Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy Old Fogey New Year

I remember a time when celebrating the new year meant dancing so hard, you broke a heel on your shoe and had to hobble home through the snow, because you couldn't get a taxi and the buses weren't running. When you are young, -30C is a minor detail. When you're my age, it's a reason to stay home with a bottle of wine and some comfort food. Maybe rent a movie if you feel like staying up past ten. Which you probably don't. If you do stay up to watch the balloon drop, I'll guarantee that your spouse will be asleep on the couch when you kiss him or her at midnight.

I am full of admiration for older people who retain a balls to the walls attitude for celebration. Late nights, fancy clothes, uncomfortable shoes. Come to think of it, that describes me at no age at all, except for the late nights part. I have always enjoyed flannel over sequins. And yet.

I long to be the person who does a one eighty at age eighty and starts skydiving. The kind who learns a second language. Something hard, like Mandarin. Or finally learns to enjoy Sushi. Everyone likes it but me, even people from Flin Flon. But I really hate it. It seems so unhealthy, all that polished white rice with tiny bits of raw fish and seaweed. Yuck. Okay, so that's off the list. This blog is definitely helping me narrow things down.

Before I'm seventy, I need to step up my game. Become braver and less complacent. So when the time comes, I will step out of my comfort zone and do something crazy. Not as crazy as eating sushi. But crazy enough to make myself uncomfortable. Like learning to hunt, or going deep sea diving. Since I haven't had the courage to snorkel yet, the last one might be a long shot.

In eight years, I will be almost seventy. In 2022, if you remember, please ask me what courageous thing I'm about to attempt. Say it in a way that I can't ignore. Extract a promise from me. Because if I'm not held accountable, I'll never walk in high heels again. I won't sky dive, or eat monkey brains, or even ride on a ferris wheel. I don't want to die having been the same old boring person. And feel free to send me your own list. I'll be sure to hold you to it because that's one thing I'm already good at. And Happy 2016. Whew! Eight more years to relax.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dear Mom

It's been a year since we said goodbye. Though we talked a lot in your last days, I have some other things I need to say.

Congratulations on your one year anniversary of enjoying heaven with dad. You've beaten your record of life without kids by three months. And mom, you'd be so proud of us. We have supported each other. Listened to each others troubles. In other words, we've tried to take your place. But we're not you.

The relentlessness of your loss is still knocking us down. For a while, we all pretended you were on vacation. But your ongoing absence has marked us like a burn. It hurts so much. And every day we rip the bandage off and think that maybe now the wound is going to heal. But it never does. Not completely. It feels better for a while, but then the pain comes back. It takes us by surprise, every time.

You know all about it. Like every human being on the planet, you suffered your own losses. And complaining is not the point of this anniversary message, because you were never a whiner. This is a fan letter, mom. You probably didn't get enough of those when you were alive.

You were a rock star at dying. Talk about setting an example. We sang you to heaven, but you opened the gates with your prayer, and your absolute faith. It was such an honour to be there with you. Your body was so small at the end, but your spirit filled the room. Such a big spirit.

Your faith, kindness, and unflinching moral code were an example for all. If we turn away from the path of love, it will not be because of you. You are the most powerful person I've ever known. Humble, unassuming, unpretentious. But so strong. More than the light of one star, you are a constellation.

I can only imagine the strength it took to raise seven kids. To help with your sixteen grandchildren. Being there when they came into the world. And going to work from there! You still amaze me. You've been the guardian and heart of our whole extended family. An energizer bunny powered by love, and never quitting until your heart finally made the decision for you.

We miss you so much, mom. You and dad, we're grateful for all you did for us. If I was a little kid again, and you were here, I'd watch Hymn Sing with you. I wouldn't bug you about buying me Go Go boots, or one of those pedal cars. I guess this is the lesson we carry with us. We have everything we need when we have each other.

Thank you for the example you set from the time I was little. Thank you for helping me with my kids. With my babyTrekker business. For all your prayers and pep talks and encouragement. Give dad a kiss, and Ann and Vic a hug. And Merry Christmas to you all.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Princess and Every Damn Thing

If someone stuck a pea under the twenty mattresses I was sleeping on, it would wake me up. Just me, not Clarence. My husband could be on fire and not notice. Someone could shoot him in the leg and, if they used a silencer, he wouldn't notice for hours. Cuts, burns,  cracked ribs, pneumonia. Nothing seems to stop him. I can't make that claim.

My whole day can be ruined by a shirt tag. Even the softest piece of fabric feels like an ice pick coated with scratchy velcro. This is true for pant tags as well, which is why my underwear looks like it belongs on someone's great grandmother. Anything to prevent the tag from peeking over and digging into my skin. Socks that bunch, itch, or almost have a hole, hats that grip my head, tights that won't stay up. If my clothes don't feel right, I can't have a good day.

This is also true of the weather. I hate wind. The kind you get near the ocean or on Osborne Bridge in Winnipeg. Wind makes my ears ache. I find it unsettling in ways I've never been able to figure out. I could not be a sailor. I'd live for the days of calm when the boat just rocked from side to side and never went anywhere.

Loud music is also a problem. My sister Linda and I were the only teenagers with cotton batting in our ears at a concert. Certain voices that carry in a grating way, or people who are generally loud, are hard to be around. Clarence's family took a while to get used to when we first got married. Everyone talked like they were on stage and no one had provided a microphone.

As I look over the list, I realize that these symptoms are close to those on the autism spectrum. Unfortunately I didn't receive the powerful concentration for things that interest me. Even when I love what I'm doing, its easy for me to ... Look! There's a fox! Wait. Where was I?

What I'm trying to say is, if you see me walking down the street with a discouraged look, know that my long underwear is probably not as soft as it should be. My jacket may have wrist bands that bite, or a hood that hugs my neck too closely. I can handle actual pain much better than this kind of irritant. I don't know why. But now that I've put it out there, I feel a little better. Just...that tag... dammit.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Bug Eaters Dilemma

Apparently, cows are bad news for the planet. All that farting and pooping heats the atmosphere a hundred times faster than regular CO2. And lamb is the same. I heard nothing about sheep. If a lamb hides in the forest and waits to grow up, will it be kinder to the environment? I'm not sure. I had to get out of the car and didn't hear the rest of the CBC program.

Apparently the most sustainable, environmentally friendly meat sources in North America are White Tail deer, feral hogs and Canada Geese. This sounds very Hunger Games to me. My son in law, Bob, has a freezer stocked with the stuff, so he is the moral champion of the family. Clarence used to hunt, but our butcher lost his hand in a meat grinder and that was that. Now, we prefer to buy our meat in plastic packaging from the grocery store. Or, as one vegetarian friend calls it, 'meat that has suffered for you.'

According to many sources, the protein choice of the future will be bugs. Yes, there will be beans aplenty, but my digestive system has met few kinds that actually agree with me. My methane output would thus put me into the cattle category.  So. There are a few choices available that could be raised quickly and provide enough protein for the whole planet. Here are the two I've heard the most about.

Mealworms and crickets. Apparently, the upperwardly mobile, food conscious consumer is looking into these two items. Famous chefs are frying them up and hiding them in plates of egg noodles and such. Oh, the dilemma. It's like buying eggs. Do I get Omega 3's, with their flax laden health boost, or opt for cage free eggs from chickens with a life? Hmm. Back to the bugs.

I can't eat a worm. I don't care if it's dried, frozen or pureed, I can't do it. However, a cricket that's been killed humanely (someone else has to figure that part out) and then sauteed with salt and pepper and a little olive oil, well. I would order the deluxe cricket powder made from this process. I would have to take the word of the company in charge that they actually used genuine olive oil, and not one of those knock off brands I've been reading about.

Powdered cricket added to a fruit shake, with yogurt, mixed berries and a banana? I wouldn't even know it was there. I'm actually willing to do this to help save the planet. Plus, those big brown eyes. It's harder to eat beef than it used to be, now that I can't kid myself about the conditions they live in. What about those white tailed deer, you might ask? Well, a good outdoor life, a short panicked run, then boom. I'd rather eat that meat than what my friend calls 'concentration camp beef.' I really, really have to stop hanging out with her.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

'Tis the Season

Something strange comes over me in the month before Christmas. A restlessness. An inability to view my surroundings with anything less than creeping dissatisfaction. The benefit of this emotion is that I get things done. Tree up. House cleaned and decorated. But there's a less beneficial side effect. I call it the 'Can't leave well enough alone,' syndrome. For example.

When my sister Cindy lived in Flin Flon, she was unhappy with her living room carpet.  It was old. She longed for a clean, bare floor. One afternoon, she pulled up a corner and, lo, there was hardwood. Within minutes, (somehow, we drew my mother and sister Susan into this madness) we were ripping the carpet away from its underlay. We had it neatly rolled and were carrying it out of the house under our arms, when my brother in law came home from a long, long day at work. He looked at us with such tired eyes. I felt like a thief in the Christmas movie, Home Alone. Deserving of a slippery banana peel or brick to the head.

Other years, I've satisfied myself with sewing a Christmas table cloth two hours before dinner was ready to be served. Or painting our rumpus room on Christmas Eve. Though we started at eleven in the morning, I can still remember my sister Linda saying, 'Really? But I've never painted.' 'Here's your chance,' I answered, shoving a brush into her hand. By four o'clock, everything was lovely. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.

I've done other harebrained things, but this year has been the worst. Yesterday, I got the brilliant idea that I should paint the inside of my entrance door red. I've always wanted a red door, and why not have it done in time for Christmas? Clarence was in Winnipeg, so there was no one to talk me out of it. Within fifteen minutes of making the decision, I was at Canadian Tire. I bought a small can of paint, and a little tray and roller. I had washed the door just before leaving home.

Filled with delight, I quickly assembled a drop cloth and small ladder. When I opened the can, the smell hit me right away. I had purchased Tremclad, since this was a metal door. It's an oil paint, which, in my enthusiasm, hadn't occurred to me. Within minutes of applying the paint to the door, I felt dizzy. Fifteen minutes later I had a headache the size of Montana. By the time I finished and was making lunch, I was staggering around the kitchen like I'd just drunk a forty of tequila. Volatile organic compounds. It's tequila with a side of brain damage.

I immediately checked with our family paint advisor, sister Joni. After berating me in an appropriate fashion, she advised letting it dry, then priming it over with latex and repainting with the same. It might help, she said darkly. And, what were you thinking? Well, Joni.

Alas. I wasn't. Enthusiasm for my latest project drove all common sense away. So today, once I've passed the twenty-four hour drying minimum, I'm repainting. Even if it didn't smell so bad, I'd have to, anyway. Because, though I did a good job, it looks terrible. The door actually seems possessed. There is something menacing about it, even without the odor. A malevolence. Like killer children should be waiting for me at the end of a long hallway. Or Jack Nicholson with an axe.

The downside is, I had to redirect my bookclub to my generous friend Kate's house. The upside is, I no longer want a red door. I've often admired them on other people's houses. But in my tiny foyer, it practically slaps your face as you walk by. So, lesson learned. Sigh. Now to finish gyp rocking the basement ceiling. Just kidding, honey. You're not coming home until tomorrow, right?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nick Nack, Paddy Whack

There are two kinds of people in the world. Nay, three. First are the collectors. They spend their lives searching for the perfect addition to their vast hoard. The missing piece. The finishing touch. Nick nacks reproduce in the dark of night, popping out baby nick nacks and expanding their territory so that every time you go to the bathroom, there is another vase sitting on the shelf that wasn't there before.

This kind of multiplication seems to happen most with people in the second group. Those married to collectors. Just when you think you have a handle on things, up springs another piece of art, an elaborately carved mother and child, a bowl hewn from Amazonian wood. "A real collector's item, honey. You don't find those just anywhere. They don't make them like that anymore."

This may be true. But if so, then why does Value Village have an endless supply? They're like black holes, pulling all kinds of things onto their shelves, ready for the next collector to come along. Which they always do. Those of us married to such enthusiasts spend a lot of time crying over, I mean, arranging things.

The third type have taken a vow of emptiness. No clutter violates their clean, barren spaces, the carefully arranged book shelves holding only books read the day before. Their bedrooms hold the basics, beautifully done in minimalist themes. Spare. Bare bones. No extras.

I am in the second camp. The lucky receiver of collected goods. The holder of many vases. Occasionally, the breaker of a few. There is a reason that people like me are married to collectors. It's because we don't have the courage for the bare space. We cannot contemplate a world without nicknacks, even though, deep down, we'd appreciate a few less. Not for us the empty shelves and barren dresser tops. The half empty linen cupboards (Judy, these quilts are antiques!)

On the other hand, if I were married to the third type of person, my sense of superiority would fly right out the window. I would be shamed daily by my inability to get rid of favorite items of clothing that no longer fit. The broken jewelry box I got in Italy. The Vase from Venice. The miniature chess set from India.

It's better to be on team two. Smug in my sense of order, feeling mighty good about my ability to manage. Nick nack, paddy whack. Give this girl a bone. She'll find a nice spot for it.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's the Apolcalypse! And Yet...

I hate the idea of being afraid. Of running for my life for any reason at all. Catastrophic climate change. Nuclear war. Zombies. But aside from the potential for slow starvation or my inability to outrun anything with legs, there would be certain advantages.

Like, never doing my hair again. I'd get one of those buzz cuts Charlize Theron sports in the latest Mad Max movie. Sure, I'd look like the scariest version of myself. But life would be so easy without all the brushing and drying and conditioning. Especially with water being in short supply, which is a given during any decent apocalypse.

I would stop fussing about my calcium or Vitamin D levels. Ordinarily, this kind of thing haunts me, but I simply would not have time for that kind of worry anymore. Also off the list would be probiotics. I'd probably settle for chowing down on some garden dirt, or kissing the neighbor's dog. (All endorsed by certain unnamed guests on CBC radio.) Trying not to die would be the only prescription I would follow.

Having my teeth cleaned would be out. Instead of a trip to my dental hygienist, with its follow up lecture and emotional spanking, I would make do with a twig from a tree and a quick scrub. Perhaps I'd find dental floss in an abandoned Walmart. Either way, my choices would be limited, so I wouldn't have to feel guilty.

Wardrobe choices would be minimal. Since I hate to shop, I could reprise my wardrobe from the 80's and 90's. Baggy sweats and long, loose fitting shirts, plus the most comfortable, unhipster-like shoes I could find. In a real pinch, I'd borrow things from Clarence, like I did when I was pregnant. Men's jockey shorts, ladies. So comfortable!

Cleaning the house would no longer be a problem. Dusting, vaccuming, washing the sheets? Not anymore. I'd find some plastic or one of those space blankets to cover me while I cowered beneath a bridge or made myself at home inside a large culvert.

No more blogging, or writing of any kind. My hand has long forgotten how to work a pen and because of massive, world wide power failure, computers won't work. What will I do with all that time on my hands? Well. The world as we know it will have ended, so time won't be on my side, anyway. Problem solved.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Here's the thing about writers. They're not what you think. Sure, some of them own sweaters with suede patched elbows, or sit at antique desks looking off into the distance while chewing pensively on feathered quills. But not usually. Most writers are like the people I meet at conferences.

Vague looking, mostly old, and holding intense conversations about the strangest things. Ask a fellow attendee about their book and the answer may be accompanied by a thoughtful frown or goofy grin. "Well," they'll say, drawing the word out so it has four syllables. "Its about a dwarf who wants to be king. But first, he must travel to the extra solar planet, Alpha Centauri, to rescue the gamine maiden XYGMSSTYO, held captive by an alien wizard, the great Wartzshnogger."

For some reason, three quarters of the people I meet tend to be fantasy writers. (George R. Martin has a lot to answer for.) My overwhelming feeling at these gatherings is one of belonging. Of being home. Sometimes, when I'm waiting in line for a pitch session or an overpriced drink, I long to turn and hug the person behind me. "I know its hard," I'd say. "But everything will be all right. You're going to finish your  book and find an agent." (I actually don't advise being quite that friendly. When I tried it at a writer's conference in Calgary, a guy thought I was trying to pick him up.)

When I'm with my fellow writers, I feel encouraged. Supported. And vastly entertained. Because the most interesting conversations are the ones inside our own heads. We may be thinking about plot or character development or chuckling over an inside joke. I tell you this so you'll recognize our slightly dazed, inward turned expressions. The vacant gaze. The fall down a flight of stairs while puzzling over a new plot device.

November is national novel writing month, or, Nanowrimo. In thirty days, aspiring writers will attempt to put fifty thousand words on paper. There'll be real sweat involved, plus lots of hand wringing and the occasional crying jag. This world wide movement has almost four hundred thousand participants. Famous writers will send out funny, original pep talks that leave us feeling like we woke up popular in high school, a geek bonus.

 If you have a  bucket list, becoming a novelist would be a well earned addition to it. And an opportunity to be part of something global. In Flin Flon, the Nanos meet weekly in November at the Orange Toad for refreshments, encouragement and a chance to brag about our word count. Please consider this your official invitation. And welcome to the in crowd. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fear of Flying

There are moments in life when fear takes you by the throat and squeezes until you can hardly breathe. Like when you've settled nicely into the middle seat on a plane, and a couple of six hundred pound men with bad B.O. lumber toward your three person row. That's a worst case scenario. Or so you might think. Clarence and I choose opposite aisle seats for several reasons.  One, it allows more elbow room. Two, I am the most annoying person to sit beside on the plane. We both know it.

 I can't sit still. It's actually painful for me. Picture someone with a combination of ADHD and large muscle Parkinson's, and you'll get the picture. I'm a major fidgeter. Constantly digging my purse out from under the seat, looking for chewing gum, checking on my passport, taking off my shoes, putting them back on, getting up and going to the bathroom multiple times. Or, I need hand lotion, a new book, a sweater from the overhead bin. The list is endless.

I feel bad about it, but I can't stop. There are times I want to stand up (of course) and address the people front, back, and beside me. "I'm sorry for what you're about to experience," I'd say. "I simply can't help it. I have an unusual version of Tourette's syndrome. Please forgive me." That might buy me a little time before the dirty looks begin.

I used to be afraid of turbulence. Of falling from the sky and screaming all the way down. Not anymore. Not since my kids grew up. Now I just say my prayers and give myself up to God. I  pray I can get through the flight without being one of those people who are duct taped to their seats, then arrested after an emergency landing.

So. Beware of pleasant looking women with big smiles who invitingly pat the seat next to them. They come with a lot of non regulation sized baggage. Just sit by the big guys. They might take up more room. You may be flattened like a piece of baloney. But at least you'll arrive with your nerves intact. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The State of Our Union

In 1978, we had a truly awesome idea. 
"Why don't we travel across Asia in back of a Bedford army truck with a bunch of strangers and an insane driver?"  Yeah.

Encounter Overland called our three month vacation their most disastrous trip ever. In spite of that, or because of it, we bonded. It might have been a survival mechanism. Or a strong desire to sing with other desperate people. But in the face of hunger, cold, Turkish vodka, flirtatious shepherds, breakdowns (mechanical and mental) stonings (both the pot and rock kind) we raised our voices together. Occasionally shouting each other down, we Wild Rovered, went Blowin in the Wind, and dreamed of a White Christmas. Unfortunately, the snow insisted on covering our tents long before we reached Kathmandu.

If the long and winding road from London to Nepal was neither smooth nor melodic, our reunion this past week made up for it. In the many pieced puzzle that makes up a life, I’d long noticed something missing from mine. After thirty-seven years, in the city of London, the missing piece slid neatly into place when I hugged my fellow intrepids once again. There were only nine of us, plus our distant adventurer, Len, on the phone from Australia. But it was an affair to remember. 

We reinvented laughing. It involved blowing first class Scotch through the nose while being slapped on the back. Having the neighbors plead for the noise to stop. Getting Lynn out of the tub after I thought she’d died in there. It meant a connection that had been formed under the weirdest circumstances, with the most wonderful, annoying, stoic, sucky, terrific people I've ever had the privilege of surviving with.

There's a saying attributed to the Chinese that, if you save someone's life, you're responsible for them forever. This is a debt we all owe. Every time another Overlander held your hand, politely looking off into the distance while you crapped your brains out, or stopped you from killing the driver, (I can't take it anymore! I know. (back pat) I know!) or put up with your egg burps, unwashed body, fits of temper, late arrival, fear, tears and frantic reading of Lucifer's Hammer so they could use it as toilet paper, well. Its like we all exchanged our souls. It felt that big.

So here's to you, my fellow survivors. I salute and love you all. In two years, just in time for our next reunion, we'll track our missing travelers down. I have a few more puzzle pieces left, and I won't rest easy until everyone is in place. Thanks for the laughs, the hugs, and all the memories. Until we meet again.

Monday, September 21, 2015

How High's that Waistband, Mama?

When it comes to our two granddaughters, my husband has a competitive streak. Since Claire was a toddler, he's bragged about wearing high fashion. I've witnessed shouting matches between the two over who wins the title. Claire with her rubber boots, matching swimming goggles and long velvet dress. Her grandpa in his own eccentric getup. As they fight it out, knee to nose, the rest of us flee the room with our fingers stuffed in our ears.

Even two year old Charlotte participates. "Coachie, you're low fashion," she cries in her adorable lisp. He falls for it every time, and they holler back and forth until eventually someone's in tears. We just sigh and hand him a kleenex.

If I had to pick a low fashion point in my own life, it would be the mid eighties through the nineties. Simply put, my clothes were butt ugly. Jewel coloured oversized tee shirts with matching bedazzled jackets. Acid washed mom jeans with a waist band so high, it sat  directly beneath my breasts. Christmas sweaters with crap sewn on them, worn with a complete lack of irony.

It was a comfortable era. I never had a waistband that wasn't stretchy. A long ugly hoodie over some unattractively baggy tights was the perfect outfit for cleaning out the garage or heading over to a friend's party. There was no such thing as under dressing. Here is an example. We're all in pink, I'm in a sweat suit and my hair has been permed with a $3 Toni kit. We were probably going to a wedding.

I still like to be comfortable. I have tuxedo pants that, yes, stretch at the waist. I enjoy wearing jeggings tucked into boots and covered with a long sweater. Lycra seems a little sturdier these days, and the tops aren't as oversized as they used to be. Or perhaps I've just grown into them. Since I only wear stretchy clothes, I'll never know for sure. Maybe I'll never be high fashion. But Clarence has given me two thumbs up on some new items. So that means I'm good. Right?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Book of Me and You

I've finally figured out why I love to read. It's not just pure escapism, or meeting characters who move me enough to keep the pages turning. Good fiction shows life pared down to its essential parts. Characters might stand at the edge of a cliff and contemplate life, but you can bet they're not thinking, "I wish I hadn't had that last burrito. I really have to take a dump." Unless its an Elmore Leonard novel. Then, all bets are off.

Many a novel can be summed up by the Friday Night Lights team slogan, Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't lose. I would put Jane Austen into this category. Any romance novelist, really, or writer of hard boiled detectives stories. The kind where they get their guy in the end. The opposite is also true. "Cloudy Eyes, Empty Hearts, Can't Win." A Word God like Cormac McCarthy can take us down the path of endless despair, yet leave us saying, 'more, please.'

Fiction, as opposed to non fiction, (where one is obliged to save the whales, understand universal truths and free kidnapped journalists) allows us to inhabit the life of someone who feels real yet doesn't exist. We enter the story, loaded with our own crap, and watch it dissolve in the acidic mix of the character's own problems. One need never stand in front of a mirror and think about back fat. Or wonder why the skin above a cesarean scar insists on drooping like a goofy smile. Why brown spots appear on on the backs of hands and knees. Characters don't wonder what's for dinner unless its central to the story, which is almost never. Except in serial mysteries, where protagonists eat junk food daily and never gain weight.

I need a  fresh translation for my life...a fictional character to take over for me.  We all do. Someone to explain the trials and tribulations we suffer privately and publicly. Life, in all its ordinary, every dayness, is worthy of such a thing. The child you bore, labouring for hours. The scars on your heart. Your misunderstood soul. The world will read your story and sigh in affirmation.

We are the protagonists of our own story. The heroes, the demons, the ones who fall short and the ones who heroically climb a mountain while spouting Shakespeare or reciting poetry by an obscure yet talented writer. Deep inside each of us is a core of something so unique that it dazzles, or puzzles, or at the very least, leaves the readers of our story scratching their heads. If it doesn't, it should. Because we all shine like the sun. Like the northern lights when you wake up at two in the morning and stand on the lawn in your front yard, gaping in wonder at the universe. We sparkle and shine, and light up the whole world. This is truth at its deepest and we know it. Even if we're the only ones reading our story. It's a Pulitzer, at the very least. A Giller, for sure, if we're Canadian.

I have chosen Margaret Atwood to be my biographer. Or Matthew Quick. I can't decide, and anyway, neither seems to be taking my calls. But whoever you pick to write the epic story that is your life, make sure that they really 'get' you. When the world reads it, you want to hear gasps of delight. Or horror, depending on the direction you're going. Maybe an ooooh! Perhaps some applause. Something so good, they'll make a movie of it for sure. The important thing is, your life will be out there for all to read. That's worth celebrating. And yes, Brad Pitt can play your husband.