Sunday 31 October 2010

The tale of the mermaid and the monster truck...

It's Hallowe'en - Alexandria's 7th one and Zachary's 4th one. This year Alex chose to be Ariel (The Little Mermaid), which is awesome because we already have the costume. Zachary wanted to be a monster truck - again. Last year he was El Toro Loco. This year he went as the Batman monster truck - he was SO excited!! (We lost a wing tip near the end of the night, but the costume didn't fair too badly.) The plate in the pictures is the 'steering wheel' he had to have. Can't steer the truck without it, I guess. :)

Enjoy these pictures. The kids sure had a blast. Even though it was pretty chilly! It was snowing a bit earlier in the day...

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Love Loss and What I Wore - My dream cast

I had the pleasure of seeing this awesomely funny and heartwarming play not once, not twice, but FOUR times. (And I didn't pay once. First two times were comps from the production for helping spread the word about the play - which I was doing anyway. The third time I won a Twitter contest. The fourth time I got tickets through - which I won a year membership to at MeFest!)

I love this play. I would gladly see it again - and again. And I love bringing new friends to see it each time. And then they want to bring their friends. It's that good.

It's written by Nora and Delia Ephron (who, between them, have written When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie & Julia and so many more.) The Toronto production is on its fourth cast. They have a new one about once a month. They were originally slated to run for two months, but have been extended twice because, like I said, it's awesome.

Now that I've seen all four casts, I thought I would have a little fun and compile my 'dream cast' from the actresses I've seen to date.
The first cast included:
Louise Pitre, Mary Walsh, Andrea Martin, Sharron Matthews and Paula Brancati.
The second cast included:
Margot Kidder, Wendy Crewson, Cynthia Dale, Linda Kash and Lauren Collins.

The third was made up of:
Barbara Budd, Jeanne Beker, Sheila McCarthy, Luba Goy and Jane McLean (although I didn't see Jeanne Beker and Sheila McCarthy... that made me a bit sad. They were replaced by Lisa Horner and Linda Kash - who I loved seeing again.)

The fourth - and current - cast consists of:
Patricia Hamilton, Trey Anthony, Leah Pinsent, Mary Lou Fallis and Stacey Farber.

So... of all the women I had a chance to see (remember, I didn't see Ms Beker or Ms McCarthy)... who would my dream cast be?

Well, my dream cast of all those AMAZING women..... drum roll....

I would love to see Louise Pitre, Mary Walsh, Andrea Martin, Linda Kash and Lauren Collins back up on that stage. Stacey Farber is a close sixth. (I did love Wendy Crewson's 'prison' story, too. She delivered it REALLY well.)  :)

This play is a GREAT girls' night out. It's a solid hour and a half of laughs, some tears and stories you WILL relate to.

Monday 11 October 2010

Seth Godin's Do you need a permit?

I love Seth Godin's brain. This is why. Here is his blog post from today:

Do you need a permit?

Where, precisely, do you go in order to get permission to make a dent in the universe?

The accepted state is to be a cog. The preferred career is to follow the well-worn path, to read the instructions, to do what we're told. It's safer that way. Less responsibility. More people to blame.

When someone comes along and says, "not me, I'm going down a different path," we flinch. We're not organized to encourage and celebrate the unproven striver. It's safer to tear them down (with their best interests at heart, of course). Better, we think, to let them down easy, to encourage them to take a safer path, to be realistic, to hear it from us rather than the marketplace.

Perhaps, years ago, this was good advice. Today, it's clearly not. In fact, it's disrespectful, ill-advised and short sighted. How dare we cheer when a bold changemaker stumbles? Our obligation today isn't to spare the feelings of our peers from future disappointment. It's to establish an expectation that of course they're going to do something that matters.

If you think there's a chance you can make a dent, GO.



You have my permission. Not that you needed it.

Saturday 9 October 2010

They're in the minority, so they must be wrong... right?

I would like to share some excerpts I found while researching this blog post. (I know... I researched.)

I was forced to conform to the ‘norm’ when I was 5 years old. I am now 26 and I recently switched back to my natural preferences. There was a lot of emotional stress and pain attached with it. I never understood why it was so wrong to be the way I was. It caused me a lot of pain through the years that I was forced to be something I was not. I tried to switch back other times, but felt it was “wrong” and feared negative repercussions. So I finally had it and fought through the pain and ingrained negative stigmas about my preferences. Though I have only been back at it for a week, it feels so natural, I cried and cried because I felt so, so happy, like everything fell into place. That I was me again. All these years it had made me miserable. I am so glad that I finally listened to myself. ~ Mari on commonties blog

If the child will get bullied, surely one should try and discourage the preference!

A gene was found. About 10% of people have this preference. ~ BBC News July 31, 2007

However your children are born – let them be themselves!

You were born to prefer one over the other. No matter how much hand-slapping takes place, what’s normal for you will always return.

There is a long history of using biological differences to call people superior or inferior. ~ Bonnie Spanier, State University of New York

Social scientists generally believe that because about 90 percent of all people have the same tendency, the majority early made a virtue of it and decided there was something queer about anybody who was different. ~ Popular Science, Sept ‘96

It’s not our preference that is devastating. Having this preference is normal. It is the prejudice and cruelty that can be devastating. ~ Rosemany on commonties blog

Christianity is strongly biased toward the “right” tendency. On one count, the bible contains over 100 favourable references to this tendency and 25 unfavourable references to the other.

For thousands of years, the devil has been associated with people having this preference in various ways. They look just like us, they speak our tongue, but be afraid. Thankfully none of our children were born with the affliction. ~ Pop Culturist

Dr Amar J S Klar, PhD argues that a single gene determines our preference. ~

In Singapore, people are less inclined to stand up for many things. As a result, I find that I have learned to tolerate the “inconveniences” of my preferences. Perhaps, as a minority, I have always felt this was the way things had to be. Thank goodness my mother told my teacher to leave me alone as far as my preferences were concerned. My father was not so lucky. He was forced to “change”. Many people still look at it as an abnormality – something to do away with. I met a woman who categorically told me (despite knowing my preferences) that she had been trying so hard to change her daughter’s orientation. ~ Nic on 42inc

My mother ingrained in me that I was brain damaged because I was totally different from her other 3 children. I can’t tell you what this early programming did to my self-esteem. ~ Mimi

In the 1940s, Abram Blau, a psychiatrist, wrote: These children were the products of cold and inattentive mothers. He also said, This is a neurotic choice made by antisocial individuals.

My mother was raised a STRICT Catholic. She was born with this preference and forced to suppress it. These children are apparently possessed by the devil. Her life was saturated with guilt. At the age of 16 my mother had finally had enough. When  a particularly cruel nun tried to cut off her flaxen hair, my mother grabbed the scissors out of the nun’s hand and turned them on her. She threatened the nun with bodily harm if she ever tried to touch her again. At the age of 16 my mother moved out of the house and left her childhood and Catholicism behind. ~

I am different. In 1956, I went to school. On my mother’s advice, I acted like everyone else. “They’ll force you,” she said. Since I was compliant, I was never punished. I hate those like me – those sinister characters who are in the minority. ~ Richard Gagnon

At the time I was in school, the teachers tried to force me to change. I remember my parents asking the teachers to let me be who I was.

At the time I was in school (50 years ago), there was no acknowledgement that people like me even existed.

What is it that you think all these are referring to? Being gay? Homosexuality? Nope.... guess again.
All these are about being left-handed.

About 10 percent of the population is left-handed. About 10 percent of the population has counter-clockwise hair whorls (the direction in which the hair on the of your head spins). About 10 percent of the population is homosexual. (source)

Do people think the first two are 'choices'? No? Then why the hell would the third be?

Is it right to tease and bully someone for being left-handed? For having a counter-clockwise hair whorl instead of a clockwise one? No? Then why the hell is it ok to bully someone for being gay?!

To all those out there using the Bible to defend your stance that homosexuality is 'against God' and 'wrong'.... do you feel the same way about left-handedness? Are YOU left-handed?! There are 25 mentions against left-handedness in the Bible. There are apparently 12 mentions of homosexuality in the Bible. Should you not be WAY more upset about someone being left-handed than about someone being gay?

Monday 4 October 2010

"Mommy! Mommy! You have to come now!!"

When I heard those words, I wasn't alarmed. They weren't yelled in desperation or fear. I started going toward the voice when I heard, "Mommy! Quick!! You have to come and look at the sky! It's beautiful!!"

And she was right. It was gorgeous.

"Mommy! It's like a miracle!!"

"It is a miracle, baby. It's an everyday miracle. Thanks for calling me to the window so I could see it."

Then we went outside. The pictures don't do the moment justice at all. The colours were so vibrant. And the joy of the moment was almost overwhelming.

 You can see Alex holding her hands up to the sky, as if she was trying to embrace it. (And Zach is that blur.)  :)

The darkness beckons…

I have a door in my mind. Maybe you do, too. Maybe it’s just me.

This door of mine?  It’s a little door. A wooden door.  A dark door. It’s rounded at the top and has a little, round, darkened window in it. I do a pretty good job of keeping it shut tightly. This past weekend though, for some reason, it has opened just a crack. I can hear the darkness on the other side whispering to me. It whispers so softy, but the whispers… they are there. They’re always there. I just usually can’t hear them very well. It was on my drive home from Toronto on Friday where I could really feel the pull of the darkness. There are parts of me that just want to give in and go through that door. Maybe it’s my lizard brain, as Seth Godin puts it. Maybe it’s The Bitch in the Corner, as Elizabeth Potts Weinstein calls her. Whatever that part of me is, it’s been stronger these last couple days. I don’t know if it’s this change of seasons (which does affect me negatively), the feeling of always being on the outside looking in (which is a whole other post), or hormones, or the fear of starting my business, or what…

But… Those whispers are louder, more persistent. The darkness seems so inviting. It’s a place where I just lay in bed, under the covers and I don’t come out.

I don’t want to come out.

But I do want to come out.

But I can’t.

When I’m on the other side of that door, I can hear my children. I can hear them laughing and playing, but it all feels so far away. That happy place seems like a place I’ll never be again. When I’m on the other side of that door, joy is elusive. The more I try to get out of the darkness, the farther the door seems to get. Just like one of those horror movies where you’re running and running - yet the exit, the door to safety just gets farther and farther away.

So, I can’t give in to the whispers. It would be so….  easy…. to go through that door. And the darkness seems oddly comforting. The whispers sound as if they would embrace me. Comfort me. Keep me safe.

But I know that’s not true. Once I cross the threshold, they will embrace me, but it will be to suffocate me. To hold me down and do everything they can to keep me there. Once I’m there, it is so easy to keep me there. They know the fight is in getting me to come through. I know that, too. That’s why I’m writing this down. To help ward off those whispers. To help close that door. To keep the darkness at bay.