THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

1. Do you still have your FIRST baby pictures?
Sure do! Here I am, just out of the hospital, with my grandparents, in 1968. I was their first grandchild – and they spoiled me rotten!


2. What is your very FIRST memory?
My parents, having a huge argument, when I was 4 or 5 years-old. They did that a lot. And I mean, a LOT.

3. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
Miss Farrah. And I only know this because I kept all of my school records, going back to kindergarten. Here’s a Valentine’s Day card she gave me.


4. Who was your FIRST best friend?
I changed schools 15 times in 13 years, so, I never really the chance to forge long-lasting friendships with anyone. I had a few school chums that I could trust to have my back but, sadly, they were very few and far between.

5. What was your FIRST alcoholic beverage?
My father thought it would be funny to give his 8 year-old daughter a bottle of Baby Duck to drink during a house party. There was less than an inch left in the bottle by the time he yanked it away from me. I was plastered out of my mind – literally dancing on the dining room table – but, strangely enough, I still remember the event, clear as day. Couldn’t tell you what I had for breakfast yesterday, though.


6. When was the FIRST time you realized there was no Santa Clause, no Easter Bunny and no Tooth Fairy?
I was 8 or 9. I’d just lost my fifth baby tooth and, without telling my mother, I tucked it under my pillow, fully expecting the Tooth Fairy to trade it for a quarter. Woke up the next morning, nothing. Next night, nothing, again. Third night? Nada. So, I asked my mother, like, what’s the deal, here? Man, was she ever pissed that I didn’t tell her! So much so that she demanded I write a full-page apology letter to the “Tooth Fairy” and leave it with the tooth, under my pillow. The next morning, I got that long-awaited quarter. It was then that I put two and two together and flat-out asked my mom if Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy were real. She, begrudgingly, fessed up, which made me feel better, in a way, as I don’t like being lied to or deceived by anyone. I’ve always been very logical, practical and mature, and can handle the truth, whatever it is.

7. The FIRST time you were “famous”?
A picture was taken of me, for the local newspaper. I saw the guy take the picture but I had no idea it was going to end up in print, for thousands of people to see. I spotted it while watching a man sit across from me and my family, reading the paper while eating lunch at a cafĂ©. The first thing I noticed was some blonde kid wearing MY floral embroidered overalls. I thought: “OK, that’s weird.” It was only when I approached the man for a closer look that I made the cheerful announcement to my shocked parents.
 

8. What were the FIRST lessons you ever took?
Guitar lessons, at age 12. Lasted for two sessions out of an expected twenty. My mother pretty much forced me to do it but I finally put my foot down and told her that I had absolutely no interest in learning to play the guitar she bought me for Christmas. To this day, the only musical instrument I can play well is…um…does the triangle count?

9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
Resolute Bay, North West Territories (now Nunavut), to visit my father, in September, 1977. Notice how the inukshuk looks like a tombstone? Yeah…Hell really had frozen over.


10. What was the FIRST adult novel you ever read?
If we’re talking about books not forced on me by elementary school teachers for English class, it was Carrie, by Stephen King. Been a fan ever since.

11. When was the FIRST time you heard music that really moved you?
I was a wee thing, maybe, 6 or 7 when I first heard THIS and THIS on TV. Jazz, man! It just reaches into your core and changes you, on a spiritual level.

12. FIRST movie you remember seeing?
Star Wars, at age 9. That movie changed my life.


13. The FIRST time you had major surgery?
The week I was born, three months premature, with my guts hanging out of a tiny body that hadn’t fully formed, yet. The doctors performed miracle surgery to put all of my innards back into place, through a hole in my bellybutton. Fifty years later, I still have the scar!

14. FIRST tattoo?
I don’t do permanent tattoos. I get bored easily, looking the same every day, so I just draw pictures with Sharpie markers on my arms and legs, when the mood strikes me. My body is my canvass.

15. FIRST piercing?
My ears, at age 12, which got infected and had to be done four times over in two years. Christ!

16. The FIRST time you coloured your hair?
My mom allowed subtle blonde highlights when I was 15, but I went full, dark auburn at age 17 and, damn, I looked hot!


17. How old were you when you FIRST went to a wedding?
I was the flower girl at my aunt and uncle’s wedding. I think I was 6. Nobody really gave me any detailed instructions on what I was supposed to do (“slowly walk in front of them and toss petals onto the floor” is not enough information), so, I screwed up. Got a laugh out of everyone when I ran in front of the newly married couple and got into the car that was taking them to their honeymoon, still throwing rose petals everywhere.

18. Your FIRST funeral?
I was 12 or 13 when I attended my great-grandmother’s funeral. Because I’m empathic, I often get overwhelmed by the anguish and despair of everyone around me, at such occasions. So, I overcompensate by being cheerful, making jokes etc. It’s the only way I can handle the massive sensory input. After just one more embarrassingly inappropriate funeral home visit, a few years later (my great-grandfather), I swore I would never go to another funeral, again.

19. Who was your FIRST love?
Sweet, adorable Maurice! We were 7, and so much in love. I mean, just look at us, here. We can’t keep our hands off of each other. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to him, after we parted ways.


20. Who was your FIRST celebrity crush?
I liked Mark Hamill (Star Wars) for a little while. But my first serious celebrity crush was on Michael Nouri. I was 11 when I first saw him in the short-lived 1979 TV series The Curse of Dracula and, boy, did I fall hard for this smoking hot 34 year-old actor. So much so that I started a fan club devoted to him. It only had three members, me and my two best girlfriends at the time. We called ourselves the “Brides of Dracula” and used red markers to dot little bite marks on our necks to signify that we were his loyal servants. The first time he and I met, at a party, I tried to play it cool, but it’s quite possible I spilled a drink on myself while chatting with him. I’m such a dork!


21. When was the FIRST time you had to get up and sing or speak in front of a huge crowd?
My Grade 3 Christmas concert. I had to narrate a story about the birth of Jesus, in front of about 300 people. Oh, the terror! I thought I was going to vomit and pass out. Come to think of it, it was at that same school that I got tricked into singing at an American Idol styled singing competition. A teacher asked me if I liked to sing. I said, yeah, so, she took me into the next room and taught me a song she told me to practice every day. Three months later, my mom put me in a pretty dress and told me to get on a bus full of kids. It wasn’t until I got to the concert hall that I discovered I was expected to sing this song, onstage in a solo performance, in front of judges and about 800 people. I was so pissed off at having been tricked that I purposely sang the song completely off-key. Looking back on those two horrific experiences, I can’t help but wonder if the adults knew something about my future that I had not yet been cognizant of (I later became a professional singer, actress and radio personality).

22. Your FIRST pet?
We had dozens of family pets, growing up. Everything from dogs, cats, mice, hamsters, snakes, fish and birds. But the very first animal that I bought at a pet shop, at age 13, chose a name for and was required to take care of, all on my own, was a guinea pig, named Ralf. I loved that sweet little furball with every molecule of my heart. Here we are, sharing a bowl of cereal on a lazy Saturday morning. Ralf’s sudden illness and death, after less than two years, shattered my faith and belief in God.


23. When was your FIRST detention?
Grade 11, for not having a note from my mother excusing me from school the day before. It was her fault I got the fucking detention, because she just didn’t feel like writing one. The only black mark on my otherwise spotless record.

24. Your FIRST brush with the law?
I’ve always been a shit-kicking rebel, sticking it to The Man, fighting for the underdog and getting into trouble with parents and school officials. But if we’re talking about the actual “authorities”, there was that one time I stormed out of a Canadian Border Services office (customs, duties, taxes etc.) while returning to Canada from my job at a radio station, in New York state. I’d found about 100 packets of flower seeds, in a trash can in the basement (leftover from a landscaping job), and decided to bring them home with me. Only Canada Customs wanted to charge me tax on every packet. Fuck that shit! I grabbed my bag of seeds, stormed out of the building and started to walk home…across a busy bridge, to Canada. Naturally, they came after me. In the car ride back to the office, I kept yelling “Fight the Power!” out the window. I was very lucky they didn’t put me in handcuffs.

25. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
Mr. Mister. Ah, the ’80s, I miss you so!


26. The FIRST time you pulled a really stupid stunt?
Oh, there have been so many occasions. Tall trees climbed (couldn’t get back down), deep ditches jumped (slipped and rolled into 3 ft. of mud), abandoned old houses explored (fell through the floor into the basement)…Then, there was that time I chewed & swallowed a hamster-sized jalapeno pepper. Yeah, that was really stupid.

27. What was your FIRST job?
My first paying part-time job was working the concession stand at a single screen movie theatre, where I stayed for seven weird, wonderful and terrifying years. I still remember the movie that was playing on my very first night: Mannequin. I actually got married at the theatre, right in front of the silver screen, about an hour before our Saturday Masters of the Universe matinee. The theatre manager was our Best Man.


28. The FIRST time you got fired?
I was 17. During my job interview at a Things Engraved kiosk, the elderly manager told me she didn’t want younger people working for her, but was ordered to hire me, by head office. She did a piss-poor job of training me in the hope that I would screw up enough to justify my firing to head office. Two weeks later, she let me go, the bitch!

29. Do you remember your FIRST roommate?
Gosh, yeah! A few months after I’d signed the lease on my first apartment, at age 19, my cousin, Cindy, asked to move in with me, to be closer to school. Imagine, two young ladies, one in college, the other working full-time at three jobs to support herself, trying to live together in a 12x12 foot studio apartment. Man, that was a tight squeeze for a while.


30. The FIRST time you won a major sporting event?
You mean, without cheating to gain the upper hand? Honey, I don’t “do” sports, in the physical sense, but I do fondly remember winning my very first chess match against a family member, at age 16. I had to get him drunk, first, but the point is – I WON!

31. What was your FIRST car?
A teal, 1997 Suzuki Swift. A teenager, messing with his radio, blew through a red light and totalled it four days before I was to make my final payment on it. I didn’t fair too well, either, but thankfully didn’t require an ambulance ride to the hospital.


32. When did you get your FIRST cell phone?
Although cell phones were in regular use by “average” folks around 1990, I didn’t get my first Nokia until 1998, when I became a business owner. After that, I upgraded to the first iPhone on the market and have pretty much been addicted ever since. Several hours, every day, spent checking email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, watching cat videos and listening to CBC talk radio. I even keep the phone right next to me, on my pillow, so I can fall asleep, listening to old Suspense radio dramas.

33. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
Peter Kent, legendary Hollywood stuntman and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s long-time friend and stunt double. He recently moved to Vancouver Island and I’m assisting him in his bid for a seat on Nanaimo City Council.


34. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?
I’ve been having lustful thoughts about Supernatural star, Jensen Ackles, over the past few weeks. Dirty, nasty, deliciously lustful thoughts.


35. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
I really shouldn’t say…it’s too naughty (see above). ;-)

36. What’s the FIRST song you heard today?
Every Day is Exactly the Same by Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor is my God!

37. What is the FIRST thing you do when you get home from work?
Take my clothes off. I try to be naked as often as possible.

 
 

LAZY – AND LOVING IT!

I finally have an excuse, backed up by hard, scientific study (click for link).


I’m lazy – and it’s OK.


For decades, I was a hard-core workaholic. Before I was forced into retirement, due to illness, every waking minute of my life was regimented and pre-planned in 15-minute increments, on my To-Do list. The massive responsibilities I placed on myself led to a very successful career in the entertainment industry, however, my determination to push through the fatigue until after every last thing was checked off my To-Do list led to 30-hour work days – yes, DAYS – with nothing more than a bag of chip in my stomach. Twenty years of that resulted in a devastating health diagnosis (Type 2 diabetes) and my doctor told me, if I didn't slow down and take better care of myself, I would be dead in six months.


After I got sick and was forced to slow down, it was very hard, at first, trying to live a more relaxed and laid back lifestyle. But, after years of struggle, self-analysis and brain reprogramming, I have come out the other side with a new perspective: I just don’t feel like doing much of anything, anymore...and I’m totally OK with that. Where once I used to get very angry and disgusted with myself for letting three hours go by without working for a client or doing something that helped me achieve professional targets, today, my most important goal is to do as little as possible.


With the job that I have right now, I’m up around 5 a.m. and done by noon, seven days a week. After that, I’m free to do whatever I want. I could go browsing at the mall, go grocery shopping, tour an art gallery or museum, check out a new movie playing at the theatre. I could go for a walk along the beach, a nature hike in the hills, or take a day-trip to another town and explore the sights.


Or, I could just slip into my PJs, get into bed – yes, at noon – and watch a Star Wars movie marathon on TV, with a bowl of hot buttered popcorn in my lap. Just the thought of that makes me so very happy! My soul-crushing guilt and self-admonishment have been replaced by unfathomable glee that I can just hang out, at home, and do whatever the fuck I want...even if it’s absolutely nothing.


The drawback, of course, is that I’m no longer raking in $200k per year, anymore. But, remembering how quickly that all disappeared after the crash of ’08, I don’t think I ever want to work that hard, again, for money in the bank or the acquisition of “stuff” that only piled up on shelves and in cupboards, unused, because I was too fucking busy working!





I still have daily To-Do lists (I can't quit cold turkey) but, while it was once 30 entries long and required travel to cities all over the world to complete, it's now 5 or 6 entries long and includes yoga, making a work of art (I sculpt & paint) and playing with my two cats on the patio, while sipping a cup of matcha tea.


KJC