Wildflowers Forever

Yesterday was one of the saddest days for probably everyone. But, I wasn’t expecting such a sudden goodbye from one of the men that helped shape my life with his music, his wisdom, and his southern kindness.

Tom Petty

Tom Petty passed away, surrounded by his family and love ones, last night.

Music was and still is my savior. Growing up, his songs, along with my ultimate song goddess, Stevie Nicks, helped give me the feeling of being a free spirited little girl, when really I was more of an introvert, an outsider to my peers.

img_4215

Tom was part of my musical therapy, especially in the magical band The Traveling Wilburys.

the Traveling Wilburys

The world seems a little more helpless without Tom in it. He was always “gently sweeping his guitar” in a beautiful way.

Tom and his guitar

He made it okay to be wild and free.

img_4216

This is my favorite quote from him:

Tom Petty and his words of wisdom

http://www.tompetty.com/

Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Dhani Harrison and Prince

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Beautiful Olivia

I remember the first time I saw Olivia Harrison and it’s seem it was like yesterday… It was when I first saw the videoclip ”Real Love ”from The Fab Four on tv.

 

I saw how lovingly she was looking at her husband. The kindness of this look was a beautiful thing to witness.

To me, Olivia is a warrior. A warrior of her husband’s legacy. A warrior of bringing light into the hearts of many people with The Material World Foundation.

Olivia Harrison and Shankar Family

I really admire her humility. If you haven’t had the chance to watch ”The Leaving in a Material World” documentary she co-produced with Martin Scorsese, it really is one of the best documentaries you will see. Especially if you are a fan of George Harrison or even if you are a fan of watching documentaries.

She was blunt but delicate. There is no bullshit with Olivia and I love it when someone doesn’t take any crap. In 1999, she was clearly was a fearless warrior when that horrible home invasion happened.

This week, the Thursday Maestro goes to this wonderful lady who is contributing, in her own way, to making the world a better place with her philanthropy, her spirituality, and her gentle soul.

 

 

Peace.

One of my favorite song

XXX

It’s not what you think.
Drole
 
There could be children reading The Chronicle!

Yesterday was a day for reflection.

Reflection about the unforgettable date, Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.


We all remember what we did before, during, and after those horrific atrocities.

I can’t even remember what I ate for lunch last Tuesday, but I sure do remember every move I made that day, sixteen years before.

Life was seemingly sweet in the summer of 2001. But in August, the first earthquake in my life was the death of Aaliyah. I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe it! A plane crash, what?! No, it couldn’t have been!
aaliyah

A few weeks later, as a freshman, I was excited to be an adult (in my mind) and I was ready to face the world. I was so not ready for September 11th. For the first time, I was really scared. My mom was my safety blanket, but I could feel she was shivering and wasn’t so sure that she would be able to protect my brother and myself like she always had. My father was catatonic with panic. I was even more scared.

Kendrick Lamar‘s XXX song was on my mind all day long yesterday. You are probably thinking to yourselves “hmmm… I don’t see the link between 9/11 and XXX”.

“America, God bless you if it’s good to you
America, please take my hand
Can you help me under…”

For me, I came to realize especially right now in 2017, America is so divided. Even yesterday, the President elect made this monumental date all about himself…

Kendrick Lamar’s Damn album is a wake up call about what is going on in this world.
Kendrick Lamar
The Bob Dylan of our time, or perhaps the Kendrick Lamar of our time is, by all means, the wake up call America needs. It is one of the best albums. Listening to it yesterday made me reflect of my life…. Before 9/11. During 9/11. After 9/11.

That day will never be forgotten, but neither can we forget what is going on right now. 
NY

Peace from Sab and Caitlin Murphy

The Fantastic Mr. Wittich hmm Dr. Wittich

Sometime life put you on your path some of the most fascinating people you have ever met and their spirit and story give you wings to follow your dreams. Walter Wittich is certainly one of them. His path is quiet unorthodox and at the same time very inspiring.

Walter Wittich Ph.D

Originally from Germany, Walter completed his diploma in Musical Theater Performance at the Studio Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria. He arrived in Canada in 1992, studying Modern Dance at the School of the Toronto Dance Theater. Since then, he has performed as a professional modern, ballet and jazz dancer across the country, including the Banff Center Festival Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Toronto Dance Theater and Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal. He has choreographed extensively for professional and amateur companies, music videos and television, but his favorite experience as a choreographer has always been his involvement with choir-music and movement. He has choreographed and staged performances for the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, the Calgary Men’s Chorus, and the Extravaganza Vocal Ensemble.

With the extensive support from the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, Walter decided after 15 years of life on stage, to return to school and follow a path as an academic. He completed a Bachelor’s of Science and a Master’s Degree in Psychology at Concordia University in Montreal, followed by a Doctoral Degree in Visual Neuroscience at McGill and a post-doctoral fellowship in Audiology at the University of Montreal. He recently became a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and is Quebec’s first Certified Low Vision Therapist. He has published 54 peer-reviewed scientific papers since 2005. The main focus of his research is the rehabilitation of older adults that are affected with combined vision and hearing impairments.

That’s quiet impressive. During this interview, you will discover this amazing man that I always enjoy hearing his stories, his sense of humor and basically watching his artistic and scientific side colliding in a beautiful way.

Here we go!

SD: When and how did you fall in love with dancing?

WW:I really discovered dance a bit by accident. I grew up in Germany, and there it is very common in high school a age 14 that you take ballroom lessons. I danced a lot with a friend of mine, and she took ballet back then, and suggested to me one day that ballet might really help me with my posture when we dance ballroom. We danced a lot together and had a really good time.

Once a week, I joined her in ballet class. I was always very flexible and I used to do gymnastics when I was little, so some of the ballet moves came quite easily. I did have to work a long time, though, to be able to do the splits. When I turned 15, I participated in my first recital of that school, and being the only boy, this was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Some of the kids in school were making fun of me, saying that this is “gay” and all that. At 15, I had not really figured out my own sexuality, so this was all upside down. Being a teenager was weird, to say the least.

Eventually, I started taking jazz dance classes, I really liked to sing, and loved theatre, so it made sense that I decided to go and audition for a musical theater school once I had completed the equivalent of CEGEP. I moved to Vienna (to mixed feelings of my parents, but they eventually came around), and I was living my dream.

SD: You came to Canada in the 90’s and you had the chance to discover the country while touring here. If you were to do it all over again, would you still choose to come to Canada in 2017 to have this wonderful career or would you choose, maybe like an example, Australia that basically has a lot of similarities with Canada?

WW:When I was still dancing, it really did not matter to me where I was dancing, I was simply following opportunity, which is what brought me to Montreal in the end. I knew right away that Montreal was the place and flair I had been looking for all my life. I felt at home here the moment I got out of the airport when I came to audition for Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal at the time. So, when the time came that I decided to retire from dancing and redefine my life, Montreal was the ideal place to do it. I have always loved this feeling of living somewhere that feels like both Paris and New York – and here it is!

SD: I did not know how hard it is to be in the dancing business until I watched the movie Black Swan. It is a very competitive area and in the movie, it was manly focusing on the two female characters that were played by Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. How close is this movie to reality and do the male dancers encounter the same struggles as the women?

WW:I think that every dancer has their very own and unique experience going through this career. I have seen situations that resemble The Black Swan, maybe not that extreme, but there is indeed a lot of pressure on everyone. I was probably lucky for many reasons, because I started dancing a bit later in life (at 14) and was not as completely absorbed by the classical ballet culture as many of my colleagues. I always was more drawn to modern and contemporary dance, where the approach to the physicality and artistry is at times a bit more organic, or at least that was my experience. Often, the guys also have a different way of dealing with their stressors and the competition. Sometimes, we would just get it out in the open, and then all go for beers afterwards. The ladies were less likely to take such a direct approach, but maybe that has changed by now as well.

SD: You did a 180-degrees turn when you were 30 years old. You decide to take an independent course at Concordia University. Can you tell us why?

WW:The end of my dance career was a bit bumpy because I realized that the politics of dance took up more of my time and energy than actually dancing and following my artistry. At that point, I had a substantial disagreement with the artistic director and it was time to go. However, the dancers of the company gave me a beautiful good-bye gift by letting me take my own last bow after my last show, and that gives me, to this day, a wonderful sense of closure for that performance on March 12th 2000. I took a few weeks off, visited my parents in Germany, and then returned to Montreal for a summer of discovery. I took two evening courses at Concordia, Introduction to French (always useful in Montreal) and Introduction to Psychology, because it fit my schedule and sounded interesting. It did not take long and I fell in love with learning, and learning something new each day is what I still get to do now.

In my second semester, I met the teacher that eventually became my supervisor. Olga Overbury was teaching one of the driest courses you could possible take in a Psychology undergraduate degree – research methods. However, somehow, she managed to make this really entertaining, and her subtle and intelligent sense of humor drew me to asking her if I could complete my research requirements in her lab. As it turns out, she worked with older adults that deal with age-related vision impairment, and how they perceive reality with impaired vision – and that is how I got started in the field of sensory impairment. I adore our clients and patients, and find this type of research still fascinating.

SD: Did you realize pretty soon as a university undergraduate students that you want to become a researcher?

WW:At the beginning, I was like most of my fellow students, I want to “help people” but I was not really sure what I actually meant by that, or what that could look like. Research did not really come to mind at that time. My academic adviser said to me: “So Walter, you used to dance. Interesting, so you are actually familiar with dealing with the human condition, only up to now you have done that through art, and now you can try that through psychology.” Until then, I had not really thought about it that way, but it made some sense, and I decided to try and see how far I can take this idea.

SD: It’s two different worlds you’ve been part of. Do you see some similarities between those two worlds?

WW:Sometime during my Master’s I realized that research is actually an extremely creative process. There is something very artistic about designing a good (and relevant) research question, figure out how to answer this question, and then engage in a very artistic process of writing this story for publication, so you can communicate your findings.

That is still my favourite part about being a researcher – writing. Good thing, too, because we need to do a lot of that, apply for grants and funding, write submissions for conference, publish articles, I actually get tennis elbow sometimes because I spend so much time typing, and I never learned to touch-type, so my posture is probably not the best. I love writing, telling a story, bringing an idea to life through words.

My science stories may not necessarily be as popular as Harry Potter, but I still am having a great time pushing the boundaries of science through writing about what I do. Check it out, I even tweet about my research @WalterWittich

SD: Your story is inspiring; some Hollywood film studio should do a movie about you. I wonder who should play you? Do you have an idea who can play you, haha?

WW: This is a tough question. The younger dance-me would need to be played by someone who can dance, and I am not that familiar with that generation of actors. The fun-loving science-me would need to be played by someone who is my age now but who can bring across a sense of crazy and unconventional: I nominate Sean Hayes (“Jack” from Will & Grace). Come to think of it, he can dance, so maybe he could play both the young and the adult me.

SD: I think Megan Mullally could be me. Omg, I could be your Karen to your Jack. Hmm…

That could be interesting.

Jack and Karen
On a serious note, here my next question.

As a researcher, what is the legacy you would like to leave for the next generation of scientists that probably don’t know yet they want to be a scientist and may have had a similar path as you did?

WW:An organization that has been extremely important for me in my transition from dance to science is the Dancer Transition Resources Centre (http://www.dtrc.ca/). The DTRC helps professional dancers (financially and otherwise) to successfully find their path after their performance career into the next professional phase of their lives. It comes as no surprise to any dancer that this career is limited in time, and that we all will do something else thereafter, whether that is related to dance (teach, choreograph, or go into artistic direction) or something completely different (I have a friend who became a pilot and another one who now raises goats to make cheese).

I was on the Board of Directors of the DTRC for a while, and I am planning to serve them again once I have established my research lab here at the University of Montreal a bit more solidly (http://www.opto.umontreal.ca/wittichlab/en/index.html). I would like to show any young dancer or artist that anything is possible and that we can reach into all directions in order to make a difference. We have a strong work ethic and that is an exceptional tool to accomplish what you want to achieve. Don’t let yourself be limited to only one thing.

SD Bonus question: Who are the people that inspire you the most in the arts and in sciences?

WW:I have great respect for and draw my strength from the stories of people that have overcome adversity and shine in their own uniqueness, with charm, humor and intelligence. I admire people like RuPaul, Stephen Fry, and George Takei, but many of the people that inspire me are quite unknown, because they are just people that live around and with us.

To quote Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings: “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.” To me, that is an important way of looking at life. Yes, we need “heroes” that we can look up to and elevate and better ourselves, but the daily reality of things is really what binds us all together, and that is also where we can have the most fun going through life together. None of us are alone, this is all about team work.

This is a perfect way to end a beautiful interview with Dr. Wittich and I couldn’t thank him enough for sharing his story and his pictures.

Walter 1998 &amp

Danke Dr. Wittich!

Walter Wittich Twitter account

Mitsou

En parlant au téléphone hier avec ma chère maman, je lui ai demandé cette question:

Manmy, je sais que j’ai une très grande admiration pour Mitsou mais est-ce que tu pourrais me confirmer quand j’étais petite, il me semble que je ne vivais que pour Mitsou en chantant toute la journée Bye-Bye mon Cowboy?

Elle répond avec beaucoup d’enthousiasme au bout de la ligne:

Oh oui, tu chantais tout le temps ses chansons et tu me disais que tu voudrais devenir comme elle quand tu seras plus grande, tu admirais sa personnalité et sa force de caractère.

Mitsou 80's

30 ans plus tard, mon admiration de jeune enfant s’est transformée en une admiration que j’ai pour une femme qui est un modèle de femme accomplie à mes yeux. Elle est belle ”inside out” et elle dégage une authenticité (vous remarquez que c’est une de mes qualités préférées qui m’attirent vers quelqu’un) contagieuse hors-pair.

Son site web est géniale et m’interpelle. Ce sentiment quand tu navigues une page web et tu as l’impression de parler avec une de tes copines de filles (malgré que là, tu lis), j’adore!!!

Mitsou est une excellente animatrice que ça soit à la radio qu’à la télévision. Elle est versatile et très attachante. Oh, un petit commentaire. Son site web est bilingue!!!!!!

That’s awesome!

Ambassadrice de Lise Watier Cosmétiques, elle a été directrice artistique du magazine Clin d’Oeil, elle a laissé sa marque en étant une des plus grandes chanteuses Pop de sa génération dans la francophonie et elle a son propre site web qui me fait beaucoup penser à un de mes sites préférés qui est celui de Garance Doré Atelier Doré.

P.S. Garance Doré est à Montréal. Je capote mais vraiment je capote à un point que mon chien me regarde d’une drôle de façon. Voici une photo de Mitsou avec la grande Geneviève Borne (une autre de mes femmes inspirantes) et de la reine des blogs sa majesté, Garance Doré. Bon, je devrais me calmer un peu le pompom.

OMG Garance, Geneviève et Mitsou

Revenons à notre chère Mitsou.

Ce que j’adore avec son site web est que je ne m’emmerde jamais. Je répète. Je ne m’emmerde pas du tout à le lire. Parfois, il y a des sites qui sont dessinés sur mesure pour un type de public en particulier. Ce n’est pas le cas avec Mitsou.com! Enfin, un site de bien-être québécois qui ne parle pas juste des mamans qui doivent jongler travail et famille car ce n’est pas du tout mon cas. De lire sur Osheaga, Adieu moustiques (pour ceux et celles qui me connaissent, vous savez que j’ai horreur des moustiques), le TDP et autres sujets très captivants m’ont interpellé. Pour moi, c’est ça un bon site web et c’est que j’essaie de faire avec The Chronicle.

La deuxième saison de Mitsou et Léa sera de retour. Can I get a woohoo!!! Elles rencontrent des femmes inspirantes de différents milieux qui sont des femmes déterminées et fortes malgré tout.

Mitsou et Léa

Je suis très contente que dans ma vie autant que je trouve beaucoup d’inspirations envers des femmes et des hommes qui proviennent des quatre coins de la planète, je suis doublement reconnaissante de ces femmes de chez-nous qui font en sorte que j’ai le goût de foncer comme elles l’ont fait malgré tout! Mitsou en fait certainement partie de la bande et je suis très fière de la femme qu’elle est aujourd’hui.

Je l’ai toujours été depuis 1987 même quand je m’imaginais de chanter en duo avec elle dans notre cuisine en tenant un crayon de couleur Prismacolor (old school). En 2017, on lâche les crayons Primacolor et on continue à admirer cette femme qui a un coeur grand et qui continuera à nous inspirer.

Merci  Mitsou!

http://www.mitsou.com

Fight Flair Fight

This man.

To beat the man you got to be the man
This force of the nature.

Wooooh
The ultimate show man.

Ric Flair
A man that became the man he always wanted to be.

You cannot get unfazed by this nature boy. His undeniable energy, his intensity and his love for the business.

He passed the torch to the next generation of legends like him. Ricky Steamboat, Sting, Vader, Kerry Van Erich and Bret Hart to name of few. Even if in my humble opinion his match were pretty predictable, he did put those amazing wrestlers to another level.

Right now, Ric Flair is fighting probably his biggest fight. Correction. He was always a fighter since his childhood and it wasn’t easy for him. Life is a road of challenge. Fans around the world are praying for him.

When Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes passed away, I was so crushed. I felt like when Macho Man die that I lost one of my favorite uncle. Yesterday, I didn’t expect to hear this really sad news. It’s bittersweet to think about them all.

Flair and PipperDusty and Ric

I don’t remember exactly when was the first time I lay my eyes on Ric by watching wrestling in our big 80’s television. His long platinum hair, his bling, his jacket went off somewhere, he couldn’t stand still and I was hooked but I was like in a mode of what the hell am I seeing…

You can feel the bond he share with his brothers. Family for life!

Dusty Rhodes and him, omg, that was pure magic. Like it was dynamite.

Championship Ric Flair vs Dusty Rhodes Pro Aug 23rd, 1986

He got some flaws and he wasn’t the most perfect guy like no one is perfect but we are all rooting for him right now.

In the winter 1992, my mom had this pink bathroom robe that she never use it (I still couldn’t understand why). And I would wait for her to go out make some errands and I would wear it (I was 9) and walk in it like I was Ric Flair. Playing his entrance music in my head, making this face of I’m the best of the best and make a 180 degree turn in slow motion and putting my mom diamonds rings that were clearly too big for me.

Here some magical matchs of  him:

Kerry Von Erich wins the NWA World Championship May, 06, 1984

Clash of the Champions 01 – (3-27-1988) Ric Flair vs. Sting

Championship Ric Flair vs Dusty Rhodes Pro Aug 23rd, 1986

My smile is slowly making a comeback while I watch those videos.

You can see sparkle into his eyes when he see Charlotte and all she have accomplish. Wrestling does bring family closer in some case. It’s really beautiful to see the both of them together.

Daughter and FatherTwo of a kind

Fight, Flair, Fight.

Charlotte

http://ricflair.com

Hope

I clearly remember the first time I heard about Terry Fox.

Terry legacy

I was 6 years old and my brother left his English book on his bed (since we were going to a francophone system school). Since I love reading and looking into a book but I couldn’t read English then, I stopped at a page where a picture of Terry Fox running.

I was worried and asked my brother why one of his leg seem to be missing and replaced with something that I couldn’t understand.

As a big patient brother, he calmly explain to his worried little sister that Terry is running for finding a cure to a cruel disease. I asked him what kind of disease and it was the first time I heard the word Cancer. I was so sad that he was sick but my brother told me :

Look, he is smiling in the picture and he didn’t give up. He is a hero little sister.

Terry

I asked if he is okay and my brother told me that he didn’t but his legacy will be forever engraved and in everyone of us, we will carry Terry’s spirit. I don’t know if he remembered that discussion but I sure did.

From this moment, especially when I face small or big challenges, the first person that came in my mind is Terry Fox.

Cancer, this awful and cruel disease still hunt us ” and I’m being very polite”.  There is no ones that cannot say that this disease didn’t knock on their doors one way or the other.

He did knock on mine a few times.

But on September 17th 2017, we will walk, dance, run or doing all of the above with pride, joy, maybe a few tears of joy for the ones that did, are and will fight one of the biggest fight of their life..

Yellow Brick Road

I will walk (hmm I’m not a good runner like I run like Phoebe on Friends … It’s not pretty at all) on September 17th and I will think do it for my father, father-in-law, hubby and friends that did encounter this awful disease.

And I will talk on The Chronicle about inspiring people that will participate in this race around Canada.

This is a beautiful quote from Terry:

”Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me

Terry

We sure will Terry.

http://www.terryfox.org