Monday, December 21, 2009

Brittany Murphy

Actress Brittany Murphy died yesterday.

The media is calling her cause of death "natural causes", although one can hardly call death at 32 natural. How sad and senseless.

Whatever her cause of death -- and I'd hazzard a guess that she may have had a heart attack as the result of an eating disorder, given some of the scarily thin pictures I've seen of her -- I'm pretty sure that she didn't go to bed thinking, "Hey, bet I won't wake up tomorrow morning."

I wonder what she would have two days ago, yesterday, last week, or this year, if she knew that yesterday was going to be her last day on earth.

What would you do?

What would I do?

For the most part, we take the miracle of life for granted. Death is something that happens to other people. Our own death, if we happen to contemplate it at all, is something for far in the future at a time when, hopefully we won't even be there for it.

We fill our heads with such nonsense. We complicate our lives. We clutter instead of simplifying. We perpetuate chaos -- rarely awakening to the truth, which is that each moment we have on this little blue-green planet is a gift to be used wisely. Not squandered.

"The trouble is, you think you have time," Jack Kornfield wrote.

Time's up.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I saw the Olympic Flame this morning. It was closerthanthis. The flame that started its journey in Greece passed over the Bloor Viaduct while I was making my way to work. It was thrilling.

Yesterday, it passed right by where I work at Yonge and Bloor -- carried by Ivan and Jason Reitman, Roberta Bondar and some big deal Bollywood guy who flew specifically for the relay.

This morning the guy carrying it was busting with pride. I think he was just a regular guy who was having the most extraordinary morning of his life. He had a grin as wide as the Don Valley Parkway. He looked at me with a "Can you believe this?" look on his face.

I have to say, I teared up a little.

Despite the fact that I've lived outside this country for prolonged periods of time, I'm 120% all-vegetarian-beef Canadian. I love this country to my very marrow. I couldn't be prouder to carry a passport with a maple leaf on it. And I couldn't be prouder that the flame is making its way west and that the rest of the world will see the place we call home.

Go Canada -- our true north strong and free.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Boss Day

After nearly eight years at the helm, the GM of my division has decided to call it quits.

Her departure didn't surprise me too much. While she's always put on a brave face, it's been a tough economic year. Financial stresses and the pressure to downsize can wear a person down.

Many people find themselves, at the end of 2009, doing parts of jobs that didn't really belong to them at the beginning of the year. I know what they're talking about. I could probably moonlight as an Account Director if the need arose.

Anyway, the new boss (who weirdly shares the old GM's surname) starts today.

I was thinking about her as I got ready for work this morning. Having a new boss is like having a new job. You pretty much need to prove yourself all over again.

But I bet she feels the same. The first day at a new place is a little like the first day at a new school. Everyone already knows each other, and you're the one trying to find someone to play with. And like most new schools, the first person who runs up to you and tries to be your friend is probably the person you need to avoid the most. The lessons we learned in the school yard can pretty much be applied to work in general.

So I did a Lovingkindness Meditation for the new boss -- wishing her well, so that she has a good day, feels welcome, and can make a positive impact on our work place.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Take that, 2009

Our agency Christmas card went out yesterday. It's pretty awesome.

We sent all our clients an '09 pinata filled with candy (complete with mask and pinata stick). Anyone sick and tired of doing more with less in this limping economy is invited to beat the living shit out of the pinata. And, in case you're wondering where we found an '09 pinata, you'll be amused to know it's actually a 60th birthday pinata...reversed. See, I told you we were creative.

You can play with the online version yourself right here. See, don't you feel much better.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finding money

If you see change on the street, do you pick it up? Does it depend on the denomination?

I wasn't raised by Depression era babes for nothing. I am genetically programmed to pick up anything I find -- pennies included. Not only that, but I can't help reciting this little verse at the same time:

Find a penny
pick it up
and all today
you'll have good luck.

I found a penny on the sidewalk on my way to work this morning and as I bent to retrieve it, I amended my little ditty to this:

Find a penny
pick it up
and all today
you'll have H1N1.

Please come and visit me in the iron lung.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Good night, Jim Bob

Call me crazy, but I think the time is ripe for a Walton's revival.

While waiting for my beautiful desk to arrive, the clicker got stuck on Vision TV and I watched an episode from the series that ran between 1972 and 1981.

It's the one where the kids get together to send Mama and Daddy on the honeymoon they never had when they got married 20 years previously, and Grandpa sells his civil war penny to make up the difference.

While John and Liv are enroute to Virginia Beach, all hell breaks loose at home.

A skunk gets in the house, the youngest two girls develop colds and John Boy gets a dislocated shoulder. Moreover, Mama can't really relax because she actually loves being a Mama so much that she's itching to get home. The clincher is when she calls store owner Ike Godsey to find out how everything's going and he spills the beans about John Boy.

I'm not ashamed to tell you that I cried when Mama got home after driving through the night, took one look at the mess in the kitchen, slapped her apron on and got to work.

I think the Great Recession of 2009 could use a TV family to teach us a few moral lessons about sticking together.