Monday, August 31, 2009

secret, secret ...I got a secret

If you've never heard of Post Secret, you must take the time to check it out and buy one of the books in the series. It might be the most thought-provoking piece of literature you've ever read. A collection of postcards, with anonymous secrets from real people. Some of these secrets are simple and funny; some are so dark that you almost feel guilty for now having privileged access to knowing it.  And my secret?  I first discovered this book over 2 years ago, while spending some quality time in my friend Kelly's bathroom - was part of the bathroom decor.  I was captivated. We all have secrets, sometimes we don't even know we have them because they're one of the millions of thoughts in our head - daily, weekly, maybe even hourly. And if it stays only in your head, is it ever real? 

Sure, there are gossip-type secrets which, let's face it, aren't really secrets at all.  But these confessions are the purest secrets you'll ever have the opportunity to indulge in.

This week, my friend Ali sent along a forwarded email called "Thoughts" and, like you, I usually hate getting forwarded jokes and chain letters.  But after almost deleting it tonight (my secret #2), I took a moment to read it.  It immediately reminded me of Post Secret, but a little on the lighter side.  Friends, I'm pretty sure we share 90% of these secrets too.

  • More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.
  • Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
  • I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
  • I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
  • The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.
  • I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
  • Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".
  • How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?
  • I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers! 
  • While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.  
  • MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  • I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.
  • I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
  • Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem....
  • There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
  • I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to. 
  • I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
  • I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes. 
  • Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
  • I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

ps - the best part of Post Secret? the funds from the books go to charity, specifically suicide hotlines.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

like sands through the hourglass

This week I had two different experiences and conversations that further reinforced the need to slow down in a lifetime that seems to be zipping by. 

I met up for dinner with an old friend from my hometown.  He was in Toronto this week on business.  When we saw each other, it seemed as if no time had passed and of course we had a lifetime of stories to share - one, in particular, really effected me. We were talking about his step mom growing up and I remember her well but I couldn't remember how long she was with his dad (now knowing their relationship was over many, many years ago).  It felt like it was a small blip in time, but he said they were together for 10 years.  I was shocked, more so because now as adult I can appreciate that 10 years is a significant amount of time to invest in anything.  And since that relationship, his dad has been with another amazing woman for probably another twenty years.  Proving that we can have so many lives within one, showcasing that life really can be so very long.

This morning, a similar situation occurred.  I was at the coffee shop at the end of my street. And there was a hat left sitting on a chair.  Gary (one of the employees) recognized it was the hat of a gentleman that comes in every morning.  He just left before I got there.  There were only a few of us in the coffee shop, so Gary proceeded to tell us a that this man was 90 years old and he said to us, "honestly, if I live to be 90, I want to live life the way he does - youthful and grateful".  Apparently he met the love of his life last year - she's 89.  They walk to and from the coffee shop every morning holding hands.  They're madly in love.  And there I was thinking, 55 years from now I could meet the love of my life!  So crazy, yet so inspiring. 

Almost daily, I find myself in awe of time. It might be the only thing left in this world that shocks me on a regular basis.  It's in the news when I'm reminded that 18 years ago was 1991; when I hear my best friend that I grew up with since the age of five tell me that her daughter is turning seven this month and when I watch my sweet old black lab move slower and tire faster. But, these two very different situations both reminded that from start to finish, the journey really is quite long. We all tend to want and need more things desperately and this generation and the ones following us want everything yesterday.  Yet, we never crave the enjoyment of the moment in time today.  If we rush time to reach a destination - will we ever feel the reward of the chase when we get there?  It's just landing in another moment in time and would you remember living in those moments that lead you there?

As suspected, in getting my tattoo on my wrist in May of this year - I knew many people would view it as a negative perspective on time.  So far, those that see it as a tragic statement far outweigh those that see it as a beautiful expression.  Does that say more about society than me?  Not sure.  Regardless, although these moments will pass, these are the days of our lives.  I prefer to live one at a time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

the alpha dog

I'm obsessed.  I realized this year that on my ongoing quest to be smarter, I study new and fascinating people. But if they have a really polarizing personality then I'm screwed.  My obsession will typically last for about a 2 month period.  Now, these obsessions are harmless to everyone involved (including my subject matter) but me.  Mostly because they'll occupy a large chunk of my time.

Take Mickey Rourke for example (yes, I realize that being obsessed with him might take me off course on the smarter quest).  When I watched the Wrestler, I was in awe of his acting, his face and how raw and real the story was. Maybe this had something to do with the fact that I grew up watching Wrestling with my dad, regardless it sent me on a hunt for more information - taking me back to '9.5 weeks'.   Then I dug even deeper - watching his movies, going through old pics, his story of his rise and fall, his tumultuous  divorce.  I was hooked and in admiration.  I realize he's not a stellar guy and was a dick to a lot of people, but that's probably what intrigued me - that even though he wasn't a saint he was successful and crazy talented. 

And now, for the last few months its been Steve Jobs. Christ, I've watched "Pirates of Silicon Valley", read the book iCon (you must too), downloaded podcasts and have generally been studying his (and Bill Gates') career for the last 2 months now. I've even written a blog or two about him.

Aside from these two gentleman, these attractions are grounded in the reality of my everyday life.  I like the Alpha Dog.  It's probably fair to say that, without intentionally trying, I too will find myself trying placing myself in the Alpha Dog position (really, I'm a harmless pup). But if you get a stronger and charming Alpha in the room with me, I start peeing on the floor and they make me their bitch.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

for the love of god

Almost 42 years ago today, my mom married my dad in this wedding dress.  

My grandparents didn't show up to their ceremony because my mom was Catholic.  From all historic accounts of this tale, my dad's parents liked my mom but they were Protestant and mom was, well...not. 

The reason this is topical for me is three-fold: 
1) My mom and dad are still (happily) married and about to celebrate their anniversary on Sept 4th. mind blowing.
2) I coincidentally just did this fun photo shoot 2 weeks ago in her wedding dress with my friend Liam.
3) And, I was talking religion tonight with my sweet friend Kevin.

Kevin just got back from Tel Aviv and he was sharing his stunning photos of mosques, churches, the weeping wall and images of Mary and Jesus.  The images of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea were beyond breath taking. The conversation evolved to how important it is within certain cultures to marry within your own religion.  He explained, in his opinion, that it had more to do with culture than faith, the desire is really rooted in the sense of belonging and the heritage of a close knit community that it can bring.  Kevin is Jewish.  I explained to him that I never really did understand why that rationale is so important. Isn't love simply important enough? (and, believe me, I have first hand experience after being engaged to a Jew in a different lifetime).

Don't get me wrong, I do feel that we all need to believe in something, have faith and hope in something - so that we don't let the weight of the world bring us down.   But the problem lies in that we use the power of religion as an excuse to either do right or wrong against other people.

Isn't it really just about being a professional human being?  Just work hard to feel love and share love, build a community in your own family - have dinner at the table, make time to meet with friends, sit down and write a hand-written thank you letter (for anything), leave tiny presents to your love to remind them why you care about them so much.  

Consider yourself like a rockstar - you wouldn't be where you are today without your fans.  So, at the end of it all, when you're up on the podium and you start by thanking the Lord and your saviour Jesus Christ, don't forget to thank all the little people that made you famous in every day of your life.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Video Killed the Radio Star

A collection of circumstances lately has taken me back to the early 1980s.  I was only in grade one or two at the time and as a naive 6-year old, I was unaware of what was happening in the big bright world around me.  A significant pop cultural shift was occurring - the introduction of video with audio on a channel called MTV.   Little would I know at the time, that 20 years later I would be representing TV Commercial Directors to the advertising community here in Toronto; specifically Gerry Casale of Devo fame. Now I don't care how old you are or how little you know of Devo, you definitely know the song "Whip It", in fact I believe this song has made it's way on a ba-gillion commercials, spoofs and ripomatics since it's conception.  "Whip It" was one of the first music videos to hit MTV, so it was pretty cool to meet and get to know someone who impacted and had a hand in changing the way we experience music.  
I have to say that after 28 years of a plethora of unbelievable music videos - from Thriller, to Wild Boys, Take on Me, Just a Gigilo, Like A Virgin, Nuthin but a G Thang, Bark at the Moon, California Love and We're Not Gunna Take It...well, there is really no excuse for this today...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

at least I'm not a twat

Driving from Sydney to Halifax last week, I was listening to CBC Radio and discovered that I've just been awarded a new label in life. Apparently, there is a newly defined social demographic group called a T.W.I.T. - a teenage woman in her thirties. Amazing, just what I need, another label from society to take away your freedoms and make you feel like you're living your life frivolously and without meaning.  As if cougar and spinster weren't enough. Once again, I find myself looking at society and saying, "fuck you!"  

So, according to the pure definition: TWITS: Just like men with Peter Pan-syndrome who are not ready to grow up, TWITS are putting serious relationships and parenthood on hold, instead choosing to continue partying and enjoying the freedoms they discovered in their teens.

OK, so I'm not a "big" club person. Scratch that, I'm not a club person.  I dress up on fun occasions and bring out the girly once in awhile (it's more fun and surprising that way), I love movies like Old School and Swingers, I like drinking beer, I have a potty mouth, burping and farting can make me laugh 'til I cry, dirty jokes don't offend me, I love Justin Timberlake, I've even downloaded Britney Spears (recently), I've been 'one of the boys' my entire life, I like sleeping with my hand comfortably placed in top of turkey pants when I fall asleep at night. I still call men, 'boys'.  I fall for boys like Peter Pan (the straight version). And just because I haven't found my boy that I'll make babies with and grow old with in our very own Never Neverland, I'm slapped with being called a twit. Ho hum.

You know, the more I think about it I might be a T.B.I.W.B. - a teenage boy in a woman's body. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

whimsical 1, selfishness 0

The majority of my blog posts are stirred by a conversation with a friend, or by thoughts I have while I'm running. In the "Case of Whimsical vs Selfishness", it was a thought provoked by a special someone but it's actually very topical for me because it's something I wrestle with in my day-to-day life.  In many ways, I'm shocked I haven't expressed this feeling before, especially at a time where I'm worried my posts might be a tad repetitive and redundant.

I believe in whims.  In fact, I love whims and all the ingredients that go into them.  A spur of raw emotion where your gut is leading the way (somewhat intelligently, of course).  As a crazy gemini that lives a life of a free bird, it's a hard balance being too whimsical and living in logical thinking because all of a sudden you wake up one day and you're a complete selfish bastard. There are many occasions where my whimsy rules because I'm a strong believer in that life is way too short and it's up to me to make the most of it.  But what happens is whimsy starts to morph into, "no one can tell me what to do because this is what I want to do and it makes me oh so very happy".  It wasn't that long ago that I had a moment where I thought, am I not making any room for people to go along for the ride with me?  Do not fret, all aboard.

So, if you want to do something on a whim, do it, live in it and love the decision.  The minute you start to over think your whimsy, the moment passes, you start following 'the rules' and you're the Mayor of Snoozeville.  Be whimsy, within reason.

Feel your heart beating like a hammer - there's no feeling like it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Honey, I'm home.

Last week, as I was getting ready to head out to Nova Scotia for vaycay, I was at my brother's doing the kiddie and doggie swap.  Since I was packing up his kids to take them to our original hometown - we started to have a conversation about 'home' and what 'home' meant to us.  The two of us grew up in Sydney, Nova Scotia - he left when he was 18, I left when I was 20.  But we both share completely different views of the place where we grew up.  Although we were both pretty eager to bolt at our first chance, somehow he's not as connected as I am to the Island and everything it represents for me.  

After living in Ottawa for 10 years now, he said that he wouldn't call Ottawa 'home', but he also wouldn't call Cape Breton 'home' either. If you don't know where home is...doesn't this mean your homeless?  

Where IS 'home' for me?   

My only reference point, and I had never realized it before, was in relation to my travels.  If I'm traveling outside of Canada, I tell people that I'm "from" Toronto.  In Canada, I tell people I'm "from" Cape Breton.  But where I'm "from" is really irrelevant...sure my East Coast roots probably had a significant impact on the person I've become, but I think that has more to do with the way I was raised, the company I keep and ensuring I surround myself with magical people that make everyday life extraordinary.  So being "from" a place -for the most part - is really a latitude and longitude describer.

This week I realized in so many various moments, that 'home' is where I sense love, trust, laughter and warmth. I've traveled approximately 2700 miles in both a car and a plane this past week and realized that my home is sitting on the dock with my Aunt Lynda talking about life as a woman, a wife and a mom, it's laughing at the 'wheelchair cookies' with my nephew Rod during the bonfire making smores, it's rocking Lola to sleep for her morning nap, it's sitting by the pool with mom and dad doing absolutely nothing but feeling love, it's conversations with friends over eggwhite omelette's, it's hearing Jack yell my name and smiling as I walk closer to the car to meet him after 8 long months, it's the written words in a letter from my niece Samantha, it's the excitement of bringing maids of honours back to the boys to eat for the first time and it's the anticipation of seeing my friends in Toronto after missing them while I was away.

Pretty damn lucky to have all this warmth, protection and shelter in my home.