Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Another Story About Life in the City

We all could use a wee distraction from the world news, so here's another in my ongoing series of quick hit stories from the downtown streets of my hometown.

The Husband and I made our way over to the local grocery store on Saturday morning. (I hope you all saw the fabulous picture of him shlepping our new bundle buggy. If not, I'll re-post it at the end of this missive so that we can all chuckle together.) I will admit that during the summer we have tended to avoid the big name stores only because the fresh produce is so much nicer at the local farmer's markets and we tend to buy the staples we require at smaller, independent stores. But this week, I needed far more than we could buy at those outlets, so we walked the three blocks up to our local Loblaw.

If you happen to live in Toronto and haven't visited the Loblaw on Queen at Bathurst, you really should. It absolutely caters to the downtown crowd, but it is also a wonderful cornucopia of fresh baked smells, cheeses, pastries, and other truly "off-limits but I wish I could indulge" items for me. It also has a small section near the front where parents who are shopping with small children can take a piece of fresh fruit like a banana or a cluster of grapes for free in order to satisfy their kids. As such, the store also attracts its share of street people in search of a bite and the store seems more than willing to help these folks out. I met up with one such woman on Saturday.

As I was searching through the dairy case for butter, this very chatty dame sauntered up to me and said in a truly concerned voice,

Her: "You must really like butter."

I will admit that the four bricks I had in my hands probably set off her alarm bells.

Me: "Not really. I just have quite a bit of baking to do this week and I need the butter."

Her: "Salted or unsalted?"

I should have walked away at that point, but I will admit that my curiousity got the better of me.

Me: "Both. It really does depend on the cookies and the recipe."

Her: (In a most unequivocal and strident manner) "Unsalted. It needs to be unsalted. You need to watch your blood pressure. If you're not careful, all that salt...you could die of a heart attack."

I thanked her for her concern and started back to rejoin The Husband when she called after me.

"Remember what I said. You need to stay healthy."

At the check-out counter, the young man helping us noticed that The Husband had purchased those very wicked and brand new caramel M&Ms. (When we have a bundle buggy to help us carry stuff, we are both far more prone to buy junk food.) This interesting dude proceeded to give me a lesson on the proper way to eat this magnificent candy.

"You need to suck them. You see there is far less shell on the outside and a much thinner layer of chocolate. Suck them and get to the caramel centre. You will not be disappointed."

I smiled, told him that's exactly how I eat them, thanked him for his help and handed him my VISA card. The look of joy on his face was priceless.

As we left the store I realized that this shopping experience was a far cry from the rudeness I used to encounter in the North Jewish Ghetto or even the shithole that is Publix on Hallandale Beach Boulevard in South Florida. These two souls were very concerned with me and my eating experience. But it also occurred to me that if anybody is ragingly pissed off at me for my last couple of posts, you can rest assured that I will probably die of a salted butter induced heart attack while blissfully sucking on caramel M&Ms.

Just like my new friends at Loblaw on Queen told me.

Check out The Husband and his rocking new bundle buggy. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

I'm Done!

If you voted for this...

Make no mistake about it. You also voted for and gave your approval for this...

 And this...

 And this...

 And this...

 And this...

There is no middle ground here. There can be no false moral relativism that exists here between left and right; between liberal and conservative; between Democrat and Republican. This was pure evil on display and it was done with a wink and nod from the Oval Office. These people were shouting "Heil Trump." They were chanting "Blood and Soil," a fundamental ideology of the Third Reich. They used "Jews will not replace us" as their rallying cry. They yelled, “The heat here is nothing compared to what you’re going to get in the ovens.” And they did it all knowing that the man you voted for was in their corner, on their side.

When you voted for that man, you explicitly consented to his hate and racism. You purposefully went blind, deaf, and mute to his dog whistles, his bigotry, and his xenophobia. You allied yourself with birtherism, anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and racialism. You aligned yourself with the likes of David Duke, the former imperial wizard of the KKK.
By voting for that man, you trampled on and spit upon the souls of my relatives murdered at Auschwitz. By voting for that man, you mocked the memory of Dr. King. By voting for that man, you betrayed your neighbours, your fellow citizens, and perhaps even a few friends.

When you voted for that man, you weren't voting for him...

 Or him...

 Or Saint him...

 Or even them.

While you and I could debate and probably vehemently disagree about the policies or political philosophies of these men, I would never have doubted for one second that while I thought them tremendously misguided, they had the best of intentions or wanted what was best for their country and the rest of the world. I would never have called them inherently evil.

Yesterday, we witnessed evil. Three innocent people lost their lives to evil. My cousins had to temporarily leave their home in Charlottesville because evil came knocking at their front door. And the man you voted for has refused to denounce it or distance himself from that which he had fomented and wrought.

So...I'm done. I'm done with you using his Jewish daughter and grandchildren as shields. I'm done with you excusing his words and incoherence as harmless rhetoric. I'm done with you telling me about her emails and how she would have been worse. I'm done with you pretending that your hatred for the last man in that office wasn't partly about the colour of his skin.

I'm done.

Because when you voted for that man...

You voted for all that was unleashed yesterday. It's on you.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

I'm Planning a Party...It Seems Like You're All Invited

I honestly thought of writing a post today filled with fear, angst, and terror, because if I'm being even a wee bit honest with you all and myself, fear, angst, and terror are what I am feeling today. But instead of wallowing in the "what ifs" and "wherefores" I decided to plan the going away party. For those of you reading and thinking "this is in extremely poor taste," I need to reassure you that I am in no way making light of what I view as an extremely serious and dangerous situation, but rather I need the distraction of anything that will keep my hands from shaking and will make the nightmares cease when I attempt to close my eyes. So instead we have...

A Party Plan for The End of The World As We Know It (With sincere apologies to R.E.M. for plagiarizing their words.)

I want my family here. All of them. I don't care where they think they need to be. They need to be here. As one. Together.

When the end comes I want cake. Not just any cake. It needs to be double-layered chocolate blackout cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Calories? Who the fuck cares! Lactose intolerance can damn well just eat me up from the inside out. I'll fart it out like there's no tomorrow...because there isn't one! And there needs to be pie. Fruit pies. Lots of them. My Lil Bro's apple pie is an absolute must. Nobody should ever plan to leave this earth unless they have experienced my brother's apple pie. It is perfection in a pan.

There will be alcohol. Lots of it. Anesthesia is a necessity from this reality. And...I really want to try pot at least once before I leave this earth. (You can debate that bit of quality information quietly amongst yourselves.)

There needs to be music. Only the best voices and the best players allowed. Nothing canned or electronic. I refuse to leave this world listening to shitty American Idol or The Voice mashups.

I will Not be wearing a bra. I will leave this world the same way I came in. Free, easy, and unconstricted.

Laughter is a must. We will have a seemingly endless stream of Marx Brothers, Danny Kaye, Robin Williams, and Mel Brooks movies on hand. Peter Sellers' Clouseau (WTF was Steve Martin thinking in trying to remake that? It's like a paint by numbers version of the Mona Lisa!) is a moral imperative as are Nora Ephron movies. I just love the way she wrote.

I really hope it happens in summer. Winter followed by a nuclear winter seems so needlessly repetitive and gauche.

I want flowers. No lilies. Too maudlin and I am highly allergic. I don't want it written somewhere in the fallout that she departed this earth covered in hives. Roses. Gerber daisies. Hydrangeas. Sunflowers. Anything to remind us of colour and light.

I want photographs. I want to be surrounded by albums. Not phone screens. Actual printed out photos. I want to see my aunt's face again. And my bubby's. And my father-in-law's. I don't tend to believe in an afterlife so I want those visuals with me one last time.

I hope that we will be granted a sunset and maybe even a rainbow. I want to remember that somewhere out there, there may be a couple of assholes who control the finale of this world, but they didn't create it. Something bigger and better did that.

And finally....With my last breath I want to scream at all of you out there who voted to put the fate of the entire planet into the hands of an amoral, sociopathic, truly unstable madman simply because you couldn't see past your own self-interest, your own hateful racism, your own misogyny, or even because of (horror of horrors) her emails.....


**Time and date of the festivities are still to be determined. Let's hope that we have to cancel.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Things I Never Thought We'd Say Until We Moved Downtown

The Husband and I are coming up to our moving anniversary. One year ago this week we made the long and arduous trek from the North Jewish Ghetto to our current digs in the city core. Those of you who have followed this space on an even semi-regular basis had front row seats to my angst, emotional trauma, and naked fear as we prepared to leave our life-long suburban confines in order to begin anew as cosmopolitan urbanites. It was a complex cocktail of emotions ranging from exhaustion to exhilaration mixed in with a healthy dose of sadness and topped off with a heaping teaspoon of excitement. There was so much that was unfamiliar and so much to learn, but we embraced our neophyte status with gusto and anticipation.

And now...after almost a year...I can confidently say that we are finally settled. I have a new pharmacy, bank machine, grocery store, and dry cleaners. I still have a few things for which I safari north, not the least of which are dear family and friends, but for the most part, we have constructed a comfortable and no longer strange daily norm for ourselves, all while exploring parts of our hometown that we really never knew existed.

As I have thought back on this year, I have compiled for you all a few memories and thoughts that I still can't believe occurred. These things really happened and the statements forthwith are as true and verifiable as they can possibly be coming from a middle-aged mind. All names have been changed to protect the guilty and supremely embarrassed. Let's just file these under the heading Things I never thought we'd say until we moved downtown.

Him: Wow. Did you hear that?
Her:  Yeah. What the fuck was that?
Him: A cannon.
Her: A what?
Him: A cannon. They use it to mark noon at Fort York. Isn't it cool?
Her: This is 2017. I think we can dispense with in-city cannon-fire and start using a clock. 

Him: I can't believe how much I like riding the streetcar
Her: Even when the passengers smell like headcheese?

Him: The sounds of the city are amazing. They have a real rhythm and a pulse.
Her: Unlike the guy who was stabbed last night across the street.

Her: Maybe I'll buy a bike helmet.
Him: Are you seriously considering riding a bike?
Her: I'm not sure yet. Do you think people will be upset if I ride on the sidewalk?
Him: You're not buying a bike helmet.

Him: I think we should go to the Ex this year.
Her: (pulling her chin off the floor) Really? We haven't been in twenty years.
Him: Yup. We can walk over. Besides you love that Food Network show Carnival Eats. We can marvel at the weird concoctions.
Her: We'll have to walk. I'm gaining weight just thinking about it.

Him: I went to buy bread at that amazing looking bakery across the street and they laughed at me when I asked them to slice it. Apparently, that just isn't done down here. It will "ruin" the elasticity. Who knew?

Him: The guy at the convenience store keeps treats under the counter for visiting dogs.
Her: That's cool. Does this mean we can get a dog?
Him: 🙄

Her: Tell me again which way Richmond and Adelaide run?
Him: We've lived here almost a year. Are you ever going to get it right?
Her: (the next day) Tell me again which way Richmond and Adelaide run?

Her: Hydroponic herb-growing is kind of awesome.
Him: Honestly, that's a phrase I never thought I'd hear from you. Ever.

Him: I just realized that you can see into our bedroom from a corner of the rooftop garden.
Her: I just realized why we have blackout blinds in there.

Her: I swear that everything in this fucking condo was designed for Andre the Giant.
Him: Not really. They just never thought it might be inhabited by the Queen of the Lollipop Guild.

Her: I think we need to buy a bundle buggy for shopping
Him: We're not doing that. Old people do that. We can carry everything we need. We'll look ridiculous.

Her: (a few months later) That cauliflower looks amazing. Let's buy it.
Him: We can't. It's too big and we can't carry it. I guess we'll have to give up purchasing the chocolate covered raisins, bags of chips, and ice cream if you have your heart set on the cauliflower.
Her: Or...we could buy a bundle buggy?
Him: Only if you're the one pulling it. I'll look like an old man.

Her: (later still) I just dropped three dozen bagels on the ground at What-a Bagel
Him: (choking back the laughter and tears) How? Whaaat?
Her: I was trying to look like a cool urbanite and not use plastic bags and the steam from the hot bagels caused the paper bags to disintegrate. I looked like a dotty old lady scurrying around on the floor trying to recover three dozen bagels.
Him: This wouldn't have happened if you had a bundle buggy. 
Her: 😠

Her: I think we've both lost weight since we moved. We are definitely exercising more and walking everywhere. That's a good thing.
Him: And our shopping habits have changed. Because we haven't bought a bundle buggy, we are more careful with our groceries. We can't carry the junk so we simply don't buy it.
Her: True. And we are carrying several kilograms of stuff every time we walk. 
Him: See...we don't need a bundle buggy.

Her: (last week) I love St. Lawrence Market on a summer Saturday.
Him: Yup. This is why we moved. I love the energy and the people.
Her: Look at the beautiful peaches just in from Niagara. A basket is only six bucks.
Him: Do you realize how heavy they are? And you made me buy that bottle of barbeque sauce for your mother and now you want me to shlep peaches? We still have a 5K walk home!!
Her: Bundle buggy?
Him: Fine!
Her: (Ordered today)

Happy urban-versary to my honey. May we have many more years like this last one.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

An Authentic Summer Moment...Gas and all.

I ate a hot dog yesterday. From a street vendor.

There is much about that collection of words that is unusual.

I really don't like hot dogs. Never have. Not even as a kid. Not even at a picnic, barbecue, or a ball game.  There is something extraordinarily distasteful to me about a casing stuffed with unknown innards roasting on a ubiquitous street cart that passes for an outdoor restaurant. And honestly, veggie hot dogs kind of define everything that is wrong with trying to turn meat dishes into vegan fare. They are tasteless, chewy, spongy, and filled with so much sodium as to mask and substitute for what they are lacking. I have often joked that I would be much happier with just a toasted hot dog bun off the cart filled with all the toppings. I really love hot dog toppings.

Hot dogs are also not what anyone would call easy on my digestive tract. Without getting into ugly descriptors of stomach ailments, if I am going to suffer the after effects, I'd rather suffer them for junk food I truly enjoy like ice cream, chocolate, or greasy french fries. Hot dogs are frankly a waste of a good calorie-binge.

So the question becomes, why did I choose to indulge in a street dog yesterday?

The Husband and I have been making a concerted effort to get to know our still-sort of-newish neighbourhood this summer. Since we moved late last August and then left for The Southern Home only a few months later, we really didn't get as much of a chance as we would have liked to explore and experience all that our new urban digs had to offer. So this summer, we have searched out the festivals, the neighbourhood farmer's markets, the walking trails, the street art, and the natural vibrancy of downtown Toronto. (When people tell me that they have never been to Toronto and want to visit, I always joke and tell them to come in the summer. Not that winter doesn't have its charms, although I personally struggle to find them, but Toronto in the summer is a fantastic place.)

None of this explains why I ate a hot dog.

Yesterday, we decided to walk over to the City Hall Art Show. This outdoor exhibition is an annual favourite of ours. We spent several hours meandering through the assortment of booths, stopping on occasion to chat with the artists and just enjoying Shabbat amidst soaking humidity and soaring temperatures. That's another thing about Toronto in the summer. There is never a perfect weather day. As we made our way back towards home, both of us noted that we were hungry. We were hoping to check out some of the new food trucks at City Hall, but as fate (or city council) would have it, there were only chip and ice cream trucks. As we approached Queen and Spadina, The Husband finally stumbled upon a street meat vendor and the die was cast. Summer in the city. Feel and taste the experience. I could feel the indigestion burbling as he grilled the thing. Tell me something, as an aside. Why does it take longer to grill a veggie dog than it does a regular dog? Is there some pretence working here that if the vendor spends longer on cooking non-meat, it might seem and taste like real meat? Are we worried more about ptomaine or e-Coli in a veggie dog than in a standard dog?

As the vendor worked at his craft, I was far more interested in the street musicians playing on the corner. These guys weren't just jamming for nickels and dimes, they were fricking amazing. Billed as The Big Smoke Brass Band, they are a collection of five wondrously talented guys who have been moving from intersection to intersection this summer in order to get heard. And heard they were. The people at Queen and Spadina literally stopped in their tracks to listen. (This video isn't mine, but you can at least get a feel for their sound. I found trying to record while holding onto a hot dog a first-world social media challenge.)

I was almost disappointed when the hot dog was ready. We stayed a bit longer to listen and then we were off on our wild new journey towards dyspepsia.

So, yes....I ate a hot dog yesterday and yes.....I am paying a huge price for it today. But I figure it was worth it. It was a small price to pay for a truly authentic Toronto summer moment. If we hadn't stopped for the hot dog, I wouldn't have been blessed with the talent of these young men. It almost makes up for my seriously messed up digestive tract.

Check out Big Smoke Brass on social media. They often list where they will be playing next. 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Camp is For the Campers

To all parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles and other assorted adults who are currently experiencing child withdrawal because your kid is at overnight camp:

I say this with the utmost compassion and love....BACK THE HELL OFF!

Stop updating and refreshing those camp photo websites in a desperate search to find your kid. And when you do happen to find them, stop posting those pictures on social media. Cut out the daily updates. Cease and desist, parents. It's time to cut the cord.

It's fabulous that Johnny or Jenny had a great day waterskiing, sailing, or dancing. I'm so thrilled that they are settling in and enjoying their camp experience, but here's the thing....that was their day, not yours. This vicarious social media blitz really must stop.

I know. You miss them. I get it. I also get that you want them to be happy, safe, and comfortable. I get that you need to see tangible evidence of that happiness and share it with the world, but speaking from personal experience as a long-time camper, counselor, unit head, and parent of all of those aforementioned, you are doing a great disservice to both your child and yourself by peering into a world in which you absolutely DO NOT belong.

Overnight camp is about so much more than fun activities. It is the first place that many kids get to flex their independence and make choices that maybe mom and dad wouldn't necessarily make for them or even worse, disapprove of. They learn conflict resolution, how to clean up after themselves, how to deal with disappointment, success, failure, first loves, first kisses, new food choices, teamwork, self-advocating, friendships, dealing with people that can be difficult, and most importantly they are doing all of this without parents around to tell them how to do it. When you digitally spy on them (yes...I said, spy!) you are intruding on their privacy. Maybe they don't want you to see them holding hands with somebody? Maybe they had a bad day and don't want to be photographed. Maybe they are deliriously happy but they simply aren't interested in sharing it with you. I realize that might be difficult to hear, but it's true. There are things that happened at camp over forty years ago that I still haven't told my parents about, and that's as it should be.

My dear friend the camp director from my own camping days was always adamant in his mantra that "camp is for the campers." This constant obsession of parents scouring photo websites changes that dynamic. Suddenly, there are no surprises. Parents know far more than they should and kids will have less excitement to share with you when they return home.

Look. I understand that you worry. I know that there is a giant-sized hole. But trust me...if there is a major problem, the camp will contact you. Is your child homesick? Maybe. But trust the camp and their competent staff to deal with it. If it is more than they can handle, you will know. Has your child failed to write? Possibly. But that could be a good thing. When Older Son first went to camp at the tender age of 8, (by himself, on an airplane, and crossing an international border!) we didn't get a single letter, save for the introductory postcard. He was simply too busy and too happy to care.  

Use this time when your child is at camp to reconnect with your spouse or friends or yourself. My mother used to say that the only pots on the stove during the summer were flower pots and that the kitchen was closed. Have fun. Eat out a few more times and cook a few less. Sleep in on weekends. See friends. Enjoy a brief respite from parenthood and trust that your child is in good hands.

And write them letters. Campers love and need to get mail. It is fun for them and a gentle reminder of home. Tell them about the dog or what you have been up to. But seriously...stay away from those photo sites. They aren't helping either you or your kid. Content yourself with the odd picture that the camp puts up on Facebook to let you know everything is just fine and then go and let your camper enjoy his/her summer.

In my next post maybe I will tackle why Visitor's Days are a nightmare for all and should be abolished unless a camper is staying over sessions.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Moments of Me

A friend of mine who is currently recovering from knee-replacement surgery and dealing with rehabilitation therapy posted a wonderfully positive status on Facebook. With her permission, I share it here.

"This morning my husband asked me how I was feeling. I said I was feeling great. Actually feeling like me. I qualified it by saying that I have been having "Moments of Me".

In her world, those "Moments of Me" are how she is defining progress in her recovery. The pain, the struggle, the limitations, the loss of her independence, the boredom, and how very small her world has become recently, is very much outside the comfort zone for this strong, self-reliant, and wonderfully robust woman. Every moment of normality and every moment that she can point to as regular is a step forward in her recuperation and convalescence. As her friend, I was thrilled to hear that she is experiencing more and more of these moments and that she is seeing a small light at the end of a very painful tunnel.

As an addendum to her Facebook post, my friend threw down the gauntlet to her friends to try and define the term "Moments of Me" in personally creative ways. I realize that she is extraordinarily bored and is hoping that we will provide her with some much-needed entertainment. How could I deny her that? And so....friend....challenge accepted.

As I have gotten older, I have become aware of the little bits of me out there in the universe that I wish I could retrieve. Toxic bits. Unkind scraps. Moments that I wish I could have back. How would I have handled myself if I had the chance at a mulligan? Would I have better control over my temper or my tongue? Would I have been less dismissive and more compassionate? Would I have stressed less and enjoyed more? Would I have spent more time on the floor playing and less time worrying about keeping it clean? Would I have stopped more often to appreciate and record just how fleeting it all is? All of those times that I worried over narashkeit (nonsense...the small stuff) served only to diminish my strength and my power over my own world. I'm not for a minute reaching for unattainable self-perfection but rather a better understanding of my faults and foibles and how I can learn from them.

These are indeed "Moments of Me". They are certainly moments that I am embarrassed by and ashamed of, but they are a still part of me. They have been teachable moments and moments of growth and maturation. But they are only useful if they have been instructive. So how do I re-gather these negative "Moments of Me" from the ether of the universe and celebrate the "me" I would rather be?

I sing and I dance. I plug in my headphones and jam, loudly. Last week The Husband posted a rather unflattering video of me belting out "Hello, Dolly" and doing the soft-shoe in the kitchen while preparing brunch. This singing and dancing routine wasn't an isolated incident. I tend to do this a lot but in the privacy of my own space. I was blissfully unaware of his prying eyes and his gentle humour in posting the offending film until the comments came pouring in. I was slightly horrified by my image; hair pulled back, sweatpants, sweatshirt, no makeup, and singing and dancing to music only I could hear. My mortification was all-encompassing. This past weekend, my dear cousin pulled me aside and told me how much he loved the post. He told me that it was a pure Dawn moment. "It was so you", he said without a trace of mocking or irony. Only then did I stop plotting my excruciatingly painful revenge on The Husband and realize that he recorded that image not out of ridicule or malice, but rather out of love and he wanted to share that love he has for me with everybody he knew. He saw what I didn't.

I allow myself public emotional release. I squeal with childish glee at the magnificent sight of dolphins in the bay or an eagle taking flight. I shake with sustained anger at those who would excuse and allow continued poverty or injustice from their perch of privilege. I still weep at the end of Marley and Me and I have read it several times and seen the movie even more than that. I scream and cheer passionately for my favourite sports teams even when they kind of suck. (I live in Toronto. It's what we do.) I vituperate at the f***ing squirrels for all of their sins against me. I sit in stunned silence at great moments of artistic genius and appreciate godliness in them. I still laugh out loud at Danny Kaye movies and I still cry when I hear Idina Menzel hit the highest bridge notes in Defying Gravity. I swear like a sailor when I encounter profound stupidity and I am calmed by the brilliance of words. Through every single one of those things, I like to think that I am bringing balance back into my world.

I dispense with the bullshit. The Husband had a wonderful grandfather whom I absolutely adored. As he aged into his nineties, it became obvious to all who knew him that he just didn't have time any longer for pretense or bullshit. He said what he wanted to say when he wanted to say it. His lack of filter did get us into some trouble on occasion, like the time he wondered aloud at my son's elementary school why all the teachers were "so ugly". His often inappropriate musings were excused as the rantings of an aged man with no fucks left to give, but I have to admit that there existed a tremendous freedom in his demeanour. While I hope to God that I haven't yet descended to publicly insulting people, I am no longer distracted by bullshit. New-aged diets, beauty routines, must-have shit, phony celebrities, flat-earthers, science deniers, climate change rejection, paternalism, misogyny, quacks, religious fundamentalism...I'm done with all of it. All of it. I cannot and will not pretend that any of this is anything other than grade A, high-level bullshit and I will continue to call it such whenever it rears its ugly head. There is tremendous honesty in living as Zaidy did with zero fucks left to give about any of it.

There are other times when I feel me come to the surface. The contentment I feel when I sit quietly and watch The Husband solve a complex problem. The pride I experience when I see the independent adults my sons have become. The pleasure I get listening to children sing. The awe that comes with the viewing of a sunset or the ephemeral emotion contained in a rainbow. These are touchstones, markers that remind me of who I am at my core. No labels, no monikers. Just me.

I know that I can't go back and undo the bad stuff. I'm not sure that I'd even want to. I just want to come to a place, like my friend has, whereby I experience more of this authenticity. It is in those truths we find those fleeting "Moments of Me".