Monthly Archives: October 2012

weekly photo challenge: foreign


dear anderson,
another prompt from wordpress has led to another note from me. this time it’s a photo challenge, which is fun. the theme is “foreign”. i’m sure if you were participating you would have some amazing photos to share. i have some great photos from my travels, i’ve been to lots of countries that would be considered by a canadian to be “foreign” but i don’t think any of my pictures really captured the essence of the word. maybe some photos i have an open air market in the desert in isreal, but still i feel those don’t tell enough of my story in them.

and then i remembered i took this picture in the british virgin islands last year.

this is my teddy bear charlotte. my boyfriend bought her for me about 3 christmases ago. at the time, he worked at the department store, the bay. charlotte is a canadian polar bear with a hand warmer in the classic hudson’s bay colours. when we travel, we like to bring her with us because, as a polar bear, she doesn’t know about much beyond snow and seal meat. so far, she has been to las vegas, jamaica, the bvi and mexico. i do treat her as a member of the family, and i love taking pictures of her. especially in tropical settings because she is so out of her element. at least when she was in the bvi, they are also part of the commonwealth, so she at least had one thing in common with everyone!

for me, the word ‘foreign’ has an element of outsiderness to it, and this picture captures it perfectly!



how do you feel about children in adult-oriented places?


dear anderson,

i thought i would send you a quick note after coming across the latest wordpress writing challenge. the topic is whether children should be allowed in adult oriented places. as you know, this is a topic i am quite passionate about. this is because i generally dislike being in the presence of children. i don’t want to appear as though i am a cranky old ogre who hates all kids, but at times that is totally who i am. i think people who have kids are more than welcome to that burden, but why should i be subjected to it as well?

i don’t want to seem unreasonable. i am fully aware of the fact that if parents didn’t brave the outside world they would probably lose their minds and their kids would be socially deprived oddballs. but, that fact does not automatically give parents and kids free reign on said outside world. there have to be limitations. i mean, i don’t get to go hang out in family bathrooms at the mall, so i think it’s only fair that i don’t need to associate with children when i’m out and about. there are choices that families can make, just as there are choices i can make as a childless misanthrope.

for example, when i travel i love going to adults only hotels. this way i know that the only people who are peeing in the pool are drunk dudes, rather than every baby in sight. mostly it’s the sounds of children playing that bother me. they have no concept of how loud they are. i know i only learned this myself at the age of approximately 27, but being startled by kids screaming “cannonball!” is the fastest way to ruin a vacation for me. so i think that by actively planning to avoid children everyone wins, i can swear loudly, be tipsy and relax and children can get excited about a pirate themed pool down the street. but, why do i have to be the one that has to plan?

when i make dinner reservations i think about when best to avoid families, when i go to the mall i do the same thing. but then i can’t help but think to myself, why am i planning my life around children? i don’t have them, nor do i want them but they still have a level of control on my happiness. and i think that’s where my anger and frustrations come from. i certainly don’t want parents to feel agoraphobic , but i don’t think it’s fair that i am more aware of their kids than they are themselves. i know when their kid is playing on their iphone and the sound is too loud, i know when their kid is peering under the door of a bathroom stall and i know when their kid is standing right in the middle of the sidewalk. i don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect the parents to be aware as well. i feel sympathy when a baby is crying on an airplane, and i rarely get mad when that happens. what i don’t like is a child standing on their seat looking back at me expecting me to smile and amuse them. i have my own stuff going on, that is not my responsibility. i have found the best way to discourage this particular behaviour is to glare at the child, for the most part they get the message. sometimes the little buggers are persistent though and think we’re playing some sort of face making game. at which point, i have been known to crack a smile. but that smile is always forced.

I do make an exception when it comes to children i know. Generally i like them, but still in relatively small doses. If we are related their chances of positive attention are greatly increased. In fact, i have a calendar of pictures of my cousin’s kids at my desk and i genuinely love opening a new month. I just don’t really like strangers or their children.

i know i’m kinda vehement on the subject and i try to put myself in a frazzled couple’s shoes when they just want a normal life. but, i just don’t think i need to be impacted. so yes, i do feel that there is a time and a place for children, but if they’re well behaved and not demented, screaming dirt balls, i probably won’t get too upset if i encounter them during a nice dinner out. and, if i can’t stand the thought of a child being in my vicinity, i will plan accordingly. And, if i’m seated at a restaurant by a family that leaves a messy disaster zone in their wake, i tip a little extra because they didn’t ask for the burden either.

until next time,

how could bob dylan ever disappoint me?


dear anderson,

sorry it’s been so long. i know, i know, i say that every time. but i do mean it. i guess i feel that because i watch your show so much, i do feel like we’re still in touch. the highlight of the past couple weeks for me was when you and stephen colbert did a trivia contest. if that was a show i could watch every day, i would be so happy. consider it. i can’t be the only one.

anderson, i have a confession. you are not the only famous person in my life. you’re my best friend. justin timberlake is my sometimes husband. and bob dylan is my soul.

i love bob dylan. he is the number one artist on my ipod, most played, most versions of the same song, most songs over 5 minutes long. i can’t get enough of him. i’m not one of those people who hunts for bootlegs, but i see myself doing more of that in the future.

i always really liked bob dylan, but it wasn’t until university that the true love began. i took an english course as an elective called ‘bob dylan and the literature of the sixties’. i picked the class mostly because i could get credit for reading my favourite book, ‘on the road’. but the lasting impression was dyaln. every day we got to listen to a song and discuss the lyrics and the history and politics associated with it. it was like heaven. i never realized what a poet he was. i mean, i’d seen ‘dangerous minds’ with michelle pfiffer so i had an idea, but i never knew what a profound effect his music and words would have on my life.

so, last week bob dylan was in town. i bought tickets a few months ago – second row seats to see the man up close and as personal as he can be. he’s on tour with mark knopfler whom i’ve never seen live so i knew i had to go. when i hit ‘confirm’ on my ticket order i burst into tears. i was just so excited. over the next few months, the excitement ebbed and flowed. but as the day approached i started getting a bit overwhelmed. many people will say that dylan has lost his spark, and that at 71 seeing him live just isn’t worth it. but i will take what i can get. i wasn’t alive when he was the awesome troubadour singing about civil rights, i wasn’t even alive when he turned electric or went all religious. but it’s still him up on that stage and that’s enough for me.

this was the fourth time i was going to see him live, so you would think it would be old hat. but the last time, the show was less than stellar. the kids sitting next to me talked the whole time, the sound was lousy and bob barely moved. so the more i thought about it, the more worried i was that this would be a similar show. but i tried to remain hopeful. i did my usual routine of looking at recent set lists to determine if he would play my favourite song – he played it the first time i saw him a decade ago, and then never again. but i was convinced it was time to play it here again. i read reviews that were very mixed and my excitement started to fluctuate. i was getting worried the show would be a disappointment and that if this really was the end of his never-ending tour?

at work, the whole day leading up to the show i listened to mark knopfler’s new album. i wanted to get prepared for non- dire straits music, and distract myself for bob dylan hysteria. i think knopfler is amazing and actually really like his new stuff. secretly though, all i really wanted to hear him play was the songs from ‘the princess bride’ soundtrack. i love that whole thing, from the instrumental songs to the theme that i once lip synced to at my friend’s tenth birthday party. when preparing myself to see mark, i could be pragmatic. i knew he would be playing songs i didn’t know, but he is a guitar legend so who cares. but with bob i was working myself into a real tizzy.

i left work and decided i had time to sneak in a nap before meeting my stepdad for dinner before the show. i couldn’t find a parking spot near my house and i was getting hysterical, but i finally parked and fell asleep so i thought everything would be fine. i am so naive. the tizzy didn’t stop, but i tried to just get over it. it didn’t work. i was about halfway through my meal when my emotions of the better of me. i don’t know if i’ve told you yet, anderson, but my stomach and i have a really complicated relationship. not only can i not digest milk despite my deep love of cheese, my stomach does not like it when i’m emotional. so here i am, sitting at the restaurant getting more and more excited and then nervous that the show won’t be everything i hoped it would be. i told my stepdad i was feeling a bit ill, and then i cried. thank goodness we were in the corner, but still, sitting on top of that high bar stool i felt so silly. but, that wasn’t my first public cry and it sure won’t be the last. unfortunately, getting some tears out and talking about how things will be great no matter what didn’t help. i sauntered to the bathroom and threw up. i felt better and we headed to the show.

obviously, the show was amazing. possibly the best dylan show of all the ones i’ve been to. mark knopfler was so amazing, and his band was ridiculous! i think those 8 guys played about 60 different kinds of instruments. it was so much fun! and then there was bob. he seemed to be in a great mood and was jamming out on the piano, so what if he played a few wrong notes here and there – he’s bob dylan!! the songs were not how they are on the records, but i’m totally ok with that. this time, they were all still recognizable and distinct. and the best part of all! he played my favourite song. and yes, i totally cried again. like a lot. i may even be crying a bit right now just thinking about it. seriously, i just can’t contain my love for bob dylan.

i know i need to work on not letting my emotions get the best of me – happy or sad and i still throw up. this is not the best way to live. i hope that next time i get worked up and nervous, i remember this bob dylan concert and remind myself that i wasn’t even remotely disappointed despite all of my anxiety. but i do think i may stop going out for dinner when i’m emotional.

until next time,