The Highway Handoff

“Oh!! Mom…mom. Check this out!” I accelerated slightly to catch up with the white Sierra next to me. “To your right,” I said giggling, directing mom to the truck, and the driver.

He looks back at us, does a double take, as all of us start to laugh , caught in the act.  He pulls in front slightly , glancing at me, teasing me to speed up. I play along. We each cruise along with the flow of midweek evening 401 traffic, each time, laughing as we pass one another. 

A few kilometres later, truck traffic sends him from the centre lane to the left, behind me. I move over next.  When he again passes , now on my opposite side, I see he has two friends with him. The game continues with the guys in the white truck for a few more minutes when the passenger window opens. I follow suit. Everyone waves, and the driver blows kisses.

By now everyone is laughing, especially my mom from the passenger seat as she marvels at how she rarely even looks at cars around her and I’ve been flirting for several kilometres.  I’m listening, and focusing on the road, as “Team white Sierra” catch my attention again. Now, the rear passenger window is down, and a young man is reaching out the vehicle waving, with a piece of paper between his fingers. 

I shook my head with my best “you’re insane” face.. But three guys in a truck are now cheering me on… this is not a challenge you walk away from (especially not when you know you will write about it!)

Carefully, I accelerate, inching closer, holding my breath and the wheel.

I reach… I grab.

I steer back into my own lane.

I breathe, and to my right , I toss: a fuel receipt folded six times over, with a phone number written in marker; my prize for ‘skilled’ driving, determination, and a bit of crazy!

We took the next exit to the 403, as our new friends continued east. The laughing lasted all the way home and well into dinner: 

“This gives speed dating a whole new meaning!! Like 120km/hr.”

We debriefed and wondered – what was the conversation like in the white truck? Whose idea it was to write the number, how did they decide who should hang out the window?  I wonder who I’ll be in their story, and if they will talk about the highway handoff with “The Girls in the Black Truck.”

Motorcycle Marriage Proposal

Officially one for the book…

Riding home last night after a great day, and as I approach the intersection at Murray and Colborne I see a guy in a fox jersey on a Yamaha Fist pumping the air (at me) – I wave. I’ve somewhat gotten used to in-traffic-male-reactions where the bike is concerned.

He pulls over and waits as I round the corner and rolls up beside me taunting me .. til the light at the fast Ed’s corner turns red. We stop, laughing and he says “nice bike!! “ light green.
Next red light:
“Are you married ?”
Me: “no.”
Him:”Do you wanna GET married ?!”
Me: “maybe!”
Light green.
He followed me all the way down Gretzky and at various lights shared his name (Nick) and that he rides on the ice at Oakland ponds..funny since I’ve seen that when I lived out there.
By the last light he had his phone out trying to get contact info while I’m nearly doubled over laughing and he says “I was just going to the bank but saw you, on that – and said; I should go propose to her.”

He’s a bit over fond of one wheel (I would have to set wheelie parameters in the prenup.) but otherwise …. Comedy Gold!!
😂

Sunday Ride

Sunday’s have become ride days. Times for reconnecting with friends , meeting new people, trying new restaurants, and freedom.

It is the polar opposite of everything that has existed in the world for the past five months. It’s kept me sane.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is worth millions. There’s so much history here. Interests, talent, creativity, value, and pasts. I don’t know enough about all the plates to even go there… but the time and creativity spent on this hobby, and this garage is incredible.

Each of the bikes has a past and a story. They have all had at least two owners. Mine – with the pink rims- was passed on between three female riders, and found its way to me from Markham. It’s my seventh full season riding it, and I still love it.
Everything in this photo, is somebody’s passion.

 

bie

2018 and apologies for slacking.

I was forced to admit I’ve been slacking when I looked at the date of my last Post.  August 2017?! Seriously? Who does that?!

Perhaps a person who was scattered, busy, creating, building, falling, crying, and more or less so all over the map this past year that organizing any actual thought pattern seemed like an impossibility!  Readers, I apologize.

2018 was an interesting year.  I made some pretty big leaps, in starting my own business cleaning and repairing horse blankets.  I took the plunge to quit a toxic job last April, and started predominantly working for myself.  I’m proud to say I made it through summer, getting a quick crash course from the school of learn-by-doing in sewing and sewing machines, marketing, and invoicing.  With fall came a physical move, and the changing of seasons, that landed me in a bit of a tough spot, unable to do what I was previously doing.  – But I’ll be back!|-

 

In the mix of all of that, I tried my hand at giving my old camper trailer a face lift, which turned out very well actually.  Paint and some minor fixes inside and out and she was feeling like a brand new home this year in the bush!

In July I found the perfect little addition to my little fuzzy family after taking a drive “just to look” at a litter of husky puppies.  If you haven’t already met her in person, or via facebook or instagram… This is Miska. img_1916 “Miska” is an Alaskan name that means “little bear.” She’s a Siberian Husky, born on May 16, 2018 and has captured our hearts.

I spent a lot of time trailriding and enjoying cocktails around the campfire this summer. Made some new friends, and watched some things change.  I planned a corporate Christmas party, put together a fabulous Wonder Woman costume for Halloween, and even, traveled to Norway (might have to save some details for another post!)

December felt like a hard month, and I struggled to get into the Christmas spirit, but persevered, and feel like ultimately, the year was productive, and put me in a place of knowing what doesn’t work so well for me.  I’m setting some ‘micro’ goals, and doing a little brainstorming for the coming year, not from a hokey place of  pipe-dream ‘resolutions’ but more or less, just to feel better and have more natural momentum for 2019.

How was YOUR year?  What are you proud of? What are you grateful for?  What gives you satisfaction, or inspiration for the next trip around the sun?

2018

Technology: the Death of Human Communication

Part of me, is squirming and severely opposed to writing this. Me. Facebook enthusiast, text junkie, Whatsapp experimenter…  I’ve been a passionate “insta-” addict since the cute little “UH OH” of ICQ, and now, here I sit, committing mutiny against my longtime companion.  But, it’s time. It’s time to discuss.  Our language, social skills, emotional maturity, and privacy is disappearing:  being connected is creating massive disconnection.

At the most basic level, our short forms, slang, acronyms and “emojis” are slowly making us next to illiterate.  There was a time when it was frowned upon to use such language in writing, and now, you’re the idiot if you can’t understand it. Punctuation has become somehow extinct, or at least considered highly unnecessary in most cases, which only leads to more challenge in the next level of problem:  misunderstanding of tone, meaning and intention.  An example at most simplistic level: recently I got a reply to a text where I had told someone I was upset.  The message, simply, said “Sorry.” I stared at my phone and found myself wondering… is that sincere? is is sarcastic?  But did I call and ask?  Hell no: what is this 1990? Seeking clarification by using a device to actually talk, now somehow has become weird…or at least less convenient.

Even before someone has the chance to “misread your tone” – another challenge is we have only our willpower to rely on to keep us from communicating in the heat of the moment.  Pre instant messaging, communication methods actually forced a brief time out from conversation or interaction.  Someone said something you didn’t like at dinner? Chances are, you had AT LEAST the drive home to percolate, if not a few days to cool off, think it through and approach things rationally.

Under the same situation today, (provided you heard anything that was said at dinner by putting your phone down), you have the freedom and convenience to unload your rage full force on anyone you want, before leaving the driveway!  Your new opponent can then respond with equal rage, and so on.  Easily pulled into a war, from which it then becomes difficult to “get out of the trenches” because not replying also somehow implies disrespect. During this time when judgment is compromised, some might also seek support by venting feelings in a public forum, where at least a fraction of your thousand closest friends will validate your tantrum and in some cases; lash out at each other regarding opinions.  Alternatively, you could post a vague, passive-aggressive status update, while gaining sympathy and also  awarding you the high potential of offending someone else, accidentally, and unknowingly.

All this… with the convenient option of “screenshot capability” wherein anyone is free to snap, prologue, edit, censor and share at their leisure so that any other number of people can perceive, judge, translate, infer, personalize, over-react, be offended, and respond however appropriately or inappropriately.

I’m not suggesting a techno-ban.  I still love sharing photos and jokes with friends and family, and the convenient of texting, but we need to get a handle and put forth an effort on not letting convenience trump actual communication.

 

After-word….

My own “baby steps” as of lately:  1) If a message doesn’t feel “right” (tone, timing etc) I either seek clarification, or, I don’t reply immediately. 2) Taking more phone “time outs” to try and be more present with people, pets, experiences etc.  3) Journaling, or blogging opposed to texting and status-updating.

 

My Fave holiday!!!

WOOOO It’s halloween weekend! one of my faves.  I’m still putting last minute costume touches on, as the truth is; its been kind of a rough couple of weeks.  However, my costume will be dawned.. probably three times this year.  I’m also seeking new ideas for my pumpkins (check out my facebook album https://www.facebook.com/courtney.silverthorn.5/media_set?set=a.10150442767784970.1073741843.508369969&type=3)

I can’t wait to bust out my creative genius… and hope all of you are having a spook-tacular halloween weekend.

Cheers.

Skimming my past…

So many people commend my writing, from bosses who appreciate the detailed, objective, -court worthy- reports, to friends who’ve stopped here or giggled at my Facebook updates.  Yet I struggle at times, to write, arguing with myself about what to write about, believing;  ” I’m not a writer!”

Yet, here I sit, having organized my storage spaces… Looking at five full journals from  past years; knowing there are more secrets in more books, hidden in another box.  So… maybe, in fact, I AM a writer?? Maybe, staying present and looking back, will offer me some future topics?  Maybe, I must embrace a Tucker Max mentality instead of trying to censor it all… In truth, my friends are right: you don’t need reality TV if you let me swing by once a week… my life is entertaining.  Sometimes hilarious, sometimes depressing, but mine, and never dull.

I’m approaching a five year anniversary; of calling off my engagement and moving out of “his” house.  At a glance, I’m hard on myself and critical about what I have and haven’t “achieved”while he, has a now-one-year-old with the girl we assumed was the “rebound.”

Tonight, I read entries from a journal from the year after I left:

December 4, 2012

As I flip through this journal it occurs to me – perhaps I should burn it!  I’m writing because I feel unbalanced; lonely, yet don’t want to be around anyone, restless, yet don’t want to do anything. I feel I don’t spent much time in the “present moment.”- I’m distracted by phone, computer, and TV.  Regretting the past, worried about the future.

Why am I so consumed by peoples views and opinions? Why am I so in need of validation? Why do I hold on to people who appear to have no purpose, or worse, who hurt me? Where are my goals and ambitions?

_________________________________________________________________

Well, I didn’t burn the journal.  Maybe I should have! I feel a lot of these same feelings today about needing validation from other people and I’m working on letting it go- an experience last week drove home the point that you can’t change someone’s opinion, and it says much more about them then it does about you. In my journal, I went on to find and list the positives, which I will repeat and continue right now:

I love bubble baths, nice towels, making a good run, snowmobiles, the lake,and shooting a good game of pool.  I love my family, all my fur kids, and my horses.  In five years, I’ve rebuilt many old friendships,  and made new ones.  I upgraded my truck, got my motorcycle licence (and bought, then upgraded my bike.) I did freelance work as a cleaner, painter, karaoke DJ, and chicken and dairy farmer. I dated three – er- two and a half musicians. I hit on a pilot  (Both of these, a whole other post!) I learned to operate a backhoe, drive a tractor and “unload on the fly.”  I started a new career as a receptionist, moved to editor, and refreshed my French skills. I started a blog. I took a writing course.  I got back into fitness and lost twenty pounds.  I discovered a new rum, and new wine; and gained back ten!   I traveled to 3 different countries, and became a “familiar” at a bar in Bucerias Mexico: I wrote a story about it that I submitted for publishing. In a big rig, I visited eleven states in five days including Nashville Tennessee where I danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly. I became briefly addicted to Zelda, Twilight Princess.  I rode the horse I brought into the world, and trained: at a rodeo, in a parade, and on a girls weekend away trail-riding. I moved two horses 7 times in four years: which lead me back to some of my favourite people and a place that always felt like home.  I found relationships that renewed my hopeless romantic side, and, also had some heartbreak: I survived.   I  witnessed most of our “couple” friends endure divorce, and break-ups.  I hoped for new sparks between friends who were old flames; when it didn’t work, I watched each of them marry someone else… and considered that maybe things DO work out how they’re meant to eventually; and you learn and grow along the way.

I’ve crammed a whole other lifetime, and a whole other me into the last five years.  I’m making plans and goals for the future, but still staying present… writing… and skimming my past.

Rosebuds and kisses make for sweet adventures

Attitude is the only difference between an ordeal and an adventure. ~Unknown.  Many times on the road as a child with my mother, she would pull off to the nearest convenience store and return with scribbled directions, and a box of Rosebuds:  the difference between being lost and “on an adventure!” We have continued sharing such adventures through the years, one comedy of errors particularly memorable: Nuevo Vallarta, 2013.

In a whirlwind of dramas among friends, Mom and I found ourselves banished from our original accommodations with only days to secure a hotel, and a pesky issue of me on a return flight the day before hers, but with a $450 rescheduling fee, we would make do.

To further challenge my blissful vacation, the morning of departure I awoke to the flu gods mocking me.  Armed with Pepto, prayers, and popsicles, I crawled to the car, and barely survived the flight.  Fortunately, a day and a nap made all the difference and things started to improve.  My determination to enjoy my vacation despite dilemmas found me in the hotel lobby carefully sipping a cosmopolitan planning the week.

It was then I met Alberto; our cute, charming Mexican tour rep, with an amazing, sexy smile.  He asked to take me out on my last night, but when I went secure plans, I had missed him.  Disappointed, I made the best of it at the disco with mom, and Tequila.  When we returned late and found a note on the door, my heart sank; it was from Alberto saying he would pick me up at nine.  I felt awful.

The next morning, after solemnly packing, I tried to find my tanned skin prince, without success.  On route to the lobby, the foot broke off my suitcase turning it into an awkward, unstable mess to drag home; the perfect metaphor for my own emotions.  In the cab, I sniffled, and wiped my tears.  “Why are you crying Senorita?” The driver asked.  I sobbed: “Because I don’t want to leave yet.”  “So, stay!”

Upon arrival at the airport, I limped my wounded baggage through the glass doors, across the polished floor, and bid adios to Mexico.  Like a new kindergartner, I put on my brave face and took a breath; and then it was lost once more.  There, running down the escalator, was the amazing, sexy smile that I thought I’d never see again.  He reached the foyer and swept me in a hug, and a Hollywood worthy, kiss of a lifetime!  For that moment, all was well with the world.

Armed with the strength of a proper goodbye, I presented my documents at the check in counter.  I asked once more about changing my flight, determined to bend reality with persistence.  Agents spoke to each other in Spanish, and something seemed wrong. I was almost sure I was about to be wrongly detained in a Mexican prison -which seemed a fitting end to this flawed fiesta- When the clerk finally explained to me: bad weather in Texas; my connection was cancelled. Shock rolled through my body, and I struggled to stop the grin from erupting as the reality hit me.  “So I’m delayed and it’s your fault!”  I was quickly booked on a flight the following day, and presented with travel vouchers and cab fare for the “inconvenience.”

The sun smiled on the road back; palm trees applauded my victory, the broken suitcase carried itself! As we rolled up to the hotel lobby, I barely waited for the taxi to stop before leaping onto the curb.  There, in the archway stood Alberto – shocked and ecstatic to see me!  The whole story, finding my mom and evening plans unfolded in the next ten minutes, through euphoric smiles and happy hugs.  While dozens frowned in Texas, three beamed in Mexico for one, perfectly cancelled flight.

Any or all of these obstacles could have been a trip disaster, but thanks to attitude, they became the blunders we triumphed over for a uniquely memorable vacation; the places we paused to get our Rosebuds.

 

 

*Submitted October 2015- for possible publication to Travellers Tales.

Booooo To Man BUNS!

Man Buns. Not the kind routinely slapped for a “good game.”- I’ll spare you any further “puns about buns” and get right to the point: we need to talk about this “Man-bun” phenomenon.  It’s become a running joke with my friends and I after noticing the amount of these currently taking the world by storm recently… then of course, the included meme that found its way to my facebook shortly after.  IMG_5005

I looked further into this, trying to gain some insight and there is an entire history of man-buns at buzzfeed.com. It seems to have started with Buddha’s “topknot” and developed…George Harrison, Samarai Futeba on Saturday Night Live, Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show where it apparently originated from the planet “transsexual” – There’s an interesting take on your “new do.”  I may take some flack for this… but I’m just going to say it:

I HATE. THE. MAN-BUN.

Frankly- just because you put the word “man” in front of it: does not make it masculine, or cool; a guy wearing a bun to the bar, is about as sexy as ME wearing one; sure, it looks like I’m not trying too hard, but there are a ton of other styles that would be so much more attractive.  Dear Hipsters… You’re not David Beckham.  You’re not trend-setting, and the accompanying shaggy beard just makes you look homeless.

I can imagine the arguments now: “But Courtney, the man-bun has taken Hollywood by storm.” Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Hemsworth, Jake Gellenhaal: they can do whatever they want. If you’ve made that much money, and have been voted in the top ten sexiest men alive ever – wear your hair in braided pigtails if you want to, that doesn’t make it cool and something everyone should do.  And, for the record, I still prefer all of these men sans man-bun!

In summary, unless you’re so beautiful and athletic that no one notices your hair, or, actually a samurai, just say no to the bun. Buns should be reserved for Grandma, little girls at their ballet recital and me trying not to get my hair wet in the pool.

What Makes a Good Date?

Recently, I bragged about a great date I had been on, and told him, that even if we didn’t “click” and end up “dating” he still got an “A” for the “best executed date I had been on in YEARS.”  So… What made this date so great?

He insisted on picking me up.  When he arrived, he parked, and walked up to get me.  After asking me a few preference questions, he chose the restaurant.  He held the door, told me I look nice, and asked me questions about myself.  He joked with me.  He paid for dinner.  We then went out to meet some of his friends (which I had previously agreed to.) He introduced me to them, and chatted with everyone- while still interacting with me.  He dropped me off, suggested we do it again, and, he texted the next day.

I thought I may have been so blown away because I have been relatively removed and mostly un-enthused about the dating world for a while.  But when I told my girlfriend, she responded: “I like him already. Finally, a guy who gets it! Mama taught him well.”

Neither of us are really what I would call “old fashioned girls” either. So why were we both so impressed by this? Is this “old-fashioned”? We’re in a world that thanks to social media and dating sites we assume we’ve made dating or… mating so convenient, yet ask anyone who has spent much time in that forum and they will tell you it’s anything but.  Where people tend to peruse MATCH and POF like catalogue shopping, swiping left and right based on nothing more than a photo; we’ve become arrogant, judgmental, possibly even entitled.

For me, this guy earned a great deal of respect; by demonstrating that for me and my time.  He showed up fully and made me feel like regardless of outcome; I was worth some effort.

Ladies: How does a guy impress you? What makes a good date? What do you do to be a good date?

Gentlemen: Do you put forth this kind of effort? Why or why not?

Do you treat someone differently if you have previously met them or have mutual friends than you do if you met someone on a dating site? Comment…