Monday, November 30, 2009

Bringing Our Blogging World Closer Together


 I don't know how you guys feel, but I sometimes see the 'blogosphere' as a double-edged sword.  There are times, usually when one of you are sharing either great joy or great pain, that I wish we could sit down over a drink and talk things over. Communicating as we do doesn't allow this; yet were it not for the computer none of us would have had a chance to meet in the first place.

  For many of us our blog evolves over time as we change.  One of my goals now is to find new ways to keep things interesting, to try things that aren't being done very often.  I've had a desire lately to bring our world closer beyond these pages.  I know there are other ways to provide tangible proof to each other that we exist.

  It's difficult to explain to those outside the blogging community how these friendships are forged.  Over time they can become very real indeed, the only difference being of course that the physical interaction isn't there.   So what I'm asking for are ideas from you as to how we can share a part of ourselves in other ways.  Perhaps an exchange of some sort to leave a physical memento of ourselves behind, to mark the impact we may have on others. Just a way of saying outside of our words, "I'm here."

 One of my favourite bloggers came up with an idea in a post which spurred my thinking.  I won't reveal what she's doing yet or any ideas I have, as I don't want it to colour any suggestions.  I will shortly. 
  In the meantime I'm doing a little dreaming...

                                             Letting My Mind Run Free

At one time or another most of us have dreamt of what we'd do if we won an obscene amount of money.  I love to travel, so I figured what better way to put some of it to use than to see the world?

  This is my proposition, I've discussed it with Sandy and it is a dream but you can hold me to it as a promise.  If we win big, we'll come visit twenty of my favourite bloggers, no matter where in the world you live. (Provided of course you want me there!)

I think it would be amazing to meet you guys in person!  Of course I wouldn't have to get back anytime soon because I'd be retired, so basically I'd stay until either you get sick of me or I've eaten all your food.

  Hey, I can always dream.  In the meantime I'd love to hear any suggestions you have to make our connections even more real.  Let your mind run free.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My New Family

Recently Sandy and I had the honour of meeting our new (extended) family. My brother Steve proposed to his girlfriend Bobbi while on a cruise this summer, and got a big fat 'yes'. So I'm now the proud owner of a shiny new future sister-in-law. Bobbi's awesome, and we've grown very close in a relatively short time.

As if this isn't enough to be happy about, Bobbi is Guyanese. Which means, coincidentally enough, so is the rest of her family. I have friends of many backgrounds and race isn't something that enters my mind very often. I see people's hearts not their skin. But if I can draw from experience, all people of Guyanese background I can ever remember meeting have been great and a lot of fun to be around. My new family is definitely no exception.

From the moment Sandy and I walked through the door we were made to feel like part of the family. There were about twenty of us between the two sides and everyone got along like we'd known each other for years. There was no drama, just laughter, hugs and relaxed conversation. Bobbi's father has done some work in the religious community and we had a great talk about Hinduism; reincarnation and karma. Sandy and I left feeling exhilarated about the whole evening.

I won't write much more, instead I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Steve and Bobbi

Mr. Pimpilicious with Bobbi and Sandy

  Rajah and Seeta (Bobbi's father and mother), my mom Lillian and stepfather Tom

In background: me, Sandy, Steve, Bobbi, Evan (Heather's bf)
    In foreground: Dharram (Bobbi's brother), Nicole and Mahendra
(Bobbi's brother), Heather (my sister), Peshani (Bobbi's sister)
and her husband Ted

Cailey (Peshani and Ted's daughter) and Hannah (Dharram's daughter)

In striped shirt: Andrew (Ted and Peshani's son) and Ethan (Dharram's son)

Caught mid-conversation

Yup, I like this guy!

Heather and Evan

Matthew and Ryan (Heather's boys) with Steve

Speech time, celebrating the joining of the two families.
I still can't believe how great this is!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Secret Friday

"Secrets:2003" by Charli Siebert

“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans.”
-Kahlil Gibran

Okay everyone, we're back for round two of Secret Friday (TGIF!).  For those of you who may have missed the first installment (here), this is an opportunity to anonymously share those things in your life you've secretly kept to yourself. 
  If you find topics like this as seductive and intriguing as I do, stay tuned because in this case the comments are the feature.  I hope you'll all participate.  I will.
 A very heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed last week.

Here's how it works:

1) This is open to anyone who wishes to participate, whether follower or visitor.

2) Post a secret anonymously, no names please. It can be anything from mild to wild, anything goes. All I ask is that it's true. You can post as many as you're comfortable with.

3) I don't plan to censor content or language. However I do reserve the right to remove anything which appears to be posted with the sole intent of offending. I also reserve the right not to remove content that may be considered controversial. It's a fine line sometimes.

4) If you're someone who is easily offended by swearing or sexual content you may not want to read through the comments. I have no idea where this will go and won't be reviewing comments until after they are posted.

5) I'll be participating as well.

6) Feedback directed towards me is welcome, anonymous or otherwise.

7) I'd like everyone to refrain from commenting on what someone else has written please; what may seem trivial to you can be very personal to someone else. Everyone has feelings and I want to see them respected. Inappropriate remarks will be removed.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

vignette: Saturday Morning Cafe

   Danielle set the overflowing mug of latte on the table and nestled into ‘her’ comfy chair, in the corner of her favourite local cafe. She had always thought of this place as quaint, a word not used often these days but still somehow perfectly describing the atmosphere and charm it held. She had recently made a routine of coming here every Saturday morning. In actuality there was no point; she had an espresso machine in her apartment and was more than capable of making whatever she wanted. But the shop was comforting in its familiarity and besides, she reasoned, a single girl in her twenties needs to get out if she's to ever meet someone.

  Pulling the novel from her purse she rested its worn cover on the table’s edge and opened the bookmarked page, briefly allowing her eyes to sweep through the room. The cafe was surprisingly busy this time of morning. Her eyes were half-turned back to the book when she spotted him. Danielle had seen him here each Saturday around this time, which perhaps was a large reason for her continual return. Impeccably dressed in business attire, she couldn’t help but wonder what he did for a living. Executive?  Salesman?

  Whatever the case, the laptop always occupied a good amount of his time. This morning as any other he was fixated on the screen, which allowed her the usual time for stolen glances. The kind accompanied by quick aversion of our eyes when the subject of our attention looks our way, should (God forbid) they ever notice our interest. Their eyes had never met yet she couldn’t help but wonder if he played the same coy game, and was as skilled as she at not being obvious. Danielle grinned, fully knowing that without this distraction she would have finished the novel long ago.

  No matter.

  She lazily sipped on the hot drink, awash in morning sun as it came around and began gently streaming through the window. This was her favourite part of the day, a chance to enjoy some quiet solitude before the reality of chores, errands and phone calls intruded.

   Only this morning was different. Because with one careless glance, one glimpse too long, this man who had remained elusive for so long looked up and met her eyes with his.

  Oh crap! She froze, just long enough to catch his smile before quickly turning feigned attention to her book. She was afraid to look back up, a million thoughts running through her head. ‘What did that mean? Was he even looking at me? Of course he was stupid, you’re sitting in the corner. There’s no one behind you.'

  From the corner of her eye she caught his form as he closed the laptop and rose from the table. Making his way towards her, he turned not towards the door but instead to where she was sitting, and before Danielle knew it he was before her. This couldn’t be happening.

  He leaned in.

 "I wouldn't normally say this but..."

 The anticipation of words to come hung in the air for an eternity. She wanted to clutch her chest, almost afraid he'd hear her heart racing. She stared into his eyes, embarassingly lost in the depth of blue gazing back at her. He moved in closer still. God he smelled good.

 "You have some foam on your nose," he grinned, then slowly disappeared through the door.

 Danielle slunk into the chair, exhaling silently for no one else to hear,

Intellectual property copyright Barry O'Shea.  All rights reserved.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wherever You Are...

...don't forget to dance.

Celebrate life everyday. If not outwardly then within.

(I couldn't get the picture centred; a better view of the full-size video on YouTube is HERE ). 

I just realized I found this on Mae's blog. So, credit where credit is due. Check her out here, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


You are the sky
Full of wonder
No beginning, no end.
I breathe you,
Yet you remain hidden from my eye.

White feather flutters, falling through your breeze
Ever elusive.
Not meant to be captured,
Not held in my grasp
But merely desired as it dances upon you
To be carried back to the one
Who set it free.

Intellectual property copyright Barry O'Shea, all rights reserved.
Not to be reproduced without permission.

Changing Direction

  August 31st marked a significant change in direction for this blog.  When I started back in March my intent was to share a quotation a day in hopes of inspiring others.  This was to be a quiet place where someone could take away a simple thought and apply it to their daily life as they saw fit.  I didn't go further than to include an occasional quotation that I had written, as I didn't want this blog to be about me.  I wanted it to be about and for others.

 Over the months my needs changed, and this blog has changed with them.  From day one I had hoped for interaction with others, and while I did get occasional feedback from some about how those quotations had inspired them, after a while it wasn't enough.  I wanted to unveil more of myself and create open dialogue in the hope of helping others see life through my eyes, and in turn see a different view of the world and myself through theirs.

  The goal of my blog has been and always will be to remain a place of compassion, optimism and hope.  Where absolutely everyone is welcome to read and voice their opinion regardless of race, age, sex or lifestyle.

   Since this turning point I've gradually met and grown to know many amazing people in all areas of the world; Canada, the US, Philippines, Hong Kong, Great Britain, Egypt, Australia, and others that escape me at the moment (please don't kill me if I missed you!).  I'm endlessly inspired by what I've read on other people's sites and they serve to keep me going on days when I feel a bit down, which I'm happy to say is rarely these days.

  So, for those of you who have been following along since the start, I know you've seen a big change here but hopefully you still get something from it.  If it no longer suits what you're looking for, it will truly be a shame to see you go but I hope you understand this is what I've been needing.  I can honestly say at this point I'm happier and more hopeful than I have been in a long, long time.

  I cherish my life more than ever and all of you reading have been a huge part of that.  More than you realize, much more than I can explain.  I've started some new friendships and I can't wait to get to know all of you better. You inspire me in so many ways.

  Life is such an amazing journey.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Through Your Eyes

Someone leaves your life. Do you cry because those times have ended or smile because they happened?
The sun shines. Do you cover your eyes or bask in its warmth?
A baby cries. Do you cover your ears or rejoice in life reborn?
Clouds thunder. Do you run for shelter or wait to play in the rain?

Do you eat up life or do you let life consume you?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Secret Friday

"We dance around in a ring and suppose.
But the secret sits in the middle and knows."
-Robert Frost

 I love secrets, love everything about them. For me being taken aside and trusted to keep someone's most intimate thoughts safe, or finding someone with whom I can do the same is nothing short of an honour. I've had some amazing things shared that will die with me. 
  Within me is a curious fascination for whispered confidences.  And if  Post Secret (a project I've been following for some time) is any indication, I'm certainly not alone.
  Secrets can be heartbreaking.  But they can also be the spice of life.  To that end, I'm hoping we can heat things up a little and add some spice of our own.

  I proclaim today Secret Friday

  Here's how it works:

  1) This is open to anyone who wishes to participate, whether follower or visitor.
  2) Post a secret anonymously, no names please.  It can be anything from mild to wild, anything goes. All I ask is that it's true.  You can post as many as you're comfortable with.
  3) I don't plan to censor content or language.  However I do reserve the right to remove anything which appears to be posted with the sole intent of offending.  I also reserve the right not to remove content that may be considered controversial. It's a fine line sometimes. 
  4)  If you're someone who is easily offended by swearing or sexual content you may not want to read through the comments.  I have no idea where this will go and won't be reviewing comments until after they are posted.
 5)  I'll be participating as well.
 6)  Feedback directed towards me is welcome, anonymous or otherwise.
 7)  I'd like everyone to refrain from commenting on what someone else has written please; what may seem trivial to you can be very personal to someone else.  Everyone has feelings and I want to see them respected.  Inappropriate remarks will be removed.

This is the first time I've tried this . It may go over well, or may be met with shyness and receive very few comments.  But I'll never know unless I try.

Here's a secret of mine to get things started.
I have a spicy side of my own which would require a separate, very different kind of blog...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And To Ourselves Be True...

photo taken by Melanie at Melanie's Randomness

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
-Cyril Conolly

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Space Intentionally Left Blank

I have a couple things in the works but nothing finished yet, so I'm turning it over to you.  What's on your mind? 
Talk to me....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest Post

Today I've decided to do something a bit different and host a guest blogger. The post below was written by Louis van der Merwe on his site, "Pursuit of Something Real". Sandy introduced me to Louis' blog (this post in particular), and it resonated with me enough that I was motivated to contact him. He has graciously allowed me to reprint it.

I highly recommend dropping by Louis' site for a visit; he can be linked here.

Here's the post as it appeared on his blog, Friday October 30th...


"Why did you do that?” he stares fiercely at her. She drops her head in shame. “I don’t know.” Slowly he shakes his head in disapproval. “That’s not good enough. I need to know why you did it.”

As she stares at him her shame turns to contempt. “Because I wanted to. Because I felt like it. Who are you to tell me how to act?”He gets up and walks away. Just before he leaves he looks back: “I can’t tell you how to act, I just didn’t think you would do anything like that”


We create personas in our minds of the people we know. When there’s disconnect between that persona and the actual person, we can hurt the ones we love. When someone acts different to what you expect of them, before you judge them, judge your persona of them. If the persona you created doesn’t reflect their true nature, change your vision of them to fit in with who they are instead of trying to change them to fit into your vision of who you think they are.


Thanks Louis for your consideration in letting me share this post. Text and photo are courtesy of 'Pursuit of Something Real' and should not be reproduced without express consent of the owner of that site.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is It That Time Already?

November 16th and our Christmas tree is up already. Sandy decorated it Saturday; our time is going to be limited over the next several weeks, and as plans to go away this weekend changed this was the best time to do it.

Christmas in Canada seems more of a big deal than it is in the US. For my friends in the States (hey all you crazy Americans!) this would be the equivalent of your Thanksgiving. To elaborate, Thanksgiving in Canada is somewhat understated; one of the biggest things we're thankful for at this time of year is that we're not up to our asses in snow yet.

As appears to be the case every year there didn't seem to be enough lights for the tree. Or the right kind. Why this happens I'm not entirely sure; it's as if something comes along during the year and hides or replaces everything. In reality it's just that our tastes seem to change somewhat from year to year. So it was off to the store.

Man there's some cheesy crap out there. Most of it manufactured by companies and people who quite obviously haven't been exposed to Christmas in North America. Unfortunately, most of it is bought by North Americans who seem not to have been exposed to it either. Or have forgotten that a white tree covered entirely with fuscia decorations doesn't exactly scream Ho-Ho-Ho. More like a Ho-Ho-whole lotta tacky. Oh well, to each their own I guess. We try to decorate tastefully, as an example the picture at top is something we do each year (Sandy put it together).

So yesterday we were cleaning up leaves on the front lawn and putting lights in the shrubs. It won't be too long I suppose before the snow comes, I'm really not looking forward to it. However weather-permitting we'll be making the trip up North to visit Sandy's sister and her family for Christmas. It'll be the first time since we've been together (seventeen years) that we'll be celebrating Christmas with kids. Should be interesting. I'm not looking forward to making the trip itself, but once we're there it should be enjoyable. A couple pics from the weekend:

Why rake the lawn when you can rake the tree?

Sandy doing the Christmas lights (she has way more patience with this stuff than I do)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Grass Isn't Always Greener...

"To Search Within" watercolour by Steve Hanks

"Life isn't all about what you don't have, but yet, what you do with what you have been given."
- Robert M. Hensel (click to learn about him)

Spend any appreciable amount of time around people and you'll discover certain commonalities that bind us. But there are also many things we share with others that we're blind to, as most of us (for our own reasons), keep certain parts of ourselves closely guarded.

Specifically I'm referring to a tendency we have to compare ourselves to others. I'm certainly no different than anyone else in this; I've done it before and despite my best efforts, will again many times throughout the course of my life.

It's so easy especially in times of adversity to believe that everyone else has it better. It's quite common when things seem to be falling apart to collectively gather all that is wrong with our lives and focus on them, turning our eyes towards those who seem to have it all figured out.

Yet I can say with absolute certainty that the people we view as having their lives so together are facing their own struggles, their own inner demons. The person you see smiling all the time may be falling apart inside, and a smile could be all they have left to hold it all together. The impeccably well-dressed man or woman you see every day may be struggling just to keep the bills paid. Those with the seemingly perfect relationship, which of course is always SO much stronger than yours, may be clinging on to that one thin reason to keep it all going.

We usually only see of people what they allow us. Sometimes we can see through that, if we know what to look for. I've found myself doing this many times, and admittedly it can make others uncomfortable when things they'd rather keep concealed are uncovered. This is something I need to work on; I have a tendency to want to get very deep into who a person is when I find sides of them that interest me. (Perhaps I just need to keep those observations to myself; they're at best dismissed when inaccurate but can run very deep when on point).

Whatever our station in life, regardless of age, sex, race, professional or social status I believe we are all fighting our own internal battles. At one time or another we'll want more or see others as being in a place we wish we were. It's easy to spend so much time thinking about what we don't have that it's easy to take forgranted what we do. And the irony of it is that as you look towards others wishing you were more like them, there's a very good chance someone is looking at you in the same way. No matter what we're going through, there's always someone out there who has it worse than us. We need to be very thankful for what we have, who we are and for those who appreciate us.

Our grass is all the same colour, we just have different weeds to deal with.

Love you guys.


Boo Kitty

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Letting Go

"Would you rather live your life keeping an inventory of self-hate, or look back on your life and count all the ways you found your life to be beautiful?"
-Sheila Lewis

Ask almost anyone and I think you'll find that, if they're honest, they'll admit there are things of which they've had a hard time letting go. I'm one of them.

A short time ago I drove through a stretch of city street which used to be quite familiar. It was obvious I hadn't been there for some time as most of the buildings were new, filled with signs of businesses that weren't even in existence at the time I considered this place my neighbourhood. Even the building where my father worked when I was a child had long since changed hands. It hit me, as these things have far too often lately, that we can't go back.

Realistically I know we can't expect anything to stay the same for thirty years, let alone one or two. Progress and people move forward, leaving memories both wonderful and painful behind. The one common denominator that ties this all together is that we can't bring back the past nor can we change it. We can only remember it as we choose to, for better or for worse. The only thing that colours our memories of the past will be our attitude.

Those of you who know me or who have been reading me for any appreciable amount of time are probably aware that I'm very much a romanticist in the way I view things. And while it certainly allows me to look at life much more positively, it isn't always beneficial. Because through generous helpings of denial I tend to hold on to things I shouldn't, sometimes for a stupid amount of time. Not through grudges towards others (which are destructive all around), but through events that can't be changed. The 'what ifs' and 'should haves' are often sharing a room with me, or so it seems.

Regret has reared its head more times than I care to remember over the course of my life. However recently I've taken a far more philosophical approach: what if events that may at first seem disastrous and random are meant to happen? Perhaps through what first may seem mis-steps and mistakes we are in fact heading down a path that we're meant to follow. Again, what colours our perception of these occurences as they happen is our attitude.

So, I can look back with pain upon the events surrounding my car accident last year or be thankful for the strength I've gained since. I can spend my time missing people who have come and gone from my life, or appreciate those I've recently met and the moments of happiness that have been brought into my life. At the end of the day the amount of time spent is the same, it's up to me to use it in a way that's beneficial and not self-destructive.

Time moves on and can be cruel sometimes. People come and go, painful memories are hard to forget and joyous occasions can't be bottled and relived, as much as I'd like that to be possible. So I think it's up to us to honour every happy memory by making a new one. And that's easily attainable, because all we have is time. Instead of spending it let's invest it, so that when we inevitably look back on our life we can count all the ways we found it to be beautiful and smile for a life lived to its fullest.

Friday, November 13, 2009

LORCA, In Search of Duende (Flamenco performance)

“If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it.”
-Isadora Duncan

It's 1:00 in the morning and Sandy and I have returned from a night out with friends. We just saw a Flamenco performance of Federico Garcia Lorca's "In Search of Duende".

Quoting from the program, this work " admired for its emotional intensity and metaphorical brilliance. (Lorca) takes us directly and memorably into 'the dark root of the scream', the terrain of the duende, where reason and intellect discover their limitations in a new poetic reality. We discover through his metaphors the plaintive notion of..."

Okay, I didn't pull any of that from the performance. I like to think it's because the singing and minimal narrative was all in Spanish, and not that it was too cerebral for me. So this is how I felt about it...

This was the soul's darkness and passion set to music (and really, is there ANY performing art more passionate than Latin dance?). The performance began with a spectacular solo by guest Juan Ogalla. I never would have expected a male dancer to be most memorable for me, but with the power and refinement he displayed Ogalla was definitely a stand-out.

The show was interspersed with dance and music (a trio with vocalist, who admittedly became tiresome to me after a while). But the dance was phenomenal. It was beautiful and sexy, aggressive and angry. And overall quite enjoyable.

Here are some shots from our night.

Theatre was in Toronto down by the lake (Harbourfront). The sunset sky was washed in a beautiful pink hue just minutes before I snapped this.

Sandy looked great (as usual)

the dynamic duo

Maryam and Ashley

Patricia (she's been taking Flamenco lessons)

There was an Inuit Art gallery in the Centre. This sculpture is carved from whalebone; it was about 3 1/2 feet high.

Okay, in the spirit of the fashion blogs I've been stumbling across and the influence you're all having on me here's my first attempt. This is a 100% monochromatic look; I'm all in black from head-to-toe, inside and out.

Wool and cashmere coat by Brogue of Italy, dress pants by Denver Hayes, shirt by Moto, underwear by Hanes, belt from Walmart, socks by I don't know, shoes by Mark David, insoles from Dundas University Health Clinic, laces came with the shoes.

How's that? :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today's LIQUOR Award- Past and Future Tense

Blog: Past and Future Tense (Jon)

Why I Love This Site: Jon, for me you lay out a very personal story of a man in search of career, himself and the things that make life so worth living. Sometimes almost written in a 'stream of consciousness' style it's introspective and gutsy. Also very real and honest, which is precisely the type of writing to which I'm drawn.

Some of my Favourite Posts: Gut Feeling (Aug 30), 31 Songs That Changed My Life (Oct 16), Looking Around (Sept 12)

Some of my Favourite Pics:



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today's LIQUOR Award- Marley and Me

Blog: Marley and Me
Why I Love This Site: Valerie Soh, fashion goddess (!) and editor of Couture magazine. From choice of couture to introspective writing and gorgeous photography, your site exudes style without being pretentious. Mad props for personal videos, as well as making shredded clothing look awesome. If any blog was to get me interested in fashion it's yours, but it's your reflections on life that keep me coming back.

Some of my Favourite Posts: Louboutin, Lim and Saunders (Sept 13), King of Heels (Sept 3), The Familiar Pains of Heartache (Sept 10) Bonus: Loving Me Isn't Easy (Oct 28)
Some of my Favourite Pics:

(by Phillip Lim)
this shoe above is one of the sexiest things without a heartbeat I've ever seen

(by Nicholas Kirkwood)

(by Nicholas Kirkwood)