Tuesday, August 23, 2011

People Are People

Why is it that as human beings it takes one of us to die to realize just how little time we are truly given? 

I mean, we're all intelligent, vibrant and capable human beings.  Yet, we do so little with our time on this earth.  Some of us choose to do nothing at all.  Then there are the worst ones of all:  Those of us who complain daily about how hard and unfair life is, so that we can make excuses for not being all we can be.  Those of us who always pity ourselves for the hand we've been dealt and blame our past environments for all that we failed to do or become.  We all know just how precious life is and how on a dime your entire world can change.  Yet, we never choose to stop the insanity and just live. 

This blog thought stems from the recent passing of Jack Layton.  To many, he was just a political figure with a friendly face and style to politics.  However, to most he was a courageous man who had a goal:  To make this country great!  It's been a long time since we've had someone who actually cared about "the greater good" and I for one believe that it's a grave loss for Canada, in so many ways. 

Despite his personal battles, his drive for a better democracy was all he spoke of.  He performed well during his campaign, always demonstrating incredible energy, enthusiasm and optimism.  Against all odds, he believed that with our help WE (not he) could make this country all it was meant to be.  See, it wasn't about him.  He never believed that it was about a leader, but rather the people who could change a nation. 

Even knowing that his end was near, he still took time over the weekend to meet with his officials and Chief of Staff to make plans for Canada's future without him.  He cared, not for himself but for those of us who remain, to live in this place.  How many of us would care in that state of mind or condition?  Would you?

I sat there motionless and utterly stunned when I heard of his passing, yesterday.  Surrounded by my family, as we enjoyed our vacation time together, I couldn't help but  stare at each one of them thinking:  " I'm not ready to go and leave any of them.  Nor am I ready for any of them to leave me".  Then, one of my own personal battles came to mind.  One I've been pushing away because it's been too hard to tackle.  It made me realize how many things we ( as people) would be missing out on if others simple decided to give up on their lives, because it was just too hard to change.  I thought about Mr. Layton and others who have not only changed our lives but in many ways shaped them.  It made me think about how much we put our friends and families through.  How important we are to them and how crucial it is to reach our highest potential, no matter how difficult the struggle to the road can be.

" Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man.  No matter of human destiny is beyond human beings".  John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Imagine if J.F.K decided not to pursue his belief that all human beings are equals, regardless of race/creed or colour; simply because it was too hard/scary to convince his country or the world otherwise.

" Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person"  Mother Teresa

"Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves"  Princess Diana 

 Imagine if Mother Teresa or Princess Diana decided not to use their influence and power for a greater good.  To educate the world that we must be humble and giving to others less fortunate. 

“I don’t feel that this is unfair. That’s the thing about cancer. I’m not the only one, it happens all the time to people. I’m not special. This just intensifies what I did. It gives it more meaning. It’ll inspire more people. I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try"  Terry Fox 

Imagine what kind of world it would be if Terry Fox decided to allow his disease to own his heart, mind and spirit.  That he would have allowed himself to simply become a prisoner, captive to his environment and never allowed a nation to see his strength. 

Imagine the greatness of these and all the others who have come both before and after them.  What they've done for both our inner and outer worlds.  Now imagine that none of them existed.  Sad isn't it?

If Terry Fox travelled across the country with one leg, battling his disease with  a smile on his face and a will in his heart to continue, then I can surely conquer the battles that currently lie within me.  If Jack Layton could spend his final day on earth making plans to better our futures, then I can make plans too.

I am truly grateful for these incredible individuals and for their strength to follow their dreams.  It is because of them that I live and strive for greatness.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dating and the City - Part 1

It seems that my last blog entry has sparked what seems to be a common interest in my fan base. That is, none other than, the topic of dating. I have both written and been a part of many different "dating blogs" in the past. It never ceases to amaze me just how intrigued and willing most people are to discuss the topic.

Dating. It's a conversation that never gets old. So what is it about dating that has us (as a society) so incredibly fascinated?

Let's face it. We all have them. Great dating stories and yes, of course, the "not so great ones" too. They're fun, exciting, hilarious and extremely informative. How many of us have learned valuable lessons to apply in our own lives, simply by listening to a friend's "nightmare date story" on a Friday night? I know I have. And yet, somehow I still manage to top their stories on occasion. Nevertheless, it's engaging conversation that will capture anyone's attention in a hurry. Try it sometime. It's a great ice-breaker. I can still remember one evening in particular, doing just that!

It was a lazy Friday night, in the middle of winter. A few girlfriends and I decided to head down to "Café Diplomatico" on College Street, in downtown Toronto. The Four of us were sitting there, sipping our lattes and minding our own business, when we caught the attention of the group of guys sitting next to us. We were laughing and carrying on about "men in our city" and how crazy the "dating scene" always seemed to be. We took turns sharing stories and experiences that we had with men and hadn't really noticed just how loud we had become. Enjoying ourselves and being so wrapped up in our own conversation, we barely noticed them at first. Until one of them decided to share their own opinion on the subject to us out loud.

"It's because you women don't have a clue what you really want, from one minute to the next"

That was the first comment that came across. Instinctively followed by:

" All you women want are long term relationships. You never just "go with the flow" God forbit women can  just ride it out - to see what happens next"

Well, this opened up a whole can of worms and it was "game on" After almost a two hour discussion of "Venus vs. Mars" 2 guys left with two girls and one guy even managed to get one girl's number. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty productive and powerful rap session, wouldn't you say? *giggles*

No matter what, I just don't think men and women will ever be "equals" in the dating world. It's just too complicated. We have our own rules and well, men have theirs and neither group is willing to give them up! It's a game at best and if you're willing to play let it be known that only the strongest come out un-phased. The rest of us either get "chewed up and spit back out" running to try our luck again, or just simply chewed up!

All in all, we must remember that it's suppose to be fun. Remember that word? Sadly, I think most of us don't associate the two words possibly being in the same sentence. I hear many of my married friends refer to dating as "the worst part of their entire lives" Some say that they are really glad that they don't have to be a part of that circle anymore. Then there are those who have been married for ions that kind of miss the dating game altogether. They hear about one great dating story, from one of their friends or catch wind of a good time their friend had, out on the town one night and BOOM! They are ready and willing to forfeit their own relationships for a taste of the single life again. Any way you slice it, the grass always seems greener on the other side, doesn't it? We all want what we cannot have in this moment. The same is said about dating.

Dating is full of men and women who simply want what they cannot have. We obsess over it. We will play any game out there if it means that we will finally get what we want in the other sex. Then, when we get it, we spend the next bit of time wondering why in the hell we ever wanted "THIS" to begin with. Crazy isn't it? Well, that's dating!

The subject is so fascinating that I could literally go on for days on end about it. However, I will spare you and end here…..for now! :) However, I could be persuaded to continue this conversation in another blog, if you all really try to convince me… *wink*

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Intimate & Interactive Spot-light With The Writer - Part 4

As promised to all of my fans, I decided to dedicate my "100th" Blog Post to all of you, by doing another "Intimate & Interactive" session about me.

I wanted to start off by giving thanks to all of you ( my loyal readers) for all your emails.  I never expected to get that much fan mail about this particular blog, so I was completely touched.  I read every last email (and boy were there a lot of them!) It seems that many of you want this session to be "very intimate" as many of your questions rotated around the same thing.  I did my best to pick a chosen few to comment on during this session, so I hope you enjoy the  piece.  Happy 100th to all my Life Afx followers!

IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO GO BACK IN TIME AND CHANGE ONE DAY/MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE/PAST WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?  That's easy.  There are two moments.  The day my Grandmother, Ernestina died and the day that my high school boyfriend, Nael Ayoub died.  They still remain the most painful moments of my life.  I truly believe that if they never left me, my life would have been so different.  However, in death they taught me to love, forgive and cherish every moment with those you have.  Death is final folks!  You can't go back and take words/actions away.  You can't go back and wish that you loved more, or ask for/gave forgiveness.  You can't go back and make more time to spend with them, because they gone-forever.  So today, I love until my heart overflows.  I forgive because I have never been perfect and it hurts too much to keep pain in your soul.  I cherish everyone around me and say I love you as much as I can, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us. 

HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BECOME A WRITER?  No.  My initial dream was to become a professional singer.  Then I wanted to become a lawyer.  It wasn't until my late 20's that I really began to appreciate writing and my style of it.  People had mentioned in the past that they appreciated my thoughts but it never truly resonated with me until adulthood.

WHAT IS PLAYING IN YOUR CAR STEREO AT THIS VERY MOMENT?  U2 - HOW TO DISMANTLE AN ATOMIC BOMB ALBUM.  Track #2 ( Miracle Drug) and Track # 10 ( Original of the Species) are my favourites!  Truth be told, I was never a U2 fan growing up.  I appreciated their music and talent for writing, but it just wasn't my thing.  Then, this album changed everything.  I love it.  The entire thing is like a lyrical masterpiece.  It's incredible from start to finish!   

HOW IS THE WRITING OF YOUR FIRST BOOK COMING ALONG?  I'm really happy with the progress I am making.  It's slow but steady.  It will be called:  "The Beautiful Truth" and I am aiming to have it completed in late 2012.  I know you all want more details about it, but you'll just have to wait..lol

HOW HAVE YOUR FRIENDS INFLUENCED YOUR LIFE AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THEM?  Growing up, my parents taught me that those you choose to "run in circles with" are a direct reflection of the person you are.  Therefore, you should never become a part of something that you do not believe in or respect.  In doing so you disrespect the being you are.  That has always remained with me.  I am blessed to know an abundance of people, but only a "chosen few" share my "everyday life".  I love them most because they are all exceptional individuals with the kindest of souls/hearts.  I chose them to become a direct extension of me because they are all my heros and people I could only hope to be like someday.  They are wonderful role models.  They support and influence my life in every way because they give me the strength each day, to be all that I am - no matter how difficult or long the journey getting there can be.  They would never except anything less.  I choose them to stand by me because they are loving, non-judgmental/racist, forgiving, caring and positive individuals.  However, let it be said that I love them most because they're human, and we all dwell in an existence of beautiful imperfection.

HOW IS THE SINGLE LIFE TREATING YOU?  I knew this question was going to creep up on me..lol.  For all those of you who have asked:  Yes, I am still single.  I've been single now for 6 months and I must say that I am enjoying myself.  Ending relationships is never easy.  It always leaves you feeling empty, like you're missing something.  However, I made a certain pledge (shall we say) to my close friends and family that I will remain single and explore life "as a single gal" for the moment.  Truth be told, I have never really been single.  All my life, I have always been a part of something/someone, but never really took the time to just "do me" and be on my own.  Nevertheless, there are always boys around to "challenge my pledge" lol.  Dating is fun.  There is something about meeting new potential "love interests" and making connections that has always been so intoxicating for me.  But, I am living in the moment, one day at a time...just for me.  There are good days and bad days but mostly good days.  I'm happy. 

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO..."HMMM"...  Ohh geez, this could take all day...lol.  Here's a few:
  • Why is it that I see Police Officers talking on their cell phones while driving daily?
  • How so many of us get so caught up in the lives of those around us, that we forget to live/worry about our own
  • The Seasons of Jersey Shor
  • Will we always be stuck with the horrible/poor services of Rogers Communications?
  • Why individuals allow jealousy to ruin/rule their lives?
  • Why is it that good people always end up with bad karma?
  • 5-day work weeks and 2-day weekends
  • Why we makith and the Government will always takith away?
  • Bad teeth { I know it's a horrible thing to say because you cannot always help that kind of thing, but it's true.  I can't handle it.}
  • Arrogance { I don't have time for rude, mean and egotistical men}
  • Racist comments/behaviours { I don't tolerate this in any form or fashion.  People who engage in this sort of thing (however minor/harmless they believe it to be) are not people I associate with.  There is no circumstance that could ever justify individuals using racist terms/making jokes or attempting to make points in a conversation involving racism.  These actions utterly disgust me.  One life..One love people!!!}
  • Serial "bed hoppers"  { the ones who think it's "ok" to have a few encounters/relationships going on at once and "doin' the dirty" with all of them.  Hey, I'm all about everyone living their own lives and you can, but this sort of thing just won't fly with me.  So don't try to change my mind by putting me down and calling me "uptight"  If you are this kind of man, you will never be "my man" or in my bed}
  • Men who stare at other women when they are out on a date with you.  { This is one of the most dis-respectful things you can do to a woman -in her presence.  Look guys, we're human and we all look/acknowledge the opposite sex, but have some courtesy NOT to do it while we're in the room and can see it.  That's just tacky}
  • Emotional Baggage { We all have it, but fellas...if you aren't over your Ex then don't date yet!  There is nothing worse than trying to compete with the one before you - nor should you have to.  I hate it when I'm on a date or getting to know someone and they do nothing but totally bash "women in a general sense" or their Ex's.  It's just bad manners, not to mention rude as hell.  Wanna turn off a woman fast?  Then do this.  She will go running for the hills in no time flat.  Hey, we've all been there.  We've all been emotionally destroyed, at one time or another by the opposite sex.  Move on.  It's not fair to condemn the new person with the old one's sins.  Nor is it fair to paint all men/women with the same brush, just because you've had a "few bad apples"  That's just sad..}
  • Tequila / Martinis/ Belinis / Grey Goose Vodka & Cranberry /Wine ( white or blush in colour) { No, I'm not a lush but when I indulge in "drinks with the girls etc.." these are my specials!}
  • Sex and the City re-runs { Yes, I'm addicted...lol}
  • Stayin' in bed for the majority of the day, on Sundays { I know, it's horrible right?  Hey, I work and play hard all week.  Sundays are "my days" to just sleep in, read, catch up with friends/family etc.. ...from my bedroom}
  • Texting { It's a bad habit, but a wonderful pass-time while you're getting a pedicure or waiting for your date to arrive, because you choose to get their early}
  • Spinach/Strawberry/Green Olive/Walnuts with Balsamic dressing salads { the sweet/salt of this concoction makes my mouth water}
  • Thai food { I love it so much that I've even learned to master a few dishes, myself}
  • Purses
  • Latin Men, Soccer & Tennis Players { something about them makes my heart skip a beat and my skin flushed}

Well, I believe this is a good place to conclude this session of:  "Intimate and Interactive with the Writer"
Thank you again to all of you who wrote in with your questions.  For those of you who didn't get your questions featured this time around, I promise I will get to yours in another session.

Be well and live a great life, everyday!

PEACE, LOVE and all that good stuff...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bring Me Back To Life

I always find it incredible how easily music can jolt one's memory.  It can literally change your state and affect our behaviour without even being consciously aware of it. Now that's what I call powerful influence at its best!

I found myself going through my music collection over the weekend, and I began to play some "nameless CDs" in order to figure out what was on them. One CD led to two and so on. Before I knew it, I was digging into my "older stuff". Music I haven't listened to in years. With each song I played it instantly brought me back to a certain time and place. It's as though the tune manipulated my brain and took my entire being to a place I hadn't known/visited in quite some time.

Immediately, my emotions got involved and all the memories came flooding back like a tidal wave. It was fascinating how quickly my mind brought back every last detail, event and sensation; related to whatever it was I was playing at that moment. Not to mention people that I had shared my life with during those times.

Music allows each of us the opportunity to live our history as an experience. It does this by restoring lost moments we once treasured, bringing them back to life in an instant. As a woman (and I'm sure most of you can relate) I have always associated music with men. C'mon ladies, you know this is true. Who can pick up a Bon Jovi album and not think of at least one guy and at least one moment you spent with him? I'm sure you can!

Well, I cannot speak for everyone but for me, music is the route of all things wonderful. A hidden "sixth sense" . Most believe we have only five, but I know better. It's almost like smelling a certain scent. Do you know what I mean? When you smell something it instantly reminds you of someone/something and takes you back to all things familiar to that very fragrance. It's quite common after all,they do say that scent is the one element closely linked to one's memory. I also believe this to be true however; music makes a direct
correlation to memory as well. At least in my books.

It has always amazed me what a certain song will allow your mind to remember. It has the power to make you come alive again, cry again and even (dare I say) fall in love again, with someone/something in
the past. I can think of a million different songs this very second,that will forever link me to a certain moment or individual. Mainly how my heart belonged, in love with certain people. Here is but to name a few:

 Everybody Wang Chung Tonight (Wang Chung) - Acapulco Trip in 1987

 By The Dash Board Light ( Meatloaf) - Vince Galloro / The Gang on Dyrimple, at Jane/Bloor Street, in Toronto.

Jessie's Girl ( Rick Springfield) - Nancy Galloro and her "school chums" - Carm and Connie

Dress You Up ( Madonna) - Nancy Galloro.  She took me to my very first Madonna concert ( and every one thereafter), where I met my idol - Madonna.  I have looked/admired and cherished this woman's music ever since that day.

Look out Weekend (Debbie Dance mix) - Lucy Iozzo and all the Italian club dances we attended

Baby Love ( Regina - Dancemix) - The very first guy I ever fell in love with - John Ruffalo

One Way Love (TKA - Dancemix) - The end of my first relationship with John Ruffalo

Start Me Up ( The Rolling Stones) - Mike and Joe Veroni

Hysteria ( Def Leppard) - Joanne and I writing this band's name, across our school wall on summer break, while taking a break from playing tennis at Gracedale park.

Heaven's On Fire (Kiss) - Robbie, Doni and Paulie Giardulli.  My favourite brothers, next to my own!

I Think I Love You From Head To Toe ( Lisa Lisa ) - The Sila Banquet Hall, where the DJ playing there kept playing this song once every hour to try and get me to go out with him.

Cruel Summer (Bananarama) - Watching The Karate Kid Movie (for the first time) with Tony Scarlato and my brothers.

Never say Goodbye ( Bon Jovi ) - Humber Summit School Dance with my boyfriend Jimmy Arniotis. A true gentleman and sweetheart, who always made me smile.  *I'm sorry I broke your heart*

Spring Love ( Stevie B ) - One of the greatest "80's summers", when I met/feel in love with Carlo Caruso

They're Playin' Our Song ( Trinere) - Hanging out at Beckers / "The Park at Weston/Wilson Ave" with the gang ( Maria, Fredrick, Tony,Carlo, Domenic, Paul and I )

Diamond Girl - The very first "night-club" I ever got into with -Maria Nero and Jeanne Palumbo. I danced with Rubin " the Latino Cubin" all night long!

Party Your Body ( Stevie B) The 9th Grade Emery School Dance.  I was dancing with Maria, where I then got on top of Frank's shoulders and saw the cutest boy I had ever seen, across a crowded dancefloor.  His name was Nael "Nick" Ayoub.  It was love at first sight :) * I miss/love you so much*

Season's Change ( Expose) - Emery's Christmas Dance at Rio Banquet Hall.  My first Christmas with Nael. We attended with his brother Mike and his best friend (at the time) Harrin. He bought me a white monkey stuffed animal with a scarf tied around it's neck, made up of our school colours.  He must have poured an entire bottle of "Azzaro" cologne on it.  He said that he wanted me to think of him everytime I held it, so he made it smell like him.  :)  It still does...

The Joshua Tree CD ( U2 ) Jimmy Arniotis, Freddrick, Frank Noble, Nick/Melanie Rossi

In A Dream ( Rockell ) Ida and Josie Dolce.  I can still see Josie dancing in her driveway, on Honeywood!
The Afterglow CD ( Sarah McLachlan ) - Melisa Cannella
Take Me In Your Arms / Promise Me ( Little Suzy) - Daniela Paletta.  Driving all over town in her new red Jetta, with the beats up high and the windows down low.
Let The Music Play (Shannon), Rhythm Is A Dancer ( Snap), Anything From The Young Backstreet Boys or Madonna - Gina Droutsas.  There truly are too many songs that bring back memories with this girl!!!!
Two Steps Behind (Def Leppard) Frank Di Stasi ( every damn song from this band has been tainted) lol
Mama, I'm Comin' Home / No More Tears ( Ozzy Ozbourne) - Johnny Giardulli
The How To Stop An Atomic Bomb CD ( U2) - Johnny Giardulli
The Emancipation of Mimi CD ( Mariah Carey) Making out with Milan Rodriguez in the parking lot of Arizona's Bar, at 2 am, on cold and rainy Friday night, after dancing the night away in the bar with Eva, Daniela, Gina, Julie and Melisa.
The 8701 CD (Usher) - Eva Gabinet
Daddy's Home ( Usher) Greg Marsbergen
There are many, many more ( as you can imagine)  My apologies for the long winded list.  Once I got going I just couldn't stop.  Now you know just how addictive music is in this Writer's life!