Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mascot Fever

This evening Tom and I attended the launch of the 2010 Olympic Mascots, an experience that can only be described as surreal. I have to confess - in the beginning I wasn’t really sure how to feel about them – but went with an open mind and the realization that I don't exactly fall into the target market.

Suffice to say that before the evening was over, I was feeling the love. Perhaps it was their dance moves - Quatchi does a mean running man.
For some reason these mascots seemed strangely familiar – you know that feeling you get when you're certain you’ve met someone before - but you’re not exactly sure when or where. It wasn’t until we came home that it hit me, the 2010 Olympic mascots have pug faces!

Speaking of pugs, it’s been a rough week for my babies. Tex has been suffering from back pain, and this morning woke up with a toothache. He’s in the hospital this evening, recovering from dental surgery. It just feels so weird not having Tex home with us - and poor little Maggie is walking around looking for her little brother.

Maggie has been a very bad girl. My favorite TV program is Dexter, a show about a strangely lovable serial killer. The other evening Mags and I settled in to watch this week's episode. I went to the kitchen to get the two of us a snack, and left the remote on the couch....big mistake. Maggie sat on it, activated the parental control, and banned me from watching Dex. Unfortunately she isn’t sharing the code, naughty girl.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Book Worth Reading

Listening is an Act of Love, a fabulous book that should be required reading.

The book is an offset of the StoryCorps Project, which begin with the idea that everyone has a story. Mobile recording booths travelled America, capturing the memories of people from all walks of life.

Stories of love, forgiveness, redemption, fortitude – defining moments that determine the course of one's life.

I come from a long line of story tellers, so this book reminded me of many a family dinner. Shortly before my grandmother died, I videotaped a conversation with her. Recollections of her life – how she met my grandfather while picking cotton – how sad she still felt about her sister Maddie’s death – the highs and lows of her life.
Most people no longer live close to their families, which might explain why so many of us feel the urge to blog. The need to connect and share the human experience.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Too Sexy

For those of you who have been following the news – People Magazine recently announced that Matt Damon is the “sexiest man alive”. Apparently he wasn’t too keen on the idea – he’s obviously pretty, and smart – realizing that his family and friends will be using this against him for years.

At my house it would go something like this - “You may be the sexiest man alive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take out the garbage!”. Anyone who has a family knows where I’m coming from.

I personally think that the good folks at People Magazine got it wrong; looking like a movie star doesn’t necessarily make you sexy. In my opinion, intelligence is sexy– mimbos don’t do it for me. Sexy is funny, quirky, dangerous, and often comes with messy hair. And unlike many women, I don’t find men in uniforms sexy.

It’s a safe bet that I won’t be buying Tom a fireman costume anytime in the near future.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Facebook gone bad.

Recently I entered the world of Facebook, and so far it’s been a living hell.

It started innocently enough. A couple of weekends ago I was exploring social networks – trying to determine their relevance to my business world. In the name of market research, I signed up my unsuspecting husband onto Facebook.

Now, before you get all worked up about the implications of volunteering an unsuspecting partner, you should know that a few years ago Tom signed me up for Classmates.com. He thought it was a hoot until I started getting emails from old boyfriends. As they say; it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.

In the beginning, Tom was resistant to the idea of being forced to go onto Facebook – actually, he was very resistant - kicking and screaming resistant. God forbid that he should tell the entire cyber-world that he likes 80’s tunes (remember Wham?) and long walks on the beach. My husband doesn’t have a lot of friends – so it didn’t help that one of his very first facebook “friends” was a cat named Phoebe. Tom hates cats.

So imagine my surprise when I realized, somewhere along the way, Tom had become a Facebook junkie. Like most things in life, it’s always the wife who is the last know.

I should have realized something was up when he shared P-kitty’s picks for the Cowboys - 49ers game – or when he asked me if his facebook photo made him look fat. Somehow it just didn’t clue in. I never realized we had a serious problem until my work colleagues started asking me about my leopard print pj’s – information that Tom felt was important enough to share with all of Greater Vancouver.

Not to mention that Tom’s new addiction has had a negative impact on our happy little family. Poor Tyler, it’s hard to flirt with girls or discuss your plans for the weekend when your dad is suddenly one of your most vocal facebook buddies. It even seems that in order for our pugs TexnMaggie to get Tom’s attention, they’re going to have to get their own fb account.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yada yada yada!

I have a confession – I have a very low tolerance for talkers.

It’ not that I’m anti social, I value and enjoy a good conversation. What drives me crazy are people who talk incessantly –who talk over you –who talk while other people are talking - who don’t listen, as they’re too busy trying to figure out what to talk about next – who talk during movies - who produce an endless stream of mind numbing chatter.

Talkers fall into two camps.

The first group consists of people you know and love. Family and friends. With this group it’s all about management. This is where call display becomes your best friend.

The second group is made up of people you don’t know, and can’t escape from. The dental hygienist who talks about cross border shopping – the masseuse who talks about his recent and messy break-up – the person sitting in seat 14a, who is able to talk non-stop from Vancouver to London without taking a breath. Yada yada yada. They really exhaust me.

When confronted by a ‘Chatty Kathy”, my son Tyler cuts to the chase. He immediately explains that he doesn’t want to be rude and just wants to “veg”. Another good friend has a more passive aggressive approach. She thinks the solution is to carry an offensive book with you, and when confronted by a talker, just pull it out and start reading. She swears it’s guaranteed to shut anyone up.

I’m never sure what to do, and always worry about hurting other peoples feelings.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Movie Night

Tonight was a perfect movie night, rainy and windy outside - comfy and warm inside.

In order to determine which movie we were going to watch, Tom and I had a coin toss. I won - which means that we saw critically acclaimed “The Lives of Others” - instead of “Die Hard with a Vengeance” (for the second time).

I was curious about this movie, as I visited Berlin earlier this year and was quite surprised at my reaction to the city. I wanted to ask people how they felt about the Cold War, and what effect it had on their families – but I didn’t have the courage.
I walked and walked through the streets of what used to be East Berlin, trying to imagine how one wall could make such a difference to so many.

The movie was fabulous, two thumbs up.

Do You Know What Your Pug Is Watching?

David Eng, aka Uncle Dave, is a very important person in our lives.

When Tom and I are on the road, Dave moves into our house and becomes the resident Pug Whisperer. We knew we had our man after his first sleep over – after all, how many people can handle being spooned by two snoring pugs?. Not only do Tex and Maggie adore Dave - but Tom and I have complete faith in his ability to take care of our little darlings.

Last week Dave took Tex and Maggie for afternoon walks while Tom was out of town. When I came home from work, I found he had left an interesting note. It went something like this:

“I noticed that Tex and Maggie aren’t watching CNN - their usual TV Channel - and now seem to be tuned to the Home Decorating network. Are the pugs planning on doing more renovations?”

Dave is on to something. Choosing the right television show for your dog is far more complicated than it seems. For example:

Animal shows are very bad. Tex and Maggie seem to think that the animals are actually in our living room. Who can blame them if they bark and bluff charge the television, you’d do the same thing if a rhino was in your house.

Sitcoms are risky. Until you watch TV with a dog, you don’t realize how many of them use the
‘barking dog” sound in the background. Comedy’s, dramas, crime, sci fi – at some point in every show – the neighbor’s dog will start barking. This is guaranteed to cause extreme pug howling.

Apparently it’s not just Tex and Maggie who are affected by TV. I recently read an article about a man who’s built a business empire by producing videos for cats. He got this brilliant idea while working as a news producer for a local network affiliate. He noticed that after certain nature shows aired, hundreds of people would call the network to comment about the effect the programs had on their felines.

At first he thought this was funny, but it also made him think about the possibilities. He took a gamble and started making shows specifically for cats and marketing them over the internet. He now sells millions of videos - to all corners if the world – apparently cats speak a universal language. However, if you’re thinking of buying one for kitty’s Christmas stocking, you should know that cats have been known attack their TV when watching the shows.

So, to answer your question, Dave – we have decided to block the pugs from watching CNN – after all, watching Lou Dobbs can’t be good for their delicate psyches. We’re hoping they’ll pick up some handy decorating tips on the HGTV.

Most of all, thank you for taking such good care of Tex and Maggie.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Note from a Friend

Today I had a very moving email from my dear friend Monica. With her permission, I would like to share it with you:

Have just returned from Canada where everyone is wearing a red poppy button as a reminder. It's a good thing and I think of my old naval officer father each time I see one.

But for the last few days I've been in L.A... Today at LAX there were 2 Marines in dress uniform who boarded the flight. I spoke with them briefly and told them how great they looked in their uniforms. They thanked me politely but did not continue the conversation.

Before we landed, the pilot told us we were carrying the casket of a young Marine who died in Iraq. He asked us to remain seated when we landed as the family would be on the tarmac to receive the coffin with a Marine honour guard in attendance - we would disembark afterwards.

I happened to be sitting on the right side of the plane and here is what I witnessed. The father of the dead marine got out of a car with a police escort. He was an old biker with a white pony tail and a Hells Angel jacket, about 50+. His arms were crossed and he was brushing away tears from under his sunglasses as he hugged his body tightly - turning in distressed circles - back and forth, back and forth - as we passengers watched out the windows. After about 20 minutes, the hold opened and a coffin rolled out, covered in the American flag. The 2 Marines on my flight plus 6 others saluted respectfully and gently carried the coffin to a waiting hearse. They folded and handed the flag to his biker father who climbed into the back of the hearse with his son and drove away.

It was an agonizing, solemn scene that I hope never to see again - a father and his dead son's homecoming. Everyone on the plane was silent. I cried.

Pug Love

Ten things I love about Tex and Maggie:
  • I’ve never had to tell them about the starving kids in China, they'll eat anything.

  • Some people call them stubborn, I think it's cool they refuse to do stupid pet tricks.

  • They don’t care what kind of car you drive, as long as you roll the window down and let the wind blow in their ears.

  • They make great air guitars.

  • They’re not going to tell anyone that you’ve been known to do the occasional interpretive dance.

  • It's all or nothing with them – they either love you or hate you.

  • Doesn’t matter if you come home from holiday or from taking the garbage out – they’re always damn happy to see you.

  • They love sharing your eggs over easy and don’t get bent out of shape if you break the yolk.

  • They knew all along that there were no weapons of mass destruction.

  • Their tails act as barometers - curled if they’re happy – down if they’re sad. Shouldn’t people be that easy to read?

Monday, November 5, 2007

12 Steps

Here’s a tip for those of you who are thinking of starting a blog - think twice about what you put in writing. Take it from me, some things are better left unsaid. Never, under any circumstances, talk about the monkey on your back. Trust me, it will come back and haunt you.

For example, if you’ve been reading my blog, you’re aware that I’m addicted to diet coke. In the spirit of keeping it real - I’ve written gritty, real life accounts of my day to day struggle. Big mistake.

For the most part I’ve managed to stay clean, but occasionally I fall off the wagon. Before the blog - most people wouldn’t have thought twice if they saw me drinking a diet coke – in their eyes, I was just another woman enjoying the real thing.

Now if I have a diet coke, people assume I’m on a bender. At one point, I even heard a few of my friends talk about staging an intervention. It’s driven me underground – I now do most of my drinking behind closed doors.

Sure, it hasn’t all been negative – as I’ve meet other people who also struggle with this demon. It’s comforting to know that I don’t walk alone. Steve / Chris, you know who I’m talking to.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Girls Gone Wild

I’m always suspicious when I meet a woman who doesn’t have girlfriends. Seriously folks, without the chicas - I’d be the scary woman on the block - the one living with 20 dogs.

Last week is a perfect example of how much fun a girls night out can be. The women in question:
Monica – an unusual combination of sophistication, glamour and earthiness, a hippie dressed by vogue
Gloria – funny, spontaneous and wise, the perfect partner in crime
Darlene – serene and soulful, totally lacking in desire for the material, focused on living in the moment


Niagara Falls at Night
After two full days of meetings at Niagara on the Lake, the four of us are sharing a ride to Toronto. In the car I casually mention that I have never been to Niagara Falls, a place I dreamed of visiting in my childhood. Even though it is getting late and we’re all a little brain dead, the chicas insist on a detour. I am finally going to see one of the natural wonders of the world.

Love and Sex
After bonding at the falls, we head for Toronto. As we drive the conversation turns to men. Gloria and Darlene discover that they both have a crush on a famous Canadian talk show host, they laugh and compare notes. Imagine our delight when we arrive at Monica’s daughters house and find out she is dating Darlene and Gloria’s crush - the sexy CTSH we had just been discussing. To put it into context – Monica’s daughter is a tall, beautiful blonde - and the director of the Gemini’s and Juno’s. We beg for details, nothing like living vicariously. Monica nonchalantly mentions that it reminds her of the time she dated Peter Jennings – by far the best line of the evening.

Hockey Players
After dropping Monica off, we head to our hotel. While checking in we are approached by Tony Esposito, who invites us to join him and Phil for a drink. Gloria and Darlene explain that Tony is a hockey icon – the Stanly Cup rings should have been a tip off. We pass on the drink, but the chicas manage to get autographs.

The Morning After
The next morning we meet in the lobby for breakfast. We find out that we've just missed the Dali Lama, who is apparently staying at our hotel. Big news – and in our world more exciting then seeing a rock star – we all high five.

A great adventure and exactly what I needed. So much fun in fact – I think the four of us should get matching tattoos.

Friday, November 2, 2007


One of the perks of my job is the people I work with – creative and interesting individuals– many of whom have become close friends. Case in point, a recent business dinner at Peller Estates Winery at Niagara on the Lake, which can only be described as magical.

Like most of you, I enjoy a glass of good wine and have a fairly good understanding of what it takes to bring it to my table. But this dinner opened my eyes to a whole new world, the philosophy of the grape.

For example, veraison – the instant that the plant decides to shift it’s focus from the vine to the fruit - a turning point that determines if a wine will be great.

Similar to life – the ability to listen to our inner voice and trust intuition can make all the difference. Maybe Bacchus was on to something.