just a moment of weakness

I will warn you this post is a long one, but oh so good if you like my silly stories…

I’ll start with an update on the klepto soccer mom. A week after the incident, I was talking with my soccer mom besties, and guess who came around the corner…yup…ms. Thief herself. She started to walk towards us because one of the moms I was standing with is her bff.

She made it half way towards us and stopped suddenly when she spotted me. Turned around and walked the other way.

That’s it…that’s right…no cat fight…keep walking away lady….

Oh and btw I found the Juve soccer ball at Disalvo’s Sports for only $29.99 if you’re interested in purchasing your own:

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Just a moment of weakness is a Bif Naked song that I used to play on repeat over and over again in my 1998 – 2 door white Honda accord driving all over downtown. I rocked out to tunes in between showing apartment rentals to students, the young business crowd, and lots of high techers. This was the beginning of the high tech boom in the late 1990s early 2000s. At the time it was hard work to keep up with the fast growing population, I had a plethora of clientele because there was a lack of accommodations everywhere in the city to keep up with the fast growing ‘silicon valley of the north’ affliction at the time.

I didn’t really know much about Bif Naked at the time, only that she is a Canadian artist, super badass, and I loved her voice and music. ‘Just a moment of weakness I should examine my heeeaaad, just a moment of weakness…I never meant a word I said…I saaaaiiiidddd, not a word I saaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiid…didn’t mean a word of it’.

THE BEST.

I never envisioned I’d be sitting alone at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on a beautifully sunny evening this past May about to be blown away by this unbelievably unassuming person. Not to mention, the two other incredible woman who were there to have a panel discussion about their own experience going through breast cancer treatments and life beyond diagnosis.

The two guests Bif and Teva, where inspired to write and share their personal experience. Awesome, I’m in my element here…let’s go…needless to say – I was a writers festival virgin…not anymore and boy did it ever feel good. ha.

This type of thing I would have regarded as a ‘nerdy’ thing to do. I’m here to tell you it turned out to be super cool. My attention span on a good day is one of a 5 year old in kindergarten waiting for the teacher to stop the lesson so we could start ‘play time’. Sad yes, but true. Except when I read a really good book… but lately, I find myself loosing my thoughts quite easily. I’ll be talking and suddenly I can’t remember the point of my story. And it’s getting worse by the day. Focusing is my frienemy….i hate focusing cause it’s hard…but I have to because I need to drive, work, run a household, pay bills…you know that every day shit that has to be done.

I can’t sit there in la la land all the time, so I have to focus. It’s a frienemy because I have to make a conscious effort to focus, I need focus, but I’d rather not sometimes…does this make any sense!!??

I laugh now because even as I’m writing this post I’m losing my train of thought.

I find it hard to sit and listen to people talk for a long time especially if it’s over my head aka super smart talk or boring topics…this experience was anything but that. And not only that, if I was feeling a little awkward going alone it didn’t last long because the lady sitting next to me was alone as well. This is not a joke, she was a 90 year old lady, and her daughter had suffered through breast cancer treatments, so she was there to buy the book for her daughter as a Christmas gift. We instantly bonded.

I’m like “do you know who Bif Naked is?”, and she said “Oh no dear not really, but I did hear she has a lot of tattoos”. I responded “Yes she does, have you heard any of her songs?”…”no, but I’d like too!”…she had the sweetest giggle, which made me giggle along with her. We were instant buddies for the night. And guess what? She follows my blog now…HEY DORIS!!!

The panel was made up of a moderator named Lucy van Oldenbarneveld who is a local CBC news anchor. She had just finished her last radiation treatment that day which she bravely shared with a 200ish crowd gathered in anticipation for the two other guests to be introduced. Man she was eloquent. It’s a gift. She had the crowd in an engaged silence hanging on to her every word, including mine and my new bff Doris. Hey Lucy good job!!…hope you’re doing well 🙂

Bif came to the podium and read a few pages from her memoir. It was funny, real, raw, and I couldn’t wait to get home to crack the spine and dig into her story that interestingly started from her birth in India.

The second writer was introduced, her name is Teva Harrison. Here’s her bio:

Teva Harrison was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 37. In-Between Days, her brilliant and inspiring graphic memoir, documents what it means to live with the disease. She confronts with heartbreaking honesty the crises of identity that cancer brings: a lifelong vegetarian, Teva agrees to use experimental drugs that have been tested on animals. She struggles to reconcile her long-term goals with an uncertain future, balancing the innate sadness of cancer with everyday acts of hope and wonder. She also examines those quiet moments of helplessness and loving with her husband, her family, and her friends, while they all adjust to the new normal.

Teva also read pages from her book. She explained that she was diagnosed as Stage 4. Full stop. There is no stage 5, meaning her diagnosis comes with a sad statistic of a 3 to 5 year survival rate.

There is no cure at stage 4…ok pink ribbon nazis!!!…no cure…where is the $400 million raised going towards….oh wait a minute, I know….AWARNESS/EDUCATION….great so everyone knows to rub there boobs once a month! Great…so glad $400 million US dollors is going to save lives by rubbing second base every thirty days….no, no…wait another minute….hold …EARLY DETECTION… yep that’s right. Finding the cancer early gives you a better outcome…right?…WRONG.

To end this rant I will say….let’s try something new and innovative…how about we spend the $$$ raised on STAGE 4 METETASTIC BREAST CANCER RESEARCH? Urg!…don’t even get me started…over 100 woman die every day in the US from Metastatic BS.

My impression of Teva was that she is super sweet, intelligent, with a realist point of view regarding her diagnosis. Not dwelling but embracing the devastating circumstances, pushing forward and accepting it – not letting it rule her life. Kudos. Not everyone can do that and that’s okay as well.

I met all three of them after the talk was over. All generous, ego-less, and interested in hearing others.

When Bif signed my book and took a picture with me she said ‘Don’t get my double chin!’…. I was like ‘What…are you kidding!?’(I say this all the time!)

She said, ‘Gwen Stefani never has a double chin’…and I was like ‘Oh fuck her!’. Then Bif said while laughing ‘YA, fuck her!’….hahaha

So basically I made Bif crack up. But seriously, Gwen Stefani is annoyingly perfect.

Anyway, I highly recommend both books – you can purchase their books here and here.

I was doubly blessed to see Bif perform later in the month at Mavericks on Rideau St. A totally different event from the TWF. She was on stage with a guitarist reading a couple of pages from her book, then performing an acoustic rendition of her hits. Amazing to say the least. I was a virgin to this venue as well, and it felt just as satisfying to be there as well. Wow two big “O’s” in one month…lucky me…..mom – I’m kidding of course!

The second time I met Bif at Mavericks, she was with her financé Snake, the guitarist that had accompanied her performance. They were both delightful and he spoke my language….he always had a glass of red wine in hand….I think we’re soul mates..hahahahahaha…sorry Bif…kidding again.

The last thing I will say about Bif is that I asked her a couple months ago to retweet a ’go fund me’ page for a single mother of three (Sandra Haley) in Ottawa who was dying from her 3rd occurrence with breast cancer, to help spread the word to raise funds for her daughters to have an education fund established (Laineygossip.com did as well – thank you Lainey…you’re the BEST too!!).

Sadly Sandra has since died. Not only did Bif retweet my blog entry with Sandra’s story and the link to the fundraising page, she wrote a separate message to her Facebook followers encouraging them to help. At the time, I think this prompted some of Sandra’s family/friends to get in touch with CBC to really get the word out there. Which it did. My efforts contacting Lainey and Bif helped raise around $1000, but when it hit local news it quickly escalated to $25,000. Brilliant.

The sad thing is with breast cancer patients is that although the PR movement and fund raising efforts are so strong and lucrative, it rarely helps the most in need. But that is another topic for another day.

I’ve been following Bif on social media for a few years now and what is so endearing about her, is that she literally wakes up every morning and thanks the universe for being alive. Namaste. Appreciating the birds she sees through her window and thanking them for their sweet song. She does this from her Vancouver apartment or wherever she’s travelling.

This brings me to her memoir. I had a preconceived notion that the book may be a little fluffy, with an ‘eat, pray, love’ vibe, but it so wasn’t. I’ve read a lot of memoirs, they’re my favourite.

This BOOK, this book is like a great song you’ve heard over and over again, but wish you’d never heard before, and you could hear for the first time. Its rhythm and eloquence is so refreshing. Penetrating. I hate to use the phrase ‘page turner’ but it really was. She doesn’t whine or apologize for her experiences, she embraces them and makes it light for the reader. As it should be.

She only touches lightly on her #sexybreastcancer experience in a chapter called ‘The Year of The Tit’. I would had liked that she was a bit more detailed on this part of her life, but I think it’s only because of my BC experience that I felt this way. A wider audience doesn’t care as much, they want the dirt, the story of Ms. Bif.

Speaking of Eat, Pray, Love. The memoir that inspired a movie starring Julia Roberts. Well I have a funny story. My friend who lives in Chelsea, QC has a neighbour who rented out her house. Guess who rented it? The ex-husband of the American author Elizabeth Gilbert at the time the book was at its peak. This book was so successful, Oprah featured it on her show with both Elizabeth and Julia when the movie came out.

Side note, and this is reported news, after the premier of the movie at the after party in NYC, Julia wouldn’t even let Elizabeth and her friends/family into her ‘private’ party…can you believe this!? Excuse me but the woman who you portrayed in a movie is blocked from your stuck up party…talk about narcissism. I mean wow…just wow. Not surprising though from Ms. Roberts. She has quite the reputation of demeaning those around her and being super stuck up…not surprising from famous people but apparently she’s extra special in this way….diva.

I still love Julia though….Mystic Pizza is one of my favourite movies.

It makes me wonder if she didn’t care because she knew it wasn’t an Oscar worthy role. Had it been Erin Brockovich she probably would’ve given her and her family and friends an open invitation to the VIP room, maybe a 100 foot yacht in Ibiza for a week ….hollywood phoniness and hypocrisy at its best.

The funny thing is that I met Elizabeth’s ex-husband. He was quiet and is remarried with two small children. His new wife is very successful in her own right. My best friend told me that they are really cool and down to earth. How my friends found out who they were one day was because he (Mr. ex-Gilbert) really super casually mentioned to my friend’s husband as they were building a fire….ya, my ex-wife has a bestselling book. It’s now being turned into a film with Julia Roberts playing her character. My friend’s husband was like ‘oh okay cool’….

That was it. What?? My friends and I at the time (which was 8 or 9 years ago) were like…hello…get more details. You mean the man who inspired an international million dollar selling book and movie, and who is currently living behind you, and that’s it???? Man you need to dig and get more details! Nope, not happening. They were very quiet normal private people. No pretention at all. God bless them. I would be chasing the $$$$…calling up TMZ with dirty smut to fluff my feathers.

From what I remember, he was in negotiations to write a rebuttal memoir, but it never came into fruition over arguments about the title…and probably more juicy stuff. Isn’t it funny that nobody cares now… He has since moved overseas but has a connection with Ottawa as it is a refuge from his previous pretentious NYC wall street crowd. He doesn’t care, he’s normal…Elizabeth definitely indulged that story. This is the truth because at the time the publishing company that financed the book had given her a lump sum advancement to go travel and GET a story. Funny isn’t it… you can secure a pre-written book deal for a memoir. That sounds sketchy to me.

Hey Miss, go find a story and write about it….here’s $500K USD in advance…come up with something good…cry on your exquisite bathroom honeycombed tiled floor on 5th Avenue, sit on a mountain in India and meditate, eat some pasta in Italy and endearingly complain about your muffin top from too much pasta and red wine consumption …hahaha, fall in love with your hot Italian tutor, fall in love with a random, have juicy sex, go on write a book girl.

Although woman devoured Eat,pray,love or Eat, love, pray…Elizabeth Gilbert is also a phony…have you ever heard of Priv-lit? Look it up…it’s fascinating if you’re a book lover.

I have a bucket list stuff which I try to tick off daily. Meeting Bif was a bucket list moment x 2. My only other wish would be to be a back-up singer for her for one night…a girl can dream.

 

 


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