Sunday, January 23, 2011


I was sitting at breakfast this morning after a fantastic row on the Yarra River.  I was sitting with 9 other women and our coach (the only male in the group), we were celebrating his birthday.  It was the most perfect morning with the sun shining, 24 degrees, but very humid and everyone was happy and relaxed.  It suddenly struck me how fortunate I am to have friends like these women in my life!  We come from all different backgrounds and walks of life yet there is something that binds us together.  You could say it was the rowing, but I don't believe that.  Rowing is what brought us together but there is more to it than that.  That is what got me thinking.    It isn't difficult to take the first step to friendship.  All it takes is something that you may have in common, like rowing.

Then I started thinking about all my other friends and it is true we all have something in common, some like or dislike which ties us to that person.

The funniest thing is that for those of us using technology mediums (and that would be most of us), such as Facebook, we ask people to be our "Friend".  But how many of these people really are true friends?  I think that most of them are "Aquaintances".  A true friend is someone who knows your dreams, your beliefs and the song in your heart.  They will be there for you always, in happy times and in sad times.

Cheryl and I at Christmas
My best friend Cheryl, lives so far away but she is always in my heart.  No matter how long it has been since we have been together we seem to pick up right where we left off.  It isn't like we haven't seen each other in a couple of years, rather, it's like we saw each other the day before.  I think that our friendship has stood the test of time and distance because a good and lasting friendship demands respect, courtesy and understanding.  Something that we both have for each other.  I think I could get through life without many things but my life without friendship would be unbearable.

I read a quote somewhere "Birth gives us life, but friendship gives us something to live for."  The power of friendship is amazing so I would like to thank all those women who are my friends.  Friendship doesn't just fall into our laps, it takes time to nurture.  But once we have that friendship it is difficult to wriggle out of it!

Don't wait until your friend is leaving to discover just how special they are to you and make sure you tell them.  To all my friend's thank you for being you!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Lost Art of Conversation

It has been a couple of weeks since my last blog and I will blame that on the fact that I had friends and family to see and New Years to celebrate.  This is what I want to concentrate on for this blog, New Years Eve.

Russ and I have never really been New Years celebratory people.  It seems to me that it is just another reason to have a party and get drunk.  I can think of better things to celebrate and not necessarily get drunk!  But I decided that while we were in Canada that we would have a lovely evening by staying at a lovely hotel right on Lake Ontario at the foot of the city of Toronto.  I then found out they were having a dinner in the restaurant at the top of the hotel on the 38th floor.  I always remember this restaurant as being a revolving restaurant, but alas they have stopped it from revolving.  Not to worry I booked it anyhow and at $150 per person for a 6 course meal I hoped that it would be fantastic!  Now I have never ever paid that much for a meal in my life and I now know that I will never pay that again! 

But at least I can say that we brought in 2011 with a couple 100 other people who included a retired Lieutenant Govenor General, Miss Canada, Miss Toronto and half the Toronto Mafia!

There were however other people not part of the aforementioned groups and quite a few couples, especially sitting right around us.  What did surprise me however was the number of couples around us with mobile phones with them.  Out of 5 couples sitting directly around us two of them had phones in use all night and I am not talking about just one but each person of that couple were using their phones.  There were also two other couples who had a least one phone on the go.

So my question is, what ever happened to the art of conversation?  It became so ridiculous when the guy beside us leaned forward and said to his wife "That was a funny one and I just sent it to you!"  I wanted to lean over and ask him what was so funny and if it was really that funny why couldn't he tell his wife through the spoken word and not via an electronic message.  It became even more crazy when I realized that even though there was a disc jockey playing music this guys wife was listening to the ipod on her phone!  To top that she got up to dance still listening to her ipod.  That would have been interesting to see which beat she was going to dance to.

I think that this world has gotten so caught up in technology that we have forgotten how to connect to people face to face.  Just think what our world would be like if we all spoke to one another instead of emailed or texted each other.  Oh that's right we used to do that!  And I honestly think that the world was a much better place.  Mind you here I am using electronics to get my message out to you.  But that is different!!

That night, Russ and I probably had more conversation than we normally do!  And I have to thank those people for that as some of the conversation revolved around them!  But it made us realize how much we don't talk to one another, something that I want to change.

The art of conversation is a gift and one that leads us to other joys in live such as friendship and love.  Our life here is as temporary as each floating cloud, so don't waste time not talking to each other.  Each day give something of yourself to people in your life through the Art of Conversation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Gift

Well the silly season has come and gone and I am sure that everyone has received many gifts that they can or can't use.  It seems that we spend so much time looking for that "perfect gift" for our husbands, wives, parents, kids and friends.  But do we ever get it right?

It is funny how stressed we get at this time of year when trying to decide what to buy for people.  I usually have all my shopping done relatively early because I usually have to send it to Canada.  But this year because I was going to be with my family I decided to wait until I got to Toronto.  Wow what a mistake!!!  I try to avoid shopping centres during these times but couldn't help but be in them this year.  Never again!!!

Christmas is supposed to be a joyous occasion but you would never know it looking at the people who were out shopping for "The Gift".  I certainly didn't see many smiles on faces or laughter in the crowds, just people who wanted to find "The Gift" so they could get the hell out of the mall and back to the comfort of their home!  But it just wasn't in the malls it was on the roads as well.  People in such a hurry that no laws would stop them from getting what they needed to so they could once again get home.  It really doesn't matter if you speed, go through red lights, not stop at stop signs and god forbid you should have to signal!  No get there fast so you can get home.

It wasn't just on the shoppers face that I noticed this but the staff in the stores.  I was in Walmart and asked an employee how much something was.  Jokingly I said to her "Oh I thought it might be free because there is no price on it".  Her reply "As far as I am concerned you can take everything for free, I am over it!"  She then proceeded to get the price for me.  It wasn't like I didn't try to smile, wish people a Merry Christmas and say have a good day...they just weren't interested.

So after all this excitement of Christmas shopping, how many of us got "The Gift" that we wanted or can use?  I know that this is probably a touchy subject for many because the last thing we want to do is upset people.  But what do we do with the things that we really can't use?  I for one was impressed with the gifts that I got!  I am able to use every single one of them!  Oh except maybe the Tim Horton's Donuts gift card!  But I know someone who will love it when I leave.

There are two gifts that I received that were not bought and they are gifts that I will forever cherish.  The first was from my sister Cindy.  For those of you who don't know her she is a film maker, and an award winning film maker.  Because most of her documentaries are only shown in North America I have never seen any of them except maybe 2 and she gave me a DVD holder of every film she has written, produced and directed!  I can't wait to sit down and have a movie beware friends in Australia!

The other and probably best gift was the gift of spending time with my family.  Not just my immediate family but aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins!  But add to that my friends (who are family to me!) who I saw while here in Canada.  Absolutely nothing can compare to the time I spent with everyone!

I really hope that everyone was able to receive "The Gift" of love, friendship and memories like I did while here.  There is nothing in the world like it and you don't have to be in hurry to get there, but you can savour the smiles and cheers that goes along with spending time with those people most important to you.