Girl Guide Memories

To get an idea of how long I’ve kept certain items, I came across my little packet of Girl Guide memorabilia … really sweet memories actually. But apparently, I fell kind of behind in my duties as I had all these Pathfinder badges that weren’t sewn on to my Girl Guide sash. 🙂 Procrastination haunted me even when I was a Brownie (of the Pixie six — I’m thinking that was my ‘pack’)!

Amazing that I kept a record sheet of my Girl Guide Cookie Sales. Families rock in the being the best customers! My Mom was #1, my brother Kenny #2 and my Gramma #3. The icing on the cookie was the friendly reminder printed on each little cookie sales package:

Remember:

  1. Girl guides are always courteous and smiling.
  2. Guides should wear their uniforms and be neat at all times.
  3. Be sure to collect money only when you deliver cookies. Do not accept tips. Be accurate and careful with money.

Brownie Promise
I promise to do my best
To do my duty to God, the Queen and my country.
To help other people every day, especially those at home.

The Brownie Law
A Brownie is cheerful and obedient.
A Brownie thinks of other people before herself.

The Brownie Motto
Lend a Hand.

Even back then, I was part of a community that cared for my well-being, and served to engrain morals alongside lessons of friendship, faith and integrity. What a fabulous introduction to my independence and success as an adult! I wonder how much the organization has changed since my childhood? Anyone care to share their own Girl Guide or Boy Scout memories or stories?

The Joys of Logging

It’s always interesting when I stumble across something in my belongings that I haven’t seen or read in years. Today, I found all my skydiving logbooks, and of course, I had to glance back through them all. To my surprise, I discovered that at the end of my 2nd full logbook, I had tabulated the stats of that particular time period. Made for an interesting glimpse back on my nomadic skydiving life which I would like to share with you:

From October 1993 – January 1996 (jumps #154 − 453): I had skydived at 21 drop zones, to include 2 official demo jumps (one at an international airport and the other in to a football field) and 1 unintentional in to a K-Mart parking lot :). I had travelled through 5 American states, 6 countries (Canada, USA, Britain, South Africa, Mozambique and Kenya), attended 1 World Freefall Convention, 4 big name competitions / events (the US Nationals, Klerksdorp Nationals, World Meet ’93 and a Lake Wales World Record), 5 Boogies (Mmabatho, PPC, Arizona, Sebastian, Skydive City). The most unusual aircraft I had jumped during this time were a Luscombe, Puma helicopter and the Constellation (to date the coolest plane I have ever exited). I finagled 6 free helicopter jumps and a handful from other planes (sucks being a girl ;)). Plus on top of that, I literally won a free weekend of skydiving at Deland Florida in a Christmas Raffle at Bill Booth’s annual Christmas party. It wasn’t all fun and roses though … in South Africa, I managed to impale myself on a thorn tree demoing a new-to-me canopy (I still have the scars), I sprained an ankle, slid in on my face when I flared too low, and dislocated a toe (from dirtdiving barefoot, of all things = that’s a no-no in my books now). The sum of all these experiences made for some spectacular stories early on in my skydiving career. 🙂

People used to ask me why I kept such detailed logbooks of all my jumps …. the reason, as you can see, is so that I can go back to a time in my life when the memory fails to remember such magnificent moments in history. It’s hard to capture and encapsulate such a colourful past, but logbooks certainly do help!

Memories of the great King

Michael Jackson: the King himselfMichael Jackson …. a huge influence on my beloved music style, growing up. Oh how I thrilled to dance along with his awesome music videos. I had all of his early vinyl records (wonder where they are now?) and often plastered my bedroom walls with his handsome rockstar King smile (always with a twinkle in his eye, like the glimmer of Tinkerbell’s magical dreams). He was an idol of mine growing up, indeed. This utmost respect andadmiration continued on into my adult years. To a time when my innocence and naivety waned, yet belief of all that is good existed and remained. When the days of judgement bore down on Michael, accusations of child molestation, I truly was a disbeliever. Acquitted on all 10 counts filed against him, I celebrated in his purity and innocent child-like wonder. He mirrored such raw huge talent, but reflected back a boy-like wonder that never left him.

Today I watched and cried as the world mourned and memorialized MJ at the Staples Theatre in LA. A most befitting tribute to a King. THE King. It was strange to simultaneously witness the live CNN streaming of Facebook profile updates that either glorified or vilified this man so dear to my heart. I couldn’t understand why some people chose to disrespect this man, his family and friends during a time when millions paid their last respects? Can you imagine that happening, say at a funeral of your dear friend or sibling? Incredibly sad and disrespectful are words that come to mind. I say this in light of having lost my own brother, and recalling the pain of loss and finality. So easy to judge. As Michael would say, why not look at the man in the mirror.

I’m Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change

With the title of ‘King of Pop’ comes the pitfalls and serious problems which blur reality and fiction. It’s a crazy world we live in where there are more people focussed on the likes of ‘Kate & Jon’, etc. than the ailing weaping wounds found elsewhere in our world in … Iraq / Iran / Afghanistan / Darfur / Poverty / War (the lists are unending) You name it, we look for releases / avenues of escapism from the woes which are untouchable from afar (human suffering around the world) but wreak havoc on our emotions if we let it. We look to the likes of Celebrity as a means of idolization. But, for me, in my adoration of MJ, I looked at his incredible talent which he gifted to the world, my world. I only have to listen to ‘Rock With You’ or ‘Remember the Time’ or even ‘Thriller’ to take me to a happy place and a time in my history when his music had a huge emotional impact on my being and my childhood. His craft and musicianship left me often speechless. And that had nothing to do with hearing about who and what and when he did whatever. His music was powerful. And I loved him, for all that he was, in light of his humanity and imperfections. Beyond that, I look to the contributions he made … countless charities; children’s organizations; world hunger; musical genres stretched and musical milestones achieved (beyond anyone’s imagination); and, above all, MJ inspired those around him to dream of potential in a world where minorities are often crucified for their skin colour / beliefs / actions / innocence. Michael stretched the boundaries of public opinion and personal change (to the consternation of many). He however repeatedly dusted himself off after being knocked down. He may have stepped back into hiding in his darkest hours, but rebound he did.

His latest impending comeback was especially exciting for me. I seriously contemplated buying tickets to his concerts being held in the UK at the O2. In fact, had MJ lived, today would have been his first comeback concert, July 7. Tragic and heartbreaking indeed. He was one performer I would have spent thousands to witness live in concert. Gone too soon indeed. Not just for me or for his billions of fans. But for the 3 children he left behind. I can’t imagine losing a Father, especially at such a young age.

I honour you Michael for your life here on this earth. Thank you for your music, your innocence and contributions. MJ will surely have met his maker and judge on June 25, 2009. Bless his soul. May he rest in peace.

May all those that have passed before us rest in peace, free from the suffering and burdens placed upon us as we live from breath to breath, moment to moment. Blessings to all.
Amen.

News out the ying yang

Today was truly a momentous, most memorable day … full of decisions, laughter and surprises.

It all started out as a conversation around returning home to Ontario. When Aaron’s fiance, Otto, decided to shy away (temporarily?) from the prospect of marriage, slaDE~ and I were flip flopping on the idea of cashing in our airline tickets or go home for a quick visit. Over the weekend, Westjet had flagged their $99 seat sale — offering up one way from Calgary to TO. On top of that, today they added an extra 5% bonus off the ticket price. Even with a cancellation fee of $84 per person on our tickets, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity of a $400+ savings in flying home on different dates. Wicked! We’d be going home after all 🙂

And then came the question that literally stunned me …. the term ‘knock me over with a feather’ comes to mind. slaDE~ asked me, in his calmest coolest sexiest voice, to marry him, whilst we were at home. At first I thought slaDE~ was joking. For the past 2+ years, we have lived with open hearts living a true connection that has been marriage in the ultimate form … with heart, soul and mind, bank accounts and lives intertwined. What more could one ask for?! To us, our union (from the moment I returned from Guatemala, over 2 years ago) has been as official as one could ever hope, want or desire.

However, to be truthfully honest, an official ceremony has been tickling at the back of my mind … thoughtfully considered as a ‘someday event’, a possibility. Dating back to my young girlish days, something to be desired, but in my current mindset, not a necessary formality.

Zooming back to that moment of disbelief …. M A R R I A G E. WOW! Who would have ever thought?
And slowly, the truth and beauty of what the ceremony would mean was co-cre8ted with my best friend: an informal, non-traditional, meaningful and love-filled ceremony, on August 22, 2008. Shared with the closest of family and friends. Truth, connection and love. Ahhhhh. Now that’s what I call a party!

Hippo Adventures In Africa

“The Hippo kills more humans in Africa more than any wild mammal.”

Quite the testament that I am still alive and thriving on this planet, having personally encountered a Hippopotamus in the wild while performing aqua aerobics in Lake Malawi, about 15 years ago. If someone had told me that I would be playfully dancing with ‘Hyacinth Hippo’ {lovingly dedicated to Walt Disney’s Fantasia} in 4 feet of water — a heart-attack in the making truly for those more informed — I would have laughed hysterically in disbelief, especially with knowing how murderous Hippos are!