Just over the fence.

Hey guys. I’m in Seattle, for weekend two of my coaches’ training program. I’m not ready to write about it yet, so I’ll fill you in later. I will share that while I can see the beginnings of transformation (which is what I signed up for, after all), I childishly don’t want to admit it (though I suppose I just did, didn’t I?). This is largely because the weekends thus far, all 1.5 of them, have kind of left me feeling generally pissy and angry. Being confronted with your stuff—in concert with 14 other people’s baggage—doesn’t leave you (maybe it’s just me) a lot of room for grace. Oh well. No one said it would be easy.

More to come on this at some other point. I know I’ve said that before and never returned to a topic, but I promise I’ll be back with this one. Scout’s honour.

Anyway. On another note, Starbuck’s in Seattle are always interesting. There’s an impressively bearded guy on my right who is either playing an intense video game or plotting the overthrowing of a small nation somewhere in the South Pacific. I wonder if when he wakes up, he has bed-beard. Like, it’s all squished and flattened on one side. I wonder…

It bears noting that I will consistently take a seat next to a chatty Kathy, or in this case, chatty Keith, who absolutely does not pick up on my I-want-to-be-alone vibes. Seriously. When I put on headphones, I’m telling you I’d rather listen to Fun than to you. To be completely honest, I’d rather listen to Fun a lot. IT’S SO GOOD! I have to limit my exposure to Some Nights, though that limit is pretty high. I think there’d be an amazing opportunity for choreography there. All marchy and throwing yourself around the floor and big, surprising jumps. I love a good jump that you don’t see coming. They happen to me all the time in ballet class. “Whoa—I just jumped there. In pliés. At the barre.” (I’m 32. At this point, a lot of my dancing is kind of an out-of-body experience, where my mind is just kind of bemusedly watching my legs and feet do stuff, with little communication between the two.)

But I digress. Surprising.

You know, throughout the course of my day, I’m often struck by random thoughts (shocking, I know) and inspirations for future blog posts. I always think to myself, “I should really write these things down,” lest I forget. But I never do. Write it down, that is. Forgetting I do all the time. Which leads me to today’s topic: Stuff you can get in the U.S. that you can’t get up here in the True North Strong and Free. I think I kind of sort of generally remember the gist of this one.

For example (NB: the font’s about to get all small. Don’t ask me why.):

  • POG. Okay, to be fair, I actually enjoy that I only get this in Hawaii, because it’s totally an island treat. But still. Still.
  • 4-litre jugs (that’s right, I said JUGS) of rum, with a reinforced plastic handle (on account of the heaviness of the rum, you see).
  • Flavoured everything. Coffee? How ’bout toasted coconut coffee? UM YES PLEASE VERY MUCH THANK YOU! Almonds? Why not try roasted coffee almonds? OMIGOSH THEY’RE PUTTING ALL MY FAVOURITE THINGS IN ALL MY FAVOURITE THINGS. IT’S LIKE THE SOUND OF MUSIC IN MY MOUTH! “THESE ARE [QUITE] A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS!” (You can sing along)
  • Cheap but awesome white t-shirts at Tar-jay. Seriously. I wear a white t-shirt pretty much every day. I’m not exaggerating. They’re like $8 and they’re really nice. A decent, though not as nicely fitting, tee at home will set me back at least $20. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. I AM. I’M CRYING OUT LOUD HERE.
  • OH, AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE YOGOURT. Seriously. You guys: They make fat-free flavoured Greek yogourt that you can’t tell is fat free. And it’s not sweetened artificially, either. Up here, all our fat-free yogourt is sweetened with aspartame or Lord knows what (and even He might not be able to pronounce it. I’m just saying). Because obviously, I don’t want to watch my weight without increasing my odds of developing cancer and having a numb tongue. Which reminds me; does your tongue go numb with artificial sweeteners? Mine does. It’s like my tastebuds are protesting and just pretending to ignore me and everything I eat for an hour after touching the offending stuff.

Well. Now I’m all riled up. Good thing I love Canada so much. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Except maybe a sojourn in France. I’d be down with that. I could bring Grimby everywhere. He’s very chic (when he’s not peeing on his own face. Don’t ask. My dog is amazing and not always in the most sanitary way.).

Anyway, I think this post is just about a wrap. I must say, though, that the weather is kind of yucky. This is not shocking to those of you who are aware of the meteorological conditions that tend to frequent the Pacific Northwest. But in my defense, I did check my iPhone weather and it said there would just be clouds. So I wore suede shoes, which was a decidedly bold move, not unburdened with doubt. You win, Mother Nature. This time (and probably most of the time).


This is an unrelated picture, because the internet is slow in this Starbucks and I'm impatient. But it is a good picture.

This is an unrelated picture, because the internet is slow in this Starbucks and I’m impatient. But it is a good picture.

Fake it ’til you make it.

Sooo, the other day, I was coming out of the Market on Yates, which is the closest grocery store within walking distance to our digs. I wondered as I shopped if I would see young Mr. Smileypants* (*names have been changed to protect the identity of the innocent and also because I don’t actually know this guy’s name). Young Mr. Smileypants is just that: young and smiley (he also wears pants, but that’s not really pivotal to my point here, although I’m sure if he didn’t wear pants, he would find it detrimental to his employment status).

I mean, this guy? He smiles. All. The. Time. How can you not smile back? I challenge even the Grinchiest of Grumpy pants to stand stoically and remain steadfastly unhappy in this kid’s Care Bear stare of pure, unadulterated happiness. Not possible. One thing I know for sure is that even if he couldn’t make some grouch’s heart grow three sizes that day, his joy wouldn’t be dimmed. You know how I know? Here’s the secret: I think he’s choosing happiness and joy.

You pick.

Yup, that’s right. Choosing it. Because he can. So can we all. I mean, you guys, don’t get me wrong, but really, most stuff is a choice. You can choose to be happy just as easily as you can choose to be sad, angry, hurt, embarrassed or any of the other more-common-than-joyful attitudes we pull on in the morning. And it works. I’m no expert, but I have definitely tried this method, with great results. You see, I used to be shy. I know, I know: “Bay? Shy? Pshaw! I don’t buy it.” But really, I was pretty low in the self-confidence factor when I was wee-er. Until I was 15 and my ballet teacher called my bluff.

Ooh, a story!” you say? Indeed, my friends, indeed. When I was young and shy, I used to hide out at the back of the ballet class, so no one could see me. I knew just where to stand so that whether at the barre or in centre, I could always see the other, better dancers. This way, I could follow them and not screw up, not that it would matter, while I was skulking in the shadows like Gollum in pale pink tights.

Alas! One day, my teacher called me out and moved me from beneath my comforting shadows. Right into the middle of the studio, where I had to demonstrate each exercise, instead of one of the usual girls (generally the stronger dancers). After somehow making it past my heart attack, I demonstrated the exercise (over and over again, until I got it right) and turned to go back to my little safe corner. But alas again! My teacher made me stay there, in the centre, for the whole class. Didn’t I just die. Interestingly enough, I didn’t actually. Die, that is.

On and on this went, until I realized there was no point struggling, my teacher clearly had it in for me and would make me stay in the middle, demonstrating, until I moved far away for college. One day, I had a brilliant idea: I would march right into the middle of the class without her telling me to. I would gladly demonstrate, pretending I was down with it and confident and generally getting it together. Ha! I showed her! I became quite skilled at this make-believe game, fooling her into thinking I was actually filled with confidence and knew how to pull my own weight in a ballet class.

And then, you guys: Then. Then, one fine day, I realized I wasn’t actually pretending anymore. I actually was confident in my ability to stand in the middle of the studio and dance without copying the girls I thought were better dancers. I actually felt comfortable speaking my mind. Slowly, I had grown and changed and become This New Girl. One who was fun and competent and comfortable in her skin. Many, many years later, I realized that had been her plan all along. I wasn’t being so clever and tricky as I thought, but she was and she knew what she was doing.

I owe that ballet teacher a lot. I finally let her know that I know what her perseverance with me had accomplished. She didn’t give up and she wouldn’t let me give up, either. She’s one of my favourite people and the living definition of what makes teaching such a noble profession. You don’t find ’em like that every day, folks. I’ve been lucky.

What does this have to do with the guy at the market? Well, I like to imagine that he’s sorted this out. See, sometimes he has to do annoying tasks, or deal with unreasonable and unfriendly, even spiteful people. Don’t we all. But I like to think he’s decided to be happy and polite and smile at everyone he meets, anyway. He might have been faking it, but eventually, he’ll just become a person who is too happy on the inside to let the outside stuff weigh him down.

That’s what it means to fake it ’til you make it.

What do you choose? Are you aware of your choices, setting them intentionally, or are you reacting to things along the way?

I like everything about this picture.