Fifty 4 Fifty: Embracing Life as a Mid-Century Modern

I’m turning fifty this year, hence the reference to the Mid-Century Modern—that’d be me, the ‘Mid-Century Modern’ woman. This post is a bit of a departure as it’s about me and not the child, her world or my interaction with her world. But mothers are people too so I thought it wouldn’t be too intrusive to do this one post about me.

Chrissie's Classical Guitar Recital

Chrissie on stage

This past weekend, whilst listening to my brother play classical guitar,  I had a brilliant (well I think it is) idea. In honour of my fifty years on the planet, I’m going to do fifty things (#fifty4fifty)—new things, things from my bucket list, family things, travel things, learning things, seeing people things, friend things and new people things. It’s a pretty open field but I wanted to make it achievable and fun. It’s also significant that I thought of this in January but not exactly in time to do a New Year’s resolution as my track record with those is not inspiring or even worth discussing.  Seeing as I’d like this to be a positive endeavour and not a drag, I’m doing it for my 50th birthday year only, though I’d consider round two if I make it to 100. Secondly, it’s strictly a one-off for two more reasons: I get bored easily and lack staying power; and secondly because the hashtag would become downright cumbersome and typographically hideous in year two (#fifty-one4fifty-one).

The Mid-Century Modern reference is a nod to my age and hopefully, my state of mind—not any sort of personification attempt to see life through the eyes of a Mid-Century Modern home trying to fit in with its traditional suburban neighbours because that would be weird, narcissistic and probably dull. I love Mid-Century Modern architecture because it was a departure from the accepted design (or lack thereof) aesthetic but in a good way, not just change for the sake of change. It was inspired by (among others) the Bauhaus movement, the work of Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe and resulted in the creation of physical space that reflected the sociological and idealistic values of modern thought in terms of art, architecture, politics and culture. Houses were meant to fit into their natural setting and invite the outdoors in by using post and beam structure, open spaces and large windows. It’s one of my favourite styles and if forced to make this a metaphor for my life…“In this fiftieth anniversary of my birth (the ‘mid-century’), I hope to expand my mind and my experiences by seeing, doing and thinking things that break out of, or directly contradict (the ‘modern’), my customarily held behaviours, beliefs and values (the ‘traditional’).” And that’s about as academic as I’m capable of these days seeing as I can’t really remember even getting my BA in Philosophy much less anything I learned.


Being try-hard math geek without the requisite intellectual abilities, I enjoy the symmetry of numbers and 5 figures big for me—beyond the actual number 50. My birthday is May, 5th, 1967 (yes, Cinquo de Mayo though I didn’t know about that until I was in my late 20s). It would have been more symmetrical if it was 1965 though my parents weren’t actually married (though they did date for NINE YEARS before marrying) or even 1955 but my mum was only fourteen and didn’t yet know my dad. However, using my personal interpretation of numerology (which isn’t a real science anyway is it?) it does work if I use 05.05.67 because 5+5=10; 10+67=77; 7+7=14; 1+4=5! I don’t think this is entirely correct but I’m taking artistic license here. This lack of symmetry in the year of my birth is made up for by the fact that it’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year which brings an extra ‘5’ to the party.



Celebrating Martha's birthday 2008

Lunching with Tracey, me, Mel, Misha and Martha

Though I enjoyed the guitar concert immensely, I can’t give total credit to the creative power of music for the idea. I had two human inspirations. The first one is my friend Martha who turned fifty last October and decided to go out once a week. Now Martha doesn’t just ‘go out’ she crosses the bridge and goes downtown and beyond. To jazz clubs and bars.With interesting people. It was downright inspiring and I’d like to join her one night and go to a jazz club. That’s Martha on the far right at her birthday lunch back in 2008. (Gasp)

Photo by Rod Pasch

Best ballet pic ever. Photo by Rod Pasch

My second inspiration was my sister-in-law Becky, lovely wife to the aforementioned classical guitarist brother. Becky decided that she didn’t want to organize social events and outings this year as she spends her entire day as the head archivist at the City of Burnaby organizing stuff. So she has committed to say ‘yes’ to all invitations that come her way. In the event of a lull in outside invitations, she has put my brother in charge of organizing their social life which initially horrified my mum and I, as it would be fair to say that my brother leans toward quieter side of things in social situations involving more than five people. A bold move on her part, however he has taken on his new role with enthusiasm and success. Who knew?
That’s my favourite photo of Becky taken by her dad, Rod Pasch, back in the day.

After these personal tales of inspiration and bravery, I have decided that I too can do some different things. New things, maybe even with new people. Like I said, nothing crazy. There will be no bungee jumping or skydiving because I’m just not that interested. I’m going to focus on doing those things that I always thought would be great ideas or fun outings, things that I saved the brochure for but never got around to doing or things that are just a little different or perhaps out of my comfort zone.

Back to the math world…fifty new things divided into 12 months means four new things per month with 2 bonus events available for months of exceptional inspiration. Being a practical person, I retroactively deemed a few events in January as worthy of the list.

  • On January 2nd I went out for drinks and appies with my oldest and dearest friend Leah who was in town from Toronto to celebrate her 50th and her other friends who I don’t really know well at all. In fact, I mostly know them only by the things they’ve done together and the odd Facebook post. It was cool to hang all together and get to know them too. #fifty4fifty #newpeople
  • On January 15th, my mum’s birthday, I went to the Steveston Seafood House for dinner. I spent a good deal of my teenage years working here (age 13-19). I made lifelong friends, earned a lot of money and learned a lot about life in general. It’s different now and when I thought about how old the former owner and managers would be, it was also slightly horrifying. #fifty4fifty #nostalgia
  • On January 21, my friend Mel (a Mulgrave mum and one of our ‘ladies’) was in town and we went to Black and Blue for dinner and drinks. Normally not my scene at all because it’s across the bridge and cooler than I can pretend to be. I realized that a) it’s hard to be cool when your clothes are not;  b) I need to wear more make-up as the ‘fresh-faced’ look refers to youth, not clean skin; and c) expensive and unique cocktails, leather seats and Dine Out Vancouver make for tragic service. Back in my day, we would have been fired. However, a good time was had by all AND a nice young man bought us shooters. (OK he was the boyfriend of one of our children, but still.) #fifty4fifty #newplace
  • On January 22 I went to a classical guitar concert to see my brother play. My brother plays both the acoustic and electric guitar and has done since he was six (more than forty years) and periodically performs on stage. I haven’t seen him play for quite a while so we all decided to go as a family and watch. It was a fantastic concert with an amazing roster of talented guitarists. I kept thinking about the 10 000 hours thing…I think my brother has practiced that much in the last ten years, never mind his whole life. And there were nine performers who had all clearly done their 10 000 hours. Their dedication was inspiring. I don’t think I’ve done anything for 10 000 hours except maybe sleep. Or maybe write if you count university…. Anyway, this concert also inspired me to consider attending the VSO. Stay tuned. #fifty4fifty #musicappreciation #family

So that’s where it stands right now. I have lots of ideas for the next 46 things but I’m not going to include them because I don’t want to jinx it. Don’t worry, I have no plans of posting every single thing I do. I’m keeping a list and will do a lovely re-cap blog at the end of the year 😉
(Note the positive attitude #newyearsresolution #trytobelesscynical)

Coffee Nirvana has been located.

Coffee NirvanaI have found it…only 9 or so days and I’ve found coffee without sugar from the convenience store. Lawson Station is like 7-11. I think they might actually be owned by the same people also with Family Mart. Anyway, I digress. I took Karis to her job this morning and the location to meet was near Family Mart. We were actually early so we went to get some drinks–the child has a serious addiction to jasmine green tea. I suppose there are worse things. Whilst browsing Family Mart, we noticed a line up of people with little cups of ice getting iced coffee from the machine. We were intrigued…iced coffee? Iced tea? Iced LATTES! Alas the little cups of ice were not immediately apparent so I had a look around and found a cup in the freezer with a lid and a straw and went to ‘ask’ the man. I used the word ‘ask’ loosely as I merely point at the iced coffee machine and hold up my cup and he says emphatically, ‘ja NAI” and makes crossing motions with his hands which I took to mean, “no, wrong cup” and also magically interpreted to mean you must buy your cup from the cashier first which I did (ippon no iced caffè latte onegai shimasu). Not sure exactly what I said, but it worked and for the magical sum of Y180 I got an iced latte WITH NO SUGAR. I’m so beyond happy, you have no idea. I’m now ready to face the 30+ degree heat AND the typhoon!