotic about their dog.  I would tell them ferocious tales of dating and travelling the world.  One friend I made was Simon and his dog Roo- the two of them had a very evident bond.  Roo was never on a leash as the only thing he was interested in was following Simon around.    Roo was kind of a complicated dog and so we nicknamed him Jimmy Melvin (Jimmy Melvin is a local notorious criminal).  For any of you reading this who grew up watching Canadian television Roo reminded me a lot of  The Littlest Hobo.  He would mostly only let Simon touch him (but after about a year he started to trust me and would let me give him a pat).   Simon is also quite a character and so the two of them were a match made in heaven.  I’ve heard Simon speak to Roo just like he was a human buddy trotting along beside him.  It seems they were both just what the other one needed.  My brother and family got a puppy this summer and so my sister-in-law brings him to the same school yard I used to go to.  She has gotten to know some of my old pals  She told me Roo wasn’t feeling well last week and so Simon has been on my mind.  As I mentioned I take Millie to work with me and now that Preston is part of the family I walk to my brothers house and take him to work with us – Simon and Roo live a few blocks from them.  I have a route I take, but this morning I decided to change it up and along the way ran into Simon (this kind of stuff happens to me all the time).  I haven’t run into Simon on the street in months and months and if I had taken my normal way I wouldn’t have run into him.  Of course I asked him straight away how Roo was and he sadly told me Roo had to be put down on Saturday.  We had a moment on Vernon Street. Completely heartbreaking.  I’ve been thinking about them all day.

The friendship you have with your dog is so special.  Who else is excited to see you after you’ve only been gone for 4.5 minutes.  Who else can come put their head on your lap while you are on the toilet?  Who else goes to bed when you do and wakes up when you do?  Who else wants to go everywhere you go?  Who else wants to protect you from any threat (even if it is a 8lb Yorkie wearing a pink jacket)?   Who else wants to watch you fold laundry?  Who else wants likes whatever you like on TV?  Who else forgives you within minutes after scolding them?  Who else never criticizes you?  Who else likes your taste in music all the time?   Who else gets sad every-single-time you go away?  As they say, not every person knows how to love a dog, but every dog knows how to love a person.

The only problem with having a dog is that it is very likely that you will outlive them.  Millie promised me that she would live to at least 15 and we shook her paw on it.  A few weeks back I was at my Mom and Dads house and made the fatal error of watching Marley and Me (I’ve read the book but never saw the movie in its entirety).  I was a sobbing mess which caused Millie and my parents dog to come running to me wondering what was wrong – I had one laying on top of me and one staring at me as I sniffed away.  As Simon said this morning he can’t even think of getting another dog anytime soon as Roo was his solid companion and he was so unique that he will never find another dog like him.

Having a dog not only brings you the friendship you have with your dog, but it brings so many other people into your life.  Over the course of the 6 years I’ve had Millie I’ve made many friends through her.  Babies and dogs make it socially acceptable to chat with a complete stranger.  Simon, my friend,  I am glad Roo brought you to the dog park and I got to know the both of you.

All that we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we have deeply loved becomes part of us –  Helen Keller.

Authenticity: the courage to be yourself

21 Oct

self-pic

Earlier this week I attended a women’s empowerment/networking event and directly after that I scooted over to a fundraiser where a famous Canadian cook book author was speaking.  I didn’t think the two events would collide topic wise but they did.  The author didn’t speak about creating recipes or testing them – she focussed on talking about loving yourself, believing in yourself, following your instincts and having a sense of humor along the way.  She continued to talk about the psychology of getting skinny/being skinny – it is a whole lot harder to do when you have negative thoughts in your head about yourself and you’re hanging onto things that happened to you in the past.

I was born with a very large mole on the side of my face.  Not just a flat one, but a raised one with hair and a nice brown ring around it which made it even bigger.  Awesome, just what you want on your cheek.   I had a very special grandfather – he was a big gentle giant type and even though he passed away suddenly when I was 7,  I can still clearly remember him.  He would tell me that my mole was my beauty mark and it made me different from others.  I believed him.  I also have 3 older brothers who loved to, ummm, what words should I use, mentally torture me when we were kids.  After Grandpa passed away I only recall hearing them say I had shit on the side of my face and a rat was going to come gnaw it off when I was sleeping.  Kids would point in the grocery store and ask their parents ‘What is on her face?’  The parents would say ‘shhhh’ and awkwardly steer their finger pointing kid away.  I ended up having the mole taken off when I was 13 as it presented quite a risk for skin cancer  (and I hated it).  As much as I hated that mole it helped me develop a thick skin at a young age and also feel empathy towards others who looked a little different.   I hit puberty pretty early and when it hit I got big boobs and some blubber overnight.  That blubber has not been easy to lose.  I love food – I get great JOY from a delicious meal shared with others.  My metabolism isn’t the same as some of my girlfriends who can seemingly eat whatever they want, not exercise a whole lot and still be a size 4.  A few years ago when I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro I lost 5 pounds.  Yup.  Everyone else was like ‘oh my god I can barely keep my pants up with the training and then 6 days on the mountain’.  I’ve learned to stop comparing myself to others who are not like me.  I walk at least 8 km a day: if I wanted to be a size 4 and not an 8,  I would have to run 20 km a day, only eat air or maybe get a tape worm.  But then I wouldn’t have big boobs and would probably wish I had bigger ones as it seems girls who are flat want some.  So you know what, I still have a scar on my face from that mole,  I have big boobs and a bit of a muffin top, but I try to love what I got and work with it.  There are so many other more important things to think about.  And honestly, I always find girls who are overly concerned with what they eat and what they look like… boring and not all that much fun anyway.

I also have a very loud voice.  My parents, in fact, thought I was deaf when I was kid and took me to get my hearing tested.  Nope, I clearly heard all of the buzzes and beeps that the audiologist tested me with.  My hearing is fine.  My voice is just loud or as teachers would put it nicely ‘it projects well’.  In grade 3 we had an old Battle-axe substitute teacher for a few weeks as Mrs MacDoanld (our oh so lovely teacher) had a pneumonia.  This was just before our Christmas concert which was such an enormously exciting night for someone like me – getting up on a stage was my jam.  We had to rehearse our songs with the mentioned Battle-axe.  So we got into our spots and started to sing.  She stopped everyone and pulled me out.  She had my class continue to sing without me.  At the end she said something like ‘that is how the songs are supposed to sound.  You are too loud and you’re ruining it’.  Just as I can recall my Grandpa making me feel so special – I can also recall clearly how small and completely embarrassed she made me feel.  But ya’ want to know what… I shook it off because even at that young age I recognized that her opinion was not one I respected and my Mom/Dad would have told me to just go and be yourself – she doesn’t matter.   I went to that Christmas concert in a dress that I loved (I’ve always had a love for fashion) and I sang my bloody heart out.

I’ve always loved to talk. I have a fascination with other people and love learning new things.  As a kid I was told to be quiet.  A lot.  You know that old rule about children should be seen and not heard.  That rule stinks. I used to love going visiting with my Mom as I got to hear and participate in adult conversations.  In fact, I did a speech for 4-H when I was maybe 12 called Born to Talk and that speech won me a provincial championship.   It seems my loud voice (which projects well) is great for public speaking and my love of talking is too.  Yeah baby!   When I feel my most authentic self it is when I am connecting with others and having great conversation.  I am not quiet and being quiet doesn’t bring me contentment.

I really enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert.  Not the Eat, Prey, Love stuff (I didn’t even get through the eating end of things), but some of her guest articles and blog entries really get me jazzed.  One in particular had me nodding while I was reading it.  Life isn’t about what happens to you. Life is about how you perceive and react to what happens to you.  A lot of the things which I was criticized for as a kid are my greatest assets as an adult.  I generally care little about what others think about me – after all what you think of yourself is far more important than what others think about you.   I choose to spend time with people who like to build others up (that includes my brothers – they don’t mentally torture me anymore) and not the types who tell people what they ‘should be like’.  Unsolicited advice from people who are not inspiring is never beneficial.   Yesterday the CEO of the organization I work for (who is someone I greatly admire for always being true to who she is) posted a great quote and it reminded me of a quote I love by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile, even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul. She is beautiful.”

So ladies and gentlemen (that’s right this isn’t just for women).   The last page of O Magazine is always a column by Oprah called What I Know For Sure.  I will close this in Oprah Style.  What I know for sure is: that we all have insecurities, we all have body bits which we don’t love and we’ve all had cruddy things happen to us.  But we all have amazing and unique bits about us, we all have totally gorgeous parts of us and we’ve all had wonderful things happen to us.  The more you focus on your talents, what you like about yourself and the positive things in your life – the more confident you will feel, the sexier you will look and I can guarantee amazing things will continue to happen to you.  As I was told so many times before- just be yourself. If you have kids hammer that into their heads.  Your life is your story.  Make it one others want to read.

 

Here comes the bride…

18 Oct

Choose-Choice.jpgI love weddings.  Love + friends + family + food + wine + dancing = a great time in my books.  Both my mother and father come from very large families and so going to weddings was always part of my childhood.   One summer there was something like 7 of Mom’s first cousins got married.  That big family is still there and added to the mix is lots of friends from all of my various avenues in life.   At this stage in the game weddings are an awesome way to get together with friends and family – it doesn’t end up being just about the bride and groom as it is a reunion of sorts for guests as people now live all over the world.  I was at a wedding this past weekend and it was a roar.   As I was pulling a ‘slide out to bed’ from the after party I heard some of the guys (who are now married, have children and had consumed copious amounts of alcohol) reminiscing about days gone by.  ‘Sean, do you remember when you shit in my bathtub?’ followed by  ‘Do you remember when Andrew shit in my bbq?’.  Upon hearing this I was certain it was a great time to go to bed.

Getting married is very different than it used to be.   In the past people got married young and typically would tie the knot with someone who lived down the road from them or went to the same school.  Someone who was compatible enough, came from a decent family, and let’s be honest, so they could have sex.  Fast forward to present day – we get married later, women have their own finances and their own properties so we are not living at home pining to move out of Mom/Dads house, the church does not dictate what we chose to do or not do, we own fewer farms and have less children.   We can live anywhere we want in the world.  And toss in the old World Wide Web and suddenly we have access to people from all over the bloody world from our living rooms.  About 10 years ago my best friend (who grew up in the same rural community as I did) and I were having a conversation about this topic.  We said ‘Can you imagine marrying someone from our elementary school? Who would you pick?’  If I recall correctly,  I chose one of the O’Brien boys who always reminded me of Chris Isaac and Sarah chose a redhead from over the road who is now a surgeon.  We both went older – I went for looks and she went for brains.  But the notion of it had us roaring with laughter.  I am reading a book right now called Modern Romance and it talks about this subject.  Is the notion of having too many choices too much?  When I think of this I think of my parents living room.  Growing up there were only say 2 places to get furniture from.  When my Mom needed a new piece of furniture (we never had all new furniture at once as they saved enough money to buy what they needed at that time vs using to credit to do over everything all at once).  She would go to town, sit in a few chairs and make a decision.  Now, on the other hand, we can order furniture from a 100 different places.  And we need to look on Instagram, Pinterst, Houzz  and magazines to get inspiration.  We end up spending hours and hours and hours looking, searching, deciding and wondering IS THIS the right chair or will I see something better somewhere else?  Do we end up anymore satisfied in the end?   I would think less as the damn chair is so nice and you put so much time into finding it that you don’t want your kids, pets or anyone eating food or drinking wine to come near it in fear of it getting dirty.

Maybe that could be true for relationships too. We have so many choices now that we are overwhelmed by the options.  I remember when one of my brothers was first seeking a nanny to look after his kids.  Of course they had visions of Mary Poppins floating into their house. Someone who could cook, clean, sing, dance, be patient, creative and give a little bit of sugar to help the medicine go down.  In reality, they got a very mixed bag of applicants and by the end of it I heard my brother say ‘Mary Poppins does not exist… especially for 12 bucks an hour’.  Instead, they found someone who was reliable and trustworthy.  Writing that line has brought memories of that nanny.  I could easily write a blog about her- she was something else.    Here is a favorite memory of her.  She walked in on a Monday morning and I asked her how her weekend was (not sure why I did as listening to the answer was always a lesson in torture).  There was ALWAYS something massively negative which followed… flu,  113 (or some crazy number) of hours in emergency, didn’t sleep, rabbit was sick.    On that particular Monday it was especially foul as she replied ‘it was terrible I found out my brother is actually my father.’  Bam.  The next Monday she showed up with a eye patch on.  I didn’t ask how her weekend was that day.   She is single.  Moving on and getting back on topic now.  Just like Mary Poppins perhaps Mr Perfect or Ms Perfect does not exist.

Choices, choices, choices, choices.  I recently had a big work event and I had in my mind that I wanted to wear a red dress.  When I get something in my mind I can’t settle.  I just can’t.  I looked in all the local stores, I looked online, I looked in local stores, I looked online… I saw one dress I really liked, but didn’t order it right away as I kept on looking for other options and so when I finally decided that was the THE ONE – my size was out of stock. I missed out as I had so many options I couldn’t make a bloody decision.  I wore a black dress.  A perfectly nice black dress.  And I will be able to wear it again unlike the Oscar worthy red one I had in my mind which was impractical and likely would have cost another $100 in alterations.  I could have done better things with the time I spent contemplating.  I recently read that President Obama only wears grey or blue suits.  He doesn’t like to make decisions about what he wears or eats as he has too many decisions to make – so he limits his choices.

Perhaps we need to be like Obama and scale back on the amount of decisions we need to make.  Keep it simple.  Maybe I should pop over to the houses of some of the boys from elementary school…

 

 

How did you become you?

13 Oct

brain

For those of you who don’t know me well you should know that I love people.  Understanding them, analyzing them, observing them, laughing at them, wondering about them and of course impersonating them.  I see people on a daily basis who make me wonder – how in the world did you become you?

There is a lady who burns around Spring Garden Road on a scooter.  She drives that thing as aggressively as Mario Andretti drives his race car.  I see her pretty often so I have encounters with her on the regular.  There doesn’t seem to be an apparent aliment or mental illness, but man she is a ticket.  One day I was walking with Millie when she stopped her scoot to ask me what kind of dog Millie is.  She reached down to pet Millie and at the same time let out a massive belch.  She said ‘Oh man, I’ve been having bad gas.  From both ends’.  And she peeled away.  How did Joan become Joan?

There have been a lot of tourists in Halifax recently due to cruise ships having scheduled stops and some diverted due to hurricanes in the US.  I spotted one couple who really turned my head.  They were BOTH wearing solar shields (you know those big ugly sunglasses with panels on the side that make everyone look terrible), his and hers track suits and she had on a fanny pack.  How in the world did those two people a) find each other b) toss away any sense of sexual identity they have c) chose this look to rock while on vacation.  How did they become who they are?

There was a girl who used to take her dog to The Commons.  She would often talk through her dog Shadow in this dorky-alien-like voice.  She would say things like ‘Shadow says that mommy says that she wants a Starbuuuccckkks, so we have to go’.   She was a lawyer and had recently moved back from Toronto after a breakup.  Both of her parents were doctors (Psychiatrists in fact – this is important to note as you read on) – although she was a very educated girl, she said some of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard someone say (not always through the voice of the dog).  One day when talking about ways to increase biking in Halifax, with a guy who works for The Ecology Action Centre, she said ‘I don’t really care what my cars do to the environment.  I have two of them. One is an SUV and one is a BMW.  They both have leather seats, I crank the air conditioning, I drive to the office when I should walk and I love it.’ Okay.   There was a really interesting guy who used to come every now and again.  He worked on a sailboat that trained kids in adventure sailing.  One day when talking about kids and how so many have ‘conditions’ these days he said some more exercise, fresh air, less screen time and good food could change a lot of their behaviours (true).  Old Captain Polarizing drops that she thinks kids need more medication and therapy.  He said back to her – they would need less medication and therapy if they exercised and ate better.  She said – you are wrong.  Both of my parents are Psychiatrists and a  lot of them are just messed up and need medication.  He said – you are wrong.  I bet you are on medication as it is apparent that you are indeed crazy.  How did she become who she is at such a young age and how in the world did she find someone to date her?

I always love seeing how people react when they are put under just a little bit of pressure. Last year I was on a flight which went through Boston and due to switching terminals I had to go through security at Logan.  It was busy in the security line and one of the TSA guys decided to reroute some of us to feed into another line up.  Unfortunately, when he did this he moved one of the ropes wrong and we ended up on a road to nowhere.  Now, this error on his behalf was quite simple and easily fixable.  Well, well, well, did I ever see some Americans get their feathers fluffed.  ‘What the hell is going on here anyway.  You have us going nowhere.’ (add in the Boston accent and it makes it way better). Another says ‘I demand to be put to the front of the line.  People who were behind us are now in front of us.’  Wow, I would hate to see what they are like when they are faced with a real problem.  How did they become who they are?  Where did they learn to flip out and overreact?

While I was in university I worked at Shoppers Drug Mart.  First as a cashier and then as a pharmacist assistant.  Working in a drug store allowed me to see a wide range of people doing very strange things.  The day the flyer came out there was a stampede of cheapies who came in to stock up.  God I hated having to tell someone the shipment of toilet paper didn’t come in and that I would have to give them a rain check – they would act like I just spit in their face.  Where is the sex jelly, one guy with really bad buck teeth asked me once.  Another guy tried to hand me his used tube of anal cream that had a ‘hair’ stuck to it.  One day when I was working the front cash a real ringer came up to me.  He was wearing really bad jean cut offs and flip up sunglasses (nearly as bad as the afore mentioned solar shields).  He was asking me where this place called The Pub was.  Unfortunately he was pronouncing it the way  you would pronounce the type of hair that was attached to the afore mentioned tube of anal cream.  So I said ‘Pipers PUB’ is around the corner at the lights.  Just then a very attractive woman came up to the cash and this guy caught sight of her.  The way he talked reminded me of Cousin Eddie on National Lampoon.  He said ‘Wow.  Look at you. (he said that part very slowly) Where are you going because that is where I want to be.’  She was fairly confused by his forwardness (I mean this was Shoppers Drug Mart in a small town) and she clearly was very out of his league.   How in the world did this guy become such a massive power geek who thought he could approach a woman in this manner?  He must be immune to the word no, and well, he was American so his perception of self might have been a bit inflated.

What would I do if there weren’t any characters floating around?  I wouldn’t have as much to write about.  Let’s be honest people who are normal are boring after all.  Can’t really write about how I witnessed someone wearing Ray Bans walk around taking pictures of Halifax with their iPhone.   People who are a little less vanilla are right up my alley.  In the words of Bonnie Raitt – they give me something to talk about.