Tag Archives: memory

37 Reasons Why

28 Apr

Happy Birthday

A week from today I will officially be in my upper-mid 30’s.  37 years or 444 months or 1,924 weeks or 13,505 days or 324,120 hours.  Whatever way you want to put it.  Birthdays are a great time for reflecting.  Thinking about what has happened in the last year and what you desire for the year ahead.  Now that I am in my ‘upper-mid 30’s’ I’ve been around the block, I’ve learned a few lessons and since it is ‘International Pay It Forward Day’ I am going to share some of my thoughts with you and hopefully you can absorb something from them.  Since I am the only one who can see things through my own eyes and mind – this is my list not yours.

Here are 37 things I believe to be true and the reasons why:

  1. Aging is a gift.  The reason why I know this is true is because being dead is the alternative.
  2. Advil Liquid Gels are amazing.  The reason why I know this to be true is if I drink a bottle of red wine and don’t take one before I go to bed – I get a roaring headache.
  3. Go with your gut.  The reason why I know this is true is had I listened to my gut I wouldn’t have dated a guy who wore a puka shell necklace, khakis and had no friends.  My gut said he wasn’t cool.  He wasn’t.
  4. If a guy stands you up or in modern terms ‘ghosts you’.  Shame on him for a being a pussy.  The reason why I know this to be true because it has happened to me before: it is both immature and flakey.  Do you really want to date someone who is immature and flakey?  Nope. Also, if someone does that to you don’t wonder: what is wrong with me?  Why doesn’t he like me?  You just aren’t what he is looking for.
  5. Don’t make assumptions.  The reason why I know this to be true is because when I’ve made assumptions it ends up not being what I assumed and it causes you unneeded drama or miscommunications.  Ask questions.
  6. Your mind is like a parachute – it only works when it is open.  The reason I know this to be true is that when you say no, judge, criticize or act out of fear – nothing good happens.  Keep that mind open.  Amazing shit happens when it is.
  7. When you find a lipstick you love buy it, stop trying other ones on and buy at least 3 of them.  The reason why I know this to be true is that I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on every type of lipstick.  Finding the right lipstick is like discovering penicillin.   When you find a good one you need one for your purse, your bathroom and an extra in case you drop the other one in the toilet or your nieces put it on and break it.
  8. There is no ‘THE ONE’.  The reason why I believe this to be true is that there are 7 billion people on this planet and you’ve only met a small number of them.  I think there is ‘someone’ who collides with place in life, attraction and timing.
  9. Further to that note there is no fairy-tale.  The reason why I believe this to be true is that I’ve seen a lot of relationships and not one of them look the way they are presented in movies and books.    Whoever you end up with – they are going to annoy you, piss you off, be late, you’re not going to be attracted to them at times and they’re going to leave laundry on the floor.  They aren’t always going to know what you are thinking or buy you amazing gifts. Prince Charming is hiding in the woods of Never Never Land.
  10. Take Risks – go outside of your comfort zone.  The reason why I know this is true is that every single time I’ve done this I’ve learned something about myself, other people and the world around me.   Spice things up.  Do new things.
  11. Travel.  As much as you can.  When you travel you grow.  The reason why I know this is true is that the most amazing memories I have involve travel.  See the world.  See your country.  See your province.  See your city.  You need to.  It makes you more intelligent.  It makes you more empathetic.  It makes you more interesting.  It makes you more dynamic.  It makes you happier.
  12. Be curious and ask questions.  the best conversations happen when you do this.  The reason why I know this to be true is that people love it when you are interested in them.  It is interesting to know more than you currently do.  Oh, and don’t date someone who doesn’t ask questions.  You will end up listening to them talk about themselves all the time and who wants to do that?  Gross.
  13. Make sure you work on your friendships.  If you don’t – you won’t have friends.  Friendships are an incredible blessing.  Friendships are one of the most gratifying relationships because there are no real rules or codes of conduct.  No hours of operation.  The reason why I know this is true is that I have loads of friends, it takes work and my life is super rich because of them.  Oh and don’t hang with friends who talk about cellulite, other girls and don’t eat anything other than salad.  They’re boring and superficial.
  14. Don’t use the excuse “I am so busy”.  It stinks.  The reason I believe this to be true is that it is overused.  There is a lot of time in the day and week.  Really the truth of it is you chose to not make it a priority and that is okay.
  15. Get a pet.  The reason why I know this to be true is that your relationship with your pet brings out a side of you that is just beautiful.  Friendship, dependence, joy and love.  I firmly believe anyone who mistreats an animal cannot have normal relationships with humans either.  You are a shitty person if you mistreat animals.  Period.  Even people who don’t like them.  I question their character too.
  16. Talk to your parents.  Let them know they are a priority to you. Your siblings too.   The reason why I know this is true is that I’ve seen 17 babies be born.  It is amazing.  A wonder.  You see how much parents love their kids,  really.  Your Mother grew you for Gods sake – she deserves a phone call.  No one knows you better than your family.  If your immediate family are jerks – talk to your grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.
  17. Don’t compare yourselves to others.  Don’t.  The reason why I know this to be true is when you focus on what you don’t have there won’t ever be enough.  Unless Apple comes up with some nifty new machine that allows you to transform yourself – you can’t. So work on making your own garden green.
  18. Food is amazing. The reason I know this to be true is because it is true.  You can’t deny it.
  19. Eat really amazing food with friends and family.  The reason I know this to be true is that food tastes better when you share it with others.
  20. Make up your own mind.  The reason why I know this is true is that it sucks to be told you have to be this or that.  It sucks to be forced to act a certain way.  It sucks to be told what is this or that.  When you are old enough to make up your own mind be brave enough to do it. Don’t live your life according to someone else’s rules or opinions.  Being yourself is the best.
  21. Once you are able to make up your mind find people who think like you.  The reason why I know this is true is that when you are around people who think like you really cool things happen.
  22. When you are looking for input or advice get it from like minded people.  Don’t get it from someone who is critical, negative or insecure.  The reason I know this to be true is that I’ve done it and it doesn’t work.  Why would I ask someone who has no style what they think of my outfit?
  23. Try to laugh as much as you can.  Have fun as much as you can.  Do I really need a reason why for this one?  No.
  24. Be kind to other people. Be generous with your time, energy and skills.  The reason why I know this is true is that when you are kind everything is better.  It is true.
  25.  Tell people they are being a dick when they are being a dick.  When you do it they usually learn something too.   The reason why I know this is true is that when I’ve done it the outcome is usually better. I haven’t done it a lot of times in my life as it honestly takes so much to get me worked up.  But generally, talking about it is always better.
  26. Life isn’t about what happens to you – it is how you perceive what happens to you.   9/10 times it has nothing to do with you.  The reason I know this is true is that few people intentionally ever do something to offend someone.   Not taking things personally is a much better way to keep your blood pressure down.
  27. Exercise.  Find something that works for you.  The reason why I know this is true is because when I’ve tried to force myself to be a runner I flipping hated it.  My boobs are too big.  I run on the side of my foot a bit.  I’ve learned that walking the same distance works better for me.  And I don’t have whiplash from my rack.  Getting a dog is an awesome way to incorporate exercise into your life.
  28. People are not what they look like on social media or online dating sites.  The reason I know this is true is because when you can take 12 retakes and edit the shit out of photos you look way prettier and the scene a lot more fun than it really is.  You are just as pretty and your life just as fab.
  29. Know the difference between a man that’s not worth it and a mans that’s not perfect.  The reason why I know this is true is because I’ve given too much of my time to men who are not worth it.   Where are those imperfect but deserving creatures hiding?
  30. Bullies, cranks or gossips.  They are super insecure and unhappy.  The reason why I know this is true is that confident and happy people are not mean or negative and they don’t care about what other people are doing.  Don’t give them your power.
  31. If you are girl you can do anything you want in life.  Anything.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.  The reason why I know this is true is because I am a girl and I do whatever I want.
  32. Spend time around kids – it is really good for you.  The reason why I know this is true is because I’ve spent lots of time around kids and I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it.  They are uninhibited, authentic, honest, in the moment, inquisitive, accepting and loving.  And most of them like ice cream.
  33. Get to know someone who is good with technology.  It really helps.  The reason I know this is true is because I am awful at it.  Our world is based on technology now.  I should add that to my list of things I want in a man.
  34. Spend time with your family and friends doing things you love to do.  Jobs come and go.  The reason I know this is true is because I deal with death through my work and know that people wish they worked less.  On that note – do a job you like. You spend a lot of time there so if it doesn’t bring out the best in you – make a change.
  35. Everyone is different: they don’t want the same things as you, think the way you do or do things the way you do them.  That doesn’t make them weird or wrong. The reason I know this is true is that I’ve met a lot of people in my life.  When you really listen to people you understand them more. Refer back being open minded and kind.
  36. A nap is one of the best things in the world.  The reason I know this is true is that a nap feels like someone injected me with fresh energy and that is a really good thing.  I mean, Einstein, Winston Churchhill, John F Kennedy, Thomas Edison and Salvador Dali all took daily naps.  They knew what they were doing.
  37. We need to celebrate being alive way more often than one day of the year.   You don’t need a reason to celebrate.  Just do it.  All the time.

xoxo

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A steel fist in a velvet glove

9 Oct

mom-quote

The fall is always a nostalgic time of year for me – schools get into swing, the leaves turn color and Thanksgiving weekend rolls around.  Contrary to popular opinion I am not a lover of Thanksgiving dinner. So much work and so many dishes for a meal that (for me) is underwhelming.   Mom and Dads’ kitchen is not particularly large and Mom (how do I put this) is rather, ummm, bossy when she is in there.  Mom is not a chef with papers, but boy she can handle herself in the kitchen just as well as Jamie Oliver, Rachel Ray or Mario Batali. This weekend it is just me home so we decided to keep it simple and not prepare a meal fit for a small country.  Over the years Mom has produced more food, for more people than Michelin produces tires.  On the topic of Mom and since it is Thanksgiving I will tell you about her.

My mother is an extremely capable, selfless and productive human being.  Last night we were invited over to friends of our family for dinner.  During our after dinner conversation Kathy (our hostess) said ‘Emilie, can you tell me if you’ve ever seen your mother just do nothing for a day?’ Honestly, unless she was down and out with some kind of an ailment I couldn’t remember ever seeing her just be lazy.  Mom was a nurse doing shift work until I was in grade 9 and after that moved to management where she worked Monday to Friday. It would be nothing for her to make us a gourmet breakfast, send us off to school with lunches all made from scratch (I often traded her homemade cookies for a can of caramel pudding or a Flaky- you always want what you don’t have), wash the walls, clean out a flowerbed and head off to a 12 hour shift at the hospital.  About 10 years ago Mom had to have her thyroid taken out.  The doctors said she had a very hyper thyroid (in overdrive), so finally we had an answer as to why this woman never seemed to run out of energy. After her surgery it took quite sometime to get her TSH levels regulated and so she felt tired and might fall asleep in the chair.  Very unusual.  My father (who could be described as being as laid back as a Saint Bernard) said he loved that Mom was exhibiting laziness as it made him feel human.  Fast forward to now, it seems that her natural determination has made up for her biological changes.  What this woman achieves in a week should be analyzed by productivity experts as I think she could teach them a few things.  One year Dad said he was going to get her a miners lamp for a gift so that she could continue working after dark.

I love how perspective allows you to see things more clearly.  At my age my mother had 4 children.  In fact, I am shocked that I was even conceived as mom had awful pregnancies with terrible morning sickness and many other complications.  Thankfully they went for a 4th and got me.  A few years ago on mothers day I took my Mom and Grandma out for lunch.  Mom said ‘thank you’ when we were done and I said ‘thanks for giving birth to me’.  To which she said ‘it was quite the strenuous affair, you were posterior’.  My 90 year old grandmother piped up and said ‘that is nothing you came out feet first Janice.’

On top of that a full-time job, a husband, a house, a massive property with gardens galore, and animals, she somehow managed to cook, pickle and jam it all, visit family, maintain friendships, keep a clean house, plan/host most any event happening in our lives, cart us around to our sports/after school bits, and keep my 3 gong show brothers in line. We always had friends over which meant she was cooking for more than 6 on a regular basis. She starts thinking about Christmas at least 11 months in advance – making quilts for each us or dolls for the grand kids.  Honestly, when I compare my days to hers it makes me feel a wee bit self absorbed… as I get my nails done and sip a latte.   I talk to Mom daily on the phone.  Sometimes it is 5 minutes and sometimes it is an hour. General gab about the day, what is happening at home, what we cooked for dinner and what is on deck for the next day.  Nowadays we are more friends than Mother/Daughter.

When I was a kid I didn’t look at my mother as leader – I looked at her as my mom.  As an adult I now see she has all of the attributes of a great leader – loyalty, patience, generousity, responsibility, determination, trustworthiness, supportive and selflessness.  When you have a great leader you are bound to be more successful in life.   On the outside she comes across as a total softie, but in reality she is a steel fist in a velvet glove.  Donald Trump should get an injection of her modesty.  In the words of Mother Teresa ‘if you want to change the world go home and love your family.’  Thanks for doing that Mom.

 

 

Are You There God? It’s Me, Emilie

4 Mar

I did some organizing about a month ago and found some of my old journals from when I was between the ages of 10 and 13. I’ve been home sick for 3 days so I have some extra time on my hands; I’ve been reading my entries and dying laughing.  As an adult I am not one for flowery emotions and drama – I am pretty practical and nonchalant.  It seems I was that way as a kid too. One of my favorite books growing up was ‘Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret’: a book that details the thoughts and emotions of a 6th grade girl.  Boys, bras, periods, family disputes and everyday emotions. I wasn’t so much like Margaret as I didn’t really ‘journal’ so much,  I more ‘documented’ the daily going ons in our house.

Below is one of the entries from my journal.  To give you a better understanding here a few additional details:

I grew up on a hobby farm.  We had a few horses, a few cows, pigs and some chickens.  We only had female cows.  If Dad wanted one of the heifers to get pregnant he would need to call Joe Van De Valk and ask him to come over when she was in heat. Joe Van De Valk is not a bull from a local farm, he is an Artificial Inseminator. Joe was somewhat deaf so he spoke in a not typical manner (which was great as I love to do impersonations of people and I can do a humdinger impersonation of Joe).  Once we got older we had a great nickname for him ‘The County Cow F*&cker’

Saturday, October 5th, 1991 (I was 11)

“Joe Van de Valk came over today. I woke Dad up because he was taking a nap when I saw his van pull in the driveway.  Dad and I went up to the barn.  When we got there Joe pulled out a catalogue with pictures of bulls in it.  He said ‘Jesus Christ Leonel I got some real nice stuff today.  That fella there (pointing at a picture of a bull from Ontario) he has some beauty calves.  Throws big ones.’  (insert – just like a modern day sperm bank Dad would choose the sperm from the most suitable bull).  Joe then put on a glove that went up to his arm pit.  After that he pulled a long rod from what looked like a bucket with dry ice in it.  He then took his arm with the rod in his hand and put it up the cows bum.  Ginger bawled.  After some poking and prodding he took his arm out.  The glove was full of hot steamy manure.  After Joe left Dad and I went into town and picked David up at basketball. When we got back it was lunchtime and Dad made us cream peas on toast (like he always does when Mom is working).’

End of entry.