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Jody Vance

Jody Vance

Mother’s Day – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Cora Niele

May is for Mother’s day. Happy for so many, tough for so many.

Some of us are lucky enough to celebrate Mother’s Day today — my thoughts are with those who crave this gift and can’t conceive.

This is not like Valentines Day with a broken heart, or Christmas during a divorce – this is harder.  (I speak from experience.)  I’ve done Mother’s Day after a miscarriage and have lived through it during fertility treatment, luckily I’ve also been through one while nervously navigating the first trimester of pregnancy.

This can be an incredibly sad time for those who are knee-deep in the struggle.  It’s a feeling that cannot be realized without having survived it.

Motherhood, becoming a mother, seems so simple to the masses —  “an accident”, “unplanned”, “an oops baby” or a “we were ready and it happened”.

Right now there are thousands and thousands of women struggling to conceive — crying tears of soulful failure — on Mother’s day.

I feel you.

I’ve been you.

Today I send this out to the universe because I want, even one, hopeful Mom to know that you are not alone.

One big moment in my journey to parenthood was when a very wise physician said to me: “It’s a miracle, you can literally do everything right and still not be successful in conception and carrying to term.”  It was devastating — poignant and heady.  In hind site, it was a comfort along the way.  Yes, we can use modern medicine to assist us in our desire to parent our biological child, but being a Mom isn’t about biology.  It’s about love.

Do not hate your body for failing you. (I did, and wish I hadn’t)  Do not feel a failure for infertility, it’s not your fault.

If your friend, or loved one, is going through this — talk with them about it. Bring it up.  Share.  The isolation of “not wanting to hurt their feelings” is the journey’s very worst part, believe it or not.

Food for thought on this day to celebrate a special level of love.

Peace.

 

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Jody Vance

Voter Turn Out – by Jody Vance

Dear President Donald J. Trump,

 

Sincere thanks to you today for teaching voters, world-wide, to show up at the polls on Voting Day.  We have watched what can happen to a Nation when one neglects their civil duty.

There have been many years, here in Canada, where voter turn out has been embarrassingly low.  Today, in my home province of British Columbia we are voting, en masse.  Hopefully in numbers rarely seen at polling stations, thanks to you.

Many in line to cast their ballots are doing so for the first time, some in their mid-50’s, and their reason for finally getting up out of the armchair is largely due to what they’ve witnessed you do with the power given by your “base”.  Today, I have personally over-heard many say that they’d “learned from Trump winning” — that they “will never sit idly by again”.  You have created a world ready to be better educated on platforms and facts — ready to do their duty, in the name of protecting our precious democracy.

We all witnessed you lose the popular vote, while taking swing states — we’ve learned the consequences of being lazy on election day.  The world believes, if given the chance for a do-over, you would lose in a landslide thanks to voter turn out likely doubling.

The world now knows, more than perhaps ever before, the value of their ONE VOTE.

Thank you and best regards,

 

Jody Vance

Proud Canadian

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Jody Vance

“Old Fashionable” – by Jody Vance

Yesterday, at a family bbq, my sister in-law inadvertently coined a new phrase.  Chatting with my 79 year old mother (who was calling herself “old” and “old-fashioned”, of which she neither) my sister said: “you are old fashionABLE.”

We all loved that newly coined phrase.

Question: Why can’t we be fabulous at any age?  Answer: We can.

My mom is fashionable to the nth degree.  She’s always been independent and smart, driven and kind, sensitive and strong; beautiful.  She’s a fashionista on the inside, and out.  At almost 80 she’s cooler than most will ever be, yet is incredibly self deprecating.  She is a strong woman who will, often, say what no one else has the guts to say — she is the queen of nice, with a big dose of crassness.

While spring cleaning yesterday, I came across this photo of her from 1975.  That was the year that the hard working, single mom of two, scraped together enough money to take her kids to her homeland of Yugoslavia:

Later yesterday, here she is at the Everett Family Lamb Roast:

My mom has sparkle, she loves a sparkle. She is beautiful.  She is Old Fashionable, and one day I hope to be as old and fashionable as she is.

Sure, much to the chagrin of my Dad, she shops for things that she will never wear.  Sure, she wears things that no one really understands (the moon stones from her mom, the gecko pin I gave her in 1985, the gold Tiffany ‘bean’ necklace I talked my Dad into buying her one year for her birthday.)

As I look across the table to my mom, with all of the above, a fedora with designer knock off sunnies propped on them, the leopard print cardigan, the rings that tell a life story……I see myself.  I love that my mom dresses for herself.  She dresses for her history and for her soul.

She is Old Fashionable.

This post is about us all, men and women, taking a moment to consider our age and then ponder becoming Old Fashionable.  Own it.  Live it.  Devour it.  Like my Mom.

Perfectly imperfect.  Loveable and beautiful always.

 

** Update from Dad: “One error, her sun glasses are not knock offs, they are originals Now, I do have a problem getting her to wear them over her many knock offs ……………Why, only she knows.”

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Bill O’Reilly – by Jody Vance

 

Getty Images: CBS Archive Photo

Anyone else missing David Letterman?  It’s hard to put into words how much I do.  He was my “must watch” daily.

You might assume that my motivation to write about my “Letterman Withdrawal” is Trump related, it’s not — as much as I’d love Dave to be going “no holds barred” on his nightly monologue about POTUS — today I’m missing Letterman because I’d love him to weigh in on Bill O’Reilly.

The O’Reilly Factor here (pun intended) is that the FOX News Host had been accused, by five women, of sexual harassment and – between himself personally and FOX News owner Rupert Murdoch – had paid out a reported $13m dollars in settlements.

O’Reilly kept his job.

He KEPT HIS JOB.

When the story of these payouts were leaked, public outrage was significant. One woman, Wendy Walsh, a psychologist by trade and regular contributor on The O’Reilly Factor, accused the host of backtracking on a job offer after she declined to join him in his hotel suite after a dinner in 2013.

O’Reilly has denied all allegations, even while acknowledging millions in personal payouts, in the name of “protecting his family” from a media circus.  With 4 million nightly viewers, a ratings juggernaut, he didn’t blink.

O’Reilly kept his job.

He KEPT HIS JOB.

Bill O’Reilly is known for his viewership of right-wing Americans who watch religiously and often believe everything he says as The Gospel.  If you’ve ever watched The O’Reilly Factor, you know that it’s anything but steeped in truth.  It’s a ratings beast and therefore a magnet for advertising money.

Enter the all-powerful advertising dollars.  A couple of weeks ago advertisers started to pull their sponsorship and spots from his show: Mercedes, BMW, Hyundai — Caldwell Banker, GlaxoSmithKline, Mitsubishi, Lexus, Bayer, and on and on.  To date more than 50 have bailed, good for them.  Proof that there is power in the ad dollar, clearly more power than a group of women accusing a famous “News” man of sexual harassment.

Early today we woke up to “several reports”, in The New York Times and from The BBC (among others), saying that “high level meetings were taking place today to plan his exit”.

O’Reilly’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz has gone on record saying that this was all being driven by “far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons”.

According to the BBC, 21st Century Fox (Fox News Parent Company) owner, Rupert Murdoch was “in favour of keeping Mr. O’Reilly in his post, while his son – James Murdoch who is the CEO of 21st CF wanted him gone.

Now the news has come down that he’s been forced out, fired.

Just released statement from 21st Century Fox:

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

This isn’t the first scandal to hit FOX News, the top guy – Roger Ailes – was recently sacked due to his own scandal of the sexual harassment kind.  The man who built the Fox News conservative television empire lost his job.  How is it that Bill O’Reilly kept his for so long?

This is what’s really at issue.

David Letterman is by no means an angel (we all saw his mea culpa about the affair with the intern) but how he addressed his own indiscretions would certainly have given him carte blanche to throw down the facts, and hold O’Reilly’s feet to the fire.

Boy-oh-boy would I love to see Bill sit with Dave tonight.   Damn … I truly do have Letterman Withdrawl.

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Jody Vance

Your Song, Your Playlist? – by Jody Vance

My 9 year old has discovered music, it’s the best! (thank you Santa for the iPod Shuffle)

Unlike the old days, when we would sit at the ready with pause/play/record depressed on the tape recorder and the radio on, he has unlimited options sitting before him on iTunes.

His first downloads were “Hey Jude” (The Beatles) and “Ahead By A Century” (The Tragically Hip) — I instantly felt good about my parenting skills with his choices.  Of course, being mother of the year, I introduced him to the clean versions of Eminem, Jay-Z and 50 Cent….(while impressing him and his bestie with the fact that I know all the words to the raps. cool mom) Continue Reading

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Jody Vance

Infertility Road Pt 2 – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: BSIP

You may have seen my post for Infertility Road Pt. 1 –if you haven’t, take a look before reading on.

Today we delve into Pt 2.

Feeling alone in your struggle.

Infertility can come from the man or the woman OR it can be the fearsome “unexplained”.  I had the latter, coupled with “advanced age” (36).  The majority of fertility issues are “unexplained”.  It’s a very helpless “un-diagnoses”……..without a reason treatment is a painful guessing game.

Guessing on a miracle is beyond comprehension and it is incredibly lonely. Continue Reading

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Not “just another day” – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Caroline Purser

Today was just another day, yet not, for a couple of reasons.

First, Throw Back Thursday.

Last year on this date, I wrapped up my daily morning show on TV and was asked to “meet in the boardroom”.  Over my almost 5 years at this station there were literally hundreds of layoffs — today it was my turn.  I was told “the bad news”, and yet it wasn’t bad — at all.

Fear of change isn’t in my DNA, I’m not sure why.  Change comes and then it’s embraced – there’s always something new and exciting — un forseen — ahead.

One year ago today, while fielding texts – and calls – of condolences, there was this crazy good spring in my step.  “Onward!”

Don’t get me wrong, I love to work, I really do.  I also enjoy immensely the security of a good job – but I also love change.

Change came, one year ago today.

My second point here is: Today — March 23, 2017 — is a personal landmark day.

Today, while walking my son to his friends house (so that I could get to CKNW for my radio job by 8:15a) we happened past a gent and said “good morning.”  He returned the nicety and then looked back and said “hey, you are the writer, aren’t you?”

I paused.

I’d heard “that girl from ______” (Sportsnet, Seeking Stanley, LeafsTV, City, CBC, VTV, CKNW, Rock101) but I had never been recognized for being a writer. I looked back questioning…and then it happened.

He said, “Mybackyard, right? I just found it, I love it. Thank you, I really love it.”

Insert my head exploding with pride and gratitude.

My son looked at me with an impish, knowing, grin.  He loves when his mom is “recognized” — he said, “wow, mom, now you are a writer too!”

I’m a writer.

Game changer. What a profound example of how change is always for the better?

My point here — buried a bit, I will admit — is:

Right now THAT GUY is reading this and, perhaps only now, realizing how his words made me feel about me.  Thank you “E”.

Words don’t do justice to how you (and you and you and you.) make us feel by reading, and commenting, here.  It matters, has impact, makes the world a better place – one reader or writer at a time.

Here at Mybackyard.press we are over 40,000 (in just 6 months of writing and sharing) and growing!

Every contributor here is a writer, (thank you) every reader here is part of our community (thank you) — we are so glad to have you here in our backyard. #mybackyard

Life can throw you curveballs, and fastballs, knuckleballs and sliders — catch them all — it’s worth the gifts you must wait to see.

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Jody Vance

Singletons. – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Liam Norris

My family goal always included a houseful of kids.  Growing up with a big brother, and very close with our cousins, often we were four – or more.  We learned from each other – social culture – independent play.  The parenthood dream, for me.

Alas, as you’ve seen on this blog in “Fertility Road Pt. 1”, my struggle to have just one, was real.  When my boy was born I felt incredibly lucky.  We could talk, at great length, about the up/down side of having an “only”, not to mention the pressure to have “multiple” kids.  Today isn’t about that.

Simply put, today, we celebrated the singleton.  No plans, no playdates, few kid-only distractions, just us.  Me, my boy and my partner.  We walked the dogs 5K in old growth forrest (in pouring rain), did major spring cleaning chores, got groceries – and OK, hit the dollar store for crafts and silly string – most of all we were just together.

At one point I asked my, highly social, son if he wanted a play date and he said “nah, I like this.”  At that moment the mom in me, who loves a full house of screaming nerf-gun wielding 9 year olds, said, “Me too bud, me too.”

He’s hit the age where we can really do stuff that matters.  Safeway wasn’t just the adults shopping, this time it was him hunting for specific items we need during the week.  He’s able to run around a store solo and find these things.  Obviously, it would be faster for me to “just do it”, as I have for his entire life.  I felt so good watching him venture out and come back successful in his task.  Life skills.

We are a busy family and often we just need chill time.  Evenings we often default to “you go watch your show, we will watch ours”, this time (after short protest) we chose together.  Planet Earth II is free on demand.  We watched and discussed — the kid regularly exclaiming “how did they get this footage?!” (that’s my boy)

Today, hanging with the singleton – without distraction – punctuated how fast he is growing up.  If I’d had a friend along to happily distract him from our tasks (as I’ve often done) I would have been distracted from the fact that he is quickly becoming quite capable.  He loved showing off his latest life skills.

We all loved it, at the end of the day, and at tuck-in it was decided that we would carve out more of this in future.  I’m in. (and yes, I still do story time – chat – tuck in.)

Only child sounds lonely – but that need not be the case.  They have their village, as they should, they also have the same family dynamic opportunities – without sibs.  Fostering that is my new Mom lesson.

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Positive Parking – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Eric Woods

Here’s the scene.

I had a wee fender bender (my fault) a couple of weeks ago and had a loaner car from Jim Pattison Toyota Downtown while they fixed “said bumper”.

That little Corolla was a godsend in getting me to and from all of my planned meetings and such.  I’d added the loaner license plate number to my pay-by-phone parking app (if you don’t use this app, you should!) so it was easy to hop in and out of various busy streets.

I parked my loaner a tonne over the four days I used it — and then I picked up my happy little 2016 Prius before heading out for my planned lunch with my very pregnant friend Robin.  Congratulating myself, I found sweet parking on Granville St – used the app to pay – and headed over to Heirloom.

Tangent: Heirloom is our fave spot to fit Robin’s cravings (can you say apple and old cheddar grilled cheese with home made hot sauce?!).

Two delicious hours later, I returned to my car with 5 minutes to spare on the app.  Fluttering in the breeze was a ticket.  (!?!)  I eye rolled to myself as it dawned on me that the app was still set to my loaner car plate.  DAMN DAMN DAMN!  There was $100 I wasn’t planning to spend on lunch…..

Just for the hell of it, with nothing to lose, I called the City of Vancouver.  For as much as folks bitch about City Hall I must say that every time I’ve called there the customer service has been quite stellar.  After explaining my situation, taking full responsibility for being an idiot with regard to the plate mix up on the app, the woman helping me said, “Oh my gawd, I’ve done that! Stand by.”  She put me on hold for 2 minutes and then came back.  “I see you did pay for the spot you are on, I will cancel the ticket.”

I felt a bit like I’d won the lottery.  There is actually technology for brain farts when parking. It made my day.

I texted Robin to tell her what had transpired and her reply was: “good things happen to good people.”  I laughed to myself as I saw how this unfortunate ticket had actually turned into a nice little silver lining.  Sometimes there are good stories to be found in this world of road rage and price gouging parking.

What’s next?  Well, I may just see if folks let me merge onto the Lions Gate Bridge — go big or go home, right?

Find the silver lining in your Saturday, it’s there, sometimes you might just have to go looking for it — after an eye roll.

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Live TV is the BEST – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: MARK RALSTON

Having spent the better part of my career doing live TV I can attest to it being quite a rush.  It’s amazing when it goes well and when it doesn’t, as long as the subject matter is not life or death, it’s an adventure.

Last night’s Academy Awards certainly counts as an adventure in Live TV.

First, it must be said: I loved Jimmy Kimmel hosting.  Jimmy looked comfortable and prepared — I very much enjoyed his Matt Damon schtick. He seems unflappable even on that massive stage known for swallowing up even the best of the best.  Full disclosure, I wasn’t much for the tour bus segment, but that’s just me. Schtick like that seems like a massive time-waster.  You cannot tell me those weren’t plants….etc…etc.  I thought Kimmel was on point with his Trump jabs too, they were hilarious and yet not hateful. (#merylsayshi)  The candy stuff added quick whimsy.

Today, of course, no one really remembers much of that …everyone is talking about the Final Act of the Oscars 2017. Even if you didn’t watch it live, you now know how La-La Land producers were handed the Best Picture Oscar when, in fact, Moonlight had won it — on paper.  What a fantastic train-wreck to witness LIVE on TV.

Everything goes still.  Awestruck wonder hits.  Could this happen to Hollywood royalty the likes of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty….there to present Best Picture, on the 50th anniversary of their film Bonnie and Clyde?  The golden age of Hollywood represented as the biggest award in Hollywood is presented — that’s when the train goes off the tracks?

Their introduction was classic, filled with that slow cadence saved for stars who owned the screen when silence was golden.  There was Beatty’s quasi-political statement of tolerance and equality, followed by the usual produced piece introducing the nominees.

Cue the Live TV drama.

Did you see it as it was unfolding?  Some suspected that Beatty might be having a bit of a “senior moment” during an, almost uncomfortable, epically long pause.  Did you see the confusion?  The look into the camera (to the control room) then to the wings (to stage managers) his silent cry for help?  Some assumed it was a bad joke .. him stretching his time on stage, but no.  His last gasp for assistance was to show Dunaway the card he’d pulled from the red envelope — unfortunately she was in the Oscars Presenter’s Moment (likely assuming that he was giving her the honour of announcing the winner.) He wasn’t — he was looking for her to HELP HIM handle a highly unusual situation.

The card read: Emma Stone – La La Land.  Dunaway read: “La La Land”

Beatty appeared to be giving show producers every signal in the playbook that “something isn’t right here”.  When he tilted the card to Dunaway, he was looking for an opinion – not an announcement – but how was she to know? When has their ever been a WRONG ENVELOPE at the Oscars?

You know what happened next, the Producers of La La Land rejoiced and gathered on stage. Only to notice that there was chaos ensuing behind them. The Representative from PricewaterhouseCoopers lurking with the stage manager and Kimmel…  Live TV baby!

“Moonlight won”.  The very eloquent Producers of La La Land made it clear, and gave us all an incredible Oscar Moment.  Snatching the gilded card from Beatty’s hands and dramatically turning the official placard to camera, as proof.

Everyone in the audience had their phones out to record the moment. (as if it weren’t covered by a zillion cameras!)  The Oscar Gaffe of 2017 will have folks talking Oscars for days/weeks/months/years to come.  It’s now eclipsed the Snow White Open debacle from 1991! 

Today it is the folks from PricewaterhouseCoopers who are in a spotlight they really don’t want.  This their statement today on Twitter:

We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred,” the accounting firm stated. “We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and [host] Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.

This is Live TV people.  Anything can happen.  This is why it’s such a rush to pull off a “well oiled machine” show, like say, Hockey Night In Canada.  Broadcasters (indeed The Media) make this look easy, it’s not.

Hilariously off the cuff – Jimmy Kimmel blaming Steve Harvey was so defusing.. (referencing his Miss Universe debacle of a winner announcement)  Warren Beatty standing tall to the microphone and being very crystal clear on what happened, and why, explaining himself immediately, the viewer along for the ride.  Live TV.  Don’t you love it?

We re-watched it all, did you?  Are you still talking about it today?

 

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