Friday, August 31, 2012

Playing Like A Kid

Barbara: As you may have guessed from our copious posts here asking serious introspective questions (or sometimes, silly introspective questions), that I am quite curious (and—apparently—introspective) by nature. I like me some good, hearty questions, and I love the follow-through of the convoluted and shifting “answers”. It’s one of the reasons I find that subject matters for our blog come pretty effortlessly—there’s always something spinning around in here (points to noggin). However, I have spent the last few days playing, playing, and playing, and am so far out of my head that I haven’t asked a single question of my deep internal core, and can only share the recent fun I’ve had with you in the hopes it’ll inspire you as it did me, or that it’ll trigger your own questions that you can bring to our forum.

It’s been three days of adventure:

First, on day one, there was my niece/aunt special day. My youngest niece suggested we should go to The Ex, which is a fair that comes every year for two weeks to downtown Toronto. It’s a hundred year tradition, and a fun one, given the midway rides and action and the indoor shows. I am not one to do anything that triggers my fear of heights (or my fear of death). And—while I didn’t do all the stuff my niece did—I did follow her on a number of rides, including a huge, high-in-the-air swing that had me screaming from the moment the ride started to the moment it stopped. Later, at one of the indoor shows—the amazing and wonderful Superdogs—Emily even got picked out of the crowd to perform with the talented creatures. She was beside herself. I was beside myself! At the end of the day, we had to tear ourselves away, exhausted and spent, so we could get her home on time.
That's my youngest niece on the right!

Yeah, that would be my niece hanging upside down up there (she did this ride THREE TIMES!!)
On day two, a bunch of friends came in from out of town and we had a chance to really catch up after a long absence. Which may also have involved way too much eating and bit too much drink. Wish I had some photos to share with you of this night, but we were just so caught up with each other that we forgot to snap pix!

Then on day three, I took my other niece out for her special niece/aunt day—and she picked trampolining!! Yes, that was me making a fool of myself on the wall-to-wall trampolines at SkyZone yesterday. I haven’t been on a trampoline since I was a young’un, and I’d be lying if I didn’t have almost the same trepidation as I did for the super-high-in-the-sky swing at The Ex! But I LOVED it. First of all, it’s an amazing workout. We jumped for an hour (stopping several times to catch our breath and drink water), and I was sweaty and exhausted at the end. But, most importantly, there’s nothing like jumping around with wild abandon to make you feel like a little kid. We topped off our special day with a relaxing lunch and fancy manicures.

All in all, the last few days have been a grand way for me to get out of my head for a while, to be so immersed in the pleasures of life and the special people in it that all else pales for a moment.

Oh, so wait, I do have an introspective question for us: at the dinner with friends, one friend asked us what our “true names” would be if we were in a fantasy book (I guess “true names” figure large and are veeeeerrry important in fantasies). We played this game to our amusement and fascination. Of course, it’s interesting to name the people around you at a dinner party, but I’d like to share my own “true name” with you (dubbed, btw, by me and not my buddies): “Curiouser”. Because curiosity hasn’t—yet—killed this cat!

DebWow, it’s too late at night for me to give my name (side note: this was posted at 11pm Thursday night...) because today it would be “Night Everyone” as I am spent. I have had a similar summer, Barb, with entertaining friends and summer city fun. Colin and I went today to Canada’s Wonderland and saw our nephew do his wonderful trampoline and diving show and it was fantastic. The look on his face when we came to see him was already worth the price of admission. 

Hmmmm, still don’t have my name. Maybe it would be “Flit”. Yeah. Flit. I like that.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

From The Minds Of Kids To The Lips Of Adults

Deb: Saw this precious video online and had to share it. The dads nailed it by tapping into their subtle inner child. You are going to love this one!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Two Bossy Virgins

Deb: Colin and I were offered two front row tickets to BruceSpringsteen and the E Street Band the other night.  Colin was doing shows in California, so I called me buddy Barb and said, “Have you ever seen Bruce?” Her response was a great example of why I adore her. She got breathless. “No No NOOO!” was her breathy response, escalating in both pitch and volume. Because after all, it is the Boss.

I proceeded to tell her that she was about to have the night of her life. I did not worry about building up her hopes only to see them dashed after a half hour into this concert. Because it is the Boss. And as such, I knew with certainty that even if he were not her favourite artist, she was going to see a show like none other. In this case, three hours and forty minutes of pure rock and roll.

Our benefactor also left us passes for the E Street Lounge that had food and cocktails, but we arrived only ten minutes before the concert. Toronto was jam-packed with cars and people this night, which made parking spots as scarce as hen’s teeth. But finally I found one and hurriedly headed to our gate, marveling at the crowds and, in particular, their unusual concert-going gear. But as I pushed my way through Klingons, Sailor Moons, Darth Vaders and Avengers, I realized all too late that it was Fan Expo 2012 and I was in the middle of a fabulous moving comic book. After I finally made it to the gate, Barb came running up, having paid … WAIT FOR IT ... $50.00 for parking, breaking my previous record of $40.00.

If anyone from the appropriate department at City Hall is reading this: Really? Really? Gouge much? Come on. Man up on that. That is literally robbery! I digress.........................

So we ran down to our seats giggling and arrived just as they started playing Take Me out to the Ballgame as we watched Bruce and the band leave their dressing room and head to the stage. Bruce usually plays at the ACC but tonight we were in the Skydome (yes, I know, Rogers Centre ... SKYDOME!), which is also home of the Toronto Blue Jays, hence the song. The roof was open and the CN Tower loomed above our heads and the weather was sassy warm with a perfect little breeze, light blue then dark blue sky as our roof. We were starving and thirsty and just as we arrived at our seats, the beer and wine cart pulled up, making the timing perfect to toast Bruce’s entrance.

I smiled over at my Bruce newbie, my E Street virgin, and her mouth was agape and her eyes were wide. This was my 6th Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce concert. I warned her, as she was new, that when the crowd sounded like they were booing, what they were really doing was yelling Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce in low even tones.

The way I figure it, you can’t be a veteran at a Bruce Springsteen concert because each and every time it is as if you are seeing him for the first time. He comes on, sans warm-up band at the stroke of 8 as promised and proceeds to go, full tilt boogie, till the rockin’ end. In the middle he picked a little girl out of the audience and she sang a duet with him like a pro, and no, it wasn’t a plant. It was so dear and he had us in the palm of his hand. He leapt, he dived, he ran, he blasted us with song. And even then, he did not look spent and his voice never faltered. Other than the fact that he is sopping wet, he appears like he could keep going and going. In the middle of the concert, in the middle of Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, they did a beautiful tribute to the big man, the late Clarence Clemons, which the crowd loved. Clarence’s nephew Jake has taken his spot in the band and it seemed right. Talented and adorable with a great personality that shines through. Good thing. Big shoes to fill.

Barb and I rocked. Barb and I rolled. Barb and I got our groove thing on. Barb and I got our buzz on. We were eternally young that night and we have our generous ticket donor and Bruce and the E Street Band to thank for it.

It constantly comes up in the press that there is an age where a rocker should stop rocking. Bruce and the band is the best example for me of the theory that rocking it out is ageless. There were huge newbie cheers when Bruce asked who was there for the first time.  And now they know why they were there and they will be back.  He’s the Boss. What can I say?

Glory days indeed!

And PS for part one of the other Bossy side of Two Bossy Virgins please see Monday’s post.

Barbara: No, Deb couldn’t have oversold this concert as this was a concert for the ages. No wonder half of Toronto came out to see him (clogging every road around the arena, and driving those parking prices to insane heights). We talked a bit the other day in the comment’s section about how seeing music live is an experience all to itself. Especially when it is performed well. And especially when it is the kind of music born to be played live. Bruce’s brand of rock n’ roll is just that. Honest, gritty, raw, true. Thank you, Deb and patron saint of concert tickets: you gave me a night I will never forget. Thank you, Bruce, you inspired me and delighted me. By listening to your heart, I was able to hear my own.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Wabi-Sabi Of Life

Barbara: Well, last night my older daughter left home for … get this … Paris. Yup, after graduating with her fashion degree last April and finishing the summer saving every penny from 6-7-days-a-week work at her retail and design assistant jobs, she landed an internship with a couturier in Paris. That’s the good news. The “bad”, of course, is that now both my babies are out of the house. Today, I am at the CNE (or The Ex), taking my niece for a day at the fair. Figured it would keep me busy and preoccupied enough that I won’t notice the quiet…

So to while away the day, I’m posting a very inspiring Tedx video featuring Cheryl Hunter (a motivational speaker/writer) that Sean’a sent to us last week (thanks, as always, Sean’a!!). I thought it was going to be funny—until Ms. Hunter begins to speak about a brutal attack she experienced in her teens. However, she is no downer. Watch and listen as she transforms the horror of that experience into the discovery of the secret of the beauty that is in each one of us: our imperfections.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yeller’s Remorse

Barbara: Today’s question isn’t about whether we are right or not to call people on their crap, but whether we stand by our calling-out after the fact or whether we regret it.

The other night, Deb and I had a most amazing experience—in fact, it was such an amazing experience that it’ll be our blog subject for next Wednesday’s post. But I had a small moment during that experience that has lingered with me and could make for an interesting discussion today.

Okay, it’s no secret that Deb took me to the Bruce Springsteen concert last Friday night (once again, I will save sharing all my awestruck delight with you for Wednesday). Before long, the woman who held the ticket right beside us invited her mid-twenties daughter and all her friends into the row with us (they had tickets from higher up and we were at the front). Let’s just say that this young girl and her friends weren’t always hanging on Bruce’s every note as we were. Don’t get me wrong—they definitely appreciated his talent and greatness, but during every quiet song they would turn to each other and start having a cocktail party of sorts. Sadly, this meant that during every quiet song I would have the sound of their party banter ringing in my ears way more loudly than the dulcet tones of one Mr. The Boss. For the most part, the concert was so loud (my ears are still ringing) that I never noticed what these kids were doing or saying, so I can imagine it never occurred to them that they were hindering any enjoyment. But, sadly, during the quiet songs, it was all I could hear.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am neither defending my irritation nor denigrating their actions—this isn’t a post about manners or decorum or any of those things. It’s about what happened next: the daughter, a lovely girl, turned to me during a quiet song to ask if I was a die-hard Bruce fan; I said that I was, and then added that it was really bothering me that I couldn’t hear his songs while she and her friends were talking. She blinked at me a few times, apparently not grasping my implication. I repeated that the conversation she was having with her friends was too loud and was interfering with my enjoyment. Well, her reaction was so heartbreaking (to me) that I instantly regretted saying anything. She was suddenly Bambi incarnate: widened eyes, innocent, hurt, stricken. She looked me deeply in the eyes for several long seconds and then apologized and then edged away like I might reach out and add to her injury by also physically slapping her.

Again: not trying to start a convo on what I was in my rights or not to do in this moment. My thing is: that few moments of hurt stayed with me, obviously until now. I wonder now if the annoying-talking had been important enough for me to challenge in the first place—because, for right or wrong, my challenge of it became bigger to me than any inconvenience the issue caused in the moment (on a side-note, it also didn’t prevent her friends from chatting during every single quiet song thereafter).

This experience—and several convos we’ve had here on the blog before—made me wonder about “yeller’s remorse”. Not the sense of being right or wrong, but the sense of value in discussing it in the first place. Over the course of my adult years, I’ve had to have several confrontational discussions. Here’s how they break down for ME:

Confrontations with my family: As I usually think these through very carefully, I don’t think I regret a single one. In fact, given that we are a family committed to in-depth discussion-cum-resolution, I have found deep and abiding value in every one. We’re pretty good at going from hurt and anger to understanding and peace.

Confrontations with friends or co-workers: These are tricky because I don’t necessarily love these people (especially co-workers, obviously) as I do my family and might not care to work all the way through to understanding (more often than not, we discover in this hard way that we’re not even compatible. Truth be told, in these cases, I often regret not saying MORE than I do.). So, I guess I can say with some confidence that I don’t regret voicing my opinion or standing my ground here.

Confrontations with strangers or businesses: Businesses, no problem. Please offer me the service and respect I am entitled to as your patron—no regrets to any challenge thereof. Strangers, hmmmmm. Like my little doe-eyed concert seatmate, I think I feel worse afterward than they do (or certainly just as bad). And while I may have made a valid point in the moment, maybe even a lasting beneficial one (doe-eyed girl may never again annoy future concert-goers by chatting throughout, even if her friends don’t get it), is it worth it if I’m analyzing the effects of my own confrontation during the moment and after?

Do you, like me, ever have yeller’s remorse?

Deb: Well, the joke is that while Barbara was yelling at her doe-eyed yapper, I was going to the security guy on the aisle and asking him to please check the tickets in our row as half the people in the row did not have front row tickets. One guy beside us started bragging that it had taken him a half hour to work his way down from the nose bleeds to the front row and was proud of it! Another couple weaseled their way into the front row. I asked them where their seats were and they said “two rows back” so I told the security guard and he ousted them. They literally went back to their seats for two minutes and came running back to our row to shove themselves in between people who had the right to be there. Then the guy had the balls to tell me that I should be ashamed of myself. The couple beside me had gone for a drink and now had two new people blocking their view. I was not ashamed.  Now I know what you are thinking, “Deb, this is not in the spirit of rock and roll.” Let me clarify. I couldn’t care less if they butt in.  If they have the balls and no one calls them on it, then I say fine. It is something I would never do and never have done, but that act alone would not have had my narcing them out to security. It was the fact that they fought and elbowed their way in there and then DID NOT SHUT UP! Seriously. Cocktail party conversations. Cross talk. All through the friggin’ songs. That is why I ratted. Finally after the couple weaseled back in, I said to them, “Look, these are not my seats you are stealing so it is not my battle. If you shut up, I will not rat you out! Just please listen to the band!!!!” They high-fived me and all was well. Then two minutes later the rightful owners came back and took their spots. Do you think they would leave? No, they pressed their pushy selves up against this couple for the rest of the concert, but I thought, Well, I’m not saying anything and I didn’t. As for Barbara having yeller’s remorse, I must tell you that as soon as Barb felt badly about yelling at the doe was just about the time that she started yap yap yapping again. AND the security guy threw them out too. AND they came back. Sorry. Not fair. Barb, I am afraid your words fell on deaf ears. Some people are there for themselves and do not consider anyone else. She looked hurt because clearly she has never been told by her parents, or anyone else in her life, that she is rude. That is why she was shocked. She had no idea this wasn’t appropriate behaviour.  The only thing I would feel badly about is that you wasted your breath.