Eighteen intensity-packed days condensed down to 2 minutes of feel-goodness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CszHU8dOB4M Thank you, Mark!
School started this morning. Lucy and Bayla were thrilled. Mark was melancholy. And I was chopped, tossed and tongue-tied by the schoolyard full of parents. Stepping into that sea of smiling excitement knocked me flat. I can't think. I can't smile. I don't know where to look. Where to stand. My brain goes blank. I say stupid things. It feels like I'm in a blender. There were great friends in that crowd. And faces that maim me at the best of times. Both bowled me. Sure, it's all in my head. And I should probably ground myself, breath, repeat some mantra. But it takes me by surprise. I'm suddenly whirling and sputtering. And blank. But I survived. And today's the first day of my first school year as a free-all-day mom. I've got bon-bons to eat. I'd better get to it.
Unbelievably, our long-awaited cross-country train trip has come and gone. What a wild, wild ride. It was our longest family vacation, to date. And certainly our most intense. Compared to the hardcore Rocky Mountain hiking, biking and camping of my youth, it was physically a cynch. But boy was it emotionally explosive. Here's a random smattering of our two weeks away. You can snag a bigger peek here.
Huge thanks to everyone who made this a vacation to remember.
And especially to Janice for beckoning us out, sharing her beautiful province, keeping us safe and enjoying one billion laughs with us through all the ups and downs.
|3 days and 3 nights of luxury, relaxation and amazing scenery, Ottawa to Edmonton.|
|A happy reunion with a long-lost friend.|
|An afternoon of waves and water slides.|
|Abrasions, bruises, a broken big toe and minus-one iphone, thanks to a harrowing afternoon on the Pembina River.|
|Thrilling road-side views of bears, elk, deer, coyotes and mountain goats.|
|Gorgeous views of mountains and lakes.|
|Such sadness at the news of Jack Layton.|
|An afternoon on horseback.|
|A glacier tour. A boat tour. A gondola tour. (oh my)|
|A double-birthday celebration.|
|A day of badlands, dinosaurs and hoodoos.|
|An afternoon at the zoo.|
|An afternoon of heartbreak and hope.|
|A weekend of walloping western hospitality.|
|A decadent dinner with long-lost cousins.|
|A blast of all-consuming news.|
|A day in the old west.|
|3 days and 3 nights of luxury, relaxation and amazing scenery, Edmonton to Ottawa.|
|A happy reunion with Phae and our home sweet home.|
"You can keep them bottled up, but they will come out, Michael. Sometimes in the most unexpected... Hey, where the @!*# are my hard-boiled eggs?!"
-- Tobias Fünke. Good Grief! Arrested Development 2004.My life is brimming with beautiful people. Wise, interesting, creative, curious, passionate, compassionate, generous, articulate, level-headed, fun-loving people. I'm lucky. So I'm always shocked at the hair-trigger hostility I stumble into. Seemingly reasonable people who spray me with hatred over a sideways glance. It confuses me. Are they stretched to the breaking point struggling to maintain some decent facade? Are they barely bottling up frustration, dissatisfaction, loneliness, insecurity, envy and rage? And why bother spewing venom at inconsequential me? In the online world, it's especially easy to lay out and examine entire interactions. And I've often done just that. Weighing a scant response from me against the lengthy and personal ferocity that results. And my confusion remains. But I'm learning to scrounge up some compassion for their barely bound pain. Beam some healing, happy vibes. And move on.
If you'll be in Ottawa October 2, 2011, we'd love you to join Mark, Bayla, myself and our team mates for a beautiful 5km saunter along the Ottawa River to raise funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. You can register for our No Pink For Profit team, here. Hope to see you there!
Here's where it all began. Where Mark and I met for our very first date. That history-making, mega-foamy latté. I snuck in the back door. De-toqueing and de-snowing myself, unseen. Mark faced away. Tall, wiry, and newly goateed. There was a table here, then. Several tables. It was Vittoria Trattoria and I'd been lining up regularly for breakfast, coffee and pesto pasta since long before the tables had arrived. Collecting memories of the twenty-something me. In the fifteen and a half years since that first date, we've enjoyed breakfasts, desserts, lattés -- and then burgers, bruschettas and goblets of wine -- here. I've tipped baby Bayla upside down to dislodge solids. We've celebrated report cards with Luba. We've been silly with friends. It's where we rang in Mark's forties. Today it sits empty. Awaiting rebirth. And we're watching. Just like that twenty-something me, peeking past the papered windows, exactly twenty years ago. Hoping its rebuilt self is friendly, affordable and fabulous. We've got lots more great memories to make. We'd love to make some here.
As our enjoyable BOLO evening ended, last week, my friend Laurie and I sprang to our feet, hoping to dash to the exit before throngs of bloggers clogged our path. But the packed room was gridlocked. I shrugged. This would to take a while. But Laurie was dauntless. She raised her eyebrows, smirked and assured me that her "pointy elbows" would whisk us across that floor. And they did. In a flash we were strolling down Preston -- me admiring her finesse. "You're amazing," I said, "I stand invisible for ages trying to squeeze through crowds." "Oh, me too," Laurie chirped, "I can only do that for someone else." Far. Too. Familiar. In the wise words of my friend Janice, "Good God woman ... Be even kinder to yourself, as you have to live with you." Two tier service just disgusts me yet I foist it daily on myself. So, I'm trying to stop. Thanks to both women for the reminders. I must be worth first class self-service -- judging by the company I keep.
One of the many highlights of the fab PAB2011 experience was the wit, wisdom and warmth of Anthony Marco. While we await publication of the PAB2011 sessions, please enjoy his thought-provoking and experiential jolt from PAB2010, A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures (a PAB2010 JOLT! by Anthony Marco). [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcG3hKiqb0M&[/youtube] More words, wisdom and wide, wide smiles thanks to Anthony, here.
In fall 2009, during the stressful 6-week wait for diagnosis of that lump, I turned my back on our beloved podcast, Just One More Book. Weeks later, Bob Goyetche and I discussed that decision, for the Canadian Podcast Buffet. It was hours after my biopsy. Mark was out of town. With all the PAB2011 captured-story excitement this week, that interview bobbed to my mind's surface. And I took the time to listen to that 15 minute chat. Wondering how we endured the 6 week wait. How I did that interview. And how we possibly got from there to here. I'm glad those moments were captured. I'm glad I thought to listen. Life's odd. In a good way. If you'd like to listen too, the interview is at the 18 minute mark of episode 147 of CPB. Photo Some rights reserved by Bruce Murray (The Zedcast)