Friday, October 15, 2010

Tonight's the night!

Well, after 9 months of work by an amazing committee of people, tonight's the night for the big Dancing With the Stars show benefiting the HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre. I may not be dancing this year, but that doesn't mean I'm not a bit nervous!!! I'm so proud to be a part of this event. HopeSpring does amazing, wonderful things for so many people and I can't think of a better way for me to spend some of my time. If I've learned one thing over the past 2 years with this event, it's that donating my time is just as important as donating my money!

So, wish me luck. I may have danced in front of 700 people last year, but I've never had to speak in front of that many before! Think great thoughts for us tonight and cross your fingers we break the records for money made on this event! That's my ultimate goal this evening!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Too much pressure?

We all want something great for our kids. Some start them in hockey at the age of 3 with the dreams of their child being the next Gretzky. Some, like this kid, strive to be the next Michael Jordan. Despite what the clip says, I find it hard to believe that his parents aren't pushing him even just a little bit to practice those 4 hours a day after school!

But I'm different.. I swear I am! Or at least I was until last week! I told myself when I had my babe that I would never pressure him into anything he didn't want to do. In fact, the hubs really wants little E to play hockey. Little E isn't so keen on the idea. So, I've gone to bat for him and I think Ronnio now agrees that as long as E can skate like a real Canadian, we're doing fine!

But now something big has happened that has changed all of this. E has turned a corner and there's no turning back. Now the pressure starts from me... BIG TIME! Can you say "the next Lance Armstrong"??? You be the judge!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The single life!

So, I've decided that I need to take my blog a bit more seriously! I started this blog in August 2009 just on a whim. I written a few times over the course of the past year but lately I've been feeling like I'd like to write more often. The challenge is always figuring out what to write about.

So, thanks to my good friend Claudia for giving me the inspiration for this post! She thought it would be fun for me to write about what life would be like if I was single. Not just without a kidlet, but completely single. Not 25 and single, but the age I am now, with the lifestyle I have now, just on my own (never married, not divorced). Don't mistake this as an indication of me being unhappy with my current life. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm happy with my life... my hubs, my kidlet, my work... everything is good. I just think it's fun to surmise what my day to day life would be like on my own. So, here's what I think a typical week day would be like:

7:00am - wake up well rested after a wonderful, uninterrupted sleep
7:15 - 8:15 - get ready for work, watching the news that I want to watch without the channel being flipped
9 - 5 (yes, in this fantasy day, I work only 9-5! Can't remember the last time this was reality!) - work a full day in the office (or in my home office depending on the day). At work, I'd talk about what I did the night before or the weekend before or what I plan to do tomorrow or on my next vacation!
5:30 - head to the gym to do either a spin class or a cardio pump class
7:00 - head home or meet up with a friend for Thai food for dinner. If I was heading home, I'd make myself some toast for dinner. Or on a good day, I might make myself some eggs!
8:00 - soak in a hot tub and watch my favourite shows and just think about what I might do on the upcoming weekend. Maybe call a few single friends to see about making plans for the weekend.
10/11:00 - head to bed. Read a book, and settle in for another perfect, uninterrupted sleep!

Flip to a single girl weekend and it's all about me! I'd probably go to the gym or go for a run or 2. I'd do some grocery shopping, I'd do a bit of me shopping, I'd clean my house, I'd visit friends, maybe see a movie, go out for dinner, maybe do a bit of work and do a whole lot of relaxing!

All this sounds absolutely wonderful, doesn't it! Imagine never having to worry about anyone else. Imagine not having to be at someone else's beck and call or having to adhere to someone else's schedule. Imagine not having to worry about picking someone up from school or about what to make a picky eater for dinner!

Just 1 problem... if that was my life, I'd be missing out on everything I actually have now... I'd be missing out on the super-duper Evan snuggles, I'd be missing out on the feeling I get every time Evan says "I love you, Mummy", I'd be missing out on all of the laughs and love I have with Ron and I wouldn't have anyone to share my day to day stresses, joys and accomplishments with. So really, what fun would that be?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dancing With the Stars 2010

So this time last year, I was sweating bullets. I was one week away from making my public dancing debut as a "star" in the Dancing With the Stars fundraising event benefitting the HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre. I originally got involved as a challenge for myself. I don't like being the centre of attention and I really felt the experience would force me to confront that fear. I also happen to think that HopeSpring is a charity worth supporting. They provide amazing services free of charge to people going through cancer, as well as their caregivers. All this with absolutely no government funding!

I have to admit though, it wasn't until after the show was over and the money was counted, I really felt the impact of what my involvement meant. Being involved in that show meant that many more people could have free wigs as they lost their hair to chemo. It meant more people could reap the benefits of one on one and/or group counselling sessions.

So, when I was asked after the show last year if I would help organize the event for this year, I didn't hesitate to say yes. This year, I'm the chair of the organizing committee and am once again, so proud to be involved in this event. This year, for the first time, we've gone after, and found corporate sponsors for each of the couples competing in the show. This means the event will raise so much more money for such a terrific cause. I'm proud to be a part of this committee who has worked so hard for the past 9 months to organize what promises to be a great show.

Also for the first time ever, we have a celebrity judge and guest performer. Everett Smith from So You Think You Can Dance Canada will be there to critique the dancers as well as wow the audience with 2 performances. We've got incredible prizes up for grabs in our live auction as well. I really think this year promises to be the best show yet and I'm so excited to be a big part of it.

So, if you're looking for something fun to do next Friday (October 15th), get a ticket. I promise you won't be disappointed. Tickets are still available from HopeSpring but they're going fast.

Oh, and wish me luck... I may not be dancing this year, but I may have to make a speech in front of the 700 people in the audience!!!! YIKES!!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Power of Music

As some of you may know, before I started my career in advertising, my dream job was to be a flautist with the National Ballet of Canada. I had always dreamed of being a ballerina as a little girl. I took ballet for several years and as a child I idolized Karen Kain and Frank Augustine. But honestly... I wasn't that good a dancer! So when I started playing the flute and then went on to study flute at university, I thought what better way to fulfill my childhood dream than to play my favourite instrument in my favourite setting. Of course, this dream was cut short by a car accident after my first year of university. I continued to study flute for second year, but then my neck and shoulder just couldn't sustain me for the number of hours of practicing that were required to really perfect my craft.

I continued my music degree, but instead of focussing on performance, I switched my major to music history. I went on to do my coursework for my master's degree in Musicology at McGill. After 2 years of coursework, I moved back to Ontario to work and to complete my thesis. I got my first job in advertising and sadly, my thesis remains unfinished to this day!

I guess the reason for me explaining this background is so you understand that I know a lot about music. I know the history of music. I know the technical aspects of music composition. I know all 9 Beethoven symphonies. I can tell you that in the movie Die Hard, Beethoven's 9th symphony is used to increase tension and make the viewer more agitated at certain points of the movie. But what I can't explain to you is why music has such a powerful emotional effect on people. I Googled this when I was thinking about writing this post. Here's what I found:

"As for music's emotional impact, there is some indication that music can affect levels of various hormones, including cortisol (involved in arousal and stress), testosterone (aggression and arousal) and oxytocin (nurturing behavior) as well as trigger release of the natural opiates known as endorphins." (This is extracted from an article by Michael D. Lemonick for Time Magazine).

I'm sure everyone would agree that there are certain songs that evoke strong emotional reactions. Music also has the ability to transport you to another time and place. Music has the power to bring memories flooding back to you so you are re-living incidents of years ago. I'm going to give you a few examples of songs that do this for me! Maybe you'll chuckle when you read some of these. Maybe you'll have memories of your own that get stirred up by some of the same songs! Or maybe it'll get you thinking of some special pieces of music you have in your own life!

Here's a good one! I clearly remember walking with my best friend Kristen to our first high school dance in Grade 9. We had a single can of tonic water which was 1/2 tonic and 1/2 gin. We shared this cocktail on our way to the school. We also had 1 Sony Walkman that we shared. Kristen had one headphone, I had the other. On the cassette tape side A was the Psychedelic Furs "The Ghost in You" album. On side B was an album by Ultravox. Whenever I hear this song, I am reminded of that walk and how much fun we had that night and how excited we both were to be going to our very first dance!

Fast forward a year or so... I had a boyfriend in high school named Mark Champagne. He sang in a band and looked like Jack Wagner from General Hospital!! He was dreamy! One night Kristen and I snuck out of the house to meet up with Mark and his less dreamy brother (sorry Kristen!!). We walked down to the canal and sat on a bench talking till the wee hours of the morning. At one point that night, Mark the dream boat, started singing this song to me. I'm reminded of that night every time I hear it!!!

And finally, whenever I hear anything by Erika Badu, I'm reminded of my second date with my Ronnio. He picked me up at work one night and we drove to Toronto for an amazing dinner. I brought my Erika Badu CD to listen to in the car. I think he thought I was trying to seduce him. I think he may have been right!!!! 2 years later, we were engaged. 8 months after that, we were married! Guess the EB worked!

So, today I'm having a hard time shaking a couple of songs. Both are stuck in my brain and are reminding me of my fabulous Vegas getaway. They're songs we heard in the clubs and danced to until dawn. They're reminding me of the amazing group of women I bonded with over those 4 days. And they're making me realize that just because I'm turning 40 doesn't mean that I don't still have the ability to have fun and let loose sometimes! After all, as my friend Kristen says, 40 is the new 20!!!! Enjoy these 2!

So, I'm curious to know about what songs spark memories for you. Surely there are some good stories out there. Don't be afraid to share them here!