July 22 – U

363/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Wow, only 3 more gratitude posts left including this one!!  When I started this journey a year ago, I was a little nervous as to if I would have 365 people to thank.  I didn’t want it to come down to posts such as thanking my mailman for the flyers he delivers in that they were the ones that led me on to some awesome deal!! ; )  Early on in these posts, I started hearing from friends that so and so had made “the list”.  I didn’t understand what that was until I was told that it was my “gratitude list”.  That put some pressure on me to say the least as there was now a “list”.  I didn’t want it to be a list and I didn’t want it to be some type of contest.  Then I heard that some people mentioned they were in the 80s and others were in the 200s!  I do have to make it clear that I haven’t had an order as to who I thank and thus whatever number gratitude post it was has no relation to ranking.  Most posts are the night before or a couple of days before.  Yes, I saved my dad for his birthday as I did with my children for theirs, my mom was first because well she is my mom but save for them and the final two gratitude posts, no one had a day or a number.  The list by the end of Sunday is far from complete.  I could thank another 365 people who got me to where I am today and this is what today’s gratitude post is about – to all of the people I didn’t name and there are hundreds of you that have impacted me!  So many former students, co-workers past and present, family members, inlaws, bosses, professors, fellow students, random strangers, neighbours past and present, friends, backhanded gratitudees (bullies and the like), service providers, celebrities etc, etc – just so many people who have made me who I am and to all of you un-named in this past year, you are part of this gratitude journey just because you were not personally mentioned here doesn’t mean you weren’t recognized by me.  To all the new people that will come in to my life, thanking you in advance as some of you will change and influence me in new ways.  Thank you to all of you who came along with me on this 365 day journey as well.  Your encouragement and support has gotten me to this end point.

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April 3 – skin to skin

253/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Most of my friends are white.  Yeah, I said it.  I’ve been told that I have sold out as I don’t hang with my own kind?!!  Wow, that’s a whole lot of subtleties in one statement!  My question – how does one sell out their own ethnicity??  That doesn’t make any sense to me.  Just because a lot of my friends are white means I have left my ethnicity behind?  Uhm, no.  I have similarities with people who enjoy the same thing as me and the majority just happen to be of a different skin colour than my own.  As well, I don’t consciously choose my friends based on skin colour – I choose them based on looks (LOL, I kid, I kid).   I actually have very cool Indian friends.  And Chinese friends.  And Filipino friends.  And Black friends.  And white friends too.  Finally, I wasn’t raised very Indian even though I came from an Indian family.  No fault of my own.  I am being true to myself – not denying my ethnicity.  My soul sister who I believe totally gets me is Orene.  This awesome, funky, cool, stunning black girl understands that your outside skin colour doesn’t define who you are as a person.  We became friends about 15 years ago but were not as close as we are over the last year or so.  Because of other friendship dynamics, we didn’t really keep in touch with each other personally as sides were taken over friendship breakups but we always were on the same side of friendship ourselves and reconnected over Facebook.  Even that connection was slightly superficial so we took it upon ourselves to meet for lunch which turned out to be an afternoon of craft beers and Top Model posing on the streets sometime last year.  We then started bonding over our love of The Walking Dead and Orphan Black and bringing back others into our fold that we had also lost touch with.  Orene is honestly another sister from another mister as she gets what it is like to be a person who is defined by most others by your outside skin colour but really colour really has nothing to do with who we are except that we are human beings that should be seen as that first.  We are both fortunate that we have the majority of people in our lives who fall in the latter category and see us for who we are and not our stunning complexions 😉  Orene is also just a great ego booster for me – I can do no wrong in her eyes but on those rare occasions, she tells me like it is.  But I gotta boost her ego – she is an amazing mom and creates amazing clothing for herself and her kids as well as a fashion bag line while still working outside the home.  Yeah, she does it all.  I am so very glad we reconnected and even more glad that I am sharing tonight’s Walking Dead finale with you and yours!!  To our continued friendship Orene!!

March 28 – escapism

247/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I love to talk.  I love to express myself.  I love to share my opinions.  I love to be heard!  LOL.  If you know me, you know that all that is true about me.  I also love to watch tv and get involved in any discussions regarding the shows that I watch.  I also love music and espouse the virtues of my favourite artists at any turn.  As well, I’m a fan of books and movies and can find myself in enlightening dialogue regarding characters or plot development.  I think this is what makes entertainment that much better – being able to engage into it further than the initial viewing, listening or reading.  About a decade or so ago, I was a moderator of a music forum with a few others.  New singles and artists were introduced (yes, the days of Napster!!) and threads were opened to discuss the merits or faults about the song and I could spend hours embattled in what I felt was a great song or what should have been a huge hit – I enjoyed making ‘friends’ and being able to have lively debates about whomever was artist du jour.  With books, I’ve entered into forums on a work chat site over the years convincing others of the merits of an author and listening to thoughts about others based on what I read.  Not always are the recommendations great, but they do always allow me to expand my horizons.  When it comes to movies, I go to critic sites and see what others are saying.  I also take to heart word of mouth recommendations from friends who I consider would know my tastes – not always have they been right  – Birdman??  Hated it!!  But the follow-up dialogue was better than the movie.  Finally television allows me to engage with people I would not have had things in common with – there are tonnes of co-workers, hockey parents, gym buddies, and Facebook friends who I can text, email, talk to about the episode and come up with theories around the next episode.  To all of my entertainment friends, I love having you around (whether we agree or agree to disagree) about what we have in common – our love for escapism!

March 7 – the first time

226/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again tonight, for some odd reason, I can and do get along rather easily with people decades (yes decades) my junior. I could never have fathomed in my late 20s/early 30s having something to talk about, let alone hanging out and socializing, with someone in their late 40s/just turned 50 yet it happens and I’m the 50 year old. About 15 years ago, I met Lindsay at the school I was teaching at. She was the PE/Home Ec teacher – fresh and new to teaching. I saw a kindred spirit and got to talking with her in the lunchroom. The first year, it was just superficial talk – reality tv (Top Model viewing parties), teaching woes, and just jokes with other staff members. Over the next year, I really got to know Lindsay and became good friends with her. I was the first co-worker that she shared her “truth” with on a walk one afternoon. I was honoured that she felt comfortable to tell me about her self. I shared other firsts with her over the years. I got to know her well enough to be able to let go and do my first keg-stand at a party at her place. I got my first tattoos with her one afternoon when we decided to mark monumental events by marking our bodies. I remember my first foray into Facebook all because of Lindsay – she was on it and introduced me to it so I guess you know who to blame!!! 😉 I felt honoured when Lindsay and her partner Michelle invited my wife and I to her wedding – and I remember that night because there were jello shots and free flowing wine and I couldn’t partake as I was on yet another 30 day withdrawal challenge! Lindsay has been a great friend over the years regardless of the age difference and yes, life does get in the way of connecting as we age and move on to other chapters of our lives but I am glad that through Facebook, I can keep in touch with her and get together on the odd time that our lives allow us to. Thank you Lindsay for all the firsts I have shared with you over the years!!

December 4 – you are no longer in the running…

133/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I watch reality tv. I have no shame in it. I call it dumb tv for smart people. Okay, maybe I have a little shame in it 😉 I tend to think I am more highbrow in my reality tv watching – no Kardashians for me. Actually nothing that is on E! I like competition reality tv shows such as The Amazing Race or the original of all reality tv – Survivor. However, I have been watching my guilty pleasure of a reality show that combines the competition aspect but with backstage drama. Do I dare admit it – hell yes, I have admitted way more on these blogs and being judged on my taste in television – that’s a walk in a park – a well manicured, brightly lit, heavily made up park. Yup, I am a fan of America’s Next Top Model. Have been since its inception in 2003. Last night was the series’ finale episode. After 22 seasons – err, sorry cycles, the show came to an end. Sadly, the show didn’t know it was ending before filming so the production wasn’t as dramatic as it could have been but that’s not the real reason I watched. I didn’t even watch for the models as none of them would (nor have) lived up to the title albeit the photoshoots made for some pretty compelling television – underwater shoots, with bees and spiders, in drag, in maple syrup, in a freakshow, in a bloodfilled tub, in coffins – oh how I am going to miss the show. However, the biggest reason I watched the show was for the host – Tyra Banks. So over the top. So all about herself. So hilarious. I say this with much love and respect. She made the show for me. Coining terms or rather Tyra-ims such as Smize, Tooch, and Drektitude (okay, that one wasn’t really hers). Mentioning herself in every episode at least once about when she modeled back in the day (my friends and I had a drinking game – downing a shot each time she did this; let’s just say Thursday mornings weren’t that great). Bringing to the forefront and perhaps exploiting deafness, autism, extreme shyness, trans issues, single motherhood, anorexia, drug and alcohol issues, ethnicity, full figured models – the list went on. She herself provided me all the entertainment I needed from the show and that was the reason I tuned in. Yes, a bit ditzy and over the top at times but definitely a serious businesswoman and enterprising media mogul providing great escapist entertainment for the masses. Thank you TyTy for giving me hours of enjoyment over the last 12 years that was a great end to my week and start to my weekend. In your honour, I promise to continue to watch that occasional ANTM special that I know will make its inevitable appearance as will you 😉