’90s Kid

Being born in the mid-’80s means I got to really appreciate one of the best decades yet – the ’90s. Not to say the here and now isn’t pretty great, but I do feel like the children of today missed out on a lot of incredible things that us ’90s kids were abundantly blessed with:

1. Television: Although growing up in our house out in the country meant 5 channels with our rabbit ears, or sometimes 6 to 7 if our neighbour’s  satellite dish was pointing the right way, the ’90s still meant the best of the after school show. I’m talking the best of the best here, yet to be dethroned by any of the current day options. Shows like Fresh Prince, Saved by the Bell, Family Matters – they taught us how to unrealistically get out of any lie (thanks Zach),  that being loud, proud and funny was acceptable (thank you Will), and that family wasn’t just your blood, but the people you could always count on to have your back (thanks Carl Winslow). Most importantly there was ZERO reality television causing us to mimick and idolize, to be frank, idiots.

Go Will! go Wil!. Go, go, go Will!

Go Will! go Will!. Go, go, go Will!

2. Toys & Games: Before the age of incredible graphics in the video games of today, the ’90s toys were just as, if not more exciting than any WoW or GTA scene could be. Remember skip-it?? My sisters and I used to have what felt like fingernail biting competitions to see whose counter would reach the highest number, the fastest, without missing a step. It was the age of Waterfall Ring Toss and Mash. We filled our spare time playing Pogs, Hacky Sack and scribbling crazy mad libs. It might be because the children in my life are mostly located in the city and I know it is because of the crazy technology that we are plugged into ALL DAY LONG, but it certainly feels like we spent a great deal more time outside, a little more free.

Trade you for a slammer. For funsies or keepsies?

Trade you for a slammer… for funsies or keepsies?

3. Music: Um, how about I saw the Sign and really anything Ace of Base? It was the boom of electronic music, but also the rise of Miss. Spears before 2007 happened to her, and Spice Girls reigned queens of every young girls heart – fashion sense too, unfortunately. No Doubt was dealing with teenage angst with every single that dropped, Pearl Jam fronted by the legendary Eddie Vedder made social change their message and Alanis was reminding every man not to mess with a girl with pipes. Not to mention REM, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Counting Crows, Weezer, The Presidents of the United States of America and Oasis to name but a small selection of the greats of the ’90s.

So. Cool.

So. Cool.

4. Lack of Connection: I do not want to gripe on the present day advancements in technology, buuut…. they suck. They suck the life out of you, and the life out of life. I am guilty of it too – being too available, too connected. But, I am working on it. Yes, we had MSN and AOL Messenger to connect to friends, and let’s not forget everyone’s first embarrassing email address as we didn’t yet understand the longevity or importance the medium would take. We also had to sit through the painstakingly and incredibly slow connection of dial-up, which I am sure was a deterrent to sitting at the computer for hours upon hours as we do now. Let’s also not forget how much having a cell phone, never mind smart phone, was a novelty and quite a big deal. You definitely didn’t see mass amounts of people, in public, hunched over a tiny box, staring into the screen for anywhere near the amount of time of current day.

Hello Zach Morris phone!

Hello Zach Morris phone!

The ’90s are arguably one of the last great decades that we will ever see. I’m glad I was of a age to remember a lot of what was popular or how we spent our days when we weren’t outside under our maple trees that encompassed the back yard, making mud-pies and maple-leaf rolls stuffed with gunk as our ‘cabbage rolls’, imagining our childhoods away.  What are your favourite memories of the 90s? I can almost guarantee I’ve forgotten a bunch, as the ’90s were way to good to contain in a simple post.

~ Toni

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Society, you’re a crazy breed

I apologize now.

I need to rant.

This past weekend, I helped a few of my fellow human beings, stuck in situations that could easily ruin anyone’s day. While strangers to me, these people were still people and helping them in their situations did not feel like a heroic task by any means. Remember, kindness is free.

A little kindness goes a long way

A little kindness goes a long way

Early Friday morning, I stopped at the gas station in my neighbourhood to fill up my truck and put air in the tires of my bike as I was headed off to ride the trails with my girlfriend, Chantelle.

Roughly taking about 10 minutes to fill my tank, I noticed an older woman standing beside her vehicle at the air pump, next to a few pieces of luggage, her face wrought with worry. Upon further analysis of the situation, I noticed a man with his arms struggling with the spare tire near the undercarriage of the vehicle. After filling my tank and paying for my fuel, I pulled up beside them, jumped out of my truck and did what I thought any of the other 10-15 people that had been in and out of the station would have. I asked them if they needed some help.

I will forever have a hard time forgetting the thankfulness and relief on that woman’s face. Helping her brother release the stuck spare, he looked at me sheepishly and admitted that he had never changed a tire before. Luckily, I had.

I easily showed him how to adjust his jack and remove the lug nuts, but when it came time to remove the tire, it wouldn’t budge and I didn’t want to shake the SUV off the jack. I looked around for some assistance and noticed two men sitting in their work truck, watching me. They had been fueling their truck at the same time as I had and sat their watching me wrestling with this stubborn flat. Annoyed, I smiled shortly and waved them over to help. Quickly realizing how ridiculous they looked, they came over and helped me complete the tire change.

While they finished up I got to talking with Maria – we found some common ground in nationality, she apologized profusely for the chips in my day-old manicure, thanked me repeatedly and chatted about their situation and her brother’s four hour journey ahead. And then she broke my heart as she confessed she had tried to get a few people’s attention before I came over and gripped me in a thankful hug.

What happened to our society? Are we really too busy and too important to notice a fellow human in distress, requiring a simple helping hand? It hurts my heart that my actions were the exception and not the standard.

I carried on with my day’s planned activities – tackling 24kms of trail with Chantelle, running errands in the afternoon, Maria’s thankfulness never far from my thoughts and the worry for our world weighing on my heart.

The following morning, after a pretty ridiculous and amazing morning spent in a sun rise hike of laughter with three of my favourite ladies (which I will share with you next week!) I drove my mister to work as my truck was in service for the day and I needed his wheels. On my trek home I took notice of a 90’s Saturn sedan on the side of the 401, four ways flashing, no driver to be seen. She appeared in the horizon about up 5 km further down the highway and all I could think was, that’s a long way to walk on the side of the highway any day, let alone a busy mid-morning on a Saturday.

I weighed the risks, slowed my speed, put on my four-ways, ensured I was safely pulled over, and waited as the kind-faced woman approached the window. She kept her distance at first, as she explained she had ran out of gas and was unable to use her CAA membership because the card was in her husbands name and he wasn’t with her. I asked her if she wanted a ride. Again, my desire to help taking her by surprise, she introduced herself as Kathy and climbed in the passenger seat.

She thanked me after we reached the gas station, assuming our interaction over and gathered her purse. I quickly corrected her, offering to wait and drive her back to make sure her car started. Her face lit up with a smile as she accepted, located a jerrycan, and returned to the car. Our ride back to her car was filled with conversation about our shared Sarnia connection, her girlfriend from younger years that shared my name and dark features, where she was headed and the cottages she manages in Wasaga. She thanked me a thousand times and each time I reiterated that if it was me, I would have hoped someone would have stopped to offer to help. If it was someone I loved and I couldn’t be there to help, I would hope someone would be kind enough to help them.

The point is that yes, we all have things to do, people to love that we already know, and jobs to fulfill. Yes, it is easier to pass by a situation than help, but our communities could be so much more fulfilling with a little faith in human kind and the return of a little kindness.

~ Toni

ps. Kathy left me this little token of thanks in the door when I dropped her off at her vehicle and I didn’t notice until I pulled in the driveway. Seriously brought the biggest smile to my face. Thank you, Kathy ❤

Winner no matter what!

Winner no matter what!

Musical motivation

Ever since I can remember there has been music in my life. My dad introduced us to Queen, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, The Tragically Hip, Neil Young, Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers, and Metallica, while my Mom showed us The Rankin Family, Blue Rodeo, Seal and so many others.

    

 

My sisters and momma were all in the choir at our church, and still to this day music surrounds us!

I am blaming the early exposure to music for my now current obsession with musicals and music in general.

From TV shows, such as Glee, to movies (once theatre musicals) like Chicago, Rent, and Burlesque, add music and a dance number to actors like Merly Streep to express the stress of three men possibly being the father of her child!?!?!?! AMAZING! To make it even better, add some comedy and I am tickled pink!

 

In fact as I write this, Toni and I are giggling away as we watch Pitch Perfect. Seriously!
Best!
Movie!
Ever!!!!

If you have not seen it, I am allowing you to leave this blog for the hour and a half that it will take to watch it! …. I’ll wait here. Go on!

……

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, I feel you can appreciate musicals so much more. Cody also shares in my love of music, however hates that I love musicals. This may be because there is a no way to make a musical manly… even if the protagonist is shooting machine guns, while riding a great white shark, somehow adding a musical number for him or her to sing along with it would change the genre from badass to beauty queen (badass beauty queen that is)!

Not a man, but still pretty bad ass… and a little weird!

Although it’s not technically a musical, Nashville pulls at my musical heart strings. It combines my love of country music and good TV. I have been watching since the first season and tell everyone I know who also shares my love of country music about it! Like, for example, my supervisor at work. Every Thursday morning we squeal over the characters’ drama, relationships, deaths and most of all THE MUSIC!!!! I have my phone beside me as I watch to quickly Shazam any and all music that they sing in order to download it from iTunes.

 

I have music with me throughout my day, which means I pretty much live in a musical. So I asked myself what my daily routine would look like without music… My morning run would be fuelled by the song of the birds and although I do enjoy nature’s soothing sounds, somehow I don’t think I would get the same results as if I were being motivated by Beyoncé.

I sing constantly at work, whenever I am around music – my desk mates will have to agree with me. My renditions can be painful and comical but it makes the day go by faster when the sounds of the fax machine and phones are accompanied by Bruno Mars featuring yours truly.

Making dinner would be the simple sizzles of simmering sauces instead of the soothing serenading of Eric Church or Eddie Vedder.

Music makes life better. I suggest you make your life a musical. I did!

~ Jacqui