Saturday, March 31, 2007

Big Yellow Taxi

You can tell a great deal about a place just by going for a ride in one of it’s taxis.
Think of the taxi as a barometer – a modern day version of the “canary in the coal mine”.

I just came back from DC, a place where the fare is always more than you're expecting - there is a charge for each person, each zone, bad weather, late night and early morning hours, etc.

Another important element of the ride is the driver, a person who probably sees the best and worse of humanity and has an opinion on everything (two words - talk radio). I’ve met them all:

  • There was the driver from LA who was working on a screen play
  • The driver in Chicago, who used to be a Doctor in Uganda and left his country with $5
  • I’ll never forget the driver in Vegas, an immigrant who measured success by the ability to have "steak and eggs” at least once a week.
  • And why are the drivers almost always men?
  • Ever notice that once they find out you're from Canada the first question is"do you know my cousin in Toronto?"

    Forget having a conversation with a driver in New York, you’ll find a partition of bullet proof glass between the two of you. And what’s the deal with the pre-recorded messages from b-list celebrities telling you to buckle up? Anyone remember Adam West?

    I once visited a place in Eastern Europe where one was advised to never get in a cab without first negotiating the fare, otherwise be prepared to pay dearly - needless to say I ended up walking everywhere.

    A few months ago my son went on the ultimate ride in Bangkok, a story that includes a local driver and corrupt cop. Fortunately he only lost his cell phone and a little money in the process.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Functional Family

When my son was in grade four he came home from a sleep over and declared "Oh my god, we really are functional".

I'd like to meet the person who coined that phrase, the functional family - I personally think they were probably raised by wolves.

All families have their quirks, some more than others.

For example, at some point my little family started talking in acronyms. At first it was fun, but it eventually became serious business. When asked why the dogs are barking one might reply "TCS" - in other words it's a "two cat situation".

Not to mention the FPU - fake pick-up. Only to be used with a sick dog who is doing his business in the bushes - and you only have one bag left.

My son likes to point out that I have a talent for using the word "ass" - did I mention I grew up in West Texas? As in CAP - cute ass pug or SAH - skanky ass husband.

Anyway, I'll be in DC for the rest of the week, ttfn.

Urban wolves

This is Tex and Maggie, two very important members of our family.

I once read an article in which the author describes her dog as "Jesus in a fur coat". I totally get it, after all I live with the Dali pug.

So this is where it gets interesting, dogs and wolves have the same DNA. Life really is more interesting than fiction.

Scientist think that wolves actually domesticated themselves, into what we like to think of as "man's best friend" - anyone who can do the math will quickly deduce that this was a very good strategy.

I like this theory, it helps me justify all kinds of things - such as "yes we sleep with them, after all we are their pack".

For those of you who are into wildlife I've included a few photo's of other urban wolves we meet along the way.

Baby Boy

His name is Tyler Ryan, but at different times in his life we have called him Bucky, Baby Boy, Poopsie, Sweetie, Cutes, Tdog, Bubbie- my sweet, wonderful son.

I come from a family of Republican, born-again Christians - I lost my religion along time ago, not to mention that I am as far to the left as you can get. I love my family, they're good people.

I have a feeling that we aren't so different from other families, because we love each other we've learned from trial and error what topics we should avoid. I go home and sort of become who they expect me to be.

An interesting thing happened to me a few years ago - my beautiful son left home to discover his life. He started sending emails home, passionate, opinionated, no holds barred emails - a few that took me a little off guard. Okay, so you have a new tattoo - keep repeating "It's not so bad, he's not a Republican, he's not a Republican".

I realized that I really want to know my son, and in order to do that I have to be open to everything he sends me.

When I first showed this blog to my husband his first response was "do you really want your mother to read this"? Yes.....I think.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Larger than Life

Okay....I confess, I could probably stand to loose a few pounds - maybe more like around twenty.

But here's the thing, I feel great, I feel alive, I feel sexy (sorry son if you're reading this).

When I was younger I never had to worry about what I weighed, I was always the skinny kid. I remember being in high school and having to sew up my go go boots so they wouldn't fall down around my ankles.

Somewhere around 40 things changed, suddenly it took work to fit into those jeans. In the beginning this really bothered me, made me feel less than. It also didn't help that my husband was always the first to notice and suggest that perhaps smaller portions and vigorous exercise was a good thing.

Several things happened this past year that changed my perspective, including the death of a dear friend's husband.

Now if I feel fat I do several things, including:
  • Look at a photo from a few years back, a time when I felt huge. I actually look good, young, healthy, alive - why did I worry about something so silly?

  • Think of one of the sexiest women I know, she's twice my size and looks amazing

  • Remind myself that there are things in this world that are far more important than those few extra pounds, global warming, Africa - well, you get the idea

Don't get me wrong, I understand the importance of being strong and fit. Like most women I have a career and family - and I don't care what anyone says, it's hard to find balance. This means that the things I know I should do, like go to the gym, are often at the bottom of the list.

Life is like the tide, it may go out - but it always comes back in. I have no doubt that I will be in great shape by summer - but for now my focus will be staying healthy, and keeping it real.

Living with an Artist

If you ask my husband Tom, he would tell you that he isn't a photographer, he would mumble something about it being a hobby. I disagree, for the past few years a portion of his income comes from his photos - you can see them on the side of buses, ad campaigns, magazines and newspapers.

He's a natural, even the photos he took in his late teens with a point and shoot are great. The ironic thing is he knows absolutely nothing about the technical side of the things, everything he does is pure intuition.

Almost all of the photo's on my blog are his, most of which he considers rejects - but all are images that I happen to love.

Just so you're clear who the artist in our family is, I've attached my lame attempt to capture a wild horse.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A few things you should know

I've been known to invent words, or as my husband says I totally bastardize the English language.

Case in point, George Bush, a very bad president - yet as soon as he opens his mouth a part of me feels empathy. You see I too grew up in West Texas, a place where people are "fixin to have lunch" and want you to "looki over there". Blame it on geography...

I was a voracious reader from a young age, and when you live in West Texas this means that you are reading words that people never say in real life. Left WT as soon as I could, but found that I had this really weird language and way of pronouncing words. This has caused me more than my share of embarrassment, but is always good when in need of an amusing cocktail story.

Looking back I've always loved geographical names, Africa, Santiago, Paris. Life has been good to me, I've even been able to travel to many of the places I used to read about.

Here goes nothing

I have a confession, I hate most blogs....I really don't care what you had for breakfast - wouldn't it be cheaper to just go to therapy - are most people's vacations really that boring?

Anyone who has ever written a diary or poem, only to find out years later that what seemed so deeply profound is actually deeply embarrassing, will appreciate my hesitation.

So why blog?

Timing for one thing. I'm at a place in my life that can only be described as precious, beautiful, a real life bonafide "it" moment. Like everyone else I've done my share of searching, worked for the man, wondered if this is all there really is - somehow when I wasn't looking life just crept up on me, I stopped wondering and started living (go ahead cringe, I am fully aware that I have just veered into dangerous hallmark territory).

Maybe someday this will be just an embarrassing memory.....but just maybe it will remind me of everyday beauty.......remind me to stop worrying about things that really don't matter and focus on what is real and true.