Picture this (and then pin it).

First, just picture it.

No seriously you guys, you’re really gonna need to actually use your imagination, because I haven’t figured out yet how to add tabs on my blog. I mean, yeah, I have a couple of pages, but I haven’t sorted out the logistics, so anything I post is just added onto the existing post, thus creating The Longest Post in History. But you don’t care about all these details, do you? Nope. You don’t. I don’t blame you. I almost don’t, or at least I don’t care quite enough to do anything about it.

Yet. Just wait. No really, you’re probably gonna have to wait.

See, what I want to do is have this be all awesome and my website. I want a page dedicated to clothes and style and, of course, shoes. I very much enjoy these things (especially shoes) and would like to pull together some style notes. I have many Instagram photos of my lower outfits. It’s hard to take a full-body selfie that captures my outfit, so generally, it’s a photo from my middle down. Hey, you do what you can, right?

On another note, do you know how much I love Pinterest? I do. Hint: It’s a lot. 7,198 pins a lot. Oh, wait—7,199. See? See what happens? What a great site. I love that I can be a hoarder of beautiful things without actually hoarding them. This site has literally changed my life. Or at least my style. I will happily admit that between Pinterest and my trip to France last year, my style has evolved into something that is definitely Bay (and whoever else has pinned my gazillion same pins).

pins

I sort of feel like anyone who has gotten engaged, gotten married, decorated a home or ever done pretty much anything ever, prior to the dawn of Pinterest, should get a redo. Not because I would change my wedding—it was perfect!—but I would do other extra crafty things and it would be amazing. I would paint chevrons on my office walls and add glitter to my bathroom paint. I would bake cake pops and decorate them like miniature pumpkins and I would finally know what to do with my hair.

I love it. Though, one thing I don’t love is the misguided, but probably well-intentioned weight-loss motivation. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” is lame. Come on. There are lots of good ones, but I wish my Pinterest peeps would just can it with the weight-loss pins and all the “amazing” before and afters.

Now I’m going to go look at my Creatures board. You might want to, too. If you like The Cutest Animals in the World. Or not. Your choice (what’s wrong with you? Look at the cute animals I have pinned!).

 

Double Jeopardy

Happy Monday!

I’m sitting on the ferry and I can’t help but remember a fateful ferry trip I took, gawd, like 13 or 14 years ago. The following story sounds made up. It is not.

firstlove

I was about 19 or 20 and way back then, my boyfriend was my first true love. And, just in case you think I’m getting all maudlin here, I’m a big fan of this approach to the idea of my first true love >>

Pardon the profanity, but I think it’s a pretty good reminder. I’m grateful for all my experiences, regardless of the outcome, because if I changed any of them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m also very grateful for Adam, because he’s the guy who taught me what forever looks like.

Anyway, back to the story of the hour.

So, there we were, bored on the ferry, which was about 98 percent filled with passengers under the age of six (read: there was a lot of whining and high-pitched crying and no, it [mostly] wasn’t coming from me).

We grabbed some magazines and went to sit in the car on the vehicle deck. I quickly tired of my magazines (read: looking at the pictures) and started looking for other things to which I could turn my attention. This is when I found the handcuffs in the cup holder (what? Where do you keep your restraints?). I’m sure you’re wondering what the handcuffs were doing there, but remember, this is a good ten or eleven years before Fifty Shades of Grey were published (get your mind out of the gutter!). My ex-boyfriend was a mall cop security guard and the cuffs were from his work uniform.

He told me not to play with them, because he wasn’t sure he had the key. When he checked and found them, though, it was open season. I wanted to see if I could get out of them—I have really small wrists—I didn’t realize that they spin all the way around, so it’s literally impossible if they’re on tightly.

Just because we’d recently seen Double Jeopardy, he thought it’d be funny to handcuff me to the steering wheel (and having just rewatched the movie, I’d like to point out that Tommy Lee Jones cuffs Ashley Judd to the door handle, not the steering wheel, so clearly, this whole experience was unnecessary. Because a lack of accuracy in reenactment is obviously the main issue here.).

The novelty quickly wore off. Handcuffs are really uncomfortable (I suppose one isn’t really looking to the comfort of the wearer when trying to restrain them from illegal activities) and my arm was stretched across the stick shift. Yes, I’m hoping that you are realizing that there was, in fact, no hanky panky going on. Because, scouts’ honour, there really wasn’t.

Here’s where it all went wrong. Actually, I just reread that sentence and I suppose, if I’m being totally honest, this all started to go wrong long before this point. Possibly when the thought of playing with handcuffs crossed my mind, it all started to go downhill. Regardless, though, when it got worse is when, while trying to unlock the cuffs, my ex swore and looked at me awkwardly. This is because the key broke in the locking mechanism of the cuffs. For reals. If you don’t believe me, then you have a pretty good idea of how I felt in that moment, too.

houdini

We were, oh, maybe twenty minutes away from docking at Swartz Bay and I’m locked tightly to a steering wheel on the car deck. In case you haven’t sorted out the logistics, it is not possible to drive with you passenger’s arm cuffed to the steering wheel. We were definitely in a bind (har har). He didn’t know what to do about it and my options were somewhat limited. So, off he goes to find a ferry employee: I’m thinking for sure they must have handcuff keys, right? Because surely they might need to restrain an unruly passenger, right? I can’t be the first person to be in this situation, right?

Well, you guys: Wrong. Turns out they don’t carry handcuff keys. Know how I know? Because the employee who came and checked out what became known as our “predicament” asked his supervisor, who said it hadn’t occurred previously. I know this for sure, because there was a veritable parade of employees that came down to see the girl locked to the steering wheel situation. Even the captain dropped by. I was honoured. And still, I was really surprised that they didn’t carry cuffs, and—more importantly for me—the keys with which to unlock them. They were surprised that I was surprised. I guess we all learned something that day. I wonder if they carry cuffs/keys now…

They brought up some of the engineers, who tried to use bolt cutters, but while they could snip the cuffs in half (so I was free of the steering wheel), they couldn’t cut the cuff off my wrist. It was too tight to my skin and seriously, it was beginning to really hurt.

The cool part is that I got to visit the belly of the ship. Yup, I was escorted down to  engineering, where they put my wrist in a vise and were able to cut away the cuff.

By the time we drove off the ferry, every employee was waving at us with a massive knowing grin. Mortifying. At least that ridiculous car had tinted windows.

What made it better was that after I told my mom (who, thank heavens, has a pretty solid sense of humour), she got a call from a dear friend of the family, who worked for BC Ferries. He started to tell my mom that she’d never guess what happened on a sailing from the mainland to the island. Imagine his surprise when mom finished the sentence? It didn’t take long for him to realize just who had been the twit who’d had to be cut free from the steering wheel on the vehicle deck.

This really happened. I’m not making it up. Just for the record. In case you were starting to doubt me.

Anchorman_well_that_escalated_quickly_966

 

Just go.

My niece Emily is currently in London, having an awesome adventure with a friend as they travel about the UK and Europe for the next couple of months. She’s such a courageous, fun, witty and intelligent girl. I’m immensely proud of her for stepping outside her comfort zone, where she has discovered, literally, the world is waiting for her, full of beauty and thrill, amazing wonderful sights and people.

adventurers

I’m so happy for her for taking this trip, all the more so because I never did pack up my backpack and travel about when I was younger. I still could, I know, but there’s something to be said for hitting the road before you need to think about details like rent, or a mortgage. Or before accruing a hefty amount of student loan debt.

My best friend Jen (from Nova Scotia) called me up one day, many years ago, to say she was packed up and taking off for a summer abroad. I was surprised; I didn’t know she was planning to live/work/travel about the UK and Europe between semesters. I got off the phone and told my mom about Jen’s plans, wondering if mom had known about the pending adventure. She hadn’t.

“Call her back right now.” Mom looked at me squarely. “Tell her you’ll meet her there. Take your savings and just go.”

Just go.

justgo

Oh god, but I wanted to. I’d been craving this adventure since middle school. I’d even deferred my university acceptance and scholarships for a full year to make it happen. My plans had been to work for a few months, then head out and see the world. Have some adventure. See things much bigger than myself.

Then, I met a boy (we all know how that goes) and I put aside my dreams while I was falling in love. I got accepted to attend a performing arts college (I’d auditioned on a whim), so I stayed put. I graduated from the performing arts college and slid effortlessly into my deferred scholarships and first-year university courses. I had part-time jobs to pay my tuition, because I wanted to avoid student loans.

A few years later, I met another boy and we fell in love. We graduated, bought our first home and got married. We both went back to school again, me for an MBA, he for a law degree (and, as you know, training to become an amazing and inspiring leadership coach, while still in law school, because law school is not enough to take on, right?).

I went on other trips and they were amazing: Hawaii, California, Bali and Hong Kong, Brazil and Florida. I beheld spectacular sights and experienced amazing people and cultures.

But my walkabout? I didn’t go. My backpack (which I’d bought) was used for school and then abandoned for a more practical school bag. It was made to hold adventure and dirty clothes, not my textbooks. I chickened out. I had tuition to save and I didn’t know the friend Jen was traveling with; I didn’t want to crash their plans and be a third wheel. Basically, I came up with a load of very reasonable reasons to explain why I simply couldn’t just drop everything and head out. That’s the thing about reasons: They’re very reasonable. That’s their thing. Here’s the dirty little secret your reasonable reasons are hiding: It’s just fear.

Some day I’ll go off and wander with a new backpack. It’ll be different, because that’s what happens. It won’t be worse or better. It’ll be as it is, and that is perfect.

Last year, our trip to France came about from a joking status conversation on Facebook—33 days later, we were in Paris, with our best friends. Seeing the Eiffel Tower had been a dream of mine for roughly ever. It was the most amazing trip of my life.

It was just the beginning. It just gets better, if you allow it. Each and every moment. Look backward with appreciation, not with longing. Regret only lives with you if you invite it in.

Pack it up. Don’t pack it in. Don’t let go of your dreams, but know that, over time, they will change. As will you. Be gentle with yourself and don’t compare what is to what might have been. What might have been is a myth.

jack_dreams

The following is from an article in the New Yorker called The Impossible Decision. This excerpt really struck a chord with me; how about you?

You can guess what these things will be like; you can ask people; you can draw up lists of pros and cons; but, at the end of the day, “without having the experience itself” you “cannot even have an approximate idea as to what it is like to have that experience.” That’s because you won’t just be having the experience; the experience will be changing you. On the other side, you will be a different kind of person. Making such a decision, you will always be uninformed.

Do you have regrets? What’s something you wish you could change? And what will you do to make it happen now?

No news is good news.

Hey, so I couldn’t think of a post on the weekend and was waiting for divine inspiration to descend upon my mind, or at least my keyboard. Clearly it didn’t happen. Oh well, there’s always next week.

Anyway, I have a dirty little secret. A sordid confession. I like to read the news. Actually, that’s not true: I don’t really like it. Not at all. It’s depressing and horrible and makes me feel sad, angry and helpless.

Today, I had to get up from my desk and walk away, after reading about two guys in Britain who used fanatical religious beliefs to fuel a terrible, horrible and shocking act of terrorism, in the name of God and revenge (I’m not providing a link to the story. I am not giving this backwards idea of a vengeful God who needs people to do shitty things to each other more airtime). I was shaking, from fear or from anger or disbelief, or all three, I don’t know.

How can this be our world? How can this be what people do to each other? Why? I mean, WHY? I’m so bloody tired of reading this garbage. It’s bullshit. It’s bad news. It’s bad for me. And it’s bad for you, too. Feeling anxious, stressed and angry is all kind of bad for your body.

people

So, you know what? I’m giving it up. No more reading the news. I have to scan medical news, for work, but no more clicking on the links up top. You know, those stories that get so much airtime, not just online, but on my heart and my mind, as they replay and wreak havoc on my perspective.

If it’s not about a miracle; if it doesn’t make my heart sing, then I’m not clicking on it. I’m done. I’m done with bad news.

Sunday Morning S’bucks Ramblings

Well hello again. How are you? However, and wherever, you are, I hope it’s beautiful, because it is STUNNING out here on the west coast. If it is currently snowing where you are, I’m very sorry that you are having to deal with that. I hope that you realize that I actually do not have the power to control the weather. Yet. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. In the meantime, you could always move. Plus, then we could hang out. It’s a win-win.

It’s the first weekend of the month, so I’m in Seattle for training. I got all in a tizzy yesterday because I didn’t get something. Turns out, I don’t like to not understand things. This is not shocking. I spent the majority of my MBA finance exam in tears. And in prayer, eyes skyward, praying for divine intervention. For three hours. I failed the exam (hey, there’s a first time for everything), but I passed the course. HOLLA! Anyway, I’m not used to not understanding things. Or maybe just knowing I’m not understanding things. Perhaps I don’t get stuff all the time, but live in blissful ignorance. WHOA, YOU GUYS, THIS IS GETTING SUPER META.

Anyway, I’m back at the ol’ Sunday morning Starbucks. The Team Starbucks, Or Teambucks, if you will, where I’m an honourary monthly member. Beardy Bearderson isn’t here, but there is another guy with a beard, so we’re still meeting our facial hair requirement. Phewf. I don’t bring a lot to the table in that regard (I’m counting blessings today).

The gentleman whose pants don’t leave much in the way of mystery (apart from how he doesn’t feel compelled to wear a belt) is here, talking to another regular; a wiry, greying black man with a few artfully placed dreads. Now, Friends, this is fascinating. The honourable Mr. Dread is explaining the universe to young Master Saggypants. I’m not even making this up, though I think perhaps Mr. Dread might be.

When I sat down, he was explaining how to count to thirteen trillion. I have no idea if he’s right or not (remember my finance exam? Numbers give me anxiety and anger; if you don’t believe me, ask to see the remnants of my grade 12 math textbook), but his audience is enthralled, which is utterly charming. I mean, you guys, when was the last time you heard someone exclaim, “Wow!” in a breathy, riveted fashion? I don’t know about you, but I certainly haven’t inspired such beguiling enchantment with my mere words (I need to start making up better stories).

This lemur is fascinated. "Tell me more, O Wizard!"

This lemur is fascinated. “Tell me more, O Wizard!”

Our astronomy lecturer is now expounding on the Big Bang Theory and I have no idea if he’s correct in his facts or not, either, seeing as how I spent my year of Astronomy 120 meeting boys, one of whom I married. Worked out pretty well for me, really, but honestly, I have no idea about anything in space. I had no idea there would be so much math involved. Or crushing on cuties.

Speaking about space, thank heavens for Colonel Hadfield. Have you been following this guy? He’s amazing. He’s a space commander, so that’s freaking cool, and for kicks, he’s up there doing science experiments in space, for the children (and me) back on Earth. Know what? I tweeted him. He hasn’t responded yet, but my question was super advanced, so I’m sure he’s just doing some diligent fact-checking and then he’ll hit me back. I tweeted him from work, and let me tell you: After communicating with AN ASTRONAUT IN OUTER SPACE, I really felt like I’d accomplished everything I could hope to do that day. “GUYS, I JUST MESSAGED SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF GRAVITY, SO I’M DONE HERE TODAY, KAY, BYE. OVER AND OUT. DID YOU SEE WHAT I JUST DID THERE? I USED SPACE-TRONAUT TALK. I’M AN ASTRONAUT NOW.”

I used to want to be an astronaut. I was the top science student from grade 8 to 10, inclusive—”What? IT AIN’T BRAGGIN’ IF YOU DONE IT!” By grade 11, science strangely turned into math—”Come ON!“—and I was out (my solution was to take IB Physics instead of biology. I know. I was clearly confused.). This brief dream burned brightly, until I really understood what a lack of oxygen meant and I was all like, “Feck this shit—I’m out!” Actually, there’s no WAY I would’ve said that then. I was not a swearer of obscenities. I was this kid. But I was a coward, thanks to Total Recall. I was going to link to a video of the scene where the dude’s eyes bulge out of his head, but it grossed me out, so you’ll have to look for it elsewhere.

Moving on.

Next to me is a big table, which is currently inhabited by a group of six retirees sporting team shirts. They’re blue—the shirts, not the people; they’re not Smurfs, after all—and they say “Alaska Bound, May 5 2013.” On the backs, they have their names. I suppose in case they get lost in a crowd (is Alaska crowded? I feel like it isn’t…). To my left are Deb, Teri and Bob. They seem like real nice folks, you know? I hope they find Alaska and everything they’re looking for and I hope Alaska is everything they’ve dreamed it would be.

Anyway, I love this Starbucks. If you’re ever here on the first Sunday of a month, before 8:45 am, come and find me. You’ll know me when you see me: I look like someone who is typing. And then you can learn about the universe and how to count to a bazillion. You won’t regret it.

A placeholder

Gosh, I’ve been gone too long. I promised I’d write every single week and here I’ve gone and missed two. I’m sorry. I’ve wanted to post and thought about you often. I’m not going to justify it with an excuse. I’ll just say I’ve been doing some growing and learning and it hasn’t been particularly graceful (again). But it’s good. It’s perfect. I’m right where I need to be and it’s making me a better Bay. But it’s hard. March is hard this year, all around me.

I need to go to bed—I have a well-being plan I’m following right now, so bedtime is pretty important these days. I’ll write more about that later.

So, I don’t have time to write anything momentous and earth-shakingly awesome tonight (or even ridiculous and trifling). But I do have a new band to add to my list of favourites and to share with you. Thank you Songza and 8Tracks for showing me that I am, in fact, a hipster who adores indie music. My amazing coworker Jill said she knew it all along. I think it’s my shoes…

Passenger. I love it. The melodies, the lead singer’s sweet and funny voice. The lyrics. I was walking to work today when I listened to “All the Little LIghts.” I mean, really listened, and heard, the lyrics. I invite you to listen to it now. Really listen, and hear it.

We’re born with millions of little lights shining in the dark
And they show us the way
One lights up
Every time we feel love in our hearts
One dies when it moves away

What makes your little lights go out? Do you notice? Don’t let them flicker and fail.

Light them up. Light up your world. We can use a little more light.

 

A new look and an old question.

Coffee-shop-blog-post outfit.

Coffee-shop-blog-post outfit.

You may have noticed that my blog has changed. You, Friend, are very perceptive. I decided, in light of my recent perspective shifts, that the View From the Bay should shift also. It’s a sleeker, more grown-up look, just like me. Ha! Just kidding. I’ve been wanted to swap it up for a while, because I didn’t like how narrow the text column was, which is irksome to my eye and most likely to yours as well. I like to write and I don’t need my posts seeming optically to be longer than they already are.

As for me being all changed and whatnot, well, that part’s true. Though, strangely, I’m quite at peace with myself. Not that I was expecting to go all “cray” and act out in my internal struggle, cutting my hair with rusty kitchen scissors in a fit of angst. Yes, that is from a country song. It’s been kind of like a breakup.

Don’t worry, though; we don’t even have rusty kitchen scissors. That’s just unsanitary.

The thing is, I am changed. Pretty profoundly. And to be honest, I struggled against it (clearly, as my last post conveyed). I didn’t think I could change me without losing me, if that makes sense. Instead, I’m pleased to learn that I’m still me, just more of me. Unfiltered, though not completely, by any means. A little more true. There was no loss that cost me anything I didn’t want to lose. It’s like being hypnotized: No one can really make you do anything you don’t want to do. I’m not saying I’m perfect (though I am, and so are you), at least not in terms of my journey. I’m pretty sure I’ve only dipped my toes in, and I’ve got a long way to go. I think that’s what life is about. It’d be pretty boring if I was on the top of my game with nowhere to go already.

I love this quote by R.W.E. and I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean this was something you just do once:

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m a little surprised to see that life goes on as it did before. I don’t mean to sound all dramatic (though I realize I often do, but let’s face it: I’m a star), but honestly, it’s like the sky should be, or could be, a different colour. It’s not, but I will say I can appreciate the sky in whatever shade it shows up, without thinking about what it should be, so that I can have something to resent. I spent a lot of time shaking my fist at the sky, chastising it for not being something other than what it was.

And, if you think I’m just talking about sunshine and blue skies here, you’re missing the point. I’ve spent a lot of time experiencing my entire life and my relationships with people, animals, inanimate objects and fairy tales, through what they should be, or should have been or not been. It’s exhausting and let me tell you how well that was working out for me: Not so much. Unless you count me having the right to be angry and disappointed all the time. Not exactly a blue-ribbon life, huh?

peterpanAs for my old question, well here it is:

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Thing is, I’m still not sure. It’s really frustrating and it’s a question that’s plagued me for a long time. In my full-time business of making every little thing so gawd-damned significant, I’ve been utterly paralyzed. I’ve stayed where I don’t want to be, afraid to answer the question with anything but “I don’t know”. I’m not sure who I expect to have the answers to what I’d like to be when I grow up, but clearly, it wasn’t me.

 

Maybe I’m going to be many things. Maybe moving on doesn’t have to be so bloody significant. Maybe I move on to something and it’s the wrong something, and I move on again. Maybe I mess up and go backwards. So far, nothing in my life has done anything but add to who I am today, so why don’t I pry off those fingers of fear that have been holding me back?

I’m trying. I often wear a necklace that Adam bought me for my birthday (he bought me Runaway Girl for a wedding present—subtle irony intended): It’s the silhouette of a little girl wearing a cape. I love her fearlessness and her can-do attitude. Maybe it’s time I try my cape on, instead of just talking about it. Time to actually try something, instead of worrying about whether it’s going to work out. Because there’s no way I can actually know that and staying put isn’t working out for me so well, anyway.

Do you recognize any of this in yourself? Are you holding yourself back? What’s in your way?