Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Week at the Gym

As I approach my 50th birthday, I find myself frantically revisiting and acting on my “Bucket List”. One item on the list is a cruise. Rifling through my wardrobe realizing I will have nothing to wear, I retreat to the couch to catch “The Biggest Loser”. Perhaps their hard work and effort will transform me just by watching?

A dear friend suggested we join the gym. “It will be fun”, “we have goals”! I pulled out my wallet and eagerly signed up!

I booked my appointment with “Sven”, who identified himself as a 28-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing. I was pumped!

MONDAY: a little early, but worth it when I arrived to find a blonde Scandinavian God named Sven with a porcelain white smile and a great physique! Sit ups were “painful”, from holding in my stomach the instant I saw him. I foresee a FANTASTIC week!

TUESDAY: consumed entire pot of coffee, but made it out the door. Sven made me lie on my back and push an iron bar into the air – then he added weights! Painful, but his smile made it worthwhile. I feel GREAT! A whole new life and wardrobe awaits me.

WEDNESDAY: teeth brushing a challenge; achieved by laying toothbrush on counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. Driving manageable but can’t steer or stop; (parked on top of a Mini Cooper upon arrival).

(Sven is way too perky at 6:30 am). Why would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Sven said the stair monster would be beneficial; along with some other nonsense.

THURSDAY: the beast was waiting; vampire-like teeth exposed; thin, cruel lips pulled back in a full snarl. He introduced a dumbbell routine – I hid in the restroom when he wasn’t looking, but he found me; as punishment, the rowing machine - I sank!

FRIDAY: I despise that chicklet-toothed, anemic, tyrant Sven! If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would hit him with it. Flew off the back of the treadmill; landed on Terry, the nutritionist; the landing was painful (she has 0% body fat).

SATURDAY: Satan left message on answering machine wondering where I was. His grating, shrilly voice, made me want to smash the machine with my nutrition tracker. Can’t lift anything heavier than a sandwich; including the remote; Results? Eleven hours of the golf channel.

SUNDAY: Church van picking me up – will thank God the week is over and pray my friend suggests a root-canal next time.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur

...In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work ... For on that day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the L-RD. -Leviticus 16:29-30

The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year.

Have a special day; an easy fast, my Jewish friends...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I had the time of my life....

Very sad to hear that Patrick is gone. An 80's icon - he was a gentle soul that appreciated his blessings in life and left us way too soon.
LOS ANGELES - Patrick Swayze, the hunky actor who danced his way into moviegoers' hearts with "Dirty Dancing" and then broke them with "Ghost," died Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.
"Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months," his publicist, Annett Wolf, said in a statement Monday evening. Swayze died in Los Angeles, Wolf said, but she declined to give further details.
Fans of the actor were saddened to learn in March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from a particularly deadly form of cancer. He kept working despite the diagnosis, putting together a memoir with his wife and shooting "The Beast," a drama series on the A&E cable television station for which he had already made the pilot.
Swayze said he opted not to use painkilling drugs while making "The Beast" because they would have taken the edge off his performance. The show drew a respectable 1.3 million viewers when the 13 episodes ran in 2009, but A&E said it had reluctantly decided not to renew it for a second season.
When he first went public with the illness, some reports gave him only weeks to live, but his doctor said his situation was "considerably more optimistic" than that. Swayze acknowledged that time might be running out given the grim nature of the disease.
"I'd say five years is pretty wishful thinking," Swayze told ABC television's Barbara Walters in early 2009. "Two years seems likely if you're going to believe statistics. I want to last until they find a cure, which means I'd better get a fire under it."
C. Thomas Howell, who costarred with Swayze in "The Outsiders," "Grandview U.S.A." and "Red Dawn," said: "I have always had a special place in my heart for Patrick. While I was fortunate enough to work with him in three films, it was our passion for horses that forged a friendship between us that I treasure to this day. Not only did we lose a fine actor today, I lost my older 'Outsiders' brother.""
Other celebrities used Twitter to express condolences, and "Dirty Dancing" was the top trending topic for a while Monday night, trailed by several other Swayze films.
Ashton Kutcher - whose wife, Demi Moore, costarred with Swayze in "Ghost" - wrote: "RIP P Swayze." Kutcher also linked to a YouTube clip of the actor poking fun at himself in a classic "Saturday Night Live" TV comedy sketch, in which he played a would-be Chippendales exotic dancer alongside the corpulent - and frighteningly shirtless - Chris Farley.
Larry King wrote: "Patrick Swayze was a wonderful actor&a terrific guy. He put his heart in everything. He was an extraordinary fighter in his battle w Cancer." King added that he'd do a tribute to Swayze on his CNN program on Tuesday night.
A three-time Golden Globe nominee, Swayze became a star with his performance as the misunderstood bad boy Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing." As the son of a choreographer who began his career in musical theatre, he seemed a natural to play the role.
A coming-of-age romance starring Jennifer Grey as an idealistic young woman on vacation with her family and Swayze as the Catskills resort's sexy (and much older) dance instructor, the film made great use of both his grace on his feet and his muscular physique.
It became an international phenomenon in the summer of 1987, spawning albums, an Oscar-winning hit song in "(I've Had) the Time of My Life," stage productions and a sequel, 2004's "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," in which he made a cameo.
Swayze performed and co-wrote a song on the soundtrack, the ballad "She's Like the Wind," inspired by his wife, Lisa Niemi. The film also gave him the chance to utter the now-classic line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
Swayze followed that up with the 1989 action film "Road House," in which he played a bouncer at a rowdy bar. But it was his performance in 1990's "Ghost" that showed his vulnerable, sensitive side. He starred as a murdered man trying to communicate with his fiancee (Moore) - with great frustration and longing - through a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg.
Swayze said at the time that he fought for the role of Sam Wheat (director Jerry Zucker wanted Kevin Kline) but once he went in for an audition and read six scenes, he got it.
Why did he want the part so badly? "It made me cry four or five times," he said of Bruce Joel Rubin's Oscar-winning script in an AP interview.
"Ghost" provided yet another indelible musical moment: Swayze and Moore sensually moulding pottery together to the strains of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody." It also earned a best-picture nomination and a supporting-actress Oscar for Goldberg, who said she wouldn't have won if it weren't for Swayze.
"When I won my Academy Award, the only person I really thanked was Patrick," Goldberg said in March 2008 on the ABC daytime TV talk show "The View."
Swayze himself earned three Golden Globe nominations, for "Dirty Dancing," "Ghost" and 1995's "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar," which further allowed him to toy with his masculine image. The role called for him to play a drag queen on a cross-country road trip alongside Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo."
His heartthrob status almost kept him from being considered for the role of Vida Boheme.
"I couldn't get seen on it because everyone viewed me as terminally heterosexually masculine-macho," he told The Associated Press then. But he transformed himself so completely that when his screen test was sent to Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin pictures produced "To Wong Foo," Spielberg didn't recognize him.
Among his earlier films, Swayze was part of the star-studded lineup of up-and-comers in Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton's novel "The Outsiders," alongside Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Diane Lane.
Other '80s films included "Red Dawn," "Grandview U.S.A." (for which he also provided choreography) and "Youngblood," once more with Lowe, as Canadian hockey teammates."
In the '90s, he made such eclectic films as "Point Break" (1991), in which he played the leader of a band of bank-robbing surfers, and the family Western "Tall Tale" (1995), in which he starred as Pecos Bill. He appeared on the cover of People magazine as its "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1991, but his career tapered off toward the end of the 1990s, when he also had a stay in rehab for alcohol abuse. In 2001, he appeared in the cult favourite "Donnie Darko," and in 2003 he returned to the New York stage with "Chicago"; 2006 found him in the musical "Guys and Dolls" in London.
Swayze was born in 1952 in Houston, the son of Jesse Swayze and choreographer Patsy Swayze, whose films include "Urban Cowboy."
He played football but also was drawn to dance and theatre, performing with the Feld, Joffrey and Harkness Ballets and appearing on Broadway as Danny Zuko in "Grease." But he turned to acting in 1978 after a series of injuries.
Within a couple years of moving to Los Angeles, he made his debut in the roller-disco movie "Skatetown, U.S.A." The eclectic cast included Scott Baio, Flip Wilson, Maureen McCormack and Billy Barty.
Off-screen, he was an avid conservationist who was moved by his time in Africa to shine a light on "man's greed and absolute unwillingness to operate according to Mother Nature's laws," he told the AP in 2004.
Swayze was married since 1975 to Niemi, a fellow dancer who took lessons with his mother; they met when he was 19 and she was 15. A licensed pilot, Niemi would fly her husband from Los Angeles to Northern California for treatment at Stanford University Medical Center.
In February, Swayze wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post titled, "I'm Battling Cancer. How About Some Help, Congress?" in which he urged senators and representatives to vote for the maximum funding for the National Institutes of Health to fight cancer as part of the economic stimulus package.
He also appeared in the September 2008 live television event "Stand Up to Cancer," where he made this moving plea: "I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, a life not lived in the shadow of cancer, but in the light. ... I dream that the word 'cure' will no longer be followed by the words 'is impossible."'

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pre-Approved Mortgage to "view a property"

Ok, i'm stumped. I'm in the market for a little condo to call my own. I have a few in mind that I would like to have a look at.

I contacted the agent to book a showing for a great little 2 bedroom condo later this afternoon. I waited, and waited for a response - original request - Wednesday. (no I didnt pick up the phone and call - i am one of those that prefers to "get things done" through email - mainly so i have my conversations on file for future reference)

In this case it helped... I have text for my Blog!

Here was his basic response that i found at 3:oo am this morning:

"I would be happy to show you xxx but before i do I would like to get your "pre-approval" to save us both alot of time. Would you mind contacting my mortgage agent from XXX Bank. She will get you pre-approved and also provide you with the best possible rates....you can meet her at her office or do it over the phone... hope thats ok with you....Regards PB, Broker"

Pardon? Excuse me? Are you kidding me?

I want to see the property, i'm not looking for a new bank, i'm not handing over my "pre-approval" and i'm certainly not making an appointment with "your" mortgage agent - how does he even know i "need" a bank? Perhaps I have $350,000 sitting in a bag under my mattress?

All this for a property valued at about $160K?

I just want to view the darn place to see if it is even "in the running"...

Please tell me I'm missing something here and I am "ranting" for "no good reason"...
Any and all comments will be appreciated and reviewed carefully.

SFU News Online - Suzuki explores ecology, economics - June 25, 2009

SFU News Online - Suzuki explores ecology, economics - June 25, 2009

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

I have something for you

Hope... a love story...

Prior to his departure for Europe, he leans towards his love..."I have something for you ....please wear this ring while i'm away... upon my return we will marry.."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

They are someone's sons....

Three handsome young men, no more than 20 or 21 chuckle as they are frisked at the security monitor - my heart grows heavy... large size 12 combat boots are inspected and given a dusting....they could very easily be my son.......pockets of nearly new fatigues are padded down - I can't take my eyes off them....good heavens you are but children...a tear leaks through..... the inspector gives them "that look"... A bit of pride.....a bit of thanks....but mostly that look of "God be with you young soldiers".

A friend shouts past me to the boys...."Good luck in Afghanistan....."

I must turn away....tears fiercely welling.....they are someone's son.... change thoughts...and quickly....

Travel Blog - June 2009

Punctuality, meticulous.....OC...

Toronto, Canada, L.B. Pearson Airport - 545 am - One lonely man sitting at gate 120, legs crossed, coffee at his side, engrossed in a novel. I glance up to the flight informatiion - Montreal 800 am.... No fear of missing that flight....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Find a Job in Canada

Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock - (MADE IN JAPAN ) for 6am.

While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA ) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA).
After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) filled it with gas (from SAUDI ARABIA) and continued his search for a good paying Canadian job.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day, checking his computer (MADE IN MALAYSIA), Joe decided to relax for a while.

He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in CANADA .

Just a Dog

From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a dog," or, "that's a lot of money for just a dog." They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a dog."

Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a dog." Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a dog," but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a dog," and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it's "just a dog," then you will probably understand phases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a promise." "Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

Because of "just a dog" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a dog" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

"Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a dog" but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a human."

So the next time you hear the phrase "just a dog." just smile, because they "just don't understand."