The Ref

So, I love sports now.

Pucks, balls, birdies – you name it – I love it.

Go sports!

The husband and I even like to occasionally take in a live sporting event from time to time. There’s nothing like it (there are obviously similar things to it, but nothing exactly like it – except for things that are exactly like it, like other hockey games, for instance).

Last week was one of those times.

We made our way to our seats, ready and excited to see some live sporting action.

Unfortunately, when you go to see a live action sporting event there is a factor you must take into consideration… A drawback to an otherwise lovely experience… You are not alone.

There are often (almost always) other people there.

At Rogers Arena in Vancouver, you are often surrounded by approximately 18,629 people, and often many of those people have been partaking in “loudmouth soup*.”

Last week was one of those times.

There were four gentlemen** seated directly in front of us that were partaking in a lot of things: mainly Parrot Bay Mango Coolers, but also (and in no particular order ), arm punching, SnapChatting, nudging each other hysterically, eating beefy burgers, and yelling at the ref.

One of the gentlemen** yelled at the ref a lot… A lot! Things like: “F— you.” “F—ing zebra.” and the classic, “Ref, you suck.”

It got me thinking… What if the ref heard this guy? What if the ref not only heard him, but took it to heart, got rattled, and became so distraught that he questioned his life choices… What if the ref called in sick for work the next day (even though he wasn’t really sick), but just so he could cry… What if the ref found himself googling, “career change” and then remembered how much he liked the game Operation as a young boy…. What if the ref went back to school to become a doctor… What if the ref not only became a doctor, but went on to complete an additional doctorate degree in cancer research, and then found a cure for all major cancers???

I mean, I guess then we would all have to hand it to the Parrot Bay Mango cooler-swilling ninny in section 301, row 12, seat 107, wouldn’t we?

* stands, starts slow-clapping *

Bravo.

 

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* The term respectively stolen from a masterpiece titled Dumb & Dumber.

** I use the term loosely.

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Go sports!

 

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The Peafowl

I recently spent a week at Royal Roads University doing a residency for my Communications Management Post-Graduate Certificate.

I could go into detail about how it was one of the best weeks of my life, I learned a lot about myself and others, and I made some amazing new friends…

But, I won’t.

Because I actually really want to talk about peafowl (people don’t spend enough time talking about peafowl).

Royal Roads is known for a lot of things*, and one of those things is the many peafowl – peacocks and peahens – that wander its grounds.

Here’s one wandering now…

For your information, many peafowl happen to be called a bevy (seriously), and while it’s not my favourite type of bevy**, it’s not a bad bevy.

(A bevy of peafowl is really a sight to behold, and I sincerely hope you have the privilege one day.)

Did you know that when a peacock fans its ornamented train for the ladies during mating season, its feathers quiver, emitting a low-frequency sound inaudible to human ears?

Well, it does.

It’s facts like that one that make me realize my decision to talk about peafowl (instead of one of the best weeks of my life), was indeed, the right decision.

Why did the peafowl cross the road?                   No seriously.

I mean, I could tell you about how my group came together to create a presentation on leadership and team-building best practices for an IBM executive in a mere four days; and how we re-energized by dancing to Michael Jackson by the ocean; and how we sustained ourselves with beer and chicken strips; and how we knocked our presentation out of the park (a home run); and how we became forever friends in the process… But, did you know that peafowl can fly, despite their massive trains?

I sure didn’t!

I mean, I thought I was just going to take a Post-Graduate Certificate in Communications Management, and attend a residency on campus – no big whoop – but then I end up learning so much about peafowl (and myself, and others, and humanity in general…)!

Who knew?

I sure didn’t.

 

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* I’m not entirely sure of what all the things are, but I do know that it’s a lot of things.

** Um, that’d be Scotch Whiskey.

 

 

The Mind, It Boggles

Do you ever think about the fact that we are all just clinging to earth, as it rotates on its axis, at around 1674 kilometers an hour, and also orbits around the sun, traveling 940 million kilometers each year (give or take)?

I mean, it is pretty crazy, right?

We are all part of this constant, even movement that’s been going on for hundreds of millions (possibly billions, maybe even trillions) of years.

It’s mind-boggling!

Sometimes it actually boggles my mind, and I have to stop and have a stiff drink.

The idea that we are all hanging out, and hanging onto, this precious earth, as it spins and orbits, oh, and also gives us everything we need to sustain human life (water, air, food, and a new season of Will & Grace)… I mean, it’s all just too much to think about sometimes (a Gin & Tonic helps).

But here’s the thing: it’s worth thinking about sometimes!

It is important – and necessary – to consider the earth, the miracle that is life, and why you are on this earth right now.

In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart’s character Rick delivers a famous line: “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine,” referring to his chance encounter with his ex, Ilsa, who walks into a club with her current husband (who happens to be a Czech resistance leader wanted by the Nazis). I mean, it’s quite the coincidence.

But you, being here, on this earth, right now, is also a rather large coincidence. Possibly too large.

So, maybe it’s no coincidence?

Why are you here, on this earth, right now – as opposed to being here (on this earth) during the middle ages, or Proterozoic era, or (and I wish this was true for me) the Ming Dynasty?

Good question, and one that is definitely worth pondering.

I am of the opinion that we all have a purpose.

Everybody’s purpose is probably different, but they most likely involve showing love, being kind, and caring about other creatures (people, animals, bugs, some types of flowers) that also happen to be here, on this earth, right now.

I don’t know what my own purpose is, but I think it’s worth thinking about.

Why am I here, on this earth, right now? (I need a drink.)

Some people think our universe is all just a huge fluke, and there is no reason for our existence. They might be right.

But I don’t think they’re right.

Unless this is all a Truman Show-type hoax?


 

The “Hi, how are you?”

I love to disarm people.

And by disarm I mean, to divest or relieve of hostility, suspicion; win the affection or approval of; to charm.

I also love to disarm people by depriving them of a weapon or weapons. Both ways of disarming are obviously great, and helpful in many situations, but I’d like to speak to the former.

A few of my friends have said when they go through TSA at the airport, or cross the border at a land crossing, they get very, very anxious.

And it’s not because they are smuggling drugs (as far as I know).

They are just normal, everyday, run-of-the-mill Canadians that want to get on a plane or do a Trader Joe’s run. These are good people, with nothing (or very little) to hide, that are just jonesin’ for a jar of Tomatillo salsa. But for some reason they get sweaty palms and a dry mouth when they talk to a TSA agent or border guard.

Maybe it’s the crew cut, or the dark shades, or the attitude, or the fact that they have a gun*?

Or, maybe it’s because they (my friends) have  unconsciously-held issues with authority that makes them respond to power and/or control in inappropriate ways, and perhaps they find themselves fluctuating between over-compliance and hostility? I mean, I’m no psychologist, but that’s probably it.

Whatever it is that makes people so nervous and awkward that they blurt out their SIN number, mother’s maiden name, and sexual history (when he just asked you the purpose of your trip), I can help.

It’s called, the “Hi, how are you?”

It’s very easy… (I really wish I could make money from sharing this information with you).

As you approach the TSA agent or border guard – before they have a chance to say anything – smile and say, “Hi, how are you?”

It literally disarms them.

And by “disarm” I mean, to divest or relieve of hostility, suspicion; win the affection or approval of; to charm – I do NOT mean, depriving them of a weapon or weapons*.

It’s just that simple.

Those four little words literally disarm them (again, I mean to divest or relieve of hostility, suspicion; win the affection or approval of; to charm – I do not mean depriving them of a weapon or weapons*).

Most people do not extend pleasantries to their TSA agents or border guards, which is a shame because their job is tough, and thankless (without thanks), and I’m sure they would benefit greatly from a few more positive interactions at work**.

So, next time you find yourself face-to-face with a TSA agent or border guard, just say, “Hi, how are you?” and feel free to thank me later***.

A few notes:

  • You must say it quickly, all in one breath: Hi-how-are-you?
  • You must have your music off.
  • You must have your sunglasses off.
  • You must be a woman.
  • You must not try to be funny.
  • You must limit eye contact to six seconds.
  • You must not be chewing gum.
  • You must not be smuggling drugs.

See? Easy!

 

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* I’m obviously talking about the TSA agent or border guard.

** NEVER DO THIS. DO NOT TRY TO DEPRIVE A BORDER GUARD OF A WEAPON OR WEAPONS. YOU WILL GO TO JAIL, OR WORSE.

*** Who wouldn’t?

**** With cash.

 

 

The Summer of George

Those of you who know me know that I love Seinfeld.

Like, really, really love Seinfeld.

I’m talking more than pizza, and weddings, and Roald Dahl books, and sauvignon blancs, and friends, and receiving mail, and cave-aged cheeses, and really anything else that I profess to love.

It really goes beyond love and is best described as a “frenzied passion”.

I digress.

As you may know, Seinfeld was full… brimming, packed, saturated… with cultural and comedy references that shaped my world view, and are still very much relevant to this day.

Case in point: the 156th episode of Seinfeld titled, “The Summer of George.” George is laid off from the New York Yankees, and receives a severance package equal to three month’s salary. He decides that he’s going to take some time off to become physically active and take full advantage of the summer.

Like George, I was also laid off at the beginning of summer. I was working on a short contract as a project coordinator and it turned out they weren’t going to need me as long as they thought they would, so I received a severance package. I decided I was going to take some time off to become physically active and take full advantage of the summer…

On Seinfeld, George does not become physically active, nor does he take full advantage of the summer. Instead, he becomes very, very lazy. He wears pajamas all day and doesn’t leave his apartment.

I almost became like George.

The first few days I was lethargic and listless (without a list!), but then I bought the June 2017 issue of The Oprah Magazine. There, on the cover, was Oprah* – living her best life – with the heading, “Your One Wild and Precious Summer!”

When is she not living her best life?

I realized that I needed to start enjoying my one wild and precious summer*!

My summer has been full of BBQs, beach days, ice cream (a lot of ice cream) traveling, cocktails, friends, family, flip-flops, sunshine, etc. I have been living my best life!

(Admittedly, my best life is probably meh compared to other people’s best life (like Oprah), but still… I’m enjoying the heck out of my one wild and precious summer!)

And guess what?

IT’S NOT OVER!

There are 37 more days of summer left!

Get out there and enjoy your summer*****!

 

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* Oprah’s always on the cover.

** Admittedly, I wasn’t exactly sure what Oprah meant by “wild” because I’m not sure that her “wild” and my “wild” are similar. I mean, Oprah’s “wild” could be combining fish with cheese in a casserole, and my “wild” could be going to a foam party at a club in Berlin***.

*** I would never do this****, but I do consider it to be the very definition of wild.

**** I know people that have done this.

***** Why the heck are you reading this blog when you should be out enjoying your one wild and precious summer?

I wish I liked anything as much as Oprah likes the beach.

The Tom Selleck Coincidence

Who doesn’t have a crush on Tom Selleck*?

I mean…

He was Magnum, P.I.** for goodness sake.

Now I’m a married woman, but I can still appreciate beauty in all of its forms… A crimson sunset, a blossoming flower, and a handsome man with a significant mustache.

If you’ve ever wanted to sleep with Tom Selleck, now you can***!

At Seattle’s Kimpton Palladian Hotel, each room features a pop-art pillow with a different celebrity portrait. When my husband and I recently visited the Palladian we were pleasantly surprised to find this beauty in our room:

Of all of the handsome male celebrities that could be featured on a pillow… Tom Selleck is definitely one of them****.

I must pause for a moment, to ask a very serious question: Do you believe in fate? Chance? Circumstance? Destiny? A predetermined course*****?

Well, I do now.

We didn’t think much of the pillow in the room, until we switched on the television later that evening and what should be on, but Friends. You know… the TV show about six 20-30-something friends living in Manhattan featuring an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer.

I know what you’re thinking, “When is Friends not on?” and that is a valid question (answer: never).

But the fortuity****** of this incident is that it was an episode featuring Tom Selleck!

The universe is obviously trying to tell me something!

But what?

Please send all theories******* about what it could possibly mean, and what the universe is trying to tell me to: tomselleckcoincidencetheory@gmail.com

 

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* I’m obviously referring to 1980s Tom Selleck.

** And Quigley!

*** Something to keep in mind… He’s now 72.

**** Because he is a handsome male celebrity.

***** All synonyms for fate.

****** Another word for coincidence.

******* Or, hypotheses.

(Yes, I went a little crazy on the end notes.)

 

The Wisdom

I love John Hughes.

There is no other writer slash director that captured youth, or jejuneness,* the way John Hughes captured youth (or, jejuneness*).

It’s like he never forgot.

He grew up into an adult, but still remembered exactly how being a teenager felt… His characters reflected the angst, the awkwardness, and the inexperience of being in that graceless phase, AKA, the springtime of life.

John Hughes’ movies were full of philosophical gems, worthy of contemplation.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is my favorite movie of all time, and it is chock-full of them… pearls of wisdom that should be reflected on, meditated on, studied, and chewed:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I’m no expert in Philosophy** but I think what John Hughes is trying to say is that life moves very fast, and if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it. It seems fairly obvious – but then again, how often do you really just stop and look around?***

Another great quote from Ferris Bueller:

A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus, I’d still have to bum rides off people.

You should definitely believe in yourself (at all times), even if you are a member of The Beatles and consider yourself a walrus. And, carpooling is a virtue.

Another:

“First of all you can never go too far. Second of all, if I’m going to be caught, it’s not gonna be by a guy like that!”

Self-explanatory.

And, another:

“The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do’, the question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?'”

Life is what you make of it. You’re either in the game, or standing on the sidelines. Think big. And then think even bigger. Skip school (or work), “borrow” a Ferrari, go to a museum, take in a ball game, sing karaoke in a parade, and then swim in a stranger’s pool. Dance, hide, run, smile, kiss, and do whatever else takes your breath away.

Most importantly… You have this one life. Don’t forget to live it to the fullest.

 

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* I was looking for a way to use the word, jejuneness.

** I dabble.

*** You might want to try it right now?

The Other Story of Regret

I don’t like to fly.

It is a necessary evil – to go to the places that I want to go, to do the things that I want to do, and to see the people that I want to see*.

A few weeks ago, we were headed home from Los Angeles and hanging out at LAX – AKA, hell on earth, AKA, purgatory, AKA, the place of the condemned**.

LAX is the worst airport I’ve ever been to… It’s busy, it’s cramped, there’s only one place to get a decent sandwich, and there’s a smell that my nostrils will never understand.

All this to say… I hate LAX.

The only way to survive, nay, endure LAX is with an alcoholic beverage. Once I get through security and put my belt back on, I head straight for the bar.

A few weeks ago, I was two glasses of Merlot in, when nature called. I told my husband I’d be back in a jiff, and I went to use the washroom.

On my way back to the bar, I realized that the wine was starting to have the desired effect… I felt warm, and buzzy, and overly confident.

Then I saw him.

Cameron Crowe.

This guy!

Almost Famous. Jerry Maguire, Say Anything, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and of course… Singles.

(Side note: What can I say about Singles? It was the most formative movie for me – shaping my viewing, musical, comedic, and romantic tastes at a very impressionable time of my life.)

I recognized him immediately, as we both headed toward the escalator. As we got on the moving staircase, I turned to him and said, “You’re Cameron Crowe.”

(I know, I know… It was an obvious, obtuse thing to say.)

His reply: “Sadly, yes.”

“I love all your movies,” I gushed.

We got off the escalator and stopped to talk. He shook my hand, asked me my name, asked me where I was from, and we exchanged a few more pleasantries that I don’t really remember because inside I was like, “Omg.”

You know when you want to say something really memorable, and meaningful, and unforgettable to someone – but then you get all nervous and you end up saying something stupid and/or running away?

That.

The regret was immediate.

I said, “hello” – I should have said, “Let’s co-write Singles 2, with a bigger part for Eddie.”

 

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* You know who you are.

** And that’s putting it mildly.

The Puppet Show

A few weeks ago I went to Los Angeles for a puppet show.

You might be thinking, that’s a long way to go for a puppet show… And you’d be right (2057 kilometers is a long way to go for your average puppet show).

But this was not your average puppet show! This was a puppet show put on by legendary puppeteer, director, and producer, Brian Henson, who happens to be the son of legendary puppeteer, screenwriter, director and inventor, Jim Henson.

When I saw an advertisement for the puppet show, I knew – with every fibre of my being – that I needed to see that puppet show with my own two eye balls, and if I didn’t… I would regret it every minute of every hour of every day, for the rest of my life.

 

I’d be lying on my death bed (hopefully a Sealy Posturpedic), and I’d be gritting my teeth, clenching my fists, gnashing my teeth, all the while lamenting that singular decision… To buy, or not to buy.

According to a study in Psychology Today, “regret can have damaging effects on mind and body when it turns into fruitless rumination and self-blame that keeps people from re-engaging with life. […] Other research […] shows regret can result in chronic stress, negatively affecting hormonal and immune system functioning. Regret impedes the ability to recover from stressful life events by extending their emotional reach for months, years, or lifetimes.”

So, obviously, I had to buy tickets for the puppet show.

(I mean, who has time for all that fruitless rumination?)

A week later, I travelled the 2057 kilometers by plane, rented a car, and drove to The Henson Studios.

And it was the second best day of my life**.

If I can impart any wisdom to you, let it be this:

Sometimes you just need to be crazy.

Sometimes you’ll think of some crazy thing that you kinda want to do, and then you’ll be like nahhhhh, but you should just say, yahhhhh.

Sometimes you just need to take a giant leap (for mankind, or womankind, or yourself) into the unknown.

Sometimes you just need to live your best life. @Oprah

Sometimes you need to have a “Summer of George”.

Sometimes you just need to get off your high horse (or low horse, or whatever it is that you’re sitting on) and stop what you are doing, and do the thing that you’re thinking about doing.

Sometimes you just need to do the thing (whatever the thing is), and ask questions later.

#NoFruitlessRumination

#JustDoTheThing

#NoRegrets

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* A close second to the time when I sat in the front row at a Martin Short show and he gyrated in my face while wearing a nude bodystocking with drawn-on genitals. 

 

Me, Brian Henson and some other guy.

 

A lot of people have asked if this is my Emmy.

 

Great, now I have an unhealthy obsession with puppets. I probably would have been better off with having regret.

 

I love you Kermit.

 

 

 

 

 

That Time I Went to a Passover Celebration

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that I’m part Jewish.

For a while there I thought I was just possibly Jewish, but an Ancestry DNA test confirmed my Jewish-ness*, and now I’m officially kvelling.

I have a friend (a real mensch) that has always been Jewish (100% heimish), and this friend recently invited me along to her family’s Pesach (Passover) celebration.

For those  who are unfamiliar with Passover, let me give you a brief synopsis:

Long story short… The Jews, AKA Children of Israel, AKA Hebrews, AKA God’s chosen people…. had been kept as slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. God spoke to this guy called Moses through a burning bush (as the supreme being, creator, and ruler of the universe does). God told Moses to go talk to the Pharaoh and see what was up with all of the slavery. Moses was like, “Let my people go!” but Pharaoh was like, “Whatever!” So God got pretty upset, and sent plagues over the land of Egypt. Plagues like lice, frogs, boils, locusts, and hail. Nasty stuff… Terrible! Eventually Moses was just like, “Why don’t we just try leaving Egypt when it’s dark?” So they all snuck out of Egypt when it was dark. (I’m sure after hundreds of years of slavery they were kicking themselves wondering why they hadn’t thought of the whole “escape in the darkness thing” sooner. I digress.) After a brief interlude at the Red Sea, Moses led the Jews to the promised land.

Passover is a holiday where we (the “Jews”) celebrate our liberation from Egypt. Jews typically observe Passover for eight days, and they have a Passover seder (or two) where family and friends gather together for a special dinner, where the story of the exodus is told using a Haggadah. A Haggadah outlines the order of the seder with offerings, blessings, songs of praise, etc.

For me, the best part about the Passover wasn’t really the Passover per se, it was the festivity around the celebration. My friend (the mensch) and her family (also, very menschy) like their celebrations to have a little flair.

For instance, we used a Baseball Haggadah, and sang an exodus song to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

There was a matzo basket made of fabric that looked like matzos!

There was a lasagna that was made with matzos!

There was a Moses action figure!

We got to ask four questions!

There was a tambourine – that anyone could play!

We got to hit the table!

There was kosher wine (which tastes pretty much exactly like regular wine)!

We got to make sandwiches! With matzos!

We got to hit each other with green onions!

And as if all of that wasn’t amazing enough, the crowd that was gathered around the table was diverse and fascinating. My friend’s family (all mensches) had assembled a whizz-bang, multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-talented group of people. A real hodge-podge of humanity**, if you will…. I mean, there was even a Republican from Florida!

On what other occasion would I meet such people***?

And THAT my friend, was the best part about the Passover celebration. The coming together of many, to celebrate, to remember, and to reflect…

I take that back… It was definitely the matzo lasagna.

I need this.

Let my people go already!

 

 

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* > 5%.

** “Hodge-podge of humanity” is now trademarked by yours truly.

*** Possibly a Kimpton Hotel wine hour?