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People on my path…

Sometimes in life, when you least expect it you find everything you’ve ever wanted and don’t even know it. About a year ago I did that exact thing and as much as I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t the right time, it totally was. Finding a partner in life seemed a bit hopeless and unrealistic for me, I don’t sit still, I’m very scattered, constantly creating and dreaming…oh and let’s not forget (like Einstein) I am extremely messy. Just to top off that winning combination I consciously and unconsciously don’t let people get close to me, I’m not sure how that complex issue ever came about, it’s something I work on now that I recognize it, but for the first 26 years of my life I had lived that way and  was never curious to know what it was like living any another way. Jake starting chipping away at that wall as soon as I met him. He’s the kind of guy that you see on the street and want to approach but assume that he must have a girlfriend, he’s the kind of guy you stand behind in the line at Capers laughing because he’s making the cashier laugh so hard that some how you’ve joined in even though you didn’t hear the punch line. He’s the guy that turns around after you get home because he saw a homeless man 6 blocks back with no jacket on and he remembers he has an extra coat in the closet. He’s that one person that can make you feel like you’re the only person in the world in a sea of people. Jake’s taught me a lot about myself and about life. He has been there for me  through some of the lowest and highest points of my life with the same open arms and love in his eyes as the first day we met. He had become my best friend, my punching bag, my shoulder and support system. A big part of who I have become is a result of his love and support. For those of you in my life that have been lucky enough to meet him this post should come as no surprise, for those of you who have someone like this in your life make sure you take time to thank them for what they bring to your everydays. My relationship with Jake is special…there is no ceiling on it and something tells me there never will be.

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People on my path is dedicated to those big characters in my life that shift perspective and add pieces to my puzzle. In this episode we’ll be talking about Yvonne Taylor, who is not only my best friend but is also my grandmother. Yvonne (I prefer Nanny) met 27 years ago when I joined the family. I am her first grandchild (of 6) and people say that has soon as I popped out of mum I popped into her and poppa’s arms…and to be quite honest I don’t think I’ve left yet. Nan stands a staggering 5 foot & change with strawberry hair and a smile that seems to light up your heart and make anything that hurt’s go away. She does so many amazing things in so many people’s lives I feel as though I would rather write a book about her to give justice to mark she continues to leave on this earth and everyone around her. What I can speak of is who she has been (and continues to be) in my life. Nanny has been there. She has been there for my biggest hurts, successes and challenges. She seems to always have the right advice (whether you want to hear it or not), she is one of very few people who can see past my stubbornness and actually get through to me. She has ability to somehow move the clouds in BC when I can’t see the light (which is impressive since she still lives in Ontario). She is a powerful business woman and balances that with a heart that bigger than life. She is often the only voice of reason and often show’s up in my subconscious telling me to think about what I’m doing. I wish there were words that could describe the love and respect I feel for this woman. All I know is that what she is and has been for me shows up in all the things I feel most passionate about in life.

She is an incredible woman (which many be an understatement), mother, great-grandmother and nanny. She is by very best friend, I often say if I become half the woman she is I will live a very big and satisfying life.  I love you Nanny for the person you are and the person you’ve helped me become, you are a shining star and I pray that everyone who reads this will share the love with whoever is this person for you.

Edgar A. Guest:

You are the person who has to decide. Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside; you are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind. Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are.

I was walking home from work today and decided to turn off my iPod. I’m still not exactly sure why, I listen to it to and from work everyday, from music, books to podcasts, my mom would say that I do it to give my brain a bit of a break from the piñata of ideas it usually is. Today was different, I had a feeling of being ‘checked out’ of everyday happenings and wanted to hear the world around me, notice things, one might say be a little more present than I have been being.

The first think I noticed were two distinct smells. The heavy grain smell coming from Molson’s coupled with the salty fresh ocean, which (contrary to what you might think) produced a gag-sandwich (as my niece would say) which almost lost me my lunch. Regardless I still noticed it and was a little uneasy (and relieved) knowing that I had never really noticed this smell before but had walked this route at this time for months. The second thing I noticed was the power of eye contact, I smiled at people passing me by, acknowledging them with a ‘Good Afternoon’ or a ‘Hey how are ya?’. Most didn’t respond, some smiled, others probably thought I was on something, which I always think is amusing and sad. (The joke was on them. I was onto something bigger than I ever expected). My last little gem was in the final stretch to my place, I sometimes take the seawall but after the earlier ‘beer meets ocean’ scent (that will never be a perfume), I decided to take Davie Street. I walked for about 2 minutes when a homeless man stopped me to compliment my long board I was carrying. I should preface this by telling you that this was not the first time I had seen this young man. He sits on the corner here in front of Celebrities everyday (with his dog) and head buried in a book. I often glance over his shoulder and notice a quick line or title to see what adventure he is on that day. Today was Huckleberry Finn (a personal favorite). I replied with a ‘thanks’ and a smile and continued on my way. I think I took two steps and thought, Hey I have a $10 gift certificate for Book Warehouse in my pack. So without thinking I rifled through my pack (for those of you that know me I could probably survive for a year on what I have in there…so this took a moment), and there it was.  I walked back and squatted down beside him and handed him the gift certificate and told him that I wanted him to use it to choose a book. He looked at me and paused. A tear came to his eye and he said something I will never forget…I have never gotten to choose before. People hand me their old books, I find them in the trash…but I’ve never got to choose. Thank you..you don’t know what it means to get to choose.

This moment humbled me to the point where I had instantly became this teary-eyed-smiling mess. I can’t describe the feeling I felt as I shook his hand, gave his dog a rub and continued my journey home. All I know is that life gives me these little reminders some days and this was one of them. The value of making choices isn’t something we should ever take for granted. Make decisions carefully, value yourself, value your body and always show gratitude. Life is a much more beautiful trip this way.

Instead of the softness that accompanies a day off I found myself waking up this morning disjointed and (for the first 10 minutes of the day) walking around in that milky zone between awake and sleep, you know what I mean (smashing into stuff, very “flopsy”, a gaze that would make even your own mother wonder if you had been up all night drinking). I opened my day planner to check my never-ending list of half inventions, little poems on sticky notes and creative doodle dreams that only I can translate. I noticed that there were big bold letters on this day that read SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND WIN THIS FOR CHIP. (Which I’m sure any of you lemons out there can relate to when you’re giving yourself a self-talk. Do it for yourself. Do it for Chip). My attitude completely shifted. That’s right (I thought) I have ball tonight!!!

Good ol’ball.

Always there for me, like a friend who won’t quit. She used to be a huge part of my life you see, ball was many things.. tournaments filled with adrenaline, edge, competition, passion, drive, week nights and most weekends, as a matter of fact at one point ‘ball’ was my only outlet in life. When I stood at shortstop nothing was getting by me. I was best in the world, the back bone and the apple of father’s (and mum’s) eye.

Now as I have gotten older softball has changed her tune…I would no longer describe her as a test of refined skill, focus and unbridled competition. Now her role is that of a drunken aunt that smokes carton of cigarettes an hour. She no longer forces me to show up an hour early to stretch and take ground balls, now she’s often late because she’s dragging a keg across the field and stealing fun-points for me because I’m shaking my head while explaining what ‘tagging up’ is for the fourth time. She has taken a slightly less serious approach to my life, (Danica please take that as a joke. I take every game very seriously) it’s become a time where I can let my guard down, be social and have fun with people who I work with and who I love.

I didn’t think it was possible to feel that fire again. In fact I liked playing something for fun for once. Then I got a laser beam e-mail (what I call e-mails that convey feeling) from our first baseman Jay ‘Puppet Show’ Steele and it reignited every competitive cell in my body. I will stop writing here, I feel that the rest of this post will encompass what I am now feeling. Thank you Jay. Thank you for reminding me what beer league softball is all about….. (I have not changed anything in this letter as it is important you feel the true essence of blood, sweat and tears that make up our team…)

Ya team, pick up your game, This is where it counts.

Tonight we embark upon the last portion of a journey that started 12 months ago when we walked off the field at the end of last years tournament.

Part of the journey involved some of our friends leaving us for various reasons to go their separate ways. But those of you who remain are a part of something special here. You stayed for a reason.

You stayed on because you care about the team, what it stands for, your teammates, and yourselves! All of you recognize that you are a part of something special here tonight. You recognize that you’ve come a long way from last August. I encourage you to savor it. Absorb this moment and seize it! Embrace it and take it the direction that YOU want to go.

There comes a point in each persons life when he/she asks himself: HOW DO I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED? Reality is so few people have the chance that you have tonight. You have the chance to effect the answer to that question. The moment is at hand. It is not about tomorrow. It is not about yesterday. It is not about what you did ten minutes ago. But part of your future and how you’ll be remembered will be shaped BY YOU over the next one and half hours! Look at your team, look at the person next to you. How do you want them to remember you? How do you want them to remember the way you played in this game? How do you want your parents, family, and friends to remember your performance on this night? Will you be remembered as ordinary or extraordinary?

Thirty years from now when you have your team reunion you’ll see many of these faces again and you’ll shake hands. You’ll reminisce and you’ll soak up the common bond that you have with your teammates that can never be broken.

The coaches have prepared you for this game. The trainers have prepared you for this game. You’ve prepared yourselves for this game. But there are several things to remember when you take the field:

1. Play with heart. No matter what happens, we don’t let up!

2. Play with passion. For many of you this is your last game as a Statuatory Grape. But even for the underclassmen, do not take this situation for granted. Although you earned the right to be here, don’t assume you’ll be back. Play it as if it were your last hurrah. PLAY EVERY SINGLE BALL LIKE ITS THE PLAY THAT WILL SAVE THE GAME! EACH PLAY MUST BE A WINNING PLAY. As the game goes on each play adds up to a winning performance.

3. Play within yourselves. Remember what you’ve been taught and play within that. So often teams lose games because guys start playing outside what they’ve been asked to do. Trust your mates and know they have your back.

4. Have fun! Relish this moment. Two teams have a shot at this each year. That means an awful lot of young men and women will go through life wondering what it would have been like to be in your shoes. Enjoy this! Don’t be afraid to win!

5. PLAY LIKE CHAMPIONS TONIGHT! Play with the champion’s heart, mind, spirit, & attitude. OWN THE CHAMPIONSHIP! CLAIM IT! OWN IT! BE IT! DON’T LET ANYONE TAKE THIS MOMENT AWAY FROM YOU! NOT THE PRESS! NOT THE FANS! NOT THE MEDIA! AND CERTAINLY NOT THEbenchwarmers!!!!!

GO OUT THERE TONIGHT AND SHOW THE WORLD WHAT STATUTORY GRAPE IS ALL ABOUT! WE TALK ABOUT THE TRADITION THAT EXISTS HERE! WE TALK ABOUT GREAT MEN AND WOMEN. WE TALK ABOUT THE COLORS. WE TALK ABOUT NORWOOD NOT GETTING IT UP! YOU’RE NOT ALONE ON THAT FIELD!

THE GHOSTS OF THE NETWERK LEMONS PAST WILL BE WITH YOU!

All season long we’ve talked about what it takes to be considered truly extraordinary. What it takes to be considered great! There are people in this world who are afraid to be great! They’re afraid to be champions only because they are afraid of the work and commitment required to be in the champions pantheon!

BUT NOT YOU! LOOK AT YOUR COLORS! LOOK AT YOUR GLOVES AND ABSORB WHAT IT IS TO BE A PART OF THE SPECIAL FRATERNITY OF STATUTORY GRAPE SOFTBALL PLAYERS! ABSORB THE TRADITION! PLAY FOR THE TRADITION! PLAY FOR YOURSELVES!

GO OUT THERE AND BE CHAMPIONS! BE CHAMPIONS AT HALLEN FIELD!

On behalf of the team…Thank you Jay. Thank you.


Sometimes I feel like my first book should be about the people in my life that have changed me. In good ways and bad my travels have allowed me to have conversations that sometimes simplify, change, validate or tilt my way of thinking. One of those amazing people is my friend Danica. ‘Neeks (as I call her) is that visionary- hard hitting business women I have always dreamt of being. She has a presence (and beauty) that can make a room (or baseball field) stand still and want to do their very best at the same time. She has the ability to give criticism, compliments, feedback and amazing advice in every and any moment. ‘Neeks is a decision maker, a leader, a changer and a believer. I don’t ever leave a conversation with her without feeling inspired, changed or like something inside me has been shifted. When she asked me to play on our company softball team this summer I remember I felt like I had been nominated for an Academy Award…you know that feeling, when someone you really admire gives you a speck of responsibility, like a test to see if you can live up to the standards they’ve set in their mind for you (or they just needed another girl.. it is company softball after all). I’m not quite sure if she ever realized what it meant that she asked…or that I said yes not realizing I would have to go back to the only position that scares the crap out of me (3rd base, and it only scares me because the only time in my short life I have had to have mouth surgery- 8 needles of freezing fluid- is when I was hit in the mouth with a baseball and lost my front tooth…which ironically only made me fit in more in my hometown- love you Georgetown). Even more stressful (in my mind) was that I would be playing right next to her. Just to give you a little background Danica is one of Australia’s (most competitive) well rounded softball players, she is still a powerhouse on the field and still makes you wonder that if she rang Team Australia they would be begging her to come back and take a starting position. With more awards and accolades then I will ever know, she’s one of those people that you thank God is on your team let alone standing right beside you. There was a time in my life that i thought that my heart had been removed and somehow a softball had taken its place…I lived and breathed the sport, it was in my blood, it carried me through my post secondary education and until recently it was one of only a few things that reminded me of the competitive gene that fueled the early morning practices and the weekend tournaments for a short 17 years.

For most of the season I had done the unthinkable. I had psyched myself out of playing next to ‘Neeks. I created empty expectations, false pressure and amped myself so much that every time a ball was hit to me my entire arm tensed up like I was flexing for the world to see my (almost) Kelly Ripa arms. Poor Jay-Z (unfortunately and fortunately not actually Jay-Z) our first baseman…I must have thrown every other ball at his feet or about a meter and half to his left or right. And every time I did a picture of my father putting his hands in face would appear, or ‘Neeks would fall silent. For those of you still with me you have finally made it to the climax (twss). In the 2nd inning of last night’s game I dropped the story. I realized that this nervousness/ insecure attitude I associated with hopping on the field beside a person I admire, love and respect was replacing my love for the sport. I played baseball for fun last night and still managed to feel competitive again. I stopped setting an imaginary standard and played baseball because I love it. I’ve always loved it. The pressure that I had carried from childhood all the way up through my teenage years until now seemed to melt away through my cleats. I participated in life last nice not wondering or caring what people thought. I began to realize what make ‘Neeks so successful and such a beautiful person. She listens to her voice, she carefully combines logic and her own opinion and subtracts any question that she is incorrect. She says, does and feels the right/best thing in that moment…sometimes so quickly that I haven’t even drawn a conclusion and she’s already half way through another perfctly worded gem of advice that makes me feel so blessed to know her ever second I’m near her.

So this post is for ‘Neeks. For all the conversation behind West 4th, in my truck and in the “dug out”. So glad to have you in my life for more reasons then I’ll ever be be able to put into words.