Lessons from Mufasa

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Yes, I said Mufasa. As in The Lion King.

Love each other.

Love each other.

Whilst in London, Brooke and I went to see The Lion King at the Lyceum Theater while the guys went to a football game (apparently an experience like no other!)

I’ve seen the Lion King twice before, but when Brooke asked if we could go, I had no hesitation in experiencing it again.

Time 1: July 2005 during my first vacation to NYC with Brett

Time 2: July 2011 again in NYC but at a different theatre with good friends

Time 3: August 2013 in London with Brooke

Can I tell you – if you haven’t seen it, you must.

The first five minutes are magical. The singing, the costumes, the “animals”, the set. The character of Rafiki grabs you with a strong and endearing presence, and undoubtedly a voice that will take you beyond the parallels of the stage. That live version of Circle of Life will bring tears to your eyes no doubt, and if it doesn’t – there’s something wrong with you 😉

So what could I possibly have learned from Mufasa, Rafiiki or Timon after watching three live performances and umpteen movie viewings? Where do I begin…

“You have forgotten who you are and so forgotten me.”—Mufasa to Simba

Lesson 1: Take pride in who you are and what you do.

Lesson 2: Think about how your actions affect others.

Lesson 3: Don’t worry about the things that won’t make a difference in the bigger picture.

Lesson 4: Sometimes removing yourself is the best thing at the moment.

Lesson 5: We are codependent, interdependent and must also be independent.

Lesson 6: Look within yourself for strength.

Lesson 7: Do not underestimate yourself.

Lesson 8: Be someone on which others can depend.

Lesson 9: Take care of each other.

Lesson 10: Stand up for what you know is right.

I could keep going, but I think you can see that all of life’s lesson are wrapped up in one of the greatest Disney movies of all time.

Please view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pgZtzDj_7o

I look forward to your comments and/or lessons learned from Mufasa, or any of your favorite characters.


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This past week in London has been so amazing on so many levels. Tons of experiences, learnings, sites seen.

But as I walk the streets – listening, eating, observing amongst Londoners; I know I now have one big regret.

Before moving to New York I interviewed in Edmonton for a teaching position in the London area. I went to meet the recruiters at a hotel where interviewing was taking place. They interviewed me, we talked and they hired me. They arranged the paper work. I sent my passport away and it came back with my working visa in it. Then….

I investigated living abroad and I learned how expensive it really was to live here, so when it was time start making more decisions about moving, I didn’t think I’d be able to afford it. Damn!

Looking back, I should have moved anyway. I probably could have made it work. I didn’t try very hard to make it work, besides getting the job lined up. I should have tried harder. I had already lived through a few years of struggling financially as a student and then as a temp after getting a degree in a city that had no jobs to support me.

So time went on. I starting subbing, my visa expired and the opportunity passed me by.

I’m not one to regret what I’ve done or haven’t done. I learn from my mistakes and experiences and move on, but this is one mistake I made and I regret it.

Leaving tomorrow, sniff. We <3 London.

Leaving tomorrow, sniff. We ❤ London.

Versatile Blogger Award – Live from London

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I want to send a HUGE thank you to Zee, the witty blogger of Catching Zees for nominating me for my second blogger award: The Versatile Blogger Award! Who knew I’d be getting these blog honors?! It’s awesome!

So the first thing I have to do, besides thank Zee of course, is display the award!


Second blogging award!

FYI – The Versatile Blogger Award is to celebrate fellow bloggers you enjoy reading and following. It’s a great way to appreciate each other!

Now to fulfill the other requirements. Good thing for our low-key night of Indian take-in.


1. Display the Award Certificate on your blog – DONE

2. Announce your win with a post and thank the blogger who nominated you – DONE

3. Present 15 deserving bloggers with the award – PRESENTING!

4. Link your nominees in the post and let them know about their nomination with a comment – WILL DO AFTER PUBLISHED!

5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself (I won’t repeat any from my Inspiring Blogger Award…)

  • I have a growing obsession for destination running.
  • I have a very keen sense of smell.
  • I enjoy reading YA books.
  • My feet get a permanent dirt on them in the summer.
  • As I age, my irrational thoughts get stranger and more frequent.
  • I collect Starbucks mugs when I travel.
  • I hope that my need for sleep decreases as I get older.

I want to thank Zee again for the honor. I know there are tons of blogs to read out there and it is really cool when someone else enjoys yours!



London Learnings

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Today I learned that:

  • underground escalator étiquette is the same as NYC subway escalator étiquette
  • 0% chance of precipitation means it will rain
  • sausage on a baguette = good
  • we are just a few blocks from St. Mary’s Hospital, where Prince George was born
  • lines move very quickly
  • the tube is really tube-shaped
  • it is more difficult to figure out which Oyster card you need than to figure out the underground system
  • the aquarium is a better place for me than the London Eye, hence no heart attack
  • vacation races are something I want to do more of. BBC 10k completed!
  • although there are millions of people, the city does not feel crowded
  • I really like the simplicity of the bridges but also love the majestic-ness of the Tower Bridge
  • beer after running is never a bad idea (but I already knew that)
  • there are only 24 more to my half marathon – and I definitely need new running shoes!

Tube riders are mostly newspaper readers

The Thing About London

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The thing about London is that:

  • the old architecture is amazing
  • it’s really, really big
  • the underground is complicated
  • there are way too many things to do in a week
  • you have to look right first then left when crossing – more difficult than you would think
  • the London Eye may be the death of me
  • the River Thames has incredible views from so many points
  • the map lies, it’s really far to walk between places, this is no NYC
  • people’s accents are cool
  • the service is questionable, hence no tips
  • it’s freaking expensive
  • it’s pretty awesome on many levels
  • there’s tons of really cool neighborhoods
  • it’s not all about Kate & William, only a little
  • Big Ben, the Tower of London, London Bridge, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, etc are crazily overwhelming and so amazing
  • the food is pretty plain so far
  • there are a lot of good parks to run in
  • the parks are larger than you originally anticipate and are too dark at night
  • the grass is dried up and brown in many areas
  • I like using British words like – lift, loo, tube
  • I’ve been called ‘mum’ by a lady when asked if we wanted to be seated in the rose garden
  • you have to do afternoon tea in multiple locations
Fish & Chips and "The Cod Father" at an English Pub

Fish & Chips and “The Cod Father” at an English Pub

Ok, so that’s after 2 days here.

Let’s see how many more times I will use the word amazing to describe this place.


Hadad’s Movie Trailers

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If you live in New York City, you’ve definitely seen the Hadad trailers around the city.

If you’ve visited New York City, you’ve probably seen them too. These trailers occupy blocks and blocks of space. Why? To film TV and movies which is a major revenue for the city.

In the last week, there have been signs like these:


Trailers were set up on my street this past week said this:


Other shows and movies filming in the neighborhood: Squirrel to Nuts featuring Jennifer Aniston, White Collar, The Good Wife, and a couple others I can’t think of right now. So that means guaranteed celeb sightings? Not always.

But of course, when you least expect to see someone in the business, you will.

Today the four took the bus down to the East River Ferry terminal at E. 34th Street to venture over to Williamsburg for the Flea. As we were waiting to board the ferry, the arrivals were disembarking and out first was Toni Collette and her daughter.

They were in a hurry, hence no pic. Sorry.

Other celebs I’ve seen in the past, in no particular order – A-listers to D-listers:

  • Susan Sarandon crossing W. Houston and shopping in a yoga store
  • Bruce Willis buying Sabrett hot dog
  • Katie Holmes walking in Greenwich Village
  • Tony Bennett crossing the street by Bloomy’s
  • Mark Ruffalo at the Crosby Hotel at a movie event
  • Julianne Margulies on Lex
  • Al Roker, Matt Lauer, Meredith V, Savannah, Natalie, Ann Curry at the Today Show
  • Regis Philbin outside the ABC studios
  • Bryce Dallas Howard walking into the Today Show
  • Keith Morrison from Dateline at Pink Bar
  • Kirsten Dunst walking her bike in Central Park
  • Hoda running in Central Park
  • Leighton Meester filing Gossip Girl at the St. Regis
  • Josh Charles at a movie event and out for dinner at the Crosby Hotel
  • one of the NJ Housewives outside the Pierre Hotel
  • Jimmy Fallon for tapings – guests were Michael Moore and Jennifer Aniston
  • Jon Stewart for tapings
  • Don Trump Jr walking on 2nd Ave
  • Matt Dillon outside The Waverly Inn
  • Kelly Rutherford at dinner at The Waverly Inn
  • Kiera Sedgewick crossing Madison Avenue
  • Matthew Settle leaving Pastis
  • Simon and Alex from NY Housewives
  • Rosie Perez in my school neighborhood for an event
  • Wilmer Valderamma at a school event
  • Adam Sandler by Starbucks on E 84th
  • Hugh Jackman at John Leguizamos’ show Ghetto Klown (we were sitting a few rows behind him!!)
  • Miley Cyrus in Times Square
  • Nick Cannon DJ-ing
  • Portia de Rossi and Rupert Everett at book signings
  • my very first celeb sighting was Matthew Modine – we were here on vacay in 2005, and since then I’ve seen him again on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and he visited my school to promote bike riding and safety


Brett has seen:

  • Ryan Reynolds!!!!! I was so disappointed I wasn’t there…
  • Bethenney Frankel
  • some reality show guy that we still haven’t figured out lol!

Keep your eyes peeled, you never know who you will see!

Trips of Summers Past

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Today the kids arrive for our yearly summer adventure. Well, they are not kids anymore, they’re teens. We’ve been going on some sort of summer adventure since they were little, whether we lived near them or not.

Here’s a look back at the trips of summers past:

2012 – Kids came to NY then we went to Florida from here. Rented a car and a house in Celebration. Went to WDW, Universal Studios, Downtown Disney, Gator Land, boys went fishing, girls went to Animal Kingdom and Cirque du Soleil La Nouba.

Medieval Time at Kissimmee - August 2012

Medieval Time at Kissimmee – August 2012

2011 – Kids came with Brett’s nephew, Shae and sister, Rhonda. NYC time! Brooke returned home with Auntie and Shae. Bray stayed a few days longer- we took him to Boston for a couple of days, then he and hubs flew to Calgary for fly fishing on the Bow.


At Rockefeller – July 2011

2010 – Mountain time at sister in law’s in Canmore. Good times with Granny, Auntie, Shae and the four of us. Not to mention, 97 year old Grandma! Activities included time in Banff and Canmore, Sulphur Mountain climb, white water rafting, zip-lining, wall climbing, boys went fishing on the Bow, drive to Lake Louise.


Rafting on the Kananaskis – 2010. Note: Granny and Grandma are not in the picture!

2009 – Kids came to NYC. Lots of sight seeing and a trip out to Montauk.


Brooklyn Bridge – July 2009

2008 – Brett and I went back to get the kids and took them to Vancouver. Rented a condo in Yaletown. Went to Granville Island, Stanley Park, Vancouver Aquarium, took a trolley tour, boys went fishing. Bray came back to NY with us. We also took the train down to DC and toured Gettysburg.


Serious business at the White House – 2008

2007 – Our first full summer after moving away. Alberta/Saskatchewan road trip.  Fishing trip at Lake Mirond in an old fishing cabin with Rhonda, Shae, and Grandpa. No Brooke on this trip.


Gettin the fish fry ready! July 2007

2006 and summer prior not as fresh in my head.

This year: London! (Insert British accent) We’re going to see the Royal baby, Prince George. Will let you know if we see him!

Mental Medicine

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I woke up yesterday and got right into some of the errand running I had to do – before I went running-running. Usually I go running first, before any to-dos, but yesterday my body just wasn’t ready to move in the early morning.

So on my list of errands – drop off dry cleaning, stop at bank, make some copies of documents, blah, blah, blah… When I completed round one of errands, I thought I would be making an excuse not to run, but as it turned out, I was ready.

My thoughts as I walked were unnecessarily busy of course. I was thinking mostly about the paper work that needed to be completed and the documents I needed to track down.

Once I started to run, I started to relax right away.

En route I did my usual observations of sights, sounds and smells around the park. Play groups, soccer, horses, pedi-cabs, bag pipes, bubbles, the zoo crowd.

When I was about 3/4 done my route, I noticed that my overloaded, boggled mind had become uncluttered. I felt relieved and lighter. My mind felt medicated. I realized that I didn’t even notice when my mind became present. Being present and staying present is tough in a busy place with a busy life, but running does that for me.

I’m telling you, running is mental medicine. I just wish I could bottle that.

New Favorite Color!

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What’s my new favorite color?


Why? Because it’s the color of my permanent resident card I’ll be getting from immigration in the next couple of months! The wait is almost over!!

The confusion then excitement I felt when I read the email from my immigration lawyer was intense! I was walking home from a Grand Central after a day at a literacy curriculum workshop when I read the email.

I just wanted to laugh out loud as I was walking! So I did! I was so excited! I tried to call hubs to share the news. No answer! My text to him: Call me!!!!! So I text Monica and Lana in my bewilderment! I had to share my confusion/excitement/bewilderment … I thought there was a mistake in the email.

My lawyer notified those of us in the green card process there would be no more advancement in the process until October, and it would be slow progress until the spring of 2014… But – unexpectedly, a huge advancement! Thank you USCIS!

After 7 years of visas and being tied to the DOE via sponsorship, I am almost free to do as I please!

Now to get the paper work together….