Music Friday

Happy Friday!
Every Friday I’m going to be posting a song that I can’t get out of my head. It’ll be a different one each Friday. I might call them my “anthem” or just music friday.
This week it’s “GOSSIP” and front woman BETH DITTO’s amazing and powerful voice. Her persona and reputation are equally big. BIG is the key word here. She’s a BBW, and I think 3 of my favorite adjectives can easily describe her; Confident, Strong and FIERCE! Not to mention a refreshing figure in an all too thinsationally dominated culture. She’s a Goddess.

Beth is an openly gay female which is also something uncommon in Celebritydom. Not only does her sexuality come under scrutiny, she’s been a controversial figure because of her curvier frame and the clothing she wears. She’s something rare in the rock world and I’m sure some people are threatened by that. I think she’s MARVELOUS!

Go ahead, try to disagree with me. She’s a BBW icon, who are you?  This video makes me want to go out, find myself a gold bodysuit, put on gold lipstick, encase my eyebrows in gold paint and strut. She also has an amazing and unique sense of style. She even has her own clothing line.

Try not to instantly tap your feet to the plucky, chunky guitar opening. Put it on, turn it up and dance, dance dance! Music like this is meant to be enjoyed. I dare you not to love this band. Happy music Friday!

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A healthy dose of courtesy

“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.”  Sir Francis Bacon

I was raised to be polite. I was raised to say “please” and “thank you”, to say “you’re welcome”, to respect my elders and to open doors for people-especially when they have a baby on one arm and hot coffee in the other hand. Apparently, not everyone was raised to be polite.

Today, while exiting a Starbucks, two women who were so involved in their conversation waited for me to open a door I was struggling with, then took the opportunity to walk through it as I held it open for them, my son in my arms and my coffee in hand. They didn’t grab the door for us and they didn’t even say thank you when I held it for them to whisk right by. None the less, it didn’t stop me from calling to them and the many other patrons of Starbucks “YOU’RE WELCOME LADIES!”

Yes, I got some looks. They turned to look at me, one even blushed a little, but hardly missed a beat in their conversation. Sometimes, people need a bit of an etiquette lesson it seems.

It often happens to me. I’ve really noticed it since I’ve had my son, Liam. The first time I was made painfully aware of the courtesy oblivion came soon after I had him. I was out with my boy in the stroller, still getting used to the large bulky contraption, trying desperately not to bang my newborn around, and NO ONE would grab the door for me. At least 5 people went into the store in front of me. Finally someone did help us. It’s not isolated either. It happens more often than not that people walk by without offering a hand.

Then there is the complete opposite kind of discourtesy. We, as consumers, have become so accustomed to it that we tune it out for the most part. I know it’s a common complaint for a lot of people. Something that we tolerate silently, in discomfort. The invasion of personal space and privacy!

I went to have my eyes tested and it was a fairly quick bombardment of selling. There was no transition, no wooing, no lulling me into a pitch. I was not seduced into a sale. A small Chinese Woman offers me a wide smile as she finishes up with another customer. They are speaking another language. She sees that I am becoming anxious, having left my son stranded in his stroller with Jenny-he is a busy boy who likes to be on the move, either on foot, or by carriage, but sitting still is asking a lot. I am nervous for Jenny, who’s been left armed with juice, dehydrated corn snacks and cucumber (she’s a Saint this one), but I’m expecting a revolt anytime now.

“Yes?” she asks.

“I have a 4:45 appointment. Wendy.” I smile, grateful that she understood my body language.

“Wendy, you are on social assistance?” She asks. I’m slightly taken aback and embarrassed. There are 2 others within ear shot and I’m not proud of this fact.

“Uh, yes.” I reply meekly.

“Ok. Come this way.” She says plainly, her back already to me as she walks me to the back waiting area. She hands another clerk my information. There are people waiting in a make-shift lounge on the other side of the reception area. She repeats;

“She is on social assistance so you’ll have to get her information and case number.” The other clerk looks me up and down. I feel as if everyone in the room is doing the same.

The rest of the appointment goes fairly routinely, I find the office quite bare and tired. It needs a facelift and their equipment is showing its age, but the eye exam goes well and I am satisfied that we’ve found the source of some frequent headaches. My prescription has gone up again. But I’ll be able to see clearly again soon without squinting.

I return to the reception room to browse the selection of frames and am promptly met by the small Chinese woman who is eager to show me her selections. She doesn’t give me much chance to speak.

“How about these ones?” She hands me a pair to try on. I’ve said nothing about needing a new pair of glasses really. My intention was to take a peak at their choices. I oblige her. They’re nothing I would ever choose. Jenny feeling as awkward with this exchange as it continues as I am.

“I think maybe she just needs to look around herself a bit first.” Jenny says. This is why I brought her. She’s frank and honest but courteous to a fault.Did I mention that she is a Saint?

The woman completely ignores her. She continues to hand me glasses to try on. I try them all on in the hopes of appeasing her. It does not. Finally, I have to stop this.

“I’m just going to take a look at the frames myself I think. See if anything catches my eye.” I’ve still not looked them over myself. I smile, searching for acknowledgement. Nothing. The sales woman is still scanning the wall feverishly. I give up.

She brings me to sit down so we can look over the 2 maybes that we come up with. Looking down at the paper in front of her she mentions something about settling on a pair. She’s misunderstood my intention, though we’ve mentioned it to her plainly. In fact, she enlists the help of the other salesman to participate in the game of persistence. I humour it until he comments about my sons hue being quite yellow, and “is he jaundice”? When I explain defensively that the Pediatrician has said it’s simply because his liver doesn’t yet filter pigmentation from vegetables and that it’s a sign of good nutrition. He looks as if he is in disagreement.

“Really?” He tilts his head. This is enough. It’s the last bit of pushiness I’ll take.

“Can I have my prescription please. I think I’m going to try to find something some where else. There isn’t anything I’d like to buy at this time. Thanks for all your help.” I state, still minding my pleases and thank you’s. The sales woman is less than impressed. She hands me the prescription.

Thanks again.” I say as I take it from her.

“Uh huh.” she grunts, turning away from us already.

Jenny, Liam and I leave the store and take a deep breath out. Jenny and I trade looks, smiles and laugh a little about how forceful the woman was.

“I won’t be getting my glasses there.” I say, or something like it. “They had nothing I wanted.” I mean this both about the glasses and about the service.

I ended up going to another place today and I found 2 amazing frames with the help of a really polite and friendly young woman. She was kind, let me browse at my own pace and made suggestions after carefully listening to what I was looking for. I’m happy to give them my business. I’m not just buying the glasses, I’m buying the service too. Thank you Hakim Optical!

Pictures of my new eyes coming soon!

Just Give Me a Prairie Storm

photo taken by Darrell Laporte

The air is thick with moisture. I spent a good amount of the day outside with my son. He loves it out there! I’m glad. My next place better have a park near by or even better, a yard for him to play safely in! Wouldn’t that be nice. I think I’m going to get him a ball or some out-door toys at least. I couldn’t have dreamed it being this warm this soon. It’s nearly 9 pm and 17 C.

We’ve been blessed with baths and baths of sunshine but could really use the rain on this dusty prairie City. A warm, hard rain that the grass can get drunk on and get some colour in its blades. It’s dry and yellowed hue doesn’t speak of Spring yet, as if it was taken by surprise by our unseasonable weather and hasn’t had the chance to catch up. It needs to rain. We could use the cleanse. There’s so much dust around from the sand that had been layered over the sidewalks throughout the winter.

It’s so bad that if my son and I are walking near the street and a big truck comes by we have to take care not to be drenched by a splash of dirt rather than the usual puddles of water. But today the air feels heavy, there are sagging clouds lined grey bloated in the sky. They’re under bellies are hanging over the city ushering out the sun and I’m waiting for it to all just happen at once.
Those are the best kinds of rain. You don’t get those storms any where outside of the prairies. On the West Coast they get an abundance of rain cumulatively as it rains more often, but it’s a spitting, light, slow rain-a “neutral” rain if you will. It’s barely even an inconvenience. On the prairies, the clouds are big and dark, the air gets so humid you can drink it, and the sky suddenly gasps and explodes with rain it’s been looming over the City all day. It won’t be ignored. It’s hard, heavy and relentless. Make no mistake, it’s not undecided. It’s harsh in its beauty and beautiful in its harshness.

Please, please let us have the first thunderstorm of the season tonight. I’m almost as thirsty for the rain as the soil I think. They are one of the things I like best about living on the Prairies. It just about makes the winters worth it. JUST about…and then it’s December and I envy just about any other city in North America. But not today. Today I’m a proud prairie girl.