Sunday, March 23, 2014

#NoMakeUpSelfie

This week I've noticed a trend on social media. Women are posting pictures of "selfies" with no makeup. Supposedly, this act will promote cancer awareness. This does not sit well with me.

We are all aware of cancer. We do not need to be more aware of cancer. What we need to be more aware of is how to prevent cancer in the first place. Or at the very least, support someone we know that is going through such a horrible challenge in their life.

Perhaps I'm missing a major piece of the puzzle, but the way I see this trend is: an increasingly self-absorbed society pretending to do something good for others. From what I gather, the original (British) campaign #DareToBare solicited funds from a beauty retailer each time the hashtag was used. This newest (N. American) trend does not have a sponsor and is not raising money for anyone.

As someone that has been touched by this disease more often than I'd like to acknowledge, this #NoMakeUpSelfie trend has really riled me up. At first I just chalked it up to another social media trend but while discussing it with a friend tonight, I realized just how annoyed I was by it.

This weekend a friend of my family lost his battle with cancer. If you really want to make a difference in the fight against cancer, find someone that is going through it. Offer to help them in some way. It could be as simple as making a meal, driving them to an appointment, paying for a parking pass at the hospital or a pre-paid gas card. When you're battling the toughest challenge of your life, it speaks volumes when someone comes along side you and offers a helping hand.

Please think about this before posting your NoMakeUpSelfie online.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Long Live Cheer Bear!

When I look back on my birthdays-past, there is one that stands out as particularly memorable.

When I turned seven, Care Bears were riding a pretty big wave of popularity. More than anything, I wanted the pink bear with a rainbow on its tummy. Cheer Bear. Well, for my birthday that year everything I opened was pink with a rainbow on it. A jewellery box, a necklace, colouring book, puzzle, etc. My cake was a 3D care bear (ya, my mom ROCKs) and my sister Jo-Anne even dressed up as Cheer Bear for the party. (Thanks to Mom turning a pair of pink pajamas into a costume. She's pretty handy in case you haven't picked up on that)

Of course the best part was opening my Cheer Bear. My mom had, once again, come through! She MADE me a Care Bear. It was awesome. So awesome that thirty years later, it is one my treasured items from childhood that I still hold dear.

The funny thing is, as I approached my birthday this year, there were so many things that reminded me of this special party.
  • First, Mom had found the costume while sorting things in the laundry room. On one of my trips to the farm she asked if I would like it or should she get rid of it. Hello? Get rid of it? No way. I brought it home with me.
  • Secondly, I found a journal I had in grade one. I enjoyed flipping through the pictures and the carefully printed letters... and then I reached the last page. Check out the picture!
  • Thirdly, my friend Kim knows about Cheer Bear (Who's looking like he's 30 years old. Oh yes...that's right. My pink bear somehow has always been of the male gender. Ha ha) and got me this updated version for my birthday this year. How cute.


Friday, March 14, 2014

You've Got Mail

Who doesn't love going to the mailbox and finding a handwritten envelope? Proof that someone has taken the time to not only think of you, but sit down and put pen to paper. I have always loved sending and receiving mail.

Even as a kid, I would write letters and send stickers, etc. in the mail to various cousins, pen pals and friends. It was always a highlight when I looked out the window and the red flag was up on the mailbox. Although most days it was just an assortment of bills for my parents, occasionally there would be a coloured envelope with my name scrawled on the front.

Throughout my college years, I had a few friends that were fantastic at this whole postal mail thing. Email was in its beginning stages and was far more convenient. But getting a colourful packet in the mail containing not only a letter or card but photos, personalized crossword puzzle or a mixed tape was WAY more exciting than an email!

These types of letters slowly faded from my mailbox. As time passed, I was the one getting the bills. However, there would always be a flurry of coloured envelopes in December and for a week or so in mid-March. You could always count on Christmas cards and birthday cards.

Well, it seems that is not true anymore. My birthday is on Sunday and I have received two cards in the mail. One from my Grammie (old faithful!) and one from my insurance agent, of all people! Now, don't get me wrong. I get plenty of birthday wishes in the form of Facebook messages, tweets, texts and phone calls. I still feel the birthday love. But it's different. Years from now, I cannot pull out my rubbermaid tote and look through my birthday tweets. I can't run my fingers over the handwriting on my Facebook wall.

Time have changed. And though I'm all for new technology, I long for the time of good old fashioned mail.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Monster Jam

I absolutely love the tradition I have of celebrating my nieces' and nephews' birthdays with an experience rather than a gift in a box. Not only has it allowed me some special one-on-one time with them, but it has also led me to do things I never would have done otherwise.

This weekend was one of those times.

Jesse turned 8 last July and more than anything, he wanted to go to a monster truck show. Since there wasn't one happening in the area I told him he could choose something else or wait. He chose to wait.

This weekend his wish came true and we went to Monster Jam! (imagine those words in the bigger than life voice that comes with the territory) As you can imagine, this is not something I would have done without his urging, but it was a fun time spent together.

He showed up at my house on Friday night and could not wipe the smile off his face. He was super pumped. We decided to play a few board games - Yikers is always a favourite and I taught him how to play Pass the Pigs. Then we tried Sorry! Who knew it was so fun? Not me. Honestly, we had such a good time. Just when you thought you were going to win, you got bumped back to start. The game lasted almost an hour! Sorry! was such a hit that we played another game in the morning, while still in our jammies and before the pancakes! He won both games, but not without a fight.

We hit up the "Pit Party" before the show where he could get some pictures with the trucks/drivers. He was quite taken with the whole thing. I was quite taken with him. Together we had an awesome day and I look forward to many more.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

We arrived at the Air Canada Centre precisely at 8pm. After receiving our ticket receipt (more on that later) we made our way to our section. I liked the view of the stage when we entered the stadium. We were stage left in the 300's but a nice spot. In fact, when the usher directed us to our seats, I was surprised to see our 2 seats were a row of their own. That meant not having to accommodate the constant stream of people leaving to get drinks, go to the bathroom, etc. Perfect! And we were only 3 rows up from the front of the balcony.

Just as we sat down, the lights dimmed and Sting and Paul Simon walked out on stage. Talk about perfect timing! They started the show together with Brand New Day followed by Boy In The Bubble and Fields of Gold. Great way to start the show!

Throughout the night, they took turns in the spotlight, occasionally singing together. I must say, Sting did a fantastic job on some classics like America and Bridge Over Troubled Water. 

One of the best parts of seeing your favourite artist live is hearing the different arrangements of those treasured songs. This show did not disappoint. The stage was filled with musicians - I couldn't even count them all! Trumpet, trombone, french horn, accordian, plenty of guitars, keyboards and at one point I tallied FIVE drummers playing on the same song.

Things wrapped up with a multi-song encore with the two of them paying tribute to the Everly Brothers' When Will I Be Loved