Monthly Archives: May 2015

Memories of Tracy Chappell

When I checked my phone on Wednesday morning, and photos of Tracy Chappell popped up in my Facebook feed with words like “gone” and “missed”, it did not compute. I momentarily thought perhaps she had left her job at Today’s Parent, though that didn’t seem likely. Because surely such a young, vibrant woman could not be “gone”. Not the woman who had posted that beautiful picture of herself and her two little girls among the cherry blossoms the day before.

I met Tracy when we were both students in the post-graduate Print Journalism program at Sheridan College. I was immediately impressed by her positive attitude, her amazing writing, and her good taste in movies.

After graduation, it seemed she was always one step ahead: when I turned down a corporation communications position with a pension fund for a more “fun” job at CANOE.ca, I soon learned that they’d offered the job to Tracy first. She’d turned it down too, for a more “fun” job at Chapters.ca. Less than a year later, I found myself in a cubicle down the hall from her—at Chapters’ short-lived online home and garden shop, Villa.ca. Which meant lunch dates and shopping on Queen Street! As a content writer for the movie section (perfect for such a film buff), Tracy often got free passes to new releases, and I was fortunate enough to attend some of those with her. She confided she had fallen for a cute techie guy in the office. They attended my wedding–just two short months before Tracy and I and 70+ other employees were laid off when the Internet bubble burst in 2000!

But it wasn’t long before Tracy found her home on the Today’s Parent website (confession: I had applied for that job too.) In fact, she was one of the first people to know I was pregnant for the first time—because I had posted a question on the community forums she moderated and she recognized my “anonymous” handle. She feigned annoyance that I wouldn’t be able to make the trip to her hometown for her wedding because I was due the same day! But she was thrilled for me. And I saw the photos–she glowed with happiness.

Meanwhile I had found my own great job at Harlequin.com. We continued meeting every now and then for dinner or a movie (Tracy didn’t mind that I was already bawling during the opening montage of Love Actually). She was also one of the first people to know I was pregnant for the second time when we both attended a seminar on freelance editing and I confessed my secret plan to become a work-at-home-mom.

In recent years, we interacted mostly through social media, and of course, I kept up with her family like so many others through her blog. That thoughtful, positive, loving person that came through in her writing was the real deal. I loved the gorgeous photos she posted of her girls, who look so much like her, and so much like their dad at the same time. The perfect combinations. Her birthday letters to Anna and Avery reduced me to tears. And some of my own posts were inspired by hers. With kids about the same ages, I completely understood why she decided to stop blogging.

I must take full responsibility for not making more of an effort to stay connected in person, because if you knew Tracy, you know she was an amazing friend. I often envied her closeknit ties with high school girlfriends and her mom’s group. No, envied is the wrong word. Envy implies you think the other person doesn’t deserve what they have. Admired is better. She encouraged me to attend the Blissdom conference, but I chickened out, worried I would feel like an outsider, or a fraud. Another missed opportunity.

The last words we exchanged were via Facebook on May 18. Upon seeing my post about relocating, she replied “Oh, that’s great! Closer to me!” And I definitely planned to take advantage of the shorter drive to invite her for lunch, or a movie. To reconnect. You hear life is too short, but how often do we think, I’ll do that someday?

I have typed and retyped this last paragraph expressing my sympathies to those closest to her, her family and friends, but I don’t have Tracy’s way with words. Though maybe there just aren’t any for tragedies like this. So I will just say she touched so many people, in life and through her writing, and her grace, kindness, humour and friendship will be greatly missed.

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These Are A Few of My Favourite Lyrics

A while back I was inspired by this Top 20 List of Legendary Lyrics to come up with a list of my personal favourites. I agree with many of the choices (“Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)” by Green Day would have been our final wedding song, if we’d had a dance. And while I love “Landslide”, I actually prefer the Dixie Chicks cover), but here are some others that deserve mention:

Any line from “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon, of course.

 

Just about anything written by Dallas Green. Genius.

 

“When you say it’s gonna happen now,

Well, when exactly do you mean?

See I’ve already waited too long…” – “How Soon is Now”, The Smiths

 

“So can you understand?

Why I want a daughter while I’m still young

I wanna hold her hand

And show her some beauty

Before all this damage is done.

But if it’s too much to ask, it’s too much to ask

Then send me a son.” – “The Suburbs”, Arcade Fire (and no, don’t read into this that I want a daughter…)

 

“For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself…” – “Karma Police”, Radiohead

 

“Life is too short, so love the one you got,

‘cause you might get run over or you might get shot.” – “What I Got”, Sublime (recently overheard 7.5 year old singing this line…)

 

“All I ever wanted, all I ever needed, is here, in my arms.” – “All I Ever Wanted”, Depeche Mode (I used to dance BB#1 to sleep to this song.)

 

“Open up your ears and clean out your eyes

If you learn to love, you’re in for a surprise

It could be nice to be alive.” – “Alive”, Beastie Boys (I bought a pregnancy test after this song made me cry. Positive.)

 

“That’s a fine looking high horse

What you got in the stable.” – “Take Me to Church”, Hozier

 

“Did I say that I need you?

Did I say that I want you?

If I didn’t I’m a fool you see

No one knows this more than me.” – “Just Breathe”, Pearl Jam (aka my funeral song)

 

“Some have wine and castle keep

But they can’t watch you drift asleep.”– “I Have You”, Connie Kaldor (mothers, I dare you to listen and not cry.)

 

“People say I’m crazy, doing what I’m doing,

Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin,

When I say that I’m OK they look at me kind of strange,

Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game.” – “Watching the Wheels”, John Lennon

 

“Whenever I’m alone with you

You make me feel like I am home again.” – “Love Song”, The Cure (another potential wedding song, except that my husband is not a fan…)

 

“You can’t write if you can’t relate.” – “Loser”, Beck

 

“I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it

It’s something that I’m supposed to be

Someday we’ll find it

The rainbow connection

The lovers, the dreamers, and me.” – “Rainbow Connection”, Kermit the Frog

 

What are some song lyrics that speak to you?

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Reasons I’m Not Buying Your House

We’ve been house hunting lately. We have yet to buy a place. Here are some reasons why not:

The hair salon in your basement. Someone will love that! I’m not that someone.

The price. You’ve priced it 100K too high for a house that needs 100K of work done on it. And yes, the pink 1970’s bathroom fixtures would have to go.

The smell.

It backs on to a restaurant. Convenient? Yes. Appealing? No.

It’s beautiful inside, but I can see a factory from your front door.

You turned the garage into a bedroom/bathroom.

2500 square foot house, and your kitchen still has less counter and cupboard space then my 1300 square foot townhouse. And my kitchen is the reason I want to move!

It’s going to cost me money to undo all the “quaint” personal touches you added over the years, and yet the price suggests you are expecting to get the money you invested back out. Good luck with that…

There’s a two-car garage, but you blocked it off with a fence and a shed.

The hot tub overlooking your family room.

I just bet the “green space” your house backs on to is used by the neighbors as a garbage dump, and the local teens as a place to “hang out” and “do stuff” on Friday nights…

Your neighbours’ toddler and preschooler kept running back and forth behind our car when we were trying to back out of your drive after the open house, while your neighbors just looked on and did nothing. I don’t want to be afraid I’m going to run someone over every time I leave the house!

The falling down fence in your listing pictures.

The alcove we called “the murder room”…

There’s snow in all the listing pictures, and it’s May. If no one has bought it so far, I’m certainly not getting suckered into it!

Your agent never responded to our request to see it! For reals!

Your neighbour’s above-ground pool is literally touching the shared fence, making it about three feet from the kitchen window.

Bonus: while I wouldn’t turn my nose up at the perfect house because of this, I’ll admit the unflushed toilet with the lid up did not help me fall in love with yours!

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