Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tommy's World

One thing about it, life with Tom is never boring. This is his latest theory:

Shortly after Obama becomes President, men in black suits meet with him privately to explain the “real situation”. It goes something like this…….

  • Yes, aliens really do exist and have already visited planet earth, and they promise to return.
  • Iran already has the bomb
  • The descendants of the Nazis are living in an underground ice-bunker in Antarctica (trust me, don’t ask about this one)
  • JFK was assassinated by two gunmen – one shooting from the Texas school book depository – and the other from a large storm drain. The kill shot came from the drain. Tom knew about this in 1984, years before X-Files came out.
  • Sir Francis Drake was the first European to visit the west coast of North America (Courtenay, British Columbia). This is a well documented fact, but Drake "fudged" the latitude / longitude by 10 degrees to keep this info from the Spanish.
  • Maradona’s “hand of god” was really just an illegal hand-ball and he knew it all along

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Calling Dr. Phil

Years ago my mother and her sister came to visit us in Vancouver. During their visit they kept referring to some guy named Regis - as in "Regis says Araxi has the best food in Whistler" or "I think Regis had a similar experience with his mother". I couldn't figure out who Regis was and decided he was either their hair dresser or dog groomer. It wasn't until much later that I realized Regis was a TV talk show host, as in "Regis and Kelly". I thought it was just another one of their cute idiosyncrasies - but at the same time I felt a little smug, after all I was way too cool and hip for it to ever happen to me.

Universal Rule – Once you say it is never going to happen to you, it’s only a matter of time. I've recently started quoting Dr. Phil, a person that I'm not even that crazy about. It started when my son's friend Maturos spent the summer with us. During her visit she watched Dr. Phil every afternoon, apparently he's big in Thailand. Since then, Dr. Philisms just keep pouring out of my mouth.

Here are a few of my favourites:
  • So, how’s that working for you?

  • You're either nurturing or contaminating this relationship - which is it going to be?

  • Sometimes by saying no, you're actually saying yes to yourself.

I've used these lines on Tom, Tyler, the pugs and in the boardroom - trust me folks, they work in almost every situation. Turns out I’m not so hip and cool, just another geek. And the sad thing is I’m not even a cool geek – you know the one I’m talking about, the person that grows up to be Bill Gates and dominates the world – I’m more the Dr. Phil quoting kind.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Family Album

I came across this photo while going through the family album. A reminder of a wonderful road trip - in hindsight, Tyler and Tex were just babies!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Learning How to Live

My friend Dawn recently made a trip to the west coast to say goodbye to a dear friend. A young wife and mother who went to the hospital for a routine procedure and died after catching a super bug.
Dawn means a great deal to our family, so when she asked me to go to the funeral with her, I felt it was important to offer my support.

I really hate being in hospitals and churches – I know its psychological – but they feel so oppressive to me. Needless to say, I was dreading the whole thing, bracing myself for the worse.

Over 500 people showed up to say goodbye to Debra. Even though it’s a tragic story, the event turned into a celebration of her life. There was a large gospel choir who rocked the place, funny and touching stories about a woman who really changed lives. There were two things that everyone agreed on – Debra was luminous – and she really made people feel seen and heard.

The experience left me feeling inspired, small and humble. We all know how we should live, but how many of us really have the courage to live a great life?

I am trying to learn from Debra’s example – and as I’m not sure I can pull off luminous– I’ve decided to really try to be present when speaking to other people. So far it’s been touch and go – cashiers think you’re a little loco when you ask them how they’re “really doing” – and taxi drivers seem a little perplexed when you compliment them on their driving. But I’m working on it and with a little practice I will get better.

Thank you Dawn, for sharing Debra with me.

You can read more about Debra at

Monday, March 10, 2008

Drop in Anytime

Benjamin Franklin once said “Fish and visitors smell in three days”.

My dear friend Dawn recently stayed with us for four days. Tom, the pugs and I took a vote - we all agree, Dawn proved Ben wrong - her visit was a gift to the whole family.

Why is it that some people are so easy to entertain, and others leave you counting the minutes to their departure?

Dawn, Maturos and my Aunt Linda all fall into the same category – we’ve enjoyed their visits so much – that we think we could have them as permanent 'roomies'. Here are a few things they all have in common:

They don’t expect to be waited on – you wake up in the morning and they’ve already started the coffee.

They don’t spend hours in the bathroom.

They’re all very independent and don’t need to be entertained.

They’re all very funny.

They’re good sports, and take it in stride if they wake up with a snoring pug.

They’re great cooks and insist on shopping and cooking with you during their visit.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Last night, over cocktails, a friend of mine dropped a bombshell. It seems that someone we all know has added a "von" to their name - as in I'm "Freaking von Special".

Our first response was shock, frankly the whole idea seemed a tad narcissistic. But after a few glasses of wine, it all started to make sense. After all, it's possible to go Royal without losing your roots.

So, in the future, please refer to the crew as:

  • Dame Mika Ryan
  • Lady Dawn Charlton
  • Thomas, Lord of Kitsilano
  • Texas Tornado Ryan Esquire
  • Princess Maggie Ryan of False Creek
  • Carla Mont the Third
  • Josie von Heisig
  • Pheobe von Katzburg
  • Kate the Great
  • Stevie Lennox (what can I say, he thinks Annie is the Queen)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Blame it on the Pugs

It’s the damndest thing - over the past year both Tom and I have started snoring.

We’re talking serious snoring, people. Imagine a huge hibernating bear and you get the general idea.

I’m not sure what happened, as neither of us ever snored before now. Well okay, maybe once in a blue moon Tom would gently snore, but only when he was really, really tired.

Tom’s theory is we’ve been sleeping with the pugs for so long that their loud snoring has rubbed off on us. I personally think that’s a lame excuse, as I've also noticed that both Tom and Tyler have suddenly stopped farting since we’ve had Tex and Maggie. You'd be amazed at how many things you can blame on the dog.

I know it’s important to embrace change – I’m just not sure that I’m ready for this new, noisy phase of our lives.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Song of the Snow Goose

This weekend Tom, Tex, Maggie and I hit the road - one of our favorite pass times - exploring the back roads of this beautiful place we call home. During our little adventure, we came across a migrating flock of snow geese, an unusual sight in our part of the woods. While researching them on the Internet, I came across this lovely poem:

Song of the Snow Goose

I am the goose flying high over waters

And all that I know is the voice that calls,

Deep within is the essence of life,

Like a sweet gentle rain that falls,

You see me as I pass high overhead

And you stand feet planted on firm ground,

My trumpets resonate in the cool autumn air,

And mortal men are entranced by the sound,

It lifts your spirit from coils of the earth

And just for a moment you can almost fly,

Stranger beneath me gazing in wonder,

So quickly the moment passes you by.

O son of man we are creatures of earth

In search of our own destiny,

And at some point we both can meet,

As we share in what it means to be free.

Sidney Johnson