Monday, February 28, 2011

Connections


From a student at Stanford University... 

I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind/body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of Psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.

At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.

Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!

Yours, Sue

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Secret Sunday


Hi guys, it's 2:30am and we just got back from dinner and a hot tub outside in the snow at our neighbour's. What a great night!

Welcome to the fourteenth round of Secret Sunday, a chance to share secrets and/or fantasies you've been keeping to yourself. Some are uplifting, some are heartbreaking and some are just plain naughty.

All are valid.

Here's how it works:

1) This is open to anyone who wants to participate, from regular follower to casual visitor.

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

3) I'd like everyone to please refrain from negatively commenting on what someone else has written; what may seem trivial to you can be very personal to someone else. Everyone has feelings and I want to see them respected, therefore I won't be posting inappropriate comments.

4) If this is something you'd like to run on your blog please feel free. You may copy the rules if you wish.

And now to it...

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's My Birthday, Baby!

Someone call the fire department. (I know you ladies just looove big hot sweaty firemens).


If I could have anything for my birthday I'd ask to have all of you in my life for another year, that a year from now I may wish the same.

You guys are awesome, I love you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Where Do I Find Inspiration?


I've been asked many times what influences my writing, what is it that inspires me. Although other writers have an influence on how I write, books rarely determine what I write. Instead it comes from my everyday dealings with people both in the physical and here in cyberspace. Rather than explain in words I'll let pictures reveal what captures my heart and mind...


Woman. Whether my wife, those in my family, surrounding me in my daily life or you, nothing drives my writing more than women and the emotions they evoke.



Relationships




You guys. Some of you I've written for, some of you about.  The things you've said and done have had a significant impact on the way I see life and on what's been brought into mine. Makes me happy.




Extreme emotion



Inner darkness



Free-spirited people




Lord Byron, British poet and one of the leading figures of the Romantic Era.
 
 

Musicians such as John Mayer, my biggest songwriting influence. I love the way he captures the human condition.


Weather (this deserves a post all its own)...




Stormclouds. I love a moody sky.  I use storms as a metaphor for the inner turmoil that brews within us at times.



Sunrise. What an incredible way to start off a new day, under a fiery painted sky. Each sunrise makes me appreciate just being alive, rekindles my wonder towards life and has set the tone for some of my most passionate work.




Rain. God I love a rainstorm (preferably not being caught out in it). The sound of it pouring down, the rumbling thunder, that feeling in the air has an amazing affect on me. Some of my more provacative pieces have partially been written during rainstorms. 




The moon. Mysterious, alluring. It's been a companion in the small hours when my mind is clear.

Secret Sunday


Hey everybody. I woke up to sunshine this morning, the snow's melting and the stupid dog next door is barking. Yup, feels like Spring's just around the corner!

Welcome to the thirteenth round of Secret Sunday, a chance to share secrets and/or fantasies you've been keeping to yourself. Some are uplifting, some are heartbreaking and some are just plain naughty.

All are valid.

Here's how it works:

1) This is open to anyone who wants to participate, from regular follower to casual visitor.

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

3) I'd like everyone to please refrain from negatively commenting on what someone else has written; what may seem trivial to you can be very personal to someone else. Everyone has feelings and I want to see them respected, therefore I won't be posting inappropriate comments.

4) If this is something you'd like to run on your blog please feel free. You may copy the rules if you wish.

And now to it...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Face Your Fears

 



You know those little victories you have in your life? Those moments that in the grand scheme of things don't change the world but just mean something to you? Last night was one of those moments: I performed a stand-up comedy routine at an MS benefit.

When I'm "on", which is most of the time, I'm very comfortable joking around in a group of people. I'm certainly a hell of a lot more confident around women (I was very shy as a teen and my dating life sucked). Generally I just crave attention and love getting it, as Sandy will attest to.

I've played to larger audiences before at a comedy club in Toronto when I was younger (along with Russell Peters when he was unknown and just getting started) and I've performed a few things since. I'm always nervous before I go up, actually it scares the shit out of me. But I do it anyway.
Last night could have gone better, could have gone worse. I'm always my harshest critic when it comes to performing, I always feel I can do it better. It's never good enough and I don't usually want to watch it afterwards. We all have things that scare us. I was always afraid of speaking in public, still am. But I find the apprehension is almost always worse than actually doing it.

There are few things in life that will make you feel more alive than doing something that scares you and pushing through it. The results are really secondary, the main thing is to look it in the eye and kick its ass.

For me this year is about doing. I'm already doing things I've never done. I want to be more confident, bolder, and do things I'm afraid of. I think it's the best way to grow.

I hope you guys will join me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Fixer (revisited)


I'm in a bit of a dry spell at the moment so I'm reposting this. If there's something you'd like me to write about feel free to drop me a line, otherwise I'll be back shortly with something new.

The Fixer

Throughout the course of my writing I've had a tendency to refer back to my car accident of 2008. This is because that event brought with it many unexpected changes, one of which has been an increased interest in others. This isn't a desire to pry into people's personal lives, but an intense curiosity in what influences us. In other words, what it is that makes us tick.

As a result of building gradual trust through friendship, I've had the amazing privilege of engaging in some incredible conversation. I'm not referring to the superficial day-to-day things we all share, but rather the "My deepest fear is..." or "I've never told anybody this before, but.." conversations that can sometimes lead to the deeper "Let's see if together we can figure out why you feel this way" talks. Talks that take place only when a mutual trust and respect between friends is forged. I say mutual because trust is never, ever one-sided. If I expect someone to feel comfortable enough to open up to me, then I have to be willing to give more of myself first.

Increasingly, I've felt a desire to help other people gain insight into their problems and challenges, particularly relationships. I've carried this need for a long time, why it's more intense now I'm not sure. Again going back to the events of 2008, maybe I realized we're all here to give selflessly and we should put the focus more on others than ourselves. If I'm honest I suppose I can say there have been many times over the course of my life when I was too self-centred. Maybe to an extent we can all say that, but I'll be the first to admit I give advice much more easily and comfortably than I take it.

If there's one thing I've learned over the past couple years it's that most of us aren't as together as we show on the outside. I strongly believe that whether it relates to relationships, career, spiritual journey or other areas of our lives we all have some part of us that is looking for direction, or at least affirmation that we're on the right track. We all have something that scares us.

Most of us are fighting some internal battle, we build walls of varying heights and strengths. Some of us will let our defences down at the flash of a genuine, friendly smile. Others won't let anyone in because they never want to be hurt again. What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that although those walls may be high, even insurmountable at times, they're often pretty transparent.

I believe most people feel an inherent desire to discuss their problems, to be able to trust someone enough to listen. So many people don't show it. The challenge comes in making that connection, or rather, distinguishing between those who want to let us in and those who just want to be left alone.

So how do we make that distinction? Usually we can't, because many people are guarded. I've never tried to force someone to open up to me, all I can do is let them know I'm here to listen if they ever want to talk. When someone's ready to let us in they will. It's usually through a series of small, carefully-planted steps. That process is the most amazing thing in the world; I believe a person growing to place their trust in another enough to let their guard down is pretty much the biggest honour a person can bestow.

When someone opens up to us, their words are ours to keep safe and never betray. Treat those words as delicately as glass and hold them close to you. What may at first seem insignificant could take every bit of strength they have to share with us.

We owe it to people to listen.

_______________

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Secret Sunday


The day's almost over and I can't believe I missed posting this earlier! Lots going on today.

Welcome to the twelfth round of Secret Sunday, a chance to share secrets and/or fantasies you've been keeping to yourself. Some are uplifting, some are heartbreaking and some are just plain naughty.

All are valid.

Here's how it works:

1) This is open to anyone who wants to participate, from regular follower to casual visitor.

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

3) I'd like everyone to please refrain from negatively commenting on what someone else has written; what may seem trivial to you can be very personal to someone else. Everyone has feelings and I want to see them respected, therefore I won't be posting inappropriate comments.

4) If this is something you'd like to run on your blog please feel free. You may copy the rules if you wish.

And now to it...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tiki Party Photos


Hey guys, I'm taking a break from Secret Sunday today to bring you this post instead.  Drop by my Secret Garden blog if you still want your fix.


Last night we threw our yearly Tacky Tiki Party. It's our way of blowing off some winter blahs and a chance to let loose and have some fun. Each year we decorate part of the house with paper lanterns, parrots, cheesy pink flamingo patio lights, tropical fish and whatever else we can get our paws on.  Here's how it went this year.


Some of the decorations...







Of course Nutkin was there...


And brought some friends....


There was plenty of food...





With a few unexpected surprises for the guests...

                                                          cocktail sticks


playful ice shapes

Plus copious amounts of alcohol.  And what party would be complete without Jello shooters?...


The weather was miserable, of course it just had to snow last night after being clear for days.  Despite this almost everyone showed and I was extremely happy.  During the party I had to run out to pick up a friend and her daughter at a nearby hotel, so I bundled up...


...and headed out to the hotel with a buddy.  They weren't expecting to see anyone dressed in Hawaiian garb so we caused a big scene in the lobby...


My friend Krista, we regained contact last Fall after about twenty years.




Back at the house, people convened in the kitchen as they always seem to...


Soon a conga line formed...





Sandy hit her birthday during the party.

Towards the end of the night, after people had a few drinks in them we got into a game of "I Never". I think it's safe to say most people there shared more than they ever would have sober. Another hour and things would have got really interesting.

It was definitely the best Tiki party we've had and probably one of the best three we've ever thrown. A great way to beat the winter blahs, if even just for a night.