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Enchanted

If there’s one thing I love in this crazy, busy, mixed up world, it’s a good book.
I love everything about them.  I love the way they feel, the texture, the smell – especially old, beat up novels with their eerie history.  I
It is my dream in life to have a huge parlor-like room with walls lined from floor to ceiling with books upon books upon books.
Shelves

My friend Cheri has somewhat accomplished this dream.  I am forever envious.  

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted or needed a book on the go. Something to keep me occupied and keep my mind at work.  Something to comfort. Something to take me away from this place and experience an adventure inside my head.
I think my love affair with the written word started from birth!  I assume my mother read to me then.  And I can remember being very young and my mom always reading to us; me and my brother.  She would read us bedtime stories – shorts from Dr. Seuss to novels such as The Wizard of Oz, promising a new chapter the next night – and she would read to us while waiting for medical appointments.  And she would take us, countless times, to second-hand bookstores where would slink around quietly, and load up on books.
I remember getting hooked on Archie comics when I was 5 or 6.  Fumbling through each story (asking my mother over and over how to pronounce “Veronica”).  I couldn’t get enough of those short little stories.  Zip, zip, zip. And another book was finished.  Eventually I moved on to bigger books, although Cinderella was always my favorite, I needed more….I needed chapters!  And so the affair grew.  And it has continued to grow.
Years ago when I lived in the City I worked very late hours.  I would come home and read to (attempt to) unwind, instead, I would get wrapped up in a story that would take me into the early hours of the morning.  Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper was a book that I had wanted and was gifted to me by my spectacular sister-in-law.  That book kept my mind so busy late at night. It was scary as hell and kept me up with fear, yet I continued to read it.  I was enthralled.

When I injured my back several years ago and was down and out and barely able to walk, books kept me sane and busy.  And when I first started working out, books are what kept me going.  I’d jump on the elliptical with a novel and boom!  Just like that an hour (or sometimes two!) would be gone.

When I read, when I’m really involved in a story, something happens to me.  I’m transported to another place.  Page by page and chapter by chapter I find myself getting deeper into the world I’m reading about.  As if I’m there.  As if I’m the character. There are days when I want to do nothing but read because I’m so obsessed with the story.  That’s what happens when I read Grisham.  And it’s what’s happening now with the current book I’m reading (The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri).  This book has enchanted me.  Like you wouldn’t believe.  I cannot get enough of it.
Witch-of-Belladonna-Bay

*sigh* My new best friend…my summer escape.

That was the same for me the first time I read Jaws and when I read Grisham’s The Rainmaker.  And last year, when I finally finished studying for my Nutrition exam, with Andrew Pyper’s The Guardians.  Those books enchanted me.  I read them all in just a matter of a few days.  Like those books, The Witch of Belladonna Bay is constantly on my mind.  It’s like it’s seeped into my soul.  All I want to do is sit in the sun or snuggle in my bed and get lost in this other world.  (Thankfully my BFF is on vacation this week so I’m able to read in the sun during my lunch break.  I’m such a dork!)
Maybe this quaint little story about witches is itself enchanted.  Who knows?  But it’s got me hooked.
I get so lost in these worlds it’s like I’m watching a movie – or living in it.  I’m a very vivid reader and the words become so picturesque and move along easily and colorfully.  It’s better than TV.  Television never calls to me like a good book does.
I have already zipped through 5 books since the start of this summer (I think that’s a record for me), and I can’t wait to start a new one.  The only thing, however, is that when I get really involved with a book – like I am right now – I’m always sad at the end…when it’s over.  When the adventure concludes.  There have been many books that have made me cry and many books that I’ve cried at the finality of the ending.  I find no shame in that.  I’m a sensitive being and when one becomes so involved in a story – whether it be real, written, or televised – there is no shame in feeling the sorrow in the loss of what seems to have become a good friend, or in the experience itself.
I’m looking forward to finishing TWOBB in the next day or so, but I have a feeling that I have become so wrapped up in, not only the words themselves, but in the emotion this story carries, that I will, at some point before its end, bawl like a baby.
And once that moment is over, I will move on to the next adventure and become enchanted all over again.
~Cheers

Hitting the Family Jackpot

To say that I grew up in a loving family is an understatement, to say the least.  I grew up in an abundance of love.  With warmth and hugs and kisses.  I hit the family jackpot!

I was surrounded constantly by my family – parents, brother, best friends – who were basically adopted siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  And everyone is very close.
My mom’s parents lived only two houses up the street from us and they were the foundation of my family.  They were our proverbial rock.  Walking into their home was always walking into warmth.  They had an open-door policy and their faces would light up anytime we walked into the home.  And although they lived just a few minutes away and I got to see them pretty much anytime I wanted, nearly every day, it was always a great treat to visit them.  Nannie and Grampie.
My brother and cousins and I would take turns having sleepovers at their home.  And they made each and every one of us feel special and like we were the most important people in the world.
When I was very little, not school-aged yet, my nannie would take me shopping.  My grampie would give me money before I left and my mom would joke that I would always come home with a treat and more money than I left with.
I was their favorite.  We were ALL their favorite.  And they never made us feel like we were anything less.
These people were so special – to all of us.  We would always have big family Christmas parties there; celebrating, and being in love with each other and being so thankful for having these wonderful, loving people in our lives.  Feeling truly blessed.  In the summers, we would have “wiener roasts” – a backyard barbecue of sorts on the side lawn with a fire pit and swings and making “hobo pies” out of white bread and pie filling and roasting them in the fire.  These would go to after dark and were such a treat because we kids, the cousins, got to stay up late and play and be surrounded by so much love and friendship.
My grandmother, Betty, was an incredible woman.  Bright, witty, spunky, hilarious, and hip.  And my grandfather, Brent, loved her more than words can ever express.  And the two of them loved us unconditionally.
Nannie

Catching a fish and wearing white jeans with a thick black belt – this woman was ahead of her time

I remember never wanting to disappoint them.  And even today I still try to live each day trying to impress them and making them proud from their perch in Heaven, as I know they are looking down on me.
In fact, I remember the first (and maybe only) time my grandfather yelled at me.  I was maybe 3 or 4 and I was playing with my baby cousin, Daphnie and I held her wrong or something that may have injured her – and my grampie yelled at me.  Not out of anger, but to prevent me from hurting the baby.  I was instantly heartbroken and I burst into tears, confused and ashamed that I made this man, who I loved so dearly, angry with me.  Of course, he and my grandmother cleared up the confusion but I still remember that moment vividly.
My grandmother was very, very hip.  She drove a moped!  And she loved Billy Ray Cyrus and Clint Eastwood.  And she taught me how to play (read: cheat at) cards.  If were driving with her and jokingly said “Nannie, look at the cute boy, stop the car!”, she would indeed stop the car.  And she would laugh.  If she saw cute boys she would call them over and introduce us.  Instant mortification to a teenager, but funny as hell now.  Nannie would let me put make up on her – regardless of how hideous it looked – and tell me how much she loved it.  She would welcome me with open arms when I would “run away from home” and walk on the inside of the guardrail to get to their place (my mom would always watch from the end of the driveway).  I never felt of out of place with my grandparents.
Nannie had a heart condition.  She had two heart attacks by the time she reached 40 and then had a pacemaker put in. When I was diagnosed with a heart condition when I was in my late teens I was also told I would have a pacemaker by the time I was 30 (Note 1. My family doctor was super pissed at this statement and said the specialist had no business telling a kid something like that!  Note 2.  I don’t plan on ever turning 30.).  At the time I was annoyed and confused and scared at this diagnoses.  But, although I saw it as a potential obstacle in my health and life, I also saw it as something I possibly inherited from her.  Something that made me feel just a little more bonded to her.  I have held onto that.
When Nannie was diagnosed with lung cancer in the late 90’s I was devastated.  I remember my mom told me one Friday night while my friend Kim was with me so that I could be comforted at the time of receiving this terrible news.  But Nannie was so strong.  And after having her lung removed, her cancer was gone.  I also remember that while she was in the hospital for this surgery and treatment she was telling me about this gorgeous (male) nurse or orderly that she thought I would find so cute – as she found him so cute – but then she broke the news “….but I think he might be gay.  Dammit.
Within months of having her surgery Nannie was out in the fields picking berries in the summer heat.  Something she loved to do.  She took me with her one summer when I was 15, but I was not meant for that kind of back-breaking work – or using a port-a-potty in midsummer heat (so that I complained the entire day about having to pee) and she refused to take me again.  Ever.  And she kept her word.
That fall I had an essay to write on heroes.  And in my essay I wrote that I did not believe in heroes because I saw them as mythical beings, but that the closest I could come to was my grandmother, for all that she had done and gone through, and even made mention of the berry picking right after her surgery.  (I may also have mentioned my affection for Drew Barrymore for all that she had gone through in her short life and had overcome so much.  See, lifelong follower of this girl.) My nannie was indeed heroic.
Not long after, Nannie was diagnosed with throat cancer.  Cancer so bad that there wasn’t much to do.  The cancer would win.  My nannie, however, stayed strong and fought as much as she could.  We had family gatherings and spent as much time as we could with this woman.  But sadly, devastatingly, heart-breakingly, Nannie passed away in November of 1999 at the age of 60.  A young woman still with so many years of love and adventure left to live.  And my world crumbled.
I have never experienced pain like that in my life. Ever.  This woman was our world.  Our rock.  Our light.  And her death devastated me.  I still have not fully recovered.  To this day, even in this moment, I cannot think or speak of her without crying.  And maybe it’s because it was the first time I really experienced death and loss.  And maybe because she was just so full of life and love and liveliness.  I continue to mourn her loss each day.  But I also celebrate her life each day.
I live in my own world sometimes – hello, SandyLand.  I have adventures, I laugh my ass off – even at the most inappropriate things, I hug and kiss my nephews with so much love that I think they can’t stand it, and I have taught Abby how to play the first game of cards my nannie taught me to play.  And, just like my nannie, I play to win!
There are moments when I can be a real scrag.  I admit it.  But for the most part I try to live each day with goodness and love and laughter.  I want to continue to please my grandparents and not disappoint.  Because I know one day I will see them in Heaven and I know I will have to explain my actions to them if I’ve been a real asshole.
Each night I say a prayer for them – and my dearly departed Aunt Linda – and pray that they are all together and loving and watching and waiting.
I know, since the passing of my grandparents and of my aunt Linda, my mom and my aunt and uncles are pained.  They are broken-hearted, as we all are.  And sometimes it’s terribly difficult to get the family together for holiday celebrations or gatherings because it feels like the spark has gone out.  Like the house is empty and there’s really no point anymore. Because deep down – or even right on the surface – it’s so unbearably painful to celebrate our family when we’re no longer complete. Since my grandmother’s death, my mom (the eldest of her siblings {sorry I used the word “eldest”}) has pretty much taken over the role of the rock; the matriarch of our big but little family.  She always makes sure that no one is left out of Christmas gifts or celebrations.  She wants to honour everyone in the family – especially those who are no longer with us. But everyone sticks together.  As a family, we have had our moments, our ups and downs, that’s what happens in families sometimes.  But we love each other.  Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins.  We support each other.  And there are days we want to beat each other over the head with a golf club, but at the end of the day, when it comes right down to, our family is bonded with love and togetherness.  That is something we all inherited from Nannie and Grampie.
I want my family (my nephews, my future children) to feel like it’s Christmas morning – to feel that abundance of love and togetherness and that incredible light of love that I always felt at Nannie and Grampie’s.  Walking into my parents’ home I always feel the warmth and the welcoming I felt each time I walked into that house up the street.  And when I visit my cousins and my aunts and uncles I am always welcomed with open arms and smiles and hugs.  The way it was meant to be.  And the way it will be when we’re all together again.
~Sandy

We Are All Made of Stars

A few weeks ago someone shared a video on Facebook.  It kept popping up in my news feed for days and days so I finally watched it.  And I am so glad I did.

It was the clip of little Grace Vanderwaal singing her original song (and playing the frickin’ ukulele!) on America’s Got Talent.

I don’t normally watch the umpteen dozen talent shows on TV.  In fact, I find them very tiresome.  But every once in a while we stumble across these incredible talents. These shining stars that, until the development of social media shares such as Facebook and YouTube, we might never have seen.

So, to that end I’m going to share with you my top 3 (unknown) stars.  The first, of course, being the incredible Grace VanderWaal.

I can’t get enough of her.  There is something so unique in her sound – like you can hear the Dutch ancestry coming out only in music.  And that look Howie Mandel gives her the moment she starts singing is the same way I feel every time I hear her – like it’s shocking that this girl is so.damn.talented.  Each time I watch the clip (which has been a lot!) I teary eyed and goose bumpy.  I am constantly singing her song and cannot wait for this kid to put out a record because I am just so enamored with her. She is a huge talent (did I mention that she writes her own songs and plays the ukulele???) in this tiny vessel.  She is charismatic and innocent and there is something just so special about her.  We need more innocence in today’s musical word of Britney Spears (*barf*) and Beyonce (*barf* squared).  I am predicting big things for Grace.

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Last summer my friend Jesse said “You have to watch this video”.  I did. Over and over and over and over.  Now you watch it.

This video let the world fall in love with “Backpack Girl”.  I’m not kidding.  After I watched it I Googled and Googled and found out the rest of the internet world was trying to discover the identity of this group of gorgeous singers and Backpack Girl.  Turns out, these lovely ladies are from the island of Grenada and this little minute-and-a-half video of theirs sparked an insane internet sensation to “Find Backpack Girl.”  Yes!  Talent like this should not be kept from us.

Backpack Girl’s name is Jasmine Murray and she’s coming out of her shell.  Check out this remix of the same song at a local function.

OMG That Voice!!

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Last, but not least, is Shaheen Jafargholi who I discovered after Michael Jackson’s death when we were YouTubing a bunch of Michael’s songs.  This kid was on Britain’s Got Talent years ago and started off singing some shitty Amy Winehouse song.  Simon Cowell stopped him in the middle of his performance and told him to basically try again.  Thank goodness he did.  Shaheen’s next song choice was “Who’s Loving You” by MJ, and man, what a performance.

This little dude embodies the old, bluesy, soulful music of old-time blues and jazz clubs we can now only hear about or see in the movies.  And he’s got that big voice and those little dimples.  I love Simon’s smirks throughout Shaheen’s performance – so much well-deserved cockiness (Simon knows his shit!).  This appearance has led to some big things for Shaheen – including singing at Michael Jackson’s memorial.

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With all of this talent in only three videos, I can only imagine the sea of ‘undiscovereds’ out there.  Like millions of acres of unclaimed land in the world, there is an multitude of oceans of beautiful voices just waiting to be heard.

~Sandy

Fight Club

If you are from my hometown then you are more than likely familiar with JR’s.  If you’re not familiar then let me give you a little background:
JR’s was this little bar – similar to a honky tonk, I’m guessing – that was dark and grungy and known for the people it attracted (if you’re picking up what I’m putting down) and the fights that broke out.  It was not my bar of choice, in fact, when I turned 19 and was old enough to drink and go out to the clubs, my mother nearly forbade me from going to JR’s.  She didn’t actually forbid me, which is why I did go to that spot on occasion, but it definitely was not my cup of tea. Nor my first choice of dance clubs.
One summer, however, my BFF Kim and I had planned to go to JR’s.  It was her first time going and it was a big deal.  It was the summer of Ghetto Superstar and we could hardly wait to rock out on the dance floor to that song.  (Lord, I’m getting old!)  The bar was packed.  There is a military base just outside of our town and Saturday nights the boys let loose.  JR’s was the bar of choice for these cats.  There is also a lot of agricultural business in and surrounding my communities – lots of farming of many types.  And a lot of farmers hired outside of Nova Scotia, back then mostly Bajans (read: Barbadians).
The military folk were cocky – arrogant SOBs who walked around like they owned the town, and the Bajans would hit on anything walking upright.  These two groups clearly did not see eye-to-eye.  (But then again, the military boys didn’t really see eye-to-eye with anyone.)
And then there was us:  locals.  Valley peeps just out for a good time, having a few drinks, dancing our butts off, and hanging with friends and people we knew from high school.
This night was special though.  Kim was my best friend.  I always felt like we were soul mates.  I partly credit her for helping me bust out of my shell and becoming the hilarious girl I am today; and I had promised her for so long that we would eventually go out to JR’s and we would dance our dance to Ghetto Superstar and it would be a fucking blast! And the night went pretty perfectly.  We danced.  We had a few drinks.  We mingled with friends.  It was summer and the night was young fun.
Ghetto Superstars

Oh my God the 90’s!  That’s me and Kim, Betty and Veronica (I’m the brunette) , the terrible two, gearing up for one of our infamous adventures in SandyLand.

Several times while we were on the dance floor, however, this young, drunk punk kept bumping into us.  The guy wasn’t very big but he was completely wasted and he was perpetually on the dance floor (alone) bumping and knocking and grating on everyone’s last nerve.  Y’know at first, everyone was like “Meh, it’s all good.  We’re cool.”  But after so many times you kind of can’t handle much more.
There was another young couple on the dance floor.  The guy was clearly military and he and his girl were dancing and making out – but minding their business and having fun.  McBumpy danced into them a few times and Military boy was obviously getting more and more annoyed.
When Ghetto Superstar was finally played Kim and I made our way to the center of the dance floor and broke out our dance moves.  We were stoked and we were literally having the time of our lives!  Then it happened, McBumpy bumped me again and again and again.  I know the poor dude was just out for a good time and should have been cut off long before, but I was seriously irritated and when he bumped me for the last time I made sure it was the.last.time.
I shoved him….and bam!  He cascaded right into Military dude and his woman.  Needless to say, Military dude had had enough by this point and he shoved him back, and then he smoked McBumpy.
This is where it gets realllllly interesting.  It was like a domino effect, but in reality, it was just the nature of JR’s.  Because right after Military dude punched McBumpy, someone else punched someone else.  And then someone else punched someone else….until a full-out brawl broke out.  I’m not even kidding.  It was like something out of a movie.  Dozens of people were fighting.  Even the bouncers were sucker-punching people (again, the nature of JR’s).  It was REDONKULOUS!
I grabbed Kim’s hand and we made our way outside of the bar as we ducked and avoided getting the shit beat out of us. Once outside, the scenery was exactly the same – fights were erupting everywhere.  Bajans and Military and Homeboys and Locals and Bouncers.  It was chaos.
One of my friends, who happened to be a former boxer, got a tap on the shoulder in the midst of all this.  When he turned around he got sucker-punched.  Big mistake!  I can still hear the sound of his fist connecting with the other guy’s face!
In the midst of this chaos Kim and I were trying to decipher what the hell we should do and how to get out of that bruhaha.  In the distance, we could hear the sirens wailing, and they got closer and closer.  Still holding hands, Kim and I bolted through the crowd, dodging fists and slaps, and ran through the back parking lot, through what can only be described as a tiny field back then; running, running, behind buildings, to safety – and far away from what was likely the biggest fight in JR’s history.  While we were getting out of Dodge, we looked back and saw NINE police cars already at the bar!!  I didn’t even realize our little town had nine police cars!  I’m sure more came later.
We roamed, quietly, the streets for a while, staying out of sight, until the hoopla died down, and eventually made our way back to my car and headed home.  But the night was so insane that, even though it was probably already 3am, we were so wound up from our crazy adrenaline rush that there’s no way we could have slept.  So, we drove to my church parking lot and climbed onto the hood of my Chevy Blazer (Dave) and stared at the stars.  The smell of summer is not something one can easily forget.  And that night is still vivid in my memory.  After a while of us just laying there in silence we cracked.  Uncontrollable laughter of what had just happened.  And all because we wanted to dance in peace.  That night we were ghetto superstars!

Minnie Driver and a Cuppa Joe

When I was in high school I started working at a Tim Horton’s coffee shop.  I worked there for 6 years.  And I never drank coffee.  Ever.

I couldn’t stand the stuff.  My dad is a coffee drinker – although I think he preferred instant back then, and my mom is a life-long tea drinker.  But neither were for me. In fact, the smell of the coffee at Tim’s gave me terrible heartburn.  I didn’t even know that was possible but it happened.  Often.
In school, kids would stroll into class with their morning brew in their refill mugs and I would think “WTF?  Why are they drinking that ghastly stuff?” Especially because, y’know, we were kids.  So, I went through all these years of my life not drinking coffee.
Then one year, in my very early twenties, I went to Montreal with a few friends for my birthday weekend.  Two of them had a sporting event, which I watched the first day and was so exhaustingly bored that I wanted to punch myself in the face just to stay awake, that I decided on day two to stay behind in the hotel and hang out by myself for the day.  I had some adventures on my own, which, back then was totally unlike me.  I hated doing things alone.  I needed someone with me at.all.times. (Thankfully I have grown out of that and love having my independent adventures.  I wish I could go back to that hotel in Montreal and LIVE IT UP!)
Adventure
On a stroll around the hotel on my own I came across one of the cleaning ladies’carts. It had an InStyle magazine on it, which, undoubtedly was left behind by one of the other guests after checkout.  So, being the badass that I was I snatched the magazine off the cart and kept on my merry way.
Back in my hotel room I devoured the entire magazine, reading each and every article. Actress Minnie Driver was the cover girl and there was a huge fashion spread with Minnie as the model, accompanied by a big article on her.  At one part in the interview she talked about getting up in the morning and sitting on her porch in her robe, reading the paper, taking in the scenery, while having her morning coffee.
Minnie Driver Instyle

This is the magazine I ripped off from a cleaning cart.

What?  Is this what adults do?  Is that what I’m supposed to do?  Be a grown up and read the paper* and drink coffee and wear a robe??  (*In my defense, I totally read the newspapers when I worked at Tim’s.  They were free reads while on our breaks in our tiny little break room.  And it was race to do the Lexicon first on Saturday!)
For some reason, that little article on Minnie has stuck with me all of these years since (and more than likely I probably still have the magazine in a box of other magazines or a desk drawer somewhere around my house).  And so, as the years have passed I have made my attempts to become a grown up and drink coffee in the mornings.  For a very long time I failed miserably.
And then one day it happened.  I had a cup of coffee.  Like a real grown up.  Maybe it’s because my taste buds have changed since I’ve gotten older – or since I started drinking wine), but I no longer cringed at the smell or the taste of a good brew.  I actually look forward to a small mug of joe in the mornings.  And, although I could never drink it black, I can enjoy a cup with just a little unsweetened almond milk or blended with a spoonful of coconut oil when I’m doing a Whole 30 program (aka eliminating sugar and all processed foods in all forms, etc.).
Summer is my favorite time – when I can sit outside in the sunshine while reading a book and taking in the scenery.  And I love weekend mornings when I can get up and put on a small pot and relax on the couch before getting my day started.  Drinking a little coffee in the morning makes me feel like I’m finally adulting.  (And thank goodness for Starbucks and whip for when I want to be a kid pretending to adult.)
I’m still working on the robe, though.  I have a few but I like my PJ pants and fleece socks and Banana Republic dresses to sleep in and lounge around the house in.  I’m not Mrs. Roper!
Isn’t it funny how one little thing can change your perspective?  Something as small as a cup of friggin’ coffee in the mornings.
Morning coffee

#adulting

~Sandy

SandyLand Stories

The other night I finished what was, I think, my 23rd John Grisham book.  And although I’d picked up three more of his on the weekend, I couldn’t wait to delve into Drew Barrymore’s Wildflower.

Drew-Barrymore-Wildflower

As you may know, I love Drew Barrymore. She is my all-time favorite actress; since the first time I saw her in E.T., I fell in love with her – with her spirit and her spunkiness, and I have since followed her career.  The ups and downs. The stints in institutions and rehabs, the bad movies, the badass moves.  I have followed the 90’s wild child and doted on her for years.

David-Letterman-Drew-Barrymore

The original wild child and my not-yet-met best friend (Drew flashing David Letterman in the mid-90’s)

And so, I have been waiting since I received this book for my birthday in October to read it but, 1. I had shit-tons of studying to do to prepare my nutrition exam and 2. I’m kind of addicted to John Grisham’s storytelling and am always anticipating completing one of his books so that I can immediately begin another.  This time, though, I forfeited Grisham to finally read Drew’s book.

And I am so glad I did. I started reading it Friday night, and now, Sunday, I am almost through it. This book is not an autobiography, although it is autobiographical in a sense.  It is a telling of some of Drew’s personal stories and memories.  It’s lovely.  And this book has made me miss writing.
This afternoon I was reading one of the “chapters” titled Flossy.  Flossy was Drew’s rescue dog which she had for nearly 20 years.  I remember reading about when Drew first adopted Flossy. I remember hearing about her in interview and seeing her in the background in magazine spreads featuring Drew.  And this story told the lifeline of this dog, this sweet companion to Drew, a lost soul longing for a friend who would be her lifelong mate and confidant.  And this story told of the demise of Flossy and Drew’s beautiful tribute to her once she passed (sorry, no spoilers! You’ll have to read the book.), and there I am, sitting in the gorgeous long-awaited sunshine, bawling my eyes out at the telling of the loss of this life love.  With tears streaming down my face and wiping my snotty nose on my arm, I was so completely moved by this memory.
Although I am a little bias because I still believe Ms. Barrymore and I should be best friends (squad goals), I will admit that she is not the best writer in the world. I even found a few grammatical errors *gasp*, but she’s a good writer.  And she’s a great storyteller; one that can clearly move me to tears – or laughter.
And so, being inspired by these stories, these little collections, I am committing myself back to my writing.  I am going to begin telling chapters of my life, albeit through this little blog, and I will share with you tales of my adventures, my reflections, my wisdom, my stupidity, and tales of just…my life.
I am not going to commit to writing every day or every week because life – work, teaching, mating, adventures – comes first.  And I like to live my adventures before sharing them.
But stay tuned….the first one will be right up.
~Sandy

Hang in there, Gord

Yesterday Canada got hit with some pretty tragic news: Gord Downie of the band The Tragically Hip has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

Gord Downie for promotional use / CD packaging

Gord Downie via promotional use / CD packaging/Gordon Hawkins

This news has bombarded my Facebook feeds for the last 30+ hours.  It’s a big deal to us.

Glenn Milchem of Blue Rodeo posted on his Facebook:  “Gord Downie is the people’s poet laureate, the man who built the bridge between high art and hoser culture. He is a tireless supporter of Canadian independent music and someone who never compromised his creative goals for commercial gain, yet achieved unprecedented success in Canada on his own terms and helped create our cultural identity. He’s a trailblazer, one of a kind, a true Canadian hero. The news of his illness is tragic but what he’s given us will last forever.

My comment to Glenn: “Gord Downie is a lyrical genius. His talent is underappreciated. Tragic.”

My brother first introduced me to The Tragically Hip when I was still in high school.  I actually didn’t appreciate them at the time – but I grew and my taste in music has (somewhat) grown.

My brother had asked for one of their CDs for his birthday.  I bought it for him and, in turn since, have “borrowed” the CD and never returned it (apparently, borrowing items and not returning them is “my thing”).  I’ve since seen them in concert a few times and I’m looking forward to seeing Gord, albeit a sad farewell, on his last train out.

The_Tragically_Hip_-_Live_Between_Us

Live Between Us – one of the best of the best

The Hip are more than a band.  Yes, they are Canadian icons.  But they’re also incredible artists.  Gord’s creativity in his writing is magical.  Gord tells stories.  Not just tales but actual stories.  Wheat Kings, one of my favorite songs, with its haunting melody, tells the story of David Milgaard, a young Winnipeg-born hippie wrongly accused of the grisly rape and murder of Sasketchewan nurse Gail Miller.  (You can read the complete reference here.

As fans, I think we’re all still reeling from this information.  We Canadians take our music, and our celebrities, very seriously (have you seen my million posts on Blue Rodeo?).  We often feel a connection to our bands and our actors and our hockey players.  And Gord is everyone’s buddy.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to see him in concert you’ll understand.  He’s charismatic and he’s intelligent and he’s engaging. His songs are able to reach you in a way that not many others can.  He is, indeed, a lyrical genius.

We will now, as a nation, rock on with Gord.  We will support him and pray for him and we will cheer him.

When the inevitable happens, we, as a nation, will mourn him and we will mourn the loss of an incredibly talented musician and writer and artist.  As we, as a nation, will ache together.

And Gord’s death will be tragically (un)hip.

GORD DOWNIE TTH

Vancouver – October 10, 2006 – John Mackie story – Gord Downie, lead singer for Tragically Hip. (Glenn Baglo/Vancouver Sun)

~Cheers

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