1. The internet is first and foremost a place for looking at sailboats and sailboat accessories.
2. Strategic garage-saling. It involves checking the paper the night before, planning a route and then getting up at the crack of time and heading for Tim Hortons.
3. To be loyal and honest. He never had to beat me over the head with this. it just sort of came out in any advice he gave and in the way he is himself.
4. To work hard – This is another one where his actions really reinforced the lesson. My dad is goofy and hilarious and playful but he is also a very dedicated and diligent worker who takes pride in a job well done and in finishing what he starts.
5. To be polite and friendly to everyone.– This didn’t come from nowhere.
6. To be positive. Despite all that hard working, at the end of the day, as a kid I’d often hear him coming before he got in the door, as he’d be strolling along, whistling some happy tune by the time he got to the house. While my whistling is sadly inadequate, I have tried to find that balance of working hard, but then leaving work behind at 5:00 and making a point of enjoying the rest of the day.
7. That my freckles and moles are beauty marks. This was his explanation one day when we were driving somewhere and after examining my little face in the side mirror, I wanted to know what the heck the mole above my lip was. Obviously I immediately counted up every freckle, mole or mysterious spot on my skin and concluded that I must be gorgeous.
8. To be compassionate and to be generous to others, especially when life has been generous to you. When I was about 11, my parents and my aunt and uncle and I spent a few days in Toronto, seeing the sights, and more importantly, from my perspective, seeing the stage production of Beauty and the Beast, (on the day of which, I inconveniently developed all the flu-ish symptoms of what turned out to be chicken pox. Whoops). I’ll never forget seeing my dad, all dressed up for the theatre, stop on the way in to chat with a miserable looking man who was panhandling in the bitter cold and give him $20.
Over the years I’ve seen him reach out a helping hand to many a stranger in need, and he gives in such a natural, easygoing way, banishing any potential awkwardness from potentially awkward situations with an open face and a genuine smile, and maybe a joke or two.
9. To be curious about/interested in people. Driving around town with my dad when he’s in a certain mood can be a hilairous game of “What’s that person doing? where are they going and why are they going there?” We roll our eyes, shake our heads and laugh at his assumptions, but I think really it’s just that he’s curious about people, which is a quality I’ve definitely inherited.
10. To fish. While it’s not a skill I use anymore, I have great memories of one-on-one time fishing with my dad, digging for worms in the backyard, and his insistence that you can’t possibly fish without timbits. Of course, it never occurred to me as a little girl, but looking back, I really appreciate that he didn’t wait around until he had a son to take his kid fishing. Because in never excluding me from things, or assuming I wouldn’t like them based on my girlness, he taught me never to doubt that I am just as important, just as valued and just as loved as my highly valued and loved brother.
And I wear that love like a superhero cape.
In case any of you who aren’t already avid listeners of the Petecast, I’ll have you know, Peter Dewolf was kind enough to have me on as a guest once again last week.
This time, we answered Americans’ questions about Canada, discussed our short-lived stage careers, and put plans in motion for a glorious lobster feast…I mean blogger fest…I mean Blogster Fest.
I love to write.
Shocking, I know. You probably all thought I was writing this blog as some kind of hair shirt until now, but I promise you, it’s true. I love to write.
But I grooooaaan like a waterlogged old door in a haunted house whenever I have to write one particular thing.
The dreaded “short bio”.
By rights it should be easy. I mean, what subject am I more of an authority on than me? And Heaven knows I’ve written enough of them, from dating profiles, blog About Me’s to professional cover letters.
Why is it so hard to write about ourselves, to get ourselves down on paper? Does anyone like writing these? Is it possible to write one without spiralling into some kind of ridiculous existential crisis?
I breathe deep, and try to bring it back to the basics. The solid facts about me.
I know that I am a 27-year-old 5’2”-ish woman with brown hair and green eyes.
I know that I have a journalism background, I am competent in photoshop. I have buckets of administrative and customer service experience.
I know that I try hard to be kind and loyal and compassionate and honest. I think that I usually am.
I know that I talk a lot.
I know that I laugh a lot.
I love words. I make terrible puns and delight in nerdy wordplay.
I’m messy, I’m curious, I’m friendly, I’m affectionate. I’m goofy. I’m strange.
I’m an activist, feminist, karaoke enthusiast.
I make dove “coo-ing” sounds unconsciously when I’m excited or content or bored.
I have amazing friends and family whom I love fiercely.
I like to travel. I like to bake. I enjoy theatre and music and television and crocheting and indoor rock climbing.
I am opinionated and often, I think the world would run better if everyone just did what I told them to do.
I live my life guided by a fine balance of intuition and logic and maybe a little bit of magic.
I love to cuddle when I’m awake but almost never when I sleep.
I’m far from blind to the evils of the world, but I’m determinedly optimistic.
And of course, I’m introspective and navel-gazey and apparently utterly incapable of writing a comprehensive and succinct autobiography.
Am I the only one who finds this a totally daunting task? Do you find it easier or harder to describe yourself in a limited number of words as opposed to others?
My mom always told me I would be great on the radio. I tried to take it as a compliment rather than some kind of horrible confirmation that mine was a face that not even my mom could love. (Just kidding mom. I know you love my face “Have you SEEN my face?”)
For whatever reason, the funny and talented blogger, Peter Dewolf appears to agree about my “radio” suitability, as he allowed me to take part in the second of his series of “Petecasts”
In the, what some (me) would call ramble-y and others (Peter) call charming and delightful, podcast, we discuss (among other things) blogging, making enemies, Pete’s inner (Julia) Child and the time I was mistaken for Miss Canada.
The other night I dreamed about bears. Three Giant, terrifying, man-eating bears that somehow squeezed into my family home, the baby attacking my brother, who didn’t hear my parents and me frantically yelling for him to stay upstairs.
My mom came to his rescue by full-body tackling the giant baby bear and inexplicably dragging it up the stairs as some kind of hostage, thinking she could reason with the adult bears, I suppose, leaving my dad and I downstairs while the giant bear parents followed her. “Why does no one have a gun?!” I screamed at my dad as I frantically went through the kitchen drawers looking for something to kill a murderous gang of bears with and realizing that all of us were about to be horribly killed as I handed him a large bread knife.
I snapped awake with a gasp, terrified, and then, relieved. Relieved to wake to a reality where my family and I were not engaged in a fight to the death with giant evil bears, sure, but also to be waking up, for the first time in months, from a nightmare that was not about my ex-fiance.
Relieved to wake up just scared, not sad, not angry, just afraid. Relieved not to wake up to a face wet with unconscious tears I refused to cry while awake. Relieved to feel like myself again, if only for a little while. Relieved to catch a glimpse of sun, new growth, a whiff of living earth.
Any sign to hold onto, anything to believe that spring will indeed come.
That this long, cold winter will soon just be a memory, no more than a bad dream.
This weekend we lost an hour but gained a little bit of spring. Red and I took advantage of the beautifully balmy temperatures to stroll over to the Junction Flea Market in the beautiful old Great Hall on Queen West.
The whole thing made me nostalgic for the decidedly less hip, or at least less aware of its hipness, flea market I used to frequent in cottage country back in my small town reporter days. There were a couple of price tags that would have raised an eyebrow or two amongst the rural vendors. It is my humble opinion that $130 used sunglasses have no place at a flea market. Still, there were certainly deals and treasures to be had here and the food was definitely more impressive. It was a great way to spend a laid back Sunday afternoon.
How was your weekend, pets? Did you get a chance to soak up some early Spring sunshine?
Let’s listen to a little Feist, shall we? (Just when I thought I couldn’t love her more, at her concert at Massey Hall over a year ago she implored her fans to be good little activists and do their part to stop the then-proposed mega-quarry threatening environmental degradation to a ludicrous amount of area farmland.)
I love that we have a dedicated day to celebrate the achievements of women. I’m so grateful to the feminists and activists who’ve come before me, and happy to count myself among those still working towards a world where people are not discriminated against based on something as inconsequential as gender.
This year in particular my hat is off to the four courageous women who started the Idle No More movement, demanding accountability from the Canadian government in regards to its promises to First Nations people and better treatment of the environment, and to my fellow Torontonians, Heather Jarvis and Sonya JF Barnett, co-founders of Slutwalk, an amazing, now international effort to shut down victim blaming in cases of sexual assault and harrassment.
Who are the women you admire today?
It’s that time of the month again! The wonderful time of the month when it’s my turn to post a little something for the fantastic collaborative blog with the terrible name, Pooping Rainbows.
Considering the staggering amount of time I spend talking, I actually spend a surprising amount of time creating a perfect imprint of my teeth along the edge of my tongue.
I have what might be a bad habit of keeping quiet when I’m hurt or angry. I can probably count on one hand the number of times when I’ve told someone that I was really angry at them or that their treatment of me was not ok, but if I ever run out of small talk, it’s a good bet there’s something eating away at me, which, really, still gets the job done, although maybe not as quickly as just coming right out and saying it. But I like to think that most of the things I leave unsaid don’t cause too much harm.
“Sippy Cup” I can’t explain it. I just LOATHE these two “words”? One compound “word”? I think it’s just because it seems to always be said in a cloying baby voice. Or maybe it just has too many ps. Anyway, don’t want to hear it. Don’t want to say it.
“Girls” when referring to myself, my friends or any other female over the age of 18. This one is more recent. I remember my mom occasionally correcting my dad on this one when I was younger, and I never got her insistence on it. But I get it now. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy being a girl, but I’m a grown-ass woman who pays her own rent. Being called a “girl” at this point, especially from older men just feels like a patronizing pat on the head. Not a fan. Although, if Ryan Gosling decides to end his relationship with whatshername and “Hey Girl” me, I might be willing to turn a blind ear at least once.
Click here to read the rest and check out some of the other great bloggers involved while you’re at it!
Good news! It’s the crummiest day of the year.
According to beatbluemonday.com, the formula for the worst day of the year was identified by some guy named Cliff who looked at the following factors: weather (W), debt (d), time since Christmas (T), time since failing our new year’s resolutions (Q), low motivational levels (M) and the feeling of a need to take action (Na).
He sounds like a blast.
But man, does he have an impact. I informed a colleague who mentioned something about it being Monday about the alleged blueness of the day. It was comical, the way her shoulders slumped and her face fell instantly. Suggestion is a powerful thing indeed.
So here’s what I suggest: today, bubble baths and kind words and comfort foods for everyone. Embrace the weather! Go skating! Play in the snow! Floss your teeth or get some exercise or sign up to do that volunteer thingy or whatever your New Year’s resolution entails! There’s no way you could have failed it yet, you have a whole year for those things, don’t you? If new years resolutions were just meant to be worked on for a week or so, they’d just be called to do lists!
And cheer up, pets! If this is indeed the worst day of the year, at least tomorrow’s bound to be a better day.
As I may have let on in my last post, (and in this one) my romantical whirlwind appears to have tornadoed out of control and the tidy, sparkly future that was gifted to me out of the blue was wrenched devastatingly back out of my grasp.
Single to engaged and back again. I don’t think a year has ever left me so bewildered. And believe you me, I’ve had some baffling, incomprehensible years that left me dizzy as a Skip-It (remember Skip-It? So fun! At least, until you accidentally bashed it against your ankle like a horrible pink mace). And worse than the brokenheartedness and general confusion, the whole debacle left me feeling more unsure of my own instincts than I’ve ever been.
Fortunately, the Christmas Holiday arrived just in time for me to come home to the place I’m sure of and lean on the people who leave me with no doubt that I am loved to bits.
My coping mechanism when dealing with grief is to throw myself into my work and schedule my life so full that I don’t have time to dwell on things that are beyond my control. So the prospect of two weeks vacation in my quiet little hometown made me a little nervous.
It turns out though, that the magic of family and home was exactly what I needed. For the first time that I can remember, instead of trying to outrun my sadness, I let it wash over me in little waves, my soul anchored steady by home, drawing strength and comfort from every cozy little corner, familiar texture, every colour I know by heart.
Home gave me something to be sure of when nothing else seems certain.