…an attractive man smiles and nods in greeting at you as you pass each other en route to the subway platform…. and you are flattered for a fleeting second before you wonder if you have something on your face or some sort of wardrobe malfunction (as you do NOT know this person).
Words are musical. Their sounds seduce my imagination. I passionately proclaim my proclivity pour les mots.
‘Tis true: this lass lives a for a lot of alliteration!
As I sit and watch the second episode of The Carrie Diaries (yes, judge me if you will, but I am a teen series junkie), I am suddenly compelled to blog about curly hair.
It’s safe to say a big part of my identity is linked to my head of curls.
….Born too late to fully take advantage of 80s hairdos (but not too late to escape having a friend’s mom give me an at-home ‘spiral perm’ so I wouldn’t feel left out as her arrow-straight-haired daughter added waves to her life. The result, in case you were curious- one big poofy, extra voluminous nightmare with bangs)….
…Ever-so-aware of the news anchors and reporters whose careers I coveted and their smooth coifs (though every now and again excited to see who was a true curly-head, a revelation occurring in rare situations such as ‘being on assignment’ in some humid climate where up-to-the-minute reportage makes messy-aka-curly-hair forgivable).
…Constantly bombarded by hair product commercials touting curl-taming concoctions hawked by professional models with stylists who’ve taken a heated hair appliance to create faux corkscrews in their straight locks (and still feeling inclined to buy the product anyways, in my never-ending quest to tame the mane).
…Forever feeling defeated every time a movie ‘makeover’ involved taking a geeky girl with ‘frizz’ and making her hair smooth, glossy, and therefore sexy and sophisticated…. and the boys, bien sur, they came a-runnin.
Sure, I was thrilled that SJP made ringlets fashionable with Sex and the City. However- her boho-eccentric-meets-high-fashion-style only reinforced what the world around me had been telling me since childhood: curls are reserved for creative, free-spirited artists, poodles…and on a similar note: prom queens and toddlers with tiaras, and the odd supermodel posing in a pre-Raphaelite-themed spread.
Today, I’ve managed to find the right mix of products to make peace with my hair…. unless Mother Nature decides to be a real bitch and then I’m SOL.
I’ve accepted that for a precious few months (weeks) a year I do not suffer from moisture-sucking indoor office heating or (see example below) poodle-poof-enducing outdoor humidity:
I’ve even found some cute styles to tuck the curls away in a pitch: SIDE PONYTAILS and BRAIDS FOREVER!
I’ve learned that my hair adds to my youthfulness… and perceived creativity/playfulness.
I’ve experienced what a wonderful hairstylist will do for my hair (in part by accepting that she will never fully understand it!).
I’m thankful that I work in an industry where I don’t have to worry that my hair could suggest a lack of professional polish.
I’m ok with the fact that random curly-haired women will ask me for my products/process… and feel obliged to share my tips!
I don’t bite people’s heads off when they want to know why I don’t let my hair go ‘full fro’ (it’s not an option unless you have that texture people!)
The tides are turning. As the world moves towards a more ‘global’ beauty, I grow more and more elated. There was a time when I wouldn’t…
… discover amazing websites like:
… laugh along with hilarious meme-based articles with gems like (click the image to see the rest!):
…gasp with delight at random discoveries like this fun curly ‘do (click the image to see the whole how-to guide):
Most of all, I now have a sense of humour about and a pride around my hair that took me close to three decades to develop…. along with my message to promote:
ROCK THOSE CURLS, GIRLS!!!
Sunday October 16th marked a major milestone in my life. I ran and successfully completed the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. But the sheer joy and sense of accomplishment of coming across that finish line with a time that far exceeded my goals was completely crushed in a matter of mere minutes.
I’m still trying to make sense of it all.
Post finish line, I was impressed with the large number of volunteers rapidly handing out finishing medals. Also, the post-race sustenance- consisting of bagels, fruit, sports drinks, and water- was plentiful. Upon grabbing a bagel and bottle of water, I made the good (albeit last minute) decision to accept one of the thermal sheets the volunteers were giving out. Little did I know that this moment would play such a heavy role in what was to come next. (Note: this was my first half marathon. I had run in a tank top and capris and was feeling ‘comfortably warm’ by the end of the race). Everyone proceeded forward down the narrow path set up on Bay St. I just sort of followed the crowd as I was too tired and unfamiliar with the process to do any differently. I did look around for a volunteer to inquire about the process, but it appeared all available hands were giving out medals.
This is when things took a most unfavourable turn. Myself, along with hundreds of other runners, were funneled and packed like sardines into a small ‘bag claim’ line-up. There were several gates to section off lines but no clear indication as to what each line was for. Bear in mind- everyone in these lines had just run for a solid 2 hours or so- and now had come to a complete standstill with no room to move or stretch.
I tried to be patient and wait for the line to move, but it didn’t. This was my first indication that something was wrong- as people around me started to clue in too. There were murmurs that there had been a huge mess up with bag sorting. This was around the time when I felt a very unfamiliar feeling— my knees and arches were starting to seize up. I gathered this was from the sudden halt in motion combined with the cold. I did my best to wiggle my legs around (despite the cramped quarters) but there were moments when I was really afraid. I would feel a cramp coming on and shake it off only to have another one replace it. I tried to keep calm.
The people squished in around me tried to stay in good spirits but as the pile-up continued and the line failed to budge and word of what lay up ahead at the booths spread, the crowd grew disgruntled. People took matters into their own hands and slipped through the sides… some lines were moving faster than others, and word spread that the bags were in no specific order so even once at the front of the line, which was going to take at least an hour, there was no guarantee that volunteers would find your bag. At one point, someone passed out in line. I’m sure there were many, many more who were in distress, too.
As a Producer who has planned hundreds of TV shoots “in the field”, including those in questionable outdoor conditions and with many unknown variables, I know that one must always have contingency plans in place. In my line of work, we plan for any possible problem to be able to react quickly and effectively. While I realize you can’t entirely prepare for the unexpected- there are certain ‘Plan Bs’ that are useful in most sistuations: ie. What to do when a crew member is late or calls in sick; what to do if if weather doesn’t cooperate, etc. etc.
Where were the emergency or back-up plans on race day? Where was the official on a megaphone (or multiple volunteers) stationed at the finish line? Individuals who could have informed participants that due to a glitch or oversight, there was a major backlog at the bag check in and would people kindly like to make their way to a nearby heated tent for coffee and warmth to wait it out? Where was the apology or announcements informing people what their options were or what was happening? Unlike a music festival or outdoor concert, where people are left to fend for themselves and know more or less what they are getting into and prepare accordingly- we are athletes expecting the events in which we enroll to be considerate and cater to our basic health and human needs.
I spent as long in the bag check line as I did running my race- 2 hours. By hour two, I was shivering underneath my thermal sheet- chilled straight to the bone- not to mention, my muscles and joints in my legs had entirely seized up. I fear what would have happened to me had I not grabbed one of those thermal covers. As much as each of us is responsible for taking care of ourselves, no one could have anticipated that type of wait or scenario. Finally, as news that other runners were taking matters into my hands, I located my family members and passed my bib number to them. They were able to get my bag within 15 minutes. At this point, I was shivering uncontrollably and feeling ill. I later learned that there was a complimentary McDonalds coffee truck set up not too far from where the 2 hour wait had unfolded.
I headed off with my family, barely able to walk due to my inability to stretch and stay warm after the race.
I am appalled and saddened that this debacle has put a damper on an otherwise monumental day. I paid $100 to participate in a race, which I also vigorously fundraised for, only to be treated like cattle and forced into an unfortunate post-race situation without any explanation or consideration for my health and wellbeing. I still don’t have an official explanation on what the problem was today. I know this is an annual event and a world-class one. How on Earth did organizers allow this to happen? But more importantly, how did no one manage to act quickly and offer an alternative to all those racers?
This is a shameful display of disorganization and disrespect shown on the part of the organizers of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. This will not turn me off from running races but I will here forth have serious reservations about ever participating in this particular event again. With so many other races happening in this great city, I would rather support ones that operate in a more humane and organized fashion. Or compensate their participants for such a terrible end to a life-changing experience.
Yours in running,
Dark and stormy skies are whipping me into a frenzy today. As much as I am currently enamored with social media and the amazing benefits it offers us… here’s my current beef: any pretty-young-thing can now instantly become an ‘expert’ without so much as a single solitary drop of blood, sweat, or tear.
For example: aforementioned individual ‘checks in’ to some hot coffee joint, while simultaneously posting an Instagram snap of his/her cute-little-pouty-face sipping on some joe and then tweets about how he/she is a ‘coffee connoisseur’ while attaching a link to a blog where he/she “writes” (I’m using that term VERY loosely) about how “THEIR so happy to be havin’ some coffee” and how his/her opinion on coffee is one worth sharing with the masses via a highly un-edited blog post. Said individual says that he/she is a (insert topic here ie: life/ relationship/cool stuff) expert and society is so eager to accept it to be so.
I’m all for sharing your thoughts and connecting with likeminded folks across the web-o-sphere. That’s not the issue here. What I am fearful of is an entire generation of self-promoting geniuses/gurus who have mistaken promotional skill for true skill at their craft. Hone your CRAFT first and then focus on promoting yourself. I am specifically speaking about the bloggers out there who think that grammar and spelling are ‘old-school’ and that the English language is open to personal interpretations or variations in print. Or the folks that think their life experience trumps actual degrees and designations and feel that they are in a position to dole out advice….
It’s the Wild West out there and one has to wonder: which experts will YOUR children be “following” and treating their words/tweets like gospel in a similar way to how our ancestors obediently followed the beliefs of their religious figures or heads of state… and, in most cases, teachers.
Hmm, perhaps I smell a social experiment here. I should become a ‘guru’ at something and see what kind of following I can create. Nah— I have too much integrity to do that.
Ok, I think I feel better now! (Oh, and it goes without saying that if you see grammar or issues with this post, I’m open to feedback!) Practice what you preach, baby!
PS- I went back and re-read and edited this post. And I probably will again…. budding young bloggers should take note…. writing is an evolution- a process that requires revisiting. It’s kind of the beauty of the craft and the creative process, don’t you think?
Had a moment today. My third one of its kind this week.
Yeah, leave it to life to have to beat a message over my head before I get it.
I love this city.
Sure, I’m eager to travel and explore new cities… but I have never really imagined nor yearned to live anywhere else.
And I know my stuff. About this city, that is. Well, I’m no historical guru, but when it comes to tourism….
Well, I’m best with directions to landmarks. But, I can’t tell you HOW MUCH I enjoy when someone approaches me to ask for directions. They don’t realize that they’ve scored the jackpot and I will give them step-by-step directions that will get them to where they wanna go, no sweat.
There was the cute family of four looking for the Hockey Hall of Fame this week…(the Dad approached, much to the obvious chagrin of the Mom for some reason :-P) then two 30-something guys from overseas (Irish? I’m bad with accents) looking for Grace O’Malleys pub. Then today, a young, stylish girl who looked to me like she Go-Trained it in from the far-out burbs. She wanted to know where Wellington St. was and she was totally walking the wrong way.
But perhaps more than feeling good for knowing the answers (I LOVE knowing the answer!), I love the reactions from fellow inquirers when I help them out, in a DETAILED fashion. Each tourist takes a gamble when he/she picks which stranger to ask for help from. Heck, I know enough people in this city who barely know it though they work and play in it. But I give them what they need.
And hence… an idea is brewing. Taking into account the following facts about moi:
I love organizing things. But not huge events that require precise timing or dealing with high-strung, uptight people (ie: I would NEVER be a wedding planner!).
I know and love this city and finding new and exciting nooks and crannies and adventures… in addition to enjoying the tried-and-true staples.
I like variety and actually crave it. Part and parcel of being a freelancer for so many years, perhaps.
I love being in control of who I work with.
I love being in control of my schedule.
I love creating unique experiences (or the idea of creating em) and tracking down unique finds for people. For me, shopping is more about the art of the hunt as opposed to walking away with plenty of goods.
What do all of these add up to?
Well, currently, a whole lotta mush in the brain parts. But that’s about to change, as I see a clear vision developing.
And unlike my prior business ideas, this one isn’t entirely tainted by the devil I know. (Anything related to TV production at the moment is fraught with anxiety and can-fail scenarios). It’s fresh, exciting… and due for an ultimate reality check as to feasibility.
But for now, it’s a source of motivation. A pleasant subject of daydreams. And a beacon of hope and light after a very trying year….
Timing, however, bites the big one. I’m currently prepping a proposal for an entirely separate business proposal. I’ve got one day left to make my submission deadline. And of course, in the 11th hour, I get an entirely new idea! How to play this? I don’t think there’s enough time (nor have I really had time to research) the new plan…. but maybe this is the trick with me. The way to unleash my creativity and ideas is to be pressed by a deadline. My defense mechanism is avoidance…. and in that avoidance, I CREATE!
I realize that I am a bizarre creature.
You read about the elevator pitch. In my biz, your idea lives and dies in its ability to be expressed in a short one-liner. Last night I dreamt I was pitching my latest idea to my agent… in an elevator! And I think my version was the most succinct one to date! Now, if only we could transcribe the dialogue in our dreams….