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This is (almost) 50

On the near-eve of my 49th birthday, it is nearly impossible to escape The Big 5-0 looming ahead. I think I started telling people I was “almost 50” when I was 46. To which they’d often respond “but you don’t look 50”. That’s because I wasn’t. Then.

But with the year-long countdown about to begin I have been reflecting on turning almost-50. And not just the “do I want a party to celebrate” kind of reflecting. (The answer, for those wondering is: no, I do not.)

The other big question I imagine most of us hitting any kind of milestone birthday ask is: Am I where I thought I’d be?

Not exactly.

I was speaking to my mother, reminiscing about when she turned 50. I told her she seemed way ahead of where I’m at. To me it seemed like she was able to do pretty much whatever she wanted. Her children were older, she traveled a ton, her home was beautifully appointed and cared for meticulously, as was her cottage. For milestone birthdays she and her friends would make glamorous parties for each other – at home and away, involving costumes, themes, personalized T-shirts and surprise guests. My mom, at 50, was a free-wheeling, seemingly financially secure grown up. A real “adult” yet with a fun and youthful joie de vivre.

Me? Not so much.

I have 3 kids under 14. Our house lands somewhere on the scale between falling down and being torn up. I have several different freelance careers, and  I alternately love and/or loathe them all. My husband works his ass off day and night, coaches all 3 kids on and off the field/ice/pitch. Financial freedom is a dream we may never see realized. Leaving the house (sans children) – let alone the country – requires a shitload of organization and planning and is often not even possible. In fact, I still feel like a kid. A somewhat haggard and often exhausted kid.

I even have some of the same hang-ups from my youth including, sadly, “does my ass look fat?” And, ridiculously, “does he still like me?” You’d think I would move on from these teenage girl concerns. But you’d be wrong. On the flip side, and yes, there is a flip side burning bright,  I also have the knowledge and confidence that being older brings. Beauty absolutely fades and is a commodity I didn’t realize I used to have in spades. Now it’s more about looking good…. considering…. The insecurity within my own relationship? Now we make jokes about it – and blame my father. I can wear the same things day after day and have (almost) no qualms about walking out of the house “looking like that”. I’m not afraid to start up – and finish – a conversation. Or to speak my mind. Best of all I’m not overly concerned with judgements and opinions. Most of the time. I  know that I’m a damn good wife/mother/daughter/friend.   At this stage, the only one I tend to disappoint most is myself. Even my imposter-syndrome is only visible to those who know me very well. Fake it ’til you make it, Baby!

And yet, talking to my mom and telling her she really seemed to have it together, her one comment was that I was exactly where I should be. That I was the one who has it together with my 3 fabulous kids and a healthy marriage. She, on the other hand, had been divorced.

I couldn’t believe it. On paper, she had it all. And the only thing she could mention was that she was divorced? This from a woman who has been together with her husband for nearly 40 years (35 married) and still going strong. To me that’s an amazingly successful marriage. An accomplishment. But in her eyes, despite emerging from a broken marriage stronger, wiser and a mom of two, she still felt “less than” sixteen years later at age 50. If only we could see the positive things about ourselves through the eyes of others… I would argue that one of the best things that could’ve happened to my brother and I was being raised by a mother who was in a happy and healthy relationship.

50 and 23 in 1991.

So now, a month shy of 49, the question really is not “am I where I thought I would be” but, rather, “am I where I want to be?”

In so many ways, I think I am. I’m lucky enough to remember the dreams I had, acknowledge the ones I’ve lost, and be open to discovering new ones. Some dreams may stay dreams and that’s OK. Most of the time.  I am well aware that age is just a number, and all the other clichés that come with long days and short years. But with each birthday it becomes impossible not to reflect on the dreams that change along with the bodies – and the eyesight. New dreams emerge with the wrinkles, the readers, the grey hairs. The important thing is to be willing – and very able –  to deal with it all. Having an incredible cohort to join your journey (and a fabulous colorist) doesn’t hurt either.

Too much? Too personal? Too bad. I’m (almost) 50.

 

 

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April 27, 2017   2 Comments

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New BFFs

Everyone’s got a celeb that they think they’d be friends with if they met under different circumstances. Or in another life. My stepfather had an imaginary bromance with Barack Obama, for example. My mom was ready to invite Billy Crystal over for dinner. My friend’s late grandmother figured she could be part of the royal family. And me? I always thought Matt Damon and I would hit it off. And we did (albeit for about 3 minutes…)

NBF's 2010...Remember?

But in terms of ladies, my best celeb girlfriend was always going to be Ellen. Not just daytime talk show Ellen. Oscar host Ellen, Dory-Ellen, even “straight” Ellen. She’s always cracked me up and I figured that if – no, when – we met, friend fireworks would light up the sky.

So when a dear (real life) pal asked me if I’d like to come see Ellen speak – and meet her afterwards – at a conference in Toronto, I leaped at the chance.

I pictured us milling around the VIP green room, chit-chatting, laughing at jokes – me at hers and, yeah, her at mine. While we may not (or might!) have exchanged numbers, I really thought we had friend potential.

So did about 5000 other people.

I knew Ellen was popular and hugely successful but it’s not like she’s Oprah…Is it?

Turns out we weren’t the only ones with golden – actually, emerald – tickets to meet Ms Degeneres. The lucky 200 or so of us were herded into a holding room, instructed to leave our bags/purses/cameras/phones outside and sent to queue. And we did. Like lambs to slaughter. Totally bizarro. There we were, with the rest of gen pop, waiting to meet my friend Ellen. What the f*ck?!

I decided right then and there to leave. I wasn’t standing in line for some staged photo op. How mortifying. How gauche. How cheesy. How….how now Ellen!!!!!

BFF's

Talk about swallowing your pride – and quick. We only got about 14 seconds with her. Enough time to shake hands and smile. I opted out of the hug. Too weird. I laughed awkwardly and asked if this was so strange. She said not at all and I was ushered away by her handlers.

What? Did they think I was stalking her?

Believe it or not, some people were. They came in their t-shirts and tiaras. They travelled from all over. They paid the big bucks. They burst into tears. They asked her to dance. And Ellen? She took it all in stride, like I knew she would.

Her speech itself was an interview. I was up front and completely impressed. She discussed notions of power, how she was amazed at where she was in her life, considering how difficult it was for her to come out – on national TV, no less. No one would work with her for 3 years. There were some new-age-y moments only she could pull-off, but she came across as funny, self-deprecating and lovely. She was into making people smile and feel good. No judgements, no preaching, no politics.

Then the audience Q & A began. And it was outrageous. From “why can’t I get tickets to your show” to “I have a DVD of my genius 7-yr old”, these folks were shameless. It reached the point where my pal and I were heckling the crowd, daring them to actually ask a question (other than “I met you when you were a nobody but I knew you’d be famous. Do you remember me?” Honestly!)

And Ellen? Ever the pro, she took it all in stride. Even when a couple of pensioners, dressed in twin ballgowns, asked if she’d sign a nasty 1997 Spy Magazine cover in which her face was superimposed onto the late Princess Diana’s with the words “Di, Ellen”. They didn’t get how that would be offensive. She chided them in a not-so-subtle way, ultimately suggesting that perhaps they should sign it themselves.

As the inane questions continued, I marvelled at her professionalism. While I cringed at my fellow audience members’ audacity, twisting awkwardly in my chair, embarrassed to be part of such a lame-ass crowd, my pal Ellen stayed classy and upbeat right ’til the end. Unlike me, who bolted at the first oppurtunity to get away from those losers.

Maybe Ellen and I we weren’t meant to be tight after all. I couldn’t handle all the other “friends”….

August 19, 2011   2 Comments

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Viva La Volvo

A couple years ago, pregnant with Baby #3, we went a-car shoppin’.  A car for all seasons – the grueling Canadian winter, the cottage-bound Canadian summer. A car big enough to hold our ever expanding family, with space for a large dog. And a stroller. And groceries. And extra people. All together. Oh, and I didn’t want a mini van.

Enter the Volvo SUV. I wanted a purty new white one.

Wasn’t gonna happen.

Enter our Volvo SUV.

With 75000 klicks and an almost expired warranty, it was no spring chicken. But I was assured it was a great car. Lux, sure, but when the electrics failed and I was forced to drive blind with no instruments whatsoever, I cared little for lux. Heading back to the dealer, I traveled the streets at a snail’s pace….or did I?

And when the locks on the door jammed – with me inside – I wanted out. Out of the car, and out of the deal.

And the complaints kept on comin’: The radio’s annoying (won’t manually scan through stations). I hate the headrest (anti-whiplash design). It’s a tank (um…it is a tank). It’s a lemon (it might be). And so on and so on and so on. Of course this drove my man bonkers. Here I was, lucky enough to be driving a well-made, uber-safe shmancy mobile, and I could do was moan. And use the mid-range “gold” gas instead of the “platinum”. Ha! I’d show that car of mine who was boss.

Or who was a big-time loser over-humanizing her car. Then again, we all do that, don’t we? I mean, it’s not like I named it. Or assigned it a gender. Not this car anyway.

Turn radius? Too wide. Doors? Too heavy. Black car? Too dirty.

Bitch, bitch, bitch. Doesn’t anybody…..drive…anymore?

And then I was rear-ended. Bottom of my road, returning home from lunch with my young son and my nephew when BOOM someone plowed into me. Poor guy was a student. His front end was totaled. We had nary a scratch.

I felt safe. Maybe this ride wasn’t half bad.

And then I backed out of my driveway and into an illegally parked car. With a handicapped sticker on it. With their side-mirror in my hand I wondered whether to come clean. Or to just stick it back on and take off. But karma – and that sticker – got the best of me.Turned out the driver was a 90 year old neighbour. I paid to have her mirror fixed and I hated my car all over again. Where was that bloody sensor when I needed it? It wasn’t half-bad, it was all bad!!

And then….

Today happened.

Driving my kiddies to school, I slowed down at the stop sign at my street’s end and put on my brakes. And… kept right on rolling, straight into a busy, morning rush hour, trafficky street. Into the path of an oncoming bus. Seeing that bad boy heading straight for me I couldn’t believe this was the end. I started yelling and cranked my wheel as far as I could, hoping to minimize the impact.

The bus passed by in slow motion, and I thought maybe, just maybe, I’d miss it. But that fantasy ended with a bang as I plowed into its rear bumper.

Yup. I rammed a bus.

All shook up? Understatement! I hit a bus. A Bus. Hazards on, I got out of the car. The driver got off the bus, as did all of his busy, morning rush hour, trafficky passengers. I was That Guy. The one pulled over to the side causing the buildup. As far as my eye could see: traffic. Because of me. And my bloody car. I cursed the tires, the breaks, the Swedes. The mechanic, my husband, the bus.

And then I breathed. We were fine. My car, unbelievably, was fine. The bus, however, was not. It had been clearly side-swiped (by yours truly) and the bumper was definitely a little worse for wear. But we were all AOK, thank you, Craners. Rather than sit and idle in the car, we were invited to sit and idle on the bus.

We hopped on the bus, Gus. And – no lie – the driver? HIS NAME WAS GUS. I was tense. I was nervous. And I was relentlessly spewing Paul Simon lyrics. Made a new plan, Stan. No need to be coy, Roy. Just listen to me. My son, Leo? Drop off the key, Lee.

Somebody stop me!!!

Soon a giant police officer arrived on the scene. Re-ow. City’s finest indeed. Slip out the back, Jack. While we waited for the transit supervisor a crazy thing happened. Another car slid through the stop sign – and straight into oncoming traffic.  And it wouldn’t be the last of the day – I saw yet another car, totalled, in that exact same spot.

Turns out the salters had yet to arrive and my street was paved in black ice. All the what-ifs flashed through my head. Smaller, vulnerable cars. Smaller, vulnerable people. Yikes!!!

The supervisor finally showed up, supervised and dismissed us all. I saw my car, my treasure, in a new and improved light. We may have broken a bus, but that whole “I looked like I ran into a bus”? Nope, not us! Just a wee dent that a swift kick soon remedied. I was giddy with love for my car. What’s a little high-pitch squeak? Or a staticky speaker? I had safety. I had sturdiness. I salute the Swedes! Viva La Volvo!

Until summer. When the sun hits that black paint and turns the tin into an unbreathable hot box.

But for now? Nothing but the best premium petrol for my tank. And maybe even a car wash. Thank you car-gods. Sorry ’bout the bus.

January 21, 2011   No Comments

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Gen Pop

I saw Paul McCartney the other night. Live! On stage! Brilliant. Genius. And very very energetic – the guy played for 3 hours straight, only stopping to chat, bow and change instruments. The consummate showman, he didn’t even have a sip of water. Extraordinary.

Of course, seeing a Beatle (live! on stage!) you’d expect nothing less. Sure there were moments of Macca solo stuff that kind of left me cold. Not the Wings stuff – I’m a huge fan and the Live and Let Die pyrotechnic extravanganza was pretty spectacular. But who knew Sir Paul had an alter-ego called “The Fireman”? (and…erm…after hearing The Fireman’s song, who cared?) Not I. Still, he was unreal, even his UK football-hooligan song that sounded like a bar-mitzvah dance kind of appealed when you’re watching PMcC live! On Stage!

Except we were kind of watching the screen.

See, we went in a box. Up, up, up we went in our VIP elevator. There we were, 4 of us in a box built for many more. We had privacy, we had Erin the hostess bringing us food and drinks. And we had vertigo. We were up high in the privacy of our guilded cage. And waaaaaaay down below were the people. Far from the madding crowd indeed.

Worst. Seats. Ever.

It was a far cry from the old days of concert going for me. When I was younger my Grandfather had what we all called “connections”. Who they were and how they worked didn’t matter. We’d ask and, aside from a Neil Young/Neil Diamond mix-up, he delivered: a couple of seats somewhere in the first few rows on the floor.

Aaaah floors. We stood on our floor-seats for The Clash, the scary folks behind us holding our 15-year old selves up while the crowd heaved in front of us. We sat in the second row for David Bowie while all around us men in drag hollered their appreciation. And I know Steve Winwood winked at my friend and me when we were in our third row floor seats. From Donnie & Marie to Genesis, it was all about the floors.

As long as it wasn’t general admission. From the age of 14 we were free to go, unaccompanied, to any concert we wanted. As long as we had seats. Reserved seats. Beware the general admission ticket. They were dangerous. They were filled with freaks and punks and – gasp – stoners!!! I was never – ever – allowed to go to the general admission concerts.

But I did.

I spent most of the Who’s (first) farewell concert on the floor. Literally. All I saw were legs and shoes. Gen admission mixed with smoke inhalation had exhausted me -not that I’d ever admit it. So I sat down to catch my breath. In the end, it wasn’t worth it. I got busted and grounded and couldn’t go downtown to stalk the band at their hotel. My pals saw John Entwistle. I wept in my bedroom thinking of Boris the Spider. Sure he wasn’t our first choice but still… (Many years later, I saw Roger Daltrey at the premiere of Tommy:The Musical in London. And yeah, I got so overwhelmed I welled up, but that’s another story.)

Still, my general admission days were over.

Until I reached London. I was free to go and do and see whoever I wanted. But there was a catch: no connections. Zero. You want house seats at the theatre or a reservation at the best restos in town? I could use my boss’ name and get ’em any day of the week. But for concerts, I was Gen Pop.

And was I ever. It started with The Pogues. I was dragged to see them after forcing my pal to see Blood Brothers on stage in the West End.  I didn’t really know who they were, but I did know Joe Strummer (RIP) was singing leads while Shane McGowan dried out in prison. We arrived at Brixton Academy and wormed our way to the front. My pal suggested – firmly – that we head towards the back. But I wasn’t listening. I was already deep into my fantasy of Joe Strummer spotting me in the front row, bringing me backstage to wait for him and…well, you get the picture. Celtic punk be damned. So as my pal headed to the bar at back, I was thrust against the bars at the front. It was so intense I couldn’t breathe. As the crowds went wild, I stopped breathing. Luckily I made eye contact with the nice bouncer who encouraged the drunks behind me to heave me up and over the gates. Total Room 101. Being hoisted over the fence, my ass up in the air as I was folded over the guardrail – top half down, bottom half flailing wildly, all the while hating Joe Strummer and trying not to cry. Ended up with my earrings ripped out of my ears and an enormous grid-shaped bruise across my entire stomach. I was lucky I didn’t break a rib.

But not lucky enough to avoid Gen Pop the next time around. No, that took seeing Radiohead, The Cranberries and REM at Milton Keynes. On a sweltering summer day where booze was allowed in, but water was not. Don’t ask. Needless to say, by the time REM took the stage with “What’s the Frequency Kenneth” my feet weren’t touching the unreserved, general admission floor. I bobbed, involuntarily, towards the front, frantically looking for my then boyfriend. He thought I was dancing. I wasn’t. He gave me the thumbs-up. I screamed as I headed towards Michael Stipe. As I was passed from hand-to-hand in mosh pit fashion, the crowd stamped and cheered “R-E-M. R-E-M.” And I chanted too: RE-SERVED SEATS. RE-SERVED SEATS. Once again, I reached the front where the kind bouncer saw the terror in my eyes. Up and over I went, to dry out with the rest of the losers in the health tent.

So maybe our 6th level corporate box seats weren’t so bad after all.

U2 is coming back to town next July. See you on the floor.

August 12, 2010   3 Comments

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All Joy, No Fun…

I recently came across a fabulous article entitled “I Love My Children. I Hate my Life.”

I was dumbfounded. Flabbergasted. All those great words that describe that shock ‘n awe feeling…

According to the most recent studies, having kids makes you unhappy. I’m paraphrasing of course, but when I read this, I wanted to refute it at every word. I’m deliriously happy. Except when I’m not. And staying home and being there for my children is completely fulfilling…

OK. Not really. But….How did they know??

I did prefer washing up the dinner to bathing my kids. And of course I’d rather bake something real then pretend cook fake food. Stacking blocks, fitting shapes into holes, doing the simplest of puzzles….No, no and no thank you.

Sure, I could get into playing – I’d build something kinda cool, only to watch one of my guys gleefully knock it down. I loved when my boys helped me with my mini-business in the kitchen. As long as they understood I was totally and utterly in charge and they followed by every direction. Not so fun for them, tho’ raw dough is always a good incentive.

Yes, I confess: I hate the park. Ditto Sportball and other kiddie programs, watching Teletoon, and bro-on-bro (-on-bro) wrestling. We joke that it’s Rated M for Mother. because this mother can’t stand to look.But the park? Stresses me out. Either I’m standing still in the sun, repetitively pushing swings or, even worse, watching my 2-year old clamber up structures much taller than me – with several ill-spaced openings, perfect for falling from. That gut instinct that tells you not to walk off an edge? My son doesn’t have it. Or maybe he does but finds it hilarious seeing me try to figure out which side of said climber he has the least chance of tumbling from. It’s quite a dance we do. I envied my friends whose kids preferred the sandpit. They’d sit for hours and yeah, emerge filthy, dumping sand all over the floor, but my boys did that sans sand. And at least my friends got to shmooze with the other moms in the park. As one person pointed out: that’s not the point. You’re supposed to shmooze with your kids.

Oh.

A lot of my female friends have confessed to not being very good at (ie not really enjoying)”playing”. Maybe because quite often, they’ve got other things to do (dinner, laundry, sorting through old clothes). One friend of mine told me the best day she ever had with her kids at the park was the day she figured she’d let them eat cereal for dinner.

Maybe it’s a girl thing. My Man loves to play with our boys. Maybe they have too much access to me or maybe (gulp) he’s just more fun. Apparently I’m more “talk-y”. Not sure how to take that.

The article mentions the “golden age” of child-rearing: when the kids are 6-12. Babies and toddlers are hard, and teenagers are worse. Our guys are 2, 5 and 7. I fear we’ll never be in that golden age. When my youngest turns 6, my oldest will be 12. Little kids, little problems and all that…

Either way, we’re right in thick of it. There’s a lot of “drudgery”. A lot of “chores”. And a lot of counting to 3 (and wondering what you’ll do if you reach the magic number and your kid doesn’t care). And yet, when my very busy baby starts singing “Imma Be”, complete with fist-pumping, I howl. And when my not-so-compliant middle guy joins me on my errands – he doesn’t like to miss a thing – he slays me with love and laughter (cliches be damned) every time. And when my super-sensitive eldest and I went to NYC, just the two of us, there was nothing better. It was like a honeymoon of sorts – but with my kid.

I feel like the “unhappiness” comes less from the kids and more from the loss of freedom that parenting brings. Same thing? Perhaps. Freedom is a luxury that I for one definitely took for granted. Going out wherever, whenever is no longer an option. Thinking solely of myself is impossible. Not because I’m the perfect wife and mother, but because it’s literally impossible. There’s always someone who needs something, somehow, somewhere. Or I get tired. Or distracted. But appreciating it now – is that about parenting? Or just growing up?

The grass is always, always greener. But seeing so many of my own “bad thoughts” put onto paper was quite gratifying. And enlightening. Therapeutic even.

But fleeting.

If you have a chance, grab NY Mag and head for the toilet. And don’t forget to lock the door.

For those for whom this is impossible: check it out on-line.

July 26, 2010   1 Comment

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Words with Friends

I adore my iPhone. It’s the best. Damn. Toy. Evah.

Sure, I’ve had to have it replaced (I’m on my fourth, but feeling optimistic). And it’s not great when you leave town and find yourself at the whim of the data-roaming packages. And the pictures are lame, at best. But still….I’m a loyal user. A true blue iPhoner.

Unlike those with crackberries, I wouldn’t call myself addicted. I don’t email at meals. I don’t text ‘n drive. And aside from a little show ‘n share with other Mac Daddies ‘n moms, I pretty much have the whole etiquette/right time-right place thing down.

Or, rather, I did. And then a friend invited me to play an innocent game of Words With Friends. And I told two friends. Who told two friends. And so on. And so on. And so on.

And everything changed. Those who know, know it all too well. They understand my pain and longing for one. more. turn. And those who don’t – beware. Basically, it’s Scrabble. Plain and simple. Only instead of sitting across from your competitors, waiting for them to hurry up and play already, you carry on with your day and everyone just plays as and when.

Sounds harmless, right? Riiiiight. Let’s just say that it can be. One of my mates is working nights. In England. So I’m awake while she’s at work. What could be better? But the rest of my games are E.S.T. And they’re getting more vicious by the hour. It’s reached the point where I’m making mental notes about good words to use. I see triple word scores as I fall asleep. I’ve learned that “heeze”, “vag” and “thio” count. “Zoot” does not, no matter how many times I try. “X” and “Q” are always great. Gimme an “I” and it’s points galore. “J” and “K” not so much.

I have friends with whom I chat at least 4 times a day. And we talk about our games. My mother sends me messages mid-game, berating me for not playing faster. Another pal and I stayed up past midnight, desperate to finish our match. Just so we could start another one. Which of course we did, and then proceeded to stay up so we could finish that one etc.

At one point I went rogue – and started up a game with a total stranger. I don’t know which was worse – the feeling that I could be playing with some kind of creep, or the fear that this potential creep would kick my ass. Either way, I got too stressed and ended it after one round. And then returned to my usual suspects.

I went away with a couple of friends and it was all we could do to not play against each other – in the same room!! Instead, we poured a couple drinks and played real scrabble. Sure, it was fun – especially when we used our iPhones to look up questionable words – but it took sooooo long.

I’ve tried to stop, I really have. Sometimes it feels like I’m just making words up, testing the gadget to see if it’ll bust me. It always does. But once in a while, it allows me to get away with words I never knew existed!! Good times! And now my Man has come over to the dark side. He’s gone and got himself an iPad. It’s cool. It’s slick. It’s downright magnificent. He says it’s for work.

I say it’s for Words.

Berg. Orb. Haw. Ugh. Heh.

Game on – gotta run.

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BEST.. I STAY UP UNTIL 2 A.M. AND AM REALLY AGGRAVATED WHEN I DONY GET A RETURN WORD.
I HAVE BEEN LAUGHING WHILE SENDING” WORDS”
THANKS FOR THIS NEW HAUNTING HABIT
LOVE YOU NUMBER 1 FAN

12:10 AM

Anonymous said…

addicted! what a great way to start my day reading this! one thing……. you forgot to mention that instead of getting up in the am to pee 1st. thing i check my games and make a move sometimes in both directions!!!!!!!

8:45 AM

Anonymous said…

Love the game – but the cheek of it! It seems everyone else (and yes, that means you and for some resaon my cousin) but me gets the software to accept absurd words. And yes, I feel there is a conspiracy when it takes 5 round before i get a vowel!!!!!!

June 3, 2010   No Comments

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Glee vs The Volcano

It’s the 20th of April. Tuesday. For the past 3 months I’ve been dreaming of this night. The night I’d spend on an Air Canada Airbus, flying across the Atlantic in my business class seat – nay, fully reclining bed. In a pod. With a privacy screen. Sure, I’d arrive jetlagged and spent – after all who wants to waste a business class flight SLEEPING?! I’d be staying up to enjoy every second of it.

But ’twas not to be.

Bloody Ash. Stooooopid Icelandic volcano. My story’s not a bad one. I canceled my flight a day in advance and re-booked for a couple of weeks from now. I’m not stranded, in transit or missing anything or anyone. I’m just staying put. At home. Constantly checking the status of the various flights to Heathrow because I’ve become addicted to British Airport Authority updates and all things Eyjafjallajokul (and yeah I had to cut ‘n paste that one). I’m also watching the neighbouring volcano, Katla, the one that could really f&ck us all up.

It’s all so “Day After Tomorrow”, no?

I tried to put on a happy face. Until I took a shower and the pipes two floors down exploded. That’s right readers, it’s the plumbing. Again. No running water, no flushing, five people.

A far cry from business class.

But there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon as the 5 grand dig begins. And there was happiness in the air tonight, not just sewage.

Because of Glee.

Everyone watches Glee, right?

RIGHT?!?

If you’re not. You should be. And you should start with tonight’s Madonna Tribute episode. Yep, all Madge, all the time. The results? As Kurt says: Madge-ical.

Cheesy, yes. Absolutely, unapologetically and resoundingly so. And that’s what makes Glee work. Musicals + one hour TV does not a perfect partner make. And to be honest, I was getting nervous about Glee. It started with a bang, totally remaking – and rejuvenating – network television. And Journey. “Don’t Stop Believin’?” Never liked it the first time round, but love it all Glee’d up.

As the shows went on, they had their highs (Kurt’s “Single Ladies”) and lows (most of Emma’s numbers). But I was getting nervous. It felt like the writers were pulling out the wrecking ball….and focusing on the adults. Sure “Acafellas” is a funny name for a group, but I’m not so big into Will Schuester. His fake-pregnant, soon-to-be-ex-wife? Yes yes yes. His romance with the bush baby Emma? Only as the B-story. Keep it with the kids.

But I needed Glee tonight. Early Glee. I needed to know that, stuck at home with backed up toilets, I could count on television to take me away….

And tonight, thanks to Sue Sylvester, it did. Fact is, Jane Lynch could stand stock still and have everybody howling. She’s a master of comic timing and delivery but lately even she, well, her rivalry with Will, was starting to grate …. Until tonight.

Tonight was Sue’s night. Her obsession/tribute to Madonna could’ve been a trainwreck. But it was glorious. She was glorious. Made me (almost) forget about the men I was paying to dig up my front yard tomorrow morning. Even my pvr cutting out (AGAIN) with 5 minutes to go couldn’t put a damper on Glee tonight.

Perhaps it’s becasue I was at the end of my rope. Or, more likely, because it was coming off yet another dreary American Idol. “Songs of Inspiration”?! Puh-lease. Songs to sleep by. Or cringe. Call me a cynical bitch but I thought Mamasox’s breakdown was as contrived as….well, the show itself. I didn’t see any tears. I think she was working it. And it worked. Maybe I’m just over it. Between the youngster and the grinner and the all-round earnestness there’s just not much more left to say other than: it blows. You can read all about it on all the other blogs/mags/sites. Bye bye Simon. Tick tock Idol. Hello Glee!

Just when I feared it had prematurely run its course, Glee sucked me back in. Welcome back! My name is MOAM. And, yeah, I’m grounded by Icelandic ash. And practically living in a campground without the luxury of an outhouse. But I’ll say it loud: I’m a Gleek and I’m proud.

For now. The winds could change…..

Posted by Mother of all Mavens at 10:21 PM

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

ANOTHER BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BLOG..
YOU NEVER EVER KNOW WHEN ONE OF THESE DAYS OR SHOULD I SAY BLOGS WILL HIT THE PAPERS.
YOU ARE THE BEST BEST EVER

11:43 PM

Anonymous said…

your ends are fab! Don’t tell m ethe PVR cuts out again!!! Why do they do this? We shoudl start a petition and send it around and then to the networks to stop screwing with our recording!!!

9:19 AM

Leslie said…

Could NOT agree more, my friend! You are hilarious. What? No flushing? I would cry, and cry hard. You’re my hero.
Glee lost me, as you said, focusing on the dumb-dumb adults, and frankly rarely seeing Sue Sylvester anymore, what were the writers thinking? You’re being an enemy to comedy if you don’t utilize Jane Lynch to her fullest! Then the Madonna episdoe, sweet jesus, that was GOOD!
And as my gay friend said about American Idol this season, move on dot org! it is seriously B-O-R-I-N-G! sadness, fo’ real.
love you!

April 20, 2010   7 Comments

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Top Cops

Yesterday afternoon, our street was a-blazin’. Literally. Another mom had just arrived to pick up her son. She pulled up in front of our house- OK, in front of the hydrant, in front of our house – and started getting her son ready to leave.

Suddenly, we heard sirens. They seemed to be getting closer. And then closer still. We joked that she’d better move her car….Ha ha, hydrant humour….

No joke.

Next thing we knew, there were 5 firetrucks, an ambulance and a handful of cop cars. Our friend was gone like the wind. I, along with the rest of the street, ran outside to check it all out. Massive black smoke clouds billowed out of the house two doors west. Its elderly occupants were outside, watching it burn. A firefighter staggered out of the house, was ushered to a chair and stripped of his equipment. He left in an ambulance soon after.

This ‘hood hasn’t seen so much excitement since, well, ever. The crowds gathered. My phone was ringing – concerned friends and neighbours wanted to make sure it wasn’t our house (not that I could’ve answered if it was – but sentiments were very much appreciated nonetheless).

The entire street was closed off in both directions, so a friend had to ferry my oldest son home, and I had to walk him back from the corner of the road. As we walked passed the house, he asked me what was happening. Having no clue, I stopped to ask a trio of police officers for the scoop.

Let me be clear: the firefighting element of the scene seemed to be over, or at least well under control. There were no flames, no smoke. A lot of official-looking folks from police, fire, and EMS were chatting. As were the neighbours. In other words, we were not interfering.

So we approach the coppers and ask one of them, a lady in gender only as it turned out, what was happening. She looked at me and my 6 year old son and deadpanned “A plane flew into the house”.

I looked at her. She stared back. I replied, calmly, “well, we know that’s not true, is it?” The other officer told us they were waiting for the smoke to clear and an inspection would follow. Blah blah blah – officialspeak for “no clue”.

As we walked home my son turned to me, fear in his eyes, and asked “did a plane REALLY fly into that house, Mommy?” And thus it began. I had to explain that the policewoman was, well, what WAS she doing? Making a joke? Scaring a child? Being a bitch?

The rebuttals came fast and quick – in my mind. I was tempted to go outside and tell her off. Report her to her superiors. Revoke her badge! Who tells a little kid something so stupid? And what if we were somehow affected personally by 9/11? The what-ifs were endless. As were my come-backs. If only I had the guts to use them. In time.

Needless to say, vigilante justice was not to be had. Or even contemplated. I didn’t feel like messing with the police force. Even if our taxes do pay her salary. Luckily, my son slept like a baby….Erm, better actually, as my baby was up all night looking for the firetrucks to come back.

Still, it was a real blow. I took it personally. “Our cops are tops”? Hardly. At least not this one – she was the bottom of the barrel.

The firemen, on the other hand, were another story altogether. Brave, tall and handsome -even the ones that weren’t, were! Toronto’s finest indeed…

March 11, 2010   No Comments

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Looking Good Luuuuuuu

Nature vs Nurture. A puzzling conundrum for people everywhere. Is it our genetics or our environment that shape us? Or is it a combo?

As I sit and watch the Olympics, I can’t help but ponder: are sports fans born? Or are they made? Because I find myself obsessed with Olympic Hockey and I can’t take it anymore!!!

My hockey fandom was hardly a given, despite the fact that I was born and raised here in Canada. Sure I hung around the rink as a kid. But only because I had no choice. My brother played hockey and I had to go along for the ride. But skating was never my thing. It still isn’t. Ditto for winter. And while I pretended to collect hockey cards, it was probably just to bother my brother, show him who was the boss – with the best cards.

I did go to the Saturday night games now and then. My grandfather and I, always leaving 5 minutes before the game ended, regardless of the score. That’s just the way it was. And I loved going. Not because I had to get dressed up (I did). And not because my grandfather and I shared meaningful moments (he didn’t speak). I liked those nights because of the pre-game dinner. Always a restaurant, sometimes a lobster.

So why is Team Canada making me want to hurl???

I hate sports. H.A.T.E. I’m the girl who brings a book to sporting events. Sure I watched a lot of hockey – mostly with various hockey-playing boyfriends. I’d grab my hot chocolate and feign interest, trying not to stare at the clock. I don’t get basketball – and apparently never will as my Man has banned me from going to games. What? I was bored… And football? Well, that’s an American thing. Almost a foreign language -that I have no desire to learn. That said, I did watch the Super Bowl for the first – and last? – time this year. Tennis anyone? Pas moi. Soccer? When I lived in London I found myself in a restaurant, alone, during the world cup. I was getting take out and could feel the pavement shaking when England scored. I thought it was some strange tremor. Hadn’t a clue.

But back to hockey. A few years ago I went to a game as a lark. Something to do on a Saturday night. By game’s end I’d bought a shirt and knew a handful of players. By the end of the season I knew every Leaf player. And number. I was in in in.

And then the league went on strike and I thought it was a passing fancy. A one-nighter stretched across a season. Nothing more.

I was wrong. I couldn’t shake it. Despite watching my home team lose time and time again, I held out hope. I didn’t just watch the games, I read the sports pages. I even watched the draft picks. And of course, the losses. Over and over again, the bloody losses.

And then……the Olympic circus came to town. Not my town, but to my television. And I got sucked in. Big time. And it was a revelation to be backing a winner. In their first game, my beloved Team Canada didn’t just win in, they killed it! Showed the poor Norwegians no mercy. And I loved it. What a high! What a thrill! And then….they played the Americans. And what a nightmare it was. It was during this nail-biting and ultimately gut-wrenching game that I wondered what I’d become. And how I could shake it.

I gasped. I groaned. I squirmed in my seat. None of it in a good way. My Man couldn’t take it. I was so tense I was stressing him out. I tried telling myself it was just a game. A hockey game. A bunch of mulleted, gap toothed boys skating around chasing a rubber disc with sticks. But it didn’t work. And when they did lose, I took it personally. Maybe I jinxed them by poo-pooing the importance of it all? Had I, like the team itself, taken it for granted that they’d win? You’d think I’d be used to backing the losers. But I fell for this team. And all the bloody marketing that went with it.

And so it continues. I watch the games, and then I discuss them. I read papers and teach my kids. I feel like I’m living in one of those cheesy commercials. In fact, I’ve gotten so into it, I’ve started liking those cheesy commercials!

Auf wiedersehen Deutchland. Nyet nyet Soviets. Close but no cigar Slovaks.

And now…..the Americans are coming. Coming back. And I’m trying to relax. Not get myself too worked up over the whole thing. It is after, all just a hockey game. At the very least, they’ll get a silver medal which is, in itself, pretty impressive, right? RIGHT?!

If only I believed that. If only I didn’t care. But I do. Please – let it all just end happily ever after already. So I can get back to my life or cheering for the losers. I didn’t think it’d be so hard to back a winner.

GO GOLD OR GO HOME!!!!!

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

Go barrie!!

February 25, 2010   No Comments

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The Golden Moment

January 1, 2002. D and I walk out of the Chinese Restaurant downtown. It’s freezing. He looks at me, his eyes smiling…

And thus the anecdotal Golden Moment begins…

I could write the script of my man’s marriage proposal word for word. It’s so etched in my brain now that I sometimes wonder if it happened as I remember it, or if I made up some of the lines. I could make a highlight reel of my wedding day. And night.And the fantastic once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon that followed. I could provide a play-by-play of the births of each of my three sons: the one that was induced, the one that came sailing out, the one that waited until after the needle but before the epidural could kick in to arrive. Not just Golden, these moments were Platinum, true life-changers in every sense of the word.

Don’t get me wrong, 100% pure gold they were not. Throw a few lumps of coal into these experiences to really make them true to life. That whole “best of times, worst of times” speech couldn’t be more true or appropriate if I made it up myself. Which I did not. Maybe that would’ve been my Golden Moment.

And yet, as life-changing as they were, to relive the dawning of my life as a wife and mother seems so clichéd…

Breaking up with a live-in lover after 5 years of unhealthy obsessions? That was a Golden Moment. Reaching my goal at Weight Watchers (unrelated to the intense weight loss after said break-up)? Another Goldie. Scuba diving at night – at night!? Blindingly gold. Even reading a eulogy for my beloved Grandmother was a Golden Moment for me, twisted as that might sound.

Then there are the times that are more gold-plated. The ones I look back on and smile, sometimes smugly. My first titled job in film and my name in Variety? 18 karat. Returning to the Kibbutz 6 weeks after bidding my temp-o-life there Shalom forever? Zahav. Watching Bono and The Edge perform in front of 100 people while seated in the third row? Gold-Record Gold.

For me, the Golden Moments aren’t what we see in coffee commercials. At least none of my moments are. Rather, they’re the forks in the road. Whether less travelled or well-trod, they’re the paths taken that lead us in totally different directions. Choose left and you’re an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, with a ton of air-miles and no personal life. Choose right and you’ve got a loving family, a cottage business and ONLY a personal life. For better and for worse. Those forks in the roads are the life-changers. The Golden Moments. THE moments. Full stop. And let’s face it, many of them are far more tarnished than they are Golden.

I guess I needed to rattle off the Golden Oldies’ Greatest Hits because a side of me wonders if those were the good old days. Or maybe throwing down these glorious slices of life onto the page plays into my suspicions that I’m still waiting for the Big One. Or worse: what if the Golden Moment has already come and gone?

And what if I missed it?!

Can you imagine? What if, while waiting for my time to shine, for that stand-out moment that would change my life – and possibly the world – for all eternity, I blinked? Would the moment be gone forever? Would I miss my chance to be something? Or someone? Someone other than who I am?

I guess what it comes down to is that life is full of so many Moments – golden, bronzed, and tarnished to shit. And you never know which are the real life changers until after they happen. At least I don’t. Retrospect is a beautiful thing. Weddings, divorces, births, and deaths. Travels, friendships, books and films. Even the blackest of moments become golden when they’re over. Because they’re over. And we’ve made it through. The beauty of life is the alchemy that helps keep us going. Turning crap into gold and hoping it sticks. Maybe it’s coming to this realization that makes up my Golden Moment. Or maybe it’s all just Fool’s Gold.

Posted by Mother of all Mavens at 6:43 PM

4 comments:

Anonymous said…

ok – fully publishable. send it to the globe – it’s great!!!

8:13 PM

Anonymous said…

You are wise! You are smart and you ARE golden!
Loved this…….

10:29 PM

Anonymous said…

This Blog is so wonderful , smart and your mind is so keen .
your introspection is a marvel
your words come out with such grace and tenderness.

10:12 AM

Anonymous said…

I found this site. And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

November 4, 2009   No Comments

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