Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Welcome to My Story. PART II

Welcome to second installation of "50 things you may not know about me". If you actually made it through the first 25 … CONGRATS! You already know more about me now than is probably legally acceptable without the filing of a restraining order. Well, here are 25 more for you to ponder. 

At the very least I hope to make you giggle, gasp, nod your head knowingly as you recognize a familiar character flaw, maybe exclaim “wow that’s pretty cool!” at least once, shrug your shoulders, cry a little perhaps, spontaneously turn to the person next to you and point at your screen shouting “ Hey! Me too!”, swear under your breath, roll your eyes,  scratch your head, laugh out loud or any combination of the above.

Feel free to comment once you’re done.
Or not. Either way. It’s ok. I won’t mind. 
(see #10 of Part I)

  1. The strongest and most courageous person I know is my mom. And I think that even more every day.

  2. I didn’t actually figure out what sex was until the 8th grade (if you do the math… I was 14) I was studying for a test on human reproduction. I got the whole “men provide sperm, women produce eggs from the ovaries, carry the baby,” etc etc etc. I totally understood the biology of it. I didn’t quite get the “how”. I thought that it happened in test tubes. I got HALF the question out of my mouth to my mom, when I actually LOOKED at the diagram of a man next to a woman and thought… hmmm look how neat. THAT would fit quite nicely THERE wouldn’t it? Oh. OH. OH!!! EW! You did WHAT while I was sleeping in the next room?!!

  3. I like to smile at total strangers and get a smile back. It somehow makes the world seem fixable.

  4. I feel absolute RAGE when flight attendants harshly tell you (or worse! wake you up by moving the seat) to put your seat in an upright position when the damn thing barely moves less than a half inch! The difference between life and death?? I THINK NOT! (Well, maybe theirs!!)

  5. I have had baby birds hatch in my hands.

  6. I LOVE cheese. My favorite is Parmigiano Reggiano but there isn’t anything I won’t try now. A little Chateau de Bourgogne (brie) on a French baguette? I’d have that everyday if I could.

  7. I can’t watch hockey without thinking about my Dad….(often watching overtime through his eyelids.)

  8. I think I am much more clever on paper (written) than I am in person. Things I write seem much funnier than when I say them out loud. I’m also not very good at telling jokes.

  9. I have never ever taken someone’s job. I was always either hired into a new position, helped create a new position, or it had been vacated for some time. That’s the way I like it. AND I have never been fired. I was laid off once but rehired a few months later. Then I started working in racing where jobs were lost when sponsorship was lost and teams folded. But that’s a long story that I’ll need adult beverages to make it easier to share.

  10. I took American Sign Language classes after I was laid off from a job in 2000. I continued the courses after I was rehired and still keep in touch with a lot of my deaf friends and enjoy making new ones. I’m WAY rusty now but can still keep up if they sign slowly. I first got interested in ASL because I used to watch a show called “Say it with Sign” on PBS as a kid. I think it’s a beautiful expressive language.

  11. I still believe in happy endings… In movies and in life.

  12. I have met and worked with a lot of “famous” people. Most are/were sports figures and some of which I am lucky enough to have them call me a friend. Pedro Martinez is still among my favorites. I was pretty geeked out to meet Jane Goodall in person. I have interviewed Alice Cooper and John Rys Davies (from Indiana Jones movies) and both made me laugh really hard! My favorite interview was hockey great Jean Beliveau. The first racecar driver I officially interviewed was the late Greg Moore in 1998. The only driver to blatantly hit on me was Jacques Lafitte (but I actually found that quite funny and charming).

  13. Having a person I love take my face in their hands, look into my eyes and smile makes my knees week and my heart grow. My niece Maya was 3 years old when she first did this to me.

  14. I think that if anyone hurt my sisters or my parents, I would actually be capable of murder. I am also certain that I would give my life to save theirs if I had to.

  15. I love photographs. Some people have diaries… I have photos. I remember every single one I have ever taken and what it meant to me at that very moment. I have over 20,000 photos in boxes in my mom’s basement. Thank God for digital photography and exterior hard drives.

  16. I will only wear perfume on special occassions but when I do it is usually only one of two: Anais Anais by Cacharel or Tuscany by Aramis. I would like to one day have a bottle of Chanel No.5. My grandmother taught me the value of perfume. Her dream was to open a perfumeria. I admit I am attracted to perfume more by the esthetic beauty of the bottle than that of the scent.

  17. When I first saw the movie “Amelie Poulin” I actually felt lighter and happier knowing someone was saying it was okay to be like that.

  18. I am convinced that I will one day write an incredible screenplay for a movie and win an OSCAR. I first got this notion when I was in the 6th grade. I’m going to use this line in my acceptance speech.

  19. The best part of my day is going home to be greeted by a very happy wiggly dog. Dogs sure know how to tell you they missed you. I wish people would do that too!

  20. I used to voice F1 race reports on Air Canada flights. I also translated & voiced 17 episodes of “Quebec a la Mouche” a fly-fishing TV show for the Outdoor Network in Canada & the US. I really liked doing voice over work.

  21. I didn’t get boobs/breasts/puppies until I was 24. This was a constant source of anxiety for me through my teens and early twenties. I even did the exercises outlined in the book "Are you there God, It's me Margaret." They finally filled out (naturally) and I am very happy with how they have turned out. Really.

  22. I LOVE birthdays. I believe that birthdays are THE one day you should be absolutely spoiled and pampered. You should be the center of everyone’s universe for that one day a year. 
    I love making a birthday special for people who are special to me. I write notes with riddles to where presents are hidden, make personalized cakes, favorite foods, etc etc etc. Anything to make the day amazing.

    The problem is… I’d love to have that done for my birthday too. While I don’t hold it against anyone, no one seems to really have the time to make the effort to do that for anyone anymore.

    Most real birthday celebrations seem to stop after you hit 7 years old. That’s not fair. I believe that on your birthday, the universe should give you presents too; a winning lottery ticket, a beautiful sunny day, extra love and cuddles, birthday wishes come true, the works.

  23. If I find something REALLY REALLY funny... I laugh, then I snort. It’s an inherited family trait. I’ll snort and then apologize for it. Snort. Sorry. Laugh. Snort. Sorry. My friend Josh pointed that out to me years ago. He still laughs about it.

  24. I don’t like the word extraordinary. Does it mean extra-ordinary or beyond ordinary?

  25. I was PAINFULLY shy from birth to my mid-20s. I was afraid of people and as a result, I stammered and stuttered. All people seemed 'mean and scary' to me because quite frankly I have dealt with quite a few like that. (Yep I had bullying issue much like everyone else but I took it REALLY personally.)

    I finally figured out that the only way people would actually MAYBE like me is if they got to know me, if I did nice things for them, or made them laugh, or feel good. If they liked me, they wouldn’t be mean. If I was nice to them, then maybe they might actually be nice to me back.

    Sadly I’ve learned that isn’t always true. But I’ve also learned that it doesn’t matter. I’ve learned that it is still worth it, if only to find those that are worth getting to know because they can enrich your life so. Even if for just a moment.

That's it. That's all. Actually... That's not true. There is more. A lot more. But I'll let you recover from this first and then maybe, if you think I'm interesting enough, you'll come back for more. (If not, it's been nice. Thank you for stopping by. Happy Adventures. Hope to see you soon.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Welcome to My Story. Part I

To catch you up on my adventures to date, here are 50 things you may not know about me. If you actually make it through this entire post (Part I & Part II)… CONGRATS! You know more about me now than is probably legally acceptable without the filing of a restraining order.

At the very least I hope to make you giggle, gasp, nod your head knowingly as you recognize a familiar character flaw, maybe exclaim “wow that’s pretty cool!” at least once, shrug your shoulders, cry a little perhaps, spontaneously turn to the person next to you and point at your screen shouting “ Hey! Me too!”, swear under your breath, roll your eyes,  scratch your head, laugh out loud or any combination of the above.

Feel free to comment once you’re done.
Or not. Either way. It’s ok. I won’t mind. (see #10)

  1. I am Canadian. Born in Montreal, Quebec. My mom is Austrian and grew up in the beautiful city of Vienna. My Dad is Italian and grew up near the city of Terni (who’s patron saint is St. Valentine) in the province of Umbria. The rest of my family is from various places in Europe. I have some gypsy in me. Two world wars and a few civil ones tend to force people to change places. I was the first Canadian born of the family. I am very proud and interested by my heritage and my family history.
  2. I have two sisters, both younger than me. I am the shortest in the family.

  3. Getting my hair cut was always a trauma for me. I once went 6 years without a hair cut. I blame Walt Disney for much of this as all the heroines in the stories had beautiful long hair. I was particularly traumatized by the mom of a childhood friend who was supposed to TRIM my LONG waist length hair but instead cut it to the point everyone thought I was a boy for two years. I was 7 at the time. I never recovered.

  4. I can quote movie lines ad nauseam, and often do, but I can NEVER remember all the words to ANY song. Maybe an occasional chorus, or few lines here and there, but never an entire song! Every year I endeavor to learn all the lyrics of one complete song. Hasn’t happened yet.
  5. I am NOT a morning person. I may be awake at 7 but my brain will not properly function until at least 10 am. Until then, I’m grumpy, ugly, nasty, and I make NO apologies for it. (*The only exception to this rule is if I have to be at a race track at 7 am.) My mom STILL likes to tell people she thought I’d be a “go-go dancer” (aka stripper) because I was a nighthawk since birth. I do some of my best thinking and work during the night.
  6. I love handwritten letters on pretty stationary and envelopes. I have boxes of lovely stationary with all kind of designs. I love sending letters but I LOVE getting letters more. I think the last actual letter I ever got was from a Brazilian woman that I had met in Amsterdam when I was 7 and with whom I remained pen pals for nearly 20 years. I like getting cards and postcards too, my family still sends those, but nothing beats a nice personal handwritten letter to make you feel special.
  7. I believe animals and birds have souls and a great capacity for love. I’m not sure about all human beings though.
  8. I used to think Snoopy and Pepe le Pew were real and my best friends. (Like Santa or the tooth fairy for others) They still are to me.
  9. I can read write and speak three languages fluently; English, French and Italian. I understand at least 4 others, can order beer in 8 different languages and know at least one swear word in 10 languages.

    I can also recognize most accents and identify what language is being spoken even if I don’t necessary speak that language. I am intrigued and interested by the roots of words and languages. I went to German school when I was little, advanced Italian in University, and I even took a college course in Scots (spoken in Scotland) taught by (NHL coach and hockey great) Scotty Bowman’s brother, Martin Bowman.
  10. I’m not good with confrontations. EVER.
  11. I am a bird person. I love and understand birds. I have been fascinated with them since I was a baby. My mom often recounts how I would sit in the sandbox at the park and try to catch the birds that came to take sand baths. (They do that.) I went from mending backyard birds to raising wild babies. I had a robin for 8 years that ate dogfood and took baths promptly at 12 noon everyday. We had a cedar waxwing that lived and flew freely in our kitchen for a year.

    My first bird was a yellow parakeet named Susie that my aunt Monique and Uncle Manolo gave me. I have many raised many colourful baby lovebirds. I've been owned by Cockatiels like the adorable "Q" and Wolfie (named after Mozart) who wolf whistled, said "Allo Toi" and whistled the baseball "charge" prompt.

    I've been bossed around by a Blue Fronted Conure named Snapple who sang “You are my Sunshine”, and have had two very cheeky and extremely pretty Green Cheeked Conures. 

    I'm serenaded daily by an amazing American Roller Canary named Rossini, who does his namesake proud. 
    I was preened everyday by a very affectionate Moluccan Cockatoo named Jack who laid an egg 8 years after adopting “him”.
    Zooey, an African Grey, is the last adoptee and she came with a chicken, 4 different mobile phone ringers, one fire alarm, a cat, and a zipper (sounds she makes). 

    My true love, Reno the African Grey, speaks three languages and has a repertoire of about 250 words/phrases & sounds and is about the smartest and funniest creature EVER. 

    I never bought a bird in a pet shop. I seem to be very adept at adopting everyone else’s problems.

  12. My comfort food is Pasta (my mom’s gnocchi is tops on the list) and Nutella. (Although I have never tried them together) I am convinced I can subsist on eating only those two items and have tried on many an occasion.
  13. I actually miss licking stamps. I mention this every so often at the post office and get some very interesting looks.
  14. I have a true fondness for teachers. Teachers have had a BIG influence on my life. Mrs. Topham (Kindergarden) was my first.

    Mr. John Riley (grade 6) probably was the most influential and probably the best teacher I ever had. He truly knew how to teach and had a lasting impact on EVERY student that walked in his door. He is the ONLY teacher I know that, to this day, has remained a friend to HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of his students. (But I still have a hard time calling him John)

    Ms. Hendy got me into actually PLAYING sports and enjoying it. She taught me about leadership.

    Mr. Praw made math fun. He made you want to be smart. He was hilarious. I still use some of his catch phrases.

    Mr. West was probably my most difficult teacher. I hated him but it is because of him that I have a better appreciation for the English language. He taught me that NO ONE is EVER perfect and his editing excercices were the PERFECT preparation for the advent of twitter!

    Barclay Watt steered me towards the media and the arts in college when I was actually studying Health Science. Teachers are WAY too underrated.
  15. I hate when people “Uh-hun” me after I say “Thank you”. (I’m looking at you United States Mid-West!) I find it rude. It’s okay to “uh-hun” if you are agreeing with someone (replacing a yes) but it should NEVER replace a “You are welcome.” NEVER. (*disclaimer: After 6 years in the Mid-West I un-hunned ONCE by accident. Never did it again.)
  16. I cannot be left alone with a credit card in the following places: a pet supply shop, a book store, or Lululemon.
  17. I get the hiccups a lot. They are loud and obnoxious. I get them often when I am nervous or anxious about something. I once had them so loud and so long when I was working a Canadiens hockey radio broadcast (as a producer) that the play-by-play guy and Hall of Fame broadcaster, Dick Irvin, had to apologize to everyone listening nationally (Canada) for the odd noise you could hear over the crowd. We were inundated by calls from listeners offering suggestions on how to get rid of them. None of them worked.
  18. I have a REALLY REALLY LONG fuse (see #10) but a VERY VERY bad temper at the end of it. Only 3 people have ever seen it. (I can’t guarantee they still walk this earth). I can hold a grudge MUCH longer than you might ever think. I do forgive but I rarely forget.
  19. I played the violin when I was little… but it used to make me cry. I’m not sure why exactly but I think it was because I found music so very beautiful. I would do the same thing when my mum took me to the ballet or opera. I felt the music sweep through me and emotions just gush out. Music STILL does that to me.
  20. I’m never short winded (as you can tell from this list). If I like you, I will share my stories and adventures with you. I’m happy to say that I have a lot of them. They are NEVER short stories. Problem is… I forget to whom I have recounted which stories …so I tend to repeat myself … a lot. Sorry.
  21. When I was 12, I was convinced that I was going to marry my dog Bella. She was a Belgian German Sheppard who lived 16 years (had her longer than my little sister) and was the most loyal and amazing dog. My current dog, a very funny Cairn Terrier, Isabella (Izzy) is named in tribute to her. Bella was in my arms the day her soul left us and it was the saddest day of my life. I still get emotional about it.

  22. My first real job was at Rainbow Market on Desaulniers in St.Lambert. I was the stockgirl and cleaned the meat and milk counters everyday. It was gross.
  23. It upsets me that I don’t feel as smart as I used to when I was in school. I was once tested and was told I had an I.Q. of 123. I don’t even know what that means. Another test had me higher but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t score well now. Not because I’m not smart… I think I’ve just forgotten all the smart things I used to know. I was always a little more book smart than street smart.
  24. If I could have only one chocolate for the rest of my life it would be Perugina’s Baci chocolates. Italian chocolates wrapped with little fortune style messages and sayings about love and romance in 4 different languages.
  25. When I was 9, I sneezed, hiccupped and farted all at the exact same time. It actually hurt a little but I laughed so hard afterwards that the memory of it still makes me laugh out loud. I’ll conjure the memory up from time to time when I need a laugh.

Thanks for reading... more to come in PART II