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.

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.

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