Life can be Beautiful

Beautiful

It begins with Carole King sitting in front of a grand piano speaking to the audience. She tells us that life doesn’t always go the way we plan. It’s what we do with where life takes us that can make it so beautiful. Then she sings So far away.

Last night at the theatre I felt like Carole King, played so eloquently by Chilina Kennedy, was speaking directly to me. Besides the fact that this play, Beautiful, was one of the best I have seen in a long time, with great music and a strong story, it got me thinking about the path I have taken in my own life.

Young Carol Klein was a brilliant and talented young woman who convinced a record producer to buy her song, at age 16. She was on a career path to become a teacher but instead became a composer, a lyricist, a singer and ultimately one of the greatest female artists of the past 50 years.

While it was never my dream to join the music industry (I play piano, but not like Carole King!), Beautiful made me think about the dreams I didn’t pursue and the path I have taken in life. Have I followed my dreams, and even if I haven’t, am I happy with where I am and what I have accomplished?

As a teenager I attended a performing arts high school for one year, with a major in dance and a minor in drama. I loved theatre and acting and at the tender age of 14 had aspirations to follow that path. While I participated in dance and drama classes and directed camp and school plays I kept this dream to myself and never pursued this path.

At age 16, the same age that Carole King wrote It Might as Well Rain Until September, I experienced that moment in chemistry class, soon after I created Kinetic Man, which made me want to drop science and become a journalist. I loved to write, but again, I pushed the idea aside.

I guess you could say I considered myself to be a sensible person. Instead of following my instincts to be a member of the arts or media communities, as an actor, a writer, or a journalist, I went to university, on a path to be a doctor. I soon realized that being sensible wasn’t going to work for me, and I am happy I followed my dream to become a journalist.

I will admit that over the past 15 years my career and life path have traveled in various directions and gone off on sometimes unplanned tangents. If I look back at my 14 or 16-year-old self, would I be happy with where I am now?

I’m definitely writing, and this blog is fulfilling a dream I have had for over 10 years. It has taken me years and many jobs to figure out that my true path is writing. Will I write a book, contribute to a publication or see where this blog takes me? Right now, I don’t know. But I do know that no matter what path I follow I will make it beautiful.

The Wonders of the Hotel Breakfast Buffet

breakfast buffet

I traveled back from Halifax on Monday, and Tuesday was so busy that I did not have a chance to write and post. My apologies to anyone who was looking forward to Sports Wednesday today, which will not happen this week. Instead I have a few more thoughts from my trip to the Maritimes. As you can imagine from the title of today’s post, it’s about the wonders of the hotel breakfast buffet.

As I ate breakfast on Monday morning, with an overflowing plate of delicious goodies in front of me I started to think about the various hotel breakfast buffets I have enjoyed over the years. When I travel, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when I stay at a hotel which rolls out a vast breakfast buffet.

When I am at home breakfast often consists of a bagel with cream cheese, yoghurt with fruit and granola, or if I am in a rush sometimes it’s just a banana. I’m really not much of a breakfast eater, mainly because of laziness. But when I stay at a hotel that offers a breakfast buffet suddenly I become an eager breakfast eater and dive right in.

Unfortunately, it did not occur to me to take photos of the various hotel breakfast buffets I have enjoyed over the years, but I will describe some of my favourites here to create a written picture.

Israeli hotels are known for their spectacular breakfast buffet. I remember the first time I laid eyes on one, back in 1988. My family traveled to Israel, and on our first morning in Jerusalem, at the Moriah Hotel, we came upon a breakfast buffet that seemed a mile long. Chocolate pudding for breakfast?! I was in love. Over the years, as I stayed in numerous hotels across Israel I became an expert in cruising through the selection. One will find a vegetable area, with a choice of every kind of local produce, and of course a variety of fresh fruit too. Don’t miss the endless selection of dairy offerings, such as cheeses, yoghurts and creams. There is fish for those who enjoy it and various kinds of pastry and cakes.

I also recall the English hotel breakfast buffet that I enjoyed in London over ten years ago. When my husband and I arrived on a cold December day our hotel realized it had made an error and did not have a room for us for the first night. They moved us to another establishment nearby which was huge and basic but did offer a breakfast buffet. I remember how heavy the food was, with a lot of eggs and meat choices. That was the first time I saw (but did not eat!) Black Pudding. Not for me.

Then there’s the beautiful breakfast buffet offered at the Westin Nova Scotian in downtown Halifax, where we stayed this past weekend. We stay here every summer and always look forward to breakfast. It is elegant and tasty, with many choices for adults and children. It offers many of the typical foods one would see at any North American hotel like scrambled eggs and bacon, pastries, fruit, cheeses and cereal. But what puts this one over the top is the chef who makes made-to-order omelettes and waffles (with whipped cream and chocolate sauce if you want to indulge). Yes, we indulged.

breakfast buffet
Julia shows off her chocolate muffin at breakfast this weekend
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Nessa sampled everything at this weekend’s breakfast buffet

My mother-in-law can’t stop raving about a hotel breakfast buffet she enjoyed in Paris this past winter. It even had fresh Japanese food. Our hotel in Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands ten years ago also had some unique food, with plates of local pineapple and avocado. I am getting hungry just thinking about all these delicious hotel breakfast buffets!

breakfast buffet
Thanks to my mother-in-law, Barbara, for taking photos of breakfast in Paris.
breakfast buffet
More from the Paris breakfast

As I do not have any photos of my favourite hotel breakfast buffet locations, please send me your photos and I will add them to this blog post. Post them to me on Facebook, tweet me @AliciaRichler or send an email to kineticmotions17@gmail.com. I look forward to seeing photos from your favourite hotel breakfast buffet.

There’s Nothing Like Maritime Hospitality

maritime hospitality

I’m sitting here late Sunday night writing this Monday post, hoping to get ahead before I fly back home to Toronto.  I have a couple of the best chocolate chip cookies on a plate beside me, baked by the very special Cathy at Camp Kadimah. My husband and daughters are asleep behind me, tucked in to the comfortable beds in our hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is the end of a busy long weekend, filled with the very best in Maritime hospitality, good friends, close family, tasty food and of course our beloved Camp Kadimah.

For the last few years we have made the annual trek out to Atlantic Canada in late July to visit our son at camp. We have grown to love this part of Canada. Every time I land at the Halifax airport I feel energized, and as I walk off the plane and am greeted by some of the most cheery and friendly people in the world.

Halifax is one of my most favourite cities in the world. It has all the features of a big city, with shopping, restaurants, historical sites and trendy neighbourhoods but still retains a small-town feel. Getting around Halifax is easy and quick, and the downtown core has maintained its maritime essence. The famous Harbour Walk, along the boardwalk, runs north to south and is always crowded with both locals and tourists, all out enjoying the city.

maritime hospitality
My annual selfie with Julia on the Halifax boardwalk

When you visit a city year after year, in the same season, you start to feel at home and crave some of the local delicacies and treats. Our checklist included a visit to the historic Seaport Farmer’s Market that has been operating since 1750 (though not necessarily in the same location). We visit some of the same vendors each year to pick up picnic supplies to bring to camp, and it’s always easy to shed our cash and fill our basket.

maritime hospitality
Choosing a cider at the market
maritime hospitality
My girls enjoying a moment outside the market

There’s our daughter’s favourite spot along the boardwalk, the tugboat playground, which sits beside a famous wave sculpture. I love the sign beside the wave which says, “Please do not climb on the wave,” which is ignored by locals and tourists alike who love to climb and slide down.

maritime hospitality
Nessa loved the whales at the tugboat playground
maritime hospitality
Who says you can’t ride the wave?

Then there’s the food which we must sample every year, and woe is me if I miss out on anything on my list. I must have some fish and chips, a strong and high quality iced-coffee (the spot I love is under new management now but it’s still just as good), sushi from Momoya (up on Barrington Street) and the day is not complete without an ice cream from COWS. Other snacks and attractions may pop in here and there, but these are my staples.

maritime hospitality
We enjoyed the fish bites and frites at this place this year
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Cows has its own stand in the middle of the boardwalk now!

The climax of our family’s annual summer weekend to Maritime Canada is the visit to Camp Kadimah. As I have mentioned in a couple of previous posts, overnight camp is a wonderful privilege shared by many children across the world, and the few hundred children who call Camp Kadimah home every summer know it’s a special place.

I get goose bumps and my eyes get teary every time I get my first glimpse of the camp. As the car goes around the bends in the road and the whole camp appears before my eyes, my excitement grows. As I saw the tanned smiling face on my son this morning I knew my trip was complete. Matthew ran to hug, hold and cuddle his baby sister, then we enjoyed a wonderful day at camp. 

maritime hospitality
All he wanted was his baby sister
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Picnic lunch with the family at Kadimah
maritime hospitality
Yes, she may be the Property of Camp Kadimah, or at least she will be in summer 2023!
maritime hospitality
Our annual family photo at Kadimah
maritime hospitality
My parents have five grandchildren at camp this summer. Here’s six of the grandchildren, of whom four went to camp.

Camp Kadimah is the very essence of Maritime hospitality, with friendly faces and a welcoming spirit all around. It is the heart and soul of the Atlantic Jewish community, and I’m excited to be at camp next summer when Kadimah celebrates its 75th anniversary. I’m sad my short trip is over, and I look forward to returning next summer when no doubt I will be greeted with yet more Maritime hospitality.

maritime hospitality
My father and his granddaughter looking at the water in Mahone Bay after a day at camp.
maritime hospitality
I had to get the shot from the other side too as it’s just so sweet, on a bench in Mahone Bay

Doo Yoo No How too Spell Corectly?

spell

My apologies for the multiple spelling errors in the title of this post.  Can you read what I wrote? What I asked was, do you know how to spell correctly? The inability to spell has become an epidemic in our society. I don’t believe this is a situation that only exists within the younger generation. People of all ages simply cannot spell, and it drives me crazy.

I won’t even touch the topic of grammar etiquette as that is a whole other can of worms. For now, I will look at spelling.

We all learned to spell back in elementary school. I had regular spelling tests all the way through high school. First, I learned the simple words like “it,” “and,” or “cat,” then moved up to the four or five-letter words like “your,” “what,” or “table.” It became more complicated as I grew older, as I learned exceptions and longer words. English is a hard language, and it can be complicated to learn its nuances. However, everyone is capable of learning how to spell correctly.

Spelling errors are commonplace in elementary school, as a child learns how to read and write and sound out words. I would even allow for mistakes in high school as a teenager learns some of the harder words like “chrysanthemum” or “accommodate.” But, every high school graduate should understand the difference between “there” and “their” or “your” and “you’re.”

spell
My niece is young enough that I will allow her many spelling errors in this letter from camp to my daughter. It was so sweet of her to write to Julia.

Technology has pushed its way into our daily lives. The art of letter writing seems to have disappeared, and we communicate by text and email. In some ways, we are writing more than ever. It’s easier to send your friend a text than walk across the room to ask a question. Employees prefer to email their colleagues instead of picking up the phone.

So, if we are talking less and writing more, shouldn’t we spell better? Text and email are so informal that people often don’t check what they wrote before sending, and the messages are sometimes unreadable. A person who cannot spell is as bad as someone who knows how but is too lazy to check if they spelled the words correctly.

Many would say that newspapers are a dying industry, as people receive their news in new and innovative ways each day. Copy editors lost their jobs years ago, and it shows. It is rare to read an article in even a respected publication anymore that does not have spelling errors. Someone had to edit it – the writer or some editor, I would think. I encourage them to please take the time to read through their articles and correct their spelling errors before pressing “publish.”

I could go on and on about my distress over the lack of good spelling in our society. Emails, texts, news articles, press releases, even road signs and books. Please, everyone, learn to spell, or at least use spell check. Take your time before you press “send” and make sure you spelled the words correctly. It will make me happy.

*Thanks to my friend Dara for seeing this Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) sign, snapping a photo and posting. It’s priceless.

My Husband David Usually Cooks and Bakes Great Food But….

David

 My husband, David, loves to cook and bake. He does not cook and bake often, but when he does the food usually tastes really good. He always comes up with interesting and adventurous ideas for meals, and usually the result is delicious. I commend David for being enthusiastic about cooking and baking and helping out in the kitchen. I encourage him to keep experimenting with recipes. But… sometimes the food tastes a bit funky, or it looks strange or it takes David so long to make the food that I quietly grab a snack or two while he cooks and I don’t have the opportunity to eat his food.

David makes the BEST pie I have ever tasted. His two specialties are sour cherry and blueberry. I don’t know how to make pie so I have no idea what he does to make the crust perfectly flakey and the filling a perfect balance of sweet and tart. I have learned to never actually watch him prepare his pies as he manages to turn the kitchen into a space that looks like a hurricane blew through. Flour covers all surfaces; the floor is sticky and every bowl and utensil in the kitchen is utilized. He cleans up after the baking is complete, but the process is painful to watch.

David
David taught Matthew how to make blueberry pie last summer in the country house in St. Donat

Some of David’s baking experiments have not gone as well. The one I remember best was his version of Black Forest Chocolate Cake. My poor sister joined us when David presented this abomination, which definitely did not look or taste like a cake at all. Kudos to him for trying.

Barbecuing is not his forte either, as the food often comes off the grill either burnt or dry. Most men, in their macho way, see themselves as King of the Grill, but from my experience women are much better at grilling up perfect cuts of meat than men. Yes, I do the barbecuing in our house!

I don’t know what it is about males and eggs, but I have met many a Dad who can’t cook much but can make great eggs. Scrambled, sunny-side up or over-easy, David makes great eggs. He usually makes use of every fry pan and pot in the house when he cooks those eggs, but they taste great. It took him a while to figure out how to make pancakes, and his first try was rather unsuccessful. He has learned from his errors, and I know our children love his pancakes.

David
I think these are pancakes

Speaking of eggs, David’s best dish is an egg-based middle eastern delicacy called Shakshuka. Simply put, it consists of eggs poached in a sauce comprised of tomatoes, chili peppers and onions, and it is spiced with cumin and black pepper. David cooked this dish for dinner last night, and it was the inspiration for today’s post.

David offered to cook this dish for dinner last night, even though he only started the prep well after 7:00 pm. He was slow moving and messy as usual, but wow, it was delicious! I cleaned my plate and even our seven-year-old polished off her portion.

So indeed, my husband David usually cooks and bakes great food. He is slow and messy and sometimes does not quite read the recipe correctly. But… I love that he cooks and I hope he keeps rolling out great food.

How Many Ways Can You Get Your Sports Fix Today?

sports fix

If you are a sports fan, it is important to get your sports fix on a regular basis. Growing up, for me, I was a huge fan of the Toronto Blue Jays. I was upset if I missed a game. I had few options back in the 1980’s and even the 1990’s to follow the game, and my preferred choice was usually the radio. Or, my parents would turn the TV on then mute it. Then they cranked up the radio so we could hear Tom and Jerry call the game.

There was something so pure about listening to a baseball game on the radio. If I closed my eyes and listened carefully, I almost felt like I was there. I could hear the ambient sounds of the ballpark coming through my speaker, like heckling fans or the hollering “beer here for sale” guy.

If I was away on a trip or even just out for an evening it was rather difficult to follow the Blue Jays or really any other hometown sports. Newspapers proved useful, where I could get the score and sometimes a short news story the next day. There was always the telephone, where someone could check on the score and tell me instantly. But, until recently sports fans had few options if they really had to have their fix.

An avid fan today has a plethora of choices to get their sports fix. It is so vast that it’s almost overwhelming.

First of all, the old reliable radio is still available, with Jerry still calling the game, along with Jo. There’s something so sweet about listening to the Jays game on the radio, while in the car driving to the cottage or just sitting at home. With the Blue Jays Radio Network a super fan can listen, on the radio, from Vancouver to Halifax. And there is no subscription fee to listen live.

Today every game, all 162 of them, are aired live on TV, all be it on cable, on Rogers Sportsnet.  The regular team of Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler are entertaining and informative. Many people still do subscribe to cable TV. But, if you have just a basic TV package and want to watch the game on actual simple TV you are out of luck.

Then comes the internet. About 89% of Canadians have access to the internet, and if you are a sports fan there are many ways to make use of the World Wide Web. Every sport, including Major League Baseball, streams games live on the internet – for a fee. If you want to watch your favourite sports team and you are on the road, don’t have cable TV or eke, you are at work and can’t miss the game, the internet can usually come through for you.

MLB TV boasts that a fan can “watch live on over 400 devices.” Really? I didn’t even know there were 400 different devices available. Other major North American sports have similar subscription options, such as the NBA, NHL and NFL. I see that the MLS also has a subscription option to stream all their games live. Most sports leagues around the world have jumped on the live streaming option as well. On a quick check, for example, I see the English Premier League and Japanese baseball. International multi-sport competitions also live stream.

If you don’t want to pay to live stream or don’t have enough data to watch a game live (wow do live sports eat up a lot of data!), a super fan can easily follow the game with live updates on the internet or check scores for every sport around the world 24 hours a day. The internet has definitely given sports fans an easy path to become sports addicts, with so many websites, blogs and social media feeds dedicated to the love of sport.

Are you a sports fan? What’s your favourite sport and how do you follow it and get your sports fix? Leave me a comment here, post on Facebook or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.

Two Months for this Blog and What have I Learned so far?

Time has a habit of happening very quickly. As I wrote in my first post on May 17, I always wanted to write, but it took me many years to compose my thoughts and create an online space where I could voice how I felt about many topics. I registered Kinetic Motions back in February of this year and knowing just a little about WordPress I launched this blog a few months later.

One thing I quickly figured out is that I am not an expert at this! Many people have guided me and shown me some tricks (thanks in particular to my brother Neil Richler!), and I have played around and experimented over the last five months to get this blog to where it is. I will admit that what you see is still very amateur, and I know that these pages will continue to evolve.

I would consider myself both a journalist and a strategic communications expert (yes one can be both). I have always been confident in my skills associated with these professions, in particular my writing and editing skills. I always worked closely with many online journalists and bloggers and social media experts. But, until recently my knowledge and deep understanding of how the blogosphere and social media space really worked and moulded our society was limited. Every day over the last two months, as I write and publish my work for all of you to read I am in awe of the world’s online space. I am excited to write each new post and share my thoughts with you.

But alas I do still have a lot to learn and hope to see my blog grow. What I have laid out is very basic and I am not sure how easy it is to navigate. I am starting to find my way through terms like SEO, Widgets, Plugins and a good Readability score. I feel good about the content – that it is interesting and appeals to a wide audience.

I am always happy to listen to advice and take some constructive criticism. It is how I will learn and grow as a writer and blogger. If you have suggestions on how to make this blog easier to navigate, how to improve its SEO or topics of interest to you that I should cover please do reach out to me. Send an email to kineticmotions17@gmail.com, leave a comment here, post to me on Facebook or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.

Thank you to everyone who follows and reads my blog. Your support is appreciated. Stay tuned for great things from Kinetic Motions!

Would you Accomplish More if you Worked Three Uninterrupted Hours a Day?

I just read an interesting historical fiction called New York, by Edward Rutherford. It follows the story of this great city from the 1600’s to the present day, interweaving real historical events with the lives of fictional characters. The book had many memorable moments, which I will not describe here, except for one in particular. It was less of a moment and more of a statement in a conversation at a dinner party near the end of the book. The characters were overworked and all spent hours each day at the office. One person brought forward the idea of uninterrupted work and getting more done in less time.

I will quote directly from the book as the author quite eloquently discussed the subject:

“’I was reading Virginia Woolf the other day, and she remarked that at one period in her life, she was able to get so much done because she had three uninterrupted hours to work in every day. And I thought, what on earth is she talking about? Only three hours a day? And then I looked around the office at all the people working their fourteen-hour days, and I thought, how many of you actually spend three hours in a real, creative, intellectual activity in a day? And I reckoned, probably not one.’  She smiled. ‘And there’s Virginia Woolf achieving more than they ever will in their lives, on three hours a day. It makes you think. They might do better if they worked less.’”

When I read this, it made me put the book down and think. For years I worked long days, spending hours at the office and often I continued my work at home late into the night. But how often did I have a true uninterrupted stretch to work each day? When I was at the office there were so many distractions around me. The office phone would ring, a colleague would stop by to ask a question or a group would congregate nearby and I would join the conversation. Add in the meetings and conference calls and I wonder now how I ever got anything done.

Once in a while, when I wanted to concentrate and really focus on my work, I left the office and worked instead at home. If the house was quiet and empty I could accomplish a whole day’s work in just a few hours. The distractions of the office weren’t there (yes, I know the house provides other distractions but I am able to usually avoid them!), and with few to no interruptions I used my time efficiently.

I believe I am not unique and that most of us would accomplish much more if we worked three uninterrupted hours each day. Now that I am a sole proprietor of a business and answer to myself each day I need a lot of self-discipline to get work done. I need to find time each day to focus my thoughts and energy and avoid distractions. When I do that I am always amazed how much I can accomplish.

I believe that it’s less about how many hours you work each day and more about how you use the hours you work. It is not about physically being at the office for 8, 10 or 12 hours in a given day but rather efficiently using those hours and completing your tasks. I think this is a philosophy that is slowly being embraced by many Canadian businesses and workplaces and something I strongly support and encourage. It is an approach I hope to follow as I go out on my own and work as independent professional. Just imagine how much I could accomplish every day if I gave myself three uninterrupted hours to work. My time is valuable and I hope to use it wisely.

Everyone Should be Making Music Together

music

How many children’s songs do you know? Did you know that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep and ABC are the same tune, written by Mozart? What songs do you remember from childhood? If you have children, do you sing to them or expose them to music?

Most adults can typically name only four or five children’s songs that they know well and admit that not only were they not exposed to music in childhood but that there is little of it in their home today.  I believe that human beings are naturally musical but that musicality needs to be nurtured.

One of the simplest ways to cultivate the love of music in a child is to sing to them at home or play a tune when the child is an infant. Research has shown that even in utero a baby can hear and respond to music. A newborn baby, at least my newborn babies, sleep well with calming classical compositions in the background or the gentle voice of his or her mother, father or siblings.

After a short time, many babies graduate to music classes. Children’s music classes are popular throughout North America. It has actually become quite a business. I have been taking my kids to these classes for over ten years. Some are better than others and all are a great way to get a new mother out of the house and give her a great activity with her baby.

Whether the music class is a short session with a bunch of well-known children’s songs or a more in-depth course in music, singing and voice training, I feel everyone should try to expose their child to at least one session. The City of Toronto Public Library offers free (that’s right FREE) drop-in 30-minute “Move-and-Groove” classes for children aged 0-6. My one-year-old goes to that one all the time.

All three of my kids have benefitted most from a great program called “Making Music Together.” I won’t go into its history but you can read about it HERE. As the website states, the program is about “songs, chants, movement & instruments in a relaxed, fun, interactive environment.” Because of this program my children have all expressed their musicality in their own special way.

Walking into a Music Together class is quite an experience, though that may be the case for most baby and children’s music classes. The caregivers and children sit around in a circle and over a 45-minute period sing, dance and play instruments. Note that I say caregivers AND children. Each week, as I sit around this circle with my baby I chuckle to myself as I watch grown men and women, many with Masters degrees, MD’s or other professional designations, bark like dogs, tap little wooden sticks on their heads and skip around the room.

We spend years growing up, working hard to become mature adults, then at our children’s music class all pressures of adulthood are released. We can sing and dance and be free. It’s not just the children who benefit from music but the adults too. Lately I sing all day, all be it songs entitled Wiggle, See the Pony Galloping and Shake those ‘Simmons Down. Music energizes me and makes me feel good. I know it does the same for my children. Try singing one day, even to yourself. It’s worth it.

Do we really want our Children to Dream of being a Pirate and a Princess?

pirate

When I think of a pirate a very clear picture comes to my mind. He is a tall strapping man with dark evil eyes. He is mean and ruthless and will kill anyone who gets in his way. The pirate is a murderer and thief and wreaks havoc on the world.

When I think of a princess I have in mind another clear picture. I think about a fairy tale. Most definitely she is beautiful with long flowing hair and wears a gown made of the finest fabric. She is loyal to her father, the King, and upholds the duties that are bestowed upon a young woman born into nobility. She does what is expected of her and knows she will one day marry into another noble family and look down at her poor subjects who did not have the good fortune to be born into royalty.

Our modern society has romanticised the world of the pirate and the princess, and it is something I just don’t understand.

The pirate in particular has become a much-loved cartoon character and Halloween costume for children. We, as adults, find it so cute when our kids put on the pirate hat, eye patch and hook and say things like “Ahoy Matie” or “Walk the Plank.” Pirates were not cute – they violently plundered ships and shoreline communities, killing people along the way. There are even some pirates today, sailing off the coast of places like Eastern Africa. I am quite sure no one wants their kids to look up to these people.

Princesses are in quite a different category as, for the most part, they do not steal and murder. But, the fairy tale princess is not one I would like my daughters to model themselves after. I see the princess as a second-class citizen, who though intelligent, is often passed over in favour of the male heir. I know what you are thinking – in recent years we have seen the coming of age of the feminist princess like Elsa and Ana in Frozen, or Merida in Brave. They are the exception, and I cringe when someone calls my daughter a princess.

That said, I am not going to stop my children from dressing up as pirates and princesses and reading about them in bedtime stories. I will admit that my kids have dressed up in versions of pirates and princesses over the years. I let them take their own spin on it, like my daughter’s werewolf princess costume for Halloween a couple of years ago. It was definitely unique.

pirate
My daughter’s own creation

Maybe I am just a crank and should let it go. Could it be that our modern society believes that with time our perceptions of everything changes? The 17th and 18th century pirate was a villain then but is seen as a bold and formidable character today. The fairy tale princess obeyed her family’s wishes and was mostly a pretty thing whose only dream was to marry a handsome prince. Today people believe that same princesses could have ruled the kingdom and changed the world.

What do you think? Are there other historical characters or stories that have been romanticised? Leave me a comment here, post to Facebook or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.