Friday, January 05, 2007

Wish me luck!

Well, it's been quite a productive day!

I received so much great feedback that I decided to submit a version of the column on my Uncle Romeo's passing (ran in Times & Transcript on December 6, 2006) to Guideposts.

I've also submitted the column that ran on February 1, 2006 (about big ol' ugly man cries), to Men's Health.

Many people were deeply touched by the column I wrote about "John's" mother (ran on December 13, 2006) who left her abusive husband after more than 40 years of marriage. Today, I submitted it to Chatelaine for their consideration.

Finally, I submitted a story to the 2007 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. I revamped a version of my column that ran on June 21, 2006 -- the one where I talked about how my mother used to send me to the store to buy Kotex when I was a kid. Read more about Erma Bombeck here. I loved her humour and thought she was absolutely hilarious. I miss her!

I'll let y'all know how these turn out!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What people are saying about Hump Day - Part I

People regularly e-mail me feedback on the column. From time to time, I will post some of the most blatantly self-serving *wink* comments here. They do not necessarily reflect the most recently column, but are comments received since December 2005.

“I loved every word and laughed out loud…” USA Today best-selling author Julianne MacLean

Go big with those new year's resolutions

Brian Cormier
Published 2007-01-03, Times & Transcript, Page D4

New year's resolutions are a funny thing. Like many people, I tend to make them every year and they're more than likely broken within a short period of time.

January is a huge month for gym memberships. Go to any gym around town these days and you'll likely find them packed to the brim with people huffing, puffing, sweating and grunting trying to get in shape.

Of course, being a rather fluffy person, I make my annual traditional resolution to get in shape and lose weight. And six months later, I'm on Oprah with Richard Simmons crying on air about how he wants to help me as he directs the firefighters to cut the hole in the side of my house so that they can bring me to the cattle slaughterhouse to get weighed. Then out I come, wearing only bed sheets because those are all that fit anymore. I hate it when that happens.

Kidding aside, this year I definitely want to sell my house. It's been listed for several months, but no takers yet. Sheesh! You'd think I was built over a haunted burial ground or that I had a 24/7 gravel pit next door. Hopefully with my hardwood floors being redone in the next couple of weeks, I will entice the right person to put in an offer that will allow me to finally get that nice condo I've had my eye on.

My friends will be pleased to know that I've resolved to not talk about my cats so much. Somehow, they just don't share my fascination that Cindy barfed on the kitchen floor yet again only to eat it right up. (Kind of negates the purpose, eh?)

Nor do my friends share my wonder at the various household items I find in the litter box after having passed through Casey, the feline vacuum cleaner. I finally figured out that the pink'ish items I found were used bandages he'd managed to snatch from the garbage for dessert. Oh well, no one has ever accused cats of being gourmet food connoisseurs, have they?

Nor do my friends care that the newest addition to the cattery - Charlotte - is likely sorely in need of antidepressants because the other two haven't yet given in to her valiant attempts at becoming the boss of the clan since she was adopted recently. Why must those other two be so stubborn? Don't they know there's a new queen in town?

Another resolution? Well I guess that would have to be to get more organized at home. I don't know about you, but I find that clutter just takes on a life of its own. I finally get the house neat and tidy and then a month later there are stacks of unread books, magazines, bills and mail everywhere.

Maybe I should just hire my father. After all, when we were kids and the clutter needed to be cleaned, it was a rule that you had better watch him carefully because everything not nailed to the floor ended up at the curb. "Dear teacher: Please excuse Brian for being naked in school. His father cleaned the house."

Although I've said this before, I also really need to reduce the number of hours I watch TV to a bare minimum and invest the rest of the time into reading good motivational books or doing more writing. There are only so many times I need to see a rerun of Archie telling Edith to "stifle" on All in the Family or watch while B.J. and Hawkeye torture pompous Charles on M*A*S*H.

So as you can see, there are lots of things I'll be concentrating on this year. And I'm certainly not alone. I know many people spend the new year making resolutions that may end up on the scrap heap, but I think that's healthy nevertheless because it proves that we want to improve our lives and that we haven't given up hope.

I think back to a great aunt I visited over the holidays. She's in her mid-90s and is definitely in the sunset of her life. Once a vibrant, active woman, she's now pretty much just waiting to die. She's too sick to do much of anything but not sick enough to be unaware of what's going on. Actually, I think she's literally bored to death.

It's both sad and beautiful in a weird sort of way because she remains so serene and peaceful in her waiting. We've been told by her caretakers to expect a call at any time. I just hope that if it's indeed her time that she doesn't fall further into illness and can just go peacefully and quickly.

I really can't fathom just sitting around waiting to die. Although I'm in my early 40s, I truly believe that my life is just starting. I've got lots of projects in mind and lots of ideas that I want to see come to fruition over the coming year and in the years to come.

I always find new years very interesting. There will be things happen this year that we can't even imagine right now. People will be born. People will die - some expectedly but many others completely unexpectedly. There will be much happiness, much sadness, and we will all sit back at the end of this year and wonder where the time went. And we'll all adjust and move on, as generations have done forever before us.

And in about 12 months from now, we'll all be sitting around conjuring up promises we can make that will make us better people and improve the world around us to the benefit of not only ourselves, our families and friends - but the entire community.

So here's hoping that your resolutions come true and that they're big and bold enough to make people stand up and take attention - especially you! When it comes to resolutions, I say, "Go big or go home!"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A very quiet house...

Wow... with my son back in university after Christmas break and my three cats being boarded for two weeks while my hardwood floors are being redone, the house is incredibly quiet. I'm used to my son being at university, but not having the three furballs around is extremely weird.

I'm going through withdrawal -- and actually think I see them running around the house from time to time! As much as they can be annoying at times, I miss the purrs and the cuddles. Yeah, I know it sounds sappy...

Oh I'll survive... but in the meantime I'm going to actually enjoy leaving food out on the counter without turning around to find a cat butt staring back at me as the other end is chowing down on the contents of the plate.

Today's column: Go big with those new year's resolutions

Don't forget to check out my column on page D4 of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

CNN apologizes to Senator Barack Obama for confusing him with Osama bin Laden

OK, someone over at CNN really needs to have their eyes checked if they're confusing Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden. This is a ridiculous mistake that should have never happened. Although CNN has apologized to Senator Obama, someone should have their knuckles rapped over this. For more on this, click here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hump Day column - Jan. 3, 2007

This week's Hump Day column will be on the subject of new year's resolutions. Catch it exclusively in Wednesday's Moncton Times & Transcript at the bottom of the editorial page. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until Thursday to read it here. I hope you all enjoy it!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Forget those wild partying ways of yore

Brian Cormier
Published 2006-12-27, Times & Transcript, Page D9

Christmas is over. The malls that had been silent for the past couple of days are abuzz again with rabid shoppers hoping for post-holiday bargains and teenagers eager to spend their Christmas money on clothing and electronics.

Now, everyone's attention is turning to the next "gotta-be-perfect" holiday, New Year's Eve. This year, however, my strike against New Year's Eve is still in effect.

In my younger days, New Year's Eve was what it is traditionally known to be for most people with a taste for the bubbly: a drunkfest.

Like most people, I would get together with friends and we would party into the wee hours of the morning. By the time midnight rolled around, most of us were three sheets to the wind and could barely remember our own name and gender let alone take a thoughtful look back on the past year and contemplate how we wanted to spend the next 12 months.

New Year's Eve was definitely a time to let loose. While Christmas was strictly for family, New Year's Eve was definitely for friends . . . and booze. So when the clock struck 12, the drunken hugs started with verbal professions of normally never-said friendly affection making their rounds.

"I love you, man . . . I really do . . . you're great . . ." one friend would say, an arm drunkenly draped over another's shoulders. Of course, that's a translation. What really came out was just a bunch of garbled and slurred words. But somehow, no translations were needed at midnight on New Year's Eve because we all spoke Drunkenese.

And, of course, there was always a crier at every party . the buddy who got way too drunk for his own good. The minute someone said something even slightly mushy to him, he would break down into a flood of tears so unstoppable that you'd think he was standing over his own mother's casket just as they were ready to close the lid for the last time. "Someone told me I had a nice shirt! Waaaaaaah . . ." This went on for years.

Then people started getting married, moving away, having kids and creating new traditions.

Today, much to the chagrin of my former 20-year-old self, my New Year's Eves have become the perfect opportunity to stay home, slip on the bunny slippers, sit on the couch with an afghan over my lap, put in the hair curlers, slap on a face full of Oil of Olay and watch a good movie. This would be done with apologies to my 20-year-old self, who would certainly be ashamed because I clearly remember giving friends permission way back when to shoot me if I ever hit my 40s and just wanted to stay home on such a socially important evening as New Year's Eve.

Now that I'm here, however, I really don't mind. After all, with the stress of Christmas out of the way, I'm quite looking forward to letting others stress and worry about making their New Year's Eve the best ever. I put all my efforts into Christmas now. I could care less about New Year's Eve these days, although I suppose I wouldn't say no to the right party offer if it came along.

Years ago, I remember that my parents always used to go out on New Year's Eve. Even New Year's Day was a big deal, with several parties and get-togethers going on here and there. As kids, we'd get up on New Year's Day morning to find the older cousin who'd been babysitting us asleep on the couch and my parents crashed in bed after a night of revelry and merrymaking.

There would be noisemakers and hats on the kitchen table for us, with strict instructions not to use the noisemakers until later in the morning when my parents would get up. There would also be leftover goodies from the inevitable "midnight buffet" the night before, including fancy rolled-up sliced ham. It didn't take much to thrill the Cormier kids. A slice of rolled-up ham with a toothpick through it was right up there with filet mignon in our books.

Of course, the noisemakers were too irresistible to leave there until my parents awoke, much to the chagrin of my mother, a wee thing who could likely get tipsy by sniffing vanilla extract.

"Bria-a-a-n . . ." I'd hear her call weakly from the bedroom on New Year's Day morning, my father still snoring beside her. I would go in to see what she wanted. And there she'd be, her face stained from black mascara tears that had rolled down the side of her face during sleep, her head shakily hovering over a makeup-streaked pillow. "Get Mummy an Aspirin and a glass of . . . milk . . ." she would manage to squeak.

No wonder she only drank one night of the year. I definitely inherited her hangover genes. I can barely drive by a liquor store without getting a headache.

Maybe one day I'll return to my old-time partying ways on New Year's Eve, I don't know. These days, though, I'm just as happy relaxing at home... just me and my Oil of Olay. No gifts to wrap. No shopping to be done. Just relaxation!

New Year's Eve these days has actually become a favourite of mine . . . a night for me. A night to treat myself to whatever I want to do... even go to bed early if I so choose. And if I could send a letter to my 20-year-old self, I'd say that it's perfectly OK and actually quite nice in an old fuddy-duddy kind of way.

So . . . Happy New Year! May 2007 be the year that makes you go "Wow!"

Happy New Year, everyone!

Hope you all have a wonderful 2007! I've already got one New Year's resolution down... to start my *()&@# blog!! Ha! Woohoo!