In the Mood

Check out this commercial from French supermarket chain Intermarché – it’s adorable:

I miss French thinking – the simplest things in life can be extraordinarily romantic…I don’t seem to see much of that here in the United States. What do you think? Has today’s top speed pace of life, with all its technology and “convenience” killed romance and love and making connections? Sometimes I wonder.

xxx

PS: If you fancy bringing a bit more love into your life, grab yourself one of these Heart Projectors from Urban Outfitters – they are on sale now, and I WANT ONE!!! 🙂

American Woman

HBO is currently airing the final season of “Girls”, and so far they are hitting it right out of the friggin’ park. WOW. The show has been amazing – and we are only three episodes in. This past Sunday’s was entitled “American Bitch”, and I can’t stop thinking about it – the entire episode featured an encounter between Lena Dunham’s character Hannah, and a writer that she long admired named Chuck (played by the incredible Matthew Rhys – somebody get this dude an award…holy shit), when he summons Hannah over to discuss a piece that she wrote about him, describing him as a sexual predator. There’s a hell of a lot to take in during this episode – I’m going to need to watch it at least one more time – but I want to highlight this segment of dialogue for you:

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HANNAH: I’m talking about the part where you’re a very fucking famous writer and she’s working really hard to have just a little bit of what you get every day.
(He scoffs) So, you invite her back to your hotel room.
What’s she supposed to say? No? – Uh – She admires you.
Then you unbuckle your pants.
What’s she gonna do next? You got it wrong.
It’s not so she has a story.
It’s so she feels like she exists.
And, by the way, people don’t talk about this shit for fun.
It ruins their lives.
You know that.

CHUCK: Do you hear yourself right now?

HANNAH:  Mm-hmm.

CHUCK: I am a grown man inviting a grown woman to my hotel room.
Did I put a gun to her head? Did I offer her a job? I may be stupid, but I’m not evil, sister.
An invitation isn’t inherently wrong or dangerous.
Sexuality’s very muddy.
That’s a real Grey area.
Or at least we say it’s a – Grey area so we can get –

HANNAH: I am so sick of Grey areas.

HANNAH: (sighs) When I was in fifth grade, I had this English teacher, Mr. Lasky.
He liked me.
He was impressed with me.
I did, like, special creative writing.
I wrote, like, a little novel or whatever.
Sometimes when he was talking to the class, he’d stand behind me and he’d just, like, rub my neck.
Sometimes he’d, like, rub my head, rustle my hair.
And I didn’t mind.
It made me feel special.
It made me feel like someone saw me and they knew that I was gonna grow up and be really, really particular.
It also made kids hate me and put lasagna in my fucking backpack, but that’s a different story.
Anyway, last year, I’m at this, like, whatever, warehouse party in Bushwick, and this dude comes up to me and he’s like, “Horvath, “we went to middle school together, East Lansing.
” And I’m like, “Oh, my God, remember how crazy Mr.
Lasky’s class was? “He was basically trying to molest me.
” And you know what this kid said? He looks at me in the middle of this fuckin’ party like he’s a judge and he goes, “That’s a very serious accusation, Hannah.
” And he walked away.
And there I am, and I’m just 11 again, and I’m just getting my fuckin’ neck rubbed.
Because that stuff never goes away.

CHUCK: Yeah, I’m sorry that happened to you.
I mean, it gives me a greater perspective on what triggered you, to use the parlance of our times, about my story.


HANNAH: I didn’t tell you so you’d feel sorry for me.


CHUCK: No, I’m just saying I’m sorry because it’s an awful story.


HANNAH: Yeah, but look at me.
I’m smart.
And amazing.
And now I have a story.

(Later in the episode)

CHUCK: And what are your dreams for the next five years? Sorry to sound like a “People” magazine interview.
HANNAH: No, it’s okay.
It’s a good question.
I want to write.
I want to write stories that make people feel less alone than I did.
I want to make people laugh about the things in life that are painful.

That’s what I wanna do.

CHUCK: Good goal.
That’s a really good goal.

I don’t know if the power of this scene is coming across in the written word, but…I suspect it is. This part kills me, probably because it IS me:

What’s she gonna do next? You got it wrong.
It’s not so she has a story.
It’s so she feels like she exists.
And, by the way, people don’t talk about this shit for fun.
It ruins their lives.
You know that.

I can’t count the number of times that the imbalance of power that exists in this world has affected me, has prompted me to do things that I am very not proud of…simply to validate my own existence. In hindsight, my shame runs deep and I wonder why I put myself through such hell, and I struggle to figure out why validation mattered so much to me – but it did. It still does. I wish I could find a path to enlightenment and validation that didn’t pass through the land of a thousand mistakes and land mines, but…I haven’t found that yet. Perhaps someday.

Does this resonate with you as well? I hope it does, because it’s hard thinking that I am the only one who feels this way, who still does shit they don’t want to do because suffering is better than the pain of loneliness. I wish there was a club for those of us who have made bad choices, where we could all meet up and hang out and live happily like the “Golden Girls” (straight up my life goals, btw) eating cheesecake around the kitchen table before retiring to the lanai, not a drop of judgment to be had anywhere. If you know of such a place, let me know – I’m in.

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xxx

O Canada

I received the daily email from Jezebel at lunch today, while on duty in the cafeteria, living the dream. I opened it and saw that one of the stories had a Canadian angle, so I clicked on it to give ‘er a read. Imagine my surprise when I ended up having to stare at the ceiling as moisture began leaking from my eyes:

After ‘O Canada,’ An Unexpected Letter Taught Me a Valuable Lesson About Xenophobia

By Nelly Furtado

Last year, when I was invited to sing “O Canada” at the NBA All-Star Game, I was happy for the opportunity to represent the city I live in, Toronto, as it hosted the world’s largest celebration of one of my favorite sports.

It wasn’t my first time. I had sung the anthem at the 2004 All-Star Game in LA, and hadn’t been happy with my performance. I attempted to sing some of the words in French but flubbed them; luckily this was pre-social media so any critique was limited to a few morning radio chuckles.

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I vowed to myself that this time I would sing the anthem in English, and that I would make it memorable. I talked with the NBA about performing with a First Nations artist. Ultimately, I ended up booking Tony Duncan, a Native American hoop dancer and flute player with whom I’ve been collaborating since 2012. I began studying past anthems and created a rendition that felt authentic to my own patriotism, rather than a display of vocal histrionics or an impotent, beer-can-singalong version.

During camera rehearsals at The Air Canada Centre, I made sure that Tony and I were both visible at center stage. We were a team delivering an anthem that had recently been in the news because of a potential lyric change, from the line “in all our sons command” to the gender-neutral “in all of us command.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had just appointed a gender-equal cabinet. Change was in the air.

As I stood courtside, my performance minutes away, female dancers gyrated beside each All-Star on the makeshift stage. My face burned at the old-school display of misogyny, and I had the sudden urge to expedite the gender-neutral “O Canada.” Instead, I steadied my mind for my performance. In my pantsuit and shorn hair, I walked out calmly and sang “O Canada” from the bottom of my Canadian Portuguese heart. The arena erupted as Tony and I left the court, and we were showered with praise from peers and friends. After the game, I ended up at a friend’s 40th birthday party and stayed past 3 a.m.

On my way home, I checked Twitter and noticed my name was trending. Tens of thousands of tweets from strangers poured into my feed: words of hostility, praise, ignorance, kindness, and nothing in between. Annoyed and tired, I went home to bed, but woke up the next morning trying to make sense of the frenzy. I noticed that a semi-famous male sportscaster had sent out a sexist and mental-health marginalizing tweet which started the windfall. In his tweet, he wondered if I was having a “breakdown” and said that it was the “worst anthem he had ever heard.” I was mortified and angry—until it got worse. As I read the feed, I realized that my performance had become some kind of lightning rod. This was not just about melodies and vocals. The real buttons of hate that I had pushed seemed to stem from a veiled xenophobia in my country and beyond. As a first-generation Portuguese Canadian female, I was officially “the other,” and not entitled to express my “O Canada” with artistic nuance or intimacy:

@NellyFurtado GO BACK TO PORTUGAL
The words stung like salt.

When I read this hateful tweet, I realized that my “Child of Immigrants Citizenship” was somehow less Canadian.

I relied on grace, resisted the urge for rebuttal, and posted a simple note thanking the NBA and Tony Duncan for helping me represent our home “on native land.” Deep down, I felt a sadness and fear about the dark and hateful hidden corners of my country, and confusion about where I belonged in it.

A few months later, I was at Canadian Music Week, minutes away from receiving the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Award. My manager Rose handed me an envelope, and my eyes froze on the sender’s address: Kiwetin School, Timiskaming First Nation, Notre Dame du Nord, Quebec.

Inside was a letter from a Grade 6 teacher named Craig Parry. He had played a recording of my version of “O Canada” for the students who had not watched the game or had not heard about the controversy. They discussed some of the tweets and comments and they thought it was very unfair. They reflected on the comments and found them particularly “mean spirited, rude, and disrespectful.” They had made Tony and I beautiful, handmade cards to let us know that they liked our version, and to remind us not to listen to the “bullies” and the “mean” people.

Dear Nelly and Tony,

Some people are not kind and some people are kind! I hope you feel better!

-Jersey Chaput

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I broke into tears of relief and promised myself and my daughter that I would visit those students and thank them in person. My manager discreetly contacted the school principal to set aside a date. At the crack of dawn on a beautiful day in May, I picked up Tony, Sean and Karl, and we shared the eight-hour drive up to Timiskaming First Nation. The principal quietly ushered us in as we prepared to surprise a gym full of students and teachers. I burst out of the gym closet singing my song “Powerless” with Tony hoop dancing to my right. It was one of the best days of my life. I told those children how much their kindness meant to us, and how their act of compassion had erased the sting of hate from thousands of strangers. We passed out the cards so that their peers could read them too, and I called the Grade 6 students to their feet individually so that we could all applaud and celebrate them.

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I sang a few of my songs while Tony danced and played flute, and Sean played guitar. Tony shared some stories and songs and got us all dancing a traditional friendship dance together, hand in hand. We took questions and played a game of basketball. We shared a warmth and joy that cannot be found behind the coldness of a screen or hardness of a keypad. We connected.

The greatest moment was when a student put her hand up and asked, “Can you please perform ‘O Canada?’” Tony and I looked at each other with hesitation—We had not brought the correctly-tuned flute. All of a sudden the room got on their feet and we sang it together, fumbling through it the Canadian way—with acceptance and goodwill.

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Today, one year later, I thank the people who used their social media megaphones to send vitriol my way. Thanks to them, I made some new friends IRL at Timiskaming First Nation, who reminded me that IRL connections are the only ones that matter.

Xenophobia, which is rooted in ignorance, has an enemy called love, which is truly intelligent. This experience galvanized my belief that compassion lives inside each and every one of us. “GO BACK TO PORTUGAL” hit me where it hurt. It spiraled me right back to my kindergarten playground where I was the only ethnic minority in my entire class. I never thought that a few wise, beautiful children at another playground some 30 years later would end up healing that wound completely.

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This is a lovely story to end an otherwise crappy week. I love to hear about people rising against the misery that social media can (and does) pour down upon us all…and I love to hear about people reaching out to others with a hand of kindness. There needs to be more of that – everyday, and not just on a day like today (which happens to be Random Act of Kindness Day).

I love this. 🙂

xxx

Three Little Birds

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Watch this video of the looooooovely David Tennant reassuring the world that things are going to be okay – and remember, we can trust him…he’s a doctor. 😉

 

I love him – he’s awesome. 🙂

xxx

 

PS: I got this in an email this weekend, and wanted to share it – it’s nice to be reminded of the importance of gratitude and positive thinking from time to time:

1. Today, I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I’m working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile.”

  1. Today, I asked my mentor – a very successful business man in his 70s- what his top 3 tips are for success. He smiled and said, “Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.”

  2. Today, after a 72 hour shift at the fire station, a woman ran up to me at the grocery store and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn’t recognize her. She let go with tears of joy in her eyes and the most sincere smile and said, “On 9-11-2001, you carried me out of the World Trade
    Center.”

  3. Today, after I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died, he licked the tears off my face.

  4. Today at 7AM, I woke up feeling ill, but decided I needed the money, so I went into work. At 3PM I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat too. A man in a BMW pulled over, gave me a ride, we chatted, and then he offered me a job.
    I start tomorrow.

  5. Today, as my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said, “I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this
    more often.”

  6. Today, I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.

  7. Today, in the cutest voice, my 8-year-old daughter asked me to start recycling. I chuckled and asked, “Why?” She replied, “So you can help me save the planet.” I chuckled again and asked, “And why do you want to save the planet?” Because that’s where I keep all my stuff,” she said.

  8. Today, when I witnessed a 27-year-old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2-year-old daughter’s antics, I suddenly realized that I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again.

  9. Today, a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he
    said, “I hope you feel better soon.”

  10. Today, I was feeling down because the results of a biopsy came back malignant. When I got home, I opened an e-mail that said, “Thinking of you today. If you need me, I’m a phone call away.” It was from a high school friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years.

  11. Today, I was traveling in Kenya and I met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He said he hadn’t eaten anything in over 3 days and looked extremely skinny and unhealthy. Then my friend offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating. The first thing the man said was, “We can share it.

 

All Star

The best and the brightest from the National Hockey League got together over the weekend for their annual All-Star festivities – and some fool decided to let Justin Bieber come. Thankfully Chris Pronger took care of the Beebs – look at this hit he laid on him:

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It’s a toss up which is better: the look of agony on Bieber’s face in his helmet, or the sheer delight on Pronger’s…I believe some may call this divine retribution. 😉

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Another funny thing happened at the NHL All-Star Weekend, when my beloved Snoop Dogg DJ’d and played an uncensored song – oops. Only Snoop could get away with something like this and not have it turn into an international incident…check out the news story here.

Hope your Monday is off to a good start, and that you are finding some stuff to smile about – in these troubled times, we need to take the laughs where we can get them.

xxx

Time Out

This whole farewell to the Obamas/inauguration/new president thing has taken a hell of a toll on me…I just can’t get on board with that man (he who shall not be named, and I don’t mean Lord Voldemort) and the things that he stands for.  I’m wearing mostly black like I’m in mourning (not that big of a stretch, as my inner French girl has me wearing black most of the time anyway), I’ve completely shut off from social media (can’t recommend that enough, actually), I’ve drastically cut my consumption of news – I just can’t bring myself to hear the tales of our lives and cultures being separated and torn apart. It’s depressing as hell – and I am just not feeling it. In his first week, Trump has targeted women, people of color, immigrants, transparency and our values – how could anyone possibly feel positive about this? Take a look at this article from the Washington Post:

The way President Trump tells it, the meandering, falsehood-filled, self-involved speech that he gave at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters was one of the greatest addresses ever given.

“That speech was a home run,” Trump told ABC News just a few minutes into his first major television interview since moving into the White House. “See what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming. … I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl, and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time.”

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I refuse to post pictures of Donald Trump – instead, we will use Voldemort images. Seems an appropriate substitution to me.

The most powerful man in the world continued: “You probably ran it live. I know when I do good speeches. I know when I do bad speeches. That speech was a total home run. They loved it. … People loved it. They loved it. They gave me a standing ovation for a long period of time. They never even sat down, most of them, during the speech. There was love in the room. You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. … That speech was a good speech. And you and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech. And it was very, very unfortunate that you did.”

The lengthy interview, which aired late Wednesday night, provided a glimpse of the president and his state of mind on his fifth full day in office. It revealed a man who is obsessed with his own popularity and eager to provide evidence of his likability, even if that information doesn’t match reality.

Trump insisted that he could have “very, very easily” won the popular vote in the election — which concluded more than 11 weeks ago — had he simply tried. He again suggested that Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote because of widespread voter fraud, of which there is no evidence. He hinted that he thinks voter fraud might have also helped elect former president Barack Obama, whose favorability ratings were higher than his on Inauguration Day. He justified some of his unsubstantiated claims by saying that millions of his supporters agree with him. He did acknowledge that his own approval rating is “pretty bad,” but he blamed that on the media.

Trump plugged an “extraordinary poll” that he said found that people “loved and liked” his inaugural address. He again claimed to have “the biggest crowd in the history of inaugural speeches” and accused the media of demeaning his supporters by underreporting turnout. Trump also took credit for the Dow Jones industrial average closing above 20,000 for the first time on Wednesday, referred to a former rival as “one of the combatants that I fought to get here” and said that a recent visitor told him that their meeting “was the single greatest meeting I’ve ever had with anybody.”

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Even some of the discussion of policy seemed to come back to the fight for popularity. At one point, Trump summed up his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act by saying: “Millions of people will be happy. Right now, you have millions and millions and millions of people that are unhappy.”

Four times, the president referred to himself in the third-person.

The interview revealed just how preoccupied Trump is with two variables that are gumming up his claim of being widely beloved: Losing the popular vote to Clinton and hosting an inauguration crowd that was smaller than in previous years.

I would’ve won the popular vote if I was campaigning for the popular vote,” Trump said. “I would’ve gone to California, where I didn’t go at all. I would’ve gone to New York, where I didn’t campaign at all. I would’ve gone to a couple of places that I didn’t go to. And I would’ve won that much easier than winning the electoral college.”


And even without trying to win the popular vote, Trump has said that he did win the popular vote — if you don’t count the millions of fraudulent votes he believes were cast, although state elections officials say they have seen no evidence of that. On Wednesday, Trump called for a “major investigation” into allegations of voter fraud, but gave no details on how such a probe would be carried out.

You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals,” Trump said. “You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in New York and New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion.”

When pressed to back up his accusations, Trump pointed to a 2012 Pew Center report. When ABC’s David Muir said the author of that report found “no evidence of voter fraud,” Trump attacked that author.

Excuse me,” the president snapped. “Then why did he write the report?”

“Part of my whole victory was that the men and women of this country who have been forgotten will never be forgotten again,” Trump said. “We had a massive crowd of people. We had a crowd. I looked over that sea of people and I said to myself: ‘Wow.’ And I’ve seen crowds before. Big, big crowds. That was some crowd. When I looked at the numbers that happened to come in from all of the various sources, we had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches. I said, the men and women that I was talking to who came out and voted will never be forgotten again. Therefore, I won’t allow you or other people like you to demean that crowd and to demean the people that came to Washington, D.C., from faraway places because they like me. But more importantly, they like what I’m saying.”

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Shocking, don’t you think? With the state of affairs that we have going on these days, how on earth can his priority be his own popularity and being perceived as being “right”? There are so many issues that are considerably more important – yet this petulant, spoiled brat of a man wants to be right and wants to be liked. Pathetic. Instead of being right, perhaps he would be better served to focus on actually doing what is right for people. Rant over – I shall step off my soapbox now. 😉

 

Back to what I’ve been up to…I’ve been reading a whole ton, watching movies, and spending time on myself and the things that matter to me. I’m drinking mint tea like it’s my damn job, cuddling on the couch more than usual, and it feels great. I’ve also been doing a lot of cooking with my magical new crockpot (whoever invented the crockpot deserves a hug and a sticker – there are few things better than coming home from yet-another crap day at work to the smells of delicious food. Yum. Check out this recipe that I tried a couple of weeks ago – delish! 🙂

Orange Glazed Meatballs:

(Serves 8-10)
28 oz bag of frozen meatballs

12 oz jar of orange marmalade

1/2 small jalapeno, diced

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup beef broth

3-4 green onions, chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1. In the crockpot, mix together marmalade, orange juice, jalapeno, onion, broth, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.

2. Add meatballs and mix to coat.

3. Set crockpot on LOW for 4.5 – 5 hours.

 

Yummy!

 

I hope that your week is going well, my friends – Happy Friday Eve!! One more day – we got this! 🙂

xxx

PS: If you’ve got any kickass crockpot recipes to share, send them my way – yaa! 🙂

Brother

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Few things touch my heart like the love between President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden – this latest video from yesterday when the President surprised his VP with a Presidential Medal of Freedom may be one of the best things we will see for a long time. Check it out:

Beautiful, eh? I love this so much, I’ve watched it a few times – it’s so great to see a relationship that began in politics (which has been so ugly and underhanded for so long) turn into something really sincere and honest. Love. This. 🙂 Something else I love? The Obama-Biden memes! Enjoy, friends! 🙂

Xxx
PS: One last bit of love (that is SO true):

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Start Me Up

Happy 2017, friends! I’ve taken a bit of a break over the past week and a half – it was much needed, and it has been lovely. As well as needing a hot minute to recharge, I was struggling to find the words to say as 2016 managed to end with more depressing news (Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, my very beloved George Michael…I could go on) – I saw this on Twitter, and think there may be something to it:

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It seems that 2016 was a strange year for pretty much everyone – not everything was bad, of course (thank God), but there were some moments….anyway, onward and upward! Bring on 2017!!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? Here’s my list:

Learn to paint – with watercolors and acrylics
Continue to study Italian
Continue to study coding – finish the Code Camp program
Make some progress with finances
Spend more time with the Wee One and the other peeps I love
Get a new job!

I avoided all of the cliche items – join a gym, weight loss, become a better person, blah blah blah…. there’s nothing wrong with the person I am, I have no time for a gym, I’m already working on the weight loss, so – I think I like my list. It focuses on the things that matter to me: more time with my friends and family, positive career changes, improving the quality of my life, and learning new stuff. I will keep you posted on how this list turns out – cross your fingers for me! 🙂

I’ve collected a bunch of stuff during my time off that I want to share with you – I will start posting these articles and fun things this week, just to get our year together started off right. Happy New Year to you, my friends….let’s make 2017 much better than 2016 (it won’t take much!)!!! 🙂

xxx