Category Archives: General

Things to Remember This Christmas

steff's christmas card 2006 resizedSince 1998, I’ve had every kind of Christmas imaginable. Lonely, magnificent, rich, broke, injured, healthy, in love, out of love. Had ’em all.

I was raised to believe in the magic of Christmas. We’d have a houseful of people singing carols, Dad would make his famous cardiac eggnog, the house was full of decorations and laughter, and us kids would even have visits from Santa, who brought every child there a gift. It really was magical.

When my mother died in 1999, I was pretty sure Christmas would never feel that Magical again. And, yeah, I was right — it hasn’t. But my life isn’t over, and “dreams” don’t always have to be big, flashy, and involve a credit card. Sometimes they can just be about getting back to the heart of what made your life wonderful and good once. Continue reading

Getting Philosophical as a Birthday Looms

Not too long ago, I learned of the Buddhist exercise that is tantamount to writing your eulogy for the life you hope you will have led.

I hadn’t given the idea that much thought until the recent days.

See, the thing about legacies is, they don’t just happen. They take years — often, decades — to carve out. Who we are, who we were, isn’t just some momentary snapshot — it’s a grainy 8mm movie that never stops playing.

Every day we have opportunity to contribute more to  our lives. Every day is another stroke on the canvas of our legacy, another swath of colour or texture that contributes to the work of art that is our life. Continue reading

Filler

We use words like “empty” and “full” to judge qualities of life —

“Oh, he’s amazing, he leads such a full life!”
“Wow. I feel so sorry for her when she leaves to go home, she looks so sad, like her night and life are so empty.”

…But how much of those “full” lives is filler? And how much is just arbitrary because of choices made earlier? Who or what is the standard for measuring weightiness or completeness of existence?

What’s St. Peter gonna say at the gate? “Oh, sorry, another 3.7 activities per annum and you might’ve led a “full” life, but, no, you don’t squeak through, even. I’m afraid we’re filing you under “adequate” life. Better luck next tim– Oh, ha, yeah. That’s our little joke here. Too bad you weren’t Buddhist, eh?” Continue reading

When We Were Kids: Growing Up John Hughes

I’ve been foiled by the evil estrogenies on my long weekend Monday, and my monthly female visitor is making its presence known. Happily, I’m now medicated.

More happily, TiVo ate some Breakfast Club and is serving it up fresh for me this morning — one of those few movies I can recite more than half. It’s surprising how many of those movies I can recite are of the John Hughes Library.

_am_ the John Hughes Generation. I’m so sad he passed away before 60, and bitter he stopped his brilliantly insightful teen movies when he did, back in the ’80s. I always wanted to go through college with John Hughes as my guide. Thank god Cameron Crowe peaked when he did. I’ve not yet written about Hughes’ death, though, and have been meaning to say a few words.

Everyone in my crowd has their own John Hughes memory. This is the biggest of them all, for me: The Breakfast Club. Continue reading

Yet Another Reason You Should Buy a Vibrator

I don’t have much of a garden — three tomato plants and four basils — but I’m deeply attached to the bounty and willing to put in the work.

Basil, well, that’s easy enough. Wait until June, plant, water often, eat often, be happy.

Tomatoes? Good god. Apparently they need pollinators! One thing we apartment-dwellers on the slopes of major cities don’t get enough of is pollinators. Apparently bees think apartments are for the birds. Continue reading

Citizen Steff Talks About Paint

I think this is an important topic more people should speak up about, because I’m tired of seeing my alleyways filling with furniture people could’ve reinvented with five bucks and a little imagination.

For about $110, I’m completely reinventing my living area. That includes building a new pantry for storage with MDF shelving, a gallon of primer, a gallon of paint, and some paper filing boxes. I’m also using leftover paint from last year. Continue reading