Take a chance on you 

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So do you know what today is?

It’s national take a chance day.

Now I know there seems to be a bleeding day to celebrate everything, but in this instance I think this is a little something worth getting behind. We should all have a crack at chasing our dreams. Mark Twain said:

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Tonight I will be performing stand-up comedy in a local club and watching a group of first-timers who have spent the past six weeks writing, working and sweating on their first ever comedy sets. Tonight is their big debut and I’m so excited for all of them, to watch them take the stage and take a chance on life.
All too often we listen to the little critics in our head that tell us to quit. These guys are not doing that I’m proud of them for living life full throttle.

Just to hammer home the live your life like it’s golden sentiment, here’s a video from the eloquent Prince EA, who says it so much better than me. Have a good day – may you step out of your comfort zone…go on, surprise yourself.

And if that doesn’t do it for you, let Abba remind you:

Would you rather be a Demi-God or a mortal?

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On Sunday my son and I (boisterous being number one) embarked on our third crack at the Vancouver Sun Run. For those of you not in rain city, the Sun Run is one of the largest 10kms run/walks in the world. Before I go any further, let it be known that old Yifof is not much of a runner. I’m more of a happy shuffler. The Sun Run is right up my alley, because it welcomes people from all walks of life and abilities to lace up their runners and get involved. This annual tradition that me and my boy started is something that I look forward to year-round. Not only is it a splendid run, taking in the beauty of Vancouver, but for ten kilometres, running, walking and wheezing amongst thousands of other people, my son and I get to chat.

One on one.

The banter we share keeps our momentum and spirits up, and as a mother who can get bogged down with the day-to-day minutiae, I get to focus on my son. This year as we ran and walked, stopping only for water breaks and to high-five supporters lining the road, our topic of conversation was the Greek Gods. I have to say, not my first choice, simply because I know naff all about them, but as we pounded the pavement, I got a blow by blow account of these legends. The vast volume of information that my son has on these Gods, Demi-Gods and their offspring is staggering. For 10 kilometres he regaled me with tales of Poseidon and Athena and every other mythological being in between. Hearing about the Gods high-jinks From the unique perspective of a ten year-old kid is enthralling and hilarious all at the same time. This, all whilst soaking up the marvellous atmosphere of a collective experience.

What I love about the Sun Run is that it not only gives you a great view of our city, it also brings people together. All to often Vancouver gets a bad rap for being snobby, clicky and filled with pockets of communities that don’t mix. Some might say that as a city, it operates like an overgrown high school, where each group keeps to themselves. But on Sun Run day, all guards are dropped and every one gets into the spirit of a shared experience. All kinds of people line the roads to cheer-lead the participants. My boy and I saw some fabulous sights. People sitting in lawn chairs, sipping mimosas and encouraging the runners on with “Cheers!” and champagne. The sheer number of people who rise early on a Sunday morning to hold signs, offer support and soak up the vibe of a shared human experience, uplifted my soul in a way that is hard to put into words. Such moments are hard to come by. So I’d like to give a shout out to the people from all over the Lower Mainland who took the time to create this little slice of magic: The runners, the walkers, the cheering crew, the volunteers.  We really enjoyed the signs. We couldn’t take pictures of all of them, but here’s a couple:
 

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Of course this next sign was totally up Yifof’s alley:

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And when we crossed the finish line, how about this for a sight for sore legs:

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These fellas from Resource Works Society had the genius idea of cleverly marketing their cause in a cute package (pun intended).  Smart move. Get sweaty housewives falling into your arms, then alert them of your cause. Because they’re the ones who have the kids, and they are really the ones who have any bloody chance of saving our planet. So today on  World Earth Day, I salute the Natural Runners and their quest to get people talking  about how to use BC’s natural resources sustainably.  Check out their website for more information here: http://www.resourceworks.com/

On Monday an article was published on Buzzfeed that says a recent Stats Canada survey found Vancouver to be the unhappiest city in Canada. I disagree. After taking part in the Sun Run I know this city is so much more than melancholy hipsters. Maybe the naysayers, and indeed  all of us should try and put a little bit more sun-run spirit into our everyday lives.

Farewell old friend

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Since the explosion of the Internet into our everyday lives, inspirational quotes have never known such popularity.
Mind you, we’ve always loved pithy quotes,and our everyday dialect is littered with examples:
‘Fight fire with fire’, ‘green-eyed monster’ and ‘good riddance’ are just three examples of Shakespeare quotes that we drop on a daily.

But search “inspirational quotes” on google and almost 56 million hits appear. Can you believe it?
That’s more hits than ‘Scuba-diving” and ‘Orange is the New Black” get combined.
Mind you, a search for “I’m all about the Bass” gets a whopping 106 million results…I mean, seriously.
But, we’re getting off topic.
My point is, there are quotes for everything.

There are cute quotes:

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There are motivational quotes:

There are funny quotes:

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OK. You get it. There’s a quote to match every mood. Some people love these little quotes. Some people find them irritating, corny and cheesy as fuck. So I’ll fess up. I love all these quotes. And my house is littered with them. So if that makes me corny and cheesy as fuck, so be it. They cheer me up, make me smile and remind me not to take shit too seriously.

After all

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One of the quotes that I have, that I like, is this:

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Cos pretty much, that’s true. I don’t have a fancy house, or a smancy car, but I do have a beautiful family and wonderful friends and sharing laughter with them really is the best fucking thing in the world.
So it kinda took me by surprise yesterday when I got rather sentimental about a possession.

“Well what was it?” Ask my three curious readers!
As you asked so nicely, I’ll tell you.

It was our couch. The fourteen year old, falling apart, all holes, no arse, barely any pattern left, couch. It should have made its journey to the pearly gates of the local dump ages ago. But I have been defering the inevitable for ages.
Why?
It was an eyesore, it smelled like the dogs and frankly, people looked at it strangely when they saw it without its throw-cover (think Patsy from ‘Ab-fab’ if you caught her in the morning, without make-up.)
But the truth is, as tatty as that couch was, it had come to mean more than it’s shabby appearance.
It was the first piece of furniture we got when we arrived in B.C.
When it finally arrived in our apartment, we let out whoops of joy. We had been living in Vancouver, for two months, without a stick of furniture.
So when it was delivered, it was the ONLY piece of furniture, in our sea-side apartment. It seemed to sit proudly, like a throne in a royal castle.
So much has happened on its comfy cushions: it was a sofa bed; countless visitors from all corners of the globe, have slept in it (and with a bit of luck, got up to rudies in it.)
It’s where my husband and I cuddled, late at night, after a busy day, watching movies and inhaling far-too-large bowls of ice-cream.
It’s where I nursed my children as babies and lay snuggled up with them on exhausted, but blissful afternoons.
It’s where I skived off and cozied up with the cat…and the dog…and the dog.
It’s where I slept off hangovers. It’s where I – OK, just like the never-ending supply of inspirational quotes, this could take a while.
But my point is this; that couch held many stories of our B.C adventure. It may just be a thing, but it’s enhanced our life and I’m grateful. There was an article in the UK newspaper the ‘Guardian’ a few weeks ago and it said that when you felt sad at giving away possessions, you should thank the item for its service and send it on its way.

So thanks for all the memories, couch. You were a legend amongst sofas.

The couch made it’s pilgrimage to the Dump today. It left, without me knowing, whilst I was taking the kids to school. Now I know how Sally Hawkins felt in the film ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’ when her bike got nicked and she said “Awww. I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye.”

RIP couch. One things for sure: you embodied this quote Hunter S. Thompson quote:

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Six months baby and what the fuck have I learnt?

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Since I binned Facebook for a much-needed hiatus a while ago, my friends have peppered me with a whole slew of questions:

“How will you cope without Facebook?” (Very well actually).

“Won’t you be missing out?” (Er…nah. Not really).

“How will you know what people are doing?” (Easy. I’ll just fucking ask them).

One of the reason why I fucked off Facebook in the first place is how it made me feel.

Quite often as I would (all too fucking regularly) check through the news feed, I would feel annoyed. And irritated. And disconnected. Which are the exact opposites of how social media is supposed to make you feel. It seemed like it was no social, but all ME-dia, if you know what I mean.
But the trouble was, I was still checking it constantly. More than constantly if I’m brutally fucking honest. Since I got my smart phone, checking Facebook had become like a nervous tick.
So in November, I took action.
I decided to delete my Facebook account for a while and see what happened.
Since then, six months have passed.
I have to say, quite honestly, it’s one of the best choices I ever made.
Why?
I’m about to tell you.
For one, I started this blog and finally, finally, in my writing life, I get to be me. I get to write about things that turn my crank. I also get to swear like a sailor, which as you will know by now, is something that I love.
By switching my focus inwards instead of outward, I turned off all the little voices in my head that would look at Facebook and then complain “Oh!…Look at them, look what they’re doing…you should be doing something more fabulous with your life too.”
So now, instead of comparing my perfectly good existence with the filtered snap-shot that people post on Facebook, I am concentrating on my own world.
So what exactly have I been doing with my time since I nixed my Facebook tick?

1. Reading. I have read a fuck-load of books since I started my Yifof challenge six months ago, over 20 to be precise.
Some of them have been great, laugh-out-fucking-loud masterpieces, others have been disappointingly mediocre. However, all were time well-wasted.

2. Reconnecting with friends

I decided at the outset of this challenge that I would try and have more real contact with my Facebook friends. So far this has been going well. I’ve written letters, video chatted and met many more of my FB friend in person than I usually would. Thanks to all my FB friends who have humoured me in this endeavour. But the funny thing is, of all the people I said I would telephone, I haven’t called anyone yet. Why? I dunno. If I’m brutally honest, talking on the phone these days, kinda makes me nervous. I’ve gotten so used to firing off emails, that now I shy away from the phone. Clearly this is something I need to work on further. So if I said I would call you, I will. I just need to get over myself first.

3.Connecting with new people

Since starting this blog, thousands of people, in over 45 different countries have logged in, read my posts and commented on what I have to say.
I’ve gotta say, that blows me away. Thinking of people all over the world, reading my words and then taking the time to write me comments to say thanks for making them laugh, is just about the best feeling in the world. I haven’t even announced to anyone that I’m writing this blog yet, especially not on Facebook. But since it’s my six month anniversary (a feat in itself, cos I’m a terrible commitment-phobe) I think it’s high time I posted about Yifof on my news feed to see what happens…Oh the hypocrisy…Don’t cha just love it!

4. Writing

Writing has always been my first love. I’ve loved words from the moment I could speak (and a chatty little fucker I was too) and I dictated stories to my Mum until I could write my own stories. Words have always seemed like magic to me. Writing them, reading good words; it’s all the same to me.
Since I’ve been frittering away less time on social media, I have managed to carve out so much more time for my own creative writing.
I currently have two books (non-fiction) in progress. I’m so fucking excited, I can’t even begin to tell you!

5. Each month I have been setting myself a fresh challenge. As well as writing more and connecting with other people, I’ve also cleaned the shit and clutter out of my house. Now I’m currently (well hopefully) cleaning the shit and toxins out of my body, by following Joe Cross’s juice reboot. Today is day 22 of my 30 day juice fast. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also the most empowering. I’ve also just begun a daily commitment to exercising. Since I began this blog, setting myself a new challenge each month has been a fun task, one that I have really began to look forward to. It is also definitely one I’m going to stick with. However, I promise NOT to blog about the upcoming “Sex every day for a month, no excuses” challenge that my husband so kindly suggested.

So six months in, all I can say is, I can’t wait to see what the next six months brings.
One thing is for sure though, no matter what, I’ll be enjoying every fucking minute.

Facebook is the new valium and other wild ranty declarations

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One of the reason why I fucked off Facebook in the first place is how it made me feel.

But first, let’s back-up a little.
When I became a stay at home Mum of three boisterous beings (all born within four years. Shut-up. Keep your ‘sausage-up-an-alley jokes to yourselves) one of the things that drove me insane was the monotony.
Don’t get me wrong.
Not the monotony of the kids. Kids are anything but dull. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they switch gears, leaving you scrambling to catch up.
Being a Mum rocks. And I should know, I’ve had a few jobs in my time. I’ve been everything from a Carnie, roaming California, sleeping under the stars, to working at a private bank, where the minimum balance for an account was 10 million.
Yet none of the jobs I’ve ever done have even come close to the trip of motherhood.
There ‘ain’t nothing like it.
But the staying at home part, when the kids are really little, is the epitome of humdrum city.
It’s the groundhog day shit like laundry, dirty dishes, and the incessant fucking housework, that no matter how hard you try and keep up, swamps you.
And before you know it, the isolation, the lack of communication with any one other than your children, beautiful as they are, becomes overwhelming.
You need contact. Human contact.
For many mothers (or indeed any one caring for small children on a twenty-four hour basis), it can stifle their soul.
Heck, it’s why in the 1950s, many housewives got hooked on a glass of wine, or valium, a.k.a “mother’s little helper” in order to deal with the tedium:

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But in the new millennium, we don’t just have pills to placate us. We have social media. Social media is the new valium. I’m not the first one to think so. Mom blogger, Mary Tyler Mom even wrote a post “Facebook is the New Valium” back in May 2013:
http://www.chicagonow.com/mary-tyler-mom/2013/03/facebook-is-the-new-valium/
In our modern age, instead of turning to a little bottle of pills to chill us out, mothers across the globe turn to our screens. We log on and check in to see how many people responded to our status updates on mundane days.
But the truth of the matter is this: the internet is not real company.
Sure, you may get a rush when you see that a whole bunch of your friends ‘liked’ your photo, or commented on something you wrote, but that feeling doesn’t last. It’s no comparison to sharing a conversation in real time with a good friend; swapping stories from the Mummy trenches, accompanied by a good belly laugh.
That realization that the internet is NOT real company was my epiphany this week.
The husband has been away for almost three weeks and so the day-to-day running of our loud, busy and rambunctious family has rested solely on my shoulders. The hardest part is not having someone at the end of the day to reflect with, to vent with, to laugh with at the fuck-ups.
So one evening this week I logged into my Facebook account. I was feeling lonely and craving company.
All those pictures of my family and friends a world away, did only one thing.
They made me feel even worse.
But guess what, I’m not alone. In fact, according to a Fox news report, many people find that looking at Facebook makes them feel depressed:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/01/24/addicted-to-facebook-study-shows-users-are-lonelier/

Cos’ let’s be honest, most Facebook posts are all about the big brag, the dream vacay, the new promotion, the skydiving trip.
No one ever writes about the shit bits, or posts pictures of themselves looking like a member of the zombie apocalypse.
But the good news is, since I’ve had this Facebook hiatus, I could recognize the ‘symptoms’ immediately.
So instead of drowning in a Facebook fear-of-missing-out and self-loathing creep fest, I did something about it.
I called my friends. I saw them. I laughed raucously and made rude jokes. And the truth is, the rush of endorphins from being with others is the best mother’s little helper.
It doesn’t compare to peering at a screen, passively watching the edited snapshots of peoples lives.
I’m so pleased that I began this journey, abandoning my computer screen and trying to get more out of life.
Sure Facebook is a way of connecting, but so is meeting in person, firing off a letter or picking up the phone.
Yifof is the way forward, for me at least…would you try it?

February Day 14

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Well today is Valentines Day. Happy Valentine’s, y’all.  I hope you’re feeling the love, where ever you are. I like Valentines day. After all, what’s not to like about showing love and affection? I’m definitely not one of those sour grape fuckers who moan it’s a waste of time, money and all a big commercial rip off. Mind you, a few people in China took there bah humbuggery (if that wasn’t a word before, it is now) to a whole new level. A group of singles took it upon themselves to buy every other seat, in a Shanghai cinema, for tonight’s show of a soppy romantic movie. This means if couples want to go, they will have to sit alone. You can read the full cupid-foiled article here:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/14/valentines-day-odd-numbered-cinema-seats-china

Anyway love it or hate it, Valentine’s is here. And in honour of the day I’m celebrating the small things in life that I love. It’s the simple pleasures, after all.

 

Things I love

 

 

    1.     New socks.

There is something heavenly about slipping on a brand new pair of socks that does more than make your tootsie tingle; it makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over.

2.       Clean bed sheets.

        Apparently, Oprah Winfrey loves fresh bed sheets so much that she changes her’s every other day. Hmmm. I don’t quite manage to change my own covers with such clockwork regularity, but when I do go to the effort of stripping the bed and putting new sheets on, slipping under those covers is magic.

3.     The smell of fresh baking

Mmmmm…just thinking about how a fresh batch of cookies makes the house smell, makes my mouth water. The only trouble I have, is not devouring the lot instantly. Then I don’t feel so good…bleurghhhh!

4.      A good book

There is nothing like a riveting read to make you feel at one with the world.

A book that grips you from the very first page. It has you, right there, with all the action. Magic.

 

5. A good laugh

Something about a good laugh seems to be able to cure just about anything. The Irish even have a proverb about it. And the Paddy’s should know; they can have the craic better than anyone.

 

6.      A good cup of tea/coffee

In my case, this is especially true; because making a decent cuppa is very hit and miss…more often miss. So when I do manage to make a brew that tastes exquisite, it makes my whole day.

 

7.     Snuggles and movies

Picture the scene: Rainy afternoon. Snuggling on the couch, swathed in blankets,  treats at hand,  watching a  bloody good movie. What could be better than that?

 

8.      A really good tune on the radio

A record you haven’t heard in forever suddenly comes on the radio. Out of nowhere you’re singing and dancing. Music has the power to lift you up. Bargain.

 

9.      Listening to children

The little people are underestimated in this world, and they shouldn’t be, cos’ they are the purest souls of them all.  Hanging out with kids is one of the best ways to spend your time. They are honest, innocence and not bogged down with the minutiae of life’s ridiculous rules. Their company rocks.

 

10. A sunny day at the beach

Maybe I’m pining for a sunny day with the sand between my toes because right now, it’s the middle of winter and everywhere around the world seems to be up to their eyeballs in snow, rain or cold. But dammit, I can’t ever remember a day at the beach where I was like “Hmmm, well that was shit, wasn’t it?”

There are so many simple pleasures in life, so much to love. And you don’t need a card to declare them, or a bunch of ridiculously priced blooms to show it…You don’t even have to piss someone else off by buying all the odd seats at the cinema. You just have to dive in and find the little things that make you grin.

Just check out this link to the start of the film Amelie, if you need reminding: