I’ve been on the road for a week, having a great time but I’m so missing writing my blog! I’ve got a post written about my adventures, just need to find a WiFi hotspot to upload. A quick comment mobile is ok, but not the whole post! Only thing, it’s -20 and snowing in Calgary and I don’t want to go out and find a WiFi cafe. Ah, the price of our art. Really looking forward to being back home in Vancouver tomorrow. But have to suck it up and have a fantastic time at another Goo Goo Dolls show tonight first!!
It’s been a really long day. Got up at 4:00am this morning in Vancouver, caught an early flight to Phoenix, did 5 straight hours of meetings at the conference resort (yes, resort, not just hotel . . .it’s not all bad!) and here it is 10pm and I’m still working. Doing up lists, lists and more lists. Spreadsheets, sign up sheets, golf foursomes, dinner lists . . it just goes on, endlessly. But I”m loving it. Call me a crazy, but this is not all bad. I”m organizing the logistics for a 4 day conference, complete with golf tournament. And I had a whole month (haha – usually you have a year) to do it. But all the details are coming together . . sort of. Trying not to stress too much. Taking breaks to do things like write a brief post in between the lists and spreadsheets helps with that.
This is the start of the roadtrip I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. I realized as I was out for a run last night that part of the reason for my recent restlessness was that I’d been at home, without any real break, for four entire months. Maybe not long for some, but for me, I miss being out on the road. The wingchick and I haven’t been this Vancouver bound for a while, although I think that maybe last year was an exceptional one. So I’m enjoying the freedom of being on the road, even if it’s for work. All I have to do is run this conference: if I’m hungry or thirsty I call room service, someone makes up the room while I’m out, if I need laundry done I leave a bag with the concierge. It’s not that bad – really! No dishes, no cooking, no dog walking at 6am, no grocery shopping, no bus stop at 7am. The one bit of news I got tonight is that one of our new exec’s has decided that it would be great for all the newbies (I’m one of them) to do a skit at dinner tomorrow night. And not just any skit . . .our new prez wants us to get up there, in full costumes – and they are pretty crazy costumes – and do a karaoke of Abba’s “Dancing Queen”. My initial reaction was . . not a chance! I might be the first one on board if I’m away with my dragonboat team for something like that – in fact they know that I know all the words!!! – but for a work event when I’m one of 5 women at the entire conference. OMG. Can’t wait.
I had given some thought to trying to do a video blog of my travels, but so far I just haven’t had time. I haven’t done a video blog yet and I wanted to see how that would work out. At one point I thought it might be amusing to shoot some vid at 4am when I got up – but when I did the reality of it was not so much fun and I kind of skipped that. Can’t imagine why. So maybe I’ll pass on the video of the biz part of the trip and start when I head up to Edmonton on Saturday. Maybe it will be funny to shoot some video of getting up at 3:30am to get to the airport for my 6:30am flight. Yikes.
But the short story is: Phoenix is warm and sunny and I love palm trees and room service. The work is endless but rewarding. There are some fun social events coming up, a spa visit and then a Goo’s road trip. Life is pretty sweet and you know, you just have to enjoy the fun times and moments of happiness wherever you find them.
Here’s the view from my balcony.
I’d put up a video or some music, but I’m just too tired to hunt down the one I want on YouTube. I’ve had the Aggrolites in heavy, heavy rotation since we saw their show a couple of weeks ago. The more I listen to their edgy, funky, dirty reggae, the more I like. Funky Fire is just awesome – ok, so I took the time and found it. Enjoy.
One of my recent posts – the one about regret and some old love letters – generated a lot of comments and most of it was really positive and encouraging. There were a few comments that were really moving, from people who shared little snippets of their own stories and more than one reader said they had cried when they read it. That is a real compliment, to write honestly enough that you can engage people to that extent. If I can make you laugh, or cry, or inspire you to make a positive changes in your life, then I can’t think of a more compelling reason to write. Most interestingly, though, there were a couple of negative comments. These were along the lines of “I don’t get how you can put stuff that is so personal about yourself out there where anyone can read it”. Those caught me by surprise.
Although I do have a thing about not having “rules” I do have a few – well, guidelines – about blogging. I write my posts very carefully and a lot of thought goes into what I say, but more importantly what I don’t say. What I do with my own privacy is one thing, but I am extremely careful to never violate the privacy of my friends and family. From the stories themselves it will be obvious to my closest friends just who my partner in crime might be for any particular escapade. Chances are they were either with me, or have heard the tales first hand, but I’m very careful to edit out any identifying details or information about them so to the more casual reader it’s hopefully not as obvious. Sometimes it takes longer to do this editing than it does to do the writing, so no violation there. And I only post pictures, or use first names, after careful consideration and with permission. And I never write about my family. Their privacy is not mine to give away. Not even with pseudonyms, unless it is completely innocuous and they have said it’s OK.
Same goes for anyone I might date. I never write about the particulars of a specific date, and rarely on that subject at all, although I do have a very long post on the general subject of dating that I’m trying to either distill down or break into a couple of different posts. It’s still a work in progress. But for guys I date – again, their privacy is not mine to give away, and really, I would not want to read about myself on some guy’s blog. And it’s not like I have a lot to write about on that subject, it would be more like writing about a lack of dating . . the great black void of non-dating for the most part, that’s me! But I digress, that’s another subject altogether.
I post my blog on my Facebook page (got to generate some interest and readership) but I have good privacy controls on my profile. I don’t friend random people and I don’t have 500 “friends” that I don’t really know and never speak to. Everyone on my FB is someone I know personally. The information on my page is only available if I give you permission, and it can’t be creeped through another friend. I keep it as secure as I can, but I”m not naive enough to think that anything online is really secure. But I also don’t think that my life is really interesting enough that anyone would go to the trouble of busting into my profile. Really, can’t see that being worthwhile to anyone. Really.
I’ve changed so much in the past few months, it’s actually kind of hard to think of the old me and who I was even as recently as last summer. And it’s not that the actual day-to-day reality of my life has changed, although there has been some of that, it’s more that an intrinsic and essential part of me has changed. I find myself discussing things with my very good friends that I had previously guarded as my most personal secrets? . . . is that the right word? I’m not sure. But they were things that I had not thought I would ever talk with anyone about. Even with people I have known a very long time, I kept my life carefully compartmentalized. Now I’ve become a veritable fountain, and you know what, it’s been very, very therapeutic.
And in the end, I can only write about what I know. When I started my blog, I didn’t really know what it was going to be. Now I realize it’s become a sort of online diary, not only of my present, but also of my past. And if sometimes the material gets personal, well that’s when I think I write best. The “what I did this weekend” posts are rarely my best writing. The Love Letters post may be the best thing I’ve ever written. So I plan to continue writing what I know, and what I know best is what I live and breathe and experience. And as a friend said to me, anyone who is friends with a writer soon figures out that they run the risk of seeing one of their own tales reworked into a story, even with identifying details obscured.
And that’s tonight’s therapy session. Did you notice the crazy full moon out there – I sure did, and for better or for worse, it’s been a “once in a blue moon” week for me.
It was just one year ago that we were right in the midst of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. It seems longer to me, but I think that’s only because I’ve had such an action packed year. I”m sitting watching CTV’s 2010 Olympics Anniversary special, and I have to admit that even me, someone who has their personal doubts about the money spent, the corporatization of the event and exactly what it is that is being celebrated, I’ve spent most of the last couple of hours with tears in my eyes watching and reliving the memories of those magical days in February 2010.
What do I remember? I remember how crazy it was in the 18 months or more in the lead up to the Games.
The ticket lottery and the bus transportation . . . I had to try to get not only my own tickets but all the tickets the bankers I worked for wanted to entertain their clients. Some tickets were surprisingly easy to come by (Closing Ceremony) and some could not be bought for love nor money (Gold Medal Hockey). Opening Ceremony tickets were ridiculously expensive and maybe because of that there were lots being bought, sold and traded. Although we all learned pretty quickly that VANOC had come up with a pretty much bulletproof system for outwitting ticket scalpers. That was impressive. I managed to get tickets for myself for Cypress Mountain women’s ski cross, only to have them cancelled the day before because of the unseasonably warm weather. Ashleigh McIver from Whistler went on to win Gold in that event, it was right when the Gold Rush started . . . I wish I’d been there to see that.
And what do I remember during the Games? In the end I didn’t see a single athletic event, but I have lots of fantastic memories and maybe that’s what I’ve taken away from it, that even if you didn’t get to see any of the athletic competition there was still so much to see, to participate in and celebrate.
The Opening Ceremonies: I was lucky enough to be invited to a VANOC reception just prior to the Opening Ceremonies. It was at the Shark Club, right next to BC Place. Once the lucky ticket holders left for the ceremonies, I started walking up Georgia Street to meet a friend and head out to the Surrey LiveCity site to see Blue Rodeo play as part of the city-wide celebration. The party I had left was so over the top celebratory, it came as a bit of a surprise to walk right into the one and only protest march I saw in Vancouver during the Olympics. We were all so excited for the Opening, the whole city seemed to be in a party mood, it just seemed incongruous to walk into the inevitable protest march with a bunch of people having a decidedly not good time. Maybe in the end that was why the protest movement was completely extinguished during the Games – not the ever-present security, but the fact that the protests were just no fun at all, at a time when Vancouver was having more fun that it had ever had before. The good times started rolling and they never stopped, and somehow those protests just never really got off the ground.
LiveCity: What a brilliant idea. Whoever put those together was a genius. Even for the sports-watching challenged (me) it made me a part of the Games and made them relevant to me. We saw some amazing entertainment and a stunning number of free concerts – just fantastic. The day after the Opening Ceremony was a Saturday and we decided that who we really wanted to see was Ashley MacIssac – the insanely talented punk fiddler from Cape Breton. He was playing at the tiny Backstage Lounge on Granville Island. We knew it would be crazy, but we didn’t really know how crazy. Four hours – yes FOUR HOURS – we stood in line to get in. It was cold, it was raining, there was no food, bathrooms, nothing. But you know, once we got in, it was stupendous. What a party. Every East Coaster in Vancouver was trying to get in there that night and the ones that did came to party. It was totally worth every minute we waited. Here is Ashley just killing it during the Opening Ceremonies.
Medal Presentation Ceremonies. I was given, long before we knew what was being presented that night, tickets to the Medal Ceremony where Alex Bilodeau officially received his Gold medal, the first ever won on Canadian soil. It was fantastic, truly a night to remember. Alex will always be, for me, a symbol of all this is good, inspirational and quintessentially Canadian about the Olympics.
Holland Heineken House. If you went there, you know how ridiculously much fun it was. If you didn’t go . . oh well, you really missed out on a good time!
The All Day – All Night Line Up at the Bay. Remember when we all dressed in red and white, all day, every day? When every single person simply lived in Olympic logo’d gear? Is anyone still wearing it – I am, I still love my red mittens. We tried to get into the Bay to buy more stuff – we tried in the morning, we tried at midnight, we tried all day, but no matter when we went it was lined up around the block with security. Sheer marketing genius.
Taking Transit Everywhere, Night and Day. The Olympics changed forever my party going transportation habits. It was during the Olympics that we started riding the bus to go downtown at night and you know, we just never stopped. It’s still the usual way we head out for a night of dancing on Saturdays (or any other night come to think of it). And one of the most ridiculously fun memories I have is riding the very late (3:30am) Night Bus home from Granville Island to the North Shore. The bus was absolutely packed – every time they stopped to let someone else on everyone had to squeeze a bit more – sardine city. But it was so funny; the bus was half full of international students and half full of very celebratory Canadians. Everyone was drinking and smoking (in public, on the bus) and no-one cared. We alternated singing the World Cup soccer song and Oh Canada all the way home and thought it was the most fun ever. Brilliant memory.
Closing Ceremonies. Watched these at the LiveCity site in Yaletown. By now the weather had (finally) turned cold again – cold and rainy. We watched on the big screens and then stayed to see Blue Rodeo close it down. What a great bookend.
These truly were Canada’s winning Games – our athletes won 14 Gold medals, more than any other country has ever won at the Winter Games. And as Canadians, we showed that we could be both proudly patriotic and welcoming and generous to the other competitors. As one American broadcaster put it, Canadians reminded him of what his country used to be like, when it was a more civil society. Now that’s a compliment we can cherish.
Oh, and where was I when Sidney scored the Golden Goal – well I had the game on, but I was also doing laundry and I went downstairs to put a load in the dryer – and missed the goal. I think that’s a national crime!!
Suffering from blogging withdrawal, need desperately to write . . .something, anything. I knew that things were going to get a little crazy come February, but I had no idea just how bang-bang nutty it could get. It’s been work, work, work and fun, fun, fun non-stop since we rolled over into the fabulous Aquarian month. My horoscope says that fiery Mars and Aries are in my house (or something like that) making me full of energy, potential trouble and a hyperactive social life. Well that pretty much describes the last two weeks.
Just loving the new job; have not regretted for one single instant making the switch. Hours are killer right now, but that should ease up in March. I’m learning so much in such a short time. Today, although fairly wilting from exhaustion, was one of the most interesting days I’ve had at work in a very long time. I sit in with, and record for, the Board of Directors – it could not have been more fascinating – I’m not kidding. Eight hours and 10 pages of notes, but every second of it was an education. I’ve also been tasked with organizing and running a big conference in Phoenix for the end of the month – again, brutally long hours, but I love that sort of stuff and I’m good at it. Not to mention going to Phoenix for a week . . .any excuse to stay in nice hotel, get in some time at the spa and order room service. Lovin’ it.
I have a pile of books, clippings and new CD’s on my desk – it’s the pile of stuff I keep to remind me what I want to blog about. It’s completely random; sometimes I’m reading the newspaper and cut out articles that tweak my interest, or I’m reading a review in a magazine and have to investigate further, or I’m bringing stuff home from concerts, shows etc. And the books do tend to pile up. I try to keep it under control, but it’s getting all tall and tippy, so here is my birthday week entertainment. Wow, it was spendiferous.
Hard Core Logo is the story of a formerly famous (sort of) punk band that gets back together for one last tour – with disastrous results. It’s based on a book, the film adaptation of that book and a previous screenplay. Original music was written just for the play by the Joe “Shithead” Keithley of D.O.A. and he was also the musical consultant. It was a great show because they nailed, right on the money, so many of the clichés of small time bands. Clichés become clichés because they are so often true, and so much of what was in this show was deadly accurate. The characters were predictable, but only because you see them so often. The issues that they argued over were the same ones you hear over and over – clash of ego, “selling out”, money problems, and my personal fav – “Yes I’ll tour, but I’m not sleeping in the van“. That one cracked us up. There was another great line “Billy just wants the models and limousines, and I’m happy with hookers and taxi cabs” I could write a whole post on that line alone, it says so much. It was a really good show.
As luck would have it, a local band I’ve wanted to see, Natural Flavas, was playing just down the street at Calabash. Looks like an unassuming restaurant somewhere in the depths of cracktown – but head downstairs and it was the best basement party, with an awesome band and DJ, that I had ever been at. Natty Flav’s played some killer reggae/dub and when the party overflowed the dance floor they did the only sensible thing – they moved all the tables out and opened it up. It was quite the night.
And while we are on the reggae/dub thing (just stretching our musical tastes a bit) we were out at Venue last night to hear some fantastic “dirty” reggae by The Aggrolites, who we first saw at Warped Tour a couple of years ago and have been watching for them to tour here. They were amazing. Reggae with a punk edge, or skinhead reggae is another name I’ve seen – whatever you want to call it, it was another hot, sweaty dance party. They were totally awesome and totally entertaining. As we said coming home, it’s hard to put your finger on what takes a band from so -so ok to great, but Aggro had it going on in spades. Professional, tight, on the money good. And maybe it was that dress I had to sew myself into . . .but it was a whole lotta fun . . just saying . . . .
And last but not least we finally got to see our own personal Fluffy – the band you hear about but never actually get to see so you are not quite sure if they really exist or not – 22nd Century.
Another seriously good, seriously under-appreciated local rock band. The curious segway is that the drummer for 22nd Century is Zippy Pinhead, a legendary drummer from the old days of the Vancouver punk scene. He was a contemporary of Joe Shithead and the character of the drummer in Hard Core Logo Live is clearly based on Zippy. So we got to see him playing live in person (he’s still good) and also as a character in a play all in one week . . .curiouser and curiouser. They are promoting their new record, Where’s Howie. Not surprisingly, they have a much bigger following overseas than here . . .go figure. Here’s I was a Teenage Underwear Model. Thank god Zippy stays behind the drums!!
So that’s my crazy birthday week – oh yeah, except I forgot to mention I went on a real, honest-to-god date!! Toes in the pond . . . Gotta get some much needed sleep in time for my Saturday morning torture session, otherwise known as a Buckies dragonboat practice. Got my writing fix in.
CharliJ put up this great post on her blog a couple of days ago and she has said, so succinctly, exactly what I have thought and my friends and I have talked about so many times. Both the “damsel in distress” vibe and the ‘femme fatale” vibe – so true. I don’t need to do another experiment, I’ve been a victim, or beneficiary, depending on how you look at it, of both.
The damsel in distress vibe can be a lifesaver, or it can be fraught with peril. It’s not only the good guys who are on the lookout for someone to play the hero to, though I have met a few of those very kind and generous souls. There are also the ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing” as I like to think of them – the not so kind ones who pick up on the distress vibe and seek it out, and they don’t have your best interests in mind, not at all. Been there, done that, got the scars. Beware and be on the lookout.
The femme fatale vibe is way more fun!! Had some of that good vibe going on in Vegas last Halloween. Funniest trip ever. Within 2 hours of being wheels down at McCarren I was being chatted up by a tall, dark and handsome drag car racer (is that what you call those really fast ones (the cars I mean) that have a chute off that back?) while downing jello shooters at our hotel bar.
Then there that Big Green Fairy (ie our really cute waiter – it was Halloween after all) – how exactly did I end up lying on the table . . .oh wait, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – right! And that was just when I had the potential Femme Fatale vibe going on. With the real thing happening in spades a short time later . . .life got really interesting for a while. Like really interesting.
But CharliJ is also absolutely right that the effect is short-lived. It wears off without regular . . .ummm . . maintenance . . . So better take her excellent advice and take advantage of those windows of opportunity when they present themselves. If only I wasn’t so stunningly oblivious most of the time. But I’m working on it.
“I guess this means you aren’t coming to . . .”
This is a different post for me, but no matter how I’ve tried to avoid it, I can’t seem to settle until I write the subject out of me. The curse and the promise of writing; once an idea starts working its way around in my brain, I’m distracted, unfocused and fraught until I write it down. I’ve tried avoiding it because it’s a) melancholy and b) probably way too personal. But no luck – it’s write or not sleep again at this point. And it’s certainly a Note from Just Past Normal and I’ve had to redefine a few ideas about my life because of it, so at least I’ve remained thematic. I’m just redefining the theme slightly. So here goes . . .
This past weekend I was moving furniture around to repaint my bedroom when I came across a shoebox full of old letters. They are from BC – as in before children, not the province of Canada I live in – from back when I was a die-hard ski bum spending my time working between heli ski outfits here in BC (this time it’s the province) and in New Zealand. And it’s hard to believe now, because it wasn’t even that long ago (really), but they are from before email was in common usage and way before Facebook, Skype, texting or any of the other fantastic ways we can now communicate pretty much live with friends and family close to home and in other countries. Back in those dark ages, if you traveled a lot and if you were diligent about keeping up your end of the bargain – which I was – you could accumulate a lot of correspondence. And I’ve kept that box of letters no matter what was happening in my life or how many times I”ve moved. It was obviously important to me, I just had to wait for the time to be right to figure out why.
A lot of the letters were from friends that I met traveling and it was so much fun to re-read them and see what was important to us then. There were people I had completely forgotten about, people I remember very fondly but have lost touch with and people who are still my friends. They were from all over the world – New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, England, California, Costa Rica and yes, Canada. Well maybe not all over the world, but enough places to make me remember how interesting my life was at that time.
And in the box there was a bundle of love letters. They are of the old-fashioned “I haven’t seen you for 63 days (he was counting . . ) and I miss you like the breath in my own body” type of love letters. Wow. Those were very special. I can’t get them out of my head. Here is the problem: I thought reading them would be a fun trip down memory lane, a lighthearted remembrance of a particular time and place. Instead, I was ineffably sad when I finished reading. It took me a couple of tries to get through them all because it’s a good-sized bundle and I had to keep putting them down, they affected me so profoundly.
Why sad? I think it’s because after reading them again, several times, I realized that the memory I have constructed for myself of that affaire is quite different from what the reality was. It’s revisionist history. In my memory, he had left me. I know now, without a shadow of a doubt, that was not the reality. We wrote love letters to each other because we lived in different countries and only managed to see each other a few times a year. We were both at major crossroads in our lives and he (a transplanted Californian) wanted me to go live with him in what was (and remains) a secluded tropical paradise where he was living and working. He wrote about everything he was thinking and feeling and about what our lives might be like there. He wrote about some pretty amazing times we spent together – when friends are talking even now about best birthdays, I still say that the one I spent with him was one of the best nights ever and in his letters he sure seemed to think that as well. And when he really liked what I had written to him, he cut it out and stuck it onto his letter and then wrote around that – sort of old school cut and paste. How I wish I had copies of my letters to him. Like really wish.
And what I realize now is that my life could have been very different. I had reconstructed my memory to turn it into a casual fling, when really it was, very much, an affair of the heart. He was waiting. The opening line of this post is the last line of his last letter “I guess this means you aren’t coming to . . .” What would have happened if I’d had the courage then to follow my own favourite lyric: “When you’re through thinking, say yes”. What if I’d said YES. I am, as the title suggests, at this moment a study in regret. I’m sure that this too will pass, because I try to live my life with no regrets, believing that everything happens for a reason and I wouldn’t be in the place I am today without all the events, good and bad, that led up to it. And I love my life today. But this is one thing that I am filled with regret over. I can’t shake that.
And it has made me wonder about other times and memories. If I have, in such a wholesale manner, revised my memory of something that was so important, what other memories are reconstructions, pastiches of my own invention and remembrance? Do we all revise our histories to suit ourselves, to recast ourselves in a more flattering light, or even, simply, to tell a better story? I’ve been wondering about the elusive quality of truth – in our actions, in our memories, in our relationships. I don’t think there is an “absolute” version of any remembrance, only how the people involved choose to remember the events and recolour them with the passage of time and their changing circumstances.
So I’ve written a letter and I’ve sent it to the old address; sort of casting a bit of karma out there into the universe and waiting to see what comes back. Most likely it will be nothing. But you never know. And at least I won’t have the additional regret of wondering (again) what if?
So here’s my all time favourite song – I had the musical notation tattooed on. It’s all about how sometimes, in life, it’s just bad timing.