Happy Anniversary

A year ago today I published my first blog post. What a year it’s been.  86 posts to date with an incredible 353 subject tags and more than 2,500 views.   Have to say I’m more than a little proud of that.  I was sitting here thinking “I’m pretty sure I’ve posted every week for an entire year” when it occured to me:   52 weeks in a year / 86 posts = more than one post per week.  Wow.   (note: math is not my strong suit).  Still haven’t been  Freshly Pressed – I’d probably have more luck  if I was more focused and had only say 50 subject tags – guess I have to write for another year.       

When I started writing my blog about living by my own rules,  Colouring Outside the Lines was my very first post.   I just went back and read that post for the first time in a long time and you know what – it’s still all true.  I wouldn’t change a word and I’m so glad I went back to remind myself of why I started.   Blogging is one of the most personally rewarding things I’ve ever done.   It hasn’t all been a sea of congratulations – I’ve had to take some criticism and I’ve been taken to task more than once for my opinions.  But  I read,  I think, I talk and I write.   And I love doing it all.  One of my more outspoken friends posted this pic on her FB Wall – in the time I’ve known her she’s been more than a little political, more than a little outspoken, but always totally interesting.  I love reading her posts every day because it’s the differences that make the world so fascinating.  Imagine if we all thought, believed and acted in exactly the same way?   Very positively reinforcing, but boring as all f**k.   And I don’t really want my friends and readers to go away –  I need you all – I just thought this was funny – but that probably makes me weird, right?

What else did I do this year – well I quit my job and got a new one.  That was one of my early posts,   Holy S**t I Quit My Job.  Might have been the best, smartest move I ever made.  It involved a HUGE leap of faith, but I haven’t regretted it for one second.  I’m working harder than I’ve ever done, but I’m learning more and it’s just so damn interesting. Even the tough days are interesting (ok, today when I wanted to cry was a stretch, but I’m over it. Just tired.  Need a vaca).  And I’d rather be challenged than bored, so all in, I can’t wait to see what the next year brings

I’ve done some crazy stuff – like a LOT of crazy stuff.   When I first started doing things like say . . following my favourite bands around on tour . . .it seemed really  crazy and out there.  I’d been living this totally predictable life where people simply did not do things like go on tour with a band.   And I was dying inside.  But now that I know I”m not alone, and in fact have met so many people  who love to do things like see their favourite musicians a whole bunch of times, who think that going to music festivals is pretty much the best way ever invented to spend a summer weekend – it’s not that strange anymore. I just needed to broaden my horizons.    Check out We’re not Groupies, We’re Band-Aids, that was a great night.

I’ve traveled – OMG, have I traveled.  Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez – Halloween and New Years in Vegas (technically those were in two different years, ok!), white water rafting trips, California – San Francisco is officially my favourite city anywhere – camping at Warped Tour at the Gorge  – that was completely over the top.  And upcoming . . .well off to Cabo on Sunday for some “sunshine and alcohol”  – look out Squid Row, here we come.  And finally – the most epic festival of them all – Burning Man.  Cannot  wait.  Hope we survive to tell the tales – and that there is anything at all that is publishable!!!   We all have choices, I made mine.  Not to say it’s for everyone,  just that it’s for me and I’m loving it.   (that’s the caveat on shooting off my mouth, yet again). 

I’ve written some funny posts  and I’ve written some very personal posts – Fragile Bird just wouldn’t get out of my head until I wrote it out.   Sometimes I shoot from the hip with whatever I’m thinking, or is really pissing me off –  my blog is a great form of therapy – so it’s pretty much a given that going forward I’m going to be eating my words more than once.  And if I was wrong about a few things (haha, not if – I was!!)  . . .oh well, it was totally worth it.   I never said I got it all right, all the time.   I’m making this up as I go.  And in the end it’s the act of writing that I love,  so I plan to keep on writing until I run out of things to say. 

If the past year has been one of reinvention, or more properly, rediscovery, then I truly can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for me.  There are some interesting turns on the road ahead and if I can say that about my life, then I must be doing something right.  Stay tuned. 

I got a second chance to live the life I choose, on my terms, and I really did grab hold of it for all it’s worth.  

On heavy rotation . . .I was recently introduced to the incredible Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.   Wow, totally blown away with both her voice and attitude.   Love listening to the “Live at the Fillmore” record (it’s San Francisco!) on my morning commute – a bit of rock ‘n roll attitude to start the grey flannel day.

Advertisements

Finally, some good news – 7 Healthy Sins!!

Finally, some good news, courtesy of Randy Shore and the Vancouver Sun Weekend Edition.  This made my day. 

After years of being warned of the health dangers of red meat, alcohol and anger, not to mention the moral and legal complications that can go along with marijuana and sex, turns out that scientific research has also shown that any of the above in moderation can be beneficial.   When does the party start – I’m in!

Anger:

Research published in the Psychological Journal has shown that a certain amount of anger is actually good for you. Releasing negative emotions like anger reduces stress and anxiety that can result from bottling up frustration.  It also primes you to effectively complete an unpleasant task and compete more forcefully for things you need to acquire (hmm, Army and Navy shoe sale comes to mind here . .). And particularly in women, swearing alleviates pain and increases your pain threshold (still thinking of the pointy elbows and heels at that damn shoe sale).

OMG, I feel better already

Red Wine:

I think everyone has heard by now that red wine is rich in antioxidants which help protect the lining of the blood vessels of your heart.  Researchers in Spain found that drinking a single glass of red wine a day reduced the risk of heart disease by half; they also noted that drinking an entire bottle  conferred the same protective effect.  And much of the benefits of alcohol seem to be present no matter what your drink of choice is, so enjoy!  I’d say after last night (and come to think of it the entire last week!) I’ve added several more healthy years to my heart. 

Nectar of the Gods

Sloth:

A little nap in the afternoon may be just what your body needs. It improves alertness, memory and mood and reduces the effects of stress according to research done for NASA at U of Pennsylvania and Harvard.  Finally, science is catching up to what I’ve always known – I just love an afternoon nap.  You have to sleep long enough to experience both slow-wave and REM sleep, a one hour nap was perfect.  I know what I’ll be doing at 3:00pm this afternoon.

It was a particularly tough Kaizen

Red Meat:

The British Nutrition Foundation conducted a review of published evidence on the consumption of red meat.  The conclusion – moderate consumption of lean red meat is good for you.  It contains abundant nutrients not found in plant based diets, particularly iron, zinc, vitamin D and the B vitamins and the “good” fatty acids Omega 3 and 6.   They still say cut off the fat and go with the leanest cuts of grass (not grain) fed beef.  Hmmm, don’t think I’m going to change my quasi-vegetarian ways (that means I eat veggie at home but if I go out and someone serves me meat, well who am I to offend my host – I just eat that meat) but for those of you who love a good steak, bring it on. 

Throw another steak on the barbie

Sex:

“When executed properly, sexual intercourse is good exercise, burning up to 200 calories over 30 – 60 minutes, depending on your level of enthusiasm” is the quote from the article.  And I would add – “and depending on your marital status and length of relationship!!!”   Research published in the journal Biological Psychology showed that woman who engage in sex respond to stress with more calm and lower blood pressure.  Afterward, of course.   A lesser known study by Rebecca Burch and Gordon Gallup (bless their little researcher hearts) found that exposure to semen, a complex mix of sperm, water, immunosuppressants and hormones, was a significant mood elevator for women.  In their study sexually active women who did not use a condom scored significantly happier than the condom wearing group (and I’m going to take a  flyer here and say that the men felt the same way!!) and in fact the level of depression for the condom wearing group was the same as the no sex group.  And finally, research at U of Penn (I’m thinking this is a forward thinking college!) showed the women who are exposed to the immunosuppressants in semen through “frequent” sex had fewer colds and infections.   Beats the hell out of the annual flu shot, I’m thinking.  My flu clinic always gives you a candy lollipop to suck on after the shot . .. a rich vein of material not doubt . . .but so not going there.  And if you think I had some fun doing the image search for this one – LOL.  Stupidly put in “sex image” as a search term – classic fail.  Some nice art 🙂

"A Lovers Embrace" by Llianne Amanda

Marijuana:

Several studies in the last few years have shown that the active ingredient cannabidiol provides protection to neurons against the toxic molecules implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.  And it’s already prescribed (at least in some places) for it’s effective treatment of pain and nausea in cancer patients, among other things.  Personally not a fan of the bud (see Sloth above) and given the singular lack of memory and attention span I’ve noticed in people I’ve known who are frequent users, this study is a bit counter-intuitive for me, but who am I to argue with science.  But I’m sticking to tequila for now.  And when I head to Cabo in a couple of weeks I’m going to be conducting my own experiment in well-being and stress reduction related to consumption of Cabo Wabo while lying on sandy beach.   Hell yeah, now that’s well-being. 

canna_cola

Chocolate:

Dark chocolate contains hundreds of chemicals which can affect your health, including flavonoids, one of the richest, which are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and cancer fighting qualities.  Dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure and prevent blood platelet activation, helping prevent strokes and heart attacks.   The darker the chocolate the better, cocoa is even better still and I’d have to agree with the experts that milk chocolate is a waste of time.  Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words – though maybe she should have a glass of wine in one hand and a steak in the other?

Chocolate-Lovers

Well, there is some food for thought.  I’m trying to image how relaxed, happy, healthy and productive we would all be if every day we had a glass of wine at lunch, followed by a boisterous romp (sans protection) and then an hour long nap (and you can throw in the chocolate at any point that seems appropriate . . ).   Colour me sinfully happy.

Got so distracted that I almost forgot to add some music for ya’ll to enjoy while contemplating some sinning.  Here’s some Dave Matthews, “You and Me”.

A Day of Remembrance 11.11.11

Putting aside all personal beliefs about war and the military, a letter published today in the Vancouver Sun spoke to me of the sacrifices of so many, and the grief of those left behind.  Thank you, Jean Hubbard, for reminding us of the personal sacrifices we should honour, regardless of our political convictions. 

I’m an 85 year old Second World War veteran.

When I”m asked if I will be marching in the Remembrance Day parade I say “No, I’ll be at home watching the Vancouver and Ottawa services on the TV with a box of Kleenex beside me”.

I will weep in memory of my father and father-in-law, who both fought in the First World War at Vimy Ridge.  They survived, but suffered from being gassed.

I will weep for both my husbands who fought overseas in the Second World War.  Tom was in the Tank Corp. He died of cancer at age 45.

John was with the Seaforths, suffered from shrapnel in both legs and died at age 85 of a heart problem.

I will remember my own two years in the Canadian Women’s Army Corp. (CWAC) and how proud I was to serve.

When The Last Post sounds I will stand at attention and say “We will remember them”.

Jean Hubbard, Vancouver.  Published November 11, 2011, Vancouver Sun.

I will be remembering my (former) in-laws, my daughter’s grandparents.   Her Grandpa Dave who passed last year, but was a proud Canadian war veteran who served in England.  And my thoughts will be with my mother in law, Paige’s Grandma Joan, an English war bride who, like so many young English girls, sailed for Canada after the war to follow their new husbands. After arriving in Montreal she travelled by train all the way across the country to Red Deer, Alberta and made her home in the Calgary area, far from her family in England. 

Here’s the Goo’s Not Broken which they wrote to honour US veterans of all wars.

 

While the Cat’s Away . . .

My wingman/partner in crime is out of town for a couple of weeks, catching some sunshine and trying to stay out of trouble in Florida.  My plan while she was away was to rest, relax, take care of the home fires, maybe even get going on one of my overdue home projects.  That’s worked out well – NOT!  I’ve spent this weekend partying like a rock star, it’s been a blast, though I have to stop sending drunk emails at 2:00am when I’m on the bus home.  But I get bored and it’s late . . . .

This is how my “restful” weekend went . . .

Friday:

I’ve volunteered for the last 4 years at the Gold Medal Plates Culinary Competition and Gala.  It’s a fundraiser held in cities across Canada for the Canadian Olympic Athletes and it’s always a blast.  At $350/ticket it’s out of my budget, but volunteering is a great way to enjoy the event for free!    Some of the best chefs in town set up stations and compete against each other to create and serve one perfect item, which is paired with a fabulous wine – in Vancouver it was all the top BC wineries.  The winner from each city goes to the Canadian Culinary Championships, which will be in Kelowna this year. 

gmp-header-new

GMP adam gmp ballroom gmp jim

Sound riveting?  Where’s the party you ask?  Well, the night continues with a live auction and entertainment and lots more wine.  Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo organizes some great talent to play in each city – we had Barney Bentall and Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea).   There is a live auction of some Amazing cycling, hiking, wine tasting trips to places like Chile, Tuscany, France and England – each trip is hosted by one of the musicians plus an Olympic athlete.  The $10,000 price tag is out of my reach (damn it) but we can dream, right?   So the wine flows, great music is played . . .and then there is the after-party. 

I was finishing up a glass of wine, all set to go home when I was kidnapped off to the after-party. I’ve been to them before, they rock, and usually involve skulking out of the hotel at about 3am to trying to find a cab home. I was really doing my level best to stay with the “get some rest” plan, but to no avail.  It was the after- party for me.  This year I managed to avoid some of the fun and frolics I have entertained people with in the past:

  • doing a photo shoot in a bathtub (fully clothed, before you ask!)
  • giving the national wine advisor (a very well known wine critic and columnist) a lesson on how to remove a broken cork from a bottle of Burrowing Owl (I am SUCH an idiot sometimes)
  • losing my coat and/or shoes and having to do the walk of shame out of the hotel at 3am without either, in nothing but a very short cocktail dress – in November.  How lovely.

But having avoided those pitfalls, I ran into an old friend from my ski bum days in Banff – we hadn’t seen each other in about 100 years.  He had the best opening line ever (truly can’t be repeated – sorry)  but I laughed my ass off.  Segway to shots of frozen Belvedere and the night got looooong.  2:00am bus ride, indecipherable emails and Saturday was a day not worth living through, really.   Party like a rock star.

Saturday:

Having survived Saturday morning, had to go into damage control mode and get myself sorted out for Saturday night.  I promised to take a friend (another music lover who is visiting from out of town) out to hear some live music and do some dancing.  I wanted to kill myself, but hey, I’d said I’d do it, so time to man up.  A great dinner and some excellent wine set me on the road again and it was off to the Fairview Pub on West Broadway to hang with the hipsters and listen to some fantastic music.  And drink some Chicken Beer – Speckled Hen – but that got too complicated by about the 5th can, so it was Chicken Beer for the rest of the night.  

Fairview Pub

The line-up included the James T. Kirks who bill themselves as garage/punk/surf and write in their MySpace profile:

“after 13 whiskey soaked years of rawknroll madness The James T. Kirks are still alive, still kickin ass, still breakin hearts, and still corrupting youth, just as they always have”  It’s all true and they were fantastic. 

James T Kirks

Also on the bill was Rich Hope and the Evildoers  – I’ve seen Rich a number of times before – the pic below is from Canada Day.  He plays some wicked guitar and harps and does a totally rocking set. Last night was no exception.  And there is pretty much nothing I love more than listening to some great live music and yakking it up all night long about music of all types with another really knowledgeable music lover.  Awesome.  I’ve got another festival to think about getting to some time now . .Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival  – in Tennessee!  So many festivals, so little time

Camera Pics Android 070

Around 2am it was like a déjà vu of Friday – bus, unreadable emails etc etc.  But having avoided shots of any kind and stuck only to chicken beer, today is a kinder day than yesterday and, best of all, an EXTRA hour of sleep.  Love the Fall time change. 

And here it is Sunday, time for some rest finally?   Not quite . . .a client has invited me to the Cirque du Soleil –  Michael Jackson Immoral World Tour tonight.  Pre-event reception, private box  – the whole nine yards.  I know, it’s a tough life, but someone has to do it, right?   Didn’t get much sleep but I had a lot of fun!!

Cirque

Some music for today – how about some Florence and the Machine “Shake it Out”.