Thursday, December 24, 2009

here for a good time, not a long time

I defy you (dog lovers or not) to watch this documentary and not bawl your face off. My friend Liam sent it to me last night and in his email, he didn't say a word, he didn't preempt the video, nor did he tell me how it impacted him...mostly because he'd know what it meant to me (and him) to have the privilege of watching this video.

If you thought Marley and Me was moving, you ain't seen nothing yet. You can see in Oden's sweet face just how special he was to all those around him. It's further proof that a dog is way more than a dog. There is good reason that humans bring these furry creatures into our home and why we forgive them when they destroy our valuables. They are like wee angels on earth - they can rehabilitate people in hospitals and they can lead the blind to their destination. When treated with love and respect, they will return the same ten-fold.

One of the things I'm most excited about for the next 10 days off, is not only sharing it with the people I love...but seeing how happy my sweet Daws will be when she is surrounded 24/7 with love and hugs from her family. As I'm packing the car, she's already excited about the fun and love ahead and I'm glad she's my companion on the road and in life.

Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

in a land far, far away

OK, if you're on Facebook, Twitter or if you have a TV, you know everyone is talking about the movie Avatar. I won't go on and on about how incredible it is, even though it's true - it really is. And aside from the mind-blowing special effects, I personally loved the story line and connection I felt to the planet Pandora. It brought me back to my time spent in Peru. It reminded me of the land and the intense colours. It also reminded me of the people that lived there - they have nothing by way of material goods, but what they do have is richer - their great love and appreciation of the land and mother earth.

Oh, yes - the irony in producing a multi-million dollar, technically advanced movie - all to tell us a tale that we should love more beautifully, appreciate with more intensity and to get back to what's really important. The last time I saw something that personally impactful about people and their land was this....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

fa la la la la la la la la

It's Sunday. 10pm. After a day of shopping, wrapping presents, cooking, transferring old files to my new computer and working out - I just ended the day with an awesome night walk with Daws.

There isn't a drop of snow on the ground here in Toronto. And after a long snowy winter last year, I'm loving the procrastination of a winter snow delivery this year. It's crisp outside, but not cold. I was bundled up in my long puffy white coat, while Daws walked along side of me proudly holding her leash in her mouth. I love this time of year - when you can walk through your neighbourhood and peer into all the homes that are so beautifully decorated inside and out. I love the warmth that comes from inside a home at Christmas time - when you can see the trees decorated, candles lit and people hanging around in the kitchen. In re-reading that last comment, it would appear that I'm watching this from behind a hidden bush in the front yard. But, on the contrary - all the curtains are pulled back and you can feel the warmth from within pouring out on to the street for others to enjoy. And, to reflect.

As you know, most of my musings around 'time' are typically centred around war, historic events (big and small), technology and religion. And while the existence of God or 'a God' is a big mystery to me I started to think about 'him' tonight and that he really is (wait for it...)... the reason for the season. I wondered if he had some way of knowing life would rapidly change around us - therefore, he would ensure that Christmas would be the one constant, powerful event that makes us appreciative, more humble, giving, more loving, more empathic and all around grateful. Although it is the birth day of Christ, was it also a mastermind event to help make us stop? Stop and reflect. Especially when all other 350+days of the year we act like crazy, selfish and often destructive bastards.

Yes, it's true - this all this went through my mind simply walking my dog tonight.

If appreciation and reflection was his reason for creating Christmas, I'd say he did a damn good job. And if that wasn't his intention, then the answer is definitely PMS. Because I was also in Hallmark today crying in the aisle reading Christmas cards for mom and dad.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Full Speed Ahead

There was a time in my life when I would wish away time.  There were moments where I would want to see where it was going, how I was going to get there and perhaps, even how it would all end. I remember being in a long distance relationship and just wondering if we'd end up together in the same city, just so it would make the time apart bearable. There was a time in university when I would mark huge black x's through each day counting down to the end of the school year. There would be those Sunday's during marathon training where I would have to clock 29km and the entire time thinking about the bath, food and beer at the end.

Then along came the switch. The shift in my thinking that came with age and it seemed to really come on strong the last few weeks. I'd catch myself in moments trying to plan ahead for exciting events to come - from travel to birthdays to time with old friends. Let's face it, you know you do it too. But my wish of a magic crystal ball never did come my way, instead my wave of fairy dust fell upon me one day when last week when I realized I was so happy that I actually didn't wish for anything in my future anymore. I want to stay put, right here. Today. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'll be home with bells on

My favourite Christmas memories always have the Kenny and Dolly album playing in the background. Whether it was drinking a rum and eggnog with dad while he was putting another log on the fire. Or wrapping presents while mom was continuously cooking in the kitchen. No matter what, Kenny and Dolly were there.

But tonight, at a low-key 'family' dinner, the music playing in the background was Charlie Brown's Christmas. A must for all this season and one that I'm most certainly adding to my collection.

You should too. Seriously - how can this not get you in the spirit of happiness?

Friday, December 11, 2009

show me the way

In an ever-changing world, it’s pretty key to determine very early in life how you’re going to adapt. I think we can, in the most basic terms, be divided into two groups – those that thrive on change and those that want to vomit at the thought of it.  I definitely fall in the first group, much of which I owe credit to my flavorful Gemini personality.  

But last night I was reminded that our adaption in life also has another key component.  I had a conversation with my old boss and there was a point in our discussion where he said (in a very jovial way) that I owe him for my current success.  Given that he gave me a foot-in-the-door opportunity,  I wholeheartedly agreed with him.  Listen, I fully understand that my life success is due not only to the way I’ve maneuvered through change, but it's also in huge part owed to what I'd like to call my ‘Gateway Keepers’.

Gateway Keepers enable our journey through life. You know who these people are. They are the ones that facilitate a new introduction – perhaps the teach you a new hobby, bring forth a new friendship for you, get you into new sport or put you in front of a new job opportunity. I can rhyme off approximately eight very important Gateway Keepers in my life that not only enabled a change, but also have also significantly changed my life.  One of them in particular I've always held in the highest regard. The one that I’ve often expressed in the past as my guardian angel. The one that introduced me to running at a time in my life ten years ago when I desperately needed a healthy addition to my life for physical, spiritual and mental reasons. Now looking back, the timing was crucial. Years after our encounter, I often sent him notes thanking him for the support and bringing the sport of running into my life. It was this one Gateway Keeper in particular that said to me, “I had nothing to do with it really, because you had to find it within you to accept this new challenge and want it. More importantly, you had to find it within you everyday to push yourself to find the strength and positivity to keep going. That's all you”

I’ve never forgotten that comment, because while the Gateway Keeper helps you to see something new and positive, it’s really up to us to accept the change, the challenge and make the best of every moment in front of us...until the next Gateway Keeper comes along. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Talking 'bout my generation

I realized that I have a love/hate relationship with my generation. I don't even know what group I belong to - Gen X? Y? Z?  And I'm not sure what we'll be remembered for, although according to my girlfriend Kelly we might be classified as "The Assholian Era".  I tend to agree.

What I love about 'us' is that we have kids later, we marry later, we don't let age-rules change the way we dress or act, we care about being fit and we've redefined what it looks like to be 40.  We're all on facebook and when we're online we are engaged in conversation about how Rihanna and Jay-Z killed it on the the American Music Awards last week. We're youthful, we're fun and we're carefree.

But my detest for 'us' lies in the way we are way too instantaneous, we tend to avoid being educated on big life decisions. We pressure each other to keep up with the Joneses and don't know the consequences of our actions. I feel that we created our own mess with the state of this economy - we bought and bought until we couldn't buy no more.   We wanted bigger and better and I think we took it all for granted. My dad has often told me that my generation can't wait for things to come, we want it all done now - from new home renos,  flat screen TVs, to brand new caaaars!!!

I just pray that we all know how to learn from our mistakes. I hope that we can acknowledge when we're wrong and collectively be more self aware.  The Christmas decorations around the office, the holiday music on the radio and working in retail have made me think about what our consumption levels will look like this year versus all other Christmas' in my generation's history.  I hope we spend more time (with each other) and less money this season.  Sure, we need to re-boost the economy but let's do it by giving to others, not to ourselves.  I'm pretty sure we have enough.