Tag Archives: friendships

north pole, south pole

Hello, friend…

Just a quick thought before I go to bed tonight. How life swings from one extreme to the other, how the heart and spirit can soar before the proverbial balloon is popped and everything falls to pieces.

This time last week, I was settling in for the night at my sister’s home in Lachute, Quebec and preparing for my first batch of stand-up shows outside of Toronto! I had always thought my first gigs outside of Toronto would be in Barrie, Ontario or whatnot… not miles and miles away in my home province of Quebec. But I had a fantastic Quebec debut in Gatineau, Quebec and cannot wait to go back!!

A year ago, I could not have fathomed my stand-up career would be moving along as nicely as it has been. A year ago, I could not have fathomed I could say “my stand-up career” with a straight face.

Then fast forward to tonight, I am digesting the news that my dear friend Ray has passed. His death is not a surprise, he was not well at all, but it is still a tough reality to digest. I will be at his funeral in a few days, to wish his family love and Ray peace as he goes to infinity and beyond.

A year ago, I met Ray as part of the documentary I’m co-producing on a phenomenal man named John Feal & his fellow 9/11 first responders. I recall John telling myself and the crew we’d be meeting Ray that day, and I loved him from Hello. Despite the cancer that had invaded his body, Ray was light & love. I was able to call him a friend for one year, 365 days.

Such extremes, but such a perfect example of where life can take you. A girl came into the bakery so sad, only letting me know that she was having a very bad day and we agreed a cupcake would help perk her spirits. Hopefully it’s sweetness would counteract her tears.

As my heart nurses its wound, I take immense pride in recalling how days before I went up on stage in my hometown and made people laugh. At one show, friends were in the audience. My sister and my nephew as well. I marvel at where my life path has taken me, and wonder where it will continue. If I will ever remember what it feels like to be kissed at the end of a date, because I think I’m starting to forget how nice that can feel. But that’s the beauty of a new day, isn’t it? New opportunities present itself… as my friend Ray would have said, that’s a good thing.

I have lost two beautiful friends to cancer this year, Ana-Alecia & now Ray. But while it took my friends, it can’t take away the impact they had on me and those who knew them.

Because that’s all that matters really, how you impact people & the impression you leave behind.

xo.

i left my heart in hicksville

Hello, friend…

You might have let out a chuckle when you spotted the title of tonight’s blog, and I can’t blame you really, but it’s a place. It’s in the state of New York. It’s the residence of someone I love a lot. I got some sad news today, news I knew I’d be receiving sooner than later (but hoping it would be MUCH MUCH later) but I received it during my shift at the bakery I work at. It wasn’t a place I could yell and punch a bag of flour, really (though ohmygod do I want to do that when I get asked some of the questions I get asked by customers)… and then I had to head off to a meeting for the board of directors for my apartment building (because I’m the Treasurer)… and THEN I had to go to a comedy show and do a bit about a douchebag I met online dating (because I am a single lady, with a plethora of such stories to tell).

And now I’m home, and I have a space to yell my lungs out… but I can’t. I am, however, crying as I write this. Though technically I can blame that on my mascara, which sometimes makes me tear up at the end of a long day. But truthfully, we can all call bullshit on that because the truth is my friend Ray is likely not long for this earth and that is why I am crying. I have written about Ray before and I likely will many more times. I have been listening to U2’s Everlasting Love a number of times tonight.Where life really flows / No One really knows…. His friendship is not one I’ve had for long, about a year really, but knowing where I am now in 2017 and knowing where we both were on September 11, 2001… that our paths crossed 15 years later? Wow. I’m a lucky lady.

So, if you’ll permit me… I just want to address one person in particular right now…

Ray, I tell you this now because I know you’re still here and hopefully Caryn or Taylor will be able to pass on what I told you when I last saw you in April… I love you deeply, and still shake my head at my good fortune that I met you. When we began filming No Responders Left Behind, I had no fucking clue it would lead me to the people I’ve met. One of whom, is you. I am so sorry we won’t have the film finished in time for you, but I know when we do bring it to festivals next year you will have a REALLY good seat at the premiere. We both share a belief that you have to keep telling your stories, if you can tell your story or the story of someone who has passed so their memory is kept alive it’s a good day. Your positive outlook will be on repeat in my head for the rest of my life. When I’m down about x, y or z… when someone asks me “What’s in a chocolate chip cookie?”, I will take a breath and mutter ‘Chocolate and cookie’ only to myself, as I tell them with a smile what’s in… (sigh)… a chocolate chip cookie…. THE POINT IS, Ray. I will miss you greatly. But I’m here to keep telling your story, and the stories of your fellow First Responders. I will do that, and promise you that. Thank you for helping me find my voice as a filmmaker and as a storyteller. xo, Kelly.

Because my journey for this documentary started by my watching The Daily Show, I’ll end things tonight with my Moment of Zen. It’s from when we wrapped our first block of filming in May 2016… Ray is the dude in the center… rocking the FDNY uniform.

xo.

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for the benefit of mr. ray

Hello, friend…

I found as I woke up this morning not 100% certain of what happened the night before. It’s not that the previous night was a booze filled Saturday night, but rather… well. I’ll try to explain. As I’ve alluded to at times, I’m making a documentary (my first!) and about a year ago now we started filming (we being my amazing core team of Rob, Kristine, Jaime & Nic – and other awesome souls along the way). I’ve traveled with them over the year, as we follow this unbelievable man named John Feal (a 9/11 Responder and the president of the FealGood Foundation). In the course of getting to know John, we’ve gotten to know some phenomenal men & women, First Responders and their families. It has brought so much love into my life, this horrible horrible event has brought proverbial flowers growing through cracks in cement… I’ve gotten to know people who need more help now than you could possibly imagine because of what they did that day in September.

And on Saturday I found myself at a pub in a part of Long Island I’d never been to before, amongst more people than you could count, celebrating the sunshine that is a beloved 9/11 First Responder named Ray Pfeifer. For the first time, I was there without my core crew but with a new friend, my camera guy Jimmy… and we just soaked in all this love. Ray has Cancer, he’s been kicking its ass since 2009 when he (& a lot of 9/11 Responders, actually) learned of their diagnosis and it’s relation to Sept. 11th. But as I say, this is my first documentary and I came into it so very accidentally (watching the Daily Show & sending a Tweet). I began following John because I was astounded to learn of what he’s been doing and continues to do for his fellow Responders. And little by little, trust was granted and given, and they have welcomed us into their community.

As photos flashed all through the venue, it struck me that we have been woven into the fabric with our little documentary that could. I saw pictures of myself, our director Rob, Jaime… I saw us flashing amongst these photos of years previous as the guys lobbied in Washington… and amongst all of their history was us.

Short of what I was wearing on 9/11, I remember almost everything about that day. I remember how scared I was as I watched the TV with co-workers at the CBC in Toronto. There is no way on Earth I could have foreseen myself crossing paths with people like John and Ray. But it’s an example of the good that has come out of the horrors they experienced, and I witnessed. There has been so much bad, but there has been so much good too. But it’s come at a cost, and I’m aware of that.

With our little film, I’m trying to throw as much good as I can into the world. The world needs it, stories of good hope and people doing the right thing simply because the right thing needs to be done. For as hard of a time as I’m having with finding love, for the mess I’m making of that (though yes, I know it makes for “good material for my stand-up”)… the event yesterday reminded me that I’m helping to tell stories that need to be told. And that is a good thing.

I wish so much I could make Ray’s Cancer go away.  I wish I could bring back my dear James & my friend Ana-Alecia who lost their fights to Cancer, but I cannot. But I can help by telling stories.

I don’t know what I’m really trying to say here tonight. What point it was to post this, except that … well… we all have stories to tell. YOU have a story to tell. So you should go tell it. Because by speaking up, it could help someone. Jon Stewart spoke up on The Daily Show, and it moved me to speak up on social media and offer help to strangers. Who are now my friends.

xo.

fried-day…

Hello, friend…

It’s been an interesting week. I’ve started on a new project, that will take me through the winter months, and it’s not without its challenges. Starting something new never is without its challenges! I’m hoping I will be able to navigate the waters, but this Friday night had me leaving work and crying as soon as the company of the people on my subway had dispersed. Text messages were sent to my brother and a friend, telling them I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and maybe I’ll quit. While I can’t get into what exactly I’m working on, needless to say I’m in a spot where I’m taking what I know (writing, being funny, being organized)…and pushing my boundaries.

It’s growing pains, right?

Now, it didn’t help that I had a panic attack yesterday. And there was too much talk about an old flame of mine. And I forgot my hat at home. You know what, yesterday felt like the first time I really bombed while doing stand-up, I lost control off the top of the day (forgetting my hat)… and by the end, I was crying in the bathroom. Wondering what I didn’t get into a “stable” career path.

For someone, such as myself, it’s funny though how much I don’t like stability. I have anxiety, I panic at the drop of (pardon the call-back), a hat. And yet, I use it to my advantage and use it to prove myself wrong… well, I try to. Some days you just gotta ride the inner roller-coaster and accept that using powdered coconut milk in your pancakes for breakfast REALLY was not a good call, Zemnickis. (It really was not. But I now know better for tomorrow’s breakfast.)

ANYWAY. What I’m not doing a great job of today is getting to my point. A simple one.

Last night, friend’s hosted a board games night and I’m blissfully glad I splashed some cool water on my face and headed out the door. I almost turned back home when I got to the subway as I felt my anxiety tap me on the shoulder, but I continued on. Laughter, veggies & dip, and the company of people I adore brought me back to what REALLY mattered that day: My friends. Sharing stories. Kindness.

And then I got a text from a strange man online, asking if we could go for brunch & then have sex! No, strange man, we cannot… but thank you for making me laugh very hard when I needed it.

xo.

 

new!

Hello, friend…

Happy New Year! How did you close out 2016? I was at the ROM with my friends Sara & Chris and a handful of their cool pals… it was such a great night. We all looked HAWT and we were in a museum drinking wine, there were snacks and plenty of mingling with the dinosaurs. There was FREE food in tiny Chinese food take-away boxes! ADORABLE! Canadians only see those boxes in American sitcoms, we don’t get those when we order in Chinese food. Man! Those boxes are the cutest. ANYHOO. While drunk boy & drunk girl were making out at the table near me, I was feeling like the true winner as I scooped a tiny box of mac n’ cheese and headed up to a room filled with gem stones with my squad.*

(* Mental note, stop saying “my squad”. You’re almost 39 and you are not Taylor Swift. Probably just spell HAWT as Hot, too.)

I had free food. I had access to booze. And I was staring at diamonds. This is not a bad way to end a year and start a new one, folks.

Did I have a date for NYE? Nooooope. Did I have amazing people around me, felt good and was happy? Yuuuuuuup. I mean, I was wearing my favourite Calvin Klein dress that I bought WHEN I WAS TWENTY-NINE!!! I STILL FIT IN IT!!! Sure, there was no Midnight Kiss for me, but I bought that dress TEN YEARS AGO AND IT STILL FITS. Yeah, okay, it would have been awesome if a cute fella swooped me for a kiss. That would have been very very nice. But no, no instead I had a guy earlier that day confess that his Top Three interests are “Smoking weed, singing and masturbating”. Hashtag: win! 😦

I felt like a gem last night, though. A new year, I looked good, I had a tiny box of food and could have easily taken 20 more tiny boxes of food had I brought a bigger purse. That’s a fun problem to have! Not a fun problem to have? Dealing with a boyfriend who had left his previous girlfriend when he found out she was pregnant and now had a new girlfriend who was trying hard to get along with his family who still love his old girlfriend who happens to be offering out ultimatums to his new girlfriend because she feels she needs to suffer too. OMG!!!!!! This was told to me by someone I didn’t know at the MALL. Clearly, this young lady needed to vent and my heart sank for her. (She was my make-up artist at the store I was in. I really had no escape route.) Relationships can be so complicated, but that sounds like walking into a trap. Daily. Even if you know where the traps are.

Truth be told, it was a moment where I breathed a sigh of relief that I am single. I don’t go out of my way to celebrate the fact that I am without a boyfriend, but in my head I high-fived myself as she spoke.

Have I mentioned a guy told me one of his top interests was masturbating? I have? Okay. Cool beans.

I left my night at the museum with a light buzz from the champagne, laughing with my friends and oozing gratitude that one year ended and a new one started amongst beautiful things and shiny, happy people.

I don’t know if 2017 will yield any museum worthy pieces, but time will tell. What I do know that there is beauty in the smallest of things and those moments are worth celebrating any day of the year.

xo.

signed, sealed, delivered…

Hello, friend…

A parcel arrived in the mail the other day from my dear friend, Shanna. It was a gorgeous tie-dyed tee that reminded me of a similar shirt I had as a kid and wore as often as I could. There was no note to explain why she sent me a shirt, but I knew why she had sent it. Last month, we celebrated our 21st anniversary. Well, to be specific, our “friendaversary”.

21 years ago, I got a letter from a girl named Shanna in Virginia. I remember opening it on the floor of my family’s cottage in Malone, NY (Lake Placid, basically). She had gotten my name from a “friendship book” you would pass around in those days of being Pen Pals (you filled your name on a blank page, gave the details of what you were looking for in a pen pal and sent it off with another letter). Shanna thought she’d write me. I liked her instantly, and wrote her back… but not having an envelope on hand I remember grabbing a magazine, finding a cool ad and making an envelope from that. (A tradition we’d continue to do over the years.) I sent a reply back…

Back in those days, I wrote to people from all over the world. I loved getting a letter and learning something new about someone far away, the anticipation of what their news was, it was just fantastic. You shared things you couldn’t share with your classmates or siblings. As the years went on, Shanna moved across the Ocean for school but came back eventually… we talked about meeting up numerous times, but it just never worked out. But we continued to write, maybe the odd phone call, but we never stopped talking. And then one day I got an invitation… to her wedding close to her home in Texas. This was not a time to find an excuse as to why we couldn’t meet up. I HAD to go.

The photo below is the first photo we ever took together. At the end of a day where we got to hug for the very first time. This is the only photo from that trip where my hair didn’t expand 89 inches because Texas weather did odd things to my hair.

Port Aransas TX 058

We have experienced heartbreak over the years, loss so painful they still hurt years later. We have experienced breathtakingly beautiful moments. We have our differences, but we love each other a ton regardless. And it’s all chronicled in our letters which I still have. Which I will always have. They chronicle our lives in a way that can’t be replicated, they chronicle moments we forgot about, they contain seashells from when Adam proposed to her on their vacation. Shanna and her hubby Adam are the parents now of two adorable children, whom I cannot wait to meet. Well, I kind of met Josalyn …. she’s the one in the baby bump Shanna sported in the photo below, when we were in New Orleans for my birthday. (My bump is attributed to those deeeeeelish beignets.)

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Shanna is atop of a list of the wonderful, creative, strong and fierce women I know. I have a small group of close friends and I am so lucky Shanna is one of them. Shanna is my cheerleader from afar. Annnnd… now I am crying so I’m going to go get a tissue, and you can be thankful you’re not witnessing how much I am crying now because I’m an ugly, ugly crying mess.

Shanna, I don’t know if paper and pens will exist when we become senior citizens, but I’m certain we will find some way to write each other be it on a moon rock or space debris. I LOVE YOU, LADY!!!

xo.

 

the sweater

Hello, friend…

Dinner with friends from high school tonight lead to great conversations, the drinking of good wine and my friend Ria bringing up a classic tune from our younger days…. The Sweater.

Monday, wear the sweater to school
Be calm, look cute
Don’t tell him about the dream you had
about the place the two of you would share
when you get older
Just be yourself
The best, cutest, quietest version of yourself
Definitely wear lip gloss

If you remember it, or if you’ve never heard of it…. either way, you’re welcome.

xo.