Thank you

Thank you everyone who left me such lovely comments about the Kreativ Blogger award.  Sorry for the delay in replying, but, as usual I’ve been crazy busy. 

At this moment, I am typing on a computer in the Olds College Library.  It’s a beautiful spot.  Both the library and Olds.

I am here on a CUPE Weeklong School retreat.  Taking New Officer’s training.  As I’m now 3 years into my term as President of our Local I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘new’ officer, but I figured the training might have some relevant stuff. 

Turns out the first two days are all about public speaking.  Now, I can speak, some times endlessly.  I’m also fairly confident getting up in front of a crowd and saying a few words on behalf of whatever.  But, when it comes to personal stuff — that’s a whole new ballgame.

We started out having to give a short, 2-minute, blurb about ourselves.  I wrote it out no problem, but when I had to get up and read in front of everyone.  Well.  I was nervous.  My voice shook.  My hands shook.  I couldn’t look at anyone.  Of course, everyone was kind and told me I did fine, but I felt ridiculous as I walked away from the podium.

Today, I have to make a 5-minute speech.  We were told it can be about anything we like.  I chose New York.  Because, well, it’s the greatest city on earth (that I’ve been to) and I love it there.  Am planning my third trip. 

So, anyway I practiced my speech in front of my roommates last night.  Apparently I say um and and a lot.  Also I bob and weave.  Looks like I’m trying to dodge a fight.  The first time I did it, it took me 10 minutes.  Decided that I had to drop a lot of extra detail if I was going to make the 5-minute mark. 

Gave it another go.  Got it down to exactly 5 minutes, but still too many ums and ands.  Tried concentrating on standing still, but then I felt like a total knob.  Maybe I’ll just try swaying.  Oh, another thing I do, I wave my hands around.  But I think that could be a good thing.  Distract people from the panic-stricken look on my face.

On my walk this morning I gave myself a pep-talk.  This is not life and death.  This is just a short speech in front of people who will treat me kindly.  I’m third to go this morning, so I’ll be getting it over with quickly.  Once it’s done, it’s done.  I can move on and put it behind me.

I love to write.  I think I wrote a very good speech.  It’s the speaking part that terrifies me.  But, I can fake the confidence I need.  I know I can. 

And you know what else is really lovely about this place?  There are horses out behind the residences where I’m staying.  And they have foals.  New ones.  There are even a couple of sets of twins.  I watched them playing in their pens beside their dams this morning. 

God, they are the sweetest little things with long, gambly legs and their soft twitchy noses.  They were calling out to one another, but because they’re separated by fences the most they can do is bump noses before leaping away and kicking their little heels in the air. 

Meanwhile, moms are standing eyeing me like I’m some sort of predator.  With a soft nicker they’d summon their young back to their side.  They’d come, reluctantly, and mom would give them a reassuring touch, but the babies would toss their little heads in impatience and leap away. 

Hopefully, later, during a break I’ll be able to get back over to the pens when staff are present and get up close and personal with a couple of these little beauties.

Aaah, Friday morning

It’s the end of a long, long work week.  I am ever so happy.

I keep telling the kids: I only have one nerve left and you’re getting on it!  Of course, I’m kidding, and they know it, but I can feel that my patience is rapidly waning.  Dec. 23rd can’t get here soon enough.

This morning, though, I’m enjoying my morning coffee and looking forward to a busy, but fun, weekend.  We’re going shopping tonight, then tree hunting tomorrow — we cut our own tree at a tree farm we’ve been visiting since we moved to Bon Accord 21 years ago.  Then, on Sunday I’m going to do some volunteer Christmas gift wrapping in support of JDRF for Gibbons School.  I have wrangled Tim into helping, so I’m sure it will be a hilarious time.  He’s a consummate clown and crowd pleaser.

Watched X-Factor last night.  I am really enjoying this show, am astounded by the caliber of talent that exists out there, but that is ‘undiscovered’.  Until Simon Cowell.  Whom I adore.  He’s like Oscar the Grouch, only much better looking.  He may be a steely eyed business man, but, in the tiny bit of research I’ve done on him he is also a caring, compassionate philanthropist.  And his genuine concern for the singers he has mentored, as well as some of the others on the show, shows each time one of them was sent home.

The only true criticism I have of this show is that I don’t agree that children under the age of 16 should be allowed to enter.  It is painful to watch these kids after they have been rejected.  Emotionally, they are too fragile to handle such huge disappointment.

They have spent weeks being built up as ‘an amazing artist’,  ‘a true recording star’, ‘brilliant’, ‘an extremely talented singer with a bright future’ and on and on and on.  They don’t have the experience or the mental and emotional ability to deal with the reality that this is all for television ratings.  There can only be one winner, everybody else, no matter how good they are, or how much they believe in everything they’re told, will be a loser.

Which is not to say that they are ‘losers’.  Anyone who can sing and perform the way these contestants have is anything but a loser.  They are all talented, creative individuals and I hope that many of them — Drew, Rachel, LeRoy — go on to have huge success.  But watching Rachel and Drew after they were eliminated from the show was more than painful.  These girls are little more than children, watching them disintegrate on stage was awful to witness.

I know they’ll be fine; they have strong, loving, supportive families.  And let’s not overlook the fact that Simon, or LA or some other producer watching all this unfold will sign these young stars to a recording contract.  But, I just don’t think children should be subjected to the kind of world they are being expected to compete in at such a young age.  I hope that they raise the age limit for future shows.

In the meantime, my money is Josh Krajick.  He is one amazing artist.  And I can’t wait for his first album.  Also, I have to give a shout out to Chris Renee — he was amazing last night.  The song he finished with — well, it was simply beautiful.

And, those are my thoughts for this Friday.  Have a good one, everybody!

Monday, June 13, 2011 — Could this be a day for hockey history?

Well, we’re one game away from the Stanley Cup.  Two games, if the Canucks don’t win it tonight.

I’m thinking it’ll be tonight.

But, then again, my predictions don’t normally pan out.

So, it’s crossed fingers and the shirt with Henrik’s name and number on it today.

I’ve got mad butterflies in my stomach and it’s only 7:13 a.m.  Don’t know how I’m going to make it to 6:30 tonight.

One thing is for sure; it will be a brutal game.  The Bruins are going to be bringing their best street-fighting technique to the ice, and I’m sure Vancouver won’t be holding anything back, either.

I don’t think there is any other sport on the planet that is as physically demanding on a player as hockey.  The speed at which they have to move, the constant movement of their legs, the extreme upper body strength they must have in order to control the puck and ward off opponents while fore- and back-checking all the time, as well as  the mental toughness it takes to compete in such an intense sport makes hockey a true gladiator sport.

It’s do or die, and, when you watch how these players will sacrifice the body you can’t help but think that they have to be a little crazy.  Even the Sedin’s, who everyone likes to criticize,

Wayne Gretzky hoisting hockey's greatest prize -- hopefully, Henrik will do the same tonight. Photo courtesy Google images.

as they once did Gretzky, for shying away from the physical aspect of the game have taken their fair share of smashes into the boards, pucks to the body, sticks to the ribs and ankles all in the name of claiming first place and being able to hoist a shiny silver cup over their heads.

I hope tonight sees the Canucks win, they deserve it.  They’ve worked hard, played hard and put up with a lot of negativity and criticism to get to be one of the two best teams in the league.  Hopefully, tonight, they get to claim they are THE BEST.

Go, team, go!