Imperfection is beauty…

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Everyone has that one friend. That special friend who makes everyone around them feel beautiful.

This morning upon waking, I learned that one such friend on my kaleidoscope road, Anna, was gone. My heart physically hurts and the tears just won’t seem to stop.

While she was careful to make everyone else feel good, she missed something. She didn’t see her own value.

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I wish she could have seen herself through our eyes. I swear she was a reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe, vivacious, sexy and tragic. She was a modern siren.

I spent a bit of time reminiscing, looking at her Facebook pictures. I’ll never understand exactly what she was going through emotionally, so I’m sharing some of her posts this month. How did we miss her cry for help? IMG_9024

She didn’t know what a blessing she was to so many people. Hopefully over the coming years her children will hear all the good she brought to the world.

Anna and I met at work, about 14 years ago. We quickly discovered we had much in common. We went to karaoke every Friday night after work, to entertain “our fans”. She, and her sister, became the sisters I never had. She told us how pretty we were. Three hot girls out on the town.

This is the kind of person she was… I was in a particularly abusive relationship, and she and her family opened their home and gave me somewhere to stay. They gave me the time to heal. She helped me find my worth, to stand on my two feet again. I wish I had been able to do that for her. I wish I hadn’t let her push me away when she needed someone.

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If you see signs of depression, or a silent cry for help, don’t back away. Don’t let someone you love suffer alone. Let them know, even when they don’t want to hear it, that you’re there for them.

Anna is one more angel watching over me. In her memory, donations to the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health are appreciated. Please donate here: CAMH Give

A #PhotoWalk with Steve Garfield…

I’ve been looking forward to this week since last year at this time.

I’ve been in Boston for the #mpb2b all week (I’ll write a separate post about those shenanigans).

Last year, I missed out on an early morning walk with a local Bostonian, writer and photographer, Steve Garfield (Twitter: @Steve Garfield, stevegarfield.com). I was kind of upset with myself when I saw how much fun everyone had.

This year, I decided to haul my butt out of bed early to join the Boston Photo Walk through the Seaport District.  You’d be surprised at how many shiny, happy people showed up at 7:15 am!

It was such fun, I thought I’d share a smattering of photos from our walk.

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The most difficult statue to photograph
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Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun…
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World Trade Center Boston
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It was so early we wondered if they served breakfast. Slainte!
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This was just part of the group. All that was missing were matching #mpb2b tshirts and a buddy system!
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Peace and tranquility down by the water.
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This guy was probably wondering why 60+ people were taking his photo. Shipbuilder on one of the side streets near the water.
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Our halfway point, coffee break (sponsored by Vidyard), with a perfect spot to sit and look at the Boston harbor.
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I could have just stayed here all day soaking in the atmosphere, but we had to get back.
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Jeff Julian (Twitter: @jjulian, CMO at AJi), the man behind the lens.
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Group selfie by Rob Zaleski (Twitter: @robzie_ of MarketingProfs)
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What a fantastic view of the city. The Boston “hawhbah”.
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Fall colours.
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The cutest little skiff.
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Behind the Barking Crab
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Under the bridge.
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Boston Tea Party (it’s a museum now)
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I’m not an American, but I’m pretty sure there’s a joke in here somewhere. At the corner of Congress and Sleeper.
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I was lagging behind at this point, so I didn’t hear the story to this little shot. I made up my own… The city mouse heard about the three little pigs, and when he moved to Boston, built his house out of bricks. After he moved out, the city bought the property and turned it into a police station. Knocked on the door, but I suppose they were out keeping Boston free of rats.
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It’s a zoo in there?
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I just really liked the look of these!
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Our fearless leader, Steve Garfield. I’ll be sure to join him again next year!

My son looks like Norman Bates, should I be worried?

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I just binge watched Bates Motel. All seasons. It creeped me out. Yes, because of the storyline, but more so, because every time I looked at Freddie Highmore on my screen, I see my son.

Okay, so we’re clear, my son and I do not have some weird Norman/Norma Bates relationship. He sleeps in his own room, thank you very much.

It’s more so in the sullen facial expressions, and the way Norman moves.

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It doesn’t hurt that they’re both tall and slim, and have similar fashion tastes (bow ties and all). They even have similar hair. My friends don’t see it, but my son himself does. He then gives me that Norman Bates blackout stare.

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Thanksgiving, and cutting the neck skin off the turkey, did point out one huge difference. My son was revolted, so taxidermy won’t be in his future.

Guess I don’t need to be that worried after all…

I am thankful for…

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Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

I truly wish that this holiday was as relaxing and perfect in reality as it is in my head when I am planning it. I wish that my turkey, potatos, stuffing and gravy turned out as well as it looks in the header picture. I wish that we had that Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, where everyone sitting around the table shares in one sentence what they are most thankful for this year.

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Then there’s the reality. More like a National Lampoon’s Thanksgiving, with lots of “that’s what she said” jokes, discussions of bodily functions, and playing with food. Anyone ever notice that a dinner roll looks like a little bum? Maybe that’s what happens when there aren’t enough adult referees.

Oddly, I didn’t feel like I was slaving away with very little reward this year. Maybe because it wasn’t really about the food, it was just appreciating time with the hooligans. Families don’t sit down at the table together any more. Everyone is in too much of a hurry, eating on the run, working, or eating in front of the TV or laptop.

The turkey really did turn out like the picture, the gravy was perfect. We used my mother’s good dishes, and I didn’t stress about not having matching bowls for everything. I only burnt my arm once.

So we didn’t go around the table and share what we’re most thankful for this year. We have our health, home, food on the table, and each other. Even Tucker enjoyed a plate. We’re thankful for him too.

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Maybe there should be Thanksgiving Awards. The winner shall be embarrassed by having their behaviour posted online for all to see. This year’s winner at our dinner table was my daughter, with the twerking dinner roll.

Can’t be any worse at your house, right?

Knit Happens…

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My daughter is just like me. Kind of a loaded statement, but for the purposes of this blog post it is quite innocent.

She’s crafty. Also a loaded statement, but true. She knits, and crochets.

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A couple months ago she started “Knit Happens”, custom wool wares.  She’s made baby blankets, hat and bootie sets, socks, sweaters, hats and scarves, mittens. Actually, there was a homeless guy behind her apartment building in Peterborough (that town with all the old record shops). To keep him warm in the winter she made hat, scarf, mitts and socks for him. Homemade goods show people they care. Anyway, I digress.

On November 28th, she’ll be taking Knit Happens to the Port Perry High School Christmas Craft Show. She is sharing a table with her boyfriend’s aunt (who will be selling some wood items). The high school does this every year as a fundraiser for their music department, to buy new instruments, upgrade old ones or for special workshop for the students. It’s art helping art.

Ever wonder what it looks like when someone is getting ready for a craft show? Look no further. This is just a very small portion of the supplies.

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All of this will be turned into cowls, slippers, washcloths and mug sweaters (mugs like to stay warm too). Pictures of the finished projects will appear once I’ve gone to the craft show, or as my daughter starts posting them on her page, but you can email requests any time! Just write to knit.happens@outlook.com.

If you’d like more information, you can visit Knit Happens or the Port Perry High page on Facebook. If you’re in the area, or know someone who is, be sure to stop by!

I have some ‘splainin’ to do…

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(a “fluff” piece after the more serious post from last Friday)

It dawned on me that people may question why @LucyInBarrie is my Twitter handle, instead of something else.

Many moons ago I worked for a graphics company. Not long after starting work there, I dyed my hair red. I mean, RED. One of the ink suppliers stopped by on his sales route one afternoon, and my boss said to him, “have you met Lucy?” It stuck.

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Source: twitter.com/golucilleball

When I started at my current job 3.5 years ago, there was already another Kris, who was hired a whopping 5 weeks before I was. I was told I’d need a nickname so we could distinguish. The other Kris is a man, so I would have thought that was distinction enough, but anyhoooo…since I had this old work nickname it was resurrected.

So Lucy it was. It still caused confusion. I was introduced as Lucy, but when people were told that “Kris” would follow up with them they thought this “Kris” was a real slacker since I did all the work. People were looking in the company email directory for Lucy, hilarious!

The one company director couldn’t understand why, or where, the name came from, but didn’t say anything. He’s originally from Germany, where apparently the I Love Lucy show didn’t air.  Over a year later he said he watched a couple of episodes of I Love Lucy on YouTube and suddenly “it all makes sense now!”

source: newgrounds.com
source: newgrounds.com

He thought that it was because of Lucy in the Charlie Brown comics. Wicked little girl with black hair and a penchant for being nasty. Not me at all (at least the black hair).

source: captainawkward.com
source: captainawkward.com

I’m not a redhead anymore, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Maybe the red hair just made it more obvious. I love making people laugh, even if it’s at something stupid I’ve done.

Lucille Ball was hilarious. One of the first comediennes and an icon even today. Nothing better than making people smile. Laughter makes you feel good!

#DFI2015, Refugees and World Peace

I had a completely different post planned for this week, but I am feeling quite inspired by something so I’m mixing it up.

The Digital Finance Institute (DFI) had a day-long conference in Toronto on Wednesday. DFI is an organization of financial technology (FinTech) companies. That may make it sound reeeeeally dry, but bear with me.

There was an opening keynote about the “Internet of Everything”, and four panel discussions about various topics: Frontiers in FinTech, Success Stories, AI and Robotics, and Financing a Startup. These were all pretty cool subjects, but the closing keynote is what has stayed with me.

Sam Maule, from Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group (CGC) and Chief Inspirational Officer of DFI, gave the presentation remotely. Pretty spectacular when the closing keynote is given through audio only in a GoToMeeting (we couldn’t get the video to work), while I hit “page down” through his slides for him, to a group of about 150 people.

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I will paraphrase the important bits here, since you may hear about this in mainstream news soon anyway. If you ever meet or talk to Sam, ask him about his story.

Don’t know about you, but I hear the news and most times I am horribly guilty of trying to close my ears. I hear about masses of refugees from Syria, some countries welcoming, some closing their borders. But hey, it’s not my problem, they’re too far away. I’m stealing a couple of Sam’s slides for this.

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What I didn’t know was that there are approximately 59.5 million refugees globally. Think about that for a second, and then let’s put it into perspective. The population of our entire country as of April 1, 2015 was 35,749,600, according to Stats Canada. Pause again. Did your jaw just drop reading that, like mine did?

I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel pretty blessed that I have a job, a roof over my head, clothes and shoes in my closet, and food on my table. I’m not rich, but I have a bank account.

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From the DFI website: “According to recent studies, around 2 billion people don’t use, or have access to, formal financial services and more than 50% of adults are unbanked. The lack of access to the financial system in a sustained way is often termed ‘financial inclusion’ which means persons, or businesses, that are excluded from the regulated and formal financial system. Financial inclusion is key to reducing poverty and supporting economic growth and prosperity for all countries.” Something we quickly take for granted, but imagine going without.

What if I added something else from Sam’s presentation? Over 50% of refugees are children. That’s over 30 million refugee children. You’ve probably heard this before, but did it really sink in? They may not being living in our country, but isn’t this our problem? What if they were your neighbours? Children are our future. Without financial inclusion, how will they even have a future?

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People are going hungry, homeless, some with only the clothes on their back. The co-founder of DFI, Christine Duhaime, had an idea. It’s a pretty big dream. A Digital Refugee Bank. Also from the DFI website: “At the conclusion of the test pilot, the project will move towards implementing a program of global financial inclusion with payments solutions (a Refugee Bank), coupled with biometric identification capture targeted at the refugee population in the Middle East, Africa, the EU and Asia and will the first such program in the world.”

I want to be involved. I want to be part of something bigger than I am. I want to be part of the big picture and make a real difference to someone. I don’t have a lot of time, but I can make the time. It’s important.

Helping even a few of those 59.5 million people would be worth it. The half that are children are part of our global future. We don’t even know what just one or two may be capable of. They need an opportunity.

What if everyone actually gave a damn about someone else? What if we took the time to help someone else, even someone we didn’t know? Do you think a lot of people doing a lot of little things, might help make some positive changes in the world?

The Refugee Bank is a dream slowly becoming a reality. The reality is, it could be the start of something truly beautiful. These people are inspiring. Go to http://digifin.org/financial-inclusion/ for more information.

Guess when it comes right down to it, I really do want world peace.

P.S – you can follow Sam, Christine and DFI on Twitter at @sammaule @cduhaime @DFInstitute