Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A little less than a year ago…a Reflection

Okay it’s that time again where I am going to ramble about my first loves, you know, puppies, fresh rain, travelling – okay that’s a lie – I haven’t rambled about anything NKOTB since April (other than chatter) so I think it’s due.

Doesn’t that just make you all warm and fuzzy inside?? Ohh well maybe if you’re a “Blockhead” it does, if you’re not, I’m sure you’ll role your eyes, feel your stomach tighten and you may want to puke. I’m sorry about your luck. You really outta join us – it’s a great time to be alive and one of the most fun times I am convinced I will ever get the opportunity to experience and live through.

So today is a special day. I will be honest and say that I didn’t even know that it was until I woke up and logged onto Twitter. Today (Wednesday September 2) is the day that “THE BLOCK” album was released. On this day in 2008 NKOTB or as many of us still refer to them “NEW KIDS” released their 1st studio album in 14 years. !!

In sales, it peaked at #2 in the US & #1 in CA. Bet ya didn’t know that. I know I didn’t. Shame on me – I know
You see in August 2008 I think is when the tickets were released for the concert on November 18th in Edmonton. I remember calling my sister LAUGHING telling her we had to go, just for kicks, that she had to call her friend Lisa (who was a 2nd generationer) and I was going to call my BH friends Tanya & Michelle who I had recently reconnected with because of FB.

I think when I called / well actually Facebook’d these gals and phoned my sister, I think they must have thought I was nutz. Unfortunately Tanya, who I had gone to the show with in November 1990 wasn’t able to come, Michelle who was a DIE hard but had totally put them out of her mind Jordan girl was in, reluctantly!

I kinda touched on what this experience was like in my last blog – so don’t mind me repeating myself. You don’t? – Oh Good! Onwards then….

So we bought our tickets – part of me was embarrassed to be buying tickets, part of me couldn’t wait. I spent years being ridiculed because I liked them, to this day I still get teased; the difference now is I don’t care what any of you think when it comes to “Our Guys”. I’ve written about what they mean to many of us a couple of times and I won’t bore you with those specific details, except to say that it’s been a year since they officially came back, a year since they released their much UNDERRATED Album. And for me, it has been one of the best years of my entire life.

None of us knew or could have ever known what would happen when they re-appeared. Their album was released in August and I didn’t even know it. I didn’t follow them over the years and for that now, I hang my head in shame. I was a HUGE fan growing up, but I was growing up and I didn’t believe there was any room left for them in my world, besides, they left us right?. WRONG! I know now, they never left my world, they just sat in the background quietly waiting. They were embers slowly burning waiting to ignite again.

Like my metaphors? Haha Good – I have lots more.

Had they not come back, I can’t imagine what this month would be like, or for that matter what this year would have looked like. Things do happen for a reason and their timing was impeccable.
When the show came in November, Michelle and I were beside ourselves. We had no idea, do we scream in excitement? do we die of embarrassment?, what kind of show could they possibly be doing?. Did they even have any new stuff besides the “Summertime” single?. I had no idea what I was in for.

The opening acts weren’t bad – Lady Gaga is an interesting artist to say the least. Natasha Beddingfield, despite the horrible attempt at speaking French to a Western Canadian crowd was good. Finally it was show time. The lights went down, the screams picked up and all of a sudden BANG we were back Circa 1990 all over again!

We didn’t see it coming, we had no idea how fast we would be transported back and we certainly had no idea they were coming back even more incredible than they were back in the day. Perhaps we’ve all grown up; perhaps we were all just ready for the incredible release they allowed us.

It was that night, November 18th, 2008 when I realized I had been missing out. I decided to check out their website if they even had one still and I looked up who was carrying their album so I could purchase it the next day.

When I got to the website there was a ton of information, an entire tour that went on for what looked like months and months, they blogged to their fans and there was a community. A Community? What the hell was that all about? So I logged on. That is when my life as I knew it changed, oddly enough, but it did.

I started chatting with folks from all over the world, we all had one thing in common and the more we talked, many of us had a stupid amount of things in common. Was it unrealistic or weird? Maybe for those who were not involved with NK back in the day and by involved I mean, was a huge fan. Chatting in that community felt a lot like coming home. It was fun and was oddly normal. Almost like I had always been around and involved. I had a ton of catching up but those who kept following the guys after their break were more than happy to help catch you up.

You were never treated like less of a fan because you didn’t “keep in touch” but I can honestly say a part of me felt horribly bad for “giving up” or “growing up”. Now I make up for lost time.

It is odd, I will grant you, that one band can create this type of following. I’m a fan of many many artists, but not like I am with these 5 guys. Maybe because as a kid they were my release, my first “loves”, maybe because of all the musicians I’ve seen, or listened to, they impacted my life the most. I loved them when I was growing up and changing. My tastes have bounced all over and I am proud to love all kinds of music and artists, but what it is about NKOTB that holds me so tight is unknown. It’s something all us “fans” experience and I’m not sure any of us can truly explain it.

Wow I can ramble huh?

So before the show in November, Michelle and Lisa (haha yup, my sister Lisa and her friend Lisa and my friend Michelle) were all giving me a hard time about throwing a party with a NKOTB theme. I was supposed to do it as a build up to the show but couldn’t get a date or time in and before we knew it the show was here. After the show, I definitely had a ton more motivation to pull out all my old stuff and actually go forwards with our party plan.

In January of ’09 I hosted my first and hopefully annual NKOTB Walk Down Memory Lane Party. It was a small group of gals coming and one new comer. Through the community, I met Melissa, a fellow Edmonton girl. I had only chatted with her from time to time via FB and the threads, but we had never met. I invited her to the party, much to a lot of people’s surprise. Was I insane to invite someone I have never met? To my house? What if she’s a wacko? Hahaha I laugh hard at that now because in reality – I knew she was good – she was a NKOTB Girl, wasn’t that enough to get her through the door safely? One of the oddities of all us NK fans coming together is the incredible amount of trust we have for each other almost instantly. Some of us click quicker than others, some of us don’t click at all, and for the most part (short a few rotten apples) we all respect each other. I figured worst case scenario, Melissa would show up and we wouldn’t hit it off like we had via FB and it would be over. Best case scenario, she would be exactly what I expected and fit in like a glove.

She fit like a glove!

After the party, Melissa invited me to a NKOTB party at Schank’s she knew was happening with a bunch of ETown girls. I didn’t know a soul. I knew Melissa and that was it. I knew that a girl named Jenn who was only 18 was one of the hosts and I wondered how an 18 year old could possibly be all in love with NKOTB when they had left 18 years ago – she wasn’t even born when they broke up. I was excited, nervous and a couple of times I nearly bailed. .

But I didn’t and I had an amazing afternoon with some of the most fantastic ladies I have ever had the opportunity to meet. Jenn is like a little sister and I can’t imagine not ever knowing her, or any of the other gals I met that afternoon.

At the party everyone was discussing the upcoming Saskatoon show in April. I wasn’t going, it was Easter Saturday and was in S’Toon. One of the gals, Lesley had extra tickets and offered to sell them to me. I had already decided I wasn’t going, but after hanging out with these ladies for a couple of hours, I questioned what my problem was. Would they be around forever? No not likely, would the tour end soon? Most likely? What if it was the last show I ever got to see? I went, my Jordan girl friend Michelle in tow.

If you read my previous blog here, you know I shook Joe’s hand, saw Jon so close I could touch him and was in Cloud 9 – as a kid I had dreamed of being that close, and now 18 years later here I was living my childhood dreams.

The concert was amazing and intimate, the venue was small. I held a sign (an inside joke really I had made for Jon based on something he had posted on twitter) and when I held it up – for that 20 seconds I felt like a 14 year old (granted it was a very adult like sign to hold – I still felt 14) – to think I had made a sign (something I didn’t even think of doing in 1990), me a 33 year old made a sign for someone who is 40. You live once right, may as well have fun doing it.

So I held it up and then I do believe he noticed it, he made this face like “I can’t believe you have a sign that says that!”, smirked and kept going with the show. I shook like a leaf.

That night Joe also held up a sign that Melissa had made and it was on the big screen and all. It was an amazing experience and one I shared with my new found friends.

These gals are people I would never even know had “THE BLOCK” not been released or had the guys not come back with such an amazing album (of that I am 100% convinced without a shred of doubt). Our paths would have never crossed and this past year would never have been this fun.

Looking back, I can’t imagine my life without them. Through them and because of them I have met so many more BH’s (for those not in this world – that means Blockheads).

I have done and plan to do things I would never in my life have dreamt of doing or thought of doing.

In October I am walking with 10 of these BH’s on a Bettys Etown Girls team. Danny Wood (a member of NK) lost his mother to Breast Cancer back in 1999 and is very involved with the Susan G. Komen Foundation in the States. As Canadians we can not be involved with them, so we have decided to support the sister foundation in Canada – the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

We decided to create a team and put the call out. Almost immediately we had nearly a full team but just a month ago we were short 1 member to officially call us a team (you need 10). So I put the call out via FB to all the women I know that are NK fans. They may not be as star struck as I am now, but they had seen a concert this year or at the least liked them back in the day and I thought maybe just maybe one of them might consider walking with us. It was a long shot, but worth a try.

One of the first people to respond was a friend of mine, Nadine. Nadine and I grew up together, my mom and her mom were friends and I knew Nadine from Kindergarten to Grade 6. I spent countless hours with her in the summer out at the race tracks, we spent Halloween’s together, we went to school together, and I remember giggling a lot with her.

We had lost track of each other over the years, but little things would remind me of her, the car races, race flags, Arby’s (haha – don’t ask), driving past her old house. So we were not friends anymore, but I had great memories of my friendship with her.

With the arrival of Facebook came the arrival of looking up lots of “old” friends to see what they were up to. One of them was Nadine. When the concert in November came, we were both counting down the days to the show – she was a lot more open about it – I secretly counted. I didn’t know or realize she had been a fan until then. The day before the show, I messaged her and told her to have a great time. That maybe I’d see her there. I knew from the minute I typed that, it was a long shot. We hadn’t seen each other in over 20 years. What would be the odds?

Can you tell where I’m going with this?

After the concert, high on being 14 again all of a sudden I hear someone call my name. I look at my friend Michelle and tell her, I think someone is calling you haha – she says are you kidding? I don’t think I know anyone here. We hear it again and that time I totally recognized the voice. It was NADINE! She was sitting a few rows above me the whole show. We both hugged and I couldn’t believe it!

She was one of the ones I sent an email about the walk to and honestly to my surprise, was on board immediately.

Then this week, I got yet another email from my friend Tanya who like me had let the NK craze thing go with our childhood, messaged me to say she was interested too!

This is insane! Both of these gals, had it not been for Facebook and for the fact that at some point in our lives we loved New Kids on the Block, wouldn’t even consider doing a walk for Breast Cancer with a team of crazy Blockheads we as a group, would not exist this year had it not been for their new album and the comeback.

Just so you know, I’ve embraced the word crazy, it’s endearing to me. Crazy to me means having fun, living life, laughing, being yourself and loving every minute of your journey. We are crazy, we’ll giggle like little girls when we hear or see them, we can find nearly 1 million ways to link the guys to everyday stuff : Starbucks, Chocolate Cupcakes, Black & White, Real Estate, Working out, Smoothies, Books, Block Parties and the list goes on and on. We buy all the stuff, the albums, tour books, key chains, sweaters, t-shirts, and we go on Cruises – Yup doing that in May. We travel all over the country and some even cross continents. We may be crazy, but we love it! And I know for a fact, not one of us would change it.

I can’t wait to introduce both Nadine & Tanya to the rest of the Etown Girls I’ve had the amazing opportunity of spending the past year with and I can’t personally wait to hang out with my ol’ friends again. Our group here in Edmonton is getting bigger and bigger by the month it seems and out of the 11 girls walking, I’ve met just over half. The rest I’ll have the absolute pleasure of meeting in a couple of weeks when we pick up our team shirts & hat. All of the gals I have talked to via FB but have never seen face to face, so it should be a great time when we do!

I’ve mentioned the Etown Ladies I’ve met and had the pleasure of calling my friends, but there are also countless other ladies I am going to be meeting in May ’10 who I also consider good friends, Adina, my roommate on the boat from Ontario, Veronica from California, Ella, another Ontario-ite, Shanon from just outside of Edmonton, Cindy, Amanda (both from the US) and many many more.

My life has been forever improved by having these ladies in it. They are wives, mom’s, sister’s, aunts, friends and it is with extreme pride I call them my friends.

Without the release of “THE BLOCK” would any of this be happening? Would my circle of friends still only consist of people I work with, the few close friends here at home and my Calgary crew? Would I have joined some other group of people, joined an organization or volunteered somewhere to meet more people or would I still be looking for ways to improve my social circle?

I’ve always wanted more, to do more, to be more. I’m fortunate and happy to have what I have in my life, but there was always that lingering question of “what else is out there”. In this time and this place, it’s my BH Sisters. Will this sense of euphoria last? I dunno, I think so. What I do know is I have rekindled old friendships, made new lifelong friendships and laughed and smiled more in the past year than I ever have. There is no price you can put on that. There is no going back.

So today is a special day. It was one I didn’t even realize last year existed and even though this day came and went, I had no idea how it would impact my life. I am grateful, I am happy and I am excited for everything this “NEW YEAR” is going to bring me.

This is living. It may be because of some childhood crush not gone away; it could be because of a higher power. It could be because of the incredible energy one group of guys created 18 years ago that never burned out. It just needed some wood on the coals! I do know this much now. This fire is stoked, it’s burning bright, it shows no sign of going out and for those who are still reading this wondering why they are and still rolling their eyes, don’t mess with this fire. It’s stronger than you and I combined.

I believe that everyone should in their lifetime experience the kind of fun I am having because of this reunion. It may not be because of a musical group, but you should all experience it. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I’m glad I’m around to live it!

Cheers to our Blockversary!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ohhh The Insanity! An Explanation to the Masses..but is it really warranted? Hmmm

Alright so I'm in a writing mood tonight - every know and again the mood hits me. Got the vodka chillin in ice and a brain full of active writing material.

Some of this may bore some of you - some of it may humour some of you....some of you - will just have the confirmation of what you've always assumed...Yup..I'm insane! what?!

Lately, many of you my fellow Facebook Friends, Coworkers, Friends, Family and other people who I share common interests with have watched me "digress" into a state of insanity.

What the HELL is it with all this NKOTB shit you might be saying? Is she really posting all this stuff...acting all teenager like again..FoR REAL...GROW UP..right? Right? RIGHT?!

Well here it goes my explanation for my behaviour - even though I know better and know I don't need to explain it - I just think I want to!
I don't need nor do I want any kind of intervention. I'm perfectly sane - I'm LOVING life and I'm having a blast. If that annoys you - then I am sorry. I am who I am and I'm not going to appologize for that!
Let me start the story late 1988 or so......

These 5 guys BLASTED onto the screens, radios and everywhere else they could be. They were a product of a dream that later became a machine. They had talent - no question - they can sing...they can dance, they can write great music - they were and are still incredibly good even! They were given a raw deal and are still getting a raw deal. Respect? Apparently they don't deserve it. They went Platinum multiple times - broke records all over the place - sold out arenas and are currently selling out arenas and yet when I say their name...there are gasps and FOR REAL? Aren't they old? They're broke that's why they're back...etc.'s's NAUSEATING it's TIRING...If they are then are WE and every frickin band making "their comeback"....they aren't broke - not one - they all continued to have extrememly successful careers - the blasting is really very tiring! I had to defend them and my decision to like them as artists and people when I was 12 and now I'm almost 33 and I have to do it again? PLEASE!
I wonder on a daily basis who is more grown up? the people who think I'm childish for following them or me? I, in my heart know the exact answer to that question - so don't doubt - I assure you - if you think I'm acting childish, then you can answer this question with very little assistance. I promise you..the more grown up is me. Perhaps I'll leave that reasoning for another rant another night.

Anyways they blasted onto the front page of every magazine back in the day. They were an escape. They were there no matter what you were going through. Your Birthday / Christmas- you'd get stuff with them on it, if you were sad, their music would sing you to sleep or keep you company when as a late elementary kid / jr high kid you felt alone.

Kids are and can be evil at the age I started liking these guys and their music was an escape. They were something that was mine. I didn't have to share them with my siblings and they were something me and my friends could talk about for hours on end, fantasizing, dreaming and yes, screaming at - for the love of god...I still don't get how it is they can make us scream like that?! They made us feel giddy and they were my very first crush! I was pretty convinced I knew what love was...*L* just cause I liked them SOOOO much. Fellow Blockheads..I'm sure you can relate...BTW..when did we start getting called Blockheads? *L*..I don't remember being a Jr Blockhead back in the day?! and so I continue....

But they were there. They preached positivity, they promoted kids to stay on the "right side of the tracks" but they were kids too..just like me and my friends. They lived a world away from us, but when they talked in interviews, did videos or sang, they sang to just us...they we're ours.

I started to grow up, I decided I was maybe too cool for these cool kids and I was getting tired of constantly defending them, being made fun of and I just let them go..... High School came and did NKOTB. They became "Old Skool" before I graduated - yet - they didn't leave the scene until 1994 - the year I graduated. I don't remember their departure - I don't remember even blinking an eye at any story about it. It was over.

I've lived a lot - moved a lot, seen a lot. Life is too short to not have fun - and in 2008 I was at work one day..I got a form from the Oilers for a concert coming in November for NKOTB..ARE you FREAKING KIDDING ME? I laughed my ASS off...seriously Laughed..called all my ol friends and said - for old times sake..lets go see them. For many of us - they were the first concert we ever saw. I saved for MONTHS to be able to afford the ticket - back then..a Whopping $35.00!!

We went..I was weirded out by the whole thing - did I still like them? Why the hell and how could I be "giddy" over 5 guys all now pushing 40. I truly expected them to fall flat on their asses - I expected to laugh the whole night but strangely the minute the lights went down and their NEW music started it was like 1990 ALL OVER again....something in me kicked in - my inner 14 year old - I don't know. We're calling it nostalgia but it was something more. It was comforting almost.
I'll never expect those that didn't / haven't experienced a concert this year - fan or non-fan to understand - you'd have to be at a current show to see and feel the energy - it's incredibly contagious - it's without a doubt something you can't imagine..gotta see & feel it to believe it! It was like a SNAP REALITY....they were a part of my life - a huge part of my life once upon a time ago - and they've come back - to say it wasn't a dream come true - would be an understatement - I know NOW that their return was PERFECTLY timed - it's their time again and they still have lots to say. The past 18 years of not following them has vanished and I'm right back to where it all started. Don't worry..I'm all grown up - I have bills to pay - I just like to cut loose once in a while and they are the perfect escape!

When I went to their concert(s) this year - yup been to 2 - one in Edmonton and the other in S'Toon. It was like they're back and everything is going to be okay again. Any stress of the day, any worries I had..that night for those 2 hours completely vanished. They managed 18 years later to do EXACTLY what they did for me in 1990...WTF? By the may be asking - so did they fall on their asses - no. I am ashamed to even think they'd come back and not be prepared. Their new CD is amazing - the work they have done with other artists is truly AWESOME...They are MEN now...they may still have New "Kids" on the Block as their name but really - *L* that was their name...if the Beatles were to come back - they wouldn't change their name...why then should NKOTB?

Speaking of Beatles - I know people completely CRINGE at this comment but for millions of us - in this era..the rise of NKOTB and the continued fandom we all are proud to promote is because they (NKOTB) are our Beatles. We're not in anyway comparing them - but they really are....they have the same type of followers that the Beatles had - yet if the Beatles were to make a comeback - no one..NOT ONE person would make fun of their fans. 18 years later I'm irritated and blogging about why I like the guys...*L*..Go figure!

So for those that wonder why there is so much hype and why so many of us are back to acting like "teenagers" again - I assure you - we are fully aware of our actions. We are fully aware that to the folks that don't believe or like or support or whatever you want to call it - will never understand. We'll try to get you to understand but we're fully aware what bus we're on and it's cool that you're not interested in joining us. In fact we don't care if you don't understand. We have lots of other things in our lives that we love that you're apart of - but the guys - they're ours...and most of us are happy to keep it that way.

So there! By the way...Smirnoff Ices' are really good - probabley not at 12:30 at night on a work night -but they can be an Insomniacs best friend! no?

Back to my endless rant - One of the super cool things about this ride we're on is that I have met some of the most amazing people, I have re-kindled old friendships, I've made new friendships I can't believe or can comprehend why I didn't have them in my life earlier- these new friends that is - It's all about timing- I've had some incredible experiences. And now the time is ours! I've met people who are exactly like me - who had a very similar upbringing as a child - who lived and breathed the guys like I did as kids, who GET ME....they understand and they've become one of the most sincere amazing support systems a women could EVER in their lives ask for.
A common thread brought us together and technology made it happen. When I was 12 - there was no internet? no outlet but crap magazines who we knew made up lots of stuff. Now we have direct contact with our favourite guys via Twitter, they have an incredible website and a community where they and ALL of their fans can keep in touch - and I work - I can now afford for the most part to experience concerts like never before!
The beginning of this month I went to S'Toon for a concert - I didn't know what to expect but I was hoping I might get a chance encounter to meet the guys - I saw my favourite (Jon) up close so close I could have touched him - I shook Joe's hand - I SHOOK JOE'S HAND?! He's not my fav but he's one of the guys and as a fan - we love them all...we just got our favs. But when he shook my hand - all I could think about was WOW - I'm so glad I'm 30ish now - I can actually enjoy this and not pass out like I may have done at 12...*L*. I know now more than I could have comprehended at 12 or 14 that they are humans - who have made a difference in millions of people's lives.....I have the highest respect, gratitude and loyalty to them and will always!
Really - they are just as much a part of my life as anything else. We have no idea if and when this round will end. It's something we all have tucked back in our minds - because as realists all things must come to an end. We're not looking for it to end any time soon - so any "push" , fun activity or shenanigans we participate in - is for a short time. We're going to take every second of this ride and live it. Life is too short to constantly be in "work" mode. Right now - they are my escape.
So if you're tired of seeing the endless NKOTB stuff on my page - or tired of hearing me talk about them. Well I'd love to say I'm sorry - but I'm not.
My name is Michelle and I'm a Blockhead...*LOL*

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bewitched Special Events

So today - switching gears a bit - I'm going to talk about my on the side venture - well one of them actually. I've started my own part time company. It's an investment in myself, my skills and my creativity.


WHY? What a strange name to have for a Special Events Company....well I would normally agree with you - except the word Bewitched has a special meaning to me.

On my business card - a phrase can be found at the bottom. It reads:

"For he's bewitched forever who has seen, not with his eyes but with his vision"

Being an event planner requires a wee bit of creativity, imagination and above all a vision. My clients tell me what they see in their minds - in their vision - it is up to me to help them make that vision a reality to the best of my ability.

I bewitch them. For when they see the final product, they are seeing not just with their eyes, but with their vision. It becomes their reality.

So when I located this phrase - I thought - what a great way to explain what it is that I do.

So what is it that I do?

Well from beginning to end, I can recommend, refer and point you in the direction of your dreams. I consult on ideas and will help you keep within a budget.

I can source products, entertainment and venues.

And on the day of your special event, I will help with the set up ensuring the vision becomes your reality.

The types of events I do are wide in scope. The vast majority of my experience is in Corporate Events, Trade Shows, Open Houses, Picnics & BBQ's, Family events (Birthdays, Anniversaries, Special Days such as Birthdays, Valentines, and any other party theme you can think of), I have experience planning large and small scale BBQ's and Picnics and recently have been working the wedding side of things too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An Update..Can't believe it's been almost 2 years

Wow...well let me first start by saying that for almost 2 years - I couldn't find my own Blog...HOW? you ask..well that's interesting - I can only say it's because of the frame of mind I was in when I first signed up to Blog - I couldn't even properly spell my blogspot name after all this time is actually...

I totally couldn't spell. GO FIGURE! So welcome to those that are just reading my rantings for the first time. I'm a bit of a lunatic. I worry, I ponder, I am a wee bit crazy. Hope you enjoy this ride.

So since my last couple of blogs - I was fighting two different demons...the first one was Aspertame. On May 13, 2007 I took my last glass of Diet Pepsi and sucked it back. I am happy to report that as of this May, it will be 2 years since my last drop of anything Aspertame.

Do you have ANY IDEA?! how hard it is to shop within lower calories and not buy aspertame products - (by the way Splenda, Nutrasweet, etc etc) fall into this category to. For DO NOT be mistaken....Splenda IS NOT is a chemical...with 3 molecules of CHLORINE in each GRANULE....

Now folks with Diabetes or other ailments - don't put a hate on towards me. I know some folks feel they have no options...I am only speaking on my experience. I truly belive that had I not stopped ingesting that horrid substance, I could easily be in a much worse condition today than ever.

I was in and out of doctors - would go for days without eating (but still poured upwards of 2-4 L a day of pop down me). When I ate, it was yogurt, popsicles, jello, softdrinks, etc. etc. if it had ASPERTAME or SPLENDA or Nutrasweet - I bought it...surely the lower calorie count was much more better than the actual harm of a chemical. Everything we eat has chemicals...RIGHT?!

Well they do - but I was voluntarily eating it. AND LOTS OF IT. I gained more weight than I ever have in all my years - even though most days I didn't eat an ounce of food...I just wasn't hungry. My eyesight seemed to be getting worse , I was loosing hair at an alarming rate- I was DIZZY..all the time. I could audibly hear my stomach gurgle all day long and after a couple of x-rays, tests and several weekends of Milk of Magnesium treatments - nothing changed and for some unknown reason - there was "nothing wrong with me". So now we're caught up - almost. I stopped injesting Aspertame stuff...cold TURKEY!

Wasn't willing to stop the Caffeine habit at that time though - I tried and switching back to regular pop definately slowed down my drinking of the sludge...but it didn't stop me. Eventually I was back to my regular routine of 2-4 litres minimum a day of regular pop - my weight ballooned a bit again and then leveled out.

In February of last year (so nearly a year after I stopped Aspertame) I started taking a supplement of sorts that gave me incredible energy, had me sleeping at night soundly, seemed to help my dizziness (even without aspertame - I still experienced horrible dizziness in the mornings - often falling into my walls), and overall made me feel fantastic. I joined the company as a Distributor of this product because of how much it had helped me and beacause of the scientific proof behind what it was capable of doing. Oh and the owners...MAN..they know what they are doing. Have you ever heard of Steven K. Scott or Greg Fullerton? No....Google them...AMAZING stuff.

By March '08 - On my way to Kelowna for a conference I pointed out that I hadn't been interested in drinking pop very much - it was if my taste for it was disappearing. I didn't know why or what was causing me to all of a sudden "not" crave the caffeine but I wasn't experiencing any major caffeine withdrawals at all.

In Kelowna at a restaurant, I ordered a pop - it cost me nearly $5.00 (alot really for a glass of sludge) and I only drank 1/4 of it. I was razed for paying such a ridiculous amount for a drink and not actually drinking it. Before I would have had them refill it 2 or 3 more times in one sitting.

That weekend I weened myself completely off of Caffeine and other than the odd "treat" here and there (can count the number of times on one hand) that I actually had a caffeinated pop beverage - I am now completely 100% caffeine free. The odd time I have "treated" myself - the fear of being horribly addicted again does cross my mind - but then it hits my tongue and I have absolutely no appetite for it.

Drinks like Sprite..NOW there is my 3rd demon. Sugar. I've always been addicted to Sugar and as much as I thought Caffeine was a huge demon - my sugar addiction is much much worse. So my drink of choice these days is Sprite.

I'm down to less than 5 cans of pop a week now - compared to 5 pops in one work day. So I suppose any progress is progress.

Thanks to this incredible supplement** provided by Max International (, I am caffeine free, feeling better than ever and have the tools to battle just a couple more demons. SUGAR & WEIGHT...Hmm..something tells me the two go hand in hand...

Until next time!

**Note: Results from taking this supplement differ for each and every person. This is just a statement of my experience, NOT a medical claim.

Monday, May 14, 2007

HA! The rantings of a lunatic

So today was day 1 of no "diet pop". Originally I thought I could do this cold turkey. By noon today I was about to chop someones head off. So I've decided to resort back to regular pop and atleast keep the caffeine kick for a little while longer. As long as that shit isn't going into my body anymore - and by shit I mean aspertame. I'm going to book with my sisters spa and get an Ion Cleanse...can't wait to see the sludge that comes out of me. It'll be worth taking gross pictures of for me to share with you - my imaginary viewers.

So I made it through today with one pop total - a diluted fountain regular coke pop. Just one - pretty good I thought for day 1. If I can keep this up for the next two weeks I'll be well on my way.

Today was a challenge. People tested me (of course without knowing it), but they did and I passed - they are all still alive.. HA! They say that when people copy something you do - it's the most sincere form of flattery. Well BULLSHIT! it's not flattering to me - it's downright annoying. Can people really not just do something cool on their own. I mean really - I am no trend setter - I follow my own rules - I have my own book that I write, and I suppose if I do something that is "main stream" and others like it - and copy it - I should be flattered but all I can think of is "for god's sake" be original. I am attempting to be original by myself - by you copying me- you have now made my idea not so original and I get annoyed...does it ruin my life - of course not - and do I stay mad for ever- no it's not worth my time....but for the sake of my sanity - don't follow me - I will lead you down a very dark path. Good thing I didn't crack out the whips...*G* Would anyone follow me then? Doubt it!

Ahh so the rantings of a lunatic. I could go all night long the mood I am in tonight. But for the sake of my sanity or perhaps my love for my insanity - I'll save the ravings for yet another night. They say email and merlow don't mix...*L*..What about Bartles & Jaymes & a Blog? Ahh a marriage made in heaven.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Aspertame - My Diet Sludge Addiction

For those of you who know me, you know that I have for a long time been afflicted with a horrible habit. It's not drugs, alcohol or's Diet Pop - Pepsi and Coke when it has to be to be more specific. I am now 30 - almost 31 and I have been drinking "Pop" in large consumptions (sometimes more than 2L a day) since I was 15. 8 Years ago I switched to Diet Pop (w/aspertame) because I had joined Weight Watchers and was allocated a certain amount of points a day in which I could consume (calorie wise). A regular pop would cost me 3 points and when you only have 27 points a day and drinking 2L plus- I was deflated - I knew unless I switched to Diet I would "never" loose the weight. But then I was told - that Diet pop is points.

I switched IMMEDIATELY to Diet - I didn't slowly start - I went full tilt - buying anything and everything I could with Aspertame in it -after all it wouldn't count for any points and I could eat/drink as much as I wanted. The first 2 or 3 weeks I was ILL. I had the wildest stomach cramps, was moody, and tired. I chalked that up to the diet, change in lifestyle and the "sugar" withdrawal I was going through. I did blame the stomach cramps on the Aspertame - I knew it was a different "Chemical" introduced to my system and I gave it (my body) time to adjust. Eventually it became the norm - regular pop tastes like shit (dirt) to me and it's been Diet and only Diet drinks from then on.

I lost some weight on Weight Watchers - I was doing well and really only 30lbs from my goal. I quit and did it on my own. For 6 months I maintained my weight...and then it happened. I ballooned. I gained everything I had lost plus 30 more pounds - I've tried OVER AND OVER AND OVER again to loose the weight, all the while hanging on to my staple - my meal replacement, my constant side kick Diet Pepsi.
I've battled ridiculous stomach issues - loud gurgling, loss of appetitie, fatigue, blurred vision, hair loss, sore muscles, muscle cramps, weight gain, bloating, swelling and the list goes on and on. As I type this I am looking at my glass of Diet Pepsi and as much as it repulses me, it screams my name. An addict - in every sense of the word. I know the drink is VERY unhealthy. I've read the reports, got the emails, been told over and over again how bad aspertame is for me and like a smoker who knows they could easily get cancer but continues to smoke, I continue to drink.

A month ago, I was researching online how to kick what I believe I have - a Caffeine addiction and came across a ton of sites that said "Quitting Heron would be easier". Caffeine is a tough one to beat and as I read the pages and pages of blog posts of people talking about how they "tried" to kick the Caffeine habit - they just could not. Defeated I decided that I too would not be able to kick the habit and continue to drink my 2L a day of Diet Sludge.

Tonight - I am fed up with my stomach issues, fed up with my weight, fed up with feeling like complete and utter shit all the time. So I typed "Addicted to Diet Pepsi" in Yahoo. I came across a blog site of a gal who is a lot like me ( Her story is almost EXACTLY like mine. As I read it - I thought Good God..this is me and I have to quit drinking it.

After I read her blog I found a site of Aspertame Side Effects. There are a ton of them - I am listing them here to be a constant reminder to myself. Those listed in red are all the ones I experience or have experienced:

Aspartame Side Effects
Adverse reactions and side effects of aspartame include:

  1. Eyeblindness in one or both eyes
  2. decreased vision
  3. and/or other eye problems such as: blurring,
  4. bright flashes,
  5. squiggly lines,
  6. tunnel vision,
  7. decreased night vision
  8. pain in one or both eyes
  9. decreased tears
  10. trouble with contact lenses
  11. bulging eyes
  12. Eartinnitus - ringing or buzzing sound
  13. severe intolerance of noise
  14. marked hearing impairment
  15. Neurologic epileptic seizures
  16. headaches,
  17. migraines and (some severe)
  18. dizziness,
  19. unsteadiness,
  20. both confusion, memory loss,
  21. both severe drowsiness and sleepiness
  22. paresthesia or numbness of the limbs
  23. severe slurring of speech
  24. severe hyperactivity and restless legs
  25. atypical facial pain
  26. severe tremors
  27. severe depression
  28. irritability
  29. aggression
  30. anxiety
  31. personality changes
  32. insomnia
  33. phobias
  34. Chest palpitations,
  35. tachy cardia
  36. shortness of breath
  37. recent high blood pressure
  38. Gastrointestinal nausea diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools
  39. abdominal pain
  40. pain when swallowing
  41. Skin and Allergies itching without a rashlip and mouth reactions
  42. hives
  43. aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma
  44. Endocrine and Metabolic loss of control of diabetes
  45. menstrual changes
  46. marked thinning or loss of hair
  47. marked weight loss
  48. gradual weight gain
  49. aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  50. severe PMS
  51. frequency of voiding and burning during urination
  52. excessive thirst,
  53. fluid retention,
  54. leg swelling, and
  55. bloating
  56. increased susceptibility to infection

Good - so on this list - I have listed 30 different things that I experience almost every day. There are only 56 things on this list and I have well over half. Enough to scare the daylights out of me. Enough to definately make me want to quit. I'll finish my last glass....tonight. Struggle to get by this week without "dying" and try to be as humanly human as possible as I fight two very evil demons in this process. Caffeine & Aspertame..the game is over....It's time for me to claim back my body. Be gone with you both!!!