Sunday, May 31, 2009
I was going to let it go, but I just can't. As I've mentioned before, golfing as a twosome can lead to some questionable pairings with strangers. Yesterday was a case in point. I wouldn't go so far as to apply the O.A.I.(Obnoxious Asshole Index) to this one, but by the end of 18 it was getting close. I would call myself a "glass half full" person. The female half of yesterday's golf twosome was without a doubt a "glass half empty" gal. Let's call her Negative Nancy. A strong believer in positive encouragements, it didn't take more than a couple of holes to realize Negative Nancy did not conform to my philosophy. That's all fine and good, but she just couldn't keep her negative thoughts to herself. She was kind enough to make her critical comments about all of our less than stellar shots, not just her own. And every bloody time. Allow me to quote a few examples: Doug's tee shot lands in the rough just along the tree line. Negative Nancy: "Looks like you won't find that one!" My tee shot lands about a foot past an uphill fairway bunker. Negative Nancy: "You're in the sand for sure!" Her husband lands a long iron next to the pond. Negative Nancy: "It's in the water, I'm pretty sure!" I blow three consecutive chips toward a steep uphill green. Negative Nancy: "It's amazing how many bad shots you can hit in a row!" Well, thanks a lot for all your kind fucking words Nance. It's great golfing with you. Every hole was the same. Even if she had been accurate with her proclamations, it was in bad form. Despite her constant yapping opinion after every shot, we managed to have a pretty good day as the course was a beauty and I was fairly happy with how I scored. Once she realized I was better than her, she was eager to tell me how she didn't bother with scoring anymore. She used to be competitive with herself, but no longer. Made sense to me - she was too busy thinking up discouraging things to say all day. As the course was fairly long, when we started out, I asked her where she would like to tee off. The forward tees were her preference. So, I figured I would do the nice thing and play from them as well. She seemed to appreciate my decision, but it didn't take long for her to tell me -" I'm going to have to make you start teeing off with the men, if you're going to drive it that far." Did she expect me to apologize for hitting some nice drives? So it would seem. Then at around the 17th hole, it occurred to me, we might get stuck with her over drinks and dinner. The course had offered a special green fee and dinner special that we had found appealing at the time. How would we escape her at the 19th hole? In the cart, on the drive between 17 and 18, Doug and I hatched our plan. We'd have a long slow drink before dinner and out wait them to order food. We had a sneaky suspicion they were too cheap to spring for a drink and we were right. So we only had to suffer through 30 minutes or so with Nance and her nice husband (he made it all bearable) and then we were able to enjoy our dinner without her constant critique. Bet her three grown kids are all in therapy because they thought they could never live up to Mommy Dearest's expectations. Or maybe they just ignored her, like I tried to do.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Just finished reading my friend Cindy's take on the whole Veronica vs. Betty issue. (read it - it is really funny www.halifaxbroad.blogspot.com) She is a natural blonde and I am a natural brunette, leaning toward blonde these days with each session of highlights turning me blonder over time. But underneath my false strands of flaxen yellow lies a true brunette at heart. As much as I have attempted to play for the other team over the years, I still know my roots. Is Archie choosing brunette over blonde? Or is the real issue "bitch" over "boring" and nothing at all to do with hair colour? Or is it nothing at all to do with either their hair or their personality, and everything to do with money? Let's face it, the gang from Riverdale are well past their prime now and eventually, they will all have to face the fact that looks don't last forever. I know, I know, in comic book land, everyone stays young forever, but you never know when things may change. Archie wasn't about to take any chances with his fate I reckon and went for the big bank account. No second rate nursing homes for him. He's thinking a nice waterfront home in West Palm Beach, somewhere near the Trump spread, a pricey golf club membership and the best doctors money can buy. He was never the brightest star in the sky, but he was definitely playing with a fuller deck than Jughead. Frankly, I think it's all a conspiracy between Archie and Betty to avoid living a life of mediocrity. Now Betty is free to snag Reggie and both couples can sidle up to the The Donald in Florida. Who cares if Betty is so much nicer? It's like the difference between Scarlett O'Hara and that sappy character played by Olivia de Havilland in Gone With the Wind. Rhett and Ashley may have respected and thought highly of her but they both wanted to boff the bitchy one. What is it about bitchy women that men seem to love so much? They seem to ignite a fire in them that the girl next door just can't stoke. There is nothing so pathetic as witnessing a grown man go all weak-kneed and submissive under the spell of some domineering dame. But it happens all the time, and not just in the funny pages. Let's say however, for the sake of argument, it wasn't about the money and Betty just didn't quite cut it for Archie. "He just wasn't that into her." My question becomes - what makes Archie such a prize? Reggie was better looking. Archie was goofy looking. Why did Veronica even want him? These are serious questions. Think about it. If Betty ends up with Reggie - who really wins in the end? Ladies - am I right? I will admit, I was rooting for Betty and true love,(I'm such a sap for a romantic ending) just because I never liked the evil Veronica. Even though, when I was a kid and we would play act the characters, I always wanted to play Veronica. Same with Gilligan's Island, nobody wanted to be Mary Ann, we all used to fight over who would be Ginger. Who would The Professor have chosen? Would he have gone with his head or his loins? No brainer - he would have picked Ginger. We all know nice girls finish last. But with fewer STD's. There has to be some pay off, after all.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Sometimes parents make mistakes. In some cases it can't be helped. Such was the case a couple of years ago when our daughter told us she no longer enjoyed the summer camp we had been sending her to for two weeks each year. By the time she told us, it was too late to make a new plan and so off she went for her fourth summer at Camp Tawingo. She is not a "sporty" girl and really prefers pillow-top mattresses and high thread-count sheets over a sleeping bag with a hard tree root underneath and peeing in the woods.(she is her mother's daughter!) Although I knew this about her, I still felt it was "character-building" for her to experience "roughing it in the woods" for a couple of weeks every summer. How can you call yourself a Canadian if you haven't awakened all stiff and damp in your tent next to a Muskoka lake listening to the cry of a loon and covered in mosquito bites? Since we do not own a piece of that waterfront, wilderness camp seemed the next best thing. The first 2 years she adored it. The third year she found a bit boring (she'd read all the books in the camp library) and repetitive,(got tired of making crafts with twigs ) and the girls were getting cliquey. Clearly it wasn't all S'mores and singing Koom Bay Ah round the campfire. But by the time she informed us of those details, we were already packing her gear for season 4. So, when camp planning time arrived for her fifth summer, we had to re-evaluate. Who she really was and where she would better fit in were our new search criteria. That's when we found Camp Centauri - a summer "arts" camp. We even had a friend who recommended the place. I was hesitant, as it was not located in Ontario's northern lake country. On the contrary, the site for the camp was located near Welland, Ontario (one of the armpits of the province as far as I'm concerned) and there wasn't a clean lake or a loon for hundreds of miles around. The camp takes over the facilities of a private military academy for bad boys whilst they go home for the summer. There is an above ground swimming pool for campers who feel the need to get wet, but other than that, there is barely a spot of shade in the grounds surrounding the sleeping barracks and theatre building where the majority of the action takes place. The camp offers programs in everything from dance to film to writing. At the end of each session, the campers present the fruits of their creative endeavours to all the family and friends who gather to retrieve their little creative prodigies. I thought it would be tedious and boring, but I was wrong. The work produced by these kids was really polished. The directors of this camp have so thoroughly impressed us with their talents and enthusiasm, it is difficult to know where to begin. Julie and Craig Hartley are the camp creators and directors and have manged to infuse such unbelievable joy and energy into what they have created, it is truly admirable. The staff they have chosen mirror their devotion to the arts and the kids who experience Centauri each summer come away with such confidence and fond memories, most cannot wait to return each year. They have found a way to draw out the best in each and every child and make it fun and inspirational. This past weekend, Emma and I attended a 15 hour Arts Marathon organized by the Hartleys and the Centauri Staff to raise money to fund the building of a classroom in a poverty stricken village near the Nepal/ India border. They teamed up with an organization called Elephant Thoughts. They wanted to give some of what they had been giving to kids here in Canada to children in a less fortunate reality. The goal was to raise $20,000. Here they were, 5 weeks before camp was to get underway for the summer, with a million details to tend to, instead, giving their time to this cause and firing up the staff and their families and friends in a real grass roots way.....and succeeding. (they raised over $20,000 in two weeks) It was awe-inspiring to see the enthusiasm brought forth by such a small group. There was an energy they all brought to the event that was contagious. That same energy is present at Camp Centauri every summer. Emma has found a camp that fits who she is. Last year she spent two weeks in the writing program. The poem she presented on the final day blew me away. Where did those feelings come from? This year she is going to try film. She told us that no one is left out at Centauri. Everyone is made to feel they have something to contribute and is encouraged to become involved. The Hartley's have no doubt trained their counsellors well. As she counts down the days until she heads to camp this summer, I am thankful we have found a camp that better suits her personality and talents. Wilderness camp had it's merits and she learned some valuable lessons there too, but it has taken this less conventional camp to really bring out the best in her and put her on a happier path to finding herself. Sorry about those nasty tree roots and the urine-soaked socks kiddo.....speak up a little sooner next time, we're always open to change.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In an effort to elevate my cardio component of my exercise regime (wow- sounds like I'm a fitness maniac!), I agreed to do a 90 minute power walk this morning with a friend who has been doing this particular walk 3-4 times per week since early April. I, on the other hand have been walking, as opposed to "power" walking in much shorter bursts (30-45 minutes)about 3 times per week. In other words, I am not getting much cardio benefit from my walks, nor am I in very good "power" walking condition. Walking on the golf course, although a long walk, is interspersed with many stops and starts and doesn't really count in the cardio department either. As I sit and write this blog, I am still cooling off from what is probably one of the best sweats I have worked up in a long time. (not since spinning class a few weeks back). My friend and power walking partner, if I were to hazard a guess, probably has about zero percent body fat and is thin with longer legs than mine, so right out of the gates, she is handling the pace with ease. I, on the other hand can feel my heart beating faster and faster and although I could still talk, I was more comfortable listening. Because the two of us always have much to talk about, the 90 minutes went by quickly, and I really only noticed my quads getting a bit fatigued on the last 20 minute portion of the walk that was entirely uphill. Now that it is over and I am sitting here drinking water to rehydrate and feeling the effects of all those great endorphins kicking in, I ask myself, why I am not doing this more often. Over the years, I have gone on and off this type of power walking kick several times. And then I remember! It's seasonal. I am motivated from the spring through the fall, but come our wonderful Canadian winters, I pack it in. Even if I could deal with the cold, it's the ice on the walkways that interferes. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it! I find it motivating to exercise with people who are fitter than myself. It makes me work harder. Yesterday I played tennis with a group I had not previously played with. They were all stronger players than I was and despite the fact we were playing doubles, the pace was quick enough and we played long enough (2 hours) that I had a pretty good work out. So, if surrounding myself with people with a higher level of fitness, makes me work harder, would the same principal apply to food? I've always thought how great it would be to have a personal chef preparing healthy tasty meals for me so I would never have to enter my own kitchen with it's many temptations. I never understand why Oprah, with all her money to pay her trainers and chefs, still struggles with her weight. It still comes down to the word NO. No thanks, no dessert for me, no, cut that slice in half, no cream, no sugar, no salt, NO, NO, NO! She just doesn't like that word I guess, and neither do I. So for now, I'll stick to the occasional YES, a few NO's and see if upping the cardio will do the trick. It can't hurt. And maybe a set of those "STOP" plates for good measure.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Mini rant! Is there a married couple any where in the world that doesn't complain about each other's driving style??? It's a miracle any one stays married at all when both partners think they are the better driver. One solution I suppose is to avoid being in the car together at the same time, but since that is virtually impossible for any real length of time, how about the passenger sits in the back seat blindfolded? No? OK then, how about the passenger just suppresses the urge to comment on the driver's apparent unacceptable speed or method of braking or whatever the perceived crime? As in, just zip it.....dear! Of course, these things have never happened to me. I have just heard that it happens to other couples. Oh no, my husband loves how I drive. In fact, he often says, "Hey Deb, we're in a school zone - maybe you should speed up a bit." Or," I really like it when you wait until you're nearly on top of the car ahead to put on the brakes." When he's driving, I love to tell him how much I appreciate his delayed response to accelerating once the light turns green or how much I adore his slow cautious style. Maybe we could give lessons to other couples - show them how driving together has strengthened our relationship over the years. Honestly, I don't know how in the world I have survived driving for 35 years without his sage advice. He surely can't imagine how he has survived 43 years without mine. At least we agree on some things when it comes to getting behind the wheel of a car. Cell phones. Nothing we love more than to point out some idiot yapping away on their cell phone while driving, particularly when they are putting themselves or others at risk while they are distracted. That new law can't come into effect soon enough as far as we're concerned. "Fine 'em big," we say. The province will make a fortune from this one and maybe we city dwellers here in Toronto will get a break on the "car tax" we now have to pay just for owning a car in the city. If they collect enough fines from cell phone abusers, maybe they'll drop that tax. Wishful thinking I suppose, but not out of the question. We are also on the same page when it comes to tail-gaters. Get off my ass! The closer you drive to my rear end, the slower I will go just to teach you a lesson. I will go to any length to piss you off, so don't bother with your bullying driving tactics. If I am driving too slow for your liking, it is usually because, I am in a school zone and doing the speed limit, or I am about to make a turn into my own driveway. Figure it out! I am constantly astounded by the number of drivers who think their schedules are more important than everyone else's. Back off buttheads! Driving really does bring out the best in us, don't you think? How about the moronic mergers? You know, the one's who have no clue how to merge. They sit on the on ramp to the highway with their signal on, waiting for an opening that will never come. Eventually they pull in front of a car barreling at them at 100 Kms/hr, causing sudden braking and a chain reaction that often leads to everyone but them piling up on top of one another. Or the "me-first-mergers" who don't understand the concept of "weaving" when a city street has been reduced to one lane. They refuse to let anyone in and are also often the ones who see the lane reduction signs a mile out, but speed up to the front of the line and butt in, pretending they didn't notice the signs. One day, I'd like to spend a whole day in an old beater of a car I didn't care about just driving around smashing into those guys. Just like Kathy Bate's character in Fried Green Tomatoes when she purposely crashed her car into the "parking space stealer's" Volkswagen Beetle. I loved that scene. I wanted to cheer out loud in the movie theatre! Is there a driver anywhere who hasn't imagined doing that themselves? Maybe it's just me - but I doubt it. Besides, everyone knows that all the other drivers in the world are idiots and they are the only good drivers. When my daughter was little, she thought "idiot" was a bad word. I had to explain to her it was just what mommy calls other drivers when they do bad things. I could think of worse words I could have used. But, not in front of the children.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
You hear about these things, but when it happens to someone you know, it proves it is possible. I'm talking about meeting and falling in love and marrying someone you have met through an on-line dating service. Last night I attended the wedding of one of the gals in my book club. The very happy couple met on-line a couple of years ago and they tied the knot last night in a touching and beautiful ceremony surrounded by friends and family. I felt lucky to be included on the guest list. When we (all the members of our book club) first learned that she had met, and was about to start dating this man, we were somewhat skeptical and concerned for her well-being. Was it safe? Was she going to be careful? What if? What if? We all knew she was a very bright, intelligent woman that would never take any chances or put herself or her two children at risk, but none of us had ever had any personal experience with on-line dating and were (we thought) justifiably worried. From everything we heard from the beginning of their courtship to last night's conclusion, our fears were for naught. This man has treated our friend in a wonderfully loving and respectful manner. We finally got to see for ourselves last night just how happy the two of them are together. There is something very calm and serene about a mid-life marriage. Unlike a first marriage at a younger age, when life seems to stretch out forever ahead of you, the second go round takes on a different vision. The combined past experiences have prepared you for the bumps in the road ahead. There is a commitment to catch each other when you fall, that, although promised, wasn't necessarily understood the first time around. There is less of a building of a life together and more of a support and maintenance of the present structures in your life. It's a commitment not to be taken lightly. It was entirely evident last night that something strong and sure took place. Not fairy tale love. The real thing. These two stepped over the threshold with eyes wide open and a firm grip on reality. I'd be willing to bet these two will go the distance. And I'd make a hefty wager.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Finally made it out to have a look see at the Junior League of Toronto Showhouse 2009 yesterday. I was hesitant to mention it or write about it in my blog as it seemed unfair to criticize such a wonderful fundraising exhibit of Toronto's finest interior designers, but as I just can't keep opinions to myself, here goes.... For starters, allow me to say, the amount of time and effort that goes into a massive production of this nature is astounding. Kudos to all of the organizers and volunteers as they really do go above and beyond the call of duty to pull this off each time. The transformation of historic McLean House was a sight to behold. (there, that was pretty diplomatic, no?) Now to the actual designers. For those of you who have not been, it goes like this. Each designer is assigned a different room in the house. Depending whether you are one of Toronto's heavy hitters or more of a bench warmer, dictates which space you get to work on. The likes of Brian Gluckstein, Kimberly Seldon or Katherine Newman get the choicest spaces in the house to showcase their talents and the B-listers get the dregs. Hallways, basement bathrooms, cubby hole's turned meditation rooms, etc. Based on what I saw yesterday, this system is in place for good reason. It takes genuine talent to integrate a modern aesthetic with old world charm and these three really managed to succeed. There were a handful of other designers that impressed, but nothing compared to them. There were a few that were completely uninspired as well as some downright ghastly spaces that made you want to move away and onto the next one as quickly as possible. The third floor hall way - a case in point. I won't expand - you go and have a look for yourself, then we'll talk. It was unfortunate to notice the return of the 70's and 80's use of grey, putty, mauve, lavender and pink everywhere. As far as decorating trends go, I have always felt that to be one of the worst palettes thrust upon residential spaces - EVER! Somehow, Kimberly Seldon and Katherine Newman's master suite, living room and conservatory managed to make the colours seem fresh again. I am quite certain I won't be suggesting such a scheme to my clients any time soon, especially if they have already been down that road before. As in fashion, if you wore it the first time it was the all the rage, you're too old to make it work for you the second time round. Then there were the handful of designers who just backed up the truck and unloaded the antique furniture and called it a day. At least the dining room designer, Joseph Cheng was clever enough to add some modern lighting and accessories to punch it up and make it seem relevant. Then you have the "trying too hard" types that fail on every count in an effort to get noticed. They turn out rooms that are off balance, feature garish colour schemes, or are impractical and/or useless. Frankly, I think the only designer that truly succeeded in turning his space into a timeless masterpiece, was Brian Gluckstein. This man is genius. He transformed the Main Study into a space so inviting, yet so elegant, it was astonishing. The eye was immediately drawn to the bay window where he hung an exquisite Fortuny light fixture (pictured above). He added a wall of Chinese lacquered screening to tone down the room's original dark panelled walls and added a charming, feminine little plaster floral relief on the painted border between the ceiling and the walls. The furnishings were contemporary classic pieces in soft neutrals grouped to face the original fireplace that he freshened up with a new creamy ivory coloured onyx surround. Glam silver and crystal hits with the accessories and Voila! - perfection. I could go on and on telling you about all the details of all my favourite rooms, but I won't. Go have a look yourself. It is a pleasant outing - go have lunch afterward (get to the their little cafe early though, or they'll have run out of food) and support a worthy cause. Even the mud room will inspire.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
And I find it kind of funny I find it kind of sad The dreams in which I'm dyin' Are the best I've ever had I find hard to tell you 'Cause I find it hard to take When people run in circles It's a very, very Mad world, mad world Mad world, mad worldIndeed! A very very mad world. No scratch that. Mad America! For those of you unaware of what happened last night on American Idol, allow me to illuminate. Adam Lambert lost. Clearly, the most talented singer, performer of the bunch, did not win. No offense to the winner Kris Allen. But we are talking about apples and oranges here, or should I say apples and asparagus, because evidently America prefers vegetables over fruit. That's right. In my opinion, the only reason Adam Lambert was not voted Season 8's new idol was the fact that he is gay. If there is another reason, I certainly don't know what it would be. Americans voted. They voted for the less talented heterosexual guy and against the incredibly gifted gay guy. Adam Lambert is surely the most talented voice to ever grace the stage of the Kodak Theater and the prize went to a lovely young man with a good voice and wife. Kris Allen has talent - I won't deny him that. But will he fill concert stadiums with his coffee house sound? Not likely. Adam Lambert on the other hand - well - look out world, cause now that Steven Tyler is on the road to the geriatric ville and Freddie Mercury is long gone, the world has been waiting for the likes of Adam Lambert. He has "it". Star power. This boy can mesmerize a crowd. His voice has incredible range. He hypnotizes with his eyes. He is already a polished performer before he ever steps onto a grand stadium stage. We want to hear more of him. Kris Allen - not so much. But this is not meant to be a criticism of Kris Allen. Kudos to him for wooing America. This is about WHY Adam Lambert lost. I have watched American Idol for 7 seasons now and it's the same story every year. It's a popularity contest, rarely a talent contest. Think Taylor Hicks -say no more! And if you have something about you that doesn't fit into the perfect little mold, you can have all the talent in the world, you don't stand a chance of winning. It's all about the voting. The judges, try as they may to steer the vote, still have no real power over the way the country makes its choice. This time, the rednecks of America got their way. It's a sad commentary for a country that likes to pride itself on its diverse and colourful population. Lucky for Clay Aiken, he remained in the closet until after the competition was over or he may never have made it to the final pairing in season 2. All you had to do was google Adam Lambert images to determine his sexuality - the world seemed to take great delight in posting photos of him kissing other men. The lyrics to Tears for Fears - Mad World at the top of this blog were really poignant. It was as though Adam chose that song knowing his fate. But the truth is Adam, if the dreams in which you're dyin are the best you've ever had, then consider the death of your American Idol dream to be a blessing. Despite a second place finish in this competition, you will emerge a star. The brass ring won't be necessary - you're on your way kid. Make a stop in Toronto on your tour - I know several thousand people here who will come and see you.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Oh, what a night it was! Two full hours of eye-candy starting with those two cute talented lads on American Idol followed by an hour of Simon Baker in The Mentalist. What girl wouldn't have sweet dreams after a night like that? The night before it was those gorgeous upper-east side hotties in the season finale of Gossip Girl (my daughter makes me watch it with her). Penn Badgley. Chace Crawford. Ed Westwick. (pictured above) Even their names are hunky. The day before that it was that studly English golfer at the Irish Open, Robert Rock. I have been inundated of late with images of male beauty. OK, I may be married, but I'm not dead. I still notice attractive members of the opposite sex. My husband knows I do. He is secure, unthreatened. Good thing, because I can be a little vocal in my opinions from time to time whilst we watch them all on television. Of course my daughter stirs up the banter and contributes to my education of who's hot and who's not under 25. Sometimes I think she just does it on purpose to get a rise out her dad who says she can't date until she's 32. The boys on Gossip Girl really do stand out as some of the best though, I must say. Thankfully, they've thrown in a hot older guy - Rufus (Matthew Settle) - so I can pretend I am more attracted to his looks than the younger boy toys who star in the show. What is it about youth that is so appealing? Besides the taught six-packs? I've actually always noticed that trait, third, after the eyes and face. And of course, if a man is unattractive, a great sense of humour can still compensate for getting dealt a bad hand in that department. Think Jack Black or Bill Murray. When it gets right down to it, the looks don't matter that much at all in the end. I recall dating a gorgeous guy once in high school. I knew nothing about him other than he was blonde, green-eyed, buff and beautiful. He went to a different high school and I had spied him at a football game between my school and his. I got an introduction from a friend who went to his school and next thing you know, we're heading out on a date. He was somewhat charming starting out, but predictably boring and self-obsessed and after two or three dates I lost interest. I'm sure there are plenty of gorgeous men out there who have a personality too, it just hasn't been my experience. (husband excluded). I've always advised my daughter to become friends first when it comes to boys. That way, if it was only his appearance that first attracted you, you'll find out in no short order if there is more to him than "floppy bangs and killer abs". (her words, not mine). However, allow me to set the record straight. I do not restrict my wandering eyes to the under 30 crowd. I still think some of the old boys look pretty good. Even craggy old Robert Redford and Sean Connery can turn my head. And of course, George Clooney never disappoints. I guess you could say, I have an appreciation for "men as art" in general. As long as you stand back, admire the work, suppress the urge to own it and walk away, it's all good. No harm, no foul.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
No matter how fed up I get from time to time with gardening, it always comes back to remind me of it's therapeutic value just as I'm about to throw in the trowel. The long May weekend, traditionally a big gardening weekend here in Ontario did not bestow the warmest of temperatures for such pursuits. Saturday was rainy, Sunday was windy and cold and just as we thought the whole weekend was going to be a bust, along came the perfect conditions for shovel and hoe on Monday. Of course, before I could even begin, I had to collect all the twigs and debris that had blown about the day before. I'm not sure why, but my lawn mower doesn't appreciate these obstacles in it's path. Once the lawn had a fresh hair cut, it was time to survey the land. There was a stump that needed to be removed, requiring the breaking out of the big guns - the chainsaw. These are tasks I draw the line at and pass the buck to hubby. Manly chores I call them. So "Tim the Toolman Taylor", aka - my husband, reluctantly got the power tool ready, after I threatened to do it myself with a hand saw that would have taken me forever to make even a small dent, so it was a good thing he didn't call my bluff. Once that tool makes it's debut each spring, I always manage to find umpteen other trees and shrubs that could use some pruning, so before you know it, my "one stump request" has turned into an afternoon of hard labour for "Larry the Lumberjack". Fortunately, he didn't seem to mind. Once all the branches were down, that's when I had to take over and start bagging them for the yard waste collectors. As I was doing that in peaceful solitude, birds chirping, sun shining, power saw silent, I was suddenly aware of a loud screeching hysterical female voice about two houses down. I would rather listen to the chainsaw than the sound of human distress any day, and I was immediately concerned. I stopped clipping for a moment to listen and determined it was coming from across the street and a bit east of my house. Being the nosey Gladys Kravitz that I am, I headed over to the edge of the yard and leaned over the fence to see what was going on. A small black car was parked and a young woman was literally screaming (almost hyperventilating) her head off at someone in the car - her husband or boyfriend, I'll never know. He then got out of the car and came around to approach her, when she jumped in the car and peeled away. He then ran down the road after her and now he was shouting hysterically for her to come back. Once the scene moved around the corner, although I could still hear shouting, I lost interest in their domestic drama and carried on with my clipping and took a deep breath, trying to restore my own chi in the garden. It got me to thinking about the plight of this couple and how whatever it was they were arguing about would seem meaningless in a day, or a week or a month and what a waste of negative energy it was. What both of them needed as far as I could tell, was to spend some time in a garden and look beyond their petty problems and differences and do something soul-soothing. At the end of the day, the garden looked content and happy like it had just spent the day at an expensive spa, and I felt as good as it looked. Like I said - who needs therapy? Just give me a day with Mother Nature and all is right with the world.
Monday, May 18, 2009
There comes a moment in every pack-rat's life when it's time to let go. Now is the time for this rat. My name is Debra and I am a magazine junkie. For years now I have subscribed to Canadian House & Home, Style at Home and Architectural Digest. All great for keeping up with the latest design trends, but not so great for my book shelves, table surfaces and every other nook and cranny available for storing them. For a very long time, I was diligent about containing them to neat magazine holders all lined up side by side on shelves. When I ran out of space on the bookcases, I started piling them ever so neatly on table tops, desk tops, oh hell, just about any unoccupied space available to me, but now the gig is up. The magazines have taken over the asylum. It's time to say adios to my treasured collection of glossy pages for once and for all. What I once considered a useful reference library, has become an ever-tightening noose around my creative space. We are talking about twelve years worth here folks. That's 432 issues. That, of course is just those 3 subscriptions. I also save all the one-off magazines I buy like House & Garden, Metropolitan Home, House Beautiful, Veranda, and don't forget Golf Digest! (how did that one sneak in there?). I asked myself how many times I actually referred back to these countless founts of inspiration and the answer was...almost never. What was possessing me to hang onto them? Some women collect shoes, I collect magazines. Problem is, I also have too many shoes. So, something has to give. I think I have known for quite some time now that this day was dawning. It really started last year with the end of a couple of other eras in the design world here in Toronto. It's been a few months now, but it has taken me this long to accept the departure of host, Marilyn Dennis from Cityline and the regrettable changing of the guard at House & Home. I miss Cobi Ladner as editor of that magazine so much, it's as though I have suffered a death in the family. For months now, I have felt like Kate Winslet in Titanic as she hung on to that door in the water after the sinking of the ship, crying out "Jack, Jack, come back". Only instead of the floating door, it is stacks of magazines threatening to sink me. So, as it is very early in the morning at this moment (another sleepless peri-menopausal night), I will try now to get a couple of more hours sleep before I begin the massive heave-ho to the recycle bin. I'll probably have to divvy it up over a few weeks as I'm pretty sure the weight of them all will be too much for one bin load. Now that I've made my confession, I have to do my penance. So forgive me Cobi, it's nothing personal. In a way, it's your fault I could never part with them. But now that you're gone, so is my attachment. And besides, I need my space more than I need you. Amen to that.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I've never quite gotten the whole marriage vow renewal thing. After all, it's not a driver's license - the papers don't expire after a few years. If they did.....well, that's a whole other thought train. I have actually never been invited to one of these things. Maybe if I had, I might actually get it, but since I have not, I still do not. Get it, that is. This is going somewhere - I promise. So I was surfing the net for photos - something I do a lot for my blog and I came across the above photo on an event planning website. There was no credit given as to who the golf-obsessed bride and groom were but I imagined Greg Norman and Chris Evert, but since she is more of a tennis gal and there were no racquets or fuzzy green balls anywhere, I had to rule them out. Maybe, it was just an ordinary couple who shared a love of golf and each other and figured they'd go for the golf-themed wedding reception. When it's your party, you can do what you want to (there's that song again) and that's exactly what they did. Over the top cutesy? Probably. But at least as a guest you get to go home with a free golf ball (guess they were too cheap to spring for a full sleeve) and a kitschy club head luggage tag (and at some weddings that would be the best part). So, back to my point. When I saw this photo, it made me think, since I was already married and the notion of a golf-themed reception had never occurred to us back then, maybe we should renew our vows and then we could be as crazy as the kooky couple who hired this event planner. OK - it was a really quick, fleeting thought. Then I came to my senses. As I said earlier, still don't get the whole vow renewal thing. But I do have a husband who loves golf and has a big milestone birthday coming up this summer - so I might be able to use a few of the ideas for his party. That's all I'm sayin. Yup - that's all I'm sayin.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Before I hang up my "Gone Golfing" sign this morning (ya, I know - it's only Friday - but it's supposed to rain tomorrow - gotta "make hay while the sun shines, or something like that) I must mention a couple of noteworthy things that happened yesterday. First off, my bitching blogger buddy Cindy, aka Halifax Broad alerted me to a particularly clever blog called F.U. Penguin. As bizarre as it sounds, it is perhaps one of the funniest things I have read in a while. The guy has over 6,000 followers (the ones actually listed) and has just scored a book deal based on his daily blog entries. It's hard to describe, but he manages to "Tell Cute Animals What's What" in a twisted, demented way that is fresh and original, jarring and strange and so unique, it's downright bizarre. Just read it - you'll see. And click on his photo links to make it even funnier. Speaking of photo links, you will notice I have taken another techno step and figured out how to insert links into my blogs now too. (Like I really needed to add more time to producing this crap!) I must admit, I find it adds a whole new creative dimension and am looking forward to the entertainment value it will provide to you - my faithful readers! I woke up around 2:00 am in a start having just had what I could only describe as a peri-menopausal sweat-soaked nightmare, the content of which I knew I had to stumble down to my computer and record (future novel fodder). As I typed away in my half-dazed state, I glanced over at my new book "i never metaphor i didn't like" and opened it to a random page. Earlier last evening, I had dinner with a dear old friend I used to work with when I used to wait tables and bartend back in my university days. I laughed so much talking about old times with her that it was as though I had taken some kind of fun new drug only without the nasty side-effects. (if it's addictive - great!) So when the quote that popped out at me was this one: Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light. - Albert Schweitzer ....I couldn't help think I had one of those moments last night. Thanks Heather - you may have rekindled something in me - I'll keep you posted. And on that note, I am outa here!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
It's time for Decomama's rant of the week. In fact I believe I may be overdue for a wee rant. This one may offend some of my readers but I really don't care. I don't give a rant's ass. This is my blog and I'll rant if I want to, rant if I want to. You would rant too if it....OK enough with the breaking out in song, although maybe I could rap my rant. But not today. That would require more time than I have. If you are on your land line or cell phone while reading this, you may want to stop now, because I'm talking to you. That's right - you slaves to your phones. Why I'll bet you have never ignored a ringing phone in your life. You could be in the middle of dinner, the middle of an orgasm, the middle of a one-on-one conversation (the most annoying to me) or the middle of crossing the street with a Mac truck barreling toward you and you would still not be able to suppress the need to see who it is and in 99% of the cases, actually answer it. Why phone slaves even bother paying for an answering service is beyond me. Oh, right, they need that to kick in while they are on the phone for the 27th time of the day with their needy kids or husbands or wives who obviously have nothing better to do with their time than check in every 10 minutes with some earth-shattering information that just couldn't wait until they got home. (oh, right, that would mean they would actually have to have a face to face conversation with their beloved family member) Shit! Save something for the dinner table. It was bad enough when phones were just phones. Now, with texting, the phone slave can totally ignore you, head down, mesmerized, while their fingers are busy tapping on their teeny tiny phone buttons, furiously sending messages and responses to their fellow phone slaves. I also have an enormous pet peeve when it comes to call-waiting. I do not use it myself and I find it incredibly rude when I am talking to someone and the incoming caller is allowed (welcomed actually) to just butt right in while we are having a chat. It took years of training our children not to interrupt two adults while they were talking, yet phone slaves everywhere never hesitate to welcome this same intrusion while talking on the phone. As much as I hate call waiting, I adore call display. Call display must have been invented by someone like me. The opposite of a phone slave - whatever that is. My whole family hates the phone. My husband is the one who actually started weaning me off my own mild case of phone slavery several years ago. He is the king of the quick conversation when it comes to phone calls. Just the facts. My daughter has never liked the phone - ever. We used to have to beg and plead for her to come to the phone to speak to her distant relatives as a small child and even now, she does not enjoy phone chats. We gave her a cell phone when she was 12 for emergencies, expecting she would hop on the phone slave bandwagon like most of her peers, but she did not. Must take after her dad. She only turns it on when she needs to or I ask her to, and she has never sent a text message. Neither have I. We do not answer the phone at dinner. We do not answer the phone if we do not recognize the number. We don't answer the phone if for whatever reason, we just don't feel like it. I rarely answer the phone while I'm blogging (it interrupts my chi). If the phone rings after 9:00 pm, it better be for a good reason - because I am winding down from the day, reading or watching TV and I am not interested in anything more than a quick chat, and only if it is necessary. It's not that I am opposed to new technologies, just unnecessary ones. Just because it is the latest, sure doesn't mean it's the greatest. When you are attached to your phone, it's like an extra appendage, there is no getting away. You are at somebody's beck and call all day long. Moms everywhere will say they need their cell phones with them at all times in case the school calls and there is an emergency. I am fine with that justification, so don't answer it then if the call display tells you it is not the school calling with some troubling news about little junior puking all over his desk. (they can leave a message - that way you don't need to get there before the janitor has had time to clean it up) How many times have I heard, "Oh, do you mind? I just have to take this call - it's important." How important? And yes I do mind if you had given me a second to tell you I minded. It couldn't wait five minutes until we were through? Was it a matter of life or death? Was it your direct line to the Prime Minister's office? The hotline to the Vatican? It's like people who argue line calls at weekly house league tennis matches - it ain't Wimbledon people! Get over yourselves. Give yourself a break. Turn off your phone. Let the answering machine do it's job. Return the call later when the caller has your full attention. Be polite to your guests. Make your husband wait until he gets home to tell you about his important office gossip. Free yourself! And stop annoying me!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I took a moment out of my busy day yesterday to pop into The Book Mark, a local independent book store in my neighbourhood. I'll admit I don't buy all my books there, but I like to throw a little business their way in my own wee effort to keep the store alive. I went in without a shopping list in mind, but a book in the window had caught my eye. It was called 50 is the New 50. Not the most clever title, but the subject matter definitely intrigued me and annoyed me at the same time. (like I don't dwell on it enough). That book may have drawn me into the store, but it was not the book I ended up purchasing. Instead, another title, this time with a much more clever title seemed more worthy of my hard-earned dollars. "i never metaphor i didn't like", by Dr. Mardy Grothe. Hmmm, this sounded interesting. It took about 30 seconds of quick flipping to convince me I wanted this fun little volume. With "nearly 2000 feats of association that will entertain, educate, and occasionally inspire quotations lovers everywhere", this baby had my name all over it! Last night, I took a few moments to read through a few pages and came across this little seemingly harmless quote. Then I went back and read it again. And again. OH MY GOD! This does not describe me. Absolutely not. What if people think this is what I think? Because, I promise you, I do not! Here is the quote: "No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self-deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind." Miguel De Cervantes Of course I am referring to the latter part of this little tidbit of wisdom. I do not in any way shape or form believe that what pours out on to the pages of this blog to be considered anything more than what it is. The rambling, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes amusing, mostly meaningless musings of a middle-aged woman with a voice that has been quiet for too long. The thought that anyone would think that I think I am writing some sort of literary prose is horrific to me. Maybe in about 20 or 30 more years of practice, I may attempt to spit out a novel, but that's all still a messy blur in my mind and in hidden computer files, festering away until the day. (I've always believed I have one in me, but timing is everything) Besides, if I ever do finally crank one out, it's likely to read more like Jeannette Walls, Glass Castle, versus Jane Austen. Trust me, there is zero self-deceit when it comes to my own opinion of my writing. I know how bad it is. Some days, worse than others. Some days, I actually have gone back and deleted a post that I knew was as pathetic as a Brian Mulroney testimony. Like yesterday, I was in a rush and the final post just didn't feel right, or read right and since I was out of time and feeling as overworked as a Ruby Dhalla nannie, I axed it, hopefully before anyone got a chance to see it. That was fun - putting my new book about metaphors, analogies and similes to work! And this is my point. If you are reading this, you are on this journey with me. I graduated from Journalism School in 1985. That was a few years ago. I am rusty, out of practice. I am also reading a fun little book right now called The Downhill Lie by Carl Hiaasen. The story is humorous glimpse inside a man's return to the game of golf after a 32 year absence. For me, writing a daily blog is my return to my field, after a 24 year absence. I never realized how much I missed it, until I started writing again. No two days are alike. I started out wanting to produce something amusing everyday, but that is much harder than I anticipated. So much of what I write is based on emotion and experience and as you can imagine, some days just aren't funny no matter what kind of spin you try to put on it. There was another quote in the book that did strike me as a truth of sorts. Here it is: "Every person's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of that person." Samuel Butler Everyone has to start somewhere. This blog is my start, or restart or jump start - some kind of start - whatever! "Who I am, is what you get." Debra MacFarlane
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
There are very few movies I have ever really wanted to own. Mainly because, there aren't that many films I want to watch more than once or twice. Once in theatres and maybe once more on video after that. I do have a few exceptions to this rule though. That's why a couple of weeks ago, I ordered myself a copy of 84 Charing Cross Road for my permanent collection. A Mother's Day gift to myself I reasoned. As luck would have it, the movie landed in my mailbox last Friday, just in time for the weekend. My plan was to remain in my pajamas on Sunday morning and watch it with my morning coffee. This always strikes me as quite decadent and does not happen often, especially not when the weather is good. Sunday morning was sunny but cool and crisp enough to give me my excuse to remain indoors and carry out my plan. The rest of the day would be equally lazy and decadent spent watching The Players Championship, while my husband and daughter catered to my every need. I never imagined my plan would materialize (not all of it anyway), but much to my amazement, it did. The movie, released in 1986 gave me as much or even more pleasure than it did the first time I watched it. Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins at their best. The story is clever, funny, romantic and heart-wrenching. I spent the last 15 minutes glassy-eyed and longing for more. For me, the movie speaks to enduring friendships and simple human kindness delivered by a script that is nothing short of poetic. I find this film as moving as a great piece of music or an epic novel. And now it's mine. Whenever I feel the need to re-visit the story and the characters, it will be at the ready. Just like my well-used copy of Out of Africa. Sometimes I just need a good cry and either of these movies are guaranteed tear-jerkers no matter how many times I see them. After the movie, I had to silence the little voice in my head that kept reminding me of the laundry that needed doing, the lawn that needed mowing and the myriad of other thankless tasks crying out for my attention. I was almost beginning to think, that being lazy was more difficult than the alternative. I actually had to work at it. Every time, I started to consider getting off my ass, I had to make a conscious effort to stop myself. At the end of the day, I'm not even sure I totally enjoyed the experience. The movie, yes, the golf, yes (as anti-climatic as it was) and certainly the lovely dinner that was prepared for me. I just don't do idle very well. Even when I am under the weather with a cold or flu, I get very antsy lounging around all day. I need to move. Even though I thought all I wanted was a day of complete down time, the reality was either the movie or the golf would have been more than enough. It was like eating the whole pint of Haagen Dazs when just a bowl would have done the trick. My self-imposed "sloth-for-a-day' marathon thankfully came to an end as I shuffled off to bed around 10 pm., feeling sluggish, but not really tired. It raises that age old cliche - "Be careful what you wish for....." From now on, I will.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I am what many might consider a dying breed. I still read a daily newspaper. Not the condensed on-line version. The real hard-copy kind with inky newsprint that rubs off on your fingertips. I have been doing it since I was a kid growing up in St. Catharines. I would rush to the front door for the weekend edition containing the Star Weekly magazine and of course the colour comics. It was like a small gift that arrived every week. As a child, I may not have always understood the politics or business stories, but I tried to read them and if I was bored or uninterested, there was always the word scramble or crossword to entertain. My feeling about the weekend paper hasn't changed much since that time. I am often awakened around 4:00 am by the comforting thud it makes on my front porch as it's tossed by the delivery person (I've actually never seen him/her). For a time during my years as a Journalism student at Ryerson in the early eighties, I subscribed to 3 dailies. It was imperative to know and understand the political leanings of all and to prepare myself with a thorough knowledge of the writers and editors. I was going to be ready to talk intelligently to the folks who might eventually be hiring me, that was for sure. As a poor student, it was a good chunk of my living budget, but I deemed it worthy. I am also a magazine junkie, but that is a whole other blog. So lately, with the talk of the fate of newspapers coming up pretty much daily, I'm starting to worry. Last weekend I went to see The Soloist and references were made in the movie about the dim future of the L.A. Times. On a visit to see my folks yesterday, my own father told me he had cancelled his subscription to the local daily - The St. Catharines Standard. He claims their budget cutbacks have turned the paper into a useless rag with barely any local news coverage. If old school readers like my dad are pulling the plug, newspaper publishers must really be skating on thin ice. I thought it was just a sign of the times with the younger techie generation turning to their computers for all their information, but apparently not. It speaks to the fast-paced lifestyle most people live today. Who has time to sit down and read a newspaper, when you can get lightening speed snippets on TV or the Internet? This, however is the point they are missing. For me, the daily reading of the paper is akin to a meditation session. It forces you to sit down, in a quiet space, hot tea or coffee in hand and physically turn the pages, stopping to pause on whatever headline catches your eye. I know everyone is in a rush, and there are days when I too, barely have time to glance at the headlines on the front page, but I try to find the time for this daily ritual. Especially on the weekend. I only subscribe to one weekend paper now (recession cost-cutting measure) and if I don't have time on Saturday morning, I stretch it out over two days, quite willingly. However, perhaps the most important reason I prefer the paper over the TV news or the Internet, is in the details. It is not unusual for a newspaper story to move me to tears. Over my lifetime, I have had to stop and grab a Kleenex to dry my eyes while reading a powerful in-depth story of a nation's struggle, or a personal human tragedy more times than I care to recall. A fifteen second TV report rarely grabs me in the same way. It's like the movie version of a great book - never quite as good. As much as there are compelling reasons to abandon my affair with this daily ritual - "think of the wasted paper, the clear-cutting of trees", there are plenty of even more compelling reasons to continue. What else would I grab to roll up and kill a spider? What would folks use to lay on the kitchen floor when training that leaky new pup? What would budget-minded students use to wrap their precious mis-matched dishes when moving back home? It makes a good cost-effective alternative to painting drop cloths. Some people even use it with vinegar and water to clean windows.(I've heard) I'm sure there is a very long list of uses. My point being, after you're done reading, it still comes in handy. Aaahh, let's face it, I'm just not ready to give it up. I love newspapers, always have. I just hope there are enough others like me out there with the same sentimental attachment to save them. The reality though - probably not.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
So after all these years of battling the bulge, I finally got my answer as to what my problem really is in this morning's Globe & Mail. I have a "devilish brain". Apparently my "angel centre" in my brain is doing a lousy job of holding back the "devil region" of my brain, causing me to give in to the temptation to eat rich food. It leaves me with little "self-control". Maybe all I need is an exorcism. What a relief! I always had a sneaky suspicion there was some kind of Beelzebub wandering around in this noggin of mine. It all makes perfect sense to me now. It was never a case of me ordering that pecan pie or fries instead of salad - it was that fire and brimstone spewing Satan up there persuading me to just "go for it". I can hear him right now. "Go ahead Deb, life is short, you could be dead tomorrow, why eat a carrot stick, when you could be scarfing down a piping hot slice of Artisanal Pizza, washed down with a frothy cold imported beer?" And while old Mephistopheles was busy pushing me into the land of gastric orgasms, that good for nothing "good" angel Gabriel was catching a few zzz's at my expense. So it begs the question, how do I wake up that lazy son-of-bitch Gabriel and put him back to work? Well, the article goes on to say that these researchers hope to figure out a way to engage the "good angel" (the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for those of you needing to know) and put the "devil centre" (the ventromedial prefrontal cortex) in his place. That's right, send him right back to the fires of hell. Pump him full of some sort of coma-inducing venom-like Valium for evil-doers. One pill for him and another for Gabe. I can see it now. The endless ads for "Up Your DLPFC" in tablets or liquid concentrate. See your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms: The urge to eat nothing but kale all day long. A sudden desire to run miles and miles around your neighbourhood. An overwhelming attraction to Veganism. You find yourself vomiting at the sight of bakeries and beer stores. You can no longer tolerate sugar or salt. French fries make you break out in a rash. Chocolate causes dizziness. You experience sudden or severe weight loss. Wow, with that list of side effects, who would take a drug like that? Gee, come to think of it, maybe I would. Maybe the feds actually need to increase the grant money for those researchers. I really need something to wake up my Gabriel or Michael or whoever it is sawing logs in my prefrontal cortex. I could get used to kale.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
OK, so it's a big golf weekend coming up for the PGA Tour - The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass (thought I'd throw that in for my non-golfing readers). Yesterday, I entered a pool to win a prize package from Callaway from the folks at Privileged Play. The idea was to choose the top four finishers. The results are based on the lowest points. For example, if you chose Woody Austin to win and he came in 7th, you would get 7 points. As I was a bit hurried yesterday, yet did not want to miss the midnight deadline to participate, I very quickly scanned the entrant's list and picked my four. My very scientific criteria was as follows: Number One: Anthony Kim Criteria: I like how he is always smiling, his sparkly belt buckles and I figure he's overdue for a win. Number Two: Ian Poulter Criteria: It's just so damn much fun seeing what he wears everyday and he reminds me of a sporty Rod Stewart. Number Three: Phil Mickelson Criteria: I just love it when he wins and those sweet cherubic little girls of his fling their arms around his neck and hug him. Chokes me up every time! (and he's due). Number Four: Vijay Singh Criteria: I enjoy his laid back style. He never pouts or over-reacts and I could watch his swing all day long. I also admire his practice philosophy. I've just always liked him. You may have noticed I did not include the almighty Tiger Woods in my list of four. Is it just me, or is everyone just plain sick and tired of watching a grown man pout like a petulant child? Ya, OK, so he is America's hero of golf. He does things that other men can only dream of on the golf course. He has a gorgeous wife and beautiful babies. He will likely go down in history as the most celebrated, richest golfer of all time - so what's he got to be so damn pouty about all the time? Loosen the bone Wilma. Have some fun out there. Lighten up bud. Nobody likes a cry baby. Especially one with nothing to cry over. From an odds perspective, I totally should have put him on my list, so I did the next best thing, I put him on my husband's entry. That way, one of us stands a chance!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
It may be another typical characteristic of the boomer generation, always wanting more out of life than generations past, but in recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on "bucket lists" and "places to see before you die". The recent coverage on CTV's Canada AM of "The Best Job in the World", a competition created by Tourism Queensland in Australia in an effort to draw attention to The Great Barrier Reef got me to thinking about my own "bucket list". For those of you unfamiliar with the competition down-under - here is a description from their website: The Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef is a newly created position. There are a few minor tasks that need to be taken care of, but the most important duty is to report back to Tourism Queensland (and the world) and let us know what’s taking place on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Wow! It does seem ideal. The competition has been whittled down to 16 and tomorrow the winner will be chosen. I must have missed the memo on this job posting, because I may have applied. It has however, served as a reminder to me that snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef is on my list of one of the things I still want to do before I die. My whole family (all 3 of us) love to snorkel. We never take a Caribbean holiday without bringing our masks and snorkels (don't like using rented equipment ), and it is our number one beach activity by far. I don't think there is anything as peaceful and awe-inspiring as swimming with the fish and sea creatures in the crystal waters of a coral reef. On our last trip to San Salvador, a tiny island in The Bahamas, Emma and I went out on the boat to a different reef everyday, sometimes twice a day. We swam with a nurse shark, barracudas and countless other brilliant tropical fish in the most spectacular under water world we had ever seen up until then. It was the best snorkeling we had ever experienced. That's why I know, I absolutely must snorkel The G.B.R. before the end of my time here on earth. If it is the best in the world, I can hardly imagine how incredible it must be. I am embarrassed to admit, that I never did it the first time I was in Australia. A mistake I won't repeat again. Another item on my list is golfing at St. Andrews. That's the dream of many golfers I'm sure. I once golfed with a women who had been there the summer before and she was sporting a St. Andrews golf shirt - her shirt and her stories - that's as close as I've come so far. It just won't do. Thirdly, as a result of another mistake from my past, I want to go to Italy. I want to experience Tuscany, ride in a gondola in Venice, wander the streets of Florence, shop in Rome, throw some coins in the Trevi Fountain, and see all the other sites I've read about and dreamed about all my life. On my first European adventure, I saw 12 countries, but not Italy. It seems crazy to me now, but at the time, I had just spent a month in Greece and after 30 days of fending off the aggressive men of the Mediterranean, we just weren't up to more of the same in Italy, which we were told was even worse. (remember - I was 19 then). Now, I'm quite certain that would be the least of my worries. The good news is, I'm pretty sure, this list is still doable. And even better news, I have already done quite a few things on my list. The thing is, I never used to worry about running out of time, but when you're over the middle hump and on the down slope, the invincibility and seeming endlessness of youth is but a memory and there's no time to waste. (well, less of it anyway) I gotta go now - I need to call my travel agent.
Monday, May 4, 2009
It's official. Yesterday, my husband and I golfed with the winner of the the world's highest D.B.I. If you want to learn the meaning of D.B.I., you will have to visit another blog. It was a term created by the guys at www.niceballz.com. Because I have difficulty with the term (as a woman) I have changed it up a bit for my own use. I use the O.A.I. as a rating system for golf partners. Translation: Obnoxious Asshole Index. Doug and I were paired up with a father and son for the day. When booking a twosome in golf, there is always some risk factor. For the most part, we usually end up playing with some great people. But not always. Rick, the son, (or should I say Dick?) will no doubt top the charts this season on the O.A.I. rating scale. It is rare indeed that I actually was looking forward to the end of the round just to escape this guy. I could easily write 3 blogs about the myriad of asinine moves this guy made, but I will just give you the highlights as I am on the run this morning. Not once, but twice he played my husband's ball. How could this happen you may ask? Well, Doug is a long driver, and we would have to wait for Rick (Dick) to hit 3 or 4 shots before we ever got to Doug's first drive. This allowed Rick to think he was finding his own 4th shot and before we could stop him - he'd be shanking it yet again. It's a good thing my husband is a fairly calm, cool, collected guy. I know some golfers that would never forgive such behaviour. Especially when there is some money on the line (certainly not the case yesterday). He had zero social skills. He yapped continuously all day long - either to himself, to us, or into his CELL PHONE. Not one word of his yapping was interesting, humorous or for that matter intelligent. We even heard a couple of racist mutterings about how the immigrants in Canada should all head back to their own countries. Need I say more? He was forever hovering around in our sight-lines as we were about to hit the ball. Once, he even got out of the cart at a hole and went and hovered behind the guys in the tee box ahead of us. I was hoping they would tell him to get the f__k out of their space, but unfortunately, they were too polite and just looked at him as if he were some sort of tragic homeless guy. On several occasions he never made it past the red tee box on his tee shots and instead of waiting until everyone had teed off, he would wander around in front of us looking for his ball. Oh- the temptation to knock one into his head - not sure how I held back, but I did. And those, ladies and gentlemen, are just a few of the precious moments from yesterday's round of 18. I will only talk about the O.A.I. again this season, if someone can top Dick, I mean Rick. If there is a god in heaven, I won't have to.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
It's a sleepy Saturday morning in the neighbourhood. Unusually quiet actually. Not sure why. I stumbled, sleepy-eyed to the front door to pick up the paper from the front porch, did a quick scan of the yard. Nothing amiss. The magnolia has shed most of its pink and white petals, creating a messy carpet beneath it. But, just as nature intended (or rather how I planned it), the Service berry is just starting to open it's delicate white blossoms. A pretty distraction from the now sad looking mag. I took a quick look at the morning paper, first the section headlines, then a more detailed look at the front section. Nothing earth-shattering. Big whoop - the confirmed flu cases in Canada have risen to 55. Not going to worry about that yet. More interesting to me actually was yet another full-page ad from one of Toronto's higher-end furniture retailers, DeBoer's offering 40% off. Last week it was Elte offering 50% off. The week before that it was Barrymore at 60%. These 10% increments are either encouraging news about the economy, or perhaps the reality of the situation hasn't quite sunk in with the guys that run DeBoer's. Time will tell. In the meantime, I check my lottery ticket. If I won, this might be a good time to go shopping. No such luck. There was a time when discounts of this size and nature, would see me running out the door, eager to cash in on a deal. Now, I'm not so excited. It's really quite an incredible about-face for me. (now if it were a half-price sale on golf stuff....maybe). The truth is, I really don't need anything. And my wants are weakening just like the economy. We're funny that way, we humans. We adapt. Not necessarily willingly, but eventually we do come around. What other choice do we have? I must admit though, since I have stopped what I refer to as "sport-shopping", I don't really miss it. I still get an occasional craving, like a smoker or drinker in recovery, but it passes pretty quickly. Now I only go shopping for necessities or for clients. Short of reciting "My name is Debra and I am a shopaholic", every week, I would go so far as to say I am cured. Further proof - I am going to NYC this August to celebrate my dearest friend, Peggy's 50th birthday. In the past, that would have meant a major shopping spree on Fifth Avenue. This trip will be different. The focus will be less on acquiring things and more on soaking up the culture of the city. Maybe this new approach is a direct result of tightening pocketbooks, but the shift in the approach is actually a good thing. The last time I went to New York (for my own 50th), shopping was a top priority, with museums and Broadway shows following behind in second and third place on the list. So, the way I see it, this "reversal of fortune", once considered disastrous, will really benefit me and my brain in the long run. So there you go - I didn't need to have the winning lottery numbers this morning, I'm actually more of a winner without them. (did I really just say that?) Yup, I really did.