Welcome to my foray into the blogging world. I don't promise to be your source for political and social commentary, but I will always endeavour to be entertaining, charming and witty (and by witty, you may also want to read that as sarcastic . . . I sometimes mix the two up).

You will see a mix of poems and/or song lyrics, my skewed little musings on life, the odd rant or two, and hopefully I can pass along some inspirational pieces – either from my own personal experiences or from those who inspire me.

I will try not to work Bruce Springsteen into everything I write, though it will be difficult as he does impact a large part of my waking world as well as a good portion of my dream world.

Enjoy. Be kind. Come back often and visit.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

365 Questions – Week Three: What has love taught me

Three weeks into our 365 Questions project and already I’ve been challenged by several questions – and I helped write them!

17. What does your perfect day look like?
My perfect day would definitely involve waking up at my cottage on a warm autumn day. Why autumn – because that’s my favourite season. There might be two ways I would enjoy the morning. If I was feeling energetic, I would head out for a 45-minute run. If I was feeling less-than-energetic, I would spend the morning relaxing with some reading, writing or talking about life, love and worldly events with my sister or in truly perfect world, my significant other . . . though some would argue that Andrea is my significant other. I would hang out on the sundeck and enjoy the spectacular view. The day would include nibbling on good food, relaxing, making love, maybe a walk, lots of kissing, lying in the hammock, an episode or two of one of my favourite TV shows, and a glass of wine under the stars. Basically doing anything at my cottage pretty much sums up any perfect day.

18. What do you miss about childhood?
I miss that innocent part of childhood when you didn’t question anything you said or did. You said or did it because you simply wanted to. No one else’s opinion mattered and everything just felt right . . . because it was.

19. What has love taught you?
Love is not perfect. It is messy, boring, painful and absolutely wonderful and rewarding. One of the most important things love has taught me is that you have to choose it. Act on it. Work on it every day. Love has taught me patience and love has taught me acceptance – for who I am and for who others are. And like everything else, if you want to keep getting good at it, you need to practise it . . . every day. This includes loving yourself, friends, family and others. And friends, it is worth it. Every painful, boring, messy and wonderful moment.

20. Where is your favourite place on earth?
See the answer for question 17. 

21. What historical event do you wish you’d been alive to witness?
I wish I could have gone to Woodstock. I realize I’m kind of cheating on this question since I was alive in 1969 . . . but I was just too young to go. It would have been totally cool.

22. Which vice would you indulge in if it had no side effects?
It’s not really a vice, but I wish I could eat whatever I wanted without worrying if it contributed to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, cellulose or anything else. This wouldn’t mean I would abandon “healthy” food or exercise but I would be able to eat what I liked without it impacting my life in a negative manner.

23. What’s been the most spiritual experience of your life?
The most spiritual experience in my life so far was being in the pit at the Nov. 22, 2009 Bruce Springsteen show in Buffalo. Just being there, mashed in with my friends and other Bruce fans, taking it all in. It’s a funny experience. Even though you’re there with thousands of other people, it’s also like you’re all alone . . . and Bruce is singing directly to you. But I truly do feel like I’m with my congregation and that Bruce is sending life lessons through song out to all of us. That show was especially special since it was the last show with Clarence (though we didn’t know it at the time), and Bruce seemed to be extraordinarily grateful to be up there on stage, doing what he does. The air was filled with love and  gratitude that night and we all felt it

If you look carefully, you can see me just slightly up and left of Bruce's head.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

365 Questions – Week Two

I'm loving all the answers everyone is posting on our 365 Questions Facebook page. They're funny, insightful and inspiring.

Here are my answers for Week Two.

10. If you were chosen for the Amazing Race, who would you pick as your partner and why?
I think I would choose my friend Pat Stupka as my partner. I think one of the most important qualities in an Amazing Race partner would be the ability to get along with that person for an extended period and Pat is completely Zen to be with. We were roommates for several years and got along swimmingly. She's very calm and I think you also need that quality in any competition. She's very smart and logical and would be a great competitor. My nickname for her is Map so I also know she would make an excellent navigator. I would bring my competitive nature and sense of humour to the team.

11. What three things do you know to be true?
  • Surrounding yourself with a few good friends makes all the difference in the world
  • You can't change the past, you can only accept and embrace it
  • I will meet Bruce Springsteen one day
12. What makes you laugh?
I'm a big fan of acerbic and witty humour and comedy that makes you think. I love shows like Californication, Arrested Development, Brooklyn 99 and The Mindy Project. I also appreciate a dark sense of humour too . . . not sure what that says about me :) My friends make me laugh. My sister makes me laugh, and the Canadian sense of humour cracks me up every time.

13. What song evokes the strongest memories for you?
This changes on a regular basis, but I would have to say that Bruce Springsteen's "I'll Work For Your Love" is still number one. The opening line in the song is, pour me a drink Theresa and the song has a lot of religious overtones. Teresa (spelled a different way) was my mother's name and she passed away shortly after the album Magic came out. Every time I hear that song I think of my mom and am totally convinced Bruce wrote it with her in mind. I remember coming to that realization when my sister and I were driving up to prepare the funeral arrangements. 

14. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?

When I was very young I wanted to be a writer. I was (and still am) an avid reader and kept a regular diary. I also wrote several short stories. When I entered high school, I changed course and my dream was to be a musician – probably more in the jazz vein. I loved playing and composing songs on piano back then and played in several high school bands. In grade 13, I didn't think I had enough theory background to go into music, so I chose a career in a different part of the arts (graphic design) instead. It has served me well over the past 30 years and I still get to dabble in music and writing as well which is a huge bonus.

15. What do you think the secret to living well is?

I think the secret to living well is to be kind. Kind to yourself which means looking after yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. And, more importantly you should be kind to others. I firmly believe you reap what you sow.

16. If you were a flavour, what flavour would you be and why?

I think I would have to be chocolate because it's tasty, fun, and a little bit sexy ... Just like me :) And if it's dark chocolate, it's good for you. Again, just like me!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

365 Questions

My friend Kristin Taylor and I decided to launch a fun, introspective project this year called 365 Questions.

It's exactly what it sounds like. You answer a question every day for an entire year.

Sound like fun? You can find us on Facebook by searching "365 Questions."

You are welcome to share whichever answers they like on the page, or keep a private journal, blog – whatever tickles your fancy. At the end of the year you should have a nice memoir of your thoughts on a variety of topics from "what makes you laugh" to "what television series, movie or book would you like to be a character in?"

I've decided to blog my answers. This could be a difficult undertaking as some of the upcoming questions are pretty personal and ask you to dig deep. But I'm going to put myself out there and trust that my audience will accept my answers in the honest, soul-bearing manner they are presented.

Here goes . . . oh, there are nine questions in week one because we post every Sunday and January began on a Friday.

1. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If you do, what are they this year? If you don’t, why? 
I have abandoned the routine of making resolutions. I read an interesting article saying that the word "resolve" means you're trying to make something better or find a solution to a problem. We are not problems. All of us are doing the best every day . . . and on some days, our best may be getting out of bed and getting yourself to work. I choose instead to make "doing my best" a daily practice. This doesn't mean I don't set goals, because I do. I just don't choose the beginning of each year as my starting point. I am inspired by people every day. People who inspire me to eat healthier, maintain my exercise program and work on my personal growth.

2. How would you describe your first kiss? 

Such a tough question. I don't really remember my first kiss which I'm told happened back in grade school but the first kiss that really mattered and resonated in my memory felt amazing, a little illicit and dangerous. It was with an older boy, on the back of a school bus on a band trip. Yes, you could almost say, "One time at band camp . . ."

3. What’s one thing you’ve done you wish you could erase?

I loved what my friend Kristin said about life being written in pen, not pencil. That  totally resonated with me. There are no take-backs in life. Yes, I drank way too much during my 20s, slept with too many of the wrong people during those days, made some bad decisions, and drove my parents crazy. But I believe life is not meant to be lived on a straight path. It is a circuitous route. And there are valuable lessons to be learned along the way. I am who I am because of everything that has happened in the past. Some good. Some bad. And sometimes the bad has to happen in order to find the good. Yes, there's a particular weekend in Sudbury that I wish hadn't happened, but it did and I've dealt with it. The memory of it used to trouble me quite a bit but now it's since faded away to a distant blip. I am stronger because of it.

4. Who or what has been the big love of your life?

To this point, the biggest love of my life has been my friends. They are a positive and soul-filling part of my existence. Every day I am grateful for those wonderful people who grace me with their presence, love and wisdom. Some I interact with on a daily basis, others I may see less frequently but they all matter. You know who you are. I love each and every one of you.

5. What would your last meal be?

I'm not sure about all the details but I do know it would likely be prepared by my friend Lori McPhee – chef extraordinaire. It would include her oven roasted tomatoes, bacon-wrapped cocktail weiners (oven roasted with a bit of brown sugar), her spinach salad with homemade garlic and vinegar dressing and toasted almonds, some kind of pasta, and something chocolate for dessert. 

6. If you could live in a TV show, book or movie, which one would you choose and why? 

Again, this was a challenging question as there are so many options. I toyed with Ferris  Bueller's Day Off as it would be cool to hang with Ferris. I would also like to hang out with Hank Moody on Californication as the writing is just so darn witty. But I think I would choose to be in The Big Chill. I love all the music as well as Kevin Kline. Plus, I love the friendship of this group of people and how they support each other. I could see myself as part of their group of people. It also seemed like a nice little town to live in where I could go running with Kevin.

7. You were elected prime minister of Canada. What will you include in your inaugural address?

I don't profess to be any kind of political strategist but I liked part of Justin Trudeau's message in that we all have to work together regardless of political affiliation. We're all in this together and need to be part of the solution. This may involve giving up a little something so others can survive and grow. It may also mean being okay with tough choices that need to be made elsewhere.

8. If you could be invisible for day, where would you go and what would you do?

If I could be transported quickly to New Jersey or wherever the E Street Band is rehearsing for their upcoming tour, it would be cool to get a behind-the-scenes view of what goes on to prep for a tour.

9. What advice would you give your younger self?

One piece of advice would be to start saving early. Get into the habit of saving money when you're young so that it's part of your fabric when you're an adult. The other piece of advice to go along with that is not to wait to do the things you love. Do them now. Don't wait for retirement or when your life is less busy. Life is short so cram as much fun and experiences into it as you can. Don't wait to tell people you love them. Don't be afraid to do whatever you love. Love yourself and all the great things you are. Don't lose that childlike joy in the small things in life or your wonderful imagination – hang on tight to those two things.