About phiza1

Public broadcaster with CBC Vancouver. I love puppets, alt-polka, and dancing. I need to write.

We need more Color Me Beautiful

Image

Color Me Beautiful

I know it’s the American spelling. We’ll have to get over that for awhile while I rant a bit about Spring fashion. I like clothes. I like interesting arty clothes. I like it when colours work for people and they find their hue.

I loved Color Me Beautiful when it first came out decades ago. I was a pre-teen. I wanted to be a red-head and believed my childhood natural highlights were enough. I used this book and figured I was all Autumn. I boldly wore orange and brown. I used henna a lot.

When I stopped dying my hair at my first pregnancy I realized I was no Autumn. I was a Spring and even though I was no girlie girl I could wear bold pink and rock it.

It was an important discovery.

Colour is no joke. It can win you a job and lose you a job. It could win you a mate. It could lost you a mate. It can pick you up or pull you down. You have to wear what looks good on you.

So anyone with olive skin and dark hair AVOID the pastel jeans of the season please. You’ll stain easily and wash yourself out.

And everyone should find this book. Libraries have it. It’s still good. Just ignore the Mary Tyler Moore fashion and hair.

You’re welcome.

Advertisements

Learning to Live by Osmosis

I’m just back from my annual “Fubar Family Vacation” at West Edmonton Mall. The kids love it. My parents like it well enough. They’re in Inuvik the rest of the year so the casino is an exciting switch from the Legion meat draw. They walk the mall less and less as the years go by, aching feet and all. But I still marvel at how well kept they are, considering they are deep into their seventies.

It’s not just a daughter’s positive thinking here, I post pictures and people comment on how they look “the same”. That is, the same as the teacher they knew way back when. (Dad taught high school math, accounting, and French at one time. Mom taught grade 2 or 3, sometimes in a split.)

They are deep into their seventies and they are now just going grey. Their minds are still sharp. I’ve got theories about why:

  • All of their adult life was spent in the Arctic. Less ultraviolet. Clean air.
  • They drink a lot of water. Mom told me as a kid to start each day off with a tall glass. I do. I do. Then she gave me a coffee (Euro parents are all about balance).
  • They worked to live; off every weekend and all summer except for the trips to the Teacher’s Store in August and all those years Dad organized the regional Arctic Winter Games trials. Yes they took marking home but heck, they were teachers. They didn’t obsess nor were they workaholics.
  • They had a five minute commute. On foot.
  • Hobbies weren’t seen as besides the point. Dad lived for his cabins and fishing and flats of beer. Mom puttered with plants and plowed through books. They now have a greenhouse and big flowers in the yard. Dad likes to try new recipes. Mom frets about the mess. It fun to watch.
  • But the most important thing is SLEEP. They sleep and have always slept A LOT.
Let Sleeping Children Lie

Let Sleeping Children Lie (Photo credit: stewickie)

It has to make a difference. In a small town where kids can play outside without helicopter parenting the folks slept in. Maybe they didn’t sleep but they stayed in bed listening to the radio.

There are years we’d come home for lunch and Dad would nap for 15 minutes after eating.

After the Legion he’d eat and go directly to bed and sleep 12 hours. Oh beer. Mom didn’t drink much but never rushed anywhere.

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The year Obama first became President he turned completely grey. I don’t think it was because he got the keys to the bombs. He knew those were coming. He knew the truth of it all would be horrible. But he was probably already sleeping fewer hours than he should. And then take a few hours off of that. Bam! Grey hair. Wrinkles. Stress.

I often wonder how I came to be the kid and now woman who races everywhere and lives on fast forward. Maybe mellow skips a generation.  Maybe I’m wrong about the sleep. Maybe water is enough? And the radio?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Life – Work and Particle Physics

I’m having a day full of moments.

It so far includes the sound of snow crunching on an early morning dog hike where I felt like I was part of this mountain. Then joytears as I reached a hard fought battle against slow metabolism and middle age. A battle fought with a great group of women whose stories I’ve loved hearing over the last six months.

My heart ached a bit as I drove away. I’m going back to work and will have to weigh-in downtown. I’ll miss them.

Then while off to celebrate with a store bought coffee I listened to this interview on CBC’s The Current with a retiring bigwig at BMO financial.

She said so many interesting things.

She always wanted kids and counts her children as her greatest joy and accomplishment. Me too.

She enjoys her challenging work and even with bad bosses from time to time and career setbacks feels a great deal of satisfaction. Me too.

She’s lucky to have the kind of man who never expected her to do more at home than him just because she has the breasts. Me too.

And she’s lucky to have been able to afford a live-in nanny. (silence)

But the most striking thing Sherry Copper said, at least to me, is how in retirement she is working on finding a way to “be still” because she doesn’t know how.

So on what already was an awesome morning Sherry Cooper – you’ve just made me smile.

Good for you all who can meditate and silently read for days on end all by yourself. Good for all of you who’ve done Outward Bound and reached higher places than you thought possible.

I’d go nuts with just a volleyball to talk to. And when awake, I really need to keep moving. And I need to get out of the house.

I get bored at parties where people attempt to one up each other with witty banter or show off some new-to-them knowledge. I either dance or fall asleep.

English: animation showing a micron particle h...

English: animation showing a micron particle having a brownian motion inside a polymer like network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a huge believer in chaos theory. And Brownian motion. It’s not the kind of thing you have to “apply” to your life, because that would be counter to the principle. It just IS my life. (And random frenzy can be justified when you apply math)

Motion is important. So are mornings. When people brag about about how they are night owls and how that makes them better people somehow I tend to turn a song on in my head. We don’t all have to have the same clock. Mine is big and floppy. And my inner alarm has always rang early. (you can dance in the morning too)

People are important. Engaging with the world is good for my soul. I am still shell-shocked from my two years in a home office.

There needs to be rest, and sleep, and contemplative silence. But not too much.

So my sabbatical has been full of adventures and projects. I owe great thanks to a great neighbour pal who is even more social than I am and always up for anything. (The whole “stay at home” mom title needs to be reworked by the way. The moms I know are busy in the community and at the gym, volunteering etc.)

I am choosing to continue working in the chaos of broadcasting because it feeds me. It’s not a desk job. I have to lift heavy tripods and work with a team of bombastic personalities. I fit in.

I will panic every day wondering if I will be home in time for the kids.

Somehow we’ll muddle through.

Somehow I know we’ll be okay.

My daughter’s first full sentence was “Where we go outside?”.

It continues.

I just hope one day when I’m forced to be still, she’ll crack me out of the home, and wheel me around the Seawall.

And if I can still talk, I’ll remind her about how she too was happiest in the stroller, moving.

So CEO Sherry Cooper, you need to quit learning how to be still. If you’re not made that way, you’ll be miserable trying to do it.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Christmas Love Letter to My Book Club

The Book Thief

The Book Thief (Photo credit: Hanryswyk)

When I moved to BC in October 2000, I knew one person here. She was a busy doctoral candidate with a swarm of great urban friends. I was way out in Surrey and feeling unhinged (insert Surrey joke here).

But a month into my new life, another old pal came out of the woodwork. She lived just across the bridge. She invited me to her suburban book club.

I owe her my life. That band of bookish ladies grounded me instantly. It’s been 12 years and I rarely miss a meeting and tend to read most of the books. Considering I have two children and a relentless career, this is big.

There has been much said about building the better book club. Some have many rules and are loaded with expectations about food and literature. I think it might be fun ONCE to plan food around the theme of the book, but after that it would just become another assignment.

Some only read non-fiction. I do that for work.

Some actually assign book reports and have people read them out. I can’t imagine that fresh hell.

I think many miss the most important part of a book club. The club. That’s right, a group of real people who are bound by conversation on a common subject and in our case find common ground with each other by exploring the written word.

And over time, the small conversations add up to a great deal of bonding. These woman have my back.

Do we have rules? We have two:

  • Book must be easily accessible, preferably available in the library.
  • No matter what, just come to book club.

This second rule is so important, when I bulked because my dude was out of town, the offer of a teenaged babysitter came instantly from another member. And she picked me up. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t bought the book.

That’s right, we don’t have to read the book. And this still works. Why? Because we offer the stories of our lives. We relate the material to our own experience. And you can understand the theme without having to read about it.

Most of us read each time. We love to read after all. Sometimes a member will be having a bad month, or year (that happens) and just can’t get it together. We understand, and still want their company. Sometimes we only talk book for ten minutes because life stories are more urgent.

We allow breast-feeding babies to tag along, a move that still brings tears to my eyes considering how isolated and brain dead I felt those first few months. My noise sensitive daughter howled when we women cackled. There was no shortage of arms willing to jiggle and walk her. My second child thankfully just ate and pooped.

This club was founded by my old old pal who tacked a note up at a public library or two. Her cousin came and brought a friend. Some woman know each other through kid’s activities or school. Some of us only see each other once a month.

We all work outside the home. (That’s not a requirement, it just happened.) We have teachers, special needs assistants, a lawyer, a psychologist, an ICBC adjustor, an accountant, a home care business owner, a corrections officer, a recreation therapist for seniors, a cook and me, the public broadcaster.

We all are generous with advice and not afraid to ask for it.

Some of us will be so tired from the rest of our lives we will nod off at meetings. No one teases.

We once swelled to 13 members (a coven!) but not everyone can come each month. We’ve had small gatherings and one epic weekend in Whistler including zip-lining. I’m the youngest. The oldest is well into her eighties.

We all have kids, some grand-kids, and one has great-grand-kids.

We all love to laugh and live for family. We have a real-world mix of children who are academically gifted and those who’s foibles and challenges keep up us up at night. We have interesting men in our life. But when someone suggested another club was having a couples book night most of us laughed hysterically.

There have been recounts of tragedies: lost loves, deaths, and game-changing discoveries. There has also been much joy shared over a warm drink and a plate of brownies. Or a glass of wine.

I’d say most of our books fall under the “women fighting adversity to find themselves” category, but people have particular tastes for mystery, historical fiction, or comedy.

Chuck Palahniuk Graffito, Bridport, Dorset, UK

Chuck Palahniuk Graffito, Bridport, Dorset, UK (Photo credit: jackharrybill)

So far the book we’ve talked most about is Lionel Shiver’s “We Need to Talk about Kevin“. I gloat, because I suggested it. But I’ve also brought the most hated titles including “Perfume” by Suskind and a Chuck Palahniuk novel. Curiously all three end in murder, two in a murderous orgy. Oops.

I’ve read so many books I wouldn’t have considered. That’s a gift. I can’t imagine NOT having read “The Book Thief“.

And I can’t imagine these last dozen years without the ladies of the club. I raise a glass or a cup in their general direction and can’t wait to hear the next chapter in the rest of their lives.

Enhanced by Zemanta

On Turning Ten: Then & Now

tenth birthday cake
tenth birthday cake (Photo credit: normanack)

I’m writing on the eve of kid one’s tenth birthday. Here come days of double digits and no doubt new worries as my complex soup of a girl continues to grow. I look forward to the frantic days ahead, but want to mellow out in the milestone first.

Ten. My favourite age. It’s still my favourite number.

And because I’m not the kind of smug adult who believes my music was superior to the “crap the kids are playing today”, I’m looking forward to the soundtrack too.

There’s much joy in being ten. And my parents felt about Blondie the way I feel about Kesha. Pop music – it is what it is, a vehicle for dancing and in our house morning sing-a-longs.

Here’s what was on top when I was ten.

1. My Sharona, The Knack
2. Bad Girls, Donna Summer 
3. Le Freak, Chic 
4. Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?, Rod Stewart
5. Reunited, Peaches and Herb 
6. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
7. Hot Stuff, Donna Summer 
8. Y.M.C.A., Village People 
9. Ring My Bell, Anita Ward 
10. Sad Eyes, Robert John 
11. Too Much Heaven, The Bee Gees 
12. MacArthur Park, Donna Summer
13. When You’re In Love With a Beautiful Woman, Dr Hook
14. Makin’ It, David Naughton
15. Fire, Pointer Sisters
16. Tragedy, The Bee Gees 
17. A Little More Love, Olivia Newton-John 
18. Heart of Glass, Blondie 
19. What a Fool Believes, The Doobie Brothers 
20. Good Times, Chic 
21. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond 
22. Knock On Wood, Amii Stewart       So Kesha is Blondie, Carley Rae Jepsen is Olivia Newton John and Rhianna is Donna Summer. Or Niki Minage. Whatever, you get the point.I had three girls to my party when I was ten. We rode in the back of the pickup to the Mackenzie River for a picnic. I was given a record player that ran on batteries. It had a microphone. I remember thinking about my brother in his brown leather jacket and how much of a teenager he was starting to look like. I also remember laughing a lot.I was lucky enough to have great pals despite my intense Lucy complex. One was the Anglican minister’s daughter. She was all sweetness and light. The other was a girl whose parents considered her a child protege in every way. (I remember being grateful my parents weren’t so pushy). Last I heard she was working in a post office. I have no idea where the athletic auburn-haired army brat with a face full of freckles ended up. I loved that her parents let me sleep over often. We’d sing to records all night. She had the best pony tails.

My daughter struggles more socially than I did, but is surrounded by warm, wonderful girls and boys who share her verve for life. She also laughs a lot.

I was in dance club, Girl Guides, figure skating and often helped in the school library. I read early and often and by ten was deep into Greek, Roman and Norse mythology. I was reading “The Hobbit” for the first time. My daughter favours graphic novels about girls with braces and guitars. She plays instruments, dances, and loves Girl Guides more than I did. She may also have a Lucy complex. Her clipboard is her favourite toy. We don’t discourage. it.

Being ten is big. You assert yourself but still come in for a snuggle with mom when the mood strikes.

It is the age of the ultimate giggle.

I still giggle. Thankfully my parents didn’t discourage that.

Life is long. And if you take it too seriously, labourious. That is why ten remains my favourite age.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Brave New Post: DOXA Know Future

Rob Easton Theresa Lalonde CBC Vancouver

It’s a big deal when I get to wear my Star Trek outfit. I used to just wear it to the bar when seeing bands in Sudbury. It was a fun and tangy crowd. No one asked me why because the mood was all about the why not?!

Fast forward fifteen years and I get to wear the red shirt to a Gala. This time it’s all about the why.

The event is the DOXA Documentary Film Festival Gala fundraiser called Know Future. It’s a celebration and an investigation of the nexus between science fiction and science fact. It will showcase innovative documentary makers who are exploring the connection.

This is a fun Gala with brains. Organizers asked me not just to introduce the evening and the special guests and urge people to bid at the auction, they also asked me to think about the theme and offer my thoughts for ten minutes or so with John Biehler. He is a future finding man who experiences much joy and creativity in technology. I’ve interviewed him many times and will do many more I’m sure..

John is talking about and showing off his 3D printer. It’s a brave new world of design and practicality. It does not make Earl Grey tea, yet.

I brushed up on my sci fi prognostication by listening to a CBC Spark podcast featuring professor Eric Rabkin. He says the only actual invention that came directly from science fiction was Marconi’s radar. Rabkin’s criteria states the science in sci fi had to be developed to the point we knew how it worked and apparently author Hugo Gernsback did that. (Is it just me or do most people named Hugo do great things?)

The bulk of what we get from science fiction instead is inspiration and design. And Rabkin believes some of the noted authors also tapped into government documents. (Cue X-Files theme.)

We see 2001 A Space Odyssey had Skype.  We now have driver-less cars. We have hypo-spray needles. Our soma is a smart phone and some of us have better suppliers than others. (I have a Blackberry.) We have a lot of gadgets inspired by Star Trek. See my CBC story. Kudos to anyone who gets the reference in my stand-up. (That’s a hint)

Most sci fi tends to focus on the tech rather than bio-science. I don`t recall seeing anything about splicing fish genes into apples in Space 1999. But there was all that alien encounter to keep the characters busy.

My take on whether sci fi inspires real science is more a question of metaphysics than particle physics. The stuff that actually gets invented says a lot about who we are as a society and who specifically is making it. In my view the dystoptians have it right. As much as I love all the hope for a better world (once you conquer greed), we are SO not there yet.

So what gets invented is what will sell. And you can bet it won’t work all that well. If it does, you won’t need to buy another one. In this way Toffler got it wrong. I’m still angry with Alvie. I had to read everything he wrote for Mass Communications in university and I was even convinced I’d be working part time and playing tennis the rest. But he didn’t factor in “bugs” in the machine and days upon days of fighting technology just to send an email or save a set of snaps of your kids.

I digress.

There will be clips shown at the Gala of a documentary about Futurist Jacque Fresco which addresses this very thing. The Technocracy movement is still moving ahead it seems. By moving I mean hoping.

And we need it. Without idealists there is no forward thinking. And without documentarists (or journalists) we wouldn’t know as much about it.

Speaking about speaking out, where’s the Babblefish? The universal translator in real life isn’t built to the spec we see on the big screen or read in the books. Bummer. But at least I get to wear a costume and dream.

 
 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Heroes in the Streets: Aficionados in the VAG for FUSE

I get asked to go to places because of my job. To moderate a panel, to introduce or interview a special guest or to cover an event.

I don’t say yes to all of them. It has to be “in my wheelhouse”.

VAG Poster

The Vancouver art gallery

The Vancouver art gallery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FUSE is at a non-profit venue and put on by an organization that shares much of the same values as the public broadcaster.

And it’s going to be a blast.

I’m a fan of unique venues for novel experiences. I was at a bar (I think it was a bar) in San Francisco where many rooms offered different vibes. One room showed “South Park” on the wall while patrons propped themselves up on plush cushions. There was music, both live and spun, and interactive art of all kinds.

I’m imagining FUSE will be like that. But way better. (I mean, I don’t remember the name of the bar right).

I love the Vancouver Art Gallery building. It might not be able to display all its holdings at one time and its age troubles the preservationists, but it has got ghosts. Good ghosts.

And since FUSE started up in 2005 there’s no end in soul.

From what I understand reading and hearing about FUSE, it’s a big fun deal. A different theme each time with a different line up of DJs, live bands, dance, art, and innovation.

It’s free for members and from what Yelp reviews I’ve been reading, some people buy membership for these select Fridays.

You drink. You nibble. You look at stuff and you interact with stuff. There’s all that “seen and be seen” talk around it which usually turns me off. But this event looks way more clever and unpretentious than a gala.

Check out the line up:

The theme is Heroes of the Street.

And you can wear costumes. In this case, your favourite street hero. If I had time to get it together I’d go as the Twitter handle @streetcrow But not being that clever, I think I’ll just go in my civies.

Enhanced by Zemanta