Sunday, May 31, 2009

What is reality anyways?

I’ve spent the week debating whether to talk about something or not. Not because it’s anything scandalous, but more because it’s something that has both frightened and yet intrigued me at the same time.

I have been a fan of the show Jon & Kate plus 8 since the day it premiered. I have followed this family from the infancy of their twins and sextuplets, through their first days of school, their move to a larger home and now, through what appears to be the most trying days of their marriage. Now I don’t know these people…I know what their show portrays, and I know what I read in the media, but I have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors. The one thing I do know is that I have watched through the years as a seemingly strong marriage and family fell apart in front of my eyes. And that scares me.

My husband and I have a strong marriage…some say too strong. We do everything together, we go everywhere together, and we know each other inside out and backwards. And in my mind, I never, ever see that changing. But what if Jon and Kate didn’t either? How do marriages fall apart? If you love each other completely, what would have to happen to change that?

It’s easy for me to judge others…I have always said that Kate nags Jon way too much…but if I stop to think about it, I nag my husband. What if he cracks some day? What if I make one too many helpful driving suggestions…or remind him one too many times that it’s garbage day…

I thought the kids were probably a strain on their relationship. But since we’re trying to have our own right now, what if that happens to us? (There’s a new tidbit of info for some of you J) I don’t anticipate having 8 children…in fact, I can say with 100% certainty that we won’t. But what if we have twins or triplets? Could we handle the pressure? We have enough trouble remembering to feed our cat some days.

And then there are the cameras always in their faces. I firmly believe this is the root of their problems. It’s been obvious that Jon has been tired of them for a while now, and who can blame him? If I had 8 kids, the last thing I would be thinking about in the morning is getting dressed and doing my hair so that I look good for the cameras. And who wants to eat breakfast in front of a TV camera? With the way Kate yells at Jon, I’m sure it’s a little embarrassing for him to know his friends and family are all watching every ‘wrong’ move.

My husband and I spent time Monday night after the show talking about this very issue…trying to reassure each other that we are nothing like Jon & Kate. In my mind, I vowed to stop nagging as much…just to be safe. And then we went out…and the helpful driving hints came out again. Oh well, he’s put up with them for 9 years already… I just hope it all works out for the best for Jon & Kate, and even though I know I shouldn’t, I’ll be watching every week, hoping for the best.

This week was a busy one at work. There is always so much to be done, and never enough hours to get it all completed. It’s good though…I like a challenge. I’ve been losing weight like crazy for the past couple of weeks. Not sure why…I’m not trying to…but all of a sudden I’ve stopped being hungry. I can take 2 bites of a meal and be full, so I find myself doing just that. If I didn’t have so much to lose, I might be worried, but I’ve decided to give myself 50 lbs. before I worry. Since I’m losing at a rate of a pound a day, I figure a check up in late summer will be in order! I have a couple of theories as to why it’s happening, both healthy reasons, so I’m going to hold on to those and see what happens. I had a phase like this in university once that reversed itself quickly enough, so I’m not holding out much hope that it will last!

We went to see the movie “Up” last night. What a good movie! It’s a Pixar film, so it had one of those cool short films at the beginning which I enjoyed as much as the movie itself. The movie had a sweet story to it, and literally had me crying within the first 15 minutes or so. I encourage you to see it. It’s 3D, so you get cool Corey Hart-esque glasses to wear too.

It was our first time in the new Westmount VIP Theatre, which was cool, but kind of weird. The site of 20-somethings pouring pitchers of beer through the movie, and eating sushi and sweet potato fries was slightly distracting, but the fact that we were watching a kid’s movie without a single kid in the theatre was kind of nice! The first row is La-Z-Boy recliners which we tried out once most of the theatre had cleared out. I don’t know what it would be like being so close to the screen but damn, were they comfy! I think I’d likely fall asleep in them!

I’ve found my tastes getting more and more expensive over the years. I would think nothing of spending an extra $10 to go to the VIP theatre again for the added comforts, even though 4 weeks ago, before the theatre opened, I had no issues with a regular theatre. I find it almost impossible to stay in a hotel with less than 4 stars now, even though I spent my childhood in crappy motels on family vacations and never wished for more luxury. I have a hard time ordering steak anywhere but The Keg…in fact, I don’t. But really, our budget does not – should not – allow for us to be known as regulars there. And yet, we are, to the extent that we get free drinks, staff discounts, hell, we exchange emails with some of the staff! I know which waiters are students, which ones are budding musicians, which are lifers there. And I like that. I don’t think I’d ever get that level personal attention and service at Arby’s or Pizza Hut, and really the place and the people are as important to me as the food.

So, basically, I am becoming a snob…and a poor one at that! Unfortunately my employer does not seem to be keeping up with my higher cost of living, so that’s a problem. What’s a girl to do? I guess I could always invite a reality show into our home…

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thoughts in C-sharp

When I was younger, the thought of listening to a country music song was enough to make my want to run screaming from the room, likely shouting something profound like “gag me with a spoon”…ah, to be a child of the 80’s again! But over the years, I have found myself being drawn more and more to the catchy, if often heartbreaking, lyrics. I don’t know when my tastes began changing, but I think I’m slowly figuring out WHY they changed.

When you hear a song called “Live Like You Were Dying” at 15, it probably doesn’t have much of an impact on you. I mean really, how many 15 year olds a) are thinking about dying and b) know what they would change if they were. But add 10 or 15 years to your life experience, and chances are good that you have faced your own mortality at some point. Maybe you had a health scare, maybe someone close to you did. If you’re in a line of work like mine, working with people who are faced with their own mortality constantly, you find yourself counting your blessings every day, and asking yourself what you would change if you were faced with the knowledge that your remaining days were numbered. I do it almost every day. Following through on those things…now that’s a different story.

Or take your heartbreak songs. My current favourite is “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascall Flatts. My apologies to anyone who has come close enough to me in the past few weeks to hear me belt it out. I sing it to my husband, who of course looks at me with fear in his eyes since it’s a break-up song, but I just love the melody. As a teen, this song would have been pathetic. As an adult, this song puts a lump in my throat because I know how awful the pain of losing someone is. Rascall Flatts is particularly good at this type of ‘missing you’ song, and I love every one of them. Unfortunately, I also love singing every one of these songs, even though their lead singer’s voice is a couple of octaves higher than mine. I wonder if that is why my cat is deaf?

And THEN you get to the good songs…the drinking songs! Now I don’t drink. In fact, I’ve never been drunk in my life. But for some reason, when these songs come on, not only do they energize me, but I find myself singing them like I’m drunk. Why???? The king of the rocking drinking song is Toby Keith, who I have a love/hate relationship with. I love him because he’s hot (sorry honey). I hate him because he’s a redneck hick who loves George Bush, guns and war. But he’s still hot…

Songs like “You Ain’t Much Fun Since I Quit Drinking”, “Beer For My Horses”, “As Good As I Once Was”…kids can’t relate to beer brawls…well, actually I can’t either, but somehow I can appreciate them more now. It’s that bad boy thing again, I think. You’ll notice that as a theme on this site!

Now that I’ve risked losing half of you who have never heard of any of these songs…well, I hope you’ll go to You Tube and look for them…they’re really good! But it’s not just country songs I’ve come to respect. I have found myself gravitating towards pop and rock songs with messages…songs about love, hate, ignorance, faith. Although, I must admit, this genre doesn’t lend itself to quite as many profound tunes…I guess Flo Rida, Soulja Boy and Lady Gaga still have some growing up to do. They could all use an English class or two as well!

I am a huge fan of Jason Mraz, although I’m still not sure why he bends over backwards to check his tongue in the mirror. Surely there are easier ways of accomplishing the task. I was loving Fergie until “Boom Boom Pow” came out…not really sure about that one. I feel like I should be angry when I listen to it. And Pink’s “Please Don’t Leave Me”…and better yet “So What”. Here’s a lesson ladies…don’t write a song about how much you hate your ex if there’s a chance you’re going to get back together with him! Because then you have to put him in the video and it just gets awkward.

As you can tell, music is playing a huge part of my life lately. I guess it’s just where I am right now…living, loving, learning. If I could keep a beat or hold a tune, I have no doubt that right now I would be trying to get into a band…can you be a lead singer and a drummer at the same time though? Could prove tricky. It’s probably best that I just remain a listener and an ‘alone in the car’ singer. It’s too late for my poor cat, but at least I can protect the others.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Just me and my Kleenex box

It’s not hard to make me cry. I cry at just about everything. Happy stories, sad stories…doesn’t really matter. I’ve been watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for 13 minutes and the tears are already rolling down my cheeks. What is it that makes me so emotional?

Of everything that makes me teary, the stories of underdogs doing what no one thought possible are the most heart wrenching, and awe inspiring. I am inspired by others daily. In my job, my social network, the world in general…there are so many great people doing amazing things. Sometimes I feel like I don’t do nearly enough to make a difference.

The guy on EM:HE is raising his children as a single parent. The house they’re living in is a wreck. Plumbing doesn’t work, mould everywhere, not nearly enough room for the family to live in…yet, this young man still ensures that his children receive the education they need to make a better lives for themselves. They spend time at the library, in museums, learning about things that children much more fortunate than they are will likely never be bothered with. Outstanding!

And then there is Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent. Have you seen this video?? I felt the lump in my throat start the moment I saw her, because I knew she was about to be ridiculed, and I HATE watching people being made fun of. But then, all of a sudden she opens her mouth and….oh my god, her voice is incredible. Whether it was staged or not, watching the stunned looks on the judges faces, and hearing the cheers from the audience, I knew that this simple woman had done something incredible for those who were to watch that performance…she would remind the world that there is much more to a person than their exterior…that passing judgment on someone based on looks alone is not just wrong, but foolish. You cheat yourself when you dismiss others for superficial reasons. You risk missing out on getting to know some of the most beautiful souls, the most talented spirits, and most noble hearts. I, for one, will be cheering Susan on through the finals, and hope that in the end, all those who were touched by her performance look at their fellow men and women in a different way.

This lesson was hammered home to me again this past weekend as I watched the Farrah Fawcett story on television. Now, I have to admit that I have, in the past, judged Farrah for being TOO beautiful, and for being an airhead, your typical ditsy blonde (sorry to all my blonde friends!). But watching this movie documenting her daily struggles with a brutal form of cancer…I have a new appreciation for this woman’s strength and courage under tremendous pressure. I think back to her last appearance on David Lettermen…she was obviously stoned, and therefore an easy target for laughs. What no one likely knew is that at the time, she was heavily medicated due to the excruciating pain her cancer was causing her, and that her appearance was her attempt at living her remaining days as normally as possible. Maybe someone should have suggested that she not appear in that state…maybe someone did…but in hindsight, I feel bad for laughing. I bet David Letterman does now too. This movie was a brutal, honest look at the devastating effects of cancer…if you didn’t see it, I encourage you to try to find a copy to download.

I used to feel foolish for crying and would try to hide the tears, but I have come to realize that they are natural, normal…and a sign that I am affected by the world around me…I consider that something to be proud of. Although I still don’t want to talk about Marley & Me…seriously, I don’t even like dogs!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What am I doing?!?!

So, I’ve decided to write a blog. Peer pressure has combined with my need for artistic expression, and I have made the leap. The only problem…I have no idea what to write about! I know what I care about, but will anyone else? Does it really matter what I write about…who is going to read this thing anyways? I think the best plan will just be to write what I’m thinking about and see how it all turns out.

Let’s start at the beginning…who am I? I am a thirty-something female, living in London, Ontario, Canada. I work in a job that is truly rewarding, and very fulfilling, however I find myself constantly wishing I had followed my first love – acting. Lots of things have kept me from following my passion, but I am sensing that I will need to do something to work towards it if I’m ever going to feel completely happy.

What has kept me away I hear you asking? (Weird that I can hear voices now...hmm) Well…I wanted, at one time, to be a Broadway actress. The only problem – I can’t sing well, really can’t dance and actually am not that good of an actress either. You can see why that didn’t work out! But I love the feeling of being on a stage looking out at adoring fans – I’m a Leo, what can I say?!

The idea of stand up comedy was slightly appealing, but I’m not great with rejection and if a joke bombed, I’d probably run from the stage crying, so best to stay away from that.

I watch the Oscars every year and cry – not because I’m happy for my dramatic heroes, but rather because I should be up on that stage! Funny thing is - film making has never appealed to me, so I’m not sure how I justify this sense that I should be an Oscar winner!

I truly want to be a talk show host, but how do you even make that happen??? If you know – tell me! I see myself as a cross between Oprah and Ellen, mixed in Rosie’s body with a hint of Larry King’s ability to get to the heart of an issue, cutting out the crap. That has to be a winning combination, right???

I even thought if I couldn’t be a famous artist, maybe I could run a theatre and hang out with famous artists, but my high school marks were 1% too low for acceptance to the Arts Administration program at university. The universe REALLY doesn’t want me to pursue this field!!

So what’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re me, you go into your second love – helping people. I love people…I love learning about them, knowing what makes them tick, seeing them at their best and at their worst. When it became clear that I was not going to be the next Kristen Chenoweth or Meryl Streep, I decided to pursue a degree in the Social Sciences, determined to help society finds solutions to all its problems…ahh, so na├»ve in those days!

I set about practicing my favourite psychological theories on my family, diagnosing each and every member with at least one or two serious issues. They all seemed thrilled as I told them in great detail what was wrong with them and how they could fix their flaws. I think they were really wishing I had become an actress! I still find myself diagnosing people regularly…seems there are more troubled people in this world than non-troubled people! Thank goodness I’ve learned to recognize everyone ELSE’s faults!

It’s funny, because my whole life, I have found myself drawn to the people who were a little different…who needed a friend…who didn’t quite fit into the mainstream. Maybe it’s because that’s how I identify myself, maybe it’s because I thought I could help. Whatever the reason, it allowed me to meet some of the greatest people I’ve ever known.

I’ve also found myself attracted to “bad boys” all my life, which is funny because they intrigue me and scare the shit out of me at the same time. But deep down, I’ve always felt like these rebels just needed a patient, loving woman – preferably one with a psych degree - to show them the way. I’ve felt this way about a litany of celebs, many of whom have calmed down greatly since they’ve met special women…Robert Downey Jr., Eminem, Charlie Sheen, Christian Slater, Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell…I still think one month with Tommy Lee would find him singing sweet love songs, and passing the days doing charity work!

In reality though, I am in love with one of the sweetest, least-bad boy men you could ever meet. My husband is my greatest love, and reminds me every day why we are married. He is gentle and loving and treats me like the princess that we both believe I am! We live in our newly purchased home with our old, deaf, half blind cat. She’s had a series of names since we got her…she’s deaf, so it’s not like it matters. Currently we’re calling her Stinky…I’d explain, but you don’t want me to.

We’re both creative types, in different ways. Hubby likes building things, tearing things apart – mostly computers – and making them do things they’re not really meant to do. He’s started his own tech blog – part of the peer pressure I’ve felt – and seems to be enjoying it.

Well, I hope I haven’t bored you too much with this first entry. I see this blog as a forum to talk about the issues of today…maybe a new topic each day…maybe a chance to share my viewpoint on things. Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy it. And if you don’t – well, its step one to being a more fulfilled me, so it’s still worth it.

Live your dreams…