Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Few (more) of My Favorite Things...

I have been terribly negligent with my writing as of late. Nothing like more time in hospitals to kill one's motivation. Thankfully, my family has been given a short reprieve from further hospital stays and, after seeing a friend of mine take the leap and launch her own business blog ( - way to go Kat!), I got the inspiration I needed to carve out some time to blog.

So let's keep it simple, shall we?

Here are a few more of my favorite things that deserve a mention:


Not only does it fill the void that X-Files left in my TV viewing world, I think Fringe is one of the best new shows (relatively speaking...I believe it's already in it's second season but only just catching on) on TV. And coming from someone who spends very little time watching TV, this is high praise in my world.

I never realized I was such a big fan of sci-fi, or what is now being rebranded as "speculative", but clearly I am. Fringe is from the genius that is J.J. Abrams (...also creator of Alias, Lost, and the new Star Trek movie...among others). The show is intelligent, suspenseful and a bit mind bending. I like that this series makes you think while it entertains and leaves you speculating, like a great Michael Crichton novel does, could this really happen or already be happening???

Cactus Club Cafe's Ravioli + Prawn Trio

When you taste something this delicious, it must be passed on. The interesting thing about this particular dish is that I'm not sure I would have ordered it had one of my dinner guests beside me not done so. I love good pasta but ravioli is not usually a big draw for me. That all changed the moment my table mate was presented with this dish. It took me all of 30 seconds before I grabbed our server and asked for a plate of my own. I couldn't get over the aroma coming from this dish.

The menu describes this starter as "butternut squash ravioli with sautéed jumbo prawns"...but let me share with you that this doesn't come close to describing it's flavour. What seems like a fairly simple dish turns out to have a rich and complex flavour that just about knocked me off my seat. It was so unexpected. I was torn between the great conversation I was having at our table and the food I was doing my best to slow down eating and savour. The food won my attention. Had I not been with business colleagues at the time, I'm pretty sure I would have ordered another plate for myself. It is that good.

Raw Canvas

Raw Canvas is my favorite new place to be. Not only is it a hip, relaxed lounge to park yourself at for a glass of wine and some tantalizing cheese & meat pairings (such a great way to eat), it is also a place you can come to for art, music and, best of all, painting.

Let me be clear here, a painter, I am not, but I love the idea of being able to paint. Before my first trip to Raw Canvas, I had only put paint to canvas once before (not counting Elementary School, that is) and I can't draw to save my life. That being said, I love playing with paint, mixing colours, trying different brushes and techniques out at their studio. This creative style of mine can only be described as the most abstract of terms. I seem to end up with paintings that all look the same at the end of the day but it doesn't bother me in the least. The process is truly too much fun not to repeat.

They said it best on their website: Raw Canvas is the place to "Eat. Drink. Make art." It's the perfect combination and it is worth checking out whether you are going on your own, with a group of friends or with your colleagues for a corporate celebration.

Eat. Drink. Make art. Not a bad theme to adopt for the new year ahead.


I learned about Etsy through Twitter not so long ago (God love Twitter!). It's a site designed to showcase and sell only handmade items. Very cool concept and great website.

The handmade letterpress cards I came across are one of my favorite finds to date ( I'm of lover of all things stationary and these elegant, clean and crisp cards are beautiful. I also really like the idea of supporting the people who work so hard to create these handcrafted works of art in our mass produced, big box store era.

Straight No Chaser

What holiday season would be complete without great Christmas music to accompany it? This year I was introduced to Straight No Chaser, a group I had never heard of before and so pleasantly surprised to be introduced to.

Holiday music doesn't change very much from year to year so when I came across these fellas with their unique and very merry take on the holiday music genre, I figured there may be a few of you out there who would also appreciate the introduction. Enjoy!

I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy some, if not all, of these favorites of mine. If you have a few of your own, post your comments and share them with the rest of us. A good thing should never go unnoticed.

Ciao for now,


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Let's Skate!

I love this time of year, especially when we have days like today that are beautiful, crisp and clear (and after yesterday's torrential downpour and last night's storm, it is a very welcome change). Not sure I am into starting the Christmas festivities as early as Nov. 1 (as it seems our malls and retail outlets would like us to be doing) but I have to say I'm getting excited about winter in general.

The local mountains have opened early this year and I have just learned that the Robson Square outdoor public skating rink will be opening on Nov. 24! You can read all the details at

What's more festive than outdoor skating with Christmas lights everywhere and holiday music to get you in the mood?! Warming up afterwards with an eggnog or gingerbread latte and some roasted chestnuts (disgusting, by the way, but God do they smell good). It's a Hallmark commercial waiting to happen.

I'm a terrible skater, having failed an early level back in my wee years for not being able to skate backwards fast enough...or was it that I was so embarrassed I couldn't get my feet to do what I wanted that I didn't even finish a circle of the rink? Ah well...six of one, half dozen of the other. It clearly wasn't my calling but I love it anyhow.

See you at the rink,


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Remembrance Day

November 11th always sparks my historical curiosity. As if to honour the memorial, I read only historical fiction this time of year related to WWI and WWII. I am particularly drawn to the stories of the Holocaust. I have never fully understood why but I read everything I can get my hands on, watching every documentary I come across, about how an unfathomable number of Jewish men, women and children were rounded up and sent to their deaths.

Being a student of psychology my whole life...always asking 'why', much to the limits of my parents patience growing up...I am utterly fascinated with how it could have happened. It was not that long ago. How people could turn off their humanity to such a degree has always been beyond my limited...and, yes, privileged...understanding.

I strive to learn all I can as a way of understanding. It's my nature. Not to agree or disagree with choices made long ago...choices that cannot be undone...but to find a way to wrap my brain around it; to learn how to keep humanity from repeating its mistakes...through my actions, since that is all I have control over.

Sadly, it is but one example of many genocides around the world throughout history. It is, however, the one I am most drawn to and it is the one I continue to read about every year at this time. Perhaps because there are still survivors alive today from WWII and so it has a strong foothold in our collective consciousness. Perhaps it is due to the simple reason that I am still seeking to understand and have not yet been able to answer my own questions. Whatever the reason, I find myself reading another story about WWII and asking the same questions.

This year especially, I wish my grandparents were still alive to share their stories with me. I have been reading The Wayfinders by Wade Davis and am troubled by the alarming number of cultures that are dying out, and with them, their stories, their languages, and their wisdom. The implications his thesis holds for when the last of the WWII veterans and survivors have passed on is equally disturbing. Is it possible that their stories and the teachings of their experiences will die with them?


Here are some of the books with content related to the World Wars that have left a lasting impression on me:

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Night by Elie Wiesel (non-fiction)

Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl (non-fiction)

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

The Diary of Anne Frank (non-fiction)

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Fugivite Pieces by Anne Michaels

Band of Brothers: E-Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne... by Stephen E. Ambrose

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

The Wars by Timothy Findley

Beach Music by Pat Conroy

For those with other book recommendations related to WWI or WWII, I welcome you to post them here.

Lest we forget.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Room to Read

I love to read. Ever since my grade 5 teacher read Roald Dahl's, The BFG, to our class, I've been hooked. I'm not even sure what is was about that particular story that captured my imagination, or why I hadn't inherited my parents love of reading before that, but The BFG was something special and sparked my (since then) life long passion for reading (and a compulsion for collecting books, I'm afraid).

I read every Roald Dahl book I could get my hands on after that and, when there were no more to devour, I turned my attention to the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Classics! I found it hard to believe they ever went out of vogue but, thankfully, I hear they are making a comeback.

I cannot imagine what my early years would have been like without all those fantastical stories. I am very fortunate that I never had to worry about it. They were, quite simply, always available to me. So no surprise that I am drawn to organizations and initiatives that are working to promote literacy and a love of reading to those who are not as fortunate.

Speaking of which, I recently became involved with the local chapter of Room to Read (, an incredible nonprofit organization committed to promoting and enabling global education. If you are not already familiar with this non-profit, allow me to enlighten you. Founded on the belief that education and literacy is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty in the developing world, Room to Read has established more than 700 schools, over 7,000 bilingual libraries with 5 million books, has supported over 3 million children by providing increased access to higher-quality educational opportunities and continues to support the education of nearly 7,000 girls who would have otherwise gone without.

I first learned about Room to Read through reading John Wood’s book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. He left his life as a corporate executive behind and co-founded the program with an equally inspiring individual, Erin Ganju, who will be speaking in Vancouver on Nov. 17th.

If you are interested in the event, or, better yet, would like to register, please click on the link:

I assure you, it will not disappoint.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vancouver International Writer's Festival

The VIWF has, sadly, just come to a close for another year. I never seem to have enough time to get to all the events I would ideally like to but this year I was fortunate enough to see quite a few nonetheless.

Here are my personal 'notable mentions' from the writer's I went to see:

Sarah Waters - The author of Tipping the Velvet, among others, spoke about her new book, The Little Stranger. I've been trying to finish this book for a while now, not because it isn't a great read - it is - but because it keeps me up at night. Very spooky book. Perfect for this time of year. The Little Stranger was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year.

Michael Crummey - Canadian author of River Thieves and The Wreckage. His new book, Galore, is completely different from anything I've read before. Incredibly entertaining book full of fascinating Newfoundland folklore. Galore has been nominated for the 2009 Governor General's Literary Award.

Audrey Niffenegger - The author of the bestseller The Time Traveler's Wife was promoting her new book, Her Fearful Symmetry. Very interesting woman and equally interesting and original new book.

Colin McAdam - A favorite new author...and also a Canadian. His first book, Some Great Thing, was nominated for a number of awards. He was at the Festival promoting his new book, Fall, which has just been nominated for the Giller Prize. If you ever have an opportunity to see McAdam read live, just go. He's as entertaining as they come.

Daria Salamon - I am so glad I had the chance to see her read from her book The Prairie Bridesmaid. Daria, a Winnipeg native, is fresh and funny and raw, both in person and in her writing. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting her and am laughing a lot through her first novel.

Talented writer's with fabulous new books, each one worth reading.

And now I am off to read my very first advanced copy of a book: Marian Keyes' latest, not yet released, The Brightest Star in the Sky. Can't tell you how excited I was to come home from the Writer's Festival to this in the mail (indeed, I lead a sheltered little life...and I'm ok with that).

Marian Keyes' books are very much my guilty pleasure. Her writing is witty, intelligent and wonderfully entertaining. She has an ability to take a serious topic, make it accessible and palpable so it resonates in some way to just about any reader, while, at the same time, making it laugh out loud funny. A definite crowd pleaser, especially if that crowd happens to be primarily female.

If nothing else, having this blog (a.k.a. a vehicle to promote the books and authors I enjoy) is allowing me to get my hands on a few advanced copies of future bestsellers. Nice. I'll take that. Thank you very much Penguin Group (Canada)!

Ciao for now,


My Top 34 List

Creating my Top 34 List for my 34th year was not as easy as I anticipated...hence my delay with posting it. Well, that wouldn't be the only reason for the delay. Life seemed to have other plans for me, as it often does.

At the end of the day, I ended up with over 55 items on the list (thank you to all who contributed!), which will certainly make next year's list creation a whole lot easier.

So without further ado, here is the list that will be shaping my year ahead (in no particular order):

1. I will have an article published in some form of print media.
2. I will be vacationing in France and Italy this year.
3. I will fall in love (...cheesy as it may sound, it just feels like the right time...again).
4. I will be redefining my career (more to come on this one).
5. I will cook a new recipe every week. Believe it or not, this one is a huge stretch for me.
6. I will take snowboarding lessons.
7. I will take a progressive dance class and perform again this year. My muscles are already aching.
8. I will get my front teeth fixed. Not exciting, I realize, but I have put this on hold for far too long.
9. I will get to New York this year...and if I plan it right, I will be able to take in a literary festival while I'm there.
10. I will become involved with TED in some capacity this year ( This is going to take some creativity and a tremendous amount of work on my part but it is a dream of mine to be involved in their network.
11. I will take a ride on a tugboat (don't ask...always wanted to...has to do with my dad and the stories read to me in my childhood).
12. I will read an economics book...cover to cover. As much as I love to read, I'm not as excited about this one but would really like to learn more. I'm thinking the classic, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Good thing I've given myself a year for this one.
13. [I am unable to publish this particular one...but rest assured, it's a good one;-)].
14. I will ride on a train for the first time.
15. I will complete the outline for my (first) book.
16. I will run a 10K...and enjoy under 60 minutes effortlessly.
17. I will rent a car and take a solo road trip.
18. I will treat my mom to a day at the spa with me. She, who has never treated herself to anything like this, will likely say no so I'll have to be a bit crafty.
19. I will go ATV'g with my brother.
20. I will finally go kayaking.
21. I will get a Brazilian wax. What's a little pain for curiosity's sake?
22. I will make a microloan to a Grameen recipient. An amazing organization founded by Noble Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus who wrote Banker to the Poor:
23. I will take on a new teaching/public speaking gig and get back to what I love to do.
24. I will visit the Louvre in Paris...finally!
25. I will host a dinner party for 8. That would be appetizers, main course and dessert...all homemade...all out of my comfort zone.
26. I will learn to speak and read French (I didn't say 'well').
27. I will have lunch in a vineyard.
28. I will visit Powell's Books in Portland.
29. I will finally get to Tofino this year.
30. I will either do a public reading of my own material or stand up comedy on an amateur night. The idea of either is already making me nauseous.
31. I will take a ballet class again. That's not the scary part. The scary part is actually getting back into a leotard!
32. I will paint and hang a canvas in my home - done and done, quite recently actually. This one I will do again.
33. I will volunteer with a kids book drive and donate time and books to charity. This one is already underway as I am getting involved with Room to Read. A great book by John Wood and a great NGO. Check them out at
34. I will take a writing class.

All I can say is I better be making some serious coin this year to ensure I get to all of these places and experience all of these things. I'm certainly putting that out to the universe.

Ciao for now,


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not As Easy As It Sounds

I'm working on my Top 34 List for my 34th. The idea is not my own but came from a good friend of mine who created one for her 40th this year. Sounds like fun, I thought. A great idea, right? Should be easy to list a mere 34 things I want to try, accomplish and experience in this next year, no?

The first 10 were easy...the next 6, a little more challenging...the remaining 18, yeah, I got nothin'. Surprising. I'm either a very easy girl to please or terribly unimaginative.

So I'm asking for your help. I would like to create an amazing 34th, full of new experiences, a lot of laughs, and many memorable moments (and who wouldn't?)...and why I can't think of (oh, wait...I just thought of another one! Adding it to the list moment please...) additional things to add, big or small, that could aid in this goal, I'm really not sure.

I've already got the big ones on there related to travel, work goals, writing something of consequence, making some kind of a difference (yadda, yadda) but, if I'm being honest, they're feeling a bit generic and, dare I say, boring...and I would prefer that my 34th year be anything but. True, there are indeed one or two on the list that are the polar opposite of boring...those, however, will not be making the 'published' list.

So tell me, what would be on your list? What have you done, or hope to do, that I may draw some inspiration from? The more creative the better. For instance, hiking Seymour before the sun is up, having breakfast on the peak and watching the sunrise. Cool, no question, but I've already done it. Skydiving? Amazing experience. Check. Done that too. Perform in front of 60,000 people? Yes, I have been lucky enough to do that as well. See what I mean?

In one respect, the act of creating this list has been a unique opportunity in itself to reflect and feel grateful for some very good times. But the question remains, what will I be reflecting on and giving thanks for this time next year?

What do you say? Can you help a girl out? The 'new year' is about to begin.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hello September

September is my favorite time of year. It seems to usher in an entirely new energy along with a tremendous sense of excitement, similar to what I use to feel on the first day back at school (...yes, I was one of those types, actually looking forward to the start of a new school year). It feels, at least to me, like it should be the first official day of the year.

It is a perfect, beautiful fall day here in Vancouver (the best kind) and I personally feel like I am being given a fresh start yet again. And after my last blog post, about saying a big "G" Goodbye to some deserving recipients, even more so. Out with the old and in with the new.

Since that post, I have already experienced a dramatic shift in my life. There are new people coming forward, even a little unexpected romance I am happy to report, and, remarkably, my existing relationships with very close friends are growing even deeper. I've been saying 'yes' to much more...and why not?...and having a lot of fun in doing so.

Yes, there is definitely a new energy at work and, gratefully, a new and positive chapter unfolding even with my dad's health.

So in honor of the month of September, a fresh start, and another birthday on the horizon, I am working on a Top 34 List to accomplish in my 34th year. The list, once compiled, will be my birthday gift and commitment to myself.

Excited? No, you're probably not, but I am! I'll publish my list once I have it completed. And in the meantime, what would be on your list for this year? Drop me a comment if you have one or two that you're open to sharing.

Ciao for now,


Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Power of Goodbye

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had more visits from the ghost's of my past than I care to admit. I've come face-to-face with people and situations that I continue to hear myself say I no longer want any part of...and yet, here they are, one after another. It's as if they're showing up to test my resolve. Well they're surely testing my patience at any rate.

I must be maturing in some small way though (Hallelujah!) because the only thing I want to communicate to each of these ghosts is a goodbye with a capital 'G' and a resounding period. Time for them to cross over, I think, or at the very least leave me in peace and go haunt someone else.

Their purpose in my life has been least I hope it has (all I can say is 'Serenity Now!' if there is still more in store). I've learned a tremendous amount about myself in the process of working through each situation and, for that, I am quite grateful.

But...and I know it sounds terrible to say (or in this case, write)...these particular ghosts no longer add any value to me or to my life (true, there could be one or two that maybe didn't add a whole lot to begin with and learn). Whenever I'm finding a certain person or situation is continually leaving me feeling depleted or taken advantage of, it's a sure sign in my books to move along - quickly.

It's been a long time since I've done a good purge. Similar to getting rid of all that crap that mysteriously seems to accumulate in my closets so I can make way for the new favorites to arrive, so too do I feel the need to reassess my outdated relationships from time to time.

And that is where the power of the big 'G' Goodbye comes in. It really is that simple. Difficult to execute...oh yes - I won't lie - certainly can be...but once you are ready to put an end to those relationships that no longer serve you, you make room for those that do to come into your life.

The moral of my story: with every ending comes a new beginning. Cliché it may be, but that little sentiment has gotten me through more than a few difficult big 'G' Goodbye's. And I have not once regretted it. In fact, it has always been the prelude to something or someone amazing coming into my life.

So not only is it a song by Madonna, it's also a very effective tool in my own personal development arsenal.

And with that I say bah-bye.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Crossing at a Ford

"'Crossing at a ford' means, for example, crossing the sea at a strait, or crossing over a hundred miles of broad sea at a crossing place. I believe this 'crossing at a ford' occurs often in a man's lifetime. It means setting sail even though your friends stay in harbour, knowing the route, knowing the soundness of your ship and the favour of the day. When all the conditions are met, and there is perhaps a favourable wind, or a tailwind, then set sail. If the wind changes within a few miles of your destination, you must row across the remaining distance without sail.

If you attain this spirit, it applies to everyday life."

~ The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi (1645)

I've been thinking about this passage for days it seems and finally pulled out this treasured book again tonight. I decided to post it thinking it may be of some interest to others as well.

Musashi is my 'go to' guy in all things strategic and philosophical. But it's been a while, I must say. The cover had quite a layer of dust keeping it company. Perhaps the tide is turning. Good sign.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some of My Favorite Things

Every now and again, when I stumble across something new (for me that is) and, I think, fantastic, I am hard pressed to keep quiet about it. Here's a few random things that bring me quite a bit of joy and are worth sharing:

National Geographic Traveler

For the aspiring adventure traveler within, armchair or otherwise. I love this site, the incredible photos and the great content. It gets me dreaming of far away, undiscovered places and new experiences. Perhaps one day I'll be a contributor? Dare to dream.

Campagnolo Restaurant in Vancouver

Hands down my new favorite restaurant in town. If you like simple, flavourful Italian food...authentic Italian, that is...and wines at a reasonable price in an unpretentious environment, this is a gem of a place. Whether I'm on a date, heading over after work to meet up with friends, or going in on my own in my most casual of attire, this is a place where I always feel at home. It has this great quietly trendy (in that not trying too hard kind of way), edgy feel about it. Yes, it's possible that edge of which I speak comes from its less than desirable location in the Main & Terminal area but, if you're in Vancouver, I hope you'll overlook that minor detail and give it a try. It's well worth it.

Nuvo Magazine

It's rare I come across a magazine that excites me. I'm just not a magazine girl, with the exception of the quarterly Canadian magazine Nuvo. First off, it's a visually stunning've got me at the very least picking it up at the newsstand. Second, it's Vancouver based (that was a pleasant surprise). And third, the writing is excellent - especially their book reviews, travel, art, food and wine pieces. It's a high quality magazine that I really look forward to reading.

The Music of James Morrison

What can I say, I actually tripped over his CD in HMV. I was in need of hearing some loud music walking home from work one day, wandered into the Robson store and it was the only headphone station available. I fell in love at first sound. I am in such awe of strong singer songwriters, especially when their words resonate so deeply. He's got a great mix of stuff on his "Songs For You, Truths For Me" CD...which I'm listening to right now actually. Good stuff. Pairs very well with a glass of red wine...but then, doesn't just about everything?

American Eagle Outfitters Favorite Boyfriend Jeans

I hate to shop and I especially hate to shop for jeans. They are one level below shopping for a bathing suit in my mind. I just don't find it to be an enjoyable experience myself. Until...da, da, da...I found the jeans at AEO's. They fit me perfectly and my new find - the Favorite Boyfriend style - is my favorite jean to date. It fits low-waisted, hugs the bottom in a loving way, doesn't grab the thighs in a death grip, and has a boot cut leg, which I love...because I wear a lot of boots. And the best part? They're $34 Cdn! I know! I was a smart girl this time and bought two different pairs. Love them! Can hardly wait for fall to arrive.

If you try any of my favorite things here, please be sure to let me know. I'd be interested in your thoughts. Hope you enjoy!

Ciao for now,


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tick Tock

Crisis averted. Dad is home after 22 days in hospital. HUGE sigh of relief! And the clock is still ticking on my life. Look at that. No time out for taking care of others. Bummer. You know, this critical illness stuff is terribly distracting.

So how did I do on last week's self-imposed assignment? Yeah...about that...

I got about as far as creating a list of the things that get me excited and feeling genuinely engaged (other than reading, of course). And here's what I've got so far:

Dancing - one of my favorite things to do and after 20 years of training, it's still something I absolutely love. Turn the music up loud and let 'er rip. It's a great feeling to be so in tune with yourself physically and the perfect solution for a down mood or to shake off a difficult day. Anywhere, anytime.

Writing - one cannot be on autopilot when they're least I can't be (although I'm sure that's debatable)...especially when I'm reflecting on myself, my behaviour, or an experience I've had. I need to be "on" and definitely present...hence not writing for more than a week here or elsewhere. Always a red flag in my books.

Negotiating - it's one of my favorite parts of the job. It takes some thought to bring two parties to agreement on a deal, or to uncover some common ground, especially if there was never any to begin with. I find negotiating, mediating and closing a win/win agreement incredibly satisfying.

Training - I have always loved training. It's been a very big part of my career, until recently, and I find I'm missing it these days. What I love about training groups of people is how much I learn and grow from the experience. Not to mention how satisfying it is when the light bulb goes off for participants and they have grasped a new concept or you watch as their behaviour reflects their new learning. Now that is exciting.

Adventuring - this is a rather all encompassing category, I realize. It includes everything from hiking a new trail or creating one that didn't exist for a new physical challenge...meeting new people...traveling to a new place...trying something I have never tried before...and on the list could go.

All of these things get me into "the zone", if you will. It is during these times in particular when things seem crystal clear to me; my mind is agile, flexible, adaptable; I'm able to rapidly generate new ideas, alternatives and solutions (or is it that they somehow just seem to flow through me?); I am only focused on what I am doing in that moment; I feel I have access to, what seems like, many more resources than I had before; I am learning, satisfying my curiosity and I am being challenged.

Learning is a big part of each of these activities and why, I'm sure, I love to read so much. My book choices, generally on the heavier side, tend to be about topics I want to learn more about, be they other cultures, other ways of living/thinking, new experiences and travels...supporting me to understand something or to look at it in a new way.

Creativity, as I am just realizing, is also a key component in this list of mine. Hmmmm...that's interesting to me. I haven't considered myself to be creatively inclined. Analytical, yes. Creative, not so much. But looking objectively at the list, each would be difficult to engage in and enjoy if creativity wasn't part of the recipe.

So what does it all mean? F*ck if I know at this point. But I do know that feeling lost, like I do these days, is never a bad thing (although that reminder comes in handy about 56 times a day at the moment). It is simply a step along the path that leads to a new destination. The only way out, I know, is through...and I've got to be getting closer every day, no? Certainly hope so.

Ciao for now,


Monday, August 3, 2009


It occurs to me that my blog posts seem to alternate between silly and far from serious subject matter to much more personal, serious-esque subject matter. It's very much following the ebb and flow of my life these days. One major component that seems to be missing however (or at least to me) is passion. I'm not passionate about anything right now...and I'm not very pleased about that.

It's been a very serious couple of weeks for me...with one or two exceptions...and this weekend I was able to shrug off some seriousness for a longer period when I got into a new book of all things. The book is exciting and has captured my full attention. I'm totally engrossed in it and, when I'm not reading it, I'm looking forward to the next opportunity I will have to do so. Sounds a bit like a drug addiction. Not exactly the feeling I'm trying to create here.

Set in and amongst all the heavy subject matter playing out with my dad being back in the hospital (day 14), it's almost as if this little book (actually, it's more than 800 pages but relatively small in size, if you will) has woken me up in some way and I don't want to fall back asleep.

And I'm not distracting myself in this one...well, not entirely. It's got me thinking about this long lost feeling I use to have much more regularly.

The book, by the way, is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The feeling I have, reading this thriller of a page turner, is of being completely alert and aware. Things seem brighter somehow, more in focus. The story evokes real raw emotion. So much so that I've had to put it down a few times to think through what it's triggering for me (it is a wee bit disturbing in parts, which could be why I'm actually putting it down...either that or my marathon reading sessions wreaking havoc on my full bladder). I lose track of time when I open it up. The book is built like a puzzle; it's completely stimulating on an intellectual level and is certainly keeping me on my toes.

I remember when I use to feel this way about a lot of things in my life, namely my work. I miss these feelings and helping to evoke them - that energy - in others (that would be the positive ones, not the addiction like ones, just to be absolutely clear).

When did I become so apathetic?

Back to reality here. On the one hand, I have a very sick parent. Happens to be the inspiration for creating my blog and not wanting to waste a moment more of my life. On the other hand, I have put certain aspects of my life on hold...because I have a very sick parent. Can we read between the lines here people and identify the issue? Yup. I'm kinda moving in circles both here and in my life. And that's got to stop.

My challenge this week then, is to find another opportunity/activity/experience that makes me feel this engaged, alert and alive (outside of the book...and not to include drunk texting. I, of course, wouldn't know personally but I've heard it can create more problems than it's really worth). Trying to expand my circle of engagement, if you will. I figure baby steps are best when I have no idea how else to break out of this pattern I find myself in.

On a separate but related note, I'm not sure that eHarmony is the answer for me. Jumping on board, I now realize, has been sort of a lame attempt on my part to have someone else (the magic match-makers behind the curtain) do the work for me. It was a half-assed step I took with a half-assed intent. Not one I was ever going to fully commit to and, by being aware of that, I know all I will get out of it are other half-asser's who are not willing to commit. Not such a great recipe for success if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong. I know it can be a great tool and it can work for a lot of people (and has) but you can only get out of it what you put into it - like anything we do - and that is why it will not work for me at this point in my life. Not to mention, I am a firm believer that when we've got our own sh*t together, we are far more attractive to others and things, quite naturally, seem to have a way of falling into place.

My brief foray into online dating was a distraction tool for me (at least this round anyway). A way for me to turn my focus away from the important questions I should be answering about myself and my life. Now that I've realized (or should I say, now that I've been reminded) that the distractions are the very things taking me away from what I want, my course of action is pretty clear: dump the distractions and get on with the business of moving forward...hence this week's challenge.

No idea what will come of it. Could be quite boring actually. Suppose we'll both have to wait until my next post to find out.

Ciao for now,


Monday, July 20, 2009

In For a Penny, In For a Pound

Oh brother...what have I gotten myself into?! Online dating. Yes, that's right. Full stop.

Let me backtrack here. After starting this blog, I had conveniently put aside the very book that got me writing it in the first place (A Year To Live by Stephen Levine). Hmmm...aren't we humans interesting creatures?

Well, I finally picked it up again and was fully energized and inspired with its profound message for all of about 35 minutes (I just don't have the stamina I use to). And what did I do during my burst of energy? I signed up with eHarmony. Yes, that's right. I plead temporary insanity.

My girlfriend has been encouraging me to log on for some time..."just check it out", she says. "I'm not interested in dating right's just not the right time," has been my rebuttal of late. But then it occurs to that 35 minute window...that life is short and I have absolutely nothing to lose by giving it a look-see. Not to mention it is indeed out of my comfort zone and that seems like reason enough in that particular moment.

The process of writing my profile has been the most fun by far. I actually learned a few things about myself in the process and figure that in itself was worth the "try now and get 3 months for the price of one" deal I got upon registering. I can't say I'm being a very active member on the site though. Passively responsive would be a more accurate description of my activity to date.

The least fun so far: being matched with people I already know, who I bump into regularly through my work, and who now know something about me that my closest friends and family do not (or at least didn't until reading this).

But, I have met one person, actually. We are in the process of setting up that critical first with an exit strategy + window for an extended visit should we get past the first few bits of awkward interview style conversation and my proclivity to foot-in-mouth syndrome. After our first phone conversation I was ready to hurl myself out the window, expecting to get an email from him stating he has come down with malaria or some such thing and will never be able to meet with me. So far, no message like that but it's still early.

On a positive note, his name is on the "good list" that my mother keeps. What started as a joke between mom and I about a year or so ago has turned into serious business in my family. She has a growing list of names on the now affectionately referred to "bad list" and, not so good for me, is constantly updating me with new additions. Bruce is the newest casualty. She's never met a Bruce she likes (which, by the way, is the only criteria for making the list) and the nurse by that very name, who was in charge of my dad for a time, did not make my chances with that one in the future any better.

This particular eHarmony match shares the same name as my brother so, you see, it could have gone either way. I was relieved to find out that both parents were very excited about the prospect of this potential match (and no, I did not tell them we met on eHarmony...nor did I tell my friends...sorry we weren't set up by mutual friends...yes, I know I'm a coward). The elation lasted a few strong minutes, until my mother asked what his last name was. It's a great last name, if I were to go about rating them, but her excitement crumbled when it became apparent he wasn't Norwegian. There's just no pleasing some people!

Ciao for now,


Monday, July 13, 2009

Life Truly is Like a Box of Chocolates...

...and I'll have another, thank you.

Since my last post, much has transpired but rather than bore you with a play-by-play account of the details, here are my takeaways (in no particular order):

1. When opportunity knocks, open the door for ____ sake!

Meaning when your friend invites you to join her in San Francisco for a long weekend away, say yes immediately. Don't waste time thinking about it. What's to think about?!

2. No one really knows what they are doing all of the time.

If we're all learning as we go, then why waste time pretending we know it all already? Let it go and take that same energy you were wasting trying to defend your (my) insecure self and use it to open up to the possibility that there may be some new learning in this particular case for you...which will only make you all the more knowledgeable. It's a win/win! Leave the ego at home, locked up in a dark closet where it belongs.

3. French fries, while a lovely & delicious comfort food, may not be the best choice all the time. Vegetables, while they don't go quite as well with gravy, do have their merits.

4. When an ex comes calling again...out of the blue...don't forget why they are now your ex.

I'm all for the potential to change but don't fool yourself into thinking things truly have until you see some serious evidence in their behaviour. Behaviour always speaks louder than words.

5. If you buy enough books, eventually Chapters' will throw you a bone and invite you to a focus group where you will get paid to buy more books, discuss your spending habits, providing them with exactly what they need to ensure you will buy even more books from them in the future.

6. Whenever you (again, me) find yourself struggling to reach out for help or support, remember how great it felt when you were able to be there for someone else.

I need this reminder a lot. I have become quite skilled at shutting people out but was reminded again quite recently, that by doing so I only end up denying them from feeling good and helpful and, quite often, happy...and I miss out on getting some much needed support in the process. Talk about a lose/lose proposition.

7. People can, and will, surprise you. For good or ill, it's a fact of life so why be shocked when they do?

I'm trying to change my perspective on these occurrences and view them more like the box of chocolates that they seem to resemble (which is also far more interesting).

Friends and relationships, like chocolate, enrich our life. But once in a while we select an unknown shape from the box...perhaps feeling a little cocky that day or a little playful...only to discover that it's filled with something unpleasant that we soon wish we never tried in the first place. Other times, we grab that perfect piece of dark chocolate caramel that reminds us just how much joy life has to offer. To say nothing of that new chocolate we have the opportunity to find and fall instantly in love with.

I won't go so far as to say it's translated into behaviour each time but it is still my humble opinion that it's worth taking your chances and choosing another chocolate from the box. It certainly makes life interesting, memorable and much more of an adventure.

Ciao for now,


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where...Not How

"How you get there is not as important as where you want to go." - courtesy of my horoscope today. Inspiration can come from the oddest of places.

So true though. I have been working myself up this past week with "what if" after "what if" questions. All of which (in this particular case) are designed to run interference with my plans and sabotage my goals. How easy it would be to say I can't move ahead on any of my ideas because I need to be here for my family. It's a good reason to be around, don't get me wrong, but it comes down to why I'm choosing to do so; to the intention behind my choices.

If I am sticking around out of guilt, fear or obligation (all are really about the same thing, by the way: fear), then I am staying put for the wrong reasons. My parents, my dad in particular, would never want me to do something out of a sense of obligation. Not ever.

If I am sticking around because I want to be here, making the most of my time with my family and I'm able to maintain my sense of self at the same time, then that's a choice I can live with...and so can my family.

But I don't think that's the case. I think I am hiding behind the situation, putting off planning, putting off doing, putting off me because I have no idea how it will all happen. And it's easier to park the plans vs enter into uncharted territory. Sad but true. Yes, sad.

It has been true in my life - and perhaps a few others out there - that each and every time I set a goal for myself, I am tested to see just how much I really want to achieve it. I think these "tests", as it were, are there for good reason: to challenge our resolve. How much do we want what say we want? And how much more satisfying is it all when we do overcome those hurdles?

If I've ever wanted something badly enough, I've always made it happen. Plain and simple. But somewhere along the line I lost my resolve. I got burnt out (let's be honest, I allowed myself to be burned down) so I dug my heels in and stopped growing. I wanted a rest. I didn't want to be the one always responsible for keeping everything going. I didn't want to be the one saying, yet again, "I'm sorry, I can't make it...again" to my friends and family. I didn't want to be the one who had the fancy title, no life and who ended up in hospital for not taking care of herself any longer.

I will say that the shift in gears has served me well. I was surprised to find myself growing in ways I never anticipated and it did allow me to catch my breath. I have a true understanding now of what balance looks and feels like to me and I can quite safely say that I never have before.

But this phase has now come to an end. As it currently stands, this safety zone I've created for myself is no longer serving me. I'm making excuses not to get on with my life and excuses, as a mentor of mine shared with me, are not reasons. At their root, excuses are all about fear.

I read somewhere that every action we take is based on one of two things: love or fear. It seems so elemental. I can't tell you how much time I've spent reflecting on this particular idea but it's something that has stuck with me because I believe it to be true. If I peel enough layers of the onion away, I always get to one of these two driving forces at the core of every decision I make, every action I take. Every time.

I also know myself well enough to recognize that when I start to feel restless like I am, it is usually because I am acting out of fear and ignoring a part of myself that is trying to make itself known. I can't speak for anyone else but this is a clear warning sign for me to pay attention to what's going on below the surface. That, and the binging on book purchases (7 in the past week and a half alone...8 actually - one was free when you buy 3). Both clear signs that I am trying to distract myself from something that makes me uncomfortable. Good grief, for all the books I've bought I could be halfway around the world by now!

There's a whole lot more on this particular train of thought but that's all I can handle today. Off to hike Grouse Mountain (another thing I've been putting off for myself for far too long). Talk about needing to keep focused on where I'm going and not on how I'm getting up there!

Ciao for now,


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Glorious Distractions

I look forward to my Sunday mornings all week. I relish the time I have upon waking...before I have to do anything of sit in bed, enjoy my beautiful ocean view, my morning coffee and a good book for 2 or 3 hours...all before many are even awake on a Sunday morning. It's one my guiltiest pleasure these days (the other being enjoying french fries as a main course - any course).

This morning, however, I'm having trouble focusing on the one book I'm trying to finish by Tuesday night's book club. It's an excellent book but heavy and I'm needing something light and funny and...distracting. So of course I pick up Marian Keyes. Perfect.

As I'm laughing along with her witty dialogue, I can't help but laugh at myself and my foolish behaviour last night. Since yesterday was a tough day, I decided to stay in last night, grab a bottle of wine, order a pizza and watch the double flix presentation on W tv of John Cusack movies. Love it. I don't care how many times I've seen Serendipity, I still get goosebumps every single time I watch it. And Must Love Dogs is charming. You can't go wrong with either flick when you need a cozy night in (and it was raining to boot, even better). Clearly, I live alone.

On one of the hundred commercial breaks, I start reading through my Twitter feed from the day. Twitter - what a wonderfully perfect distraction tool. It was, of course, until this past week where there seemed to be one death announcement after another. Every second comment seemed to be about death. Death this and rest in peace that. I don't mean to be insensitive but the whole allure of Twitter for me has been as a distraction from thinking about my dad's health crisis and death in particular. So this week, with all these terrible announcements, I should have known something was coming to take me away from my happy place of self imposed, opposite of serious, distractions.

Anyway, there amongst all the sad news, was a posting from John Cusack himself. At least I hope it's John Cusack. I only think it's him because Perez Hilton said it was (oh brother...I can barely stand how pathetic I sound). Whatever...the point here is that he said he was in Vancouver looking for the perfect location.

Well, here I am, watching the man on tv, living in Vancouver, and he (possibly) is right here in town. Could the signs be any clearer? I just finished watching Serendipity for crying out loud! I have to write back something...anything. Not to would be like defying the universe - or so my red wine induced state had me thinking. So I did.

In the light of day, it does seem pretty silly, but isn't that what life should be? Kind of silly, a lot less serious and a little more spontaneous? I'd like to think so. I need to think so...especially after yesterday.

Call it a distraction from reality but today, with the sun shining again, I am glad I believe in the possibility of a little magic and of better times. And I am glad there are plenty of movies and bottles of red wine to support my belief.

Ciao for now,


Saturday, June 27, 2009


I had a great week last week. Excellent week. I had a weekend! Doesn't sound like something worth noting but after spending so much time in the hospital with my dad and then visiting he and mom at home, checking in, ensuring - with my own eyes - that all was well...I had a weekend all to myself (except for that Father's Day visit I snuck in, of course).

My weekend back among the rest of the world consisted of a wonderfully long leisurely brunch with a friend, a movie out with another friend, a great Father's Day and a fantastic Coldplay concert. My definition of a perfect weekend...and I was finally relaxing. I had been on high alert for more than 4 body giving way the week before when my back finally gave out to the build up of all that pressure. But that passed too.

I had a really good week at work. We closed another deal. We were busy and the days were flying by. And in this economy, that's saying something. I made plans. I made plans, people! After refusing so many invitations the past few months so I could be with the family, I was genuinely enjoying the company of friends again. I was relaxing even more. Still, all the while, checking in on dad and having lengthy chats and silly giggles with mom. Ahhhh...yes, this is what life was like before his diagnosis...before his complicated surgery...before everything changed.

Thursday night. Great talk with dad over the phone. He sounds so good. He's even peppy today. I can't help but smile through the entire conversation. It's like it was before. We're laughing about something. I get off the phone, feeling full and satisfied and...dare I say...happy.

Friday. It's a wonderfully productive day at the office. Satisfying. And after a week in a fog, this is what I've been longing for. I meet some great friends for lunch...which lingers quite a lovely long while. I finish up everything I planned to before leaving the office and am out by 5pm. The sun is shining as I walk home. I'm smiling...exhausted...and so ready for a quiet night in; a long sleep tonight.

I make my daily call to the folks. It's a little later than I usually do. Not sure why...probably because I've been slow getting dinner on...definitely tired from this week. They're not picking up so I leave a message. They must be having dinner or be sitting out on the deck.

A few hours later the call comes. Mom starts out strong...asks how my day was. Gotta love her. And then it comes...silence..."'s not been a good 24 hours...."...more silence...and then I hear her crying. F*ck.

I do my best not to inundate her with questions but I'm confused. I need to know. I want to know everything at once. Dad was his best in weeks just 24 hours ago. What could have happened? I didn't let it occur to me that anything could change overnight. I let my guard down and now I was having the wind knocked out of me.

The story unfolds and now I'm doing my best to just breathe and hold back tears. She went out to grab a new prescription for him (literally across the street), came back and found him on the floor, grey and clammy. He was conscious but in an excruciating amount of pain. She called 911 and he was rushed to Emergency.

It's Saturday. He's now home and resting. They don't know what happened. Change in medication? Complications of his surgery? Infection? Don't know. Troubling.

As mom said, there are no normal days anymore. There are no normal days anymore.

I've already made mention in my blog that my dad is on a long road back to health. This blog is not about one particular part of that road but rather a reminder (to me) that these calls - these experiences - are part of my new reality. These experiences, which I don't even bear the brunt of - my dad and my mom do - are our family's new reality. Everything has changed.

I gave myself such a hard time today for being out enjoying myself when (I didn't know) my dad was struggling in the Emergency ward. Logically, I know that's not fair. I know I'm being hard on myself. I know I couldn't have known and I know why he and mom made the decision not to call my brother or I until they knew what was going on. But this is a tough one to swallow.

How do I go out and enjoy myself, dream about my future travels and all the living I want to do (dad's present situation being the catalyst for such thinking) when this is what could be happening? I know guilt is pointless - it's of absolutely no good to either party - but I can't bear the thought of mom walking in on what she did and having to deal with what she did all on her own. I can't bear the thought of how scared my dad must have been lying there on the floor with no one there to help him, not knowing what was going on or how to stop the pain. I can't bear it.

There has been much more good than bad that has surfaced through my family's health struggles. We have so much to be thankful for and I am grateful - consciously so - every single day for all the positives that have come out of this. But I gotta tell you, sometimes it is awfully difficult to be positive and this just happens to be one of those occasions. And I write when I need to vent; when I need to understand what is going on in my head; when I need to try and make sense of things; when I should probably be reaching out to one of my many friends to talk about all of this and yet struggle to do so. And so I write.

Tomorrow is another day and it's one day at a time...


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Books + Authors...Oh My!

There are few things better than a great book in my mind. One of them would be meeting the author of a book you just couldn't put down.

I have had the good fortune and pleasure of meeting a couple of my favorite authors. I network for a living...what can I say?

So it came as a very big thrill to be invited to support the upcoming Writer's Festival being held in Vancouver this coming October. And when I say thrill, I mean grin from ear-to-ear (teeth showing), where do I sign up???, awkward happy dance in front of people I don't know (at least I waited until I was out of the building to do that), write about it in my blog - thrill. And when I say "support", of course I mean volunteer and, quite likely, working my ass off for very long hours with no pay. Will I do it? Of course I will! Have you learned nothing about me yet?!

It's an incredible opportunity to meet and schmooze with some outstanding writers from around the world. I wouldn't miss it!

At last year's event, my favorite question of the authors I met was how they found the courage to put their body of work out to the public to be judged and hacked and pulled apart. Too bad I was busy behaving like a star struck, old school, rock band groupie to remember their answers. Not some of my better moments. Very sad really. But excited, nonetheless, to have another shot at hearing their responses this year!

Good times.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

To My Dad on Father's Day

I've been reflecting a lot these days on all I've learned (and continue to be learning) from my dad. This brief entry does not come close to encapsulating it all, but it is a start.

Dad, you have taught me to ask questions and to be curious. You've shown me how enjoyable it is to learn; how satisfying it is to work hard. You've taught me how important it is to find enjoyment in my work, how not to quit and to know the difference when it is time to move on. You've shown me the "value of a dollar" - painful as it was - and you've taught me to be a kinder, gentler person, less judging of others. You've shown me patience, honesty and how to be impeccable to my word...and most dear to me, dad, you've taught me the meaning of family.

I love you, dad, more than I can adequately describe. Here's to many more Father's Days and many, many more lessons to come.

Happy Father's Day,


Friday, June 19, 2009

My Answer

It would be ridiculous of me to be curious about your answer to my earlier question if I wasn't forthcoming with an answer of my own. But by putting my answer down I am acutely aware that it will then be "out there" and that I may actually need to act on it. Quite a concept, I realize. Sort of the point of my entire blog and still I resist. It's in my bio for God's sake. Not likely to be a surprise to anyone and yet...resistance.

It all comes down to that pesky brat 'fear.' It can tag along with you everywhere like an unrelenting younger sibling who fights for your attention while you're trying to watch Bo & Hopes' 9th 'Wedding of the Year' on Days of Our Lives back in the elementary school days. Yet now you can't just call your mom to get rid of him...I mean it - the fear, of course.

Fear of change, fear of disappointing others and fear of making waves in this particular case.

I'm an intelligent individual. I know the fear is lurking there. I know it's irrational and, quite frankly, ridiculous that I'm hesitant to write down what I would like to be doing with my life. How, in my ever lovin' world, am I going to make 'it' happen if I don't write it down, talk about it and start looking into how it can become my reality? Well, that's simple. I won't. I know this to be true because I've tested the theory out sufficiently already. Perhaps you have as well?

I am very clear that nothing comes from nothing.

So to cease and desist with my procrastinating, the answer to my very own question about what one thing I want to have done before I move on from this lovely life o' mine is, in a word: explore.

To explore:

1. to traverse or range over (a region, area, etc.) for the purpose of discovery.
2. to look into closely; scrutinize; examine.
3. to investigate into.
4. to search for; search out.

I want to be traveling the world, writing about my adventures, the people I meet and the new experiences I am enjoying. I want to find a way to transfer what I'm learning into something I can share with others. I want to be involved, present and fully engaged in the experience. I want to be smiling - a lot. I want to be sharing my story, of who I am - maybe more specifically, why I am who I am - and mostly, I want to be learning the evolving stories of others.

I want to be confirming my belief that while we may live far apart and have very different experiences, there is still more about us that is similar than that which separates us (now how's that for objective research?). And I want to try to share/tell that larger story.

To who? Good question. Who knows? Maybe just to own little science project. Maybe to my non-existent (pardon me, two strong) blog audience. Maybe to youth, perhaps to politicians (likely not), or maybe to a blank sheet of paper. But I will be sharing the stories and the lessons I am lucky enough to learn along the way (Wow, did that sound like a commitment? Sure sounded like one to me).

I am a huge fan of self-reflection and enjoy the process of exploring the depths of who and what I am; how I have become, well, me. I'm always seeking to understand. And now I want to turn my attention outward and learn more about the world and the people around me...beyond my home in Vancouver and North America, the only continent I have explored to date (and to say I've "explored' North America may be a wee bit generous).

I want to search for the common ground that, I believe, exists everywhere around and between us.

I have been very fortunate having had the opportunity to do and experience such amazing things in my life already, and I am both excited and nervous about embarking on this new adventure.

Now that it's "out there" that's it for me. I'm spent.


Question of the Day (make that everyday)

If you could do one thing before you leave this life, what would it be? More importantly, why aren't you (meaning me) doing it?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Say What?

Yes, well...tonight has been an interesting evening. I found myself doing something I truly NEVER...EVER do: my nails. Perhaps that's not exactly the truth. I think when I was 4 or 5 I might have asked my parents for nail polish on my birthday but since then, I can pretty safely say no, haven't done them.

I've just never been a girl into make-up and nails...forget polish and emery boards. The most attention my nails get is a rough cut with clippers when I start to see white emerge at my fingertips. For me, less has always been best. Couldn't tell you why, that's just me.

So tonight, when I find myself spending not an inconsequential amount of time doting on my nails, you can begin to appreciate the strangeness of the situation. And the only reason I even have the accoutrements for such a job is because at some point in time my mom gave them to me as a gift, perhaps hoping that would excite me into doing them on a more regular basis.

So back to why I am doing my nails in the first place (...oh yes, it gets worse). I'm sitting there, looking at my newly done nails (which, I might add, are done in a simple coat of clear shocking shade of fuchsia or bubblegum pink. I can hear mom now...something about "a little colour") and I'm thinking they're not bad. I like them. And then I think about how lovely my hand would look with a very special ring of mine.

It's an heirloom ring I came across, fell in love with and bought about 13 years ago. My ex-husband hid the ring away until he proposed and so it became my engagement ring. When we got married, we decided to buy a matching wedding ring and band, setting aside the heirloom. When we divorced four years ago, all three rings were put away and have been left to collect dust in one of those 'special' tucked away spots that eventually you know you'll forget about altogether, it being such a 'special' hiding place and all.

I don't know why I pulled it out tonight (or how I even remembered where I had put it), but here it is, on my manicured right hand, sparkling back at me (well not exactly 'sparkling'...could use a get the picture).

It kind of ties into the whole 'live life now...go after what I want...get out of my comfort zone' I'm in. In the spirit of "build it and they will come" I realized (with a bit of a shock) I was subconsciously preparing my nails for another ring (one day - not today, not even tomorrow - so no need to get all silly on me now). Sometimes I wonder about myself. And that's all I'll say about my crazy behaviour.

Except for...

Silly? No question...absurd really.

Hurting anyone? Absolutely not.

Anything to it? Well how fun would that be if there was? And if not, I have a beautiful ring on my finger that I will enjoy every day.

Life is short. Wear your party dress!

What have you tucked away that you could be enjoying today?

Ciao for now,


Sunday, June 14, 2009


You will come to learn about me that I read...a lot. To say I am an avid reader is, according to my friends, a bit of an understatement. I can have two or three books going at any given time. Perhaps one gripping work of fiction, one relating to my profession and one on a social/political issue I find myself engrossed in. I participate in not one, but two, book clubs and have fully embraced my book-nerd status these days.

Today one book has my full attention: "Six Months in Sudan: A Young Doctor in a War-torn Village" by James Maskalyk. This book is his account of one of his missions with Doctors Without Borders that takes him far from his home in Toronto to a remote place in Sudan called Abyei.

I was captured by his very first words and have had a difficult time putting it down. James writes, "People are hungry to be brought closer to the world, even its hard parts. I went to Sudan, and am writing about it again, because I believe that which separates action from inaction is the same thing that separates my friends from Sudan. It is not indifference. It is distance. May it fall away."

I don't know how to communicate how powerful these sentiments are to me. As I reflect back on my life and my career, I am struck with the realization that there has been a powerful thread connecting it all. The power of story. The power it has to teach; to genuinely connect people; to bring them closer together; to break down barriers and silos that exist between them; to create empathy and understanding; to create common ground, even in the most improbable of situations. Story creates possibilities for change. It's the stuff of goosebumps!

Coincidentally (or I'm no longer a believer in coincidence), I was having a conversation with a long-time friend over dinner the other night about this very subject: the power of story. She has some exciting ideas of how it can help non-profit organizations to make their cause more compelling to potential donors and inspire action, how corporations can use their story to market themselves more effectively and differentiate themselves from their competitors, and how individuals can use their own story as a personal branding tool. It got my heart and mind racing about the impact story has had in my life and back to thinking about James' words.

Today I also wanted to share a piece that he quotes in the opening of his book. A piece that clearly resonated for him and literally jumped off the page at me. It seems to articulate what I have been feeling lately - my sense of urgency...why I am drawn to the stories so far away from my home in Vancouver...why I read about them so excitedly and why I write to understand and change my own behaviour...and why, I am Primed and Ready to accept some major changes in my own life.

It is part of a 1975 commencement address at the University of California given by another compelling author, Joan Didion.

"I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. Try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave's a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that's what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it."

That's my daily dose of inspiration!

For more information on Maskalyk's book and his work, please visit:

Ciao for now,


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Primed & Ready For What???

I'm feeling a sense of urgency every day now it somehow time is running out to get on with things. Specifically, to get on with the business of living my life.

My dad has just come home from weeks in the hospital with a very long road ahead of him. My sister-in-(common)law is awaiting a call that will send her back to the hospital for her second brain surgery. A very close friend of mine is grieving the untimely death of a friend.

We all know that life is short and so incredibly uncertain and yet so many of us (speaking of myself primarily) continue to play it safe and put off plans to enjoy life. There are a number of reasons why I have been playing it safe over the last two years. I know them all intimately. I understand each of them. And while they served me in the short term, life is giving me the kick I need to wake up and recognize that they are no longer doing so. The fact is, I am (we all are) running out of time.

I am starting a book by Stephen Levine called "A Year To Live: How To Live This Year as If It Were Your Last" ( If ever there was a year to read it, it would be this one.

I'll be writing about my thoughts related to this book and about the changes I decide to make moving forward. Let the adventure begin! Care to join me?

More to come...

Sonja (a.k.a. your clogger)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yes, I am a "clogger"

I was having lunch with a friend today...who just happens to be my ex-husband's common law girlfriend...and told her I had started this blog. I was sharing this with her to (hopefully) give her the little push I think she needs to start writing publicly as well. "As well" being somewhat relative as I have only shared with a few friends that I've started a blog, not the actual address of said blog just yet.

Anyway, back to my friend. She's smart, witty and has a great sense of humour. She's let me read a couple of very funny pieces she's written in the past (namely about my psychotic cat, Luca, who funny enough - depending on who you ask, that is - stayed with my ex and is now essentially her bundle of joy to deal with). I digress.

Due to my closet blogging status, she aptly called me a "clogger"...a term which must exist out there somewhere. If by some strange reason it does not, well then she and I will happily claim it as our very own invention.

Signing off as your clogger (...for the moment, anyway).

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I feel I should somehow introduce myself, seeing as this is my first post and all. I'm new to the blogging world and am still not sure how I feel about it to be quite honest. I have been an avid writer for many years (does not mean a very good one, just to be clear) but always in the closet, if you will. So why now? And why did I choose this particular title for my blog? Well, that would be due to some recent life events that have challenged me to step away from my comfort zone...the universe's not so subtle way of saying "it's time, Sonja." Judging by the severity of these life events, it's likely been "time" for a long while but somewhere along the line my stubborn self missed the subtle road signs and had to be hit over the head with some fairly life altering, denial shattering, perspective giving life events to get the message.

Message received, thank you very much.

And so here we are, Primed & Ready to accept the message and start living the life I really want for myself. It's time to do the things I've been saying I want to do for far too long. It's time to wake up and realize...really short and fragile life is. It's time to get back in the game and stop playing it so safe. It's time to embark on a new adventure...or half a dozen or so.

With nothing to lose and no time to waste, here I go...Primed & Ready to begin blogging about my life, my experiences, my adventures...which will be an adventure in itself...and, I hope, will help me to remain accountable to what I put down in this public forum.

For those who trip across my blog, welcome. I hope to keep things entertaining and real. I feel the need to forewarn you, however, that I write primarily to gain a better understanding of myself, not necessarily with an audience in mind...although if I ever want to actually be a writer of some substance I suppose I will have to do something about that. Anyhow, writing has always been my vehicle for self-awareness so I have no idea how it will translate into this forum but I do have a sense it will lead me in a new direction or two.

Taking it one day at a time...