Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 29, 1998

11 years ago today my steadfast companion was born in Brookfield, Nova Scotia. At that time in my life I just moved back to Nova Scotia from Calgary, Alberta and having always had a family dog, I knew I wanted to get a dog of my own. Growing up in Cape Breton, we always had small family dogs but I had a desire to get a lab. I found the wee Daws in the Halifax Herald and off I went to meet her on a summer evening in July '98. She was the runt of the litter and the very last pup in the bunch. It was just her and her mom, Nike in the living room of this family's home. Daws (temporarily named Chomper by Nike's family) was so incredibly charming - so sweet, chewing on her moms ears and bouncing all over the house. She was such a little force that the family even thought about keeping her. I was smitten. Luckily, they had faith in the young 24 year old in me. I wrote a cheque for $450 and she was mine.

The last 11 years really have flown by and even though my sweet friend has eaten a hole in my mattress, eaten my glasses (yes, eyewear), dug a hole in the wall of my apartment, chewed the baseboards on Chelmsford, demolished several bags of garbage in various kitchens across Canada...she has been the single best friend, completely solid and true (and I've got many kick ass friends). She wags her tail EVERY time she sees me, she licks my face whenever I cry, she'll go for a run with me on the days she's tired and she'll also lie in bed with me for hours on a hungover Saturday (there were just a few of those days in the last 11 years). Her claim to fame: every roommate and boyfriend that have also lived with Daws ended up getting their own dog when they moved out, simply because they missed her energy.

Daws, I want to say that I wish you 11 happy more years, but we know that's not a reality. What I will say is thank you for absolutely everything over the last decade plus one and I pray that you have many more years of good health like you do today.

Happy Birthday Old Friend. Love you. xo

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bea Golden

I just heard this morning that Bea Arthur died on Saturday. Matt Lauer was talking to both “Rose” and “Blanche” about their loss on The Today Show. And as I was puttering around the house getting ready for work, I realized that I was subconsciously singing the theme song to the Golden Girls after listening to the interview.

Thank you for being a friend.
Traveled down the road and back again.
Your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant.
And if you through a party Invited everyone you ever knew.
You would see the biggest gift would be from me.
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

Now try getting that out of your head today. The lyrics completely reminded me of just how excited I am to see my girlies at our KRAC Reunion trip in LA in less than 17 days. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Listen, I know I’ve been counting down to this event for the last few months, and I can respect that we should live in the moment and not wish time by BUT the last time I saw these girls all together at the same time was 7 years ago. At that time Alison was the only one that was pregnant and now she has 2 girls! Rhonda wasn’t even married and now she’s married and pregnant with her third! And Kirsten has a little girl.

And me, well I’m living my life like it’s golden.

Rest in Peace, Bea.

Blanche: “Well, I certainly didn't wait for my wedding night, honey. I couldn't - I had these urges. You know, in the South, we mature faster. I think it's the heat.”

Dorothy: “I think it's the gin”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

my very own periodic table

Someone has been on my mind of late, someone that intrigued me, piques my interest and gets that chemistry alive in my belly.

Cannot. stop. thinking. about. that. person.

Ooooooohh how I love that feeling. For me it's so rare that these people cross my path but when they do it's like a hurricane of intense conversations creating a butterfly conservatory in my belly. Note: these people are generally dangerous and not good for me. So although my head tells me to stay far away, the 16-year old in me still follows them to the party. On the flip side, there are other great people I meet that are sweet, nice and caring but if I don't have that certain 'belly flippin' feeling inside' then I tend to tap out. I'm not sure why I'm still this way. Perhaps I'm a masochist at heart? In some ways, I'm oddly proud to say that looks have absolutely nothing to do with it. (I think my strong animal attraction to Mickey Rourke is testament to that). I do wonder if the type of man...and I do mean man in every sense of the word...that I'm attracted to are life-long keepers? Are they the type that settle-down? Or will my destiny be to have a blast with a few more of these guys that bring incredible, indescribable fun into my life and then like a moth to a flame...

If I think about what it is that I'm attracted to it's a combination of these images (hands, forearms, lips) feelings (freedom, trust, life, no-inhibitions) actions (confident, successful, a force in the room) and it can be a mix of some or all of these things wrapped up 'within a look, smile and touch'. But for me, more than anything, it's when someone is so completely comfortable in their skin. And I never, ever underestimate the importance and power of an intelligent and dry sense of humor. Uummmm, tasty wasty.

But hey, let's just admit it now, I'm in trouble.

You've probably seen this image in a picture frame or on the front cover of a journal. I do love these words, but like most things when they become 'mass' and overexposed, they become generic. There is so much depth in these words in isolation or when people really do make the effort to live their life this way. Sadly, most of us just aspire to 'sing as though no on one can hear you'.

I'm proud to say, on Friday night I did more than just aspire. Picture it, just like a scene out of Lost in Translation, after two long days of shooting - a small group of us decided it was a good idea to book our own private Karaoke room on Bloor Street. Many of us (ahem..some more than others) had a few turns on the mic belting out U2, Phil Collins, Madonna, Rick Astley to name a few. It's not like I get to Karoke as often as I'd like, but with the right crowd you get to live in the moment and laugh so hard at yourself and others. The best part about when you have the 'stage' is that you know your voice blows, but you're so in the moment that you don't care - you sing with everything you gots and are free of your own personal insecurity or judgement. The freedom and fun is contagious because everyone is sitting around not really paying attention because they are too busy flipping through the book to find the next song they are going to sing.
This weekend, I am happy to say that I did sing as though no one heard me and danced as though no one was watching.

Thanks guys for such a fun night. xo

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

face it with a grin

Had to capture this moment.   If you know me well (or even not-so-well actually), you know I'm not a morning person.  But recently I have been getting up (ok, trying to) in the six o'clock hour to work out.  I hit snooze a million times this morning, but still got up in time to work out and to catch this glimpse of the sun beaming through the entire apartment from the back of the house.  In the almost 2 years that I have lived here, I have never ever witnessed the sun exploding through the back door like this before.  This is a pretty damn good reason to get up early from now on.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I just finished reading "Smart Women Finish Rich" for the second time. Honestly, this book is amazing, it doesn't alienate you for being a poor bitch in your 30s. (main reason why I like it). It is so important for you to read it even if you're a man. And more importantly, if you're a married woman. Anyway, at the end of the book David Bach writes about the fact that after we're 'gone' no one will remember us for how much/little money we had or how good we are with managing our money. So don't become consumed with it. The cool thing about his writing style is that he makes managing money approachable. More importantly, he talks about your values in life and why what YOU value is so important to the way you invest.

Which got me thinking (I know, big fucking surprise there)...
We always listen to what people tell us and we constantly have people chirping in our ear about what is the right thing to do. I'm not talking just about our awesome friends, I'm talking about family, co-workers, acquaintances, etc.

Buy a house! buy two houses! You should rent! Invest in stocks! save for your retirement! open an RESP! I did this and it worked! don't do this!

But it doesn't stop there with finances alone, listen to the noise all around you in what everyone has to say about YOUR entire life. How do these people know about what is truly right for me? I thought the only person that knew these things about me, was me? And if that's the case why does this advice yammer on in every aspect of our life. And the even bigger frustration - why do we listen to this noise?

I was talking to one of my close girlfriends the other night (I want her to remain nameless so that no judging happens in the blogosphere) - she's married and has a child. We were talking about the pressures we put on ourselves at different stages in our life. This is the reason I love my girlies, we are all at very different stages in our life but we can talk for hours about life connections between us. I was talking about the pressures of being single, she was talking about the pressures of being a wife and mother of one child. These pressures that we were referring to are the noise. So I asked her, "what choices do you think most people would make in life if society didn't exist?"...there was a silence....she*** responded, "I'm not sure as many people would get married or have kids". Gasp! Oh, the controversy that I've uncovered right here on my wee blog. I agreed with her and aside just that one topic I think we'd all live with more freedom and happiness.

So after that rant my point is this, shut the noise out today and do what you want
(without hurting others, but this goes without saying).

***she is very happily married and the best mom in the world, not to mention a cool woman and amazing friend.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

Back when I was in grade primary (otherwise know as JK here in Ontario), the Vic 20 was launched. For all you crazy kids out there glued to my blog, the VIC-20 was the first inexpensive color computer available, costing less than $300. It could only display 22 characters of text per line, so its use for business applications was minimal, but people loved it for games - the thing I remember the most was the awesome fire-fighter-like joystick. Oh, and the fact that my brother dominated it and never let me play. Oh the drama. So at the time it launched, I was 5 years old and my brother would have been 10. What I would have deemed as his nerdy obessession and hobby back then became his passion throughout life and now he's very successful working for IBM. So parents, perhaps encourage your kids to play endless hours of mindless video games and one day they too can be a star!

So, I hate to bring back the point of this story to celebrity pop culture but I am, temporarily. I'm sitting here on a Saturday morning drinking my coffee, reading the news (online, of course) via my Twitter feed. And I am astounded by how far we've come in 29 years. Yes, 29 years is a long time, but think about go from our first home personal computers to creating our own news, brand and media online for the world to listen to what we have to say as individuals. To give you further, personal context, I received my first email in university in 1994 (who cares that it was my ex-boyfriend telling me he wished I was dead) and the first time I took a computer course was first year of university in 1992 (and when the prof asked us in the first class to turn on our computer, I didn't know how).

So what I'm about to show you is what I'm reading and watching and something you've already heard of by now as it just happened yesterday. Now please, if you will, ignore the celeb power and just listen to what they're saying.

This I am certain, the one thing that hasn't changed over the last 29 years is that William Shatner is still whoring himself out for just about any marketer.

Friday, April 17, 2009

this little piggy

I've been working through a major running injury for the last two years.  Doctors and physios might not think it's serious but in my mind it's real pain, like nothing I've ever felt and it has taken away one of my beloved possessions.  So, that's worthy of 'serious' status to me.

The injury happened before, during and after the '06 Chicago Marathon - since that time the longest race I've been able to run has been a 10km.   But with the help of my friend Kirsten, she has referred me to an amazing new physio - one that is convinced that I will not only run a marathon again, but that I'll run a half marathon by Sept.  Trust me folks, this is big dreaming but I'm drinking the kool-aid.

After running a slow 5km race a couple of weekends ago, I'm working up to running a 10km race in May.  The pain has not left - even with all the 'gadgets' in my sneaks - but it has definitely subsided.  

So, this morning I adjusted my lift in my sneak (as I'm trying new positions for optimal comfort), tied up the sneaks and grabbed my 9-year running partner and her leash.  We headed out the door for a 6.5 km run.  If you only could have seen what I saw this morning.  My foot felt great (80% of the run), Dawson was running next to me off her leash and it was so warm and there wasn't a cloud was in the sky.  
Here it was again, I remember it so well, my sweet friend running and everything she gives back to me.  

You see, as I've worked through this injury all of my focus has been on the way I land on my foot, so aside from the actual injury I've lost the freedom that comes with running.  The carefree nature that allows you to just go, live in the moment and let your mind be free. Because I've had to pay attention to my right foot every time it hits the ground.  This morning was the first time in a long time that running felt like the way it use to be for me.  Free of thought and both Daws and I were taking it all in.  We were running along Lake Ontario and as I was breathing in the sun and it's reflection off the water, loving the happy faces of others running past me saying "Good Morning" and watching Daws stop to swim her brains out along side the trail.  I let go of concentrating on my foot and was in that particular moment.  I realized that by focusing on everything else surrounding me, I didn't focus on the targeted pain in my toe.  A lesson for most things in my life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

oozing pride

This week something huge happened 'within my life' and by that, I mean big news within my world.  This may seem a bit odd or selfish that I'm touting it's 'my' news to share, but my belief is that when you love and respect someone so much, as a friend, you need to shout their greatest accomplishments from the rooftops.  (note for future reference: my rooftop is this blog)

I want you to ask yourself, "how many people do I know (whether they are friends, family, co-workers or acquaintences) that have quit their day job and took a financial risk to do what they REALLY want?"

how many?

One of my best friends quit his day-job on Monday to follow his heart and his most passionate hobbie.  Photography.   And now, he is officially going to make a career out of it.  To let you know how much this means to me, well...I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face.   Liam and I have been friends since high school, we've lived together, I was the MC at his wedding and he is my brother.  I've seen him live through the very worst moments to some of his greatest highs in life.  Liam struggled for so many years trying different careers and no matter how good or bad the job was, he always brought his incredible, vibrant, unique charm to it all - from being a bank teller in Eastern Passage, NS to being an RMT giving free massages to everyone but his wife (long story).   

Years ago, Liam started to play around with his dads old camera, from my memory it was mostly a fluky interest of happenstance (I could be wrong on that one).  But like most things with Liam, he brought magic to something most people (read: me) take years to learn and craft. Many people take courses on photography, read manuals and dabble in it forever.   But the thing you need to know about Liam is that he is SO FUN.  And when he took photos he had always had fun.  He didn't overthink it or stress about learning the ropes.  And all the while he was having fun over the last numbers of years, so many people liked what they saw and gave the 'unprofessional' a 'professional' chance.  From brides, to pregnant moms to small business owners.   While Liam worked in the pharma industry over the last 5+ years, this interest and focus became much more serious.  In true Liam fashion, he took a website course to create his own (amazing) website.  He talked to me about the importance of creating a logo, and he got himself a sweet-ass logo.  With weddings booked well into the Fall of 2010, Liam handed in his resignation letter this week.  He did what he wanted to do for years - he said goodbye to the man.

Liam, I am so proud of you.  And Marse, I admire your love and compromise while much of this happened after the wedding and the arrival of sweet Lola.   When I grow up I want to be equal parts of the both of you.

And to you, my friends on the world wide web, I'd like to introduce you to Applehead Studio.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Doe a deer

Fun , spontaneous humans coming together to dance and sing. Really does it get any better than this?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

my own worst enemy

As I get older, I'm astounded at how much actually goes on inside my brain.   While I love how I always challenge myself to be a better person - to learn more, to explore new places and people as each year passes, I'd also love to be able to put my brain in a jar.   

I remember one time when I was visiting my girlfriend Kirsten in New Brunswick, we were sitting in her kitchen talking and I looked out the back window and watched Greg (her husband) mow their thousands of acres of a backyard (slight exaggeration but close).  It took him about 3 hours to mow it as they didn't have a sit-down mower.  I said to Kirst, "what do you think Greg's thinking about out there?" and she laughed at me because she knows I never shut it off.  She said, "honestly, probably nothing" and I said, "Impossible.  Your brain doesn't stop...he MUST be thinking of something even if it's the colour of the grass or how sharp the blades are".  When Greg came in the house, Kirst said, "Greg, Cheryl wants to know what you were thinking while you were mowing the lawn?".  He, of course, laughed at me because he too knows how I, shall we say, operate. He responded, "Cheryl, I'm embarassed to say you'd be so disappointed in me because I honestly wasn't thinking about a damn thing."   So, maybe it is just me.  Thank gawd I don't have a lawn.

In the last few weeks I've met a new friend who is beyond patient with me and my thought process. That person is completely challenging my thinking without knowing they're even doing it.  As a Gemini, it's easy to blame your crazy thinking on the 'good ole twins', but it gets old after awhile...even for me.  I'm glad this person came into my life, whether fleeting, temporarily or forever.  They've got me thinking about not thinking about it all.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

a good (fri)day at the beach

no one lives in the moment more than this kid right here.  And just being in her presence on days like this, well...she makes you live in the moment too.
almost 11 and still going strong.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

four days to Machu Picchu

In June 2008, I went to Peru for my 34th birthday.  Aside from completing a marathon, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  I kept a journal all 14 days I was there so I would never forget every single, incredible moment of my very spiritual trip.   Upon my return I made my first imovie (enclosed) which is a small fraction of what I really saw and experienced. 

Also a snippet from my journal from the Inca Trail...
"Overall you're so focused on every little baby step that you take...whether it's up or down.  Your head is down much of the time for two reasons: 1) don't trip and 2) it's easier to manage the hills mentally.   So for those reasons alone, every time I stopped or paused today I would look around and take-in the pachamama. The Inca's were incredibly grateful to the 'mother earth' and everything she gave them - food, animals, the sun, etc.   I too was so grateful today."

going to the chapel

yay!  Today I received my invite to Jennie and Dave's wedding. But since the wedding is a year away, in Mexico, it was technically a "save the date" magnet to remind all of the their loved ones (and there are many) to keep Feb 2010 open.  well, done.

Jennie and Dave are both friends of mine and they are amazing people.  I know, you're thinking 'sure they are...", but really they are.  You couldn't find two people more perfectly matched, they are both so caring, kind, genuine and real. They are not only that way to each other but to everyone in their life.  It's almost their philosophy and mantra.  (which is why I take credit for setting them up)

As I found a special place on my fridge for this important event, I looked at the date and I thought about how much can happen in all of our lives between now and then.  More engagements, job changes, new babies, new homes, illness, and more dreams.  But I'm equally aware that 10 months goes by in a heart beat.  I looked at the magnet wishing & hoping that they enjoy every single second of the planning, prep, gifts, cards and pre-parties in Halifax.  I look forward to hearing about how they've fallen more in love over this time and perhaps even hear about some of the ridiculous things they will argue about (Jennie's over-planning). So many people get caught up in the wedding that they forget about the marriage and all the fun in the wee days that do and will make up their life together.  

Enjoy every second of the next 10 months.  Relish in the tiny moments along the way.

love, your MC (Hammer) xo

Sunday, April 5, 2009

a secret garden

I often buy flowers for myself.  It's one of my all time favourite things about living in Toronto. The concept of getting a variety of stunning flowers for under $8 a bunch. Especially tulips...mostly because they last so very long. It's as if the tulip appreciates living more than any other flower. Whether it's at the grocery store or a corner store I love buying them and I always look forward to getting home and seeing them in my apartment.   They brighten an entire room. And my mood.

Equally as awesome is when someone else buys them for you.  In this case, for me it's not so much about the flowers themselves, it's the fact that you were on that persons mind that day.  They thought of you.  Thought of you in a loving, affectionate way that they wanted to bring that beauty in your life.  I'm glad someone thought of me in that way.

happy birthday to me

This too shall pass...these words make you aware of the fleetingness of every situation, which is due to the transience of all forms: good and bad.   Being detached does not mean that you cannot enjoy the good the world has to offer.  In fact, you enjoy it more.

I've always had an affinity for these four words.  And often when I explained to people that I wanted it as a tattoo, well...the majority would respond, "gee...that sounds so negative".   Which surprised me because I felt there was so much beauty in it.  When I read "A New Earth", I got emotional at how Eckhart Tolle described it... it was exactly how I felt all along. 

So, today I did it.   After years of thinking about it I booked an appt for my second tattoo.  I got my first tattoo when I was 20.  I didn't give much thought to the artist, which I regret to this day.  I don't regret the tattoo - it's the Gemini Symbol.  I won't regret getting this one either.I booked it at Zulu Tattoo in Los Angeles.   (I will be there in May with 3 of my best girlfriends celebrating our 35th birthdays)

An extension of my tattoo will be this blog, it is the beginning to capturing all things beautiful, sad, wonderful, spontaneous and fleeting that happen in my life.  To share with you, my friends out there on the information highway.