Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Tale of Two Pugs


Today is a very important day, Tex and Maggie’s 13th birthday. Tom said it best when he informed both pugs that at this point in their lives, they can have any damn thing they want.


If you're a dog person you’ll understand that they’re the heart and soul of our family. Here are a few things about the pugs you should know:


  • Tex was the runt of the litter - when told he was a throw-away dog we immediately knew he was meant to be our boy.
  • A famous pet psychic once said that Tex was a lion in a previous life.
  • If I had a daughter I would want her to be just like Maggie - a free spirit, strong, independent, determined, generous, in touch with her feminine side.
  • Tex has always been a wise old soul, aka the Dali Pug.
  • Maggie’s faced turned white at a very early age, we like to think of her as the Spirit Pug of False Creek.
  • Maggie is a kisser and has been know to jump up and French kiss unsuspecting strangers who stop to pet her.
  • When the pugs were babies they meet a West Highland Terrier that nipped Maggie - from that day forward Tex and Maggie hate all Westies and insist they're the “real” axis of evil.
  • Tex went through a few dark years when we referred to him as the incredible humping machine and friends called our house the Love Shack.
  • Both pugs refuse to do tricks and have perfected the “you talking to me” look when encourage to roll over, shake hands or play dead. Safe to say they will never be circus dogs.
  • Tex is fixated on things that fly and has given us a new appreciation for birds.
  • Both pugs once slept through an earthquake - so much for the idea that animals predict natural disasters.
  • Tyler’s buddies used to come over to walk the dogs, who they refer to as the Babe Magnets.
  • Both pugs get very upset when seeing animals on TV and bluff charge the screen.
  • They howl like coyotes.
  • Have always slept with us - when we have family and friends staying with us it isn’t unusual for them to wake up next to a snoring pug.
  • We woke up one Christmas to find that Tex had opened all of the presents during the night.
  • They love pancakes, frozen yogurt and always get a few McDonald's fries after visiting the vets office.
  • Maggie loves snow and thinks she is Nanook of the North - Tex hates it.
  • Maggie is the easiest pug to give medicine to / Tex is by far the most difficult.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Letter to Tiger

Dear Tiger,


Writing this letter is surreal, something I never thought I would do. I woke up this morning looking for news of the Copenhagen Climate Summit and was dismayed to find all of the major networks doing a non-stop Tiger marathon. I had an epiphany - the real story is less about you and more about our need for dirty laundry.


Perhaps it’s easier to focus on fallen celebrities as it allows us to avoid thinking about the real issues of our day - war, climate change, and the fact that we are living in an era that Scientist now refer to as the “sixth mass extinction”.


Tiger, I have no idea what your life is like and truth is I’m not even a golf fan - but considering everything we’ve put you through, I feel it is only right to offer a few words of advice.


You’ve spent your life learning how to be a great golfer, this is your chance to look inside and become a great man. None of us are without sin, the real test of character is how we choose to deal with these defining moments.


One doesn’t have to be a psychiatrist to see that you’re looking for something. Truth is your beautiful wife, kids and numerous girlfriends will never be enough to fill that void - it can only come from within. Learn to be alone and at peace with yourself and you will be a better husband and father.


all the best,


Mika


Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Con Artist


I pride myself on being street smart, way too savvy to fall for the latest con or be anybody's bitch - which makes the story I’m about to share with you all the more embarrassing.


It happened several years ago as I was walking home from work, one of those beautiful summer days that seemed to attract all of the out of town tourists. A young man stopped me on the sidewalk, asking for directions. He was from the UK, and as part of his graduation gift his grandparents had given him a trip to beautiful British Columbia. He said it had been a wonderful journey, except for the fact that he had somehow confused his departure date, missing his flight home. Like most young travelers he had spent almost all of his money and was trying to figure out how he was going to find the means to get to the airport - and pay the required penalty for having to reschedule his flight.


I admit, there was a part of me that wondered if he was scamming me – but like most things in life timing is everything. My son Tyler had just returned home from his grand adventure – 6 months exploring South East Asia with a group of friends. While in Cambodia he was swarmed by a group of children, who somehow managed to take his ATM card, credit cards and money. Even though the majority of people living in Cambodia are very poor, they gave new meaning to that old adage “if not for the kindness of strangers”. The good people of a small Cambodian village came to my baby boy's rescue, providing him with food, shelter and even loaning him money to hold him over until Tom and I could help sort things out. Considering everything we had been through, is it any surprise that I had sucker written across my forehead?


The young man and I went to my bank, where I took out $100. When I gave him the money he started to cry real tears. He seemed to be genuinely touched and even asked me why I was being so generous with a total stranger. I explained that he was the same age as my Tyler, and rambled on about the importance of karma and returning good deeds.


Of course when I got home and told Tyler and Tom my story, their immediate reaction was utter disbelief. Months passed and I never heard anything from the young man, who had insisted on taking my business card and promised to pay back every penny.


Fast forward to last week - a middle age man stops me on the street to ask directions – different details but the same routine. Reality check, I finally had to admit that the young man probably conned me.


I've had a few days to think about it and strange as it may seem, I’m okay with it. In hindsight I'm not sure I would do anything different. I still believe in helping strangers.......sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and trust people.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pug Diaries

I'm not sure what we would do without Jade, a larger than life character who enriches our lives in so many ways. In her younger days she was a stripper who dated rock stars, and still has something of a fan base (one of the reasons she refuses to let me post her photo and prefers to remain incognito).

Fortunately for us she was looking for a career change and now helps us keep our lives in order. Not only does she clean and organize, but she's also one of the few people we trust with the pugs. When Tom and I are working she walks the dogs, spending quality with them while watching her programs. As a result Maggie is totally addicted to Coronation Street and Tex often quotes Dr. Phil.

One of the highlights of my day is coming home and reading the little notes Jade leaves, snapshots of the day-to-day life of urban pugs. For example, today's note:

Wow! The howling started as soon as I picked up the can opener. Hilarious.
6:00 - 6:02: Supper
6:02 - 6:30 Walk, poo and pee
6:30 - 7:00 Tex's grooming of Maggie
7:00 - 8:00 - Indulgent napping and cuddles

Thanks Jade, you make our lives so much better.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sacred Bears



Tom recently captured these amazing images of a mother grizzly and her white cub. Not only is a white grizzly incredibly rare, but also considered to be a spiritual symbol by aboriginal tribes. Looking at this little guy you can see why his presence is considered a blessing.



Friday, October 16, 2009

Peace Out



I've recently stumbled upon an interesting new trend. Over the past few years, while staying at hotels in Miami, Guadalajara, London, DC, NY and LA, everyone from bellboys to housekeeping staff have proudly told me that "Obama stayed here". Barrack must be racking up some serious air-miles.

Even though I'm a big Obama fan, I personally think his recent Nobel Peace Prize says more about the Bush years than Barrack's universal appeal. Truth is the world felt bullied by the Bush administration, weary of it's "my way or the highway" attitude. Obama's diplomacy, willingness to listen, eloquence, and understanding that partnership and cooperation are essential to the survival of this planet, is such a departure from the Dubya years - allowing Obama to pick up some serious bling.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cat or Dog?


My friend Carol is one of the best communicators I know. One of those people who can get to the crux of the matter in a few simple, eloquent sentences. So much so, that my secret nickname for her is the Oracle. I can't tell you how many times we've been in a meeting, when I've been tempted to say "yea, what she said".

Today she informed me that people are either like cats or dogs, explaining that her daughter just happens to be a cat person. Why didn't this occur to me before? What a wonderful way to look at life. Once you figure out if someone is cat or dog - you pretty much know everything you need to know.

Today I've been thinking of my family and friends, even imagining specific breeds in some cases. Here's what I'm thinking:

Tom - dog person (granted he's not trained - bad dog Tom!)

Tyler - a strange mix of cat and dog. Social like a dog, independent like a cat.

Josie and Chris - even though their nicknames are big cat / middle cat, don't let them fool you. They profess to be cats, but they're actually dogs, put on this earth to serve the needs of the little cat.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rock On


This week marks the 4oth anniversary of Woodstock - an event that has come to symbolize the 60's for many of us. For some reason, this has left me with an urge to pick up the phone and call my son in Thailand - but how does one describe the importance of the decade of peace, love and great music?

My beautiful child has no fear. A true explorer, who's embraced the challenge of moving to Asia and learning a new culture and language. Lucky boy - he's always lived in a world where he has the freedom to do his own thing - where his options are not limited by his gender, faith or sexual orientation.

I want him to understand and appreciate those who paved the way. A brave generation that raged against the machine, questioned authority, and opened the door to a world of possibilities.

Peace.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tom Unplugged

Poor Tom - somebody should have told him that unlike Vegas - what happens in Maui doesn't always stay in Maui. A behind the scenes look at Tom unplugged.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Maui


We truly loved our time in Maui, including our time at the beautiful Fairmont resort. Here are a few highlights.

Friday, August 7, 2009

House of the Sun

Okay, so the audition for Animal Planet didn't exactly pan out. I'm thinking with a little creative editing on my end - Tom might do better hosting a travel show. Surely there's a need for good content targeting off beat, germaphobic men who are lactose intolerant?

Enjoy the view from Haleakala, House of the Sun.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Road to Hana


Kauai is usually my island of choice - one reason I really wanted to come to Maui this time, was the road to Hana. Rated as one of the most beautiful drives in the world, it doesn't disappoint.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Quest


Tom has always said I can plan a holiday around food - guilty as charged. One thing I know for sure (sorry Oprah), the worlds best eats are often found in the most unlikely places.

Talk to the Animals


My honey, he's one with nature. Since we're on Maui, we thought this might be a good time to make an audition tape for Animal Planet. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Truth Will Set Us Free


Tom recently bought a t-shirt that says "F*#k you, you F@#king F^#k - which basically sums up his philosophy on life. 

Even though I refuse to go anywhere with him while he's wearing his new mantra, I'm starting to think he's on to something. Tom goes through life expressing himself - while I tend to internalize.  Even though my approach means I'm likely to have more Facebook buddies - Tom will probably live to be a 100. Having the courage to say what you really think seems to be a cathartic experience. 

Since most of us aren't as brave as Tom, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to create free speech zones. In Japan, it's an unspoken rule that anything you say to your boss while under the influence doesn't count. Considering the fact that going out and drinking after work is a big part of their culture, therapy is as cheap as the price of a beer.

Maybe we should give every man, woman and child one day every year to shoot from the hip. Not only would it make them feel really good, it could also have a positive effect on society. Think about it - crime rates would plummet, high blood pressure would no longer be a health issue, and we'd all feel a hell of a lot better about life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner


I've always been a huge fan of Julia Child, so I'm really happy to see a new generation of wanna-be chefs discovering her.

I love Julia so much that I've always had her on the invite list for my BADP (bad ass dinner party). You know the routine, the game you play when you've had a few drinks and list all of the people (dead or alive), who you'd like to invite over for an evening of good food, wine, and conversation.

I adored everything about Julia - her height, elocution, love of butter, and the fact that she was a bit of a klutz. Who can forget the time she dropped a whole chicken on the floor while filming her cooking show - picked it up, dusted it off, and kept right on cooking. Not sure about you, but this is something I can relate to.

Perhaps that's why she was so interesting. Most of us are never going to master Martha Stewart's scary, Stepford wife, perfection - but Julia Child..... someone we can all aspire to.


Friday, July 10, 2009

The Getty

The following video is of the Getty,  a must do when in LA.

Shout out to Gloria - Thelma to my Louise - smart, funny and CWT (cool without trying).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Yea Baby


Now that's what I'm talking about -  Pugs not drugs. It's no secret that if pugs were in charge, the world would be a much better place.

Thanks to Ann for this great photo, taken from the mean streets of New York.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mystery Tree

I just came back from LA, which is beautiful this time of year. Many flowering trees are in bloom, including the Jacaranda, Palmetto, Mimosa and a mystery tree.

My dear friend Monica was also intrigued with the beautiful creature, it's branches heavy with clusters of beautiful, pink flowers. The following video is of Monica, at the Canadian Consulates House, with the unidentified tree.

I adore Monica, an amazing woman who has lived life large. She speaks at least four languages that I know of, grew up in the West Indies where her grandfather was the Governor General, went to a boarding school in Switzerland, dated Peter Jennings, worked as a model, lived in Spain, Germany, Canada and a loft in Soho, has a unique and fabulous style, and is one of the most spiritual people I know.

Both Monica and I think that if anyone can identify the tree, it will be our friend Steve (another larger than life personality, but that's another story). 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dancing Queen

My honey just happens to be a one dance wonder. Even though he only has one dance in his repertore, he always rocks it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Annie


Our neighborhood is mourning Annie, a sweet little Yorkie who recently passed away. Like many tiny dogs, she had a really big personality - and very fancy hairdo. Annie had the canine equivalent of a Napoleon complex. Everyone adored her.


Annie’s person (note to people who don’t have dogs, most of your neighbors will never know your name, always referring to you as Rover's mom or dad) is a lovely older woman, who lives a wonderful, full life. Several years ago, after being diagnosed with cancer, she confided in me that she wasn’t going anywhere, as Annie needed her. I’m so happy that she was able to hang in there, holding her little friend peacefully in her arms as Annie passed from this earth.


All of this talk of death has my family debating what will happen to us when our time comes. Not to sound like a Drama Queen, but I want to be cremated, and have my ashes scattered with Tex and Maggie's ashes someday. Our son Tyler agrees that cremation is the only way to go.


Thing is, even though my husband Tom is not very religious (anymore), he still carries around the baggage that comes with growing up in the Catholic church, he still feels that burial is the only option. Our good friend Josie has assured him that the church has loosened it’s rules, allowing cremation under certain conditions. Truth is, Tom isn’t really sure why the church of his childhood banned cremation in the first place, and on one level he just feels it’s better to, you know, Cover Your Ass...... just in case.


Tom's thinking reminds me of the Jesuits who said "Give me the child, and I’ll have the man for life."


Some things just never leave us.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Troubled Times


While walking the dogs this evening, we were so happy to see around 30 geese, an assortment of adults and gangly teenagers. You see, over the past few years our little hood has been divided over these beautiful birds. The community seems to be split into two groups - those who see them as pests - and those of us who feel they have every right to thrive.

Over the years the anti- geese brigade has employed a variety of tactics. One year they went around shaking eggs, in an attempt to kill the embryos. Last year things finally came to a head, when an early morning jogger came upon a few parks board employees, who were taking the little goslings from their parents and stuffing them into bags. Apparently they planned to take them into the country, with the hope  they would be adopted by other geese families. Let's just   say there was a big revolt, which was covered by our local news stations for several weeks.

We are living in an era that scientists refer to as the 6th extinction. This time we can't blame it on an asteroid or ice age, seems humans are the cause of this latest annihilation.  Scientist predict that over 50 percent of earth's species will disappear in the next 100 years, forever altering life on this planet. Shouldn't we be celebrating those species, that in spite of our best efforts, thrive in our urban jungles?

In honour of all creatures, here is one of my favorite poems:

Little Citizen, Little Survivor
Hayden Carruth

A brown rat has taken up residence with me.
A little brown rat with pinkish ears and lovely
almond-shaped eyes. He and his wife live
in the woodpile by my back door, and they are
so equal I cannot tell which is which when they
poke their noses out of the crevices among
the stacks of firewood and then venture farther
in search of sunflower seeds spilled from the feeder.
I can't tell you my friend how glad I am to see them.
I haven't seen a fox in years, or a mink, or
a fisher cat, or an eagle, or a porcupine, I haven't
seen any of my old company in the woods
and the fields, we who used to live in such
close affection and admiration. Well, I remember
when the coons would tap on my window, when
the ravens would speak to me from the edge of their
little precipice. Where are they now? Everyone knows.
Gone. Scattered in this terrible dispersal. But at least
the brown rat that most people so revile and fear
and castigate has brought his wife to live with me
again. Welcome, little citizen, little survivor.
Lend me your presence, and I will lend you mine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Romance


I recently had a discussion on romance with a group of friends.  I’m not a girl who is easily impressed by the usual cliche's; flowers and candy on Valentine’s Day just don’t do it for me.  Here’s the story of one of the most romantic things Tom has ever done.


I blame the whole thing on Nina, my BFF, who called me one day to elicit my help in rescuing a poor, down trodden pug.  In hindsight, I’m not even sure how Nina got involved in the whole thing, let’s just say she’s a cat person at heart.  Not to mention that once she reeled me in, she was nowhere to be found (knowing Nina, she was most likely enjoying a fabulous meal in a chic sidewalk cafĂ©, flirting with a handsome waiter named Raul.)


The long and the short of it goes something like this - Bobby  belonged to a young woman who was moving out of the country asap -  she desperately needed to find him a new home.  It soon became apparent that while she may have had good intentions, Bobby had lived something of a hard life.  He spent 90% of his time in a crate that was way too small for him, and when he was fed, it was usually either a happy meal or slice of pizza. Worst of all, the young woman had a biker boyfriend who liked to get rough with little dogs.  Guess it made him feel like more of a man. As a result,  Bobby had lost most of his hearing, due to the fact that he was repeatedly hit upside of the head.


I took one look at poor little Bobby’s sweet pug face, and took him home with me.  The problem was all of this happened in a matter of 24 hours, while Tom just happened to be in the backwoods of BC, well out of cell phone range. Poor Tom...... for years he's been roped into my numerous animal rescues, often having to drop everything in order to drive a wounded bird to the closest wildlife rescue centre.  This time I had a funny feeling that coming home and finding a new dog sleeping on his side of the bed, might not be Tom's idea of a good time.


To make matters worse, a few days after Bobby moved in with us, the biker boyfriend called and threatened to take the pug away if I didn’t give him $500. Seems the reason they were making a quick exit is the boyfriend was going to court - where the most likely outcome was an extended holiday in the big house - hence the plan to leave Canada on the first red eye. Once they realized they didn’t have enough money to get the hell out of dodge, boyfriend started making the rounds, trying to come up with extra cash.


Tom came home to a hysterical wife, extra pug, and a scary biker dude leaving cryptic messages on our home answering machine.   Instead of getting mad, he hugged me and assured me that everything would be okay – he would take care of the biker dude – as long as I promised to find Bobby a good home - pointing out that this wasn't an episode of 101 Pugs.


Tom ended up driving his scooter (no kidding) to a tough biker bar on the wrong side of town, paying the pug ransom,  and making tough guy sign an agreement that he would never contact us again. Thankfully it was the last we heard of him, as I imagine that kind of contract might be a just little difficult to enforce.


It doesn’t end there………it soon became apparent to Tom that I wasn’t really trying to find Bobby a good home. What can I say, I really fell in love with the little guy.  So on top of everything else Tom was the one who ended up finding Bobby a forever home, where he lives with another pug, two little girls, and has birthday parties and Christmas presents.


Now that's what I call romance.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pug Flick

This is for the pugs - things we saw in Florida that they'll find groovy. No barking guys!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tommy Does South Beach

As you may have noticed, I've decided to try video blogging during my Florida adventure.

Thing is, Tom thinks I'm a really bad commentator, and decided to take over the shooting / talking duties. Best line of the day was when Tom said "Keep the camera on me damn it, I'm the presenter!" Guess you can tell he's been working with film crews waaay too long.

Funny thing is, Tom doesn't know how to edit, which means I'm still able to put my stamp  on the final product. 

Notice the gorgeous Latino hunk at the end of this video? That's for the chicas back home.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hemmingway's Six Toed Cats

SOS


Anyone who has met my Tom will tell you that he's a big personality. Not only is he a big presence, but several years ago we noticed that he also had a strange effect on our electrical appliances. I know this is going to sound strange, but when Tom is around, our computers crash, light bulbs blow, the stereo and TV will suddenly start playing. It's sort of like living with a force of nature.  I realize that if your reading this you're probably starting to question my sanity - but strange as this all might sound, there are several scientific studies dedicated to studying people who wreak havoc on electro-magnetic fields.

Tom and I are currently in Key West, and while we are having a grand old time, things have been just a little strange with my honey. For starters, Tom seems to have lost all sense of direction - very strange considering he constantly likes to remind us that he is the human equivalent of a homing pigeon.  To put things into perspective, Key West is a tiny, tiny island, with the streets laid out in a basic grid - you don't exactly have to be a brain surgeon to get from A to B.

Things started getting really freaky when we noticed that everyone Tom talked to couldn't quite make direct eye contact with him.  One of the things I love about travelling with Tom, is the way he connects with the locals. But this trip has been different, and kind of surreal; it goes something like this - Tom talks to a local personality - who in turn carries on a long conversation with him - but looks into MY eyes the whole time.  

In Key West, this has happened over, and over, and over. Which means when Tom is talking to the locals about mundane topics like sports, or the weather, or Cuba, I can't zone the conversation out,  I have to make all the appropriate facial expressions, acting as if I'm keenly interested in the topic, but rarely saying a word.  Down here, I'm kind of acting like a transmitter between the locals, and my husband.

Tom also noticed this strange behaviour from the locals, and we just couldn't figure it out - but this evening it finally hit me. It has to be the Bermuda Triangle.  The Mother of all magnetic fields. If you grew up in the 60's, you'll know what I'm talking about.

The Bermuda Triangle is having a profound effect on my husband's behaviour.  This is serious shit, people.



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sex Ed


We have new neighbors, a lovely couple and their 4 year old daughter Emma.  Like most children, Emma is going through a childhood rite of passage - begging her parents for a pet. This basically means that our pugs Tex and Maggie are her current obsession.

This weekend Emma joined Tex, Maggie and I in the garden. While I worked she played with the pugs. After a few minutes she comes up to me, looking very earnest, and says "Did you know that Tex has a penis?" After I got over the initial shock of finding out she was right, I had parent envy.

Research shows that children who discuss sex with their parents are more likely to wait longer, and make better choices. Considering that I learned about the birds and bees from the kids at school, I really wanted things to be different for Tyler.  Not to mention that Tom's idea of Sex-Ed includes enjoying a glass of late-harvest Riesling, before describing in vivid detail all about storks and cabbage patches.  Sort of in the same genre as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Taking my cue from the experts, I used anatomically correct terms and tried to stick to the basic facts. Problem was, every time I tried to broach the subject with Tyler, it was obvious he was really embarrassed and uncomfortable - always assuring me that no, he really didn't have any questions.

Things came to a head (pardon the pun) when he was a young teenager, and I was leaving for a business trip. At that time Maggie was having female troubles, and while giving Tyler instructions on how to care for her, I referred to Maggie's vagina.  

Let's just say that this really, really freaked Tyler out (not to mention Tom) - and of course our son couldn't resist pointing out that as a result of our conversation, he would most likely need years of therapy.

After years of fighting, I caved. Which means in our house we now refer to "Maggie and the Whoo"  and "Tex and Mr. Happy".  Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, even if it means ignoring expert advice.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Disconnect

In the past few weeks,  I've had two major technical glitches in my life - the delete button on my work computer got stuck and totally erased my inbox, and my blackberry went on the fritz.

Strangely enough, nobody died and the earth continued to circle the sun. Dare I say that I actually enjoyed not being so connected.

Note to self: Unless you're the president or a brain surgeon, techno breaks  are a good thing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Strange Dreams

Like those before me - Pamela Lee Anderson and Paris Hilton -  the man in my life recently took advantage of me, video taping moi in a compromising position. While I'm heartbroken, my Public Relations side knows it's better to come clean, before this thing goes viral on U-tube.

Please let me share a few key messages with you:
  • Okay, I admit there was a lost year, when for some unexplained reason I snored. But those days are behind me, I did the work and kicked the habit.
  • Notice that Tex doesn't move. Do the math -  he's a pug and pugs snore.
  • Not to brag, but see how hard it is to wake me up? What can I say, it's a gift.
  • Pity Party moment - notice my reaction to waking up? Thing is, I'm pretty sure this the result of living with Tom and Tyler, who have a strange idea of  funny. As a result I frequently wake up like this, even when on airplanes.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sweet Dreams

Last night Tom broke the barrier and was the first person in our family to have an Obama dream. In the dream Tom and Barrack are hanging out at the White House, walking Bo, ending with a wrestling match in which Obama has my poor hubby in a head lock.

I'm not surprised Tom is dreaming of the president, as we've just come back from DC, which is abuzz with hope and goodwill. It's been so long since I've been excited about a politician, it's a really good feeling.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Art


DC is one of the world's great museum towns, housing the Smithsonian's eclectic collection. Tom and I got a kick out of this painting, which is on display at the National Gallery. Not sure why, but for some reason it really resonated with us. Great art reminds us that there are moments that transcend time.....such as the love of a pug and its human.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NY State of Mind


I recently came back from NY and DC, one of those rare trips where the stars align and everything goes according to plan.  

Things got off to a great start day one of my trip.  I was upgraded to business class (without asking), our plane circled Manhattan twice before landing (I had the perfect seat to take in the view), and at the Waldorf, I hit the jackpot and was upgraded to the towers (the ultimate NY crib) - all harbingers of things to come. Here are a few of the NY highlights:

  • Seeing South Pacific at Lincoln Centre with my good friend Bob. Not only did we go backstage and meet the cast, but Bob's  friend Loretta let us go onstage after the show was over. Loretta is starring as Bloody Mary, after being discovered by the Director in her native Hawaii.  I love it when good things happen to good people. Tom is really enjoying my many renditions of "Some Enchanted Evening", and plans to send Bob a special thank you.
  • A behind the scenes tour of the Today Show, courtesy of Natalie Morales, who is humble, beautiful and a pleasure to work with.
  • A girls night out with Suzanne and Ellen, good for the soul and better than years of therapy. We went to PDT - a secret little club that can only be accessed through a telephone booth in a hot dog shop. 
New York, you really are one of the world's great cities. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Art


Living with a photographer can be quite daunting. For years I avoided cameras, knowing my best would never be good enough.

Funny thing about life, sometimes you have hidden talents without even knowing it. By fluke I realized that I have a knack for accidentally taking photos with my blackberry. It's actually a gift, who knew that I would capture the essence of life without even knowing it.

So from time to time I plan to share my new art form with you.  Take this image for example, I like to call it "Janice looks at life and laughs in its face".

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My New Mantra


Simplicity.

  • KISS - keep it simple stupid

  • The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.--Hans Hofmann

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pug Love



I knew something was seriously wrong, when I came home from work and Maggie wasn't at the door waiting to greet me.  Tex was there, happy pug face and wagging tail, but where was Maggie?

My heart was pounding as I went to look for baby girl, something had to be seriously wrong for her not to be front and centre, eager to tell me about her day. I found her sleeping in the living room, she seemed a little confused when I gently woke her.  I tried to assure myself that everything was okay, after all, we all have days when we're a little off.

I started to get scared when we had to wake her up the next morning. You see Maggie is a keener, always the first to wake up, run to the door, jump right in. It wasn't until we used the magic word, and asked her if she wanted cheese, that we realized she was having trouble hearing. You see Maggie is something of a cheese connoisseur, and can even tell the difference between Brie, Cheddar and Blue - you say cheese, and Magster goes a little crazy.

According to the vet, Maggie may be loosing her hearing. She does have a mild ear infection, but the Dr feels it isn't severe enough to impact her ability to hear. This week we're taking her in to have her ear flushed out, but who knows if it will help.

This is really hard for both Tom and I, as we tend to live in denial, convincing ourselves the pugs aren't getting older.  It's so much easier to pretend that our precious babies will always be with us.

Don't worry baby girl, we'll be your ears.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bad, Bad Things


It's been a tough couple of weeks, seems like I'm always struggling to find my groove. Today I may have bottomed out.

All of my dog walkers are on holiday and Tom has a gig in the Queen Charlotte's - which means I've been rushing home every afternoon to walk the dogs.  Today was the first sunny day in a week - so I decided that we'd take a longer walk and soak up some Vitamin D. 

One hour later, I realize I had walked around Granville Island with the back of my skirt tucked into my tights.  Which explains why all of those people were smiling at me. I thought the smile said "cute pugs" instead of "you poor idiot, your ass is hanging out".

The real burn is I stopped and chatted with neighbors along the way, gave our handy man hell for not fixing my door, bent over several times to scope poop. 

Life, you do have a way of humbling me. 


Monday, March 30, 2009

Blast Off


This morning started with a bang.......literally.  

While making breakfast, I had a "Houston we have a problem" moment - resulting in my white kitchen cabinets and ceiling being covered in green smoothie. Oh well, at least this time both pugs managed to survive the ordeal relatively unscathed.
 
So, start your day with a bang with Mika's favorite green smoothie:

Frozen  low fat vanilla yogurt 
banana (when bananas start to get too ripe, peel, wrap in foil, freeze - good as a frozen snack or in smoothies)
matcha tea powder
ground salba (south American grain, rich in Omega 3)
1 hand full of almonds
low fat milk
3 -4 ice cubes
honey or dark chocolate chips optional

Throw ingredients in blender and blend. Don't be afraid to experiment - and for god's sake, do not, under any circumstances, forget to put the lid on the blender.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Busted


This evening I was startled by a knock on my door. Imagine my horror at finding a group of neighbors,  there to inform me that my lights were shining during earth hour. A polite way of saying "get with it sister".

 I'm a hippy at heart -  Tom even goes so far as to call me "Mother Nature in the making" -which makes what I am about to tell you all the more embarrassing. You see I knew it was earth hour, but made an executive decision to ignore it, as I really wanted to watch the telly. What can I say, I have a thing for British Mysteries.

How did it come to this? Used to be Saturday meant a night on the town, for the past few years it's been more about comfort food and really bad TV.  Even my family and friends have a hard time understanding how I can spend hours watching slow paced, British dramas. Hell, at the rate I'm going it's just a matter of time before the Queen and I are one.

I tried to rationalize the earth hour dilemma by convincing myself it would be okay to keep the home fires burning, as long as I turned them off at some point. Like maybe 3 am, which works better with Tyler's time zone anyway. Yea, that's the ticket.

You'd think being confronted by the neighbors would have been a "come to Jesus moment". Instead, I found myself hiding in the woman cave, curtains drawn, hoping nobody saw the luminous glare of the TV.

One side note: Having  the lights out did prove one thing, unlike cats, pugs do not have an innate ability to see in the dark. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Moments of Grace


It’s been a crazy week -  too much work and too many politics......... exhausting.

In-spite of feeling like a hamster, running like mad on my little wheel, three beautiful moments stand out. Reminders of all that is important in life.


Words of Wisdom 

While confessing to gal pal Darlene that I’ve never had a life plan - comparing my journey to floating down a river, always going with the flow, but never really steering- she assures me that knowing what you don’t want, is just as important as knowing what you do. Thank god, at least I’ve got that covered.


The Beauty of Youth

Seeing two rough looking teens helping an elderly woman who’s taken a tumble off a curb. In spite of being at an age that most of us remember as being awkward, their calming voices and gentle manner seemed so full of grace. Maybe the next generation will be more aware and mindful then we’ve been.


Birds of a Feather

Coming upon a wet pigeon while walking down the street, poor little dude was all feathers and attitude, with such a small fragile body. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a wet bird before, and wonder what they do when it rains? He was hanging out with his posse / flock, who all seemed to be dry, which made the whole thing seem all the more mysterious. How truly amazing life is, a reminder that even the life of a pigeon is a wondrous thing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mac Happy


This week I took a big step, going from PC to Mac user. Not only do I love my new computer, aka Mac Daddy, but I kinda feel like a high school geek who has suddenly been allowed to hang with the cool kids.

Tom is supportive, but also pointed out that I've been a Mac-pain in the Mac-ass since getting it.

I personally think this will be one of those life changing moments, and wouldn't be surprised if this is the start of really big things. Who knows, now that I have the Mac maybe I'll write the great Canadian Novel, produce award winning movies about the struggles of urban pugs, eat mac and cheese everyday without gaining weight, or even become a talking head / mac expert.

Trust me people, this is going to be big.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Things We Do



This week I was surprised to find out that my friend Carol is taking her daughter to Disneyland. You have to know Carol to truly appreciate how BIG this is. Like Halley’s Comet – this is something that most human beings won’t likely to see in their lifetime.

You see, Carol usually goes to exotic locales like Provence or Tuscany. Disneyland or Vegas? – well, not so much.

But that’s the thing about having a young child - most of us find ourselves doing things we never imagined.

Such as:

  • Tom, who dressed up like big bird and strapped on a pair of roller skates for Tyler’s 4th birthday party.

  • Cindy who spent the entire night in a Toy’s R Us parking lot, going elbow to elbow with hundreds of other desperate parents, determined to get her daughter a Wii for Christmas. (She was successful).

  • Heather, who shares her life with her step-daughter and a life size stuffed pony named Butterscotch.

  • Chris, who builds P-kitty a tent every morning before he heads off to work.

  • My brother David, a manly man from West Texas, who knows all the words to “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Baby Beluga”.

  • All of the fathers who let their daughters paint their toenails (you know who I’m talking about).

  • Not to mention the fact that I’ve been to Hell and back making sure Santa was able to deliver Ninja Turtle Action figures on Christmas morning.

Before you have a child, you imagine a perfect world. A place with no sugar or junk food, where everything comes from an organic garden. A world that isn’t commercial, and families manage to make meaningful Christmas and Birthday gifts out of wonderful little things found in their backyard. A place where boys don’t play with toy guns or soldiers. A world without TV, one where we are never too tired to read and sing happy songs to our children.

The truth is - reality is far more interesting than the dream.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dog House

Okay, so I'm not a photo shop wizard. Without naming names, there's a certain someone who just happens to be in the dog house with the Ryan women.
Today he took Maggie to the vet and subjected her to all sorts of indignities (and yes, pugs do hold the odd grudge) - and topped that off by hiding all of the diet cokes.
Hell hath no fury........

Monday, March 2, 2009

Roomates Wanted



I’m not a huge fan of reality television, but lately I’ve been following a show called “The Week the Women Left”. The premise of the show goes something like this; you take a small town in Canada – send all the woman on a luxurious holiday for a week – leave the men in charge of the kids, house, pets, work, etc – and of course total mayhem ensues.

Truth is, when I’m out of town Tom runs a tight ship - and Tex and Maggie are well loved and cared for, other than being subjected to hours and hours of CNN and cable Sports channels.

What I find most interesting about this particular reality show, however - is how the women of Tatamagouche, Halifax react to a week of freedom.

Even though I adore my family, there are times when my downstairs "woman cave" just isn’t enough. The show got me thinking, maybe I’m not the only woman who needs an occasional break. What if a group of us like-minded girls got together and split the rent on a downtown loft or apartment? Think of it as the ultimate chick pad.

All I really need is a few days every month. Just some time to catch up on my sleep and recharge my batteries. It wouldn’t have to be big or swanky, just a refuge for the weary.

In case anyone reading this would like to join me, I’ve taken a stab at listing our requirements:

  • Kitchen is not essential, the closest thing to cooking will be ordering take out and heating it up in the microwave.
  • Fridge is a must - cold champagne, selection of cheeses and chocolate dipped strawberries should always be close at hand.
  • Emphasis on a beautiful bed with soft, comfortable and clean linens.
  • BABT (big ass bath tub)
  • Rather than a well stocked pantry, lots and lots of beauty products – or even better, close proximity to a spa.
  • DVD’s of chick flicks, good books, and a big stack of fashion magazines.
  • No phone, Internet, or access to blackberry
  • Maid service provided daily
  • And most important of all.........a lava lamp and clap-on fireplace

What do you think, ladies. Are there any takers out there?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The List


Have you noticed that the latest trend on Facebook involves creating lists? They usually consist of things you’ve done or hope to do, i.e. your bucket list, places you want to visit, 25 things nobody knows about you, books you have read, etc., etc., etc.

All of this list making has me thinking - sometimes the things you refuse to do can say as much about you as the things you embrace.

Without further ado, here’s my List of Things That Mika is Never Going to Do.

1. Go on a group tour/vacation (my idea of hell)
2. Own a mini-van
3. Vote Republican
4. Go for a “cleanse”. (I may be the only person in BC who hasn’t been on one -even Tom claims he does it on a weekly basis!)
5. Buy a gun
6. Read books that are written by either Danielle Steel or Ann Coulter
7. Wear Uggs
8. Become a member of The Kiss Army
9. Eat meat
10. Give up diet coke, Mexican food or chocolate (hell no!)
11. Not have a dog in my life
12. Whistle, ride a unicycle or walk on stilts (three things I’ve always wanted to do, but just can’t master)
13. Sing in tune (but I’m not going to let that stop me)
14. Take up any form of organized religion
15. Stop buying shoes (sorry honey!)
16. Take my family or friends for granted
17. Stop swearing (sometimes, it just feels so damn good)
18. Join the Celine Dion fan club
19. Wear a bikini in public (those days are long gone)
20. Buy an RV and spend my holidays camping in a Wal-Mart parking lot
21. Stop picking up pennies found on the street and making a wish
22. Telling little lies (Of course that dress doesn’t make you look fat!)
23. Appear on Girls Gone Wild (at least not willingly)
24. Watch WWF, Dog the Bounty Hunter, or Fox news
25. Allow anyone to bully me (No! I will not respond to “Who’s your Daddy” when held in a head lock)

Warning:
Before making your own list of “No, Not Me”, you should know that this comes with significant risk. There have been many times in life when I have found myself doing the very things I said I would never do. You are seriously tempting fate, so proceed with caution.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Romance

Tonight I came home from a business dinner to find Tom making chocolate chip cookies. Not only does he make the best cookies - but he makes them with nuts. Tom doesn't really like nuts, but he does it for me, as he knows I dig them.
Now that's romance folks.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mo Money, Mo Money, Mo Money


Like many people across North America, our little family is trying to be more mindful of the money we spend. Our goal is to buy only that which is essential, and with any luck pay off all of our debts this year.

Like many couples, Tom and I have very different approaches in how we manage money. In other words, I buy things and Tom lectures me about the evils of spending money. This is painful to admit, but the truth is I’m the consumer in the family………or so I thought.

As part of our New World Order (shout out to CF), Tom is taking on more responsibility shopping for our day-to-day needs. It was actually his idea, the rational being he’s such a paragon of strength that he wouldn’t be tempted to spend frivolously.

Since taking over, he’s learned one of the most important rules of shopping – it is impossible to go into Costco without dropping serious dough. Last two times he’s been there he’s spent a couple of hundred bucks – coming home dazed and confused – uttering “I don’t get it, where did all the money go?”

If this keeps up I’m going to have to lay down the law, and put him on a budget.

Sweet Dreams

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fear


Not to sound paranoid, but have you ever had the feeling that you’re being followed? Last week when Tex, Mags and I were on our afternoon walk, we couldn’t help but notice the strange young woman lurking in the bushes. It took me a little while to figure out that it was shadow girl, waiting for the pugs and I to move down the street so she could make a mad dash for her house.

Shadow girl and her family moved into our neighbourhood about the same time we adopted the pugs. It soon became painfully obvious that they were not your average family. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that the idea of the functional family is an urban myth - after all, we all have our little quirks and idiosyncrasies – let’s just say that Shadow Girl and her family took strange to a whole new level.

For starters they seemed to be afraid of everything, including all animals, boy scouts, shadows, weather and clowns. To put it into perspective, they came into our lives when Tex and Maggie were tiny little puppies – and even though the pugs weighed under 2 pounds each – Shadow Girl's family approached them as if they were man eating lions.

At first we felt really sad for them, and to quote Coldplay, felt it was our duty to Fix them. This meant no sudden movements, always talking in a calm, soft voice, and lots of positive verbal encouragement “it’s okay, when he wags his tail it means he likes you.”

After awhile it became apparent that we were fighting a losing battle, this wasn’t a little family that wanted to be fixed. Time passed, and they just sort of disappeared into their house. The only indication that anyone even lived there was the odd light on in the middle of the night.

So it came as something of a shock to see Shadow Girl, after all it had been years since there had been a sighting. My first reaction was anger – shadow girl was now a young woman – still obviously paralyzed by fear at a time when she should be flirting, driving fast and taking chances. All of this fear seemed like such a waste of youth, the beauty of life.

The whole thing got me thinking about life, and how we’re often responsible for creating the obstacles that keep us from reaching our full potential. While it’s true that my fears are not as obvious as Shadow Girl's, are they any less debilitating? Why do I worry about things that are out of my control, and create unnecessary anxiety?

Thank you Shadow Girl for reminding me that life is messy, full of highs and lows. Sometimes you just have to jump in with both eyes open, confident that what ever life brings, you’ll get through it.



Saturday, February 14, 2009

Break a Leg


Yesterday I went under the knife, and while I realize it would be a far more interesting story if I told you I had my boobs or nose done, that’s just not the way I roll.
For those of you who read my humble little blog, you’ll remember that I had my right knee operated on last October. It was so successful, and my knee felt so good, that I decided to get my left knee fixed.
My doctor, who performed both operations, is by all accounts a brilliant surgeon –this is a good thing considering he has the bed side manner of House.
During our very first consultation, we had a little disagreement over his recommended course of treatment. While waiting for surgery, he suggested I take some time off work, and rest my swollen knee. When I tried to explain to him that staying home was not a 2010 option, he asked me if I was a Nuclear Physicist. I answered no, wondering where his line of questioning was going. His response was to point out that I was 'only' in Public Relations - and not exactly saving the world.
Suffice to say, things were off to a rocky start - but my first knee surgery was a big success - so we both decided to fix my left (worse) knee.

This second go-around, I was suprised at how quickly he scheduled my knee surgery. My friend Carol pointed out that my surgery was scheduled for Friday the 13th , a day when many people like to lay low and avoid doing anything crazy. Fortunately, I’m not that superstitious, so I decided to just go with it.

The second surprise came when I arrived at the hospital and was going through the admitting process - the paperwork said I was there to get my right knee done. I calmly explained that I had already had the right knee fixed, and it felt perfectly fine. I told them again that I was actually there for the left knee (in the back of mind I kept thinking of those weird news accounts of some poor smuck going in for a tonsillectomy and coming out with a vasectomy). Not to worry, after much back and forth, right knee - left knee conversation, we sorted it all out and I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing.

Then, before I even finished the paperwork, a couple of nurses rushed in and ordered the admin staff to get me processed….STAT!
Seems the two patients who were scheduled to have surgery before me no showed, which meant the surgeons were moving me up - and wanted me in the operating room as soon as possible. Chaos ensued as a team of medics quickly (too quickly perhaps?) prep'd me for the big event.
Is it just me or does anyone else find it strange that two people no showed? Seriously, what are the odds? Did they sleep in….have a family emergency….or at the last minute, look at the calendar and realize it was Friday the 13th?!

To make a long story short, I’m on the operating table - and moments before the anaesthesia kicks in - I hear the head nurse say “Okay people - let's prep the right knee for surgery”.
I think I managed to shout out “Nooooooo.......LEFT kneeeeee!” before the lights went out.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cry Baby Cry


I’m starting to think there is something seriously wrong with me. Is it possible that I’m a hardass? – and even worse, that I’m the last person to know? – sort of like those people who go on American Idol and actually think they can sing?

I really didn’t clue into the fact that there might be a problem until British Columbia won the right to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. One of the great things about the Olympics are the video vignettes, short stories that capture the beauty of the host nation, it’s people, and most of all the athletes who overcome incredible odds to finally realize their life long dreams.

While I find these videos inspiring, I’m not moved to tears the way many of my colleagues are. It doesn’t matter how many times they’ve seen the same video, there are always tears. In fact, there have been a few instances when people who have not even seen the video cried like a baby - just from hearing someone describe it! (C and J, you know who I’m talking about).

At first I thought all of this 2010 crying was just a girl thing, and I tried to comfort myself by rationalizing that maybe I’ve been living with men for so long that they’ve started to rub off on me (sorry Maggie, but you’re not exactly a delicate flower). Unfortunately, that rationale only worked for a short period of time, as I have now seen many men from our office also get choked up when watching a certain segment featuring the torch relay.

I’ve done some serious soul searching and have come to the conclusion that I’m just not a crier. To make it even worse, the few times I do cry are almost always dog related - in other words, show me a little pug struggling to carry the Olympic flame up a steep hill, against the wind, and I’m a goner.

Truth is, I’m okay with the fact that I am not a crier.

You see, I make up for it by laughing. I laugh at jokes (including my own), I laugh while sharing war stories, I laugh when someone falls down and hurts themselves, I laugh at weddings, I laugh during funerals – and when all else fails, I keep laughing.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

If the Shoe Fits


I recently bought Stuff White People Like, a book that both Tom and I are really enjoying. According to my calculations, my good friend Janice just might be the whitest person I know. Not to worry J, I’m right up there with you. It’s amazing how many of these hilarious stereotypes have my name written all over them.

For example, white people really like buying kitchen gadgets. You name it I have it – over the years I have bought a bread maker, rice cooker, pasta maker, food processor, waffle iron, blender, pizza cutter, potato ricer, sushi mat, etc, etc – just recently I came home with a Panini press.

Like it or not, for the past week Tom and the pugs have been forced to eat, breath and sleep Panini’s. I’ve made fried egg panini’s, a fancy version of beans and toast on a panini, Mediterranean panini’s, classic grilled cheese panini’s, and in honour of Elvis I even made a peanut butter and banana panini (thank you, thank you very much). My current obsession is trying to create the perfect caprisi panini.

Trust me folks, if it can be slapped between two slices of bread - I’m willing to try it. In other words, your favourite panini recipes are most welcome.