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.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

365 Questions – The great procrastination

Dear Diary: My new year’s resolution is to finally deal with my procrastination problem . . .

How am I doing so far?


It’s seven months into 2017 and I’m finally (finally) finishing my 365 questions project from 2016. I had full intentions of finishing before the year was out, but I got distracted. Distracted by a 6’2” funny, loving, devoted, sweet, handsome, political, quirky bird-and-reptile-loving man from Bradford.

It’s funny what happens when you start something new, like our 365 questions project. I didn’t have any expectations – I just thought it would be a good challenge that would get me writing on a regular basis . . . that was my main hope. However, I owe a debt of gratitude to this mind-mining expedition as it garnered a totally unexpected, happy by-product: the man in my life. 

I dated him for six months  before an amicable but sad parting of ways. We just weren’t in the same place on the relationship sphere. While we did break up, we continued to follow each other on Twitter. Long story short, he read my blog faithfully and finally reached out to me last August wanting to try again. He claimed I “woo’d him through my blog.” 

Each week he would read the answers to my questions and they would give him insight into the type of person I am. And, he decided that he wanted to get to know that person even more. It’s coming up to our first year anniversary and I can honestly say that I love this man. And I’m so grateful this project brought him back into my life.

But, more on him later as he has done enough to distract me from the task at hand . . .

304. If karma comes back around, are you going to be helped or hurt?
I like to think karma will be gentle to me. I try to live positively and treat others how I would like to be treated. I’m probably not the most generous person on the planet but I think my karma account is definitely not in overdraft.

305. If one hour a day was designated to nourishing your soul, how would you spend it?
Hmmm. That could mean different things on different days. Nourishing my soul may mean making sure I get to the gym to enjoy a great workout for an hour. On a different day, it may mean hanging out with the people I love. Sometimes your soul needs a little sweat, other days it needs a bunch of hugs.

306. Listen to your heart right now. What’s it saying?
It’s saying that I’m a pretty lucky person to have so many wonderful people in my life who I can love and be loved back with equal ferocity.

307. Do you have a secret talent?
I can burp the alphabet, and write backwards almost as quickly as I can write forwards. I have tried to master the art of writing with my non-dominant hand but I need to practise more.

308. Do you have a crush? If so, who is it and why?
No one is really coming to mind. There’s lots of people I find attractive but I don’t think that really qualifies as a crush.

309. If you were ever sent to jail or prison, what crime would you most likely have committed?
I do suffer from the occasional bout of minor road rage. I’m not proud of this behaviour but unfortunately it’s still something I haven’t been able to successfully eradicate. I joke (or do I?) that when I’m old, I’ll purchase an old clunker and run over (or into) all those people who tick me off on the road.  Use the sidewalk you silly yoot! Find your turn signal dumb ass! For Pete’s sake it’s your job as the head car to get as many cars through that advance arrow – not completely use it up for your turn! So, I would likely go to jail for vehicular manslaughter I’m afraid.

310. Are you a dog or cat person (or neither) and why?
Definitely a dog person. Dogs love you unabashedly and without reason. My boyfriend Jeff and I often talk about our future dog (or dogs). We have jokingly named them, Amok, Akimbo, Shenanigans, Willy-nilly, Hodge Podge and Frank. Our newest dog name is Naproxen. We just think these would be funny names to call out.

311. Do you remember your dreams? If you do, what has been the craziest or most memorable one?
I have epic dreams. I’m totally exhausted when I wake up because of my over-active dreams. I don’t always remember them all but can remember certain aspects of them. My stress dreams usually involve golf. I can’t put the tee in the ground. My clubs are all wonky. One time the course went through a subdivision and I was going crazy wondering how I was going to avoid all the people walking around. I also have angry dreams. One time I got so angry at my sister Andrea in a dream that I woke myself up when I kicked my bedroom wall – as I was kicking her in my dream. My funniest dream story – not necessarily the funniest dream – concerns one of my angry dreams. I dreamt that our cottage neighbours were encroaching on our property – using our beach and running around all over the place. I was shouting obscenities at them, yelling at them to get off my property. It turned out they were the kids from Up With People – the touring group that goes around raising money for various charities. I was horrified. I told a friend and co-worker about this dream and a few weeks later I was working away at my computer and this young man popped into the doorway of my office and announced with a cheery grin: “Hi! I’m Joel from Up With People and I just wanted to apologize on behalf of our group for trespassing on you property.” I managed to mumble a sheepish “thanks” amid a very red face. I discovered that Up With People were indeed on campus doing a show at the college where I work. My friend put Joel up to having some fun with me.

312. What does sexy mean to you?
There are always those certain body parts that make a person attractive to another. Me, I’m all about nice hands. You can have an amazing body but if I get creeped out by your fingers, it’s all over. Body parts aside, there’s nothing sexier to me than someone who gets my sense of humour and who can make me laugh.  Wins me over every time.

313. Do you consider yourself more religious, spiritual or neither?
I grew up Catholic and will always consider myself Catholic . . . it’s just part of the genetic packaging. But I would definitely consider myself spiritual before anything else. I believe in faith, people and some kind of higher power – and that may mean different things to different people.

314. Ask three close friends to tell you what one of your core gifts are. What were they?
I did this exercise with a few friends and it was a truly humbling and beautiful experience. Three core gifts I was told I have are:
  • The ability to make whomever I’m with feel they’re the most important person at that time
  • I’m grounded and have a way of grounding others
  • I’m unapologetically me
315. Are you superstitious? What are some of your superstitious traits/habits?
Yes! And especially so when it comes to sports. When I played baseball and we were on a winning streak during a tournament, I would ensure I went through the same preparation routine before coming to a game. And while watching my team – the Montreal Canadiens – during the hockey playoffs I will watch the first game. If they win, then I’ll continue to watch and do everything possible not to miss a game. If they lose that first game, I don’t watch for the rest of the round. Yes . . . I’m strange.

316. If you could be in the Olympics, what sport would you like to compete in?
I would love to compete in the decathlon. The training would make me a machine!

317. Do you believe the death penalty is a deterrent to murder?
A 100 per cent deterrent? Probably not. I think people will kill regardless. It may deter some people as I’m sure we all have those days when our thoughts go a bit dark, but the average person does not give in to those thoughts. 

318. What do you like to do when you’re feeling sad?
Depends. Sometimes I just want to be left alone. Lose myself in some Netflix binging. Other times I need to reach out to someone and cry on their shoulder.

319. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Worse thing . . . that’s pretty subjective. Other than making my parents’ lives hell during my drinking shenanigans in my 20s, I feel pretty bad that I chose to play in a baseball tournament rather than go to the funeral for a really good friend’s father. It was bad judgement call that my older self would probably do differently.

320. Have you ever had a crush on someone of the same sex?
Definitely. As I’ve said before, I’m attracted to people regardless of whether they pee sitting down or standing up. I wrote a song for a female friend I had a crush on. Some of my female celebrity crushes have included Katherine Moennig, Joan Jett and Chrissy Hynde. Girls in leather pants . . . sigh . . .

321. What’s the most unflattering trait/habit a person can have?
For me it’s negativity.

322. Do you love celebrating your birthday?
Definitely! I love celebrating all my milestones.

323. If you could have plastic surgery on one part of your body, what would you change and why?
I love my body and wouldn’t pay to have plastic surgery. That being said if someone offered it to me free, I might consider losing some of my belly fat. I work out on a regular basis and eat healthy 90 per cent of the time but I’m not really willing to put in the type of commitment that would earn me a six pack.

324. What’s the most romantic thing someone has ever done for you?
Hmmm. No big grand gestures come to mind . . . I’ve tended to be the romantic one in most relationships. I love that my boyfriend Jeff stocks his fridge with food I like – that’s really thoughtful and romantic. Sometimes it’s those small, every day things that make a difference.

325. What’s the most memorable present someone has ever given you?
One of the most recent memorable presents someone gave me was an antique drum. My friend Kristin gave it to me for no special occasion. I had admired it at her house one evening and a few months later she gifted me with it. The following year she gave me a smaller drum and I’ve turned both of them into cool little tables.

326. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate and Dancing With the Stars.

327. If you could be on a reality show, which one would it be and why?
I’m not a big fan of reality shows. The only one I watch, and I don’t really consider it a true “reality” show, is Dancing With the Stars. But, if I had to choose one, I’d go practical and choose one of those HGTV ones like Tiny Spaces or Brojects and get them to convert our cottage boathouse into a Bunkie!

328. What story does your family always tell about you?
When my mom was alive, she loved to tell my friends (usually when she had just met them) how she “saved me from a life of drugs.” It’s quite funny. I was hardly a big druggie . . . smoked the odd joint in my early 20s. But she found rolling papers in my purse once and turned my room upside down looking for “drugs” which she never found. My parents also liked to tell everyone how hard it was to find babysitters for myself and my sister. We were climbers and very rambunctious. Our babysitters were paid very well.

329. Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not?
I don’t like the “being the centre of attention” type of surprises. Especially ones where they put a silly hat on you in a restaurant for your birthday and sing Happy Birthday. And post-50, I’ve decided that trying to throw someone a surprise party is too much stress. When we planned my sister’s 50th, she actually was part of the planning. This made everything so much easier – with picking a date and making sure she got there on time. We did incorporate a few surprises for the event though, just to make it extra special. But for myself, I like the more subdued kind of surprises. The kind where a friend gives you a gift for no reason other than they saw it and thought of you.

330. What would be the two things you’d need to survive on a desert island?
After recently watching a season of Alone, I think one item would have to be some kind of multi-purpose tool that could serve as a weapon-slash-eating utensil-slash-shelter constructor.  And secondly, I think I would need some kind of big journal to write in . . . of course then, I would also need a pen. Okay, I need three things.

331. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would that be?
I think I would have started saving money sooner. When you’re young, you don’t really think about those kind of things. And now that I’m approaching retirement, it’s something I think about often.

332. Are you more like your mother or your father?
I’m probably more like my father in that I’m a social introvert, love sports, don’t really care about fashion, am pretty much drama-free, have a dry sense of humour and am low maintenance and pretty easy-going. I also have his sense of loyalty and stubbornness.  I also look more like him than my mom. But I do embody several of my mom’s traits as well, including an excessive need to rake every leaf from the ground.

333. Have you had a near-death experience?
I was in a bad car accident a long time ago and while my car was totalled, it was hardly a near-death experience. But that’s probably the closest I’ve come to facing death.

334. Are you afraid of dying?
I’m not afraid of dying but I definitely will miss this life as who I am right now, with these people, in this world. And while I’m not afraid of dying, I do worry a bit about care during my senior years. I don’t have children or nieces and nephews, and I remember some of the things I did for my parents as they aged, so I wonder who I will depend on for those tasks when I’m not able to get around as easily. I tease my Goddaughter that she’ll have to change my diapers when I get older.

335. What’s your go-to Karaoke song?
I love singing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by KiKi Dee and Elton John.

336. If you could be one of your friends for a day, who would you be and why?
I’m going to choose to answer this question as a do-over for a previous question I didn’t really answer honestly. It was the question about what I would do if I could be invisible for a day. I didn’t answer it the way I wanted, because I knew Jeff was reading my blog and I wasn’t sure how he would react to my answer (we were still seeing each other when I initially started the 365 project). I wanted to answer that I would spend the day with him. Not to spy on him but to get a sense of what he goes through during his day so I could develop a sense of empathy and understanding for what he has to deal with on a daily basis. He commutes to Toronto every day for work, and as customer service tech, he’s not always dealing with happy people. Bad weather, worse drivers, rude customers . . . he must have some crappy days. I think spending a day in his (very big) shoes wouldn’t necessarily make me a better girlfriend but it might give me more empathy and patience.  

337. What’s one smell you wish you could eliminate from the world?
Really bad body odour.

338. What’s non-negotiable for you in a relationship?
Physical touch and good communication.

339. If you were a product in a television commercial, what would your tagline be?
Comes with an unlimited amount of hugs.

340. Would you ever pose nude? Why or why not?
Nude? Probably not. But my friend Kristin has taken some near-nude photographs of me that I really like – and she has seen me naked! I recently did a mini-boudoir shoot with her and was pleased with the photos.

341. If you could be a fly on a wall, what wall would it be and why?
These days it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall for any meetings between the Republicans. I’d love to hear what they really have to say about their esteemed president Donald Trump behind closed doors.

342. What’s one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
Hmmmm, I’m pretty much an open book. Not too many surprises here. Though I suppose some people would be surprised to learn that I did attempt to kill myself in my late teens. Looking back now, I know it was a bit more than the usual teenage angst. While it was certainly a cry for help of sorts, I know I didn’t really want to die. After a particularly bad fight with my mother, I swallowed a large amount of pills – more in a pique of anger at her than anything else. I ended up telling my sister right away and she made me throw up. My ears rang for days afterward. It’s so important to talk to people when you’re feeling angry, sad or when dark thoughts creep into your head. I’m glad I had my sister and trusted her enough to share what I had done before it was too late. 
343. If you could start your own charity, what would it be in support of and why?
I would love to support young musicians or writers. It’s so challenging to start a career in the arts or be self-sustaining – even as a seasoned artist. It would be great to give some young people, or artists of all ages, the opportunity to spend time on their art without worrying about how they’re going to pay the bills.

344. Have you ever sent an email you shouldn’t? Explain?
I once sent an email and cc’d someone that I didn’t mean to include. I was giving another person information about the cc’d person (just general stuff – they had met them at an information event and wanted more details). I wanted to get the correct spelling of the person’s last name, so I added them to the email so I could see the spelling. I forgot to remove them before sending the email. I didn’t say anything bad about the person – just that she was very helpful and nice, but a little intense. I was mortified when my friend emailed me back right away and alerted me to the fact that I had cc’d the other person. I tried to retract it but I couldn’t. The other person was very nice about it and actually emailed us both back providing some of the information my friend needed from her original inquiry. I apologized profusely.

345. If it was 2 a.m. and you were at a stoplight…and no one else was around…would you go through? Why or why not?
I’m such a rule follower. Stop. Wait. Go.

346. If you could have a dinner party of five, with anyone dead or alive, who would you invite?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Kevin Kline and he seems like a really nice guy. He’d be on my list. Definitely Bruce Springsteen. Tina Fey and Robert Downey Jr. would be fun and I’d round it off with David Tennant because he’s great and I love his accent.

347. If you could have anyone as your personal chauffer, who would it be and why?
I think I would hire James Hinchcliffe. I found out about him from this past season of Dancing With the Stars and he’s hilarious. He’s also a Canadian race car driver competing in the IndyCar Series. He’d be a great driver as well as an entertaining one.

348. What food would you never give up?
Dark chocolate. I always have an endless supply of it in my freezer.

349. If you were trapped in a car on a road trip with five people from television, who would they be and why?
I had a tough time with this question for some reason and it’s another reason why I took so long finishing this project. A road trip needs great music, adventures and stimulating conversation. I think I’d have to say Hank Moody (Californication), Mindy and Danny from The Mindy Project, and Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock.

350. You have your own personal Candyland. What’s in it?
Vats of Lik-M-Aids for sure. I used to spend my entire school allowance on them. It’s a wonder I have any enamel. And several large freezers of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate with coconut. Dark chocolate with berries. Dark chocolate with almonds. Dark chocolate with . . . .

351. What adds the most value to humanity – the arts or science? Why?
I think it’s a pretty even draw between the arts and science. They both contribute in different ways. Science and technological advances have certainly enhanced our lives from the aspect of medical breakthroughs and life improvements, but we need the arts too for our mental and spiritual well-being.

352. If you could blow $25,000 on anything right now, what would it be?
I would love to go on a fabulous trip with my boyfriend Jeff. I saw a post on Twitter that advertised a luxury tree house hotel tucked away in Northern Sweden that would be a totally cool place to stay. And, I would likely use some of the $25,000 to put a metal roof on my cottage or build a little bunkie on the property.

353. What is one thing you will never do again?
Smoke. I tried it briefly during my second year of college for a few weeks – simply out of boredom – and it’s something I know I will never do again. Gross.

354. Do you value animal life like you do human life? Why or why not?
I wouldn’t consider myself an animal activist or anything but I respect their lives to a certain extent – some more than others. I’m not a vegetarian nor am I adverse to killing mice if they get into our cottage. But I also don’t believe in senseless activities like trophy hunting or killing elephants for their ivory. Every living creature has a purpose and we need to ensure we do not lose any more species – whether furry, slimy or scaly.

355. If they made your life into a movie, who should play you and why?
I think Tina Fey or Janeane Garofalo might be good choices to play me. They both have dark hair, write and have a similar sense of humour.

356. Are we too politically correct or not nearly enough?
I think we may have crossed a line into the spectre of being too politically correct. I totally respect that we each have our own line that shouldn’t be crossed but it’s become challenging.  Sometimes I think we spend too much time worrying about tiny offences when they are so many larger ones that need to be fixed.

357. Have you ever sent an email you shouldn’t have? Explain.
Hmmmm. We seem to have repeated a question. Our bad.

358. What is your ideal way to spend a vacation?
There are two types of vacations in my book: one when you need to relax and recharge and the other when you want to explore. When I’m at the cottage, I want to recharge and relax so I do a lot of reading, play my guitar and sleep in. I’m not a huge traveller but there are a few places I have checked off my bucket list and others I still want to visit. On these kind of vacations I like to enjoy good food and do some exploring. I tend to lean towards the first kind of vacation though . . .

359. Who is on your celebrity sex list?
Katherine Moennig, David Duchovny, Kate Beckinsale, Ellen Page, and Robert Downey Jr.

360. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
During my first year of college I split my pants wide open at a Toronto disco. White pants. Did I mention it was at a disco? Sigh . . . .

361. If you could be on one game show, past or currently running, what would it be and why?
I think I would love to be on the new Match Game with Alec Baldwin as the host. It would be a ton of fun. It would also be fun to be on The Wall with Chris Hardwick. It would be funny AND I could win a ton of money.

362. If you could stay one age forever, what would it be and why?
Maybe 35? Your body is still in pretty good shape – and has the potential for good sculpting – plus you still have lots of energy and things haven’t started to ache yet. You have some good life experience so you know a few of the pitfalls to avoid and you have a better sense of who you are as a person. I must say that I have enjoyed every decade so far for very different reasons.

363. Do you have any quirky habits? If yes, what are they?
I don’t know if I have any habits that would be considered quirky. I like to have an uncluttered counter at my house but that’s just because I have limited counter space. When I used to buy People magazine I would get mad if people read me something out of it before I had the chance to read it. My sister could probably list many other things but she’s not answering the question.

364. If you could redo any kiss you’ve had in your life, who would it be with and why?
No redo here, but I wish I could remember my first kiss. I think it was with a boy named Michael who used to walk me home after kindergarten, but I can’t remember it.

365. What makes you laugh?
I prefer thinking comedies like Arrested Development over physical comedy – they crack me up. I also like silly stuff like The Mindy Project but I would classify it in the thinking category as well. I love when people do silly things. Jeff cracks me up all the time doing silly little things. I’ll press down on one of the veins on his arm and he’ll pretend to pass out. Or, we like to watch nature shows then create some of the animals with our hands. One of our favourite ones is the flying tree frog, though he claims mine is more of a lead-footed tree frog. Making him laugh makes me laugh.

Thanks for waiting :)

Thursday, 3 November 2016

365 Questions: What one thing has surprised me about myself?

262. Is the individual or society more important?
I would have to say that society is more important. We as individuals need to take care of ourselves but we need others to survive and grow. And, we can do more as a society of people. Right now we need to bond together as a group to tackle the big issues facing us today: homelessness, climate change

263. If you were cremated, where would you like to have your ashes spread?
I would have my ashes scattered on the property at Paugh Lake.

264. If you had the means, how would you address the problem of homelessness?
I read an article about a woman in New York City who turned a hotel into a haven for the homeless. In addition to providing people with shelter, it also provided them with an address so they could receive mail – for unemployment insurance or applying for jobs. Those who lived there each had a role in helping run the place whether it was doing maintenance, cleaning, working in the kitchen, paperwork . . . but bottom line, they had a place to live while getting back on their feet. I always thought this was a cool idea. I realize it wouldn’t be the ideal solution for everyone but it would be a start. We need more affordable housing for people – and housing in areas with access to public transportation and viable employment. I would convert whatever I could into affordable (or free) housing.

265. If you decided to go on a spiritual journey, where would you go and what would you do?
I’ve always liked the idea of doing some kind of hiking spiritual journey – perhaps doing a portion of the Camino Trail in Spain. It would be out of my comfort zone but I think I would enjoy it. I would prefer to go with one other person, but I would journal every day.

266. If you had to spend one year living alone in a remote cabin, what would you spend your time doing?
I’m assuming there wouldn’t be any WiFi, so power binging a number of Netflix shows would be out of the question. So, I would load up as many books as I could and get my fill of reading. I would also bring my guitar and try to write a number of songs. And – maybe finally teach myself how to do barre chords. I would also bring a ton of notebooks (or a laptop) and write, write, write. And, hopefully my cabin would be in a nice location where I could go on a daily runs.

267. Which language would you choose, if you could immediately speak it fluently?
Probably French. It’s a language that would be useful in a number of different countries, plus it would be handy here in Canada.

268. What other culture would you choose to be born into?
I don’t know if I would choose to be born in any other culture than my original Canadian. We are pretty lucky here. And, the world needs more Canada!

269. Would you prefer money for a housekeeper, gardener, cook or personal secretary?
While I could certainly use (and welcome) any of those services, I would probably choose to spend money on someone to cook for me. I love good food but I don’t always necessarily love to cook it. I think I would eat much healthier if someone was preparing the food for me.

270.        Which temptation do you try hardest to resist?
Probably food. I love chocolate. I love pasta. I love bread. I love cookies. I love (and can eat) lots of food. I’ve recently dropped some weight – something I’ve done a few times in the past. I’ve changed how – and what I choose to eat now. I try to eat a healthy 90 per cent of the time. It’s a slippery slope with food, and I have lost weight before so I really need to be careful that I don’t fall into bad habits again.   

271. What’s the most beautiful drive you’ve ever taken?
One of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken was in Ireland. Every day was filled with incredible views. On our very first day of travel, heading south from Dublin, we rounded a corner and saw the Rock of Cashel rise up and greet us. It was pretty remarkable . . . and a sight you don’t see in Canada. The varying greens were beautiful too. Any given day could see us driving through lush farmland, spectacular mountains with scary cliffs (but cute sheep) or in deep valleys bracketed by the Atlantic Ocean and a vast expanse of emerald.

272. What did you get in trouble most for when you were young?
Really young? Probably for climbing. Both my sister and I were climbers. We would climb cupboards, fences, door frames (by licking our hands and feet for traction) and even our TV tower. Back then we could never figure out how our parents knew we were up there; but of course it was because the TV reception would go fuzzy. They put a fence up around it to prevent us from climbing it but really . . . we climbed the TV tower . . . why would they think we wouldn’t get over the fence? One time when I was young, I even pushed a dresser against my bedroom door and climbed out my window. That got me into a bit of trouble. As a teenager, I got in trouble for the usual stuff – staying out too late, drinking, or not doing something (a chore) right away.

273. What’s the best and worst thing about being a man or a woman?
The best thing about being a woman is that special sisterhood we celebrate with other women. Those supportive relationships get us through so many things. And generally, I think it’s easier for us (rather than guys with their friends) to show affection to our girlfriends. We kiss, hold hands, cuddle and hug on a regular basis . . . or maybe that’s just me and my girlfriends! The worst thing has got to be the ups and downs of our hormonal cycles. I suppose men suffer from the same thing to a certain degree but the craziness of some days can be overwhelming.

274. What fashion trend you followed was cool then but looks ridiculous now?
I’m not much of a slave to fashion – I leave that to my more fashionable sister. But, I did go through a quasi-goth phase in the ‘80s in which I wore a lot of black and had some interesting hair styles.

275. Where would you most like to travel?
My sister and I are traveling to Iceland this February. We’re really looking forward to that trip. I really want to explore more of North America. I haven’t been out to the West Coast, or to Newfoundland or PEI. And there are a ton of places I’d like to visit in the States, like San Francisco, New Orleans, Seattle, Portland, and Washington.

276. If you could have another name, what would you choose?
I like my name. It’s not too over-used. And I dodged a bullet in that I could have been named Nancy Belle. Not that I have any big issues with the name Nancy or Belle, but put together it sounds like the name of some little steamship. When my older brother was born, my paternal grandfather walked into the hospital room and announced, “How’s Stephen Francis?” He named him after some famous baseball player and my parents were too shocked or overwhelmed by the birth of their first child to argue. He tried to get away with it again when I was born (with the Nancy Belle) but thankfully my parents respectfully told him they were naming me. But, if I had to choose a new name I would likely go with Janey as in Springsteen’s Crazy Janey.

277. Would you like a quiet life of safety or a life of great adventure and uncertainty?
Some people would likely say I don’t do anything quietly. I’ve been accused of turning those close to me into yellers. I like to say I’m simply enthusiastic. I think I would land somewhere in the middle. I think life is filled with plenty of uncertainly enough so you don’t generally have to go looking for it. I want adventures – and have had plenty of them so far – but I’m practical enough that I wouldn’t want risky adventures.

278. If you lived to be 100, would it be more important to have a sharp mind or fit body?
Again, it would be great to be somewhere in the middle. I work at being healthy now so I can do the things I want to as I age. But, that being said, at 100, I think I would be happy to toodle around in a walker or wheelchair with my witty mind still very much intact.

279.  If you could work as an assistant to anyone for a year, who would you choose?
For a year? I think it would be cool to be Bruce Springsteen’s assistant. First of all, he’s a musician, so he’s not getting up too early. That would work great with my schedule. And, I think I would probably learn a lot from him about song writing, or maybe pick up a few new techniques to improve my guitar playing; and he does a lot of charity work at a very high level. So that would be pretty cool to be involved with too.

280. What is the worst gift you’ve ever received?
My mother bought me a dress once that I told her I didn’t want. I refused to wear it and eventually was able to sell it, with the sales tag still on it.

281. In which activity would you like a lesson from an expert?
Oh, I could benefit from lessons from a lot of experts in many different areas. Maybe some good budgeting tips would be great.

282. Do you believe in coincidence or synchronicity?
I believe in the power of flow. If you’re moving along the right path, things will happen a little more easily. Stuff will fall into place and doors will open. I suppose that’s more synchronistic in nature.

283.  In what era would you most like to have grown up?
I’m all about the music. I would have loved to have been a teenager in the 1960s and experienced all that great music. I also loved the clothes – jeans, tie-dyed t-shirts, headbands, loose flowing skirts . . . it would have been right up my alley.

284.  Is the male or female body more beautiful?
More beautiful? There are aspects about both that I find beautiful but if I had a choice between looking at a Playgirl or a Playboy magazine, I would likely choose Playboy. The female body is pretty darn gorgeous in all sizes and shapes – soft, curvy, lean, voluptuous – with a number of hidden treasures.

285. What are the redeeming qualities of the person you most dislike?
I don’t really dislike a lot of people in my life. I find some people challenging and I likely wouldn’t hang out with them because we wouldn’t have a ton in common. There are a few people like that in my life who I probably encounter mainly at work. I think what I do find redeeming about them though is their ability to make tough decisions.

286. How do you define integrity and do you have it?
I think integrity is having a strong belief system and being true to it. You follow through with what you say you’re going to do – your actions match your words. You speak and live your truth. It may not necessarily be my truth, but that’s okay. It’s being honest and treating people with respect. I do consider myself an action person. I’d rather give someone a firm no, than a wishy-washy yes. And if I tell you I’m going to do something, I do my best to do it. I’m not perfect 100 percent of the time but I’m pretty reliable.

287. Is it more difficult for you to speak kindly or honestly?
I have been unkind in the past – not intentionally – but I have not always delivered a message in the best manner possible. In my work world, I’m considered a “thinker” on the Myers-Briggs scale, so sometimes I can get caught up in “how is this going to affect what I need to do” rather than taking into account a person’s feelings. So I can be abrupt or straight to the point when I need information. I’m conscious of this behaviour and it’s something I watch for now.  

288.  What is the most amazing weather you’ve ever seen?
One August we experienced the most spectacular Northern lights at the cottage. Myself and a few friends ended up sleeping on the sundeck. I have never seen Northern lights like that ever again.

289. If you could master one instrument, what would it be?
Oh, there are so many. I would love to be able to go nuts with my accordion or play anything I wanted on the piano by ear, but the practical girl in me would likely pick the guitar as it’s easier to transport.

290. How would our society be different if it was matriarchal rather than patriarchal?
I put this question to a few girlfriends while we were at lunch and we all agreed that one thing that would be different in a matriarchal society would be the way women’s bodies are treated. You wouldn’t see issues with health care, maternity leave, planned parenthood clinics and birth control. T In addition, there likely would be more emphasis placed on the environment and social services – not just big corporations.

291. What would you love to find at a yard sale?
Right now I would love to find an antique round dining room table.

292. What have you given up that you wish you never had?
Oh, again, there are so many answers to this question. I wish I would have concentrated more on musical theory growing up. I’d be a better musician today. I wish I was a bit more handier – watched my mom do stuff – she wasn’t afraid to tackle any project or take anything apart.

293. With whom have you lost touch and wish you could reconnect?
There are a few friends I’d like to spend more quality time with this year. I haven’t lost touch with them per se, but it’s just harder to get together with everyone all the time. Sometimes I just like to cocoon and stay home when I have a free evening. I have a good friend who lives in the States. We usually only see each other once or twice a year when she travels North. I’d like to travel down to see her this year. It shouldn’t always be her that travels to see me.

294. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever read?
I have a lot of talented and creative people in my circle. My sister and my friend Kristin post some pretty amazing stuff online. I’m also drawn to certain lyrics in songs and can’t get them out of my head. There’s a line in “Lake Song” by The Decemberists that I could listen to over and over again. “You tattered me, you tethered me to you.” I don’t know why I love that line but it gets me every time I hear the song. And my boyfriend Jeff recently texted me saying, “I’m serious about you and I’m serious about us.” That was pretty beautiful too.

295. What’s one thing that has surprised you about yourself?
I would have to say it’s how much I enjoy being in a relationship. I always thought my life was great the way it was. I have a wonderful circle of friends, a great job with the best co-workers, amazing and unbelievable adventures, that I thought my life didn’t’ need anything else. But I love being part of a couple. I love planning for our future. I love spending time with him. I love knowing there’s someone who loves me – the yell-y, crazy, multiple-personality, Dancing-With-The-Stars-watching me. In the past I was afraid how my life would change if I was in a relationship and thought I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I loved to do anymore. It would be a life filled with compromise, checking in, a loss of my independence. And yes, being in a relationship means there are compromises and another person to consider before making plans or decisions. But when you find that right person, those compromises and decisions are easy and effortless. I guess I just didn’t expect to love it this much.

296. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your limit (physical, emotional, otherwise)?
Probably when I trained for my last half-marathon in 2006. I really pushed myself to increase my running miles, did hill training and several long distance runs. The run itself was pretty grueling in that it was super hot that day and I don’t like running in the heat. I had wanted to better my time of two hours and 10 minutes, but ended up finishing in two hours and 20 minutes. I was proud that I finished though.

297. If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Caution: This could get loud, crazy, extremely affectionate and in some cases may even lick you.

298. What is your favourite tradition?
I love spending Thanksgiving at the cottage and staying there for a week in the fall. It’s my favourite time of year. Sometimes we have a large gang of people around the dinner table; other years it might just be myself and my sister.

299. What is your most deepest, secret desire?
Oh, I think you’ll have to buy me a drink to find out the answer to that question. I'm not giving that away for free :)

300. Do you have any scars (physical or otherwise)?
Just tiny scars. I have three small incisions from my gall bladder surgery.
301. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Probably getting on those online dating sites post-50. Scary stuff!

302. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for love?
Oh, I’ve done a lot of crazy things for love. Once I kidnapped a guy’s scarf and held it for ransom just to get his attention. And in my great love for Springsteen, a friend and I bought expensive scalper tickets last minute, drove 10 hours to Hershey, Pennsylvania … with no hotel reservation. After the concert was over, the closest hotel we could get was two hours away. Ah, love!

303. Do the right thing, or do things right?
If you do things right, you’re probably doing the right thing.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

365 Questions: What's my basic life philosophy?

234. What message would you send to aliens?
Hello. Yes, we really are quite normal and could use your help with a few things. I’m hoping we could do a bit of knowledge sharing and perhaps we could help you work through some puzzles while you helped us with a few of ours. I’m sure between our collective heads we could solve a lot of problems. I’d love to hear your ideas.

235. If you could have the answer to any question, what would the question be?
Oh, there are so many questions to which I would like answers.  What ever happened to my dad’s wedding band? Why can’t we all just get along? Why does Kanye West exist?

236. What do you like least about yourself?
I’m pretty darn likable and a big fan of myself.  But I suppose I wish I was a bit more decisive. I’m getting better at trusting my gut instinct but I still struggle with making some decisions.

237. What’s your basic life philosophy?
I believe in treating others as I would like to be treated. We are all humans and deserve empathy and compassion. For the most part, we all want the same thing: to be loved. So, just be yourself and the rest will follow. I also believe in telling those I love that I love them. I try to tell them often and I try to hug them as whenever I can.

238. What’s more important? Increasing your talent or character?
More important? Increasing my character. There is always something that can be improved upon . . . ever if it’s something little.

239. What piece of clothing can you not live without?
I’ve got a Grateful Dead bandana that I’ll probably never throw out. It’s worn out, soft and faded. It’s perfect headgear for the cottage.

240. If you could have front row tickets to any concert, what would it be and why?
It’s still my dream to lean my arms on the stage at a Springsteen show. I’ve been close to the front but never in the front row. I would love to have that up-close-and-personal perspective. Maybe get a guitar pick from Bruce or Nils or one of Max’s drumsticks. It would be an amazing experience.

241. Do you believe everyone should be a parent?
I believe everyone has the capability to be a parent, but I don’t necessarily believe everyone should be a parent. You should really want children. People shouldn’t have children because it’s the right time, or the thing to do. They shouldn’t be pressured into having them either. Having children is not a light responsibility, and they’re a lifelong commitment, so one should be sure about that decision. I think some people go into parenthood with romantic notions about what having children is all about. It’s a huge responsibility. And, I don’t think poorly about those who choose not to have children.  That’s a big decision on their part too and I’m sure they don’t make that decision lightly.

242. Would you rather be a famous actor, athlete, musician, inventor or humanitarian – why?
As much as I love music, I think I’d rather leave a legacy of having accomplished something good in this world. I love to help people. I remember listening to Craig Keilburger speak many years ago, and he told a story about meeting one of his heroes (I can’t remember who it was but it was someone like Nelson Mandela . . . darn ‘50s memory!). He told his hero that he stopped reading the paper because it was too depressing. This man told him that he read the newspaper every morning with his children. He said the newspaper was like one big to-do list, divided nicely into different categories. It showed you where you could help out on a local level, a national level or on a world level. I always thought that was a great perspective and good advice. I’d like to be remembered for having helped out my fellow humans.

243. What’s the most significant problem facing the world?
I think it’s a tie between the distribution of wealth inequality throughout the world and the rampant commercialism/materialism. Those I suppose those two things are definitely connected. Some people just have way too much money – far more than any single human being should have. And as human beings, we collect way too much stuff. As I get older I’m placing more emphasis on experiences and doing things with people, rather than buying things or expecting gifts for special occasions. Spending quality time with a friend is far more important to me than any present. I prefer the gift of time. 

244. If you were to own a fabulously impractical vehicle, what would it be?
Hmmmm. Funny question to answer after writing about materialism in the previous question. I’m not really an impractical person and pretty boring when it comes to vehicles. I’d love a black BMW convertible or maybe a pontoon boat for the cottage.

245. Would you choose to be the best player on the worst team or the worst player on the best team?
I think I’d rather be the worst player on the best team because if we’re the best team, then my worst can’t be that bad. I must be contributing in some way in order to be on that team. I was always a fan of the “most improved” player trophy.

246. If you were given money to remodel your house, what would you change first?
My first renovation would be to my upstairs bathroom. I would remove the bathtub and replace it with a nice tiled shower – something with a grab bar for my impending senior years. Switch out the huge vanity with a smaller antique-type cabinet. Ditch the ugly 1970s tiles and replace with some nice bead board, and tile using the same flooring that’s in my kitchen. I’d also get rid of the gross boxy light fixture and replace it with something nicer. Another plan would include expanding the bathroom into my back office and extending it to include a main floor laundry room perhaps.

247. What makes a house a home?
People. Doesn’t matter where you live or what you put in a house. It’s always having your loved ones around you that makes anywhere home.

248. In your opinion, what are the seven wonders of the world?
I’m not that well-travelled, but I would definitely include the iconic tree on the point at my cottage. I would also have to include childbirth – to me that’s a pretty darn wondrous thing. Love. A Springsteen pit (both wondrous and glorious). I would have to throw in the pyramids just because it’s amazing to think about how they were even built back in those days. Even though I’ve just seen pictures of them, I’ve always thought that those giant Sequoias in British Columbia were pretty cool. And, I gotta say that a starry night on the Paugh Lake deck is very captivating and never boring.

249. Is justice or forgiveness more important?
Forgiveness for sure. Forgiveness brings peace into your life. It’s rarely about the other person. You don’t need to even tell someone you forgive them. It’s about forgiving them in your heart and moving on. It’s very freeing.                                                            

250. Do you possess the qualities of your astrological sign?
I think I’m 99 percent bull J My astrological sign is Taurus and I do possess a lot of its qualities. I consider myself loyal, dependable, practical and a bit stubborn.  I am passionate and sensuous too. Apparently we’re good with money which I suppose I am to a certain degree. I’m no one-percenter, but I’m not going to starve. Where I would disagree is with the point that we Taureans are considered materialistic; I don’t believe I possess that quality. Nor am I lazy. I can “be” lazy but I’m not lazy. Taurus women long for true love and security and that is definitely true for me as well.

251. Has anything bad ever happened to you that turned out to be for the best?
Definitely. I was laid off from my job in the printing department at Georgian back in 1994. Luckily, I am a union member so there was a process to be followed after my lay-off. I did a short stint in a department before being moved to the Marketing and Communications department to produce the Part-time Studies calendar. While I was there, a part-timer quit and I was able to remain in Marketing, where I still work today. It was a great move and I love being part of this team.

252. Who is the most unusual member of your family?
Oh, there are many unusual characters in my family. One of the most interesting people though was my Great Uncle William “Billy” Murray. He was a tight rope walker and performed at many carnivals. He suffered a fall at one point and became extremely religious afterwards. He lived out his final days in Toronto, spending some time at 99 Queen Street which was a mental facility for 150 years. In her memoir Fragments of My Life, Catherine Doherty credits him for saving her life after he prayed over her dying body.

253. Are things pre-determined or all about choice?
I think there is a pre-determined plan for all of us. We are each here for our own unique purpose and to learn. Sometimes it takes us more than one kick at the can to learn certain lessons, but hopefully, we eventually learn. We do make our own choices and may take a more circular path to life’s end, but we all end up where we’re supposed to end up.

254. Which is more important – intelligence or common sense?
My boyfriend Jeff would definitely say that common sense is more important. He claims that it is his super power. I think having common sense may serve a person much better in life. You can be extremely intelligent but yet have few life skills, which can get you into trouble. 

255. If you could trade places with the opposite sex for a day, would you and why?
Of course! It would be fascinating to be inside the male brain for a day to understand how it operates. And naturally it would be equally fascinating to experience sex from the male perspective.

256. What’s the biggest lie we tell ourselves as humans?
I think the biggest lie we tell ourselves as humans is that we’re not good enough. We’re constantly trying to improve – be thinner, faster, richer, smarter – in order to have people like us. Just be yourself.

257. Which of your ancestors would you most like to meet?
I think there are some relatives I wish I had spent more quality time with or paid greater attention to while they were alive. I don’t think I appreciated my maternal grandmother or paternal grandfather enough. They were both fascinating people and I should have taken more care in absorbing everything they had to say. My grandmother was a strong woman who ran her own business and raised three equally strong daughters. She had spirit, a great sense of humour and a good head for business. After her first husband passed away at a very young age, she was forced into a second marriage to a man who was never faithful to her, drank, and eventually killed himself. I say forced because she didn’t want to marry him, but the local parish priest threatened to take her children out of school if she didn’t. Welcome to small town Catholic life in the 1930s. My grandfather on my dad’s side was a real Renaissance man. Despite only having a grade school education, he was a politician (a local Reeve as well as a Member of Parliament), poet, athlete and an entrepreneur. He loved nature and knew the importance of community. I would like a do-over with both of these people so I could truly appreciate who they were.

258. Who do you think is the most important person alive today?
That’s a tough question. You could go good or bad because both sides of the coin can effect important decisions and change. I think Craig Keilburger is doing important things because he works with young people, developing future generations of involved, compassionate and passionate influencers who want to make a difference in their world. If we can develop more people with that mindset, we can do wonderful things for this planet.

259. Would you stop eating junk food to prolong your life by a few years?
Definitely. I rarely eat junk food now. I can’t eliminate chocolate from my life but I stick to good dark chocolate. My personal favourite is the Lindt dark chocolate with coconut.

260. If you were offered a seat on the next space shuttle, would you take it?
Probably but if there was someone else who really wanted to go, I’d probably give up my seat.

261. What makes your generation unique?
Having been born in 1962, I’m considered a baby boomer. I think we’re considered lucky in that most of us have grown up in a time of relatively good employment opportunities. We’re also a good mix of healthiness, altruistic values and a good work ethic. I also believe we’re a bit more imaginative, as we didn’t rely on technology for entertainment. We created our own fantasy worlds without the aid of video games. And, we’re going to experience a wide gamut of phones! I can remember party lines, rotary phones, touch tone, the first large clumsy cordless ones, flip phones, iPhones, Androids, Blackberries – in all shapes and sizes – and whatever is next to come.