"Spin" in aviation training: a "stall" or loss of lift, a subsequent nose-down spin, the specific actions required for recovery, and the feeling, after recovery, that you could tackle absolutely anything!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

My Friend, Judy Marshak; "Mrs. Talent-Pants."

I love all my friends; each one talented in his/her own way.  Some are really good at skipping.  One, can burp the alphabet...in cyrillic,  and yet another can channel "McGregor," the sock industrialist.  

And then there's Judy Marshak.  She can do all of the above, and she writes, sings, and performs like no one else.  She has nurtured a wonderful career in the theatre; twice nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award, for "Mrs Potts" in the original Toronto stage production of "Beauty and the Beast," and then for "Fleur," the Menopausal Mama in Anne Marie Macdonald's "Anyting Moves."
Judy was 4 seasons playing "Marilla" in "Anne of Green Gables" in Charlottetown, and revelled in the role of "Mrs. Tottendale," created for her and her ukelele, in the Toronto production of "The Drowsy Chaperone."  She is a regular in the Toronto music scene; cabaret shows, jazz and vocal trios, more leads in musical theatre, appearing at "The Old Mill" as part of the Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival, and in their "Home Smith Lounge" for the Friday Night Great Jazz Vocalist Series.  Judy has also won several awards for her song writing, and recently released a new CD entitled "A Matter of Time."

And all of this, wrapped up in such gorgeousity, playing, with her ukelele, July 29th and 30 at Toronto's "Flying Beaver Pubaret,"
 488 Parliament Street, north of Carlton.  She is so fun on stage. I guarantee that you will enjoy yourself.  You'd be a fool not to go.  You don't want to be a fool do you?  'Thought not.

Show starts at 8 p.m..  Tickets $15 advanced/$20 at the door.
Or go to Brown Paper Tickets - 

Call "The Flying Beaver Pubaret" for info: (647)347-6567

I'll see you there!

For more info on Judy, go to:  www.JudyMarshak.com

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Listen! Did you Hear That?

It is a wonderful thing to be able to listen. And, on the other end, these days, almost a thrill to be heard.  Listening is a skill that, as I'm finding, is very rare.  There is a calmness about someone who hears you; someone who quiets to let you speak. And it doesn't always involve just ears.  There can be much more to it than that.

Last spring, we went to see the "Vienna Philharmonic."  One of the pieces they played was Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde; Prelude & Liebestond."  It is a stunningly beautiful piece of music, and as it started, I decided to experiment. I stopped listening with my ears, and started listening with, well, my whole body...my heart in particular.  I was floored.  It was a conscious shift, on my part, but I got so much more out of the music.  It was like a completely different physiology, and it illustrated, for me, how much more complex we are.  The event took on such a powerful tone...and it dawned on me that there must be people who listen like this every day, without having to make the conscious effort that I did.  They're different; way more tuned in... no kidding.

 It's a frustrating thing to try and have a conversation with someone who doesn't listen.  You can almost see them planning their next sentence, impatient for you to finish whatever it is that you're saying.  And after a short time, you give up. At least I do.

But when you finally meet someone who has decided to give you their time and their honest consideration; someone who listens fully, it's a wonderful thing.  There is a calmness about them.  Sometimes there are even pauses during the conversation...but no awkwardness.  And each and every time, I can bet that they're listening with their heart, instead of just their ears.  Isn't that what our heart was meant for in the first place; the consideration of others?  Everyone's got ears, and some do use them, but to stumble upon someone who really hears you with their heart?
...Well, people write symphonies about things like that.  I know.  I've heard it.

Monday, 11 July 2011

My Bike.

I love my bike.  It's one of those things in my life that I depend on.  A martini can be made poorly.  A favourite sweater can suddenly not fit, or develop a hole...but my bike is always true. 

We have turned a lot of miles, my bike and I; my old Cadex Giant, with recently updated hubs, hybrid wheels, and a penchant for climbing hills that not even snow can cling to.  And sailing along, beautiful stretches where the cadence is perfect; I'm getting power out of each crank but in a way that's stimulating, not tiring.  Sometimes, we could go forever, my bike and I.  I'll say that, "Oh, I'll just go for a short ride,"  but then, before I know it, an hour has passed and we're into the second.

The thing is, we talk, my bike and I.  I explain my day.  I share my joys.  And I sob over my struggles.  And through every one of these, my bike listens and gets me through.  It shows me some of the most beautiful scenery in Ontario.  We've seen swarms of bees, bears, wolves, newborn calves and horses, herds of Holstein and Jersey cattle; each with the most beautiful, feminine faces.  We've seen fields of wheat undulating in the wind like water.  And we've laughed at turkeys that act like we can't see them as they stand in that same wheat field, yellowed and ready to harvest; the turkeys not realizing that they kind of stand out...turkeys are not the smartest.

But the biggest thing about my bike is the quiet effort involved.  It stretches me and tests my lungs. It shows me how strong I am, and during the effort, it lets me think. It lets me sort everything out.  So when we finally pull in at home, I always, always, always feel better.  It's better than church, that bike o' mine.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The House.

"There's a sense of betrayal moving out of a house;
A perfectly good home that you've fussed and grown in.
The walls get together and wonder,
"Who did it?"
Which one messed up enough to make us want to leave?
Everyone points to the remaining lathe & plaster wall by the stairs,
But there's a certain beauty in a wall so rugged and old.
No, it wasn't the lathe & plaster.

The roofs all take their turn apologizing, because each one did leak
At one time or another,
Except for the main one up high.
It looks down on the others with such a scowl.
The kitchen was the worst, but not now.
Now, it's totally leak-free.
No, it wasn't any roof.

The plumbing admits that it's probably the culprit;
All those pinhole leaks in the basement.
Well, they weren't really fun, but now,
We're excellent plumbers ourselves,
Grateful for the practice.
So no, the plumbing wasn't the cause.

The windows and the wiring are both completely new.
They're still quite shy.
We hardly know them.

Each room, now emptied, blinks at another,
Looking for some kind of clue.
The basement, normally full of all kinds of stuff,
Rests with this new empty echo, as if to shake it's head,
Concentrating on the lonely sound of the dehumidifier,
The indifference of the water heater,
The denial of the water softener,
And the sad, methodical gasps of the 
Sump pump that just can't believe we're going.

The outside of the house grumbles that it,
"Did it's best," out there.
'Always forgotten.
But the outside of the house and gardens
Have finally meshed.  The vines and shrubs
Are now lush. and embracing the walls in such a loving way.
And the rest of the gardens and pathways have
Settled in, after 19 years, to create a real gem.

"A real gem."
"Did you hear that everyone?  We're a 
Real Gem," it says.

So the whole building puzzles while we pack and shuffle.
"Why would they leave a gem?"
"Maybe something's wrong with them?"
And with that, the house takes note of us
As we avert our eyes.
We move quickly and don't stare too long because we might 
But the house sees that we have all grown and
And it sees our yearning for
The next step,
The next adventure,
Something new.

And then the house puffs up.
Yes, the house puffs up.
The rooms giggle,
The roofs sing,
And the wiring and the windows,
Even so shy,

"Sorry to see you go,
But we've heard that there are new people coming.
We can't wait to meet them.
Oh the fun we will have!"

And we hand over the keys...

Monday, 4 July 2011

The Show.


"They bow their heads as if on stage;
Their blooms, round and full and fragrant.
Tipped toward the heads of state, such 
Royalty deserving so much humility in such beauty?
The stems, their backs, struggle against the lure of 
Earth's gravity,
But each petal in the bloom seems intent on completing the
Loop back to the earth.
The roots wonder about all of the fuss upstairs.
They do their part but never hear
If the show was a hit."

Sunday, 3 July 2011


'Wrote a poem to share with you:

"There's a moment, on the lake, when the games stop.
The waves and the wind are all called home, and only
Then, with the last of the sun,
Can I paddle without a sound.
There is delight in such passing and I hold my breath,
As if to keep the canoe quiet.
I pass all the cottages and can see their lights;
Children who's feet did not still since early morning
Have admitted to the effort to even blink.
Their heads nod back against the sofa, all dressed in 
Cool pajamas,
Finally carried to bed with the utmost care.
A mosquito in the room, sought out, and dismissed.
Another cottage bathed in TV blue. 
The end of the series.
And finally I arrive and slip up to the dock.
I have brought you the book you wanted to read.
It was a good excuse
To visit you.
And we talk of the book and how the
Reviews were bad, but I still liked it,
And I point to the bats...but all the while I am 
Enthralled with you.
Eventually, I remember to breath.