Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dancing with the Stars

How on earth did I become hooked?

I blame it on my Mom as while I was still staying at my parents' she introduced me to this, the last of the reality shows to which I ever would have gravitated on my own. And yet for the past 10 weeks I have watched and been truly impressed with the show. The individual dramas, successes and challenges. And mostly with the ability of the participants to dance. At times wonderful, sexy and impressive. At other times disappointing and even embarassing. All through, demonstrating the guts and determination to get out there and perform beyond the comfort zone.

Marie Osmond and Jane Seymour representing 'experienced' women, did incredibly well and both boasted an impressive enough fan base to keep them alive well into the competition. Added to that, both went through tragedies: the death of Seymour's Mom and then Marie's Dad during the run of the show. Mostly, it was really great to see them rise to the occasion and surpass expectations. In the case of Seymour in her mid 50s (!) she was fulfilling a life-long dream to return to dance. Osmond in her late 40s went to #3 based on entertainment savyness shown over and over again.

And now, with the finale in progress, the two finalists Mel B. (Scary Spice) and Helio (Racing Champion) could both take it away. While both deserve it, Melanie should win as she has consistently outscored everyone and has been described as a true dancer.

Both though, with their very talented partners, have demonstrated great humour, determination, skill and personal growth. And as the judges would say, they have both unleashed tremendous enough sex appeal to take the breath away from most, if not all observers! And that is precisely the allure of this well-constructed (if not concisely packaged) extravaganza. Plus it's fun. :) Ok, gotta go watch!

Photos: Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Melanie Brown; Julianne Hough, Helio Castroneves, ABC/Carol Kaelson

Sunday, November 25, 2007

CBC's Influence

I've been enjoying a sunny Sunday morning at home with coffee, getting things done and listening to CBC Radio. I often find this to be a wonderful way to recharge my batteries - both physically and mentally. Actually spiritually too.

The combination of Sunday Morning, Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe, Tapestry, Eleanor Wachtel's Writers and Company and Cross Country Checkup with Rex Murphy provides an insightful snapshot of life in Canada. While at times it can seem Toronto-centric, for the mostpart these shows, as well as weekday installments of The Current, This Country Canada and others really do cover the spectrum of locations, issues and cultures in Canada and beyond. And though I've lived in Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto, I've always loved the fact I can tune in and connect with familiar voices and people.

Two different shows this morning resulted in an epiphany for me. One featured a comedian who did impersonations of prime ministers. When mimicking Stephen Harper he commented on how difficult it was as he has a fairly indistinctive voice. That said, he did succeed in sounding like Harper's 'new' way of speaking. As many of us have observed, Harper's voice changed significantly prior to his first election race for PM. No longer was he sounding cranky, impatient and mean, but had transitioned to a more (for him) upbeat cadence, ending sentences on up tones, I think in an effort to seem more open-minded, warm and statesman-like.

Later in the morning, I heard the Vinyl Cafe. That's when it hit me - Stephen Harper had changed his voice to emulate Stuart McLean! If you listen to McLean's delivery - it's quite amazing how similiar it is. Positive, smiling - in story-telling mode. He's a renowned Canadian personality welcomed to any and every community across the country. There to meet and share experiences with Canadians from all walks of life. Warm, engaging, creative, astute. Perfect! Harper's image/pr consultants surely must have seen the benefits of personifying this well-loved CBCer as Harper's personality on its own was not electable. Too bad this new one isn't the real deal.

Photo: Stuart McLean, CBC

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Life lines

It seems to me that there's a thread that winds its way through life's everyday moments. It's a solid, unbreakable and yet ephemeral connection to the truly meaningful. While the day-to-day deadlines and dramas often occupy much of our time and attention, we're reminded of what is really important when we get a glimpse of, or tug on, this connective 'life line'.

I've mentioned this before and I'm still amazed at how many times I've felt this now that I'm so much closer to my original home, family and friends. It's stunning how wonderful life is and yet there's such a dichotomy between the beauty and the sorrow that comes with rich relationships and adventures. To be in touch with this core of life is to appreciate everything and take nothing for granted. And to remember this amid the chaos is the true test.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Reaching for something...

Today was a 'found' day as I was supposed to go to an all-day meeting and then begged off to try to get on top of things in my office. And while I got a lot accomplished, a portion of my time was spent listening to colleagues' feelings of unrest, uneasyness and a sense of something not quite falling into place.

My challenge in these circumstances is to lend an ear, share some shared experience or insight and then NOT take on the negative energy. Gradually I progressed from feeling quite upbeat and blessed with time, to sensing that things were not quite right. And then I remembered that over time I've realized that my nature is to absorb the moods of others and that more constructively I need to empathize, but with some detachment. Too late for today, but lesson learned once again!

So, this vague, unsettling sense that 'something' is off in the distance, just out of reach for now- not sure if that's me or someone else's intuition at play. I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Maggy and the Naturopath

Thanks everyone for your words and thoughts of encouragement.

So far Maggy's great, except for not liking the poking and prodding of late. On Saturday we headed north of TO to Newmarket to a naturopathic veterinarian for advice and treatment if appropriate. She was fantastic and Maggy, who shakes and protests visiting any vet, was content to relax and hang out there for over two hours of investigation and discussion. She definitely seemed to pick up a very different vibe from the doctor (her name is Autumn) as well as the clinic itself.

We came away with several courses of action including switching to a completely home-prepared, antioxidant-rich diet, nutritional supplements and some tumour-fighting concoctions. We're gung ho to give it a try as long as no adverse reactions ensue - and so far so good. Of course, Maggy always enjoys tasting new things, so she's definitely game!