Monday, November 25, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls - Book Release

They finally arrived!

My story 'Two Girls And Their Dream' is included in the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul release, 'Just Us Girls,' and after much, much waiting, my contributor copies have arrived! As the book is all about women and their friendships, my story is about a....ahem....'experience' my friend, Janelle, and I shared, and with a horse she used to own.

A bit more about the book:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls - 101 Stories about Friendship for Women of All Ages

A woman's friends are the family she picks for herself. Whether it's about something funny or serious, our friends are the first ones we think to call. They are a constant source of support and encouragement. This collection of 101 touching and amusing stories celebrates all that is special about the bonds that women share with their friends — the unique spirit of female friendship. You'll love reading and sharing these stories with your friends.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Oh What a Guy!!

We waited, and waited, and waited some more; for five hours, in fact.

But he was worth it. My own marriage aside, it was well worth the wait for my new secret crush.

Hint: he’s only been (back) on earth for six months, he’s one of the most celebrated sought-after Canadian/astronaut/author/all-round-great guys, he plays a mean guitar, he’s worldly, his mom lives not too far from me, and he would give me the moon if I asked (at least I think he would - he DOES have connections, and all).

If you’ve figured it out, I guess it’s not a secret anymore. Col. Chris Hadfield, back on earth for six months after being away for five, is my new….crush.

My friend Elizabeth and I camped out in the middle of Hillside Mall, Victoria, BC, armed with chairs, snacks, and things to do. Our un-cracked, un-read copies of, ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’ by the outer-worldly Col. Hadfield sat ready and waiting for signing – as we were so instructed. With at least 1,000 people waiting in line to meet the Canadian spaceman, time was of the essence when it would come time for the actual signing. There would be no time for chatting, or staged-photos, or flipping-around-of-pages in the book; “Have the book open to the correct page for signing, step up to the desk, have book signed, and move on” were our instructions.

After waiting 2 ½ hours, unlike many others who had been there since the crack of dawn, it finally came time and the line started to move! Carrying our chairs we shuffled along, following the ropes guiding the lines. Shuffle, shuffle, stop. Shuffle, shuffle, stop. We did this for another hour and half. Luckily we had each other to chat with and people to watch to pass the time - not to mention our warm juice boxes.

Finally we were escorted into the store where we waited in another line, 20-people deep. As we shuffled along some more, soon I could see the top of his head, and then before I knew it, the trademark mustache!

It was HIM! The man from the moon! The guy from outer space! The astronaut who stole our hearts and enraptured kids everywhere with what happens in a spaceship!

Finally it was my turn to step up to the now-retired astronaut. My book was taken from me and presented to him for signing. With the amount of people, assembly-line-book-signing was needed.

But wait! Was he shaking hands? He was! My friend and I each wiped our sweaty palms on our jeans, checked each other’s teeth, and I quickly powdered my nose.

Being away for 6 months, and not just out of the country but out of the earth’s atmosphere, has meant he has a lot of catching up to do. And not just with his family, but with humans far and wide. And maybe the earth’s gravitational pull has been too much for him but he sure didn’t listen to instructions that day. Despite what we all were earlier told – no visiting, no chatting, move along quickly - he chatted and spoke to everyone.

I sidled up to the table, and with a grip sure to squeeze the gravity out of me, Col. Hadfield shook my hand, looked me square in the eye, and after we did the formal ‘how are you’ rally, he thanked me – ME – for waiting in line so long. And of course, the polite person I am thanked HIM for being there.

We broke the rules. We had an interlude. We had an exchange. We shook hands and chatted.

I watched those who came after me in line and sure thing, he shook hands and chatted with every single person. Despite the waits. Despite the instructions. Despite how many people he had yet to meet. I guess he figured that we waited for him, so the least he could do was give us each a personal moment.

What a guy. Where I was charmed by him before, I was now hooked.

As we left carrying our books, giggling at the 13-second experience we had waited five hours for, we passed the last person in line waiting so patiently with her book, and knew, just KNEW, he would shake her hand, as well. No matter how long it took to get to her.

Later, exhausted yet elated, with his book on my lap I took a deep, contented, smitten sigh...and promptly nodded off. My secret crush was just too much for me.

Thanks for reading! Lisa

Friday, November 8, 2013

When I Was 'Cool'

This Halloween was a momentous event for me. One of my kids thought I was ‘cool.’


If only for a day.

Halloween has always been a big thing for us – two kids in the house has always made it fun. Decorations are put up and costumes are carefully planned and thought-out. When they were younger, I sometimes dressed up for work, and usually in something tame and generic. I was eager to foster the Halloween ‘spirit’ for my kids, but as my own age increased, dressing up for work faded away.

But with my kids getting older and trick-or-treating slowly becoming a thing of the past, I am anxious to hold on to the fun of it all – for my sake and for theirs. Who says you still can’t have fun, no matter how old you get?

So a few years ago I started dressing up, but only for giving out treats at the door. Sure it was just a silly mask and hood, but when it’s dark, everything is that much scarier. I do a whole ‘hunched-over-scary-monster’ act, complete with grunts and growls. The ‘macho’ kids are determined not show their fears, especially in front of their friends. But when a scary face peaks through the crack of the door, only to have the door flung open at the last moment highlighted with a roar, those tough ones crumble.

But after the last trick-or-treater leaves, the silly mask is put away for another year only to be pulled out when the next years’ first trick-or-treater rings the doorbell.

My kids have been impartial to it all. They think my antics are ‘neat,’ but mostly roll their eyes at me. I have been doing this for a few years, even when they were still doing their own trick-or-treating with their friends. For the most part they had been unfazed by my high jinks. I suspect they were slightly embarrassed (but that never stopped me).

But this year where I usually have restricted my costume-wearing in the evening, I decided to go all out. The ‘circle of life’ and all that has had me assessing and contemplating a great many things this past year, and I am determined to have fun; not only for myself but for my family. My kids are getting older and I am desperately trying to hold on to....everything.

In the early morning of Halloween while everyone was still asleep, I got ‘ready’ for work. I wore one of the kids’ past ‘zombie’ outfits, out came the ghoulish face paint, and with a bit of hairspray and back-combing of my hair, I was transformed. I ‘zombied’ my way to the bus stop, and ignored the stares and curious glances from other bus riders. Feigning obliviousness to my appearance was the most fun I ever had on the bus.

Throughout the day many didn’t know it was me. I had great fun seeing folks’ reactions, and was told I was recognizable only by my voice and smile.

I have to work on that for next year.

But I was more anxious to for my family’s reaction later that evening. Would they roll their eyes at me? Would they be embarrassed (like they usually are)? Would they care? With a house of teenagers, you never know.

So when I arrived home that night, my zombie make-up and huge hair still intact, all of them were....shocked. And impressed. And surprised. And in awe. And couldn’t stop staring at me.

But my day’s fun was nothing compared to the compliment the 17-year-old gave me. As I recanted stories of folks’ reactions, my son stared at me in awe and with a smirk said,

‘That is heat!’

My heart filled. I had no idea what it meant but I knew, just KNEW, that whatever it meant was a compliment. I would later find out that it means the same as what we used to say in the ‘olden days:’ ‘rad’ or ‘awesome.’ I wasn’t IN heat; I was JUST ‘heat.’

Underneath my zombie make-up I was glowing.

I was cool. I was ‘heat.’ And I was the happiest mommy-zombie ever.

Thanks for reading! Lisa