Monday, 28 February 2011

My little shrub

My sister needs a hug. 

She posted on Facebook this morning that her friend Jasmine died on the 24th.  I became reacquainted with Jasmine through Carly a couple years ago.  Jasmine was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in May 2005 and then got the devastating news in 2008 that she had metastatic spread to her brain.  Along with some of Jasmine's best friends, Carly decided to help fundraise to fulfill "Jasmine's wish", her wish was to marry her long time boyfriend Jeff, who had himself shown strength and love that is so admirable.  Carly started a "Save or Shave" challenge and put it out to friends and family that she would take donations to both sides, and her hair would either be saved or shaven.  This was clearly a no brainer to me, and I looked forward to shaving my sisters head at Christmas.  Somehow, the 'save' side prevailed and my Christmas was ruined.

Well, not really.  I got to spend some time working on photo shop...and wow do I need lessons.  But this was exhibit A that Carly with a shaved head wouldn't have been so horrible...

Carly ended up raising almost two thousand dollars to donate. 

A gala was held in May 2009, where her friends arranged a meal, a band and a silent auction.  Proceeds from which all benefited Jasmine and Jeff.  They were married in 2010, I believe.  Jasmine and Jeff are inspirational on so many levels, that goes without saying, and personally I am happy to have spent that time at the gala and getting to know their story.  Jasmine had the most beautiful smile and the gentlest nature.  Jasmine's life was cut short by an ugly disease, but her life was never about that.  To an outsider like me, her life was never about cancer, but more about the love of friends and family.  Equally inspirational to me is the way a community was able to come together, gather and rally around to make a dream come true.  

Jasmine, thank you so much for the gifts you have given us, by the way you lived your life.  We need reminders of what is important in life.  But thank you also for giving my sister, my shrub, the chance to shine and to show what an amazing person she is.  It reminds me why I love her so much.

Carly, you live in a different city, a different province...but you will always be my little blister.  I am sorry beyond words for the loss of Jasmine, but I hope that soon you will laugh again and smile at the memories of a life well lived.

XOOXOOXOO (a couple extra hugs for good measure)

RIP Jasmine Wallace (nee Styles) February 19, 1982 - February 24, 2011
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,  Love leaves a memory no one can steal"
- Irish Headstone

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Turbo Dating

I get told on a frequent basis that my dating life should be made into a movie.  Perhaps, a made for tv movie, but a flick nonetheless.  Some kind of dark comedy (ever seen "Very Bad Things" - 1998), where you know a situation is about to turn into a train wreck, but you can't look away and can't stop laughing.  I don't blame it all on the guys either.  My best friends pep talk to me before a first date always "Be nice" and "Try not to roll your eyes"....sometimes they throw in "Make sure you brush your hair."  Now I don't think I am mean, and I do care when I go on dates, I just don't get too nervous anymore.  I have done online dating, went to a matchmaker, had the usual awkward set ups to just come to determine that I am a bit of a serial dater. 

I also believe in "Schadenfreude"...if unfamiliar with the term...have a listen!
In December, I reconnected with a friend of mine from junior high school.  We got to talking about our dating lives and she said we should go speed dating, she had been before and well there's 'safety' in numbers.  So I bought a new dress, put on my 4" red pumps (it should be mentioned that it was "Tall Man" night...they were all allegedly over 6'), practiced my smile and away we went to meet the tall loves of our lives.  For the record...I was nervous.

The setup:  Posh (for Edmonton) martini bar downtown, tables numbered 1 - 10, the girls take a seat and get comfy, because every 8 minutes the hostess will hit an empty water glass with a fork and your date is over/just beginning.  During a date, you can look 3 feet to the left and see who is coming, or 3 feet to your right and remember who just left (or you could just look ahead of you and see your current date).  After the date in the 15 seconds it takes the gentleman to move to the right, you check off yes or no on your card.  At the end of the night, all the cards are handed in and if you both chose yes you get an email at the end of the night.

The failures: No drinks included.  Only one break to buy drinks.  Waitress is not allowed interrupt an 8 minute date to save you from dehydration.  Cheap wine sold by the glass for more than the bottle costs. 
More women than men, to be precise 14 women and 9 a pre-registered event where you do not get a refund.  The hostess kicked my friend and I off our tables before the night even began to ensure that the men didn't get confused with where to go (even though each table had a number and it went around in a circle). I thought maybe spacing the men out would have been good...I could have used a break to update my twitter.
At the end of the night, everyone handed in their cards and left as though someone had pulled the fire alarm.  It was clearly a business event, not a social event.

The dates (in actual order):
1. An engineer who wore a bright yellow shirt.  That is all my note says, and all I really remember, except that he was pretty into my friend because I got to essentially sit in on the end of their date while I waited for the glass to be clanged. 

2. I knew this fella was about to be really special.  I heard him telling my friend beside me all about her horoscope and how he loved spiritualism and astrology....after this point I stopped listening in to her dates.  He arrives at my table, in his long sleeved white shirt (layered with a camouflage skin tight tshirt) and lets me know that he is in Edmonton at the moment because his brother is going through a divorce and that he would not like to talk about it.  Sure, no problem, I can handle that.  The discussion turns to what we do for fun, he tells me that he has started taking dance lessons...from youtube!!! When I asked what genre he was learning, he informed me that he is a 'pop rocker'.  Unfortunately, I must be a bit out of the dance scene, he scowled when I asked for an explanation and declined to demonstrate it for me just saying "it's like break dancing...but without as many head spins".  For what it's worth, it may be good to know that the age range of the night was 29 - 39.

3. "Rob" sat down....told me that "Rob" wasn't actually his name and that he would prefer if people he didn't know and internet sites did not have his true name.  This is probably because he invented yoga, at least by the way he talked about it anyway.

4. The most entertaining date of the night once you got past the leather vest and the cowboy hat.  Oh, and the fact that he was Korean.  He was engaging and asked some fun questions, but still a 'no'.  The smoothest line was probably "Oh by the way, did I tell you I direct short films...".  I was left a bit speechless to be honest.  Fortunately, the conversation moved forward to where he educated me on my heritage and that the Irish are descendants of Mediterranean Gods and some kind of fairies.  As I am so pale, he reckoned that I was pure blooded fairy....

5. This date was my most peculiar.  We talked for around 15 minutes (the one scheduled break was after our 8 minutes)  and I have no idea anything about him.  He was cute and well dressed.  Essentially we ended up having a sarcasm competition, talking generally about dating online, and here at the speed dating.  I am not sure where things went wrong to be honest, but he did not check 'yes', so alas, there will be no email contact.  For the record, my friend also thought he was into me, but she also thought he was at the last speed dating event, which he vehemently denied.  Who knows!?!

6. The awkward point of the night, I knew this guy, but didn't know from where.  As it turns out, we play in the same basketball league, and have been at many of the same league meetings (yawn).  A nice, if not a bit boring, guy, so I gave him a 'yes' because I am not in the habit of dating nice guys.  Apparently, he wasn't interested in playing some one on one.

7. This guy was appalled that I hadn't seen the movie Rocky (and was very pleased that he was the first 'yo Adrienne' of the night), also talked to me about Little House on the Prairie.  After we got through those pleasantries, I wowed him.  Using my best poker skills....I profiled him, well at least was able to guess what kind of car he drove in two the make on the first guess though (Acura TL - S ftw).  We both checked 'yes' but I am pretty sure he just wants to know how I knew that. 

8. This guy was Borat (never saw that movie either....just know by the impressions my friends do) and it was the longest 8 minutes of my life.  I am almost certain the hostess reset the clock by accident.  He told me immediately that he came to Canada four years earlier from Uzbekistan, and now owns his own house and company and "oh yes, soon I put hot tub in my house, yes".  He asked me what I did for a job, when I told him I was an Occupational Therapist, he said "Oh okay, you are a nurse".  :)  He seemed like a very nice guy, but it is true...nice guys finish last and well, I had already checked 'yes' for one nice guy tonight. 

9.  Mercifully, my last date.  A geologist (who wouldn't tell me what his favorite rock was) who stared non blinking and intently at each of his dates for the full 8 minutes.  I was out of wine and well out of patience also by this time.

Moral of the Story: Hyper-turbo dating is awesome.  I had an amazing time and will go again.  More men need to attend!!  I am not sure that you can make a love connection there but at least you may come out with some stories!  Going with a friend was great, but a little weird to hear the same lines at each of our tables.  it also may not have been good, that during the break and then again at the end of the night, we chatted and laughed a ton.  It may have been perceived at laughing at the 9 dates we had just been on, but actually that was only a small part of the humour.   

To be continued.... I've heard that they run a 3 minute date night (where you get 20 matches or so)....might be a bit like flipping through a magazine, but what can I say, I'm an action junkie, I love my hyper turbos.   Maybe I will have better luck if I do roll my eyes and don't brush my hair!?!

P.S. For the record, I did not mention my cat. :)
P.P.S.  My friend checked 'no' for all of them...we will be back!   

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Be careful what you wish for?

So yesterday I was talking to one of my best friends about how nobody outside of my inner circle really challenges me.  I have a bit of a tigress attitude sometimes and I will fight for my point of view to the end.  I defend my friends, my team at work and even my patients frequently.  People know this about me and, especially at work, I tend to get my way.  Woe is me right? But I wish people would challenge my point of view more (at work and in life), because when you are challenged you are compelled to reflect and when you reflect you improve. 

"I love argument, I love debate.  I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that's not their job." - Margaret Thatcher

So as if on cue, I got in a discussion last night about a poker situation that I feel strongly about.  I was challenged to defend my opinion and told that my argument was "pure nonsense" and "empty".  While I still don't agree entirely with my debate buddy, I appreciate what he said and it gave me a different view of the topic.  I need to get into more of these situations in my estimation.  As we chatted, I found I became non verbal and struggled to convey exactly how I saw the situation.  I felt flustered and pissed off, but afterward felt exhilarated and intrigued.  Either way, after discussions on the same topic with numerous people, he is the first person in three years or so that has caused me to soften and change my feelings towards the topic.

Thanks.  I hope we have more discussions in the future even though it made me roar.  :) 

Monday, 21 February 2011

Catch of the day!

It was Family Day long weekend here this weekend.  A holiday that the province of Alberta started celebrating in 1990.  Apparently, it was made up to celebrate the pioneering ways of our ancestors and pay homage to home and family values.   In truth, I think they give us an extra day off to save our sanity.  Finally it is beginning to warm up, the days are getting longer and we can start looking forward to summer.  It was a balmy -1C today (30F ish), I almost dug my flip flops out of the closet....but not quite.

My sister came into town and my family went out to the lake this weekend.  I stayed in the city because of prior obligations and got to put in a good few hours at the tables.  It was nice to have a weekend to myself to further solidify my goals and plans for 2011.

Sunday afternoon, I got a photo text from my brother with a caption that said "Can you see what's down there?", this was the picture:

Can you make it out?

Well apparently, they were ice fishing and my sister put her camera on a chair while they set up the hut and along came the wind and tipped over the chair....and the Nikon (a few months old) went for a swim.  My sister seems to "run bad", the strangest things disappear or break around her, but thankfully she can laugh about it because at the end of the day it is just stuff.  The good news is, my brother fished out the camera (nice catch) and the memory card still works and now Nikon is sitting in a bag of rice, hopefully drying out.  If it doesn't work out...beware her kijiji ad "DSLR Nikon 3100 for sale! Only a few months old and recently washed, offers accepted!"

They didn't end up catching any fish this weekend, neither did I sadly.  After playing well on Friday and not quite getting my desired result, I sloppily got myself hooked on some others lines.  I was clearly the big fish at the table.

Maybe it's a good thing that I am back to work tomorrow...only have three days there this week and a course on Thursday, should be exciting!

Edit: February 28, 2011 - the camera appears to be some capacity....there's hope!

Saturday, 19 February 2011


I love yoga.

I am not very good at yoga. 

I am getting better at yoga. 

Today was my best yoga practice in a long time.  I needed it.  I had a deep run in the FTOPS #39 yesterday, finished 16th out of over 800 players.  Got home from work, quickly downloaded the software, and bought a tournament ticket from my player points as I didn't feel like making a deposit.  I played as best I could, upon reflection there were a couple spots that I can identify where I probably should have restacked my chips and not made the 'crying' call.  I battled back from having 0.5 big blinds when there were 50 players left.  I wanted to win, I wanted the $37k instead of the $800 I got.  It seems to me that their payouts were really steep, first place was almost double second place.  I was left with a really sour taste, when I woke up this morning it was still there.   

So I bundled up and went to yoga.  I set my intention, breathed and flowed.  I feel better.  As it turns out, there was a couple that I used to play poker with in the class (probably ten people total in the class), and afterwards we stared at each other trying to figure out where we knew each other from...the husband figured it out even though it had been 5 or 6 years since we had seen each other. 

Yoga is experiencing a poker-esque boom (circa 2005), I see so many people of all shapes, sizes, elasticities, backgrounds carrying their yoga mats.  That makes me smile.  Everybody should try yoga, it will blow your mind if you let it.  I credit yoga for improving my poker game, my overall attitude changes and my willingness to accept change as it comes.  If you meet me in Las Vegas (or wherever), let's go to a treat. 

Here's how powerful and exceptional you can become with yoga...this video captivates me.  I need a lot more practice.  :)  Namaste. 

Thursday, 17 February 2011


Being new to blogging, I was thinking a bit about it earlier today.  What do I like to read in blogs, what interests me, what do I skim through?  That question didn't come with an easy answer so I put it aside and thought of other questions.  Seemed like a much better plan.  Then I remembered this question, that was once (or twice...) asked of me on some dating site.

The potential love of my life wanted to know....if (I) could have any of the following, which would it be?
(a) Money
(b) Fame
(c) Power
(d) Respect

Not an easy question....but I know my answer.  But I don't think I ever answered it honestly to my true love...which may be my greatest downfall (haha).  This question makes me smile, because it is so hard to choose, and even harder to not elaborate on why you make your choice. 

What's your choice?

I love this song....but it's a level.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

What's in a blog?

So I get a late start to my New Years plans...does it matter which year I am referring to?

Despite often thinking I should write a blog, I never expected I would.  The insecure girl in me doesn't know that there is anything of interest that I can write about.  Hell,  I barely manage twitter.  Then the narcissist within takes here we are.

Over Christmas, I realized that I had no goals.  Zilch.  None.  Was just living.   So I set some and thought that perhaps the hard part was over. 

For the last 8 1/2 years, I have played poker.  For about the last 4 years, I have been coasting.  In the last six weeks, I have been inspired and energized, and more importantly, I have a plan (or at least a vision) to begin putting it together.  That will be my challenge.