Posted in Awesome Stuff

How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

If this doesn’t make your day, I’m not sure what will:

Nice IKEA Store Opens Its Doors To Protect Stray Dogs From The Cold

Staff at this IKEA store in Catania, Italy, have gone above and beyond merely selling furnishing to fill a house — they’ve begun providing a home to pups who need it most. 

And the reception from customers couldn’t be warmer.

Martine Taccia was on a shopping trip to the retail giant on a chilly autumn day recently when she was surprised to discover a group of dogs nestled cozily among a living room display. 

“My reaction was pure amazement,” Taccia told The Dodo. “It’s not a common thing.”

But, as it turns out, the dogs were local strays — and that little taste of home was actually a gift.

Taccia came to learn that the store had decided to open its doors to homeless pups in the area to give them refuge from the elements. And the welcome came with more than just a safe place to stay. 

“The dogs receive daily food and pampering from IKEA’s employees and customers,” Taccia said. “Some dogs have even found a family, going home with customers.” 

Though it does not appear that IKEA’s Catania location publicly advertises this policy of letting in needy pups, it’s certainly made a positive impression on guests like Taccia. Another customer, Beppe Liotta, was likewise smitten with the store’s dog-friendly initiative.  

“I felt a feeling of deep tenderness and great happiness in seeing dogs crouched in the exhibition space at the entrance of the IKEA,” Liotta told The Dodo.

As a self-proclaimed animal lover, Liotta hopes other businesses will follow suit by opening their doors (and their hearts) to animals whose sad circumstances are all too often overlooked. 

“If all the stores that had the space would make a place of refuge for strays, I would be really happy,” he said. 

And Liotta’s certainly not alone.

Isn’t that beautiful????? SO proud of IKEA for this one!!!! Pups make everything better. ♥️🐶

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Hockey Night in Canada

A really great thing happened at the Toronto Maple Leafs game on Saturday night – no, the Leafs didn’t win (Hahahahahaha) (sorry, but most Canadians outside of Ontario don’t enjoy the Leafs a whole lot), but a regular guy named Dave Ayers became a national hockey hero. Check out this story:

TORONTO — David Ayres was sitting in the stands with his wife at Scotiabank Arena when Carolina Hurricanes goalie James Reimer went down with an injury.

The on-call emergency netminder in Toronto, Ayers left his seat and got half-dressed into his gear on the off-chance something might happen to Carolina’s second option, Petr Mrazek.

Midway through the second period, Ayres noticed his cellphone started to blow up. What he didn’t realize was that Mrazek had been hurt in a scary collision with Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford and was down on the ice.

The next thing Ayres, a 42-year-old Zamboni driver, knew, he was walking down the tunnel and into the spotlight.

And not long after, he had an improbable first N.H.L. win. He is the oldest goalie to win in his N.H.L. regular-season debut.

Ayres allowed goals on the first two shots he faced before settling down and stopping the next eight in a suffocating defensive performance by his new teammates as Carolina picked up a stunning 6-3 victory over the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

“I had a couple of text messages that told me to get in there,” Ayres said in front of a throng of reporters. “I hadn’t seen the footage. I was in the media room by myself and a guy came in and said: ‘Get going. Get ready.’

It was wild, it was fun,” said Ayres, who will be paid $500 and get to keep his jersey.

Ayres, who had a kidney transplant 15 years ago and wasn’t sure if he would ever play hockey again, has been a practice goalie with the Leafs and the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, for the last eight years.

A native of nearby Whitby, Ontario, he faces shots from professional players almost daily during the season, but he never thought he would be called into service in an N.H.L. game.

“These guys were awesome,” Ayres said. “They said to me, ‘Have fun with it, don’t worry about how many goals go in, this is your moment, have fun with it.’”

He did more than that, and was greeted with raucous cheers from the Hurricanes in their locker room after finishing a postgame TV interview.

“I had no idea I was going to get a shower before I got in the shower,” Ayres, the game’s first star, said with a grin. “I got one.”

Not long after the final buzzer, the Hurricanes were hawking T-shirts on Twitter sporting the stand-in goalie’s No. 90.

It’s pretty special,” Hurricanes Coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I told the guys after the game, ‘Thank him because that just gave an incredible memory.’”

He probably dreams of playing in the National Hockey League,” Foegele said of Ayres. “What a moment for him. Something he’ll never forget, and something we won’t either.”

The reality is that the game really just stayed the same,” said Maple Leafs Coach Sheldon Keefe, whose players mustered just seven shots in the third. “When the goalie switch happened, I talked to the team and said: ‘If we don’t change how we’re playing, they don’t even need a goalie. There’re no chances, no shots, there’s nothing happening.’”

Ayres made his first save late in the second on Auston Matthews as Carolina led, 4-3, through a wild 40 minutes and shut things down in the third.

“These guys,” Ayres said of what he’ll remember most. “How great they were to me. The crowd in Toronto was unreal. Even though I was on the other team, they were so receptive. Every time I made a save I could hear them cheering for me.

“Awesome.”

Isn’t that fantastic??? Every hockey fan’s dream – I LOVE this!!! ♥️

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Smile

I saw this article this morning, and it made my day – we all need to try some of these things:

50 ways to be ridiculously generous — and feel ridiculously good.

I realized — many years ago — that when I behave generously, I feel rich. And I like to feel rich. So I choose to be generous.

But “behaving generously” doesn’t necessarily mean “donating money” or “giving away your last cookie.”

You can share knowledge freely, instead of hoarding it. You can send a hand-written note, instead of a text message. You can make eye contact, instead of checking out. You can make a life-changing introduction for a friend, instead of letting them “connect the dots” on their own. 

You can do big things. Small things. Simple things. All kinds of things.

You will never run out of ideas. You will never run out of love. You will only create more. 

What would happen if …

You said “thank you” 50 different ways, to 50 different people, every day, for the next 50 days? 

The possibilities are beyond imagining, but one thing’s for certain: 

You’re about to become everybody’s favorite person.

Starting today, join me in 50 days of ridiculous, shocking generosity.

You don’t need to “prepare.” 

You don’t have to “buy anything.” 

You don’t need to “give it some thought.” 

You don’t have to “clear space on your calendar.”

You just need to fold generosity into your day, in little ways, every day.

Here are 50 prompts and possibilities to inspire you.

(It’s going to feel so good.)

Day 1: Compliment three strangers: a child, someone your own age, and an elder. Congratulate them on something highly-specific — “Way to rock that tricycle, kiddo!” — or simply say: “You look lovely today.”

Day 2: Find a Little Free Library near you and donate a book. Can’t find one? Start one. 

Day 3: That public radio station or podcast you’ve been streaming for months — or years? Become a member. Don’t put it off. And while you’re at it? Send a gushing, praise-filled email to the production team. 

Day 4: Find a blogger who’s been slammed with mean comments lately. Send them a love note. Tell them to keep writing.

Day 5: Choose a local show — improv! stand-up comedy! storyslam! indie rock! — and bring a MASS AVALANCHE of friends. Scream. Cheer. Make the hardworking, little-thanked performers feel like superstars.

Day 6: Choose a struggling (or not so struggling) artist and publicly thank them on Twitter, Insta, or somewhere else on the Internet. “I love your work. Please keep going.”

Day 7: Choose a big-name celebrity that you admire and write them a genuine, heartfelt letter of thanks. Just to say, “Your work really moves me and I appreciate what you do.” No “request” or “ask” or “gimme” attached.

Day 8: Offer to take a photo of a sweet couple in love. When you email it to them, send along a GiftBit gift certificate, too — for a bottle of wine, or a couple of coffees. 

Day 9: See a bicycle with a basket parked on the street? Put flowers in it.

Day 10: Sponsor a local yoga class. Buy up 10 or 20 spots, and give them away to strangers. Or neighbors. Yoga for everybody!

Day 11: Tell a teenager: “You are so brilliant. I can’t wait to see who you become. And I love who you are, right now.”

Day 12: Tell your mom (or someone who feels like your mom): “You raised me right. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from you? This: _______________.”

Day 13: Tell your dad (or someone who feels like your dad): “You’ve given me so many gifts. Like the ability to _______________, and the confidence to _______________. Thank you.”

Day 14: Be like Diane von Furstenberg and start your day by sending out one email specifically designed to help somebody else — without directly benefiting you at all — before you do anything else. Make introductions, send some encouragement, offer a helpful resource or link. 

Day 15: Prowl through your closet and donate some treasures to Dress For Success — or its equivalent in your country. You’ll de-clutter your wardrobe and help a struggling lady look like a star at her next job interview.

Day 16: Put away your smartphone and close down your inbox for a day (or just an hour). Give the world the gift of your undivided, non-digital attention.

Day 17: Experiment with Tonglen meditation: inhale suffering (yours and others), exhale compassion (for the whole world). 

Day 18: Tip generously. Not sure how much? This is how much. Except double it.

Day 19: Record a Vocaroo message for someone you’ve been meaning to thank for awhile. Tell them: “Keep this audio note and replay it whenever you’re doubting your awesomeness.”

Day 20: Buy a meal for a stranger and start a magical chain reaction.

Day 21: Do somebody else’s laundry. Ask for nothing in return. 

Day 22: Turn a photo from your smartphone into a real postcard. Send it.

Day 23: Give someone a grrrrreat massage. Here’s how.

Day 24: Get outlandishly excited about a small piece of good news from a friend. (“You did WHAT? Just like THAT? You’re AMAZING!”) Model the kind of unbridled enthusiasm that you want to see in the world. 

Day 25: Overwhelmed with things to read? Instead of cancelling your newspaper or magazine subscriptions, donate them to a local school for a few months (like this) till you’re ready to start receiving them again. Or not.

Day 26: Riding the bus? Waiting in line? Strike up a fascinating conversation with somebody who looks bored, sad or checked out. Start by simply asking: “What was the BEST part of your day?”

Day 27: Applying for a job? Trying to woo a client? Or even just make a friend? Send them something useful and astonishingly generous … before asking for anything. (It will change your world.)

Day 28: Create a generous “auto-responder” (sometimes called an “out of office” message or “vacation auto reply” message) for your email … full of links, resources, fun videos, answers to commonly asked questions, maybe a complimentary gift, or whatever else you want to include. This is such an easy way to offer people something inspiring, entertaining, helpful (or all of the above!) automatically. They can enjoy the cool stuff … while they await your reply. (Want to see some creative examples? Check this out.) 

Day 29: Buy a massage for a veteran of war. (Just call a local massage therapist, make a payment, and then contact your local veteran’s health administration and pass along the details.) 

Day 30: Call up a friend who’s been having a rough time — or just an agonizingly busy week. Say: “Let me vacuum for you.” (They might weep.)

Day 31: Make a mixtape of uplifting, positive, soul-affirming tunes. Label it: “Listen to this when you need to remember who you are.” Leave the CD (or several copies) in a local coffeeshop. 

Day 32: Send a story tip to a local reporter. (Especially if it’s good news.)

Day 33: Leave a wrapped gift on top of your trashcan with a note for your friendly neighborhood waste disposal professional. They deal with unspeakable filth, every week, all for YOU.

Day 34: Brew up a big pot of (good) coffee. Fill up some eco-friendly disposable cups. Offer free java to everyone at work — or the bus stop. 

Day 35: Buy an Amazon gift for a total stranger. (Search wishlists here.)

Day 36: Four words: gourmet ice cream delivery.

Day 37: Choose a friend. Any friend. Grab a notebook. (Or … this book.) Fill the book with love notes and compliments written by you, and other people, too. Give it to your friend, and tell them it’s a High School Yearbook for the Soul.

Day 38: Make an 8Tracks or Spotify playlist for your favorite human. Extra credit: give your playlist a special “reason” or “theme,” like, “Listen to this while you’re getting ready for your first date with Zach!” or, “Pump-yourself-up music to play before you deliver your TEDx Talk. You’re going to do GREAT.”

Day 39: Leave a platter of treats in the common area of your office or apartment building. Extra credit: a handwritten card with an inspirational quote and a list of ingredients (for folks who are plagued with allergies).

Day 40: Pray for someone. Or if you don’t pray: send love.

Day 41: Nominate a talented friend for an award. Like The Bloggies. Or The Webbies. Or The Stevies. Or … any other award in your city, state, country, etc. You could also make up an imaginary award (“Best Dog Walker of the Century”) and present it to someone you love.

Day 42: Help somebody land their dream job. Proof a friend’s resume. Rock out a mock interview. Loan them your lucky blazer. Tell them: “You’ve got this.”

Day 43: Volunteer to mentor an aspiring entrepreneur through your local SCORE chapter. (You don’t have to be an “expert” or know “everything.” You just have to know a few things … more than they do.)

Day 45: Leave a rave review on the iTunes page of your favorite podcast. Gush. Five stars. Bravo!

Day 46: Arrange a luxurious gift for a public school teacher. A concert pass. A nice bottle of wine. God, they need some love. 

Day 47: Drag a friend — kicking and screaming — on stage to read a poem, do karaoke or tell a joke. Roar and cheer for them. Show them it’s safe to be visible — to be seen.

Day 48: Ask someone, “How was your day — really?” Let that person talk about themselves, past the point of comfort. Lean in. Stay there. Be present. Let ’em ramble. Give it that extra five minutes. 

Day 49: Send a pizza to your best friend’s office. Lunch = sorted. Surprise!

Day 50: Be ridiculous and shocking and start this 50-day cycle of generosity … all over again. Just because you can.

Great ideas, eh? I know!!!! I LOVE these, and can’t wait to try some out!! Woohoo!!!

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Hero

I’m not the biggest NBA basketball fan, but I certainly know what’s going on in the world o’hoops (see how hip I am? I said ‘hoops’!). I celebrated with the rest of the Canadians last spring when the Raptors won the Championship, and during that historic run for the title, I kinda fell in love with a Raptors superfan. No, not Drake – shame on you for thinking that I could have anything but disdain for a dude who I will forever know as Jimmy on Degrassi who somehow completely reinvented himself (and his Canadian accent) to become some hot shot in music…speaking of which, every song of his sounds the same, and they usually sound nasally and whiny to me, so…there’s that. Anyway, my aside about my meh feelings towards Drake is over. Sorry. On to the real superfan that I’m digging – it’s none other than Nav Bhatia! If you don’t know his story, here’s the scoop (told through a great series of tweets written by Muhammad Lila):

Isn’t that awesome? This past weekend, the Basketball Hall of Fame honored him as a superfan, and he is now part of the Hall of Fame. How gorgeous is that?!!?!??! I love it!!!! ♥️♥️♥️ So deserving!!! I love it when good things happen to good people – it doesn’t happen enough these days.

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Big Yellow Taxi

Bloody hell Harry Styles did a cover of Canadian goddess Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ on the radio yesterday with Zoe Ball (in the UK), and it was FANTASTIC! He joyfully sang the shit out of this song – I LOVE it!!!! For your listening pleasure:

Perfect, eh? I know! So. Good. ♥️

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Whatta Man

I came across this tweet today:

Vile, eh? I know! What an ass! Imagine my surprise when I checked out his profile:

38,000+ followers???? What???? How?!?!!?! I do not understand someone who would write this shit, let alone those that would actively seek out the opinion of one as ridiculous as this. Jackass.

It’s no wonder that women struggle with self-esteem…look at the stuff that surrounds us. Since the Super Bowl last weekend, I’ve heard more than one man express such admiration for the bodies of Jennifer and Shakira (totally justified – those are fine looking women), but in the same breath they’re shitting on those of us who don’t look like that. I don’t get it. Why can’t all bodies be beautiful? Why is it that only that kind of body garners admiration? I do not get it. A woman I follow on Twitter expressed it best:

Perfect, right? Looking that way is their jobs, and they have resources to make that happen that I will NEVER have. They also don’t have to do the things that I do in a day (nor could they – just like my body will never move like Shakira moves hers without surgical intervention) it’s just hard to be held up to a ruler that is impossible to measure up to…I don’t hate on those women for looking the way that they do. My feelings are quite the opposite – I think they’re stunning, and they were clearly created on a good day of whatever higher being you believe in. But don’t hate on me because I don’t look like that, because I have tattoos (11 and counting), I’m a single mama, my arse is wider than theirs….the list is long. Love me because of those things…they’re what makes me awesome. ♥️

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

We watched the Oscars last night, and I enjoyed the show – it felt different this year, and I liked it. Moments like Eminem popping up to sing “Lose Yourself” delighted me (my daughter stared in amazement as I sang/rapped along – she is only 13, so she missed my Eminem glory days), the fashion was GORGEOUS (was it me or was last night one of the simply loveliest red carpets ever?!)…it was a good evening, as far as these evenings go. When it came time for Joaquin Phoenix to accept his Oscar for Best Male Actor for his role in “The Joker”, my ears perked up – Joaquin, love him or hate him, can always be counted on to say something that gets you thinking. Here’s the transcript of his speech:

[We have to] continue to use our voice for the voiceless. I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the distressing issues that we are facing collectively. I think at times we feel, or were made to feel, that we champion different causes, but for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice. We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity.

Another thing that impressed me about Joaquin: he wore the same Stella McCartney tux to every awards show this season, further proving his commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. LOVE that! ♥️

I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world, and many of us, what we’re guilty of is an egocentric worldview — the belief that we’re the center of the universe. We go into the natural world, and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then, we take her milk, that’s intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal, and I think we fear the idea of personal change because we think that we have to sacrifice something to give something up.

But human beings, at our best, are so inventive and creative and ingenious, and I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.

Now, I have been a scoundrel in my life. I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with and ungrateful, but so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. And I think that’s when we’re at our best, when we support each other, not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other toward redemption. That is the best of community.

When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. It said, ‘Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.'”

I really liked the beginning – he lost me a bit in the middle when I first heard it, but he ended strong. Reading it through a couple of times this morning helped me to appreciate where he was going and what he was trying to say (perhaps I wasn’t listening closely enough last night, or maybe his words were meant to be savored rather than slurped down). The last part really resonated with me (and not just because he used the word ‘scoundrel’, a most excellent word): we have all been scoundrels, and been shitty to those around us, we’ve all had moments that we aren’t proud of…but thank goodness we’ve been given second chances. We haven’t been written off as a waste of time or space. It wasn’t one and done – nor should it be. We should be willing to give others another opportunity to make the right choice, to say the right thing, to be their very best. Not all of us are going to get it right the first time….most of us don’t. Dori in “Finding Nemo” said it best: ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”. It’s important to keep trying, to keep striving. To keep trying to find your purpose, your passion – and, just as vital, we must be willing to accept those around us, to value their efforts, and to encourage their attempts. Maybe I’m still obsessing about the Netflix documentary “Cheer”, but we as a society are in serious need of some mat talk. Let’s give it a try, shall we?

xxx

PS: Can we please take a moment together to pause and appreciate what Joaquin’s brother wrote: Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow. Sigh. Gorgeous. ♥️

Posted in Awesome Stuff

God Save the Queen

I lived in the UK for a couple of years, and it was one of the greatest times of my life…I learned SO much, and made friendships that are still close to this day – I LOVED living there. Oddly, I think I love it more in hindsight than I did in the moment because I realize what an extraordinary opportunity I had. I may have taken it a wee bit for granted while I was there, but…with age comes wisdom, eh? Anyway, I think of that time fondly – the job I had remains my very favorite school job that I’ve ever had (for realz – I taught Music, the kids were freaking AMAZING, the parents wonderful, my colleagues were awesome…it was just perfect), I loved my little shoe box apartment, my tiny cats, and my Renault Clio. I had great friends, I got to travel around and see tons of stuff – it was a good time in my life, because it forced me to really figure out who I was. Turns out I really like the person that I am – hurray! 😊 Anyway, I’ve been rather melancholy lately, longing for those days – probably because I’ve been listening to my favorite radio DJs from my time over there online in the car.

When I first moved across the pond, it became very clear to me quickly that although we all spoke English, there were some hugely significant differences in the ‘common language’ that we were speaking. There were TONS of holes in my popular culture knowledge in England, and how I filled those was listening to the radio – in the mornings, I would alternate between BBC Radio 1 (Sara Cox was the morning DJ at first, and then Chris Moyles took over) and Chiltern Radio (the local station – coincidentally, the morning show was hosted by a bloody Canadian living abroad – JUST LIKE ME!!!!!! Fun fact: I called in one day and talked to him – to reinforce every stereotype about Canadians that exists in the world, we were from the same general area, we knew loads of people in common, and it was a bloomin’ miracle that we had never met growing up at home – the world is so small, eh?)). After work, I drove home with Chris Moyles every day (and then Sara when they swapped time slots). Between these people, I learned SO MUCH about British life, it’s hard to even explain….they introduced me to scads of music I hadn’t heard before (obviously), but I learned about TV shows, silly references, nationale jokes (ie: everyone teases everyone else in the country about shagging sheep), the news, traffic and weather…all sorts of stuff – SO good. Listening to the radio there did lots to alter the way I speak – and still do! For example, I had never heard the expression “big girl’s blouse” until I heard Chris say it one day, and I bet not a week goes by that I don’t call someone a big girl’s blouse! Still!! 

Anyway – I’ve found that I can listen to all of the BBC Radio stations through the app, as well as the Radio X station (where Chris is now), so I’ve been doing that lately (since I gave up my Sirius account due to their absolute rubbish customer service). While I miss Howard Stern more than I can tell you (he was the reason I had Sirius), I’m filling the gap with British radio. On yesterday’s Chris Moyles show, Chris and Dominic Byrne (newsman extraordinaire) piled a bunch of prizes (and themselves) into a brand new Mini Cooper and drove to a tiny village near York to deliver prizes – including the car – to a lucky listener. I couldn’t believe that they were getting to go to York – it’s GORGEOUS there!!! I only visited once, but I had such an epic night out that my recall of the details is a wee bit fuzzy, but I know that I’ve yet to match it in terms of fun…there was dancing in the street, singing a spirited duet with a pack of strangers that I met walking down the most gorgeous cobblestone street (we sang about how we were all best friends for life, of course), and even a bit of time spent sitting atop a bar regaling the locals with a series of jokes and humorous (to me, anyway) anecdotes from Canada – So. Much. Fun. Sigh…time to go back, methinks!

Anyway – if you’re looking to listen to something different in the morning, check out Radio X on their app, and give the Chris Moyles show a listen. If you want to hear something good on the BBC Radio app, there’s tons of great programming – you can’t go wrong. The overseas perspective on the news will be undoubtedly interesting (and enlightening), and I think you, too, may start using big girl’s blouse in a sentence! 😉 You can thank me later! 😊

xxx